Pixel Scroll 4/6/17 Dr. Pixuel Johnson’s Right About Scrollson Johnson Being Right!

(1) WERE THEY UNDER ATTACK? Chuck Wendig launches “The Great Ewok Defense of 2017”. Make sure you never find yourself standing between Chuck’s Ewoks and a stormtrooper…

(2) DRAGONS FROM OUT OF TOWN. Aliette de Bodard tells about “My Favourite Dragons and How I Designed Mine” at The Book Smugglers.

It will probably not be a surprise that I love dragons — a lot of fantasy and SF readers also do! There’s something intrinsically fascinating, for me, about flying, graceful reptiles with magical powers.

You’ll notice I don’t say “reptiles that breathe fire”, and the main reason for that is that the first dragons I encountered weren’t the Western ones that needed to be killed by the likes of Saint George, but the r?ng, the Vietnamese dragons, who tend to live underwater, have deers’ antlers and a long serpentine body but generally no wings, and who are generally benevolent entities who dispense rain (or catastrophic floods if angered).

(3) REACHING FOR THE SHELF. Nicholas Whyte created a quick introduction to the Hugo Awards, which he administers for Worldcon 75.

(4) A SINGULAR SENSATION. I wasn’t able to help Jason Kehe when he asked me about Chuck Tingle – you know as much as I do — while Vox Day said on his blog he simply refused to answer questions from the media. But Tingle himself was happy to offer a quote for WIRED.com’s article “The Hidden, Wildly NSFW Scandal of the Hugo Nominations”.

Hiscock’s nomination is the work of the Rabid Puppies, a community of reactionary sci-fi/fantasy writers and fans who in 2015 sought to derail the Hugos’ big-tent evolution by stuffing the notoriously gameable ballot box with what they saw as criminally overlooked white male nominees. After the Rabid Puppies found huge success—they placed more than 50 recommendations—predecessors the Sad Puppies smuggled in a 2016 Best Short Story nominee they hoped would really tank the proceedings: Space Raptor Butt Invasion, an erotic gay sci-fi tale self-published by an unknown named Chuck Tingle.

Incredibly, though, the plan backfired. Tingle turned out to be a ridiculously lovable, possibly insane ally—or at least a very shrewd performance artist—who used his new platform to speak out against exclusion and bigotry in all their forms. In the intervening year-plus, he’s emerged as something of a cult icon, pumping out ebook after skewering ebook of wildly NSFW prose. His latest, Pounded In The Butt By My Second Hugo Award Nomination, refers to the recognition he got this year, on his own, in the Best Fan Writer category.

Here’s what the man of the hour had to say:

Chuck Tingle: hello buckaroo name of JASON thank you for writing and thank you for congrats on this way! i believe this author is put on the nominees by THE BAD DOGS BLUES as a way to prank the hugos like when they thought author name of chuck was some goof they could push around (no way buddy not this buckaroo). so it seems to be same idea as last year dont know much about it. thing is you cant just nominate some reverse twin of chuck there is only one chuck on this timeline and he is nominated as BEST FAN WRITER all by his own! this is a good way i am so proud! so long story short i hope this new author is not a reverse twin of the void but who knows i have not seen the end of this timeline branch yet.

(5) TOUGHEST CHALLENGE. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog , Ross Johnson contends “The Best Series Hugo Is the Hardest Decision on the Ballot”.

A Best Series award makes perfect sense: when a book is part of a larger story, no matter how mind-blowing, it can be tough to judge it on its own merits—so why not take a look at series as a whole? After all, we all know SFF loves its trilogies (and its 10- to 14-book epic sagas). This is a great way to recognize a body of work, especially when the nth book of an excellent series generally has little chance of being nominated (let alone winning), but is still worthy of recognition. No one was quite sure how the nominations would shake out (could the entire Star Wars Extended Universe be considered as a singular series?), but there’s no arguing that the books on this inaugural ballot don’t seem to be entirely in the spirit of the award. There’s a wide-range of serious talent on the list, venerable classics alongside burgeoning favorites, all displaying the kind of character- and worldbuilding that can only be accomplished across multiple books.

(6) GOING TO THE WORLDCON. The Shimmer Program announced that the winners of the Worldcon 75 Attending Funding for Chinese fans offered by Storycom are Yang Sumin and Zhang Jialin (Colin). Each will get RMB 10,000 for use in attending and staffing the con. They are expected to gain experience in the Worldcon organizational work and help with future Chinese bids.

Jukka Halme, Chair of Worldcon 75 and Xia Jia, Chinese science fiction writer, selected the winners from five finalists.

There are photos and introductions to the two winners at the link.

(7) ISLAND NEWS Download Progress Report #1 for NorthAmeriCon’17, to be held in San Juan, PR from July 6-9. Lots of areas where they’re looking for staff and volunteers.

(8) FIRST CLUB. Joshua Sky sold this article to Mayim Bialik of Big Bang Theory for her site, Grok Nation. It’s about the origins of science fiction fandom: “The Scienceers: Where Science Fiction Clubs Began”.

All my life I’ve been a fan of science fiction, but I never knew much about the history of the field, nor did the majority of die-hard fans that I encountered. How could we – who could instantly recall every detail from our favorite comic books and every line of dialogue from Star Wars or Back to the Future – love something so much and know so little about its origins?

Last year, I found the answer when I was given a handful of wonderful out-of-print books chronicling the rich history of science fiction and fandom, including The Way the Future Was by Frederik Pohl, The Futurians by Damon Knight and The Immortal Storm by Sam Moskowitz. In their pages, I learned about the fascinating beginnings of fandom, which was mired in political warfare between overzealous teenagers, where clubs would form and disintegrate overnight. What I found most interesting, was an account of the first science fiction club ever established, called The Scienceers. It was founded in New York, on December 11th, 1929. Nearly 90 years ago. The first president of the club was a young African-American man named Warren Fitzgerald, and the first club meetings were held in his home….

File 770 took a look at that topic in 2014 from a different angle — “Early Science Fiction Clubs: Your Mileage May Vary” and “The Planet: One Last Landing” – and The Scienceers won the verdict of “first club” then, too.

(9) ALLIANCE FINALISTS. Realm Makers has announced the shortlist for the 2017 Alliance Award, the site’s new Readers Choice award for speculative fiction novel by a Christian author.

 

A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold Anne Elisabeth Stengl
A Time To Rise Nadine Brandes
‘sccelerant Ronie Kendig
Bellanok Ralene  Burke
Black Tiger Sara Baysinger
Darkened Hope J. L. Mbewe
Defy Tricia Mingerink
Domino Kia Heavey
King’s Folly Jill Williamson
New Name A.C. Williams
Rebirth Amy Brock McNew
Saint Death Mike Duran
Samara’s Peril Jaye L. Knight
Scarlet Moon S.D. Grimm
Siren’s Song Mary Weber
Songkeeper Gillian Bronte Adams
Star Realms: Rescue Run Jon Del Arroz
Tainted Morgan Busse
The Shattered Vigil Patrick W. Carr
Unblemished Sara Ella

(10) HEALTH SETBACK. Eric Flint told about his latest medical problems in a public Facebook post.

Well, there’s been a glitch in my serene and inexorable progress toward eradicating my cancer. I developed an abscess at the site where the pancreas drain came out of my abdomen from the splenectomy. (Nasty damn thing! Painful as hell, too.) So I had to go back into the hospital for five days while the doctors drained it and pumped me full of antibiotics. I’m now on a home IV antibiotic regimen.

In the meantime, my oncologists suspended the chemotherapy regimen until the 20th. Chemo depresses the immune system so you really don’t want to pile it on top of an active infection. (That’s probably why I developed the abscess in the first place, in fact.) I’d just finished the third cycle, so what’s essentially happening is that we’re suspending one cycle and will resume the fourth cycle right when the fifth one would have originally started…

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 6, 1968 — Stanley’s Kubrick’s science-fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey makes its debut in movie theaters.

Trivial Trivia:  In Kubrick’s next movie, Clockwork Orange, there is a scene in the record store where the LP for 2001 is displayed.

(12) RICKLES OBIT. Famous comedian Don Rickles (1926-2017) passed away today at the age of 90. His genre work included The Twilight Zone, “Mr. Dingle, the Strong” (1961), X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, both The Addams Family and The Munsters, The Wild, Wild, West, I Dream of Jeannie, and Tales from the Crypt. Late in life he voiced Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story film series.

(13) DO YOU HAVE THESE? James Davis Nicoll is back with “Twenty Core Epic Fantasies Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”

As with the two previous core lists, here are twenty epic fantasies chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty books you should consider.

I agree that was wise to say, since he omits the first three authors whose names I’d expect to see on such a list. On the other hand, if not for Nicoll’s list I would have remained unaware that Kara Dalkey (someone I knew at LASFS 40 years ago) has written a well-regarded fantasy.

(14) WHITEWASHING. Steven Barnes shares “Ten Thoughts on Whitewashing”. Here are the first five.

The whitewashing controversy is pretty simple at its core:

  1. if a character’s race is changed toward yours, you will tend to be sanguine with it. If it is changed away from yours, you will tend to object. If you have control of the property, you will choose changes toward you, on average.
  2. To this end, if you are group X, you will put X’s into makeup to resemble Y’s so you can control the image systems and keep the money circulating in your own communities. When that stops working, you’ll change the back-stories. It all achieves the same result, and other X’s will support any change you make.
  3. The changers will not be honest about the fact that they simply preferred the change. They will blame the audience, the lack of actors, the material, another country. Anything but themselves.
  4. The audience prefers it too, but also will not take responsibility. It is the creators, the material, other people. Never them.
  5. As this is what is really going on, and everybody does it, you can remove this entire issue from the table and ask instead: what kind of world do we want? I can answer this for myself: I want a world where art reflects the world as it is. Not “politically correct” but “demographically correct” which, we can see, translates into “economically correct.” But #1 continues to dominate far too often, corrupting the creative process (thank God!) and creating under-performing movies and television and outright bombs.

(15) TOR LOVE. The xkcd cartoon “Security Advice” became the most-clicked link from File 770 yesterday after Darren Garrison commented, “Well, it looks like Randal Monroe is part of the Tor cabal.” Read it and you’ll understand why.

(16) ALL ABOARD. Jump on Matt Lambros’  “Los Angeles Lost Theatre Tour”.

On Saturday July 1, I’ll be co-leading tours through seven of Los Angeles’s Lost Theatres as part of the Afterglow event at the Theatre Historical Society of America’s 2017 Conclave.

Starting at 10AM, we’ll be going to The Variety Arts, the Leimert/Vision, the Rialto, the Raymond, the Uptown and the Westlake. Photography is allowed, and I’ll be conducting short demonstrations and answering any questions you may have about architectural photography.

(17) BATGIRL. “Hope Larson discusses and signs Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside (Rebirth)” at Vroman’s in Pasadena on April 12.

Spinning out of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH comes the newest adventures of Batgirl in BATGIRL VOL. 1: BEYOND BURNSIDENew York Times best-selling creators Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time) takes one of Gotham’s greatest heroes on a whirlwind world tour in BATGIRL VOL. 1: BEYOND BURNSIDE. Barbara Gordon’s heart belongs to Burnside, the ultra-hip Gotham City neighborhood. But some threats are bigger than Burnside. And when those threats come calling, Batgirl will answer!  When Babs plans a trip to train with the greatest fighters in the Far East, she has no idea her vigilante life will follow her. Lethal warriors are out to take her down, each bearing the mysterious mark of “The Student.” And where there are Students, there must also be…a Teacher. As part of the epic Rebirth launch, Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside is a perfect jumping-on point to start reading about Batgirl and her action-packed, crime-fighting adventures!  (DC Comics)

(18) BESTER TV EPISODE. “Mr. Lucifer,” story and teleplay by Alfred Bester, can be seen on YouTube. Broadcast in glorious b&w in four parts on ALCOA Premiere Theater, starring Fred Astaire and Elizabeth Montgomery, on November 1, 1962.

In addition to “Mr. Lucifer,” Astaire played several other characters. Music by a much younger John “Johnny” Williams.

Links to parts 2-4 listed on upper right side of page.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Darrah Chavey, Darren Garrison, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day m.c. simon milligan.]

130 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/6/17 Dr. Pixuel Johnson’s Right About Scrollson Johnson Being Right!

  1. I feel a bit bad for her, being excited at the news and thinking that her work had genuinely gotten nominated on its merits, and then finding out that it’s just a cruel joke and that she’s been used by nasty people.

    But the story’s still going below No Award on my ballot, and I won’t be reading it.

    I’m not planning on voting for Stix Hiscock either, for even if her work has some merit as erotica, I doubt it is even remotely of Hugo quality.

  2. Regarding James’ list: I am clearly hardcore when it comes to fantasy (or possibly just the right generation). I’ve read 15, the Elliott is in progress, Heydt and Ogiwara are on the TBR pile, and I hadn’t heard of the Dalkey or Turner…

    Trying to decide whether Mount Tsundoku should be counted as growing by tectonic uplift or volcanism.

  3. @Lee – Interesting, particularly given Tingle’s recent revelation that this is all really about ethics in basement dwelling.

  4. JJ on April 7, 2017 at 4:08 pm said:

    Cora: Stix Hiscock is another unwitting puppy hostage

    I feel a bit bad for her, being excited at the news and thinking that her work had genuinely gotten nominated on its merits, and then finding out that it’s just a cruel joke and that she’s been used by nasty people.

    But now I feel mean having called Vox Day the Stix Hiscok of editing – that feels unfair to Stix.

  5. @OGH: did anyone support the attempted recruiter? There was at least one multiply-ignorant (knowing neither rules nor history) fantasy-objector as late as ~2006 (per Cheryl Morgan); I’m not convinced that your hater was a trend — especially if it was someone at the losers’ party blowing off steam. What I remember at the Boston victory party was general feeling that it just wasn’t a very good book; this was before Hartwell argued that giving the award to someone outside the field was bad for SF. And IIRC the blowoff happened at the ceremony — the person who picked up the award was a committee appointee, not a rep of JKR — so it would have been visible immediately. I’ve never personally run into someone arguing the Hugo isn’t for fantasy, although I’m sure they still exist just as we’ve had someone here arguing against rules and history about this year’s DP nominees; I think both our individual experiences are argument from anecdote.

  6. I feel a bit bad for her, being excited at the news and thinking that her work had genuinely gotten nominated on its merits …

    I don’t think it’s possible to write a book titled Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex under the pen name Stix Hiscock and believe your book has been nominated for a major literary award on its merits.

  7. A general question, with all the links to what look like relatively mundane websites covering the Hugos: are we really getting that much attention generally (and if so is that at least partly because the Puppies have made such public messes as to attract attention) or is Helsinki doing a particularly good job getting the word out about the ballot? Discuss — not too heatedly.

  8. @ Hampus: Wasn’t there another attack fairly recently which used that MO? I hope this isn’t going to become a pattern, and I’m glad you’re okay.

    @ Mike: Thanks for answering my question. About Mormons and/or Catholics, I guess we’ll find out by watching future years.

  9. Chip Hitchcock: are we really getting that much attention generally or is Helsinki doing a particularly good job getting the word out about the ballot?

    My perception is that the pr0n story catches the attention of mundane sites, which for them makes it something worth writing about (and the headlines for most of the mundane pieces focus on that, not on Worldcon75’s press releases). And Clipping has a large non-Worldcon fandom, so tweets with links about the Hugos are getting a much broader reach than they ordinarily would.

    The real test will be next year (assuming VD no longer bothers attempting a slate); if there’s no pr0n story on the ballot, will all these mundane sites still care about the Hugos? It remains to be seen.

  10. Lee W: Well, that’s hardly surprising. If you map the Venn diagrams for MRAs, G8ers, and Puppies, you get a set of mostly-overlapping circles getting smaller from first to last. And MRAs is the term anyone not involved with gaming or fandom is going to be the most familiar with.

  11. @Lee

    Wasn’t there another attack fairly recently which used that MO? I hope this isn’t going to become a pattern, and I’m glad you’re okay.

    There have been quite a few attacks using that MO, in Nice and Berlin last year and in London last month and now in Stockholm. Stealing a truck and figuring out how to drive it is easier than building a bomb and very effective.

    Coincidentally, the first attack of that sort happened more than forty years ago, when a Czech woman ploughed a truck into a group of people waiting for a tram in an attempt to commit suicide by hangman. Last year, a movie was made about that case, which ran at the Berlin film festival, and suddenly we get a cluster of similar attacks. Hmmm.

  12. Chip Hitchcock: Rather than depend on my memory, I looked up my 2001 Worldcon report.

    Harry Potter’s Hugo sparked a great debate at the party. Greg Bear looked over my copy of the press release with the voting statistics and observed, “The losers didn’t just lose, they were trampled by 35 million books.” He approved, to the extent that Harry Potter brings a lot of kids in to read books in our field. Andrew Porter said that in winning the Hugo, Harry Potter overcame the bias against fantasy novels and children’s books.

    Not much there, but in the next issue’s letter column there were some emphatically negative comments:

    Noreen Shaw: The Hugo to Harry Potter is an outrage and should serve as yet another warning to the field. Science fiction fought for everything it has. Many people gave countless hours and money over the years to further the cause. Harry Potter may be the best book of the decade, but it has no place receiving the Hugo, especially by such a large margin.

    Tom Feller: My thinking is that one reason the Harry Potter book won the Hugo was that it may have been the only nominated novel that a majority of Worldcon attendees actually read. I did not rank it number one, but I did vote it ahead of No Award.

    Lloyd Penney: I haven’t read any of the Potter books, even though I recently saw and enjoyed the movie. I support Joanne Rowling in her move to get children reading through her books, but I just wouldn’t give it the Hugo.

  13. I’m glad @Hampus Eckerman is okay and I recall reading about the similar incident in London recently and man, I’m behind on real world news as well as Pixel Scrolls.

    /Hugo-stalk!

  14. @Andrew

    Very interesting, thank you. I see several splutters of “but it’s fantasy” and “oh no not a children’s book” in there.

    Unconnected, but I followed a link to a previous letter to find John “Gor” Norman fulminating in the most spectacular way about not being invited to be a panelist:

    I have attended five World Science Fiction Conventions. The last one, ironically conducted in the very city in which the Declaration of Independence was signed, which must be an embarrassment for anyone with any historical sense, was the first in which I was denied permission to participate. What are we to gather here, that the first four conventions were wrong? That science fiction is to remain tile province of a political backwater, an enclave of uncritical, smug, effusively emoting, self-righteous leftist Bourbons who after a hundred million deaths and the collapse of civilizations have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, that it is to be forever the sanctuary of the “religious left,” the captive of proponents of a historically refuted, bankrupt ideology? She deserves better.
    Monothink is not the salvation of science fiction; it is its death knell as an intellectually stimulating branch of literature. Science fiction could be so much, and it is confined to so little.
    I do not need this genre, but I love it. Indeed, I must love it, to have put up for years with the abusive, predictable crap of the politically blinkered ideological Pavlovians, the psychologically insecure, the emotionally immature, the morally benighted, and the sexually retarded, of which science fiction has more than her share.

    What is old is new again.

  15. Mark: I followed a link to a previous letter to find John “Gor” Norman fulminating in the most spectacular way about not being invited to be a panelist

    I just got done reading that, too.

    I’m pretty sure I know why he wasn’t invited to be a panelist — and it wasn’t on ideological grounds.

    The letters from Jim Gifford complaining about 1) being denied his right as a Hugo nominee to participate in numerous panels, and 2) the illegal way the vote was manipulated (i.e. the same way the votes have been counted for decades) to deny him a Hugo, were pretty priceless, too. I can make a good guess at why he was not invited to be a panelist as well.

  16. @Mark —

    I do not need this genre, but I love it. Indeed, I must love it, to have put up for years with the abusive, predictable crap of the politically blinkered ideological Pavlovians, the psychologically insecure, the emotionally immature, the morally benighted, and the sexually retarded, of which science fiction has more than her share.

    I actually pretty much agree with him on this part. But I do not think it means what he thinks it means.

  17. @ rcade

    I don’t think it’s possible to write a book titled Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex under the pen name Stix Hiscock and believe your book has been nominated for a major literary award on its merits.

    I suspect it’s perfectly possible to write a book with that title and be unaware of what the Hugo Awards are. (And–let us be honest–“major literary award” not entirely accurate in the larger world.) There are a lot of awards out there–many of which are specific to a particular genre or readership–and even industry people may not be familiar with the awards they wouldn’t normally interact with. (One of these days I really do need to convince my publisher’s website maintainer that being shortlisted for a Spectrum award is just as worthy of mention as being shortlisted for a Golden Crown. Moreso, in fact, to the majority of my readership.) So it’s plausible to me that one might have a hypothetical series of reactions of, “Huh, wonder what that award is? Oh…oh my! Oh…oh shit.” as one works through bewilderment, delight, and then crushing embarrassment.

  18. (And–let us be honest–“major literary award” not entirely accurate in the larger world.)

    The large amount of media coverage the Hugo Awards controversy has received in recent years demonstrates that it’s a major literary award. It has broken out of recognition within a genre and has some renown in the world.

    Given that most people care little about books, the combination of the words “major” and “literary award” is always going to raise some eyebrows.

    But as literary awards go, I’m proud to be involved in one that has made a noticeable dent in the wider culture.

  19. @OGH: It’s fascinating to see all the ignorances coming through those quotes and letters — confusing voters with attendees, claiming a prejudice against fantasy (from someone whose acquaintance with even simpler facts tended to be glancing), saying without reading that a book isn’t worth an award. And I don’t know what to say about the tribalism of ~”it doesn’t deserve our award even if it’s the best book”.

    @Mark: fascinating — the Puppies aren’t original even in their rhetoric.

  20. That Norman letter from 2001 is amazing. The grandiosity and aggrievement are right out of the Puppy playbook.

    While looking for more information about what caused him to be rejected as a Worldcon panelist I found this 2003 quote: “The vile and foul-minded John Norman has not been actively blacklisted. I find his works moderately loathsome. I don’t want the reputation of my company associated with that. … He should be published by a pornographer.”

    The person speaking? Jim Baen!

  21. Thanks for posting the link to “Mr. Lucifer,” an entertaining show with a “Mad Men” vibe. But wasn’t the name of the series “Fred Astaire’s Premiere Theatre?”

  22. That Norman letter from 2001 is amazing. The grandiosity and aggrievement are right out of the Puppy playbook.

    If the name of the letter writer had been removed, I’d have thought it was JCW. Same pomposity.

  23. @Cora:

    If the name of the letter writer had been removed, I’d have thought it was JCW. Same pomposity.

    The Iron Chamber of Memory of Gor?

  24. @kathodus

    Sorry about the delay. Thank you for your perspective.

    @Karl-Johan Norén

    Thank you for the links. Again, sorry about the delay. I appreciate your effort.

    @James Davis Nicoll

    When you think about it, if women face more barriers to publication than men (being told, for example, that publishers will not buy hard sf by women), surely that must mean it is possible the bell curve of quality for women centers to the right of the bell curve for men because they have to be better to be published at all.

    IMO, that skips past a couple of things (logically and statistically), but it’s your list.

    I question only a couple of things. The first is that some of the works are fairly recent publications. Not enough time has passed to consider them “core” anything. They might be considered core books in another 5-10 years, but it’s hard to say that right now.

    The second is Spirit Gate. I’ve got no idea what the rest of her body of work is like precisely because this book bounced off of me so badly. I was really looking forward to reading it because I checked out the second book in the series at a local store.

    Compared with that book, the omission of anything by Mercedes Lackey, Sara Douglass, and/or Melanie Rawn raises my eyebrow.

    Regards,
    Dann

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