Pixel Scroll 7/3/17 Hokey Tickboxes And Ancient Pixels Are No Match For A Good Filer At Your Side, Kid

(1) STAR WARS CARTOONS. In a Yahoo! Movies piece called “New ‘Star Wars’ Cartoon Shorts Debut Online, Bringing Female Heroes in Full Force”, Marcus Errico says that Disney is releasing sixteen three-minute cartoons online featuring female Star Wars heroes,  The first, “Sands of Jakku” is online and has Daisy Ridley in it.

Lucasfilm Animation has produced an initial run of 16 shorts. New shorts will arrive daily at YouTube.com/Disney ahead of their broadcast premiere on the Disney Channel on July 9. Future episodes will center on Princess Leia, Padmé Amidala, Rogue One‘s Jyn Erso, The Clone Wars fan favorite Ahsoka Tano, and Sabine Wren from Star Wars Rebels, with each installment narrated by Maz Kanata and featuring John Williams’s seminal soundtrack.

In addition to Ridley, film stars John Boyega (Finn), Felicity Jones (Jyn) and Lupita Nyong’o (Maz) will reprise their roles, as will key talent from the TV series Clone Wars and Rebels, including Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka), Tiya Sicar (Sabine), and Vanessa Marshall (Hera Syndulla).

“The movies tell these epic heroes’ journeys, big pieces of mythology,” Carrie Beck, VP of Lucasfilm Story and Animation and a producer of Forces of Destiny, told Yahoo Movies earlier this year. “For this, we thought these stories could tell those moments of everyday heroism… the kind of stories that would be appropriate over two to three minutes.”

(2) UNHOLY ROAD TRIP. The LA Times questions “Neil Gaiman on the ‘American Gods’ season finale and what’s on tap for Season 2”.

The first season of Starz’s ambitious “American Gods” ended on the brink of a godly brawl. But Neil Gaiman, an executive producer of the series and author of the book from which it is adapted, teases that his divine road trip across the secret supernatural back roads of the United States is just beginning…

Did you have an emotional reaction to the end of the first season of “American Gods?”

I have all sorts of emotions.…I’m fascinated by how involved people are. How grumpy they are about the fact that, now they got their eight episodes, they have to wait for another season. I love watching the joy of having faces that plug into these characters who were names and descriptions in the book. I’m loving seeing how people argue online. There are people out there who think Laura [Moon, played by Emily Browning] is the best female character that they’ve ever seen on television.And there are people who would pay good money to make sure that she never appears on their screen ever again, but they love the whole series apart from her.

(3) GUESS WHO JOINED GAB. GAB is the new message platform popular with Vox Day, Jon Del Arroz, and others who find Twitter hasn’t always appreciated the way they exercise their freedom of speech.

And, unexpectedly, it now is someplace you can find Brianna Wu:

Why did I join Gab? Well, joining App.net early (another Twitter competitior) was amazing for my career. It was a networking goldmine. The other part is, I’m running for congress in a part of Massachusetts with many conservatives. Listening to the other side helps me be a better candidate.

(4) SOCIETY OF ILLUSTRATORS. Top fantastic illustrators Wayne Barlowe, Donato Giancola, Greg Manchess will demonstrate their skills and techniques in an open forum at the Society of Illustrators in New York on July 8 from Noon to 4 p.m.

Plus! Have your portfolios reviewed by renowned art directors Irene Gallo (Associate Publisher, Tor.com/ Creative Director, Tor Books) and Lauren Panepinto (Creative Director, Orbit Books/ Yen Press). 15 minutes reviews. Reservations required

Admission: $50 Non-members | $40 Members | $20 Students/ seniors (Undergrad with valid ID) Price includes the catalog from The Korshak Collection: Illustrations of Imaginative Literature.

(5) SPACE SALVATION. Sylvia Engdahl revives a philosophical debate in “Space colonization, faith, and Pascal’s Wager” at The Space Review.

In his essay “Escaping Earth: Human Spaceflight as Religion” published in the journal Astropolitics, historian Roger Launius argues that enthusiasm for space can be viewed as a religion. He focuses mainly on comparisons with the outer trappings of religion, many of which are apt, but in one place he reaches the heart of the issue. “Like those espousing the immortality of the human soul among the world’s great religions… statements of humanity’s salvation through spaceflight are fundamentally statements of faith predicated on no knowledge whatsoever.”

I think Launius may be somewhat too pessimistic in his assertion that we have no knowledge whatsoever about our ability to develop technology that will enable humans live in the hostile environment of space, but that is beside the point. It’s true that we have no assurance that the colonization of space will ensure the long-term survival of humankind. “Absent the discovery of an Earthlike habitable exoplanet to which humanity might migrate,” Launius continues, “this salvation ideology seems problematic, a statement of faith rather than knowledge or reason.” And the accessibility of such an exoplanet is questionable, since by current knowledge it will not be possible to cross interstellar space rapidly enough to achieve much migration.

It is indeed faith that underlies the conviction that traveling beyond our home world will prevent the extinction of the human race. But Launius’ presentation of this fact seems to imply that it lessens the significance of such a conviction, as if beliefs supported by mere faith were not to be taken seriously. That is far from the case, as the history of human civilization clearly shows. Most major advances have been made by people who had faith in what they envisioned before they were able to produce evidence; that was what made them keep working toward it. Having faith in the future, whether a personal future or that of one’s successors, has always been what inspires human action.

On what grounds can faith without evidence be justified? This issue was addressed by the 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal in what is known as Pascal’s Wager, now considered the first formal use of decision theory. Pascal was considering whether is rational to believe in God, but the principle he formulated has been applied to many other questions. In his words, “Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.” If on the other hand, you bet on it being false and it turns out to be true, you lose everything; thus to do so would be stupid if the stakes are high.

(6) NEXT AT KGB. “Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series” hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Karen Neuler and Genevieve Valentine on July 19 at the KGB Bar. The event starts at 7 p.m.

Karen Heuler

Karen Heuler’s stories have appeared in over 100 literary and speculative magazines and anthologies, from Conjunctions to Clarkesworld to Weird Tales, as well as a number of Best Of anthologies. She has received an O. Henry award, been a finalist for the Iowa short fiction award, the Bellwether award, the Shirley Jackson award for short fiction (twice), and a bunch of other near-misses. She has published four novels and three story collections, and this month Aqueduct Press released her novella, In Search of Lost Time, about a woman who can steal time.

Genevieve Valentine

Genevieve Valentine is an author and critic. Her most recent book is the near-future spy novel ICON; her short fiction has appeared in over a dozen Best of the Year anthologies. Her comics work includes Catwoman for DC Comics and the Attack on Titan anthology from Kodansha. Her criticism and reviews have appeared in several venues including the AV Club, the Atlantic, and The New York Times. Please ask her about the new King Arthur movie.

(7) AMBIENT TRIBUTE TO DUNE SERIES. April Larson, a Louisiana ambient/drone/noise musician, has released a tribute album to the original Dune trilogy and the other Dune-related novels on Bandcamp.

It is titled “You Stand in a Valley Between Dunes” and the album features tracks with names such as “The Fall of Ix (Core Instability Mix),” “Lady Jessica,” and “Guild Navigator (Junction).”

April Larson is the representative of a tribe of naga located along the coast of Louisiana. She translates music into sense- data… through a collection of three interlaced brains. She continues her research in oneironautic listening and regularly delivers lectures on relevant tone-clusters to beehives and ghosts.

(8) RYAN OBIT. YouTuber Stevie Ryan (1984-2017): American comedian, actress and writer; found dead by apparent suicide on 3 July, aged 33. She appeared as a version of herself in the experimental thriller John Doe: Diary of a Serial Killer (2015, but apparently never released).

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 3, 1985 Back to the Future released, features 1981 DeLorean DMC-12.
  • July 3, 1985 — George Romero’s Day of the Dead is seen for the first time.
  • July 3, 1996 Independence Day was released.

(10) FACE IN A DUFF CROWD. Paul Weimer took this picture on his trip Down Under. I’ve interacted with Ian Mond online but I’ve never seen him before.

(11) SKIFFY AND FANTY POLL. Man, this is a hard one!

(12) BEWARE DOCTOR WHO SPOILER NEWS. You’ve been warned. Tariq Kyle, in “’Doctor Who’ season 10 finale explained: Yes, that is who you think it is” on Hypable, says that the mysterious guy in the end of the Season 10 finale of Doctor Who is in fact William Hartnell (played by David Bradley) and that Hartnell and Peter Capaldi will survive until this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, at which time Capaldi will regenerate.

Doctor Who season 10 just ended with a cliffhanger that none of us saw coming, and if you’re wondering who the mysterious new character is and where they are in the Doctor’s timeline, then check out our explanation!

Obviously, if you haven’t seen the season 10 finale of Doctor Who yet, beware of huge spoilers. If you continue on and you don’t want to be spoiled, then ¯\_(?)_/¯.

(13) CHILL FACTOR. Reason TV has put out a video called “Mark Hamill v. Autographed Memorabilia:  The Revenge of the Dark Side,” which is mostly about Bill Petrocelli of the San Francisco-based chain Book Passage and how his company will be affected by the California autograph law. The impetus for the law was Mark Hamill’s complaining about fake Hamill autographs, which caught the ear of the legislator who had the law introduced.

(14) WHAT AUNT MAY HAS TO SAY. This is not your uncle’s Aunt May: “WATCH: Marisa Tomei on making Aunt May cooler than Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

What is different is Aunt May herself. Let’s face it, Tiger: May has never been cooler than she is now, as portrayed by Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei. She’s much younger than she’s ever been portrayed in the comics or any of the previous Spider-Man feature films. The fact that the age difference between Peter and May is much less adds a new dynamic to their relationship … but, thankfully, not even a hint of sexual tension. (Hey, the actress brought it up, not me!)

SYFY WIRE talked with Tomei about how her Aunt May still worries about Peter, primarily about the fact that he doesn’t seem to have a social life. We also talked about whether May trusts Tony Stark as Peter’s mentor and what she wants to see in an Aunt May action figure.

 

(15) WHAT’S MY LINE? Meanwhile, back in the Sunday funnies: “Spider-Man and His Inker: Wrists Still Going Strong a Half-Century Later”. Joe Sinnott in his studio; several photos.

Joe Sinnott says spider webs drive him crazy, even though he has been drawing them for over 50 years for one of the world’s most famous superheroes.

“They’ve got to be so accurate, and they’ve got to be the same all the time,’’ he said. “It takes me about three days to do two pages.”

At 90, Mr. Sinnott still brings to life the action tales spun by Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man, continuing a collaboration begun in 1950 when Mr. Sinnott first went to work for Mr. Lee at what later became Marvel Comics. “Imagine having the same boss for 67 years,” Mr. Sinnott said. He added that they should be in the Guinness World Records book.

With pen and brush, he keeps Spider-Man flying over New York City, soaring from skyscraper to skyscraper, in a never-ending battle against supervillains. “It just takes time putting all those lines, and the tiny spider on Spider-Man’s chest, in such a small space,” Mr. Sinnott said.

(16) WEB REVIEW. The BBC says the new Spider-Man is “fun”.

The makers of Spider-Man: Homecoming have remembered something that the makers of almost every other recent superhero film have forgotten. They’ve remembered that if you’re going to tell a story about someone in a skin-tight costume who can throw cars around like frisbees, then it should probably be fun for all the family. That’s not to say that superhero movies can’t be used to lecture us on the international arms trade, or to examine why allies fall out and turn against each other. But sometimes they should return to their comic-book roots, and offer snazzy, buoyant entertainment for children as well as for their parents – and that’s what the latest Spider-Man film does.

Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment: “The story complains that the ‘gauche, geekily enthusiastic youngster with a pubescent squeak of a voice’ isn’t true to the comics; does anyone remember what Parker was like in the very early comics, when he was still in high school (as in the movie)?”

(17) SUNK COST. A first-class ticket to see the Titanic: “The ‘merman’ facing a Titanic mission”

Next year he will be taking dozens of paying passengers down about 12,500ft (nearly 2.4 miles or 3.8km) to the wreck of the Titanic, 370 miles south-southeast of Newfoundland.

OceanGate, the US firm behind the dives, says more people have been into space or climbed Mount Everest than have visited the Titanic’s final resting place.

The firm stresses that it is a survey expedition and not a tourist trip.

Over six weeks from next May, David will make repeated dives in a new carbon fibre submersible called Cyclops 2, designed to withstand depths of up to 4,000m.

On each trip to the bottom of the ocean, he will take three “mission specialists” – passengers who are underwriting the expedition – and a “content expert” with a good working knowledge of the wreck

The expedition doesn’t come cheap. Each one of the 54 people who have signed up for the deep dive is paying $105,129 for the privilege.

(18) LINEUP, SIGN UP, AND RE-ENLIST TODAY. The Washington Post’s Steve Hendrix asks “There are already four-hour lines at Walt Disney World’s new ‘Avatar’-themed attraction. Does Pandora live up to the hype?” And he answers that the Avatar-based “Pandora” section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a “trippy, tropical” and “an authentically immersive land that soothes even as it dazzles,” but prepared to wait four hours to get on the two rides in the section.

The Disney iteration, though, takes place generations after the miners have been driven out (hopefully with ample job-retraining for these victims of the War on Unobtanium) and the peacefully gigantic blue Na’vi of Pandora are busy restoring it to space-age splendor. That ingenious conceit allowed planners to combine dystopian ruins (the colossal exo-armor battle suit from the movie’s climax sits rusting outside the gift shop) with lush streambeds and flowering vines.

(19) SUBTRACTION BY DIVISION. Lela E. Buis, in “Does the Hugo really represent fandom?”, totes up the racial and sexual minorities among this year’s Hugo-nominated fiction authors only to find a problem with this diversity. And what is that problem?

So, what are the chances that SFF fandom as a whole would elect this ballot? Remember that taste is never random, but with equal participation I’d expect the SFF readership demographics should roughly match the ballot for a popular award. Assuming that everyone participates, of course.

What does that mean? If the right people were voting for the Hugos the list of winners would look like the Dragon Awards? Is that what this is code for?

(20) APPROPRIATION V. EXCHANGE. K. Tempest Bradford wrote a commentary NPR that declares “Cultural Appropriation Is, In Fact, Indefensible”.

…Cultural appropriation can feel hard to get a handle on, because boiling it down to a two-sentence dictionary definition does no one any favors. Writer Maisha Z. Johnson offers an excellent starting point by describing it not only as the act of an individual, but an individual working within a “power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by that dominant group.”

That’s why appropriation and exchange are two different things, Johnson says — there’s no power imbalance involved in an exchange. And when artists appropriate, they can profit from what they take, while the oppressed group gets nothing.

I teach classes and seminars alongside author and editor Nisi Shawl on Writing the Other, and the foundation of our work is that authors should create characters from many different races, cultures, class backgrounds, physical abilities, and genders, even if — especially if — these don’t match their own. We are not alone in this. You won’t find many people advising authors to only create characters similar to themselves. You will find many who say: Don’t write characters from minority or marginalized identities if you are not going to put in the hard work to do it well and avoid cultural appropriation and other harmful outcomes. These are different messages. But writers often see or hear the latter and imagine that it means the former….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for some of these stories and the fried chicken. Other story thanks goes to Rob Thornton, Dann, Steve Green, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, and Cat Eldridge. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

128 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/3/17 Hokey Tickboxes And Ancient Pixels Are No Match For A Good Filer At Your Side, Kid

  1. @lurkertype

    I’d say I probably still read more male than female authors, as do most fen, because more published works are by men, and certainly more of those who get the buzz/good reviews are by men.

    I think most people don’t really count; they just assume there’s a 50/50 split. For most people, I think there really is a 50/50 split. I’ve measured my own, of course, but I’ve watched theads on Reddit to this effect, and most people do report something like 50/50.

    However, even with EPH, if just 10% of the Hugo voters aren’t reading stories by men, then that’ll have a big impact on the nominations. Note that there’s not anything specifically wrong with this: it can happen even when people are reading what they want and nominating works they truly believe are award-worthy. Given that they have a choice of books and stories, it’s sufficient that they be reading only works written by female authors. When we get the final nomination statistics, I’ll see if I can work out how plausible that idea is.

    As for using AMAB, that’s because it’s known to be 50%. There are no useful stats on “identifies-as” yet. However, if we use that anyway, then we have 4 out of 21 male, and the odds go up to 7 in 1,000, which is still statistically significant.

    The reason to exclude the puppy nominations is that they’re not random at all. However, if we include them, we have 6 out of 24 male, and the odds are 2%, which is still statistically significant.

    As you say, the bias (mathematical bias, that is) could just be due to us living in a period when there are a lot of very strong female writers. If we exclude novels, though, we see reviewers are recommending about equal numbers of stories from male and female writers. Excluding novels gets us 15 and 2, which is 7 chances out of 1,000, and, of course, is still statistically significant. (And the AMAB issue disappears.)

    If we exclude novels AND put the pups back in, we’ve got 4 out of 18, which is probably the absolute best we can possibly do, and that’s still only 3%–which is still significant.

    I think the original formulation really is the most “honest” way to set up the problem. (In fact, even that one is generous, since it’s two-tailed and includes the probability that we might have also had just 3 women.) Regardless, there’s no way to make the bias go away. There is some cause here other than chance, most likely.

    If this is an accurate assessment, then, as people get comfortable with the idea that women are now fairly represented, they’ll feel less need to proactively read things by women vs. men and the nominations should revert to the mean. That’s what I expect to see, anyway.

  2. @Rev Bob
    Covered in the story. Parallel evolution. Cybermen are one of those things that just happen.

  3. 3) I’m also on Gab, but literally only to claim the username I’ve had on other services for close to 20 years, so that nobody on there will post horrible things with those views then being confused with my own. (Not that I mean I thought somebody would deliberately impersonate me, only that I know there are other people out there who use that handle every so often.)

    19) I cannot roll my eyes any harder. I definitely go out of my way to seek out writers who are different from me because I can (mostly) see myself anywhere. I want something new; stories I don’t already know, or even just the old stories told in a way I haven’t encountered before. How am I going to find that if I just look for reflections of myself? I’ve found that I’ve my reading has been much more interesting that way, even if what I pick up isn’t always a success or isn’t always for me.

    20) Ehhhh. I don’t hugely disagree. There is so much going on around this issue, and it is so, so messy, and we’ve been over it literally for months here (Canada), but honestly the number of people who have taken the “look, you can write about people who aren’t you, just don’t be a dick about it, and oh here are the ways, historically, in which people have been dicks about it, and in which being a dick has caused active harm to certain people/groups” to mean “you can only write about people exactly like you or you’re a racist” is now beyond counting and I’m just so sick of it going around and around and around.

  4. 19) Join Worldcon. Nominate. Vote. Then, instead of bitching, you’ll actually be contributing to the process.

    The argument is, once again, based on the false premise that the Hugo Award is somehow a “popular award” and that in the greater scheme of things, a “popular award” is better than whatever the Hugo Awards are.

    When Buis means by “all of fandom” is a mythical beast comprised of anyone who agrees with this line of thinking and no one else, though it is shielded behind a definition of somethng like “everyone who ever once watched/read/played something marginally sfnal”.

    Watching TV shows only qualifies you to vote for the short form award; reading one book qualifies you to nominate that book (if you think it worthy).

    They don’t get how seriously regular Worldcon attendees/voters take this stuff; I’d venture to guess that a good two-thirds of the regular voters (at least) spend as much time as a full time job on familiarizing themselves with potential nominees, evaluating and comparing and placing their noms and votes. They want spur of the moment, ill-informed, latest cool thing to rule the awards (first because those kinds of voters are easier to sway, second because that opens things up to a much wider base that would serve to swamp the regular voters), but they don’t want folks joining Worldcon, because that has a funny way of educating people (the “wrong” way). (True, some went, with biases intact, and then ran away and good riddance.)

    Join Worldcon. Learn about it.

  5. Personally, I thought Bradford mentioned her (and Shawl’s) workshop *once* as a way to silence the “We can’t write about anyone but ourselves according to you snowflakes” nonsense which is often the first argument that pops up on every single article about appropriation.

    And where she opened a comment thread because NPR lacks one, she has suggested, not unkindly, that anyone who wants to discuss it also read the other articles she links, which include a mass of expertise not her own.

    Seems to me that she did a whole lot to acknowledge the work her work is based on. But one link to a thing she does for a living, and she’s a shill.

  6. For illustration, take a look at JJ’s reported results (I think one of the 2016’s was supposed to be a 2015 or a 2017):

    Novels read in 2016: 102
    47 Female, 56 Male (1 was FM co-authors)
    Novellas read in 2016: 60
    27 Female, 33 Male

    2016 Novels read: 59
    34 Female, 25 Male
    2016 Novellas read: 32
    12 Female, 20 Male

    The odds that the real distribution was 50% but she got the distribution she did due to pure chance are 43%, 52%, 30%, and 22%, respectively. Across the whole set of works, it comes to 41%. Significance would be 5%, so nothing comes close.

    This is pretty much what I see when I analyze my own reading, and I think most people would see essentially the same thing: close to 50%, and the deviation from 50% isn’t significant.

    That’s why 18 female and 3 male is startling. It’s extremely statistically significant. At random, we’d only expect to see this once or twice in 1,000 years.

  7. @James Davis Nicoll

    But are they going on mere gut feeling or do they keep proper spreadsheets? Because intuition lies.

    Indeed it does. I think the usual approach is to sort your Kindle by date and then count back for 50 or 100 books. This is very susceptible to the reporting effect, of course. No one is likely to admit that “All of the last 50 books I read were written by men.” Binge reading a series can distort an individual result a lot too.

    ETA: 161 women 91 men has only 12 chances in a million of arising by chance. Was that a conscious choice?

  8. @Ingvar

    19 female, 20 male, authors read in 2016.
    56 books by female, and 42 by male.

    Of those 98 books, 10 were eligible for the novel Hugo, all with different authors, of which 5 were female, and 5 male.

    If, that is, I read the spreadsheet correctly.

    Very balanced. The most significant result is 56/42 female/male which has a 19% chance of happening at random.

  9. Of course it’s a conscious choice. I have an ocean of worthy books into which I can dip the very small cup of five reviews a week. I use all kinds of filters to get the number of candidates down to a size I can consider without suffering from paralysis of choice. Books by white dudes have the lowest priority for my site, because I know those are well covered by other venues (about 39% of US reviews are of WNB, 34% in the UK, and about 5% of US reviews are of book by POC, while in the UK the figure is about 2%).

  10. Finally, someone is willing to stand up for the under-represented white male science fiction writer. For so long we’ve suffered the occasional passing moment of discomfort when recognition was bestowed on those who are not us. Those fleeting exceptions to decades of our supremacy have been painful to endure. But we persevered.

  11. @James Davis Nicoll

    Books by white dudes have the lowest priority for my site, because I know those are well covered by other venues (about 39% of US reviews are of WNB, 34% in the UK, and about 5% of US reviews are of book by POC, while in the UK the figure is about 2%).

    That makes perfect sense.

    If you restrict your analysis to just the male/female split, do you still see the same bias in reviews from other venues?

  12. @Greg:

    I think (for me) series re-reads may skew “books by” quite dramatically. Re-reading all Dresden Files books would be a fairly rapid extra 15 books on the “male author” side, and re-reading October Daye would be ten-odd on the “female author” side of the ledger. In addition re-reads tend to be quicker than first-time reads, at least for me.

    As for my general approach, I post a little thing, elsesite, whenever I have finished reading something. Then I summarise them monthly (because that’s a good time to do crappy extrapolations to year-total) and at the end of each year, I post an annual summary, with links to the monthly summaries and various numerical data (like how off the monthly predictions were, the general trend is that the earlier months are a worse indicator for the annual total than, say, October and November, this is not really surprising).

    And for the last few years, I’ve started populating a spreadsheet with “title”, “author”, and “eligible for next year’s Hugo” (which I did for 2014, but not for 2013, which had a spreadsheet, so it was probably in 2013 I was wondering about authorial gender breakdown for 2012). That way I can iteratively refine a list of “preferred that to that” until no books swap places, in order to provide a nomination list for novels. Which allows me to see that last year, the top six authors I read were responsible for 50 of the books, leaving 48 spread over the remaining 33 authors.

    Hm, wait, does this mean I take Hugo nomination too seriously? And possibly tracking my reading?

  13. None of those is a science fiction/fantasy reviewer, although the stats are interesting. In particular, some of them have such large amounts of data that you can get sound statistics even from what look like small differences.

    Take this analysis of the New York Times Review of Books. It shows 1058 male and 871 female or 55% male. You might think that’s not significant, but with such large numbers, there are only 22 chances in a million of that big a gap arising at chance.

    That assumes the real ratio is 50%, of course. The Bureau of Labor statistics reports that only 27.4% (+/- 0.2%) of people who say their occupation is “writer” are female. That seems ridiculously low, probably because it excludes people who write but don’t earn enough to make a living from it.

  14. @James Davis Nicoll: I wish I could say that surprises me, but sadly it doesn’t. There’s a very good reason the CWILA and VIDA counts were initiated.

    My gf uses a diminutive version of her name (which is gender-neutral, while her full name is not) because she found that using it gets her more job interviews and people take her more seriously at work, especially when she’s in a traditionally male environment.

  15. @Ingvar

    Hm, wait, does this mean I take Hugo nomination too seriously? And possibly tracking my reading?

    I can’t throw the first stone. 🙂

  16. @James Davis Nicoll Just finished “There are girl cooties on my space ship,” and, yeah, that’s pretty bad. I like to think that this kind of thing becomes less common year-by-year as the older editors retire and as the younger population buys more books with a different attitude, but it’s hard to know.

    That all goes to explain why some people might choose to only (or mostly) read books created by women authors. One would assume that they’re neither better nor worse than books written by men, and hence it helps undo the preexisting bias. (No one is talking about nominating unworthy works.) In that case, success would look like a 50-50 split in nominations. I don’t think anyone’s goal was to create bias.

    So if we’re starting to see statistically significant bias in the other direction, that’s an indication that the battle has been won–in SFF, anyway. Not proof, of course–a single swallow does not a summer make–but a sign.

  17. @NickPheas

    Covered in the story. Parallel evolution. Cybermen are one of those things that just happen.

    Yeah, that was (I thought) a rather clever way to justify various origins of cybermen. It reminded me of how a character in Deepness in the Sky described the Qeng Ho as a “a niche, not a culture,” how the creatures filling the ghoul niche on Niven’s Ringworld have evolved separately in various locations on the Ring, and how Baxter has “coalescences” (human hives) arising whenever conditions allow (in his “Destiny’s Children” series.

    The Doctor mentioned Marinus in “Fall of the Doctor” – I wonder if that was a hint as to what’s going to be going on in the Christmas episode (since all the other places the Doctor mentioned were places where Cybermen appeared).

  18. “I’ve had it with these Pixel Scrolling Fen on this Pixel Scrolling File!”

    I blame @Robert Whitaker Sirignano for that one.

  19. 19) I just say I havent rated a SF story by a German 5/5 since Lord Gamma 2002. I have read maybe four since then… I don’t really like most German SF (except Clarke Dalton of course 🙂

  20. @2: a question for people watching AG: how much is it expanded from the book, and how well does the expansion work? Certainly the first season of aGoT left some things out of the first book — but AG-the-book is less of a doorstop so I’m wondering how much is padding, with the article talking about maybe making 2000+ minutes of screen time out of a ~500-page book

    @5: I don’t think Pascal would support that extension of his wager. Belief in a god, without deeds, is held in some religions to be sufficient; mere belief in a space program is meaningless, and the cost of deeds is high. Yes, I want to see us more into space — I’m old enough to remember when the US space program mattered to everyone in my school class, not just geeks like me — but the whole lifeboat idea irritates me enough to counter with “If we screw up our own habitat we have no business going elsewhere.”

    @13: sounds plausible until one finds that Reason TV is related to Reason; looks like they’ve found something to squawk about without bothering to be accurate. (Since when is a mass-market book about a sports figure “memorabilia”?) Given their orientation, I’m surprised they don’t point out that the law is an invitation to ambitious DAs to cause trouble; that would add to their narrative about stupid/venal legislators.

    @Karl-Johan Norén: I’ll take your memories since I’ve never re-read the early comics, but I don’t think I’m misrepresenting the BBC. I think it was unfair of them to treat “the comics” as a unit; Parker very clearly aged at a time when IIRC no other supers did — but the movie is specifically set at the beginning of that process.

    @Nicoll: the “cooties” link makes some broad assertions out of one episode involving a “notorious” publisher; my counter to that one datum is my right-now reading, Remnants of Trust (by Elizabeth Bonesteel, from Harper Voyager — not, in my impression, a commonly risk-taking publisher) I’d be interested in seeing some real data — including how much “hard SF”, however we’re defining it this hour, is bought by women; i.e., is hard SF so rivety (cf comments a Scroll or two back) that tilting towards male preference makes as much sense as tilting “paranormal romance” toward female preference?).

    @Greg Hullender: how is the NYT Review relevant to the Hugo spread? It has been decades since I did anything serious with statistics, but my USWAG is that they cover so little SF that their large sample size is irrelevant to determining how improbable the Hugo nominations are.

  21. For the last 2 1/2 years I’ve deliberately tried to read more books by women. Great way of getting out of a rut and trying new things. This was inspired by chat on the internet so I claim no originality. I decided not to go 100% though as there are too many male authors I enjoy. Even trying consciously I found it difficult and I felt I had read a higher percentage than I eventually managed. It has certainly influenced my Hugo nominations if only by exposing me to great writing I might otherwise have missed.

    Looking over my stats (based on books, including fiction & non fiction, and novellas) I read
    60% female authors in 2016
    67% in 2015
    33% in 2014

    I only have records of my Hugo nominations for the last 2 years but I nominated
    53% women for 2016
    66% for 2015
    Based on novel, novella, BRW and series.

    I would say this is pretty representative of what I’m reading in practice as I’ll often catch up on the whole back catalogue when I discover a new author.

  22. Just finished “Down among the sticks and bones”, the prequel of “Every heart a doorway”. The short version: Its the Roald Dahlish backstory of Jack and Jill and thats a bit of a problem, because Jack has revealed her backstory in Doorway already and this is just the fleshed-out-version of said backstory. So, there is not much room for surprises here. But its beautifully written -again! If you like Seanan Mcguires writing style (and I very much do), you will enjoy this as well. I just hope the third wayward children book will offer a bit more in terms of story. Meanwhile I will try some of her other works as well.

  23. @NickPheas: “Covered in the story. Parallel evolution. Cybermen are one of those things that just happen.”

    Except the story also takes great pains to explicitly tie these specific Cybermen to Mondas – Missy discovers that it’s a Mondas colony, and Twelve flat-out calls them “Mondasian Cybermen” when he sees them. Then the scriptwriters screw that all up by giving them armor and stompy rocket boots for the second episode, leaving no apparent room for these guys to be the original seed for the Cybermen that appear in The Tenth Planet – despite all the work that was put into making them look identical in the first episode.

    It’s a writing fail, and a rather significant one.

  24. 3) Sadly, this is a perfect underlining of why Wu’s run at the nomination will hopefully be unsuccessful. Just 15% of Americans use Twitter. Gab is largely populated by a radicalized off-shoot of less than a single percent of American twitter users. Which means, statistically alone, the number of conservatives in the district she is running in are likely in single digits. Considering the radicalization of Gab, even those half dozen people are likely to have views far far to the extreme of even the solid conservative voters in the district she wants to represent. It’s wasting time and energy on a tiny bubble in the tech world, while she’s been hugely lacking in showing her strengths outside of a handful of issues.

  25. Rev. Bob on July 4, 2017 at 12:01 pm said:

    @NickPheas: “Covered in the story. Parallel evolution. Cybermen are one of those things that just happen.”

    Except the story also takes great pains to explicitly tie these specific Cybermen to Mondas – Missy discovers that it’s a Mondas colony, and Twelve flat-out calls them “Mondasian Cybermen” when he sees them. Then the scriptwriters screw that all up by giving them armor and stompy rocket boots for the second episode, leaving no apparent room for these guys to be the original seed for the Cybermen that appear in The Tenth Planet – despite all the work that was put into making them look identical in the first episode.

    Mondas can still go down the same route as it’s colony ship though.

    I was more disappointed that we also didn’t get a reprise of the post-Mondasian, classic cybermen. I was kind of hoping we’d get the silvery boiler suit type and then the stompy metal guys as well.

  26. OK, the chords are just G, B, C, C minor and repeat:

    When you were here before
    Couldn't look you in the file
    You're just like a pixel
    Your scroll makes me cry

    You write like a Scalzi
    In a snowflake world
    I wish I'd a Hugo
    Just one fuckin' Hugo

    BUT I'M A PUUUUUP
    A DREAD MINION!
    WHAT THE HELL AM I WRITING NOW?
    I CAN'T EVEN SPELL THAT!

  27. @Chip
    Since when is a mass-market book about a sports figure “memorabilia”?
    Once it has been autographed.

    Given [Reason’s] orientation, I’m surprised they don’t point out that the law is an invitation to ambitious DAs to cause trouble; that would add to their narrative about stupid/venal legislators.

    The don’t mention DAs because the law only provides for civil penalties, not criminal ones. The danger is that someone will start suing dealers, and offering to settle for say $1000, and turn that into their livelihood. Like the people who do that for ADA settlements.

  28. I’m up to Best Short/Long Form Editor in my Hugo roundup.

    (Sorry, the titles are getting longer, as are the entries.)

    Also, had to take a break and start on Raven Stratagem. Not done yet, but damn, so far it’s better than Ninefox.

  29. @Chip Hitchcock

    @Greg Hullender: how is the NYT Review relevant to the Hugo spread? It has been decades since I did anything serious with statistics, but my USWAG is that they cover so little SF that their large sample size is irrelevant to determining how improbable the Hugo nominations are.

    You’d have to ask James Davis Nicoll. He’s the one who cited the statistics from the 2014 Vida Count. My comment had been “None of those is a science fiction/fantasy reviewer, although the stats are interesting.” I picked the New York Times Review of Books because it was one of the more interesting ones in that it had enough data to let you make meaningful statements.

    Actually, I think he linked to it to show that publishing still discriminates against women, and I agree with him; the numbers are hard to argue with, provided you assume that women are submitting at the same rate men are. (But I think that’s plausible.)

    What it doesn’t show (as you point out) is whether current attitudes in SFF are like that. This year’s Hugo Nominations suggest otherwise.

  30. Greg Hullender: For illustration, take a look at JJ’s reported results (I think one of the 2016’s was supposed to be a 2015 or a 2017):

    Novels read in 2016: 102
    47 Female, 56 Male (1 was FM co-authors)
    Novellas read in 2016: 60
    27 Female, 33 Male

    2016 Novels read: 59
    34 Female, 25 Male
    2016 Novellas read: 32
    12 Female, 20 Male

    No, the first set is Novels and Novellas published in any year, which I read between 1 Jan 2016 and 31 Dec 2016. The second set is Novels and Novellas published in 2016 and read between 1 Jan 2016 and 4 July 2017.

    Like SamJ and Ingvar, if I hit a book I enjoy by an author I haven’t read before, I tend to go read their back catalog while I’m at it, and I will sometimes do a series re-read when a new entry in the series comes out. So that can skew my stats for all books versus the current year’s books.

    I haven’t really made a conscious effort to read women authors; I read what sounds appealing from File 770 recommendations and “SFF Books Coming Out This Month” on sites like The Verge, Kirkus, Buzzfeed, and Tor.com. I suspect that other Filers’ efforts to read more books by women thus influences my choices in that way, too.

    My assessment is that what’s currently being published that’s written by women is of comparable quality to what’s being written by men. If I get the chance, I’ll go back and separate the gender stats for books I enjoyed and books I didn’t.

  31. I don’t know how common it is, but I have certainly heard from women about their publishers trying to push them from writing SF towards fantasy. (Which is slightly different from women being discouraged from writing fiction. That may be a thing as well, but I haven’t heard as much about it.)

  32. @Vicki Rosenzweig

    Greg: Why use “assigned male at birth” rather than simply “men” (as far as I know all the nominees are adults)?

    I can’t speak for Greg, but Buis specifically mentioned trans authors, so maybe that’s where this criterium came from. She also mentioned disabled authors, which apparently also qualify as being excessively diverse to SF fandom.

  33. @Chip Hitchcock: “a question for people watching AG: how much is it expanded from the book, and how well does the expansion work?”

    Quite a bit, and fairly well in my opinion. Some of the extra material is stuff that Gaiman originally wrote and then cut from the book (basically, more “Coming to America” vignettes and more about the backgrounds of the gods); some is completely original to the show (notably, a much more detailed treatment of Laura’s life prior to the start of the novel).

    Either way, I really wouldn’t call it “padding”, because the book is the kind of thing where the world-building is at least as central as the main plot; for me the effect of the show is sort of like what the book might have been if Gaiman had done it as a long comic book series like The Sandman, where digressions and backstories are easier to integrate into the serial format. It’s the kind of adaptation that can be simultaneously very loose and unusually faithful. It won’t work for everyone but I’m enjoying it a lot.

  34. @19 For the most part, I don’t care what gender the author is, and particularly for Asian authors, I sometimes don’t know. I had no idea what gender Hao Jingfang was until the Hugo results were announced, and I couldn’t remember what gender Yoon Ha Lee was until I googled it.

    Ethnicity seems to come through a bit clearer in the writing than gender does. E.g. to me the “African” perspective of Binti is much clearer than the “female” one.

    Religion is generally pretty hard for me to tell. The two exceptions this year were The Tomato Thief, where the lived everyday catholicism of the protagonist was as conspicuous as the utter absence of a religion beyond dogmatic platitudes is in An Unimaginable Light.

    Of the non-novel, non-puppy entries I’ve read so far, I can think of two works that I felt they were targeted at a rather different gender/orientation demographic than myself:

    In The Jewel and Her Lapidary, there was just too much talk of precious stones for my taste (with that title, I can hardly claim I wasn’t forewarned). I suspect that the topic might appeal to female readers more than to male ones (although, empirically, males DO crave cursed precious stones: https://www.wired.com/2017/03/curse-bahia-emerald-giant-green-rock-wreaks-havoc-ruins-lives/).

    In A Taste of Honey, I enjoyed the world building very much, but the protagonist was just too effeminate for me to identify with (Though I doubt that gay males would find him more of a role model). An unrelated irritation was that the love interest spoke Latin, not Greek.

  35. The Doctor mentioned Marinus in “Fall of the Doctor” – I wonder if that was a hint as to what’s going to be going on in the Christmas episode (since all the other places the Doctor mentioned were places where Cybermen appeared).

    The mention of Marinus is a reference to a Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, The World Shapers, in which the Cybermen were said to have evolved from the Voord. It was written by Grant Morrison and contains a talking penguin, so on the whole I recommend it.

  36. (12) I would love to see a one-off with Tom Baker as the Curator. Puttering around with the artifacts, advising UNIT, reminiscing with Kate about her father. One show, all interiors, cheap. I liked “The Five-Ish Doctors” and the short with 9 becoming War.

    Anyway, right after the shot of the First Doctor saying he’s THE Doctor (echoing Capaldi earlier), “the original”, there was a big caption what said “The Doctors will return at Christmas”. So even if you weren’t au courant with the history of the programme, that’s all a big clue that this chap is a previous Doctor.

    @Rev Bob: I’d LOVE it if the new Doctor wasn’t revealed till the episode actually aired.

    @Ingvar, JJ: thanks for the stats.

    I don’t keep track of what I read, and unless someone has a name that’s supremely obvious as to ethnicity or gender, I probably don’t notice. With purely Asian or African names, I usually have no idea what names are what gender anyway, and even British derived names can be ambiguous. If someone shows up on the ballot yclept “Chris”, what gender are they? Likely I think more writers are white than they actually are — look at the confusion here about Colson Whitehead. I only found out he was black a couple weeks ago, and some Filers only found out yesterday. So we wouldn’t have considered his ethnicity to be a factor (his book not being SF “enough” was probably it).

    @microtherion: As to whether or not an author is disabled, how the hell does anyone know that unless they see them, and often not even then? I mean, Stephen Hawking, sure, but many physical disabilities and all neuroatypical brains are completely invisible to the naked eye. Disability is the one thing that has no regard for age, gender, race, money, politics, anything. So Buis thinks writers who use wheelchairs or are on the autism spectrum are dangerously diverse? WTFF? I quite literally do not know the able-bodied or disabled status of anyone on the Hugo ballot (Except Carrie Fisher’s bipolar condition, only because she was famous). 19% of people in the US have some disability, so by her criteria, shouldn’t we have 19% disabled finalists? I bet we don’t.

    @steve davidson: Ah, being aware of problems before they happen. Makes sense. Hope you’re doing as well as possible.

    @Anne Goldsmith: That is to the best of my knowledge as well. Men are men by the time they ended up on the ballot, whether they were thought to be at birth or not.

    (20) I think “do the research, don’t be a dick” covers the difference between cultural appropriation and genuinely representing another culture. The fact that certain tender snowflakes take it to mean “So no one can write about another culture EVAR!” and stomp off in a hissy fit is a) wrong b) tiresome c) often a good indication that they personally probably shouldn’t, since nuance is too tough for them.

  37. @Peer Sylvester (re McGuire): I take it you weren’t put off by the lecturing? I’m still debating whether it works.

    @Bill: a fair point, which I probably should have remembered from the previous wave; I wasn’t thinking of trolls, which are much harder to control. Massachusetts is starting to think about how to stomp on patent trolls, after I-forget-how-many years of their malfeasance; CA would probably take even longer, since this law doesn’t affect the innovation (i.e., large-scale) economy. But there’s even more irony here, since such trolls are an example of “free” enterprise; does Reason‘s libertarianism consider them such, or think of authentication/licensing/… as unwarranted interference with the market?

    Xtifr: I don’t know how common it is, but I have certainly heard from women about their publishers trying to push them from writing SF towards fantasy. I wonder how much of that is what sells regardless of name-on-the-cover? At WFC last year, Modesitt was blunt about fantasy (at least his) selling much better than SF.

    @Eli: useful to know; maybe I’ll get the set and see it sometime. (I liked the book but tend not to watch TV.)

  38. @Anne Goldsmith

    The mention of Marinus is a reference to a Doctor Who Magazine comic strip, The World Shapers, in which the Cybermen were said to have evolved from the Voord. It was written by Grant Morrison and contains a talking penguin, so on the whole I recommend it.

    Thank you. I appreciate this info (and will keep an eye open for this story).

    Re: disabled SF authors: disability among genre authors is hardly a new thing; just to pick the couple of examples that leap to mind, Horace Gold had severe agoraphobia for many years and Arthur C. Clarke had post-polio syndrome.

  39. @lurkertype

    @microtherion: As to whether or not an author is disabled, how the hell does anyone know that unless they see them, and often not even then?

    Indeed. Not to mention the kind of research one would have to undertake to assure that an author is cis.

  40. 19) Buis is palming a card. The Hugo nominations are made, not by “SF/F fandom as a whole”, but by the subset of fandom that’s willing to shell out (at a minimum) $50 for a supporting membership to Worldcon. I keep banging on this, that there are SO MANY fans who are at best vaguely aware that Worldcon exists, who have no idea that they too could nominate and vote for the Hugos… but I digress. The fact remains that if you want a meaningful analysis of how closely the Hugo author nominations resemble the fan base, you have to look at the fan base which is actually doing the nominating. Buis is, at best, showing her complete lack of having ever taken anything resembling a statistics class. At worst, she’s being deliberately disingenuous. And that’s before you even get to the underlying assumption that nobody will ever nominate an author who doesn’t look like them. Maybe that’s how it works over in her corner of the fannish world, but not elsewhere.

    @ lurkertype: Over the last 5-10 years, I have been noticing that, with a few major exceptions, I’m being more and more inclined to buy stories written by women. I’d have to keep an actual reading log for a while to make sure that this isn’t just confirmation bias, but it feels to me like a thing that’s happening. My tastes are shifting with age, I guess.

    @ Ingvar: I got curious enough to check out the author gender balance on my LibraryThing account. It says my current entries are 58% male, 42% female. Note that this represents everything I’ve entered, and as previously mentioned I seem to be reading more by female authors these days. And I’ve got a significant stack of books that haven’t been entered yet. I wish I could get that analysis for books entered since, say, 2010 instead of the whole shebang.

    @ Steve D: I’m just surprised that she let it be known she was on there. ISTM that lurking would be more likely to produce useful intelligence.

  41. urkertype: As to whether or not an author is disabled, how the hell does anyone know that unless they see them, and often not even then?

    microtherion: Indeed. Not to mention the kind of research one would have to undertake to assure that an author is cis.

    Due to ongoing work that I do for another project in which I participate, I tend to have a pretty high knowledge of authors’ backgrounds. And I am utterly mystified as to which 2 of the 6 novel authors are disabled.

    Also the “2 trans” and “2 LGB” authors she’s counting look suspiciously like double-dipping bigotry to me. Why would you split the T from LGBT, unless your goal is to make the stats look twice as unusual?

  42. I just tallied up my reading. I am female and have known for years that I tend to read more female authors. My numbers certainly reflect that. It seems to me though, that a lot of the new, innovative, fresh stuff in current SFF is coming from women and POC, and that the voting reflects that.

    My numbers:
    All books read in 2016, including non-fiction, non-SFF fiction and SFF published prior to 2016: 26.5 male, 50.5 female
    All novellas read in 2016, including those published in previous years: 14 male, 22 female.

    2017 Hugo-eligible novels, read in 2016 or 2017: 4.5 male, 21.5 female
    2017 Hugo-eligible novellas, read in 2016 or 2017, 11 male, 10 female

    Of the 4.5 2017 Hugo-eligible novels I have read by men, 2 were by POC, namely Cixin Liu and Yoon Ha Lee. The only three white male authors that had books that were Hugo-eligible this year that I have read are Robert Jackson Bennett, Ben Aaronovitch, and Steve Miller (in combo with Sharon Lee). I will have the Craft Sequence finished by next week and will be able to add Max Gladstone to that list as well.

  43. Doctor Science: Now, there’s a school of Hugo voter thought that says HF isn’t science fiction because it’s not fiction, duh. But I’m part of the school that says ALL UR SPACE R BELONG 2 US: space flight is ALWAYS part of science fiction, even when it’s non-fiction.

    I love this so much.

    ALL YOUR SPACE DO BELONG TO US.

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