Pixel Scroll 7/25/17 J.J. Abrams Apologizes For Pixelwashing In File Trek: Into Scrollness

(1) NEW DAY JOB. Congratulations to Uncanny Magazine’s Lynne M. Thomas who has been appointed to head the Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, one of the largest repositories for rare books and manuscripts in the United States: “University of Illinois alumnus to head Rare Book and Manuscript Library”

Exactly 20 years after starting work as a graduate assistant in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Lynne M. Thomas is returning as the new head of the library.

Thomas, who earned her master’s degree in library and information sciences at the University of Illinois in 1999, has been the curator of rare books and special collections at Northern Illinois University since 2004 and the head of distinctive collections there since 2014. She’ll begin her appointment at the library and assume the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Rare Book and Manuscript Library Professorship on Sept. 1.

While working at Northern Illinois University, Thomas helped grow its holdings of the papers of contemporary sf authors.

(2) PUBLICATION OF BLACK SFF WRITERS. Fireside Magazine has issued “The 2016 #BlackSpecFic Report” (follow-up to its 2015 report):

We are considering the field both with and without the “People of Colo(u)r Destroy!” special issues of Lightspeed, Nightmare, and Fantasy Magazine, since they constitute a project that is limited to one year. Without these issues, a sample of 24 professional SF/F/H magazines yielded 31 stories by Black authors out of 1,089 total stories — that’s 2.8% — while 2.9% of 2016’s published unique authors are Black. In 2015 we found figures of 1.9% and 2.4%, respectively. While there’s no way to determine yet if these small increases are evidence of gradual long-term improvement or just normal variation — two years is too short a trajectory for that — perhaps we can find a cautious degree of optimism…..

Effects of the “People of Colo(u)r Destroy!” Issues

In spite of comprising a tiny portion of the field’s story volume, the “PoC Destroy” issues collectively contained over 20% of 2016’s stories by Black authors. They alone raise the 2016 field-wide ratio by nearly a full percentage point, from 2.8% to 3.6%. Put another way: any improvements that took place from 2015 to 2016? The “PoC Destroy” issues are responsible for about half….

Where Do We Go From Here?

Again, we think there’s reason to have a degree of optimism. Some magazines made substantive changes to their editorial staffs and marketing strategies subsequent to the 2015 report, which was released late enough last year that any resulting improvements would impact only 2017 and beyond. It’s for this reason that this 2016 follow-up is not a comparative analysis but rather should serve as a baseline for comparison in future years.

Progress isn’t always linear; not all magazines have equal resources or lead times, which is why we want to hear from editors and publishers. What are your strategies for combating low publication rates of Black authors? Please answer our survey to let us know.

Black SF/F writers: we’d like to hear your comments and suggestions for how we can improve future reports. This also goes for data collection; we’re working purely from what’s publicly available on the Internet, and we don’t want to force people to publicly self-identify in order to be counted. If you suspect your stories are not included in this count and would like them to be, just want to double check, or have any other concerns — please let us know. Our email address is BlackSpecFicReport@gmail.com; correspondence will be kept confidential.

(3) CHIPPING IN. A Scroll last month talked about one man getting chipped; now it’s an entire company workforce: “Wisconsin company Three Square Market to microchip employees”.

Three Square Market is offering to implant the tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip into workers’ hands for free – and says everyone will soon be doing it.

The rice grain-sized $300 (£230) chip will allow them to open doors, log in to computers and even purchase food.

And so far, 50 employees have signed up for the chance to become half-human, half-walking credit card.

(4) GAME OF SIMPSONS. The Verge has learned “Matt Groening is making an animated medieval adult fantasy with Netflix” called Disenchantment.

Netflix announced today that Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, will be developing a medieval animated adult fantasy called Disenchantment. It’s scheduled to begin streaming on Netflix in 2018.

The series’s protagonist is a young, “hard-drinking” princess named Bean (Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson), and her two male companions are a “feisty elf” named Elfo (Nat Faxon) and a demon named Luci (Eric Andre). While both The Simpsons and Futurama have dynamic, fleshed-out female characters, this is Groening’s first series with a clear female lead.

Rough Draft Studios, the studio that does the art for Futurama, will animate Disenchantment. From the few details Netflix is offering, it’s easy to imagine a sort of epic-fantasy version of Futurama, with the same acerbic, absurdist humor as Groening’s other shows. In the US, Netflix doesn’t have a series that fits this exact bill, though Archer may come closest. (Netflix also carries Futurama, so Disenchantment should fit in.)

(5) ROLL THE BONES. Tom Galloway sent this link with the comment, “Curiously, ‘Santa Fe, NM’ isn’t given as a location from which large bets would raise suspicions…” — “Growing Strong: Inside the Burgeoning ‘Game of Thrones’ Gambling Business”.

Increasingly, Thrones also lends itself to speculation in the financial sense of the word. As Thrones has ascended to its singular place in the splintered TV firmament, it’s not only come to be covered like the Oscars and the Super Bowl, but it’s started to support a similar secondary market of rumors and wagers. Thanks to the series’ big built-in audience, large (if shrinking) cast of characters, and uncertain endgame, Game of Thrones and gambling go together like lovestruck Lannister (or Targaryen) twins.

Some Thrones-related betting contests, like The Ringer’s Thrones Mortality Pool, are just for fun. But in recent years, a number of ostensible sportsbooks have gotten in on the action, with prominent sites such as Sportsbet, MyBookie.ag, and Pinnacle (which debuted its Thrones odds this year) trying to capture a piece of the (hot) pie. The best-known of these books is Bovada, an online gambling and casino-games site owned by a group based in Québec.

Bovada began publishing prop bets for Game of Thrones in 2015. Since the start, those bets have been the personal province of Pat Morrow, who’s been with Bovada for a decade and has served as the site’s head oddsmaker for the past four years. Technically, Morrow oversees all of the site’s wagers, but he’s much more likely to delegate work on the data-based bets that make up most of the site’s offerings. The Thrones odds come from his head alone, both because they require a personal touch and because no one else at Bovada is as qualified to apply it

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 25, 1969 – In theaters: The Valley of Gwangi, a schlockfest of cowboys vs. dinosaurs in Forbidden Valley

(7) SPACE STYLES. The Fashion Spot is telling everyone “Gucci’s Fall 2017 Campaign Is Out of This World!”

Alessandro Michele continues to raise the bar at Gucci while refusing to follow the rest of the fashion pack. His advertising campaigns for the iconic Italian fashion house are often extremely well-received by our hard-to-thrill forum members (despite a few controversies). The newly unveiled Fall 2017 campaign, captured by Glen Luchford, is on another planet — literally. Yes, Michele revisits his sci-fi concept, going all-out for the new mainline campaign — complete with dinosaurs, hovering spaceships, models channeling their inner alien and so much more.

(8) T AND SEE. Lisa Allison at Adventures In Poor Taste lists her faves: “SDCC 2017: Top 5 nerdy t-shirts”. John King Tarpinian says he’d have bought this shirt –

#2: Vampires Don’t Do Dishes

I was drawn to this one for a few reasons. It pairs a quote from What We Do in the Shadows starring Jemaine Clement with a sort of buck toothed, vampire. It’s fun, creepy and artistic. The Benday dots on the sides are a nice touch.

(9) BITER BIT. A Discovery magazine columnist showed several fee-for-publication medical journals seem to have nonexistent professional standards, in “Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting”.

A number of so-called scientific journals have accepted a Star Wars-themed spoof paper. The manuscript is an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes. I know because I wrote it….

Four journals fell for the sting. The American Journal of Medical and Biological Research (SciEP) accepted the paper, but asked for a $360 fee, which I didn’t pay. Amazingly, three other journals not only accepted but actually published the spoof. Here’s the paper from the International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access (MedCrave), Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Austin) and American Research Journal of Biosciences (ARJ) I hadn’t expected this, as all those journals charge publication fees, but I never paid them a penny.

So what did they publish? A travesty, which they should have rejected within about 5 minutes – or 2 minutes if the reviewer was familiar with Star Wars. Some highlights:

“Beyond supplying cellular energy, midichloria perform functions such as Force sensitivity…”

“Involved in ATP production is the citric acid cycle, also referred to as the Kyloren cycle after its discoverer”

“Midi-chlorians are microscopic life-forms that reside in all living cells – without the midi-chlorians, life couldn’t exist, and we’d have no knowledge of the force. Midichlorial disorders often erupt as brain diseases, such as autism.”

“midichloria DNA (mtDNRey)” and “ReyTP”

And so on. I even put the legendary Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise monologue in the paper…

…This matters because scientific publishers are companies selling a product, and the product is peer review. True, they also publish papers (electronically in the case of these journals), but if you just wanted to publish something electronically, you could do that yourself for free. Preprint archives, blogs, your own website – it’s easy to get something on the internet. Peer review is what supposedly justifies the price of publishing.

[Via Ansible Links.]

(10) PASSING THE HELMET. And in other bogus Star Wars news, Darth Vader has started a GoFundMe: “Help Me Build a Death Star!”.

The Empire is under attack. We are in urgent need of funds to construct a Death Star to crush this rebel alliance!

It had raised zero of its $900 million goal when I last checked in.

(11) SUCKING UP DATA. Speaking of world domination – Eric Persing shared this link with the comment, “This is pretty much the beginning of how the robots take over humanity…right? The vacuum maps your home, sells your home layout to the highest bidder and before you know it, the toaster is trying to kill you.” — “Roombas have been mapping your homes for years, and that data’s about to be sold to the highest bidder”.

As Reuters reports, Roomba maker iRobot is bullish on the prospect of selling what it learns about your home to whoever might want it. “There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” iRobot boss Colin Angle told Reuters.

If that sounds more than a little creepy that’s because, well, it is, but companies pushing into the smart home market would most certainly be willing to pony up the dough for the data. Products like smart speakers, security monitors, high-tech thermostats, and many other gadgets could potentially benefit from knowledge of your home’s layout, but in order for iRobot to actually sell archives of the data, it would likely need to be anonymize — that is, scrubbed of any personally identifiable information and lumped in with countless others.

(12) NOT MY FAULT. Munchkin is concerned:

(13) PUPPY RADAR. Camestros Felapton has compiled a list of authors and works being promoted for the Dragon Awards in “Time for those Dragon Projections!”

  1. The titles listed are based on what I have found trawling the web looking for people who were, to some degree or other, promoting works to be nominated for a Dragon Award. I found a lot but who knows what I missed. I did find some stuff on Facebook but it and other places are hard to search inside of. Also, maybe some authors are promoting the Dragons like crazy in forums I cna’t access or on their email lists. Who knows? So large pinches of salt please.
  2. There is though a ‘status’ column and that is even a greater testament to hubris in data collection. The higher the status the more wallop I think the promotion of the work had – either in multiple places or by venues with known impact (e.g. the Rabid slate). “Low” though also includes stuff whose promotional impact I don’t know. Some are authors I don’t know but who may have some legion of highly devoted followers ever ready to throw their bodies and email addresses at an awards website. It is NOT any kind of assessment of the quality or even the popularity of the work – so if you an author and you see ‘very low’ next to your book, don’t be disheartened.
  3. So it is all a bit pointless then? No, no. Basically the more stuff on the list that appears as Dragon Awards finalists, the more the finalists were determined by overt public campaigning on blogs – and predominately from the Rabid and Scrappy corners. The less stuff on the list making it as finalists, then the less impact that kind of campaigning had on the Dragon Awards.

(14) THE SHARKES BITE. The Clarke Award will be announced this week. The Shadow Clarke jury dashes off one more review, then begins analyzing the Sharke experience and the future of the Clarke award.

An inspector investigates the case of a disappeared man but despite his occasional dreams of solving the case, he never uncovers the truth and only succeeds in stripping away layer after layer of appearance until nothing is left. Infinite Ground is a kind of metatext in which the ostensible missing person investigation in the plot simultaneously functions to interrogate fundamental aspects of being such as identity and even existence, as though the world itself is also text. By the end of MacInnes’s novel we are no longer sure if the man, the inspector and the society they come from are still in existence or, indeed, if they ever existed at all. Among the many facets of the text is a strain of the kind of hermeneutic deconstruction that marks out my natural enemies in any literature faculty. ‘At the heart of meaning there is no meaning’ is the refrain of this theme but it often seems to coexist very comfortably with institutional power structures and academic management hierarchies. MacInnes takes this to extreme levels of quantum indeterminacy and fractal microbiology that defy any kind of systematisation, however there is still a level of destruction wrecked on everyday life in texts like this which I find uncomfortable. I am reminded of reading Paul Auster’s different, but not entirely dissimilar New York Trilogy and turning afterwards to Dashiell Hammett for an equally relentless but more grounded interrogation of social existence. MacInnes, however, had me turning to Hammett within 30 pages…

So, what did we achieve here?

If nothing else – apart from a few good jokes floating around the web about who has read which Iain Banks novels – we have demonstrated why the actual Clarke Award juries don’t make their deliberations public. Nevertheless, I do think the level of discussion and analysis we have provided has been a positive feature even when this has provoked a certain amount of pushback. There hasn’t been a hidden agenda and the motivations and various criteria used by members of the shadow jury have become reasonably clear across the process. Anyone looking at the project from the outside is in a position to weigh up the assumptions and judgements made and to criticise these for deficiencies; and, of course, a number of people have done this. I have found it interesting to read the discussion on File770 and twitter as well as on the comment boxes on the Sharke posts themselves. Some of this seems fair and some seems unfair; but that is often the way of things.

As this year’s Clarke festivities wind inexorably towards their close, I thought it would be interesting to cast an eye over the landscape ahead of us. It does the heart good to have something to look forward to, after all, and what could be more fun than making a few early advance predictions about next year’s Clarke Award?

I’m not here to discuss the more obvious entries. We all know that Kim Stanley Robinson, Cory Doctorow, Kameron Hurley and Ann Leckie have new novels out this year and everybody will be talking about them as possible contenders soon enough. As the books I’m most interested in tend to be those that hover around the edges of genre, I thought I’d do better to focus upon novels published by mainstream imprints that might otherwise be overlooked by SFF commentators. With a little over half the year gone, there will inevitably be titles I’ve overlooked, authors I’ve not come across yet. This is just a tiny sample of what next year’s Clarke jury might have to look forward to.

And as a bonus, a review of the actual Clarke shortlist from Strange Horizons. Interestingly, the reviewer has a good go at linking the 6 nominees together thematically, even though the Sharkes were of the opinion that the shortlist lacked a coherent theme…

In theme, style, and content, the 2017 Clarke Award shortlist—Emma Newman’s After Atlas, Yoon Ha Lee’s Ninefox Gambit, Tricia Sullivan’s Occupy Me, Becky Chambers’s A Closed and Common Orbit, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station—is a diverse set. However, in different ways, each of these books speaks to [Jill] Lepore’s concern about “a fiction of helplessness and hopelessness.” Perhaps, as a function of the times we are in, these books do not heed Le Guin’s call to envision alternatives to how we live. The futures—and in one case, the past—that these books offer is either dystopic or close to dystopic, in utterly recognizable ways. Many of the pregnant battles of today—for democracy, for equality, for privacy, and against universal surveillance—have in these pages been lost for good, and there is no pretence that any individual, or group of individuals, has the power to transform the world. There is little in the way of grand narrative or vaulting ambition in terms of the stories that these novels set out to tell. Far greater—and in some cases, exclusive—focus is placed on human relationships, on more mundane struggles; it is as if Marx’s utopianism of overthrowing centralized power has been replaced by Foucault’s bleaker understanding of power’s ubiquity, and the dispiriting realization that the struggle is limited to daily, quotidian acts. Above all, there is—almost—a palpable mistrust of any radical re-imagination of the ways in which society might be organised.

(15) CARRIE VAUGHN. Lightspeed poses questions to the author in “Interview: Carrie Vaughn”.

You explored Enid’s world in your Hugo-nominated short story “Amaryllis,” which, contrary to most post-apocalyptic stories, has a positive ending. What made you want to explore the dark side of this world at novel length in Bannerless?

It’s a multifaceted culture with both good and bad to it, and Enid is in a unique position to see both. I went into the story assuming that a culture built up like this one is, with a huge amount of scrutiny to go along with the community building, is going to have some unintended consequences, such as the bullying of outsiders.

(16) CONNECTIONS. Matt Mitrovich reviews Nick Woods’ Azanian Bridges for Amazing Stories.

Azanian Bridges is a well-written novels that tackles a difficult period of South African history that, in the grand scheme of things, only recently ended. I read it shortly after I finished Underground Airlines and found myself comparing the two novels. Both deal with de jure racial inequality in two different countries continuing long after it ended in our timeline. To be honest, I felt Underground Airlines had a bigger impact on me since I am an American and have a better understanding of my own country’s past, but if you have any knowledge of South African history, there is enough about this world that Nick created for you to enjoy.

And yet the actual history plays a secondary role to the primary purpose of Azanian Bridges: that we can have peace if we can bridge the divide between peoples.

(17) COSPLAY AT COMIC-CON. ScienceFiction.com shares stunning photos in “SDCC 2017: Cosplay Gallery Part 1”.

(18) ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY EVICT THE SUPERNATURAL. Todd Allen continues The Mister Lewis Incidents  — a monthly short form satirical horror detective / urban fantasy series featuring the adventures of a “physics consultant” who consults on matters that defy the laws of physics. The fourth one is out commercially and the fifth one is in the hands of the crowdfunding folks.

The Gentrified Bodega Investigates the Secrets of a Shady Landlord

Wherever rents are rapidly rising, and especially where there’s rent control, there’s always a problem with landlords stepping outside the law to evict renters.  But what happens when there’s something in the building that isn’t human and isn’t ready to leave?

About The Gentrified Bodega

“The neighborhood was improving and people were dying to move in. Then their bodies were turning up in the back aisle of the bodega. The building wove a web of shady evictions, fake leases and unexplainable deaths. Can Mister Lewis discover the secret of the gentrified bodega or will the housing crisis be solved by mass attrition?”

The Gentrified Bodega is available on Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook and Kobo or direct from the publisher.

(19) ALL WET. Aquaman Movie 2018 Teaser Trailer.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge,JJ, Todd Allen, Carl Slaughter, DMS, and Mark-kitteh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day JJ.]

68 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/25/17 J.J. Abrams Apologizes For Pixelwashing In File Trek: Into Scrollness

  1. Pixel Scroll 7/25/17 J.J. Abrams Apologizes For Pixelwashing In File Trek: Into Scrollness

    *snort*

  2. Great title, JJ 🙂

    3) Yeah, unless I was truly out of employment options, I would not allow an employer to chip me.

    1) I’m so happy for Lynne and her new opportunity.

  3. 11) Daniel Boone Davis has a lot to answer for. Flexible Frank will access your e-reader and delete any subversive content, then let the Security Police in during the night to take you away for some therapy.

  4. 3) I’m wondering what’s the advantage to the employer in encouraging this, it’s got to be a lot more expensive than badges. I suppose you can be sure on one has given their badge to a coworker to sign them in?

  5. Fifth + 1 = 1 1/5

    13) In the fine print.

    Dragon Awards “Sweepstakes” Official Rules

    PRIVACY POLICY:

    Personal information collected by DRAGON CON during the administration of this Award may be used by DRAGON CON to contact Entrants regarding DRAGON CON’s products or services, for its marketing purposes, in conjunction with executing the terms of this Sweepstakes.

    Huh? For some reason, the Dragon Award transitions from an award into a sweepstakes within the fine print of the award’s official rules.

    Wikipedia states:
    “A sweepstake is a type of contest where a prize or prizes may be awarded to a winner or winners.”

    “By definition, the winner is determined by luck rather than skill.”

    I know its a new award, still in its infancy, and a work in progress,
    but ………………….

  6. bookworm1398 on July 25, 2017 at 7:42 pm said:
    That, and the chips are much less likely to get lost, or left at home, or in another coat/purse. (Where I worked, you’d have to talk to security, get a temporary badge – it had a giant letter T where the photo would go – and everyone would know that you had left yours elsewhere.)
    Sometimes badges break, or quit working. I’ve had those happen to me.

  7. Sean Kirk: Dragon Awards “Sweepstakes” Official Rules… Huh?

    Yeah, the half-assed nature of the Dragon Awards setup was discussed here last year:
    • the original eligibility period was from April 1, 2015 to July 25, 2016 (no doubt intended to ensure that selected Puppy works would all be eligible, but later amended to July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 without giving nominators a chance to go back and replace ineligible works) but listed as “between 1/1/2015 and 2/1/2016” and “between 1/1/2015 and 3/1/2016” on some of the individual categories;
    • the awards website was a completely different website and not hooked up to the DragonCon website’s CSS and menus;
    • the “rules” are boilerplate sweepstakes rules copied and pasted from somewhere and identical to sweepstakes sites all over the internet but not really applicable to an awards program;
    • poorly defined categories;
    • the ability for one person to freep the results using dozens or hundreds of different free e-mail accounts;
    • the clause allowing the award managers to throw out any votes they didn’t like for any reason;
    • virtually no promotion done except among Puppies, including none to the actual paid members of DragonCon;
    none of the Finalists ever officially notified by DragonCon (a lot of them found out on social media and some didn’t even find out at all until after the awards were handed out);
    • almost none of the winners at the con to accept their awards;
    • the claim that nomination and voting totals would be released afterward but never were;
    • and the award description verbiage which was identical to the crap the Puppies were spouting about the Hugos…

    … all of which made me quite certain that some Puppies had talked DragonCon into letting them run an awards program on their behalf. (And unfortunately for DragonCon, they did a right botch of it, too.)

    I’m hoping that DragonCon became aware enough of the reputational damage that they took the awards over from whoever was managing it last year.

    But they’re stuck with that bizarre eligibility period now, which really makes it difficult for nominators to know what is and is not eligible.

  8. @9: sounds like Atlanta Nights redux, on organizations that aren’t quite so obviously sleazy; well done, that person.

    @10: that’s far too modest a goal for something the size of a Death Star….

    @P J Evans: at my last job, people were supposed to wear badges so other people could know who was safe to talk to (since we sometimes had customer data on-site to analyze why it broke our software, and shared a cafeteria with other companies); chips without widespread readers wouldn’t answer this. (OTOH, who’s to say widespread readers combined with motion detectors couldn’t exist? I’m thinking of an updated version of the underground’s security system in The Analog Men (mostly known as Hell’s Pavement).) However, you’re entirely right about the more plausible nuisances of badges; I’ll add that waving a hand past a reader when you’re hurrying or heavily-loaded is easier than moving a badge to the reader from wherever it is.

  9. (3) No. No way. My SJW credentials have ’em, but not me. Stealing their identity is going to get you nothing but the occasional Cone of Shame. And you’ll be ID’d as having no reproductive organs.

    (4) If it’s as good as “Futurama”, I’m in.

    (9) Hee.

    (11) Okay! Gonna keep cleaning my floors with Swiffer and Dyson!

    @Sean Kirk: Yeah, last year they wholesale lifted the rules from boilerplate sweepstakes rules, and nobody’s bothered to fix it in over a year.
    @JJ has nicely summarized what a fustercluck the awards are. Apparently they were run by some guy named Dave who’s a friend of Original Puppy Larry.

  10. @JJ Dragon Awards “Sweepstakes” Official Rules… Huh?

    “Yeah, the half-assed nature of the Dragon Awards setup was discussed here last year:”

    I do vaguely remember those discussions from last, but either the sweepstakes aspects of the awards flew right over my head or I just choose to forget that detail.

    Regardless seeing the word “Sweepstakes” in the Dragon Award Official Rules, earlier today invoked an image in my head of Ed McMahon’s ghost being present at Dragon Con this year to present the awards.

    “… all of which made me quite certain that some Puppies had talked DragonCon into letting them run an awards program on their behalf. (And unfortunately for DragonCon, they did a right botch of it, too.)”

    I do not doubt that someone made a programing suggestion or had a conversation with member from the concom. From my past experience’s attending Dargon Con, I do know that they have a general survey / suggestion card available with questions like, What would like to see in future at Dragon Con? How can we make Dragon Con an even more fun experience next year? I got the sense that if a programing suggestion had enough requests, was within the convention’s wheelhouse, and had the potential benefit of somehow being monetized at a later future date, that they would at least give it a try, make a small investment, and see what the results were. But somewhere down the line they are going to be looking for some type of positive results from these awards. Whether that comes in the form of increased attendance by fans and or authors, or in the form of acquiring some publicity and added prestige for the convention, only they could answer that question. But I am pretty sure that if they do not get the desired results that they are looking for, within say 2 to 5 years, that they will probably just scrap the program and the award all together and move onto the next potential money making idea / program event.

    I along with my better half will be attending the convention this year. This will be the first time that I will have attended the convention since they created this award. I am interested in attending the ceremony, mostly out of idle curiosity, as well as getting the chance to rubber neck the room and the ceremonies participants. If I get the opportunity I will try and ask whoever appears to be in charge of the ceremonies about voting data, and whether or not it is available. But I am not going to hold my breathe though.

    The Literary Track for the convention this year has a grat lineup of attending professional authors.

    The headliners are:

    Kevin J. Anderson
    Carole E. Barrowman
    Jim Butcher
    Peter David
    Laurell K Hamilton
    Sherrilyn Kenyon
    Katherine Kurtz
    Stan Lee
    Jonathan Maberry
    Todd McCaffrey
    Rebecca Moesta
    Larry Niven
    Jody Lynn Nye
    Christopher Paolini
    Mike Resnick
    John Ringo
    Robert J. Sawyer
    William Shatner
    Michael A. Stackpole
    S.M. Stirling
    Janny Wurts
    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
    Jane Yolen
    Timothy Zahn

  11. “this Sweepstakes” isn’t even good grammar but at least they finally fixed the link to the rules – which was a dead link for most of the nominating period.

  12. who’s to say widespread readers combined with motion detectors couldn’t exist?

    At one job we had “active badges” that talked to sensors through the building. Information was gathered by a server named “soulcatcher” that could show you a map of the building with everyones location down to a few feet. The system was developed by a research lab run by the parent company so we got to try it out. As well as the standard access features it could in theory divert your phone to the nearest extension when you were away from your desk and do other fun location based things.

    Chewed through batteries though, you needed to put the badge face down somewhere when you weren’t using it to put it in sleep mode, so unless they needed it for a door people wouldn’t carry it. Finally got canned after one of many reorganisations when the new managers case of “not invented here” syndrome had a major outbreak.

  13. If the organisers of the Dragon Award were listening to me (and they’re not) I’d say that there are too many complications in their scheme. They have the multi-categories, the rule against nominating a book in both “best” and a sub-category, and the odd eligibility period. The eligibility period in particular is a pain – checking the canonical US release month of a book isn’t great fun.
    As the multi-categories are their USP they should ditch the odd eligibility period and instead embrace the benefits of the calendar year. As per Sean’s post, their books track is prestigious enough that nominees would probably be tempted to add it to their calendar if they know far enough in advance. They should take advantage and announce really early – take First! in the awards calendar, get some buzz, show they’ll have an awards ceremony with interesting authors attending…etc etc.

  14. (3) No thanks, for reasons already discussed plus the added bonus of not trusting the motives of the employer for doing it.

    As the multi-categories are their USP they should ditch the odd eligibility period and instead embrace the benefits of the calendar year.

    I know your game Shuos Mark – you want to jump them back to the High Calendar so our Exotic Effects will work against the Pupn.

  15. “The Pixelship of the Scroll”, probably featuring characters like Gandalf the 0x909090 (eventually Gandalf the 0xffffff).

    I woudl hesitantly say that complicated nomination and election rules is NOT a requirement for a prestigious and well-recognised award.

  16. (2) Thanks for including the important contact bits of the report, Mike!

    I really hope most of the field’s editors respond to that survey. It’ll be publicly anonymized — the point of it isn’t to rank magazines (which wouldn’t be particularly meaningful, as magazines have vastly differing resources), but rather to compare strategies to results so we can maybe figure out what actually works.

    If such a thing is possible, I want that information before I start a similar project for SF/F novel publishers.

  17. I’m the badge encoder/provider for my office, and I have learned to recognize the face as people come up to reception to get a temp badge for the day. It is a sort of shamed smile.

    Funny story: One fellow employee had to get a new badge, because his dog ate the old one. He brought the gnawed badge in as proof. I did believe him, of course, because no adult would say “The dog ate my badge” unless the dog *really* ate the badge. I keep the gnawed badge in a drawer, and the dog is fine.

    The chipping isn’t a great idea, because what do you do when someone gets fired? Just deactivate the chip and the person keeps it in their hand? Ew.

  18. Beth in MA: The chipping isn’t a great idea, because what do you do when someone gets fired? Just deactivate the chip and the person keeps it in their hand? Ew.

    Not to mention the immense potential for liability if the person’s injection site gets infected, or if they suffer some sort of other medical complication as a result of the injection process or the implant. And implanted chips can migrate. The one in the scruff of my cat’s neck, after 10 years, ended up in his flank.

  19. @JJ Sadly, I think this Neo-Lochner society in America would get around that with contracts and waivers of liability. “You were free not to take the job, its on you what happens”

  20. Paul Weimer: Sadly, I think this Neo-Lochner society in America would get around that with contracts and waivers of liability.

    For requiring what amounts to physical mutilation in order to retain one’s job? O ye of little faith. This is America: Land of the Free, and Home of the Tort. 😉

  21. The one in the scruff of my cat’s neck, after 10 years, ended up in his flank.

    Alastair Reynolds’ “Slow Bullets”?

    P.S.

    “Your Pixeled Pal who’s Fun to Scroll With”

  22. If the chips are similar to the ones the geek+body mod community has been using, they’re reprogrammable, so someone leaving the job shouldn’t be a major problem (although it could make for an extra awkward firing if the company doesn’t plan ahead). I know Zoe Quinn was going around using hers to give out free game codes and things for awhile.

    I think they’re quite neat as a just-for-fun thing, though I’m not sure about it as a work thing. I’m a bit surprised, though, because last I checked that kind of body modification was still in legally awkward territory. I wouldn’t have thought a business would want to take on that kind of liability.

  23. @Oneiros

    Shhh, they don’t realise that the effects of EPH depend on getting higher-order mathematics into the calendar!

  24. 3) Hell. No.

    @Antony: that sounds like the creepiest damn thing ever. Do not want.

    A friend of mine, Adam Greenfield, just published a book called Radical Technologies that takes a look at a lot of exciting/fun cutting edge technologies from the perspective of their social impact and how they’ve been playing out in the real world versus their blue sky hype. Absolutely fascinating in many ways, but I wouldn’t trust an employer with any of them as far as I could spit. There is a great discussion in the book about how some technologies have been playing out in the service industry; for instance there are companies (and I can’t remember which ones and the book isn’t to hand right now) experimenting with facial recognition software to determine (and therefore dictate) how often their frontline customer service reps smile, how big that smile is, and so on.

    *Anything* that allows my employer to track what I do beyond “did I get my work done on deadline and are the stakeholders I answer to happy with my performance” gets flipped the bird with both hands.

  25. I imagine there’s a whole bit about how the rise of cell phones led to an increase of hourly employees getting an “on-call” schedule rather than an actual schedule, where an employer can be all, “I need you to be reachable and ready to come to work at a moment’s notice on Saturday, but I’m not going to pay you for anything but the hours you actually work, if you do.”

  26. Decima’s goons in Person of Interest used implanted chips for security, Shaw steals one with a combat knife and re-implants it.

  27. (19) That is a fan trailer, not a real one, thank goodness. It’s not *bad*, but I would have been stunned if the studio had released something that has as much footage from the Justice League movie in it as that one does.

  28. @Marshall Ryan Maresca: Lots of things like that; a big portion of the book is devoted to cell phones. I’m quite lucky I live in a place where things like that are illegal, except in certain well-defined situations. Which is not to say that employers don’t pull that stuff all the time and just bank on their employees not knowing their rights.

    Edit: actually, if anyone’s interested, the Guardian posted an excerpt a while back.

  29. Having seen all the major networks covering the employee chip on their morning shows, I can tell you that the chips can be removed if someone quits or is fired. They compared it to removing a splinter.

    I still remember one of the TV evangelists (probably Jack Van Impe) used to sell DVDs of the end times and one of the elements was governments implanting chips into their citizens. You’d think something like this would get a lot of pushback from religious conservatives as well as EFF liberals.

  30. Mark-kitteh: Shhh, they don’t realise that the effects of EPH depend on getting higher-order mathematics into the calendar!

    If only “calendrical rot” had been a well-known term when slating started two years ago….!

  31. I still remember one of the TV evangelists (probably Jack Van Impe) used to sell DVDs of the end times and one of the elements was governments implanting chips into their citizens. You’d think something like this would get a lot of pushback from religious conservatives as well as EFF liberals.

    I’ve been seeing liberal pushback, but I don’t see this getting religious conservative pushback because it isn’t the state doing it, it’s private enterprise, therefore it will be seen as protecting the rights of the business owner and not infringing on the freedoms of the worker.

  32. Jack Lint on July 26, 2017 at 8:09 am said:
    Having seen all the major networks covering the employee chip on their morning shows, I can tell you that the chips can be removed if someone quits or is fired. They compared it to removing a splinter.

    A very, very deep splinter, with nothing sticking out to grab…

  33. Chip Hitchcock on July 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm said:
    I worked at one place where the badges were color-coded by security classification. (Red for confidential, blue for secret, and there were two or three people with gold badges for top secret.)

  34. I don’t see reprogramming the chips should be an issue; I’ve assumed that (like the badges I’m familiar with) the chips are individual (just like SJW chips), so the system is told not to recognize the chip of a departed-for-whatever-reason employee.

    @Marshall Ryan Maresca: the late DEC used to pay people to carry beepers on weekends — not a lot, but simply being available was reimbursed (and being called in was well-paid). Differing policies owe less to cell phones and more to MBAs trying to squeeze more out of people who can’t resist.

  35. As of this morning I have only one fannish credential, who is currently wondering the house very perplexed at the absence of the other credential. This half credentialed fan has spent the day trying to get drunk and having horrible guilty dreams.

    Despite a lifetime of cat companionship this is the first time I have had to take the decision to end a pet’s suffering, and I am uncomfortably aware that nobody can ever know if the decision or the moment was right. I do not recommend it as an experience. At all.

  36. Anna Feruglio: I’m sorry you’ve had to make such a painful decision — that would have been very hard.

  37. Anna, sincere and profound sympathies. It’s a hellish decision. Been there, done that, got the nightmares. And yet still, I think, more merciful than letting them suffer.

    <hugs> if welcome.

  38. Anna Feruglio: Yes, that’s an awful decision to have had to make. Much sympathy from me and my own credentials.

  39. My condolences, Anna. I hope that your memories, and your other credential, will be a comfort to you. ❤

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