Pixel Scroll 8/11/17 “Scrollpathy for the Pixel” By The Scrolling Stones

(1) RECORD LONGEVITY. Who knew?

Or as Paul Mackintosh says at Teleread: “Hugo Awards get their own award – from the Guinness Book of World Records”.

In the course of Worldcon 75, the organizers have just announced that “the Hugo Awards have been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running science fiction award.”

(2) HUGO VOTING STATISTICS. If you haven’t already seen them, here’s where you can download the reports.

(3)  IT CAUSES ME TO TINGLE. Chuck knew it all along. And had a book ready to go.

(4) BONUS WOMBAT COVERAGE. She dared to enter the Hugo Losers Party.

(5) HUGO VOTING ELIGIBILITY CHANGE. Something else passed at the business meeting —

(6) WORLDCON 75 DAILY NEWZINE. The Worldcon daily zine reports there were 4,759 visitors on Day 1. Who knows what other tidbits you’ll find in the issues linked here?

(7) ANOTHER BRILLIANT OBSERVATION. From a W75 panel:

Er, were we really that reluctant we were to being saved by heroes played by William Shatner and Lorne Greene?

(8) THE WATCHER. Jo Lindsay Walton shares sightings of “Power Couples of WorldCon: A Field Guide”.

Malcolm Devlin and Helen Marshall. Travellers to antique lands frequently flock to Shelley’s two vast and trunkless legs of stone. But why not squint up with the locals into the desert firmament azure, where hover two vast and trunkless arms of flame, Helen and Malcolm?

(9) CYCLIC HISTORY. Ah yes. Those who don’t know the lessons of fanhistory are doomed to repeat them. As are those who do know them.

(10) WIZARDLY INTERIOR DÉCOR. The Evening Standard knows where to find it: “Primark works its magic with a new Harry Potter collection”.

Witches and wizards the world over will rejoice this week at the news that Primark has announced it will be introducing a Harry Potter range to its stores in honour of the famous book series’ 20th anniversary.

The high street retailer, which is famed for its bargains, has created an official range of clothing, stationery and home accessories in line with the wizarding theme which will be available in shops from next week.

Fans of the fantasy world will be able to pick up everything from potion shaped fairy lights (£8) to cauldron mugs (£6) with some items costing as little as £2.

The wait will finally be over for those after their Hogwarts acceptance letter too, which can be bought on a cushion for £4 and whether you’re a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, you’ll be able to pick up a pair of pyjamas in your house colours for just £6.

(11) BANK WITH THE BARD. Here’s what the world has been waiting for: “Batman 1966 Shakespeare Bust Bank”.

To the Batpoles! This awesome 20? tall replica of the Shakespeare bust from the 1966 Batman TV series doubles as a coin bank. Like the prop, the coin slot (along with the customary dial and button) is hidden inside the bust’s neck. See it unboxed on video here.

(12) WALKING DEAD CREATOR ANKLES TO AMAZON. From io9: “Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman Leaving AMC, Signs New TV Deal With Amazon”.

The Walking Dead has been a big money-making success at AMC, pulling in an impressive amount of viewers for the network. But Skybound—the entertainment company founded by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman—just announced that Amazon will be the home of all their new TV content moving forward.

(13) COMIC SECTION. Chip Hitchcock found more on autonomous cars in Arctic Circle.

(14) THE TRUE SIGN OF QUALITY. Camestros Felapton (or was it Timothy?) put his marketing and design skills to the test.

(15) NUCLEAR FREE ZONE. The South China Morning Post makes an appeal: “If Trump must start a nuclear war, at least let us finish Game of Thrones first”.

I’m not worried about American lives above everyone else’s – hopefully nobody has to die because of two unhinged custodians of nuclear power taking brinkmanship too far – but there is one American who must be kept safe, no matter what.

I’m talking about George R. R. Martin, the author of the epic fantasy book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, better known to most people as Game of Thrones, the HBO hit series that is, hands down, the best show on TV these days.

… But if you’ve read the books, you’ll agree that the TV show is not a patch on Martin’s writing and sheer storytelling genius. He makes The Lord of the Rings look like a slow ride to grandma’s cottage. George R.R. Martin is J. R.R. Tolkien on steroids, and then some.

(16) LOST LIGHT. Electric Lit talks to someone who has seen Octavia Butler’s papers at the Huntington: “Now More than Ever, We Wish We Had These Lost Octavia Butler Novels”

In 2006, Butler died of a stroke outside her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington. Her many papers now reside at the Huntington, a private library in San Marino, California. Curator Natalie Russell describes the collection as including “8,000 manuscripts, letters and photographs and an additional 80 boxes of ephemera.”

On display there now are numerous treasures, including working manuscript pages from The Parable of the Sower covered in her brightly colored notes: “More Sharing; More Sickness; More Death; More Racism; More Hispanics; More High Tech.”

There are the beautiful, bold affirmations that recently went viral online, which she wrote to frame her motives for writing: “Tell Stories Filled With Facts. Make People Touch and Taste and KNOW. Make People FEEL! FEEL! FEEL!” On one page of her journals she visualized the success that she desired: “I am a Bestselling Writer. I write Bestselling Books And Excellent Short Stories. Both Books and Short Stories win prizes and awards.”

But what is not on public view are the drafts?—?the things she had hoped to write someday and never did, including The Parable of the Trickster.

Scholar Gerry Canavan described getting a look at that work-in-progress for the LA Review of Books in 2014:

Last December I had the improbable privilege to be the very first scholar to open the boxes at the Huntington that contain what Butler had written of Trickster before her death. What I found were dozens upon dozens of false starts for the novel, some petering out after twenty or thirty pages, others after just two or three; this cycle of narrative failure is recorded over hundreds of pages of discarded drafts. Frustrated by writer’s block, frustrated by blood pressure medication that she felt inhibited her creativity and vitality, and frustrated by the sense that she had no story for Trickster, only a “situation,” Butler started and stopped the novel over and over again from 1989 until her death, never getting far from the beginning.

The novel’s many abandoned openings revolve around another woman, Imara, living on an Earthseed colony in the future on a planet called “Bow,” far from Earth. It is not the heaven that was hoped for, but “gray, dank, and utterly miserable.” The people of Bow cannot return to Earth and are immeasurably homesick. Butler wrote in a note, “Think of our homesickness as a phantom-limb pain?—?a somehow neurologically incomplete amputation. Think of problems with the new world as graft-versus-host disease?—?a mutual attempt at rejection.”

(17) NEVERTHELESS. Mindy Klasky has put together an anthology by Book View Café authors, “Nevertheless, She Persisted”. It has released in July Here’s the table of contents.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Those were the words of Mitch McConnell after he banned Senator Elizabeth Warren from speaking on the floor of the United States Senate. In reaction to the bitter partisanship in Trump’s United States of America, nineteen Book View Café authors celebrate women who persist through tales of triumph—in the past, present, future, and other worlds.

From the halls of Ancient Greece to the vast space between stars, each story illustrates tenacity as women overcome challenges—from society, from beloved family and friends, and even from their own fears. These strong heroines explore the humor and tragedy of persistence in stories that range from romance to historical fiction, from fantasy to science fiction.

From tale to tale, every woman stands firm: a light against the darkness.

Table of Contents:

  • “Daughter of Necessity” by Marie Brennan
  • “Sisters” by Leah Cutter
  • “Unmasking the Ancient Light” by Deborah J. Ross
  • “Alea Iacta Est” by Marissa Doyle
  • “How Best to Serve” from A Call to Arms by P.G. Nagle
  • “After Eden” by Gillian Polack
  • “Reset” by Sara Stamey
  • “A Very, Wary Christmas” by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
  • “Making Love” by Brenda Clough
  • “Den of Iniquity” by Irene Radford
  • “Digger Lady” by Amy Sterling Casil
  • “Tumbling Blocks” by Mindy Klasky
  • “The Purge” by Jennifer Stevenson
  • “If It Ain’t Broke” by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
  • “Chataqua” by Nancy Jane Moore
  • “Bearing Shadows” by Dave Smeds
  • “In Search of Laria” by Doranna Durgin
  • “Tax Season” by Judith Tarr
  • “Little Faces” by Vonda N. McIntyre

(18) RECOMMENDED TO PRODUCERS. Observation Deck tells “Why Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Should Be the Next Game of Thrones”

Fritz Leiber, a science fiction and fantasy author, wrote a story in 1939 called “Two Sought Adventure” starring Fafhrd, a large barbarian from the frozen North, and the Gray Mouser, a taciturn thief. Soon, Leiber realized he could use these characters to not only poke fun at the Conan the Barbarian-type stories that pervaded fantasy magazines, but to also construct his own fantasy world and deconstruct a various number of characters and tropes.

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser sold their services to anyone with the right coin — more importantly, Mouser was a former member of the Thieves’ Guild and would often go up against his former employers. But they also went on adventures due to bets or because they wanted to have a bit of fun. Sometimes they got into trouble because of drink or because of women — they were often subject to the Cartwright Curse, where their love interests ended up dead by the end of the story. However, later stories gave both of them long-term girlfriends, even if one of them was, uh, a big unconventional.*

* One of Mouser’s girlfriends was Kreeshka, a ghoul, whose skin and organs are all invisible. Which means she looks like an animated skeleton. Whatever you do, don’t think about their sex life.

(19) BUGS, ZILLIONS OF ‘EM.  Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars trailer #3:

(20) SHOOTING AND BLOWING UP. Kingsman 2 trailer #3 TV spot.

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Lee Whiteside, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

109 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/11/17 “Scrollpathy for the Pixel” By The Scrolling Stones

  1. In short, I’m pretty sure the reputation of the Hugos will be largely unaffected by the occasional presence of a Hiscox on the ballot.

    I think that’s the wrong attitude. Media accounts of this year’s Hugo ballot typically made a point of mentioning Stix Hiscock and the name of the book, and there were also some stories like this one:

    Meet the Hugo-Nominated Author of Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By the T-Rex.

    That makes a joke out of the Hugos, and it is on the 2017 Hugo ballot forever.

    There’s also the use of the Hugos to spread a message like this one from the Moira Greyland essay: “Gay ‘marriage’ is nothing but a way to make children over in the image of their ‘parents’ and in ten to thirty years, the survivors will speak out.” Anti-gay hate from a site called Ask the Bigot is a Hugo finalist.

    Because we rejected 3SV, Theodore Beale can get any libel he wants on the Hugo ballot, where it will be forever associated with that year. The title will be read aloud during the ceremony and the work distributed in the Hugo packet for an audience of thousands.

    I don’t understand how anyone who values the Hugos could be comfortable with that. The WorldCon community seems to be content letting griefers have a permanent place on the ballot. I’m not, so I find myself wondering whether my time and attention would be better spent on the Nebulas and other awards that protect themselves and the integrity of their ballot from this kind of abuse.

  2. Most of the mainstream media coverage is about the winners. And yes, the fact that a troll entry can get on the ballot may occasionally get mentioned, but most people know what a troll is. Most people have, in fact, seen trolling in action in other places. And I have yet to see a story mentioning troll entries that doesn’t also mention that they end up below Noah.

    But again, most mainstream coverage is about the winners.

    I’m not saying the situation is ideal. But I don’t see how 3SV would have helped, since people would simply have switched their attention to the longlist, which would have all those troll entries we want to hide.

    The UK had a guy in bizarre cosplay standing on stage next to the PM during their elections. The US had a guy called “Deez Nutz” poll well enough to be listed alongside the more serious candidates on news reports. People know that things like this happen if you let the public get involved in decision-making. Especially with the Internet around to help the trolls co-ordinate their activities.

    We’re not operating in a vacuum here. The rest of the world is dealing with trolling too. They’re familiar with the concept.

    I’m not comfortable with the situation. But I also don’t believe this is going to ruin the reputation of the Hugos. Especially after the results at Sasquan (which are almost always mentioned in what little media coverage the trolling does get.) This crap is below most people’s radars, and pretty understandable if they do notice. I think we’ve weathered the storm pretty well.

  3. Most of the mainstream media coverage is about the winners.

    None of the coverage is about the winners until August. For four months from the release of the ballot in early April through close of voting in mid-July, all the attention the Hugos receive is about the finalists.

    I don’t think “ignore the troll” is a good approach. We see many disheartening examples in this world of how much damage they are doing (such as the white supremacists in Charlottesville). If we keep letting Theodore Beale have one nominee per category, the Hugos will fade in importance and it will be our fault for letting it happen.

    Next year Beale could slate a Best Related Work whose title is a vile libel against a prominent pro or fan. This title will be read aloud at the ceremony after four months in which the work was publicized by the Hugo Awards and distributed in the Hugo packet.

    How is that an acceptable situation?

  4. But I don’t see how 3SV would have helped, since people would simply have switched their attention to the longlist, which would have all those troll entries we want to hide.

    The longlist is not the Hugo ballot. The troll works excluded by the first-stage vote would not be Hugo finalists. They wouldn’t be listed on the ballot or in the final results. They wouldn’t be shared in the Hugo packet.

    This would diminish the attention they could get considerably, and a historic look back at past Hugo results would not include the troll’s handiwork forever.

    In 10 years when someone looks back at the 2017 Hugos, they will see Ursula Vernon’s Best Novelette win for The Tomato Thief right above Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex by Stix Hiscock. I hate, hate, hate that. I will not hate it less with the passage of time.

  5. @Chip: 3SV requiring ANOTHER vote from people in mid-process means that only the really dedicated would bother. Which leaves it open to blocks of griefers voting down legit works. It also would lead to even more arguing and slinging of insults during that period, which is already contentious enough. I’m not sure it’d do what the proposers wanted. It’s a great idea but I don’t see how to make it work properly, and I don’t think 3SV as proposed would have done it.

    Of course since I wasn’t at the con, it don’t matter what I think. 😉

    It’d be a wonderful thing if it could be done. Not only would it save us from dinosaur porn, we might be spared another “They’d Rather Be Right”. There are almost always non-slate nominees on the list that people think “WTF is this doing on the Hugo ballot? It’s not that good!” and I’d vote ’em off (Me, personally, I wondered why the Mieville and Wilson works were on this year, and put them below NA strictly on quality. Shortened up my Novella votes a lot).

    But it could also backfire, with neo-Nazis taking out works by PoC, LGBT, women. It might also keep non-traditional entries like Clipping’s album out — lotta Olde Pharts were of the opinion that albums shouldn’t be in the “TV show” category.

  6. lurkertype: lotta Olde Pharts were of the opinion that albums shouldn’t be in the “TV show” category.

    Really? Whatever happened to my fellow oldpharts that nominated Jefferson Starship and Firesign Theatre?

  7. rcade:

    I find myself wondering whether my time and attention would be better spent on the Nebulas and other awards that protect themselves and the integrity of their ballot from this kind of abuse.

    The Nebulas are voted on by professional writers; are you one? Or what other awards would you devote energy to? (If you want to shovel Dragon shit, I’ll watch from a safe distance.)

    @lurkertype:

    3SV requiring ANOTHER vote from people in mid-process means that only the really dedicated would bother.

    That is unprovable except by test. Considering how quick the uproar was over the 2015 Puppies, I’m disinclined to assume this fail. 3SV was for removing obvious shit, not for final voting.

    But it could also backfire, with neo-Nazis taking out works by PoC, LGBT, women.

    IIRC, 3SV required both a supermajority of respondents AND a sizable fraction of the total membership to vote a work out of the finalists. Comparing recent Worldcon membership to the plausible maximum number of Pups (under 500?, based on nominations for 2015) suggests your fear is groundless.
    And I +1 @OGH’s response about other outrulings; I’m sure you found people you call oldpharts who were against Clippings, just as there are people who still believe fantasy doesn’t belong on the ballot, but I expect they are minor even compared to Puppy voters.

  8. 3SV requiring ANOTHER vote from people in mid-process means that only the really dedicated would bother. Which leaves it open to blocks of griefers voting down legit works.

    These two points run counter to each other. The 3SV threshold was high. If nobody but the dedicated bothered to vote in stage one, the likeliest outcome is that nothing would be removed.

  9. The Nebulas are voted on by professional writers; are you one? Or what other awards would you devote energy to?

    The Nebulas are a fine award, whether you are a voter who can participate directly or a fan who participates by talking them up. I’m not a member at present, but if I put as much time into qualifying as I do yakking about the Hugos I could probably manage the feat.

    The Dragon Awards are a long way from being something I’d recommend. But Dragon Con is huge. If they start to care about the awards (and release data!) they might turn them into something credible.

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