Pixel Scroll 8/12/17 Of Shoes, And Scrolls, And Sealing Wax, And Pixelated Kings

(1) PAST WORLDCON CHAIRS PHOTO. In the video, they all state their names and the cons they chaired. The photo session starts to shape up at about the 35-minute mark.

Here’s the final result:

(2) HUGO RULINGS OF 2017. Here’s a unique document – a report of all the rulings and decisions made by the 2017 Hugo administrators. I don’t think that’s ever been done before. In fact, past Hugo administrators have been very reluctant to share how the sausage was made.

Questions were raised directly with us both by email and social media enquiries, both from members of the Worldcon 75 team and from other interested parties. We do not disclose the source of individual queries below, nor do we comment on questions that were not brought directly to our attention.

(3) HAUTALA GETS A BOOST. The late author received a helping hand to start his career: “Stephen King’s letter introducing Rick Hautala”.

Thanks to Gerald Winters of Gerald Winters and Son Rare Books in Bangor, ME, here’s an amazing find: a letter that Stephen King wrote to publisher Coward, McCann, and Geoghegan recommending a new in-progress book by a new writer named Rick Hautala! The book, The Dark Brother, was retitled Moondeath when it was finally published by Zebra Books in 1980.

I’m writing in hopes that you will read a manuscript in progress. It is a novel called THE DARK BROTHER by a young man named Rick Hautala. Rick works in the South Portland Walden bookstore, and a few months ago he asked me if I’d look at this script.

Gerald wrote, “After Putnam Publishers acquired CM&G, this letter was kept on their files until it was eventually acquired by the previous owner.

“Now it is back in Bangor where it will stay for anyone wishing to view.”

There’s a readable image of the letter at the site.

Cat Eldridge sent the link with a comment, “Rick died of a massive heart attack four years back while out on a walk with his wife. Like all too many genre writers, he made very little money. And yes I knew him, a really nice person.”

(4) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • August 12, 1943 — Arthur Lubin’s Phantom of the Opera premiered. Universal originally planned this film as a comedy for Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
  • August 12, 1977 — Space shuttle Enterprise completed its first free-flight test.

(5) YESTERDAY IN HISTORY

  • August 11, 1962 Haruo Nakajima takes on the Eighth Wonder in King Kong vs. Godzilla.
  • August 11, 1963 Haruo Nakajima plays the title role in Matango, opening this day in Japan.

(6) COMICS SECTION.

(7) LOOK, UP IN THE SKY. Pilots have their name stenciled on their planes – still, people are surprised that “Batman’s Plane in ‘Justice League’ Totally Gives Away His Secret Identity”.

On Thursday, Entertainment Weekly released concept art of Batman’s plane, the Flying Fox. And, fans were quick to note a surprising detail: Thanks to a Wayne Enterprises decal, Batman’s real name, “Wayne,” is written on the side. Gotta have brand awareness, I guess.

The Justice League Comic-Con sneak peak made it seem like a big deal when Cyborg dropped into Batman’s plane, hacked it, and said, “Relax, Alfred, I’ll take it from here.” While pretty much the entire Justice League will know Batman’s identity at this point in the film — Wonder Woman and the soon-to-return Superman learned it in Batman v Superman, and we already knew that Bruce Wayne would reveal that he was Batman to Barry Allen/The Flash when he was recruiting him — it was still a big moment, and a showcase of Cyborg’s impressive skillset. Within seconds, he was able to hack into a plane that was “password-protected” by the Batman, and determine his identity. Apparently, though, he could just as easily have read it off the side of the plane.

(8) QUANTUM OF SOLACE. From the BBC: “Chinese satellite sends ‘hack-proof’ message”.

China has successfully sent “hack-proof” messages from a satellite to Earth for the first time.

The Micius satellite beamed messages to two mountain-top receiving stations 645 km (400 miles) and 1,200 km away.

The message was protected by exploiting quantum physics, which says any attempt to eavesdrop on it would make detectable changes.

Using satellites avoids some limitations that ground-based systems introduce into quantum communication.

(9) EVERYTHING BUT THE OINK. Genetically modified pigs “take step toward being organ donors”.

The most genetically modified animals in existence have been created to help end a shortage of organs for transplant, say US researchers.

The scientists successfully rid 37 pigs of viruses hiding in their DNA, overcoming one of the big barriers to transplanting pig organs to people.

The team at eGenesis admits preventing pig organs from being rejected by the human body remains a huge challenge

But experts said it was a promising and exciting first step.

The study, published in the journal Science, started with skin cells from a pig.

(10) AWARD REPAIRMAN. Camestros Felapton says “Fixing the Dragon Awards isn’t my problem”, but he really can’t resist trying.

As things have turned out, the Dragons are claiming to be the big populist award, are mainly get nominations that are a rightwing-indy award, are an epitome of cliques and have found themselves to be even more political by trying to avoid being political.

How did they get into this mess? Partly by ignoring the disconnect between why the puppies disliked the Hugos and what the puppies said was structurally wrong about the Hugos. Specifically:

  • The Hugos are membership based.
  • There is a cost involved.
  • There is only one novel category.
  • There is no video game category.
  • There are voting systems and rules

So the Dragons did the opposite:

  • Any one can vote.
  • There is no cost.
  • There are multiple subgenre categories.
  • There is a specific video game category.
  • The voting is a simple tally.

The issue is that none of those approaches really get the Dragons to what they want. Just because anybody CAN vote doesn’t mean anybody WILL vote. No cost and no membership requirement makes stacking the vote trivial. The multiple categories are confusing for fans to know where to nominate things and encourage category shopping for vote campaigns.

(11) MESSAGE FICTION. People prefer their own ideas, and so have to be constantly reminded about Ray Bradbury’s real message in Fahrenheit 451. Open Road takes a turn: “Ray Bradbury Reveals the True Meaning of Fahrenheit 451: It’s Not About Censorship, But People ‘Being Turned Into Morons by TV’”.

Even those of us who’ve never read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 know it as a searing indictment of government censorship. Or at least we think we know it, and besides, what else could the story of a dystopian future where America has outlawed books whose main character burns the few remaining, secreted-away volumes to earn his living be about? It turns out that Bradbury himself had other ideas about the meaning of his best-known novel, and in the last years of his life he tried publicly to correct the prevailing interpretation — and to his mind, the incorrect one.

Fahrenheit 451 is not, he says firmly, a story about government censorship,” wrote the Los Angeles Weekly‘s Amy E. Boyle Johnson in 2007. “Nor was it a response to Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose investigations had already instilled fear and stifled the creativity of thousands.” Rather, he meant his 1953 novel as “a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature.” It’s about, as he puts it above, people “being turned into morons by TV.”

(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Martin Morse Wooster, in recommending “Helium Beer Test–Short Version With English Subtitles,” says it’s “a video on YouTube in which two German guys end up drinking ‘helium beer.’ It’s really funny and in my view fannish  but it is a spoof.” Apparently it was originally posted on April 1 a couple years ago.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ky.]

98 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/12/17 Of Shoes, And Scrolls, And Sealing Wax, And Pixelated Kings

  1. (9) Lovely! A newer, faster route for zoogenesis! Because yeah, sure they’ve eliminated all possible viruses! And no way will having live, functioning pig organs make a human vulnerable to viruses not currently able to make the leap from pugs to humans!

    (11) Bradbury is entitled to his opinion on what Fahrenheit 451 is about, just like anybody else.

  2. he video of the past/present/future Worldcon chairs (just that part, without having to dig through the entire Worldcon 75 Business Meeting video) is now online at the Worldcon Events YouTube channel.

    Because Worldcon 75 provided the live-streaming video, we’re not rushing to get the official videos shot by the WSFS Business Meeting team online the way we have done for the past few years. I expect to try and edit together the pieces of video we shot and post them sometime later after we get home.

  3. (2) An interesting snippet from the report:

    Best Related Work: 57 votes for The Tingled Puppies include numerous variant names, and 1 transferred Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form nomination for “Chuck Tingles [sic] trolling of VD and the Rabid Puppies”; but do not include:

    […]

    – Special Report Billings #3: Voxman and the Bad Dogs Blues, (nominated in both Best Related Work and Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, and clearly belonging in the latter category),

    – Mark [Oshiro] Reads “Slammed By the Substantial Amount of Press Generated By My Book ‘Pounded by the Pound'” (also nominated in both Best Related Work and Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form and also clearly belonging in the latter category),

    – “Chuck Tingle, by Chuck Tingle” [sic], nominated in Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, or

    – “Chuck Tingle Live-Tweeting the Trump-Clinton Debates” nominated in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.

    Chuck Tingle is clearly more popular than I thought.

  4. (2) A completely transparent awards process. Keen.

    I think the determination means that The World of the Five Gods is eligible for next year’s Best Series, thanks to the latest Penric story arriving this week? Even though Chalion was years ago?

    Did GoT err in keeping their least-voted-for episode, I wonder?

    That “natural persons” definition is going to cause some heated debate in the future when we have robust AI and uplifted animals. I think intelligent aliens already count as natural persons.

    (11) If Ray had made it so people just stopped reading books b/c they liked TV, that’d be a more valid argument. Having people going around *book-burning* is clearly censorship, FFS, particularly for someone who was old enough to remember both Hitler and McCarthy. Indeed, at the time he said it was b/c of McCarthyism that he wrote it.

  5. I’m inclined to give a certain amount of weight to Bradbury’s opinion; he’s better informed than anyone else about what he meant the book to mean….

    It’s a funny sort of censorship in Fahrenheit 451, I suppose – it’s not “we are going to prohibit certain ideas” as “we are going to prohibit everything that’s hard to think about”. (And I can see the point about this being a natural outcome of the “dumbing down” of mass media – I can see it, I don’t necessarily agree with it.)

    It’s one of those things where the censorship process thinks of itself as non-political, but is actually an intrinsically political act. Suppressing every writing on the grounds that it might cause dissent and disruption… means suppressing any discussion that might lead to changes in the status quo – which is an inherently small-c conservative position.

  6. 2) As the Hugo Administrator responsible for overseeing Apollo 13’s appearance on the ballot, I can state categorically that its appearance in Dramatic Presentation was not intended as an exception to any rule. Like Hidden Figures, it is a fictionalized dramatization.

    Unlike the practice of this year’s administration, I and my colleague did rule beforehand that A13 would be eligible. We felt that, with such an obviously popular item, it would be unfair to ask nominators to use one of their valuable slots on an item with no idea of whether it was eligible or not. However, unlike this year’s, we received very few such inquiries.

    I suppose we could have issued a statement of rulings, but at least one year it would have consisted mostly of creative misspellings of Jurassic Park.

  7. @2: If there’s anyone left (outside of the Puppies) who thinks running the Hugos is easy, this should clear up their thinking. It would be nice if the admins got a shit flurry instead of a shitstorm, but we all have dreams….
    Have such documents previously been passed on to subsequent administrators?
    I love that bit of antique language: “we recommend that the WSFS Business Meeting should become seized of the issue.”
    I can see arguments both ways on whether to rule on eligibility before the votes come in; No because it’s a lot of work in a tight time window (risking error), Yes because of the slot issue @David Bratman brings up. Ruling on some items and not others would be an invitation to trouble.

    @Lis Carey: it’s Hobson’s choice (in the accepted sense, not the original); what happens to the people waiting for transplants vs the risks of transgenic disease? (This is somewhat personal; I have two friends who I know had transplants, at least one of whom would certainly be dead by now without theirs.) The story says over 100K people in the US waiting for transplants but doesn’t mention how many die because they don’t get a transplant in time, so we can’t judge how useful this would be.

    @lurkertype: we’ll cross your natural-persons issues if we ever come to them — or at least if we come to them before SF itself disappears as a genre. The clause was originally put in because clowns bought supporting memberships for their pet rocks, teddy bears, etc., but I don’t know whether anyone has dealt with the more obvious issue of an adult parent/guardian/… voting the membership of a minor. (ISTM that this is an easy decision; the question is how to prove it.)

  8. Hampus, in hindsight, I regret not finding the spoons, time and required nuance to point out that perhaps there was a culture clash involved. I am troubled by how this went down.

  9. lurkertype: Did GoT err in keeping their least-voted-for episode, I wonder?

    Remember that the episode with the most nominations actually had around 80 Puppy nominations — so in reality, it had the fewest natural nominations of the 3 episodes. I doubt that the recused episode would have won, and I’m pretty sure that GRRM is still happy with the choice he made.

  10. With regard to the LARP, it sounds as though Worldcon 75 didn’t feel as though they had the time and resources to get everyone together and mediate, and that just cancelling it was the most expeditious way to deal with it so that they could get on with dealing with other things.

    Which is too bad; I can see where that sort of role-play could be useful and enlightening, if done well.

    It also makes the case for ensuring that at a bilingual convention, having native speakers of both languages read the program item descriptions would be a really good idea.

  11. 11: I wonder if Ray ever met/talking with Edward R. Murrow? And it makes sense to me that the book burning wasn’t censorship per se – it was merely the military-industrial-advertising complex exercising its right to secure its market.

    Haven’t read it in a while, but if memory serves, very early on (opening?) there is a panoramic view of suburbia that consists of the soft blue glow of television light seeping out of every window. There’s your focus right there.

  12. Even video games have started covering difficult topics. At a certain point if games are going to be accepted as an art form it must also be accepted that they will involve topics like Alzheimers.

    Does anyone know of an example of an event at a USA Worldcon that was cancelled because of the cultural norms of people from a different country?

  13. I find it sad that the first Nordic convention was forced to shut the item down instead of managing to communicate the value if what seems to be a genuinely different form of expression.
    As I said on my FB, this was not a US or U.K. convention that just happened to take place in Finland. This was an opportunity to be open to different ideas, stories, styles and customs. When you encounter the genuinely other sometimes it can be upsetting. I know that it took me some quiet time of reflection to accept gay culture when I was exposed to some of its practices. Tolerance sometimes is like that.

  14. I really appreciated the Hugo administrator decision document. I love that stuff. I think the rulings on how to handle the weird and myriad forms of graphic narrative were well done (unlike in some past years). Taking the dominant form of nomination and rolling into all relevant sub- and supercomponents feels like the best way to do it– certainly better than how it was done for some earlier Hugos.

  15. @Anna Feruglio Dal Dan–

    I find it sad that the first Nordic convention was forced to shut the item down instead of managing to communicate the value if what seems to be a genuinely different form of expression.

    Yes. It seems to have been a missed opportunity.

    As I said on my FB, this was not a US or U.K. convention that just happened to take place in Finland. This was an opportunity to be open to different ideas, stories, styles and customs. When you encounter the genuinely other sometimes it can be upsetting. I know that it took me some quiet time of reflection to accept gay culture when I was exposed to some of its practices. Tolerance sometimes is like that.

    The potential problem needed to be recognized earlier, and thought given to proper presentation–particularly as, viewed in the wrong light, it seemed to be targeting a vulnerable population.

    This can be a learning experience. I don’t really know if this is the first time an event has been canceled by a,Worldcon because of cultural sensitivities from another country,. As Worldcon genuinely travels around more and has more diverse conrunners and attendees, though, the potential for it becomes greater. Worldcon fandom, both attendees and conrunners, need to give it more thought earlier, and deal with the potential issues better.

  16. The Hugo ruling that allowed Castalia House Blog as a fanzine finalist:

    It was also alleged that Castalia House Blog is ineligible on the basis that Vox Day, a very occasional contributor to Castalia House Blog (less than one article per month in 2016) personally profits from the Amazon links in the sidebar of the Castalia House Blog website. However, even if this were the case (and we did not investigate), he would clearly be earning commission from sales made via those links whether or not he was contributing to the blog. In any case, being a paid contributor is clearly a very different matter from recouping (some of) the hosting costs of the blog via Amazon links.

    I disagree with this decision. There’s nothing in 3.3.13 about it being OK for a “very occasional contributor” to be paid. There’s nothing in 3.3.13 about it being OK to be paid to recoup hosting costs (a claim Beale never made to the Hugo committee or anyone else — they have invented this defense for him out of whole cloth).

    The dividing line in 3.3.13 is clear: A fanzine is not a fanzine if it “paid its contributors or staff monetarily in other than copies of the publication.” Castalia House is a for-profit enterprise, Beale wrote nine blog entries in 2016 and he is paid for his efforts. Castalia House Blog is thus a semiprozine.

    The Hugo committee did a disservice to legitimate fanzines produced entirely as a labor of love by allowing a for-profit publication in the category. I hope the next committee exercises better judgment on fanzine eligibility.

  17. rcade: There’s nothing in 3.3.13 about it being OK to be paid to recoup hosting costs

    So you’re saying that a legitimate fanzine blog should not be eligible if they have Google AdSense on their blog to bring in a little extra money?

    Yeah, nah, I don’t agree with that.

    I would have preferred that the CH blog be ruled ineligible as the promotional arm of a publisher; surely the Tor.com blog, if it had made the ballot, would have been ineligible, and I don’t really see any difference between the two (apart from the fact that one of them is not being run by someone who is egregiously racist and misogynist).

  18. Here’s some great news from the decision document about Hugo voting software: “Now that it has been developed, the software is open-source and can be used by anyone.”

    During the Sasquan business meeting in 2015, Ron Oakes helped to defeat an amendment encouraging the Hugos to use open source software by saying that the source code he had developed “is available for reasonable requests.”

    Despite this offer, when I made a request a few months later, I was told that under no circumstances would I be provided the source code for inspection.

    The Hugos are far better off using open source software to collect and count votes. The Finland committee has made a fantastic contribution to future Worldcons, and the web application they designed to take votes was excellent.

  19. I think we have to recognize that it isn’t only a different cultural norm, but even more a different cultural LARP norm. Which meant that I, as a scandinavian who doesn’t LARP, still couldn’t say if the item was supposed to be funny or serious. But maybe I was more inclined to give it the benefit of a doubt as I know friends who do LARP.

  20. So you’re saying that a legitimate fanzine blog should not be eligible if they have Google AdSense on their blog to bring in a little extra money? Yeah, nah, I don’t agree with that.

    Then amend the WSFS Constitution. The only way a fanzine should be able to make money (with ads or affiliate links) and not be a semiprozine is if it provides documentation to the Hugo committee that its hosting costs exceed the amount of revenue it earned.

    Beale chose to provide no information to the Hugo committee that would aid its eligibility decision, as he told Mike Glyer in an email.

    I would have preferred that the CH blog be ruled ineligible as the promotional arm of a publisher; surely the Tor.com blog, if it had made the ballot, would have been ineligible …

    I think that’s a more clear and obvious violation, too, but see no reason to believe the Hugo committee would have ruled that way. Its status as a promotional in-house publication was obvious and didn’t need to be reported.

    When this subject was discussed on File 770 at the time I sent a complaint that Castalia House Blog was ineligible, some people here asserted that Tor’s blog also would be eligible for best fanzine.

    It’s a shame that we are letting for-profit enterprises have eligibility in best fanzine. That goes against what the category was created to honor — one of the oldest traditions in SF/F fandom.

  21. My paternal grandmother developed some form of dementia in her old age (if there was a formal diagnoses as to what kind, I have never been told), and the last time I saw her alive she didn’t know who I was. Not even telling her I was Jim’s daughter helped.

    My father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so the day is coming when he won’t know who I am.

    I don’t object to games designed to explore heavy issues. Humans learn through play, after all. But there’s nothing in that program description, nothing at all, that would tell me that this was going to be a thoughtful exploration of the issues surrounding dementia, and not a multi-fandom play-for-laughs.

  22. The Hugo decision document raises an important issue at the end — the lack of guidance from WSFS on the Hugo packet:

    We observe that the Hugo Voter Packet is not mentioned in the constitution, and the Business Meeting has never offered formal guidance on it. Yet it represents a significant element of the visibility of the Hugo Awards within and outside fandom, and therefore carries potentially significant reputational risk for the Hugos and the administering Worldcon. A future Business Meeting may wish to write rules or offer guidance about the packet, as part of the WSFS Constitution or as a separate document.

  23. @Lis Carey:

    (9) Lovely! A newer, faster route for zoogenesis! Because yeah, sure they’ve eliminated all possible viruses! And no way will having live, functioning pig organs make a human vulnerable to viruses not currently able to make the leap from pigs to humans!

    Reminds me of Greg Bear’s Darwin’s Radio/Darwin’s Children duo, where the (terribly unlikely) natural process going on interacted very badly with non-human transplanted organs.

    @rcade

    The Hugo decision document raises an important issue at the end — the lack of guidance from WSFS on the Hugo packet:

    Yeah, that popped out at me too. I hope this issue can be taken up at Worldcon 76 (I’m going to think of appropriate wording for an amendment).

    P.S.
    “All these Scrolls are yours, except Europa; attempt no Pixelings there”

  24. I can’t find the program description of “A Home for the Old,” only a longer document that the Worldcon organizers would presumably have read before inviting the LARP to be held at the con. That document makes it seem like it was reasonably serious and artistic in intent. Looking up designer Frederik Berg and jeepform shows that something deeper is at work in the effort than outsiders may recognize.

    For those on Twitter who consider any attempt to find humor in Alzheimer’s offensive, my personal experience has led me to think differently.

    As someone who saw a beloved grandmother lost to dementia over the span of 10 years, I think comic moments are an inevitable part of the process. Some of her mental flights of fancy were funny. It was a pleasant respite from the times when she was agitated or troubled. She loved watching the Food Network and sometimes told family members about the shows we’d been on and how our recipes did (I was particularly successful on Chopped). Vestiges of her humor lasted to the end. The final time I saw her and told her, “I love you” before I left her care facility, she yelled, “He loves me! He loves me!”

    Alzheimer’s sucks. Give me a little levity among all that tragedy any day.

  25. rcade on August 13, 2017 at 10:32 am said:
    Family friends were dealing with her developing Alzheimer’s, and he joked about wearing a nametag that said “Hi, I’m [first name] and I’m your husband”.
    Sometimes you have to laugh; because the alternative is a flood of tears.

  26. The description is here.

    I think it would have been smart to include words like poignant, serious or sensitive in the description, but I also don’t see anything in it which looks, well, like a joke.

    (Having said that given how often it would be a joke I don’t blame people for getting the wrong end of the stick.)

    (ETA: And yeah, joking about unpleasant things isn’t necessarily wrong. Depends on context, tone…)

  27. I’m currently caring for my mother who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s… and I agree with P. J. Evans: sometimes, you’ve got to laugh because the alternative is screaming.

  28. I think it would have been smart to include words like poignant, serious or sensitive in the description, but I also don’t see anything in it which looks, well, like a joke.

    Thanks for the link. The description lends itself to misunderstanding. In hindsight there should have been something to indicate the intent and perhaps a mention that it’s a form of Finnish roleplaying that explores more serious themes.

    At least the controversy calls some more attention to the form. As a lifelong RPGer I wasn’t aware of this LARP tradition.

  29. (9) Thanks (from a Science editorial employee) for including the direct link to the Science report.

  30. rcade on August 13, 2017 at 11:45 am said:
    I think it would have been smart to include words like poignant, serious or sensitive in the description, but I also don’t see anything in it which looks, well, like a joke.

    Thanks for the link. The description lends itself to misunderstanding. In hindsight there should have been something to indicate the intent and perhaps a mention that it’s a form of Finnish roleplaying that explores more serious themes.

    At least the controversy calls some more attention to the form. As a lifelong RPGer I wasn’t aware of this LARP tradition.

    What troubles me is the way it went down. Somebody saw the item and was offended. They pointed the item out in outrage and soon a twitter storm developed. Before anybody could contact the people involved in the program, it was cancelled. There was no effort to mediate, to clarify, to reframe the item. It wasn’t pointed out that it did not involve mockery or levity.

  31. @JJ
    Thanks for the link to the digital Hugo panel. I think it went really well, even if we were three panelists short, because clipping had to drop out due to deadlines.

  32. @Cora Buhlert: I had to come late to the party, I mean, panel, but it was good. 🙂

  33. (2) HUGO RULINGS OF 2017. I was surprised, but I appreciated getting this at the biz meeting. Thanks, @Hugo Admins! I hope this continues.

    @rcade & @Andrew: I’m curious what guidance you’d want to see (or they would). Just relating to not including things that aren’t part of eligible body of work, or something else besides? (IMHO it doesn’t belong in the Constitution, but a resolution could work.)

    (9) EVERYTHING BUT THE OINK. Fascinating, but ::shudder::.

  34. I, too, disagree with letting CH into the fanzine category; I think the admins got way too bogged down in procedural nitpicking to realize it’s a publisher’s house organ, done for promotion of their works. That’s NOT a fanzine, done for the love of it and with the intention to lose money, or time which equals money. So that was a big miss. We could have had another legit contender (too lazy to go check the longlist) — or, on the same grounds, let Tor.com in; it’s got spiffy articles and columns.

    However, I gotta agree that the new voting software is beautiful and I hope other cons adopt it. The automatic reordering is SO helpful in that last day’s vote where you’re dithering between 2nd-4th place.

    I think maybe former Hugo admins and packet creators should cobble together an advisory document, even if it isn’t part of the WSFS constitution. Maybe they should just give admins from now on a list of everything Jo van Ekeren did, cuz that was the BEST. PACKET. EVER. (Still annoyed at the concom trying to muzzle her and then dumping her for telling the truth)

    The Alzheimer’s thing needed way, WAY more explanation beforehand. Pointing out the purpose, the seriousness, that it’s not in any way a joke. Canceling it was the right thing to do mid-con, when nobody’s got time to explain things and it was more important to find enough space for programs.

    I’ve lost a lot of people to it (and expect to go down with it myself if I live long enough), and I was horrified with the short description of the event. They really made it look light-hearted instead of serious, as @Nancy Sauer said.

  35. 2) Chip Hitchcock: That is why I mentioned that we received very few queries about eligibility back then. (There was no dedicated e-mail to write to the administrators back then. Though there could have been.) Had there been many such queries, I would have been as uncomfortable as you suggest in answering some but not others. And had A13 not been a popular movie, and contentious over its eligibility, I would probably not have made an announcement either.

    Concerning Hugo voting software: in the 1990s, we used a DOS program developed by Jeff Copeland, the 1986 administrator, to count final ballots. I don’t know if it was open-source, but it did of course allow the votecounter-user to enter the nominees.

    On the other hand, we counted the nominations on 3×5 file cards. Considering the wide spread of candidates, it was easier. However, in today’s days of all-electronic ballots and a much greater number of nominators, I suspect I’d go for a software solution.

  36. in the 1990s, we used a DOS program developed by Jeff Copeland, the 1986 administrator, to count final ballots.

    The 1984 program was set up to read a file with the categories and the nominees, and another with the ballots, so it would have been relatively flexible that way – but on the other hand, no one outside the committee had access to the computer or the program. (In 1971 and 1972, it was all hardcoded in the program.)

  37. I’m curious what guidance you’d want to see (or they would). Just relating to not including things that aren’t part of eligible body of work, or something else besides?

    There are a few questions we could answer:

    1. Is the Hugo packet something every Worldcon must do, or is it entirely at the discretion of that con?

    2. Is the packet obligated to include all works or partial works provided by the finalist?

    3. Is the packet obligated to include works provided by the finalist that are not qualifying works for that year, or should those be omitted?

    4. Is the packet obligated to include without modification a statement by the finalist?

    5. If something submitted for the packet has content that is highly sexual or graphic, should it be omitted or distributed separately with an advisory?

    6. If something submitted for the packet is considered libelous or defamatory by the con, can it be omitted?

    7. Is there a date by which the packet will be sent, relative to the announcement of the Hugo finalists?

  38. We could have had another legit contender (too lazy to go check the longlist) …

    If Castalia House Blog was disqualified, Galactic Journey would have been a Hugo finalist for the first time.

  39. @lurkertype: “BEST. PACKET. EVER.”

    I was happy to lend a hand there, even if primarily in an advisory/consulting capacity. (For instance, some of the words and thoughts in the “how to read these” document are mine.) And yes, if asked, I’d be glad to pitch in on that front in the future.

  40. Re: banned LARP

    Looking at the linked article and the original blurb, what hits me as a massive red flag is the description of the game as a “tragicomedy.” The “tragic” part is obvious from the mention of Alzheimer’s. Including the “comedy” part makes it look, to me, like there’s a significant chance that the situation will be played for laughs. Patch Adams comes to mind when I try to think of what a tragicomedy might look like, but that’s a pretty thin tightrope that I wouldn’t want to walk with a group of strangers. (And I’m the guy who came up with a way to use 9/11 as the kickoff to a wacky supers campaign. Never ran it, mainly because I didn’t have the right group.)

    From other discussions about the scenario, “played for laughs” appears not to be the case – to which I would suggest, find a different way to describe it than “tragicomedy,” since that wider context ain’t in the program book.

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