Pixel Scroll 8/17/17 Like A Scroll Over Troubled Pixels, I Will Lay Me Down

(1) MEMOIRS OF A HUGO ADMINISTRATOR. The first part of “The Administrator’s Tale”, Nicholas Whyte’s account of handling the Hugos for Worldcon 75 includes his feelings about the run-up to his awards year.

On my birthday in 2016, I was sitting in a noisy Brussels pub with a former Lib Dem MP and had to keep excusing myself as the Hugo finalists were announced by MidAmeriCon II on Twitter. Only one of the previous year’s slaters had been active this time, but again several ballot categories were dominated by candidates chosen by him. I was dismayed. Concerned that the EPH system as proposed might not be sufficient to protect the Hugos in future, I put my name to a proposal supporting an extra preliminary stage of voting to screen out troll nominees, and to another moving the qualifying date for nominating back to December 31 of the previous year rather than January 31.

Both of these were passed at the WSFS MidAmeriCon II business meeting in August and sent on to Helsinki for ratification. After the 2016 Hugos had been handed out (with No Award winning only twice rather than five times), Dave McCarty provided detailed voting statistics showing that EPH would have drastically reduced the number of slate finalists. The WSFS business meeting consequently ratified both EPH and the shift to six finalists (but up to five nominations per voter) in each category, these changes to take effect for my turn as administrator in 2017.

This concentrated our minds rather wonderfully on the need to test our software for processing nominations, newly and beautifully designed by Eemeli Aro, using the new rules…

(2) ALL YOUR BASE. However, a Hugo Administrator’s work is never done. Renay, of Best Fanzine winner Lady Business, has had a catastrophe.

Seanan McGuire’s Hugo seems to have arrived okay – maybe it’s that special base packing material.

(3) WOW WITHOUT BOW. Which gives us a smooth segue to Torsten Adair’s analysis of the Best Graphic Novel winner in “The 2017 Hugo Awards: No Dogs Allowed” at Comics Beat.

2,464 nominating ballots were validated this year. 842 of those (34%) nominated at least one graphic novel title. Why does a publisher want to make the final list? Well, aside from being a nominee, which gains you shelf cred with a blurb on the cover, and another reason to issue a press release, it does something even more important: it gets your work seen by every Worldcon attendee. How so? Each attendee can download the Voter Packet, containing many of the nominated works.

A publisher can send out 7,740 digital copies (2017 attendance) to some of the most passionate and well-read fans in science fiction, some of whom may have never considered reading graphic novels before, or realized that there were amazing graphic novels which appealed to their tastes!

(4) WORLDCON TECH. Kyuu Eturautti’s “Worldcon 75 – great challenge, mixed feelings” is a thoughtful and deeply interesting account of his experiences working IT at Helsinki.

So, much of this is just “we do it different”, without right or wrong, but some differences were more than that. I’ll just say it: there was a chronic lack of responsibility seen many times. Equipment that was loaned was never returned. Often enough people didn’t even remember where it was. “Oh, we gave it to someone who asked” was heard occasionally. There was also a lot of odd attitudes, people leaving to party just like that and assuming everyone else would pick up the work. The key parts of the tech team worked 10-16 hours each day. We didn’t catch drinks or meet new friends at bars. I walked an average of 19315 steps a day, almost solely inside Messukeskus and I was not the hardest working one of the team. I’ve heard some other departments also suffered from this attitude. Many had to fix things which were caused simply due to attitude problems and laziness. Of course this wasn’t the majority attitude, but it doesn’t take many a fail to cause notable fusterclucks.

I suppose the biggest problem and reason for massive overworking was the differing staff policy which made it very hard to recruit help. Allow me to summarise. 1. In a Finnish con of around this size, a key staff member would get free tickets for himself and perhaps also friends, free warm meals each day, possibly costs of transportation to pre-con workshops and the con, basic accommodation during the con, a t-shirt and a staff only dead dog party with free food and free drinks, alcoholic and non alcoholic (alcohol in limited amounts, of course). 2. At Worldcon, a key staff member had to pay for entry, which even for a first timer was three times a common convention ticket price. There was partial food compensation, no travel costs compensation, no accommodation, a t-shirt and an open for all dead dog party with nothing free, which was full and out of food by the time our department was only halfway done packing.

(5) FIVE MORE. Steven J. Wright, inspired by Victor Milán’s choice of “five works of SFF which deserve (in his opinion) not to be forgotten” (in yesterday’s Scroll), makes recommendations of his own in “Five from the Forests of my Memory”. For example:

Elizabeth Lynn’s classy story A Different Light is also known to the cognoscenti – it’s been reviewed by James Nicoll, but, let’s face it, James knows all the books.  This story of an artist who gives up his life for an outer-space adventure manages to be clever and exciting and compassionate all at once.  Elizabeth Lynn has a substantial body of work besides, but I think this one deserves not to be overlooked.

(6) TEXAS REMEMBRANCE. The Texas Senate adopted a resolution honoring the late Julie Gomoll’s many accomplishments and important work in the city of Austin.

(7) HARRIS OBIT. Stuntwoman Joi “SJ” Harris was killed August 14 on the set of Deadpool 2 while performing a stunt on a motorcycle. She is known for being the first African-American female professional road racer. Deadpool 2 was her first movie as a stunt performer. She was the stand-in for Zazie Beetz who is playing the mutant mercenary Domino.  Vancouver authorities shut down production while they investigated, but ScienceFiction.com reports shooting has now resumed.

Joi Harris had been riding motorcycles since 2013 and had more than 1,500 hours of practice under her belt prior to the incident. She started competing in the American Sportbike Racing Association/Championship Cup Series in 2014 and was an advocate for female racing. Here’s some of what she had to say on her official website.

(8) KIM POOR OBIT. Astronomical artist Kim Poor (1952-2017) died August 16 of ataxia. His NASA bio lists his extensive credits:

…[His art appeared in] Omni, Science Digest, Discover, Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Germany’s Kosmos, and the Russia’s popular Ogonjok. His book credits include Smithsonian Books, Time-Life Books and Carl Sagan’s Comet. Movies and TV often use his work as background props as in Alien Nation, Seaquest and Babylon 5.

Kim’s artwork is found in textbooks, encyclopedias, planetarium shows and scientific presentations. His work has been commissioned by the National Air& Space Museum and is found in collections worldwide, including those of many astronauts and NASA personnel. He headed up an American delegation of space artists who were brought to Moscow, USSR in 1987 to display their work for the thirtieth anniversary of Sputnik. His work hangs in the Yuri Gagarin Museum in Star City, Russia. This was one of the first overtures of Gorbachev’s glasnost, and resulted in an ongoing series of cooperative workshops between Russian and American artists. Their efforts culminated in a joint exhibition at the National Air & Space Museum in 1992.

He was also the founder of Novaspace, and the creator that brought Spacefest to life. A gallery of his art prints is here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born August 17 – Neil Clarke

(10) WHO KNEW? Jeff VanderMeer learned that the new Doctor Who is reading his books from Glamour’s follow-along visit with actress Jodie Whittaker on the set of Broadchurch. “Ever wondered what a day in the life of the first female Doctor Who looks like?”

11.40am

Straight into make-up, one of my favourite parts of the day. You get to catch up with all the cast, we’re just in a row chatting. Beth’s ‘no make-up’ make-up takes 45 minutes max, it’s blow-drying my frizzy hair that can take time.

1pm

After a lamb curry from catering, we’re on set. There’s lots of waiting, so I always have a book. I’ve nearly finished the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer.

(11) I STREAM, YOU STREAM. When Camestros Felapton ran out of things he wanted to watch, he went back to a show he’d originally given up on — “Review: Killjoys (Syfy, Netflix)”.

The initial premise of the show was this. On a planetary system with a bunch of human colonised moons (known as the Quad), a kind of freelance, bounty-hunting, law enforcement agency called the RAC catches (or sometimes kills) wanted criminals. The bounty hunters are known as Killjoys because “joys” are the local currency and they (occasionally) kill people. At the start of the season, the two main characters are a two person team Dutch (an ex-assassin) and Johnny Jaqobi (a less amoral and more geeky pilot) as well as their (stolen) spaceship/AI Lucy. The initial episodes involved the arrival of Johnny’s brother Da’vin into the system, an ex-soldier with psychological trauma.

While not terrible, it also wasn’t great. The three main actors were good, in particular, Hannah John-Kamen as Dutch managed to stop her role as sexy-badass-assassin from being actively bad and say corny lines with conviction. The stories themselves were a bit dull (mainly catch the baddy of the week) and while the premise of the show was original it all somehow felt terribly derivative. The Firefly DNA was obvious but also a heap of tropes from everywhere and everything just piled up together in the apparent hope that something would stick. Dutch’s backstory as a child raised to be a deadly killer who got away from that life etc smacked of a show that wanted depth just by throwing tragedy at its characters….

(12) OBI-WAN GOES SOLO. Er, I’m sorry, I’ll read that again. Deadline’s Anthony D’Allesandro and Anita Busch, in “‘Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi Movie In Works With Stephen Daldry In Early Talks To Direct”, says that Disney is planning a stand-alone Obi-Wan Kenobi film. They want Stephen Daldry, who got Oscar nominations for The Reader, The Hours, and Billy Elliot to direct.

Deadline has confirmed that Disney is in early talks with three-time Oscar nominated director Stephen Daldry on a Star Wars standalone Obi-Wan Kenobi movie. No word on casting and at this time there is no deal and no script.

(13) HERE, TAKE THIS INTERNET.

(14) MASTERS OF DYSTOPIA. Today’s installment of NPR’s 1a program, “The Next Chapter For Dystopian Literature”, boasted a hall of fame lineup. You can listen to it at the link.

Today’s book lovers are hungry for stories of dark, dystopian futures. Novels like “1984,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Parable of the Sower” are hard to keep in stock these days.

But what’s inspiring the next generation of dystopian narratives? We assemble a panel of authors to talk about how current events, national politics and international relations inspire their new works and appeal to an audience with an affinity for apocalyptic endings.

Guests

Cory Doctorow Science fiction author, co-editor of the blog Boing Boing.

N.K. Jemisin Bestselling author of the “Inheritance” series and the “Broken Earth” trilogy. She’s won the Hugo Award for the past two years.

Paolo Bacigalupi Bestselling author of more than a half-dozen books, including “The Wind-Up Girl” and “The Water Knife”

Omar el Akkad Award-winning journalist and author of “American War”

(15) TEASER. Gnome Alone comes to theaters October 13.

From the producer of SHREK and the director of NUT JOB, GNOME ALONE is an energetic animated movie about one girl’s journey to discover the hero within herself. After moving to a new city with her mother, Chloe (Becky G) finds herself in a new house that creaks, a new school with creeps, and mysterious garden gnomes that are kind of freaky. No sooner has Chloe tried to fit in, but aliens from another dimension descend upon her house and threaten everything! To top it all off, the gnomes in her house come to life and ask for help to save the world. Now, the only thing standing between Chloe and the end of life as we know it are her new gnome-tastic friends, her neighbor Liam (Josh Peck) and the strength within. It’s up to Chloe and Liam to become the champions they’ve always been inside, and in the process discover that no matter where you are, you’re never GNOME ALONE!

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Rich Lynch, Karl-Johan Norén, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern (with an uninvited assist from moi).]

50 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/17/17 Like A Scroll Over Troubled Pixels, I Will Lay Me Down

  1. 8):

    Kim Poor. 🙁

    It’s not really a surprise, but it still hurts. Requiescat In Pace.

  2. Glad to say that we seem to have sorted out Renay’s problems with the trophy. She should have received a 5/16″-18 bolt from us, to attach rocket to base, but unfortunately did not; fortunately these are easier to find in the US than in Helsinki (see part 2 of my account tomorrow). Her base is fine (problem was with the felt, and that just requires regluing).

  3. @1: another job I knew was hard, but not the interesting details of how. (And another job I’ve always known I couldn’t do — kudos to those that do.)

    @4: I’m surprised at the irresponsibility described, but I’ve never worked IT at a Worldcon so I don’t know whether others are more rigorous or just recover better. And I’d heard that big Finnish conventions were cheaper, which makes me wonder how they manage such perks (which I hadn’t heard about); are the local conventions subsidized?

    edit: 2nd 5th!

  4. #8 — None of my business, of course, but I can’t help scratching my head here. People don’t die of “ataxia” unless it causes them to do something like stumble in front of a bus. “Ataxia” is not a disease — it just means stumbling, unsteady, not properly able to control one’s movements.

    Hmmm.

  5. (2) What can’t those SJW creds do? (What they’re told, usually)

    (3) Good illustrations. But please — no corporate sponsorships. Icky.

    He also doesn’t seem to know that all the publishers of comics listed at Sasquan are mostly selling solo (or family) titles, and I’m pretty sure at least one of the dealers marked (C) was just retailing the funnybooks.

    And enough with the campaigning. How can he start off by saying “fans don’t like campaigning” and end by advising DC to start campaigning?

    It’s not like DC’s some lesser-known company we’ve never heard of either; the membership decided this year that a few titles from Marvel and Image were better. Plus some webcomics did well. Frankly, I had to look up who published “Monstress” when I was making my nominations — I had no idea. I’m thinking we all know who Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are.

    I’m pretty sure everyone’s read a comic book or two in their day, it’s not like fen are ignorant of the art form. That Martin boy from Jersey used to write to Stan the Man all the time and now he’s got his own books and TV show with plenty of Hugo nominations.

    Don’t think he really understands Worldcon yet.

    (4) Not keeping track of where equipment went certainly isn’t a cultural difference. Wandering off might be in some cultures, but I’ve always thought of Nordic people as putting their head down and getting the job done properly, responsibly. Glad he was working so hard, though! Good job, Kyuu, and nice outfit.

    (13) See (3).

  6. @lurkertype “(13) See (3).”

    You’re worried that John Scalzi is going to start getting corporate sponsorships for his cats? I mean, they do have their own surprisingly popular twitter channel, but still… 🙂

  7. @lurkertype —

    Ahh! Thanks. Poor died of Louis-Bar syndrome (ataxia-telangiectasia), then. (Louis-Bar causes ataxia and telangiectasia; neither ataxia nor telangiectasia are unique to people with Louis-Bar syndrome.)

    Sometimes people get way too enthusiastic about shortening scientific terms, and the result is something that makes no sense at all. I appreciate the clarification.

  8. @Xtifr: Hmm, I hadn’t considered that, but yeah. He’s already getting free Coke beverages, I wouldn’t put it past the cats to start shilling for noms.

    @Contrarius: apparently there are a lot of ataxia-(something)s out there which he might have died from.

  9. I’m glad Camestros gave Killjoys a second chance. I guess I was lucky to have missed the first several episodes when it was initially aired, but I’ve definitely been enjoying it. Not what I would call great SF, even for television, but it has a pleasing balance of earnestness and silliness that I find endearing. That is to say, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but neither does it quite fall into being camp. (Well, except that cute bartender, and even he’s only a little camp.)

  10. @James – that sounds like an excellent list!

    (4) I’m amazed how much free work Worldcon volunteers are expected to put in for no award at all. It’s crazy to me that you don’t even get a free pass for all that work.

  11. 5) Thanks! (Fifth as well? I don’t deserve the honour.)

    This is, of course, a transparent ploy to get other people to recommend good stuff I might not have heard of…. I will look forward to James’s list with interest, not to mention incredulity.

  12. @Nicholas thanks for the update on Renay’s base.

    4) Yeah, I’d have thought the volunteers would have had membership comped or some such, but apparently not.

  13. For my own contribution to “Five That Shouldn’t Be Forgotten” here are the most obscure SFF books that I have listed as among my favorites, according to Goodreads. None has more than 200 ratings. By comparison, the most popular book on Goodreads I have listed among my favorites, The Hunger Games, has 4,940,743 ratings.

    War Birds, by R. M. Meluch (Total Goodreads ratings: 46)
    A novel about the aftermath of one interplanetary war and the build-up to the next one, touching on culture clash, first contact, fear of the other, and the existential dangers of a technological arms race. Meluch took her writing to the next level with this 1989 tour de force space opera, and it shouldn’t be forgotten.

    The Maerlande Chronicles by Elisabeth Vonarburg (Total Goodreads ratings: 153)
    How is this masterpiece of Canadian SF so obscure, according to Goodreads? Perhaps because it was originally available only in French? But a great translation is now available, so there’s no excuse. Although technically a sequel to 1981’s The Silent CIty, this 1992 far-future post-apocalyptic novel stands on its own quite well. Cultural change occurs in a matriarchal society where women vastly outnumber men. One of the best depictions I have ever read of how cultural shifts actually happen, plus a riveting plot and characters. Don’t forget it!

    All the Colors of Darkness by Lloyd Biggle Jr. (Total Goodreads ratings: 155)
    This one comes from 1963. When humans finally develop practical teleportation, they attract the hostile attention of aliens. It falls to one man, held captive on the moon, to convince them that humans aren’t awful. A great piece from an SF master who deserves a wider reputation.

    The Masters of Solitude / Wintermind by Parke Godwin and Marvin Kaye
    (Total Goodreads ratings: 163 and 71, respectively)
    The first two books of a planned trilogy that was sadly never completed, but enough is explored and enough plotlines are wrapped up in these rich, complex novels from 1978 and 1982 that you might not care — I didn’t. Another post-apocalyptic setting, another set of novels about change; when the “barbarians” of the outer world finally begin talking with the technologically advanced inhabitants of The City, both find themselves altered. There’s so much to these!

    The Wine of Violence by James K. Morrow (Total Goodreads ratings: 179)
    Can this really be obscure? Can James K. Morrow’s first novel, and one of his finest, really be falling down the memory hole? Say it isn’t so! When a spaceship crash lands on a harsh planet, they find a utopia whose inhabitants are incapable of murder, assault, or aggression. But that utopia is under threat from external enemies … and from the novel’s protagonists. A true classic from 1981.

  14. 4) I didn’t volunteer for this Worldcon (apart from setting up my exhibit), because it was a reason to spend more time with my father, but I kind of missed it. Makes me think about what I could do to help out on future Worldcons.

    I do think it is much more challenging to put up a con with people from 60 nationalities and try to minimize frictions than doing it the Finnish way were there is not as much adherence to the “politically correct” as there is in Sweden (as an example). But I wonder who that “extreme pro-violence person” was?

    Anyhow, I am deeply grateful for all the work of Eturautti and I do think a dead dog party exclusively for the staff is a great idea.

  15. @Lurkertype: not forgetting of course that DC/Vertigo won a Hugo just last year for Sandman: Overture. Or rather, Sandman: Overture won a Hugo and is published by DC/Vertigo. I mean, after all it’s about the book, not the writer or the publisher.

  16. @Kyra: I’m taking notes, but will chime in to say a quick “yay!” for Lloyd Biggle and the Jan Darzek books – I discovered them through the third one (This Darkening Universe) and then backtracked to All the Colors of Darkness. Definitely needs to be pulled out of the memory hole.

  17. Nicholas Whyte, thanks for the blog entry. I enjoyed it very much, and look forward to the next.

    (And if I ever call you Nick, please forgive me – I knew a Nick White years ago.)

  18. @Kyra @Steve Wright: My favorite of Biggle’s Jan Darzek books (despite its lackluster title) is Silence is Deadly, which I think was also the last of them.

    But I would rank The World Menders as his greatest novel: an absolute masterpiece of sociological SF which, sadly, has been all but forgotten.

  19. 4 & Kathodus & Weimer: we used to get some of that. At Suncon (77, Miami) there was food of varying quantities and varieties delivered to the gopher crash room, which was also available to staff to sleep in; had to pay for my membership tho and I do remember tagging along on a trip to Bonanza or some such so I could raid the salad bar (for free) (but that might have been another con).

    I DO recall some news bits about Helsinki receiving some kind of governmental support.

    But, in general, I’m not surprised by this as it is the way it has always been: I work one con (panels) where I am usually comped membership, but then I’m part of the entertainment at that point (and try to earn that comp).

    In a perfect world, all staff would get paid: comped or partially subsidized membership (related to work hours/position); several suites (multiple beds) reserved for casual crash space for staff; one staff meal a day (minimum), maybe even some form of travel stipend (at least work with a single airline group and get a reduced rate for any ticket purchased through the program).

    On the other hand: At the Sasquan website, I could 550+ staff positions listed. There is some overlap, but probably not 50 overlaps. 500 Staff at $240 membership per is $120,000 in membership fees. BIG budget hit. Figure bulk-buying for meals at oh, a generous $7 per; Five days, five meals = 17k. rooms, part of the negotiation, airfare, what? $500 average per ticket? That’s another quarter of a million

    Without subsidy, I just don’t think it is in the budget. To be safe and really do it up right for staff, it looks like you’d need about 350 to 500K.

    Sasquan generated approx 1.2 million from attending memberships. They’d have needed another 2000+ attending memberships sold.

  20. I’m happy to volunteer (did I give anyone a badge?) but like to be doing MIMO stuff and registration so that I can then get on and enjoy the con.
    A staff/volunteer Dead Dog would be a nice idea. The one thing I thought Helsinki slipped up on was a general failure to grasp that people would be looking for parties at the con and not all heading back home or moving into town. Wednesday night for example there were 2 bar staff. The Dead Dog was overflowing within 30 minutes.

  21. (3) Note, Torsten Adair’s analysis of the Best Graphic Novel winner in “The 2017 Hugo Awards: No Dogs Allowed” at Comics Beat (cited and excerpted above in the scroll) includes this:

    Most voted against the slated entries.

    I didn’t see any place to vote “against,” per se. There were many entries that I didn’t vote for, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I was voting against them.

  22. (4) again: The blog post is in English but the rest is Finnish so if it’s possible to comment there I don’t know how.
    The Tech, at least as used for Registration was superb. I’ve done the job at a couple of Eastercons and now two Worldcons and this was easily the best.

  23. @ contrarius, lurkertype:

    Re: Kim Poor, it’s my understanding that he had MJD Ataxia. The following links will fill in the details.

    I have Cerebral Palsy and one of the three primary types is ataxic. Lucky soul that I am, I drew “mixed”, which means I display a mix of the characteristics of all three, though I’m primarily spastic.

    MJD Ataxia isn’t pleasant.

    https://www.gofundme.com/spacefest

    https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Machado-Joseph-Disease-Fact-Sheet

    Scroll down the GoFundMe page, as the Poors describe his condition toward the end.

  24. @Robert —

    “Re: Kim Poor, it’s my understanding that he had MJD Ataxia. The following links will fill in the details.”

    Ha — thanks. Further illustrating the point that just saying “ataxia” doesn’t actually narrow down the cause of death much.

    Thanks again for clarifying. And, again, of course it’s none of my business — I just get inordinately curious about puzzles like this.

  25. @kathodus / @Paul Weimer: at least in the US, the Worldcon custom that I’ve seen is to reimburse membership purchase cost (and sometimes other costs, such as room-nights outside the days the convention was running) for people who do significant work (at varying levels); regionals commonly provide a comp for next year, since they can obligate their successors while Worldcons can’t. Both typically provide some food and/or lounge space for staff during the convention. (My last two Worldcons were 2013 and 2015; both provided serious food, but I don’t know how much negotiation-with-hotels this took, or whether there’s the tradition and the room for negotiation at east-of-the-Atlantic conventions; I specifically remember Smofcon on Jersey providing sitdown lunches because a US-style consuite wasn’t negotiable.)

    I can’t speak rigorously for everyone on this, but ISTM that the old ethos was some combination of
    * It’s fun doing something worthwhile with friends;
    * paying it forward (even before this idea was clearly enunciated).
    There’s some argument that this no longer holds due to costs going up faster than income (and some pushback on this — I’ve heard something perilously close to “Let them eat cake!” from a senior fan sufficiently sociopathic that I don’t expect them to think better). There are also counterexamples from what I loosely call commercial conventions — but IMO they’re a very different case.

    Given membership rollovers, I suspect a lot of US regionals can be done very cheaply by people willing/able to commute and work, given the hours that food is available in the staff lounge (and sometimes the con suite); Worldcons are very different in both staff needs and costs (e.g., facilities).

    @steve davidson: Your arithmetic is off; a large fraction of the listed workers (at Sasquan or any other Worldcon I’m familiar with) were signed up early, so rebating/comping them costs much less than $240 per. Sasquan also was a bit more generous in supporting worker costs than other Worldcons, due to the huge influx of supporting memberships in response to Puppygate; however, a lot of that was distributed to other budgets (e.g., I got money for aisle carpets in the exhibit hall — decoration, guidance for people trying to find things in a deliberate jumble, and a bit easier on the feet than raw concrete). It was nice to have the money when we could plan to do something with it — always an issue with at-the-doors, which most Worldcons are wisely conservative about.

  26. @Steve Davidson and @Chip Hitchcock – Thanks for the input. I’ve been curious about that for a while. I’ve only been to comic conventions (Wondercon, the Alternative Press Expo, and SD Comic-con, mainly). I’m seriously considering either attending the next Baycon or the next Worldcon in the SF Bay Area to see how the old school conventions work.

    I can also see volunteering as a way to have something to do. I’ve seen a lot of people discussing the problem of being new to a convention and not knowing anyone – how lonely and awkward that can be. Working in some official capacity seems like a way to get to know people a little bit.

  27. @kathodus, those are a big part of the reason I work. I have a tendency to stay in my room if I haven’t made a commitment to be somewhere, out of sheer overwhelmedness, and having a role to play makes it easier to talk to people. (This is probably also why I’m bad at showing up to filer get-togethers, though being hard-of-hearing is also a factor.) Over time I start to feel more comfortable with the people I am working with. I seem to have a sort of impostor syndrome about people wanting to spend time with me. But I know I am good at the work, and valuable at what I do, and I feel so much better when I am contributing!

  28. I remember that Bucconeer (my first Worldcon) was very generous about comping people – I participated in one program item (and had a huge amount of fun, by the way), and got a partial comping of my membership (some months after the con), which I was totally not expecting.

  29. “Left a Worldcon and Seventeen pixels in
    Scrolling condition with nothing but Godstalking Left”

  30. Start out scrollin but I’ll take my time,
    Friend of the pixels is a friend of mine….

  31. OK, my five authors not to be forgotten (list subject to sudden change without notice). I tried to pick authors who were no longer with us, whose works are still under copyright (meaning we likely won’t be seeing Kindle editions of dubious provenance any time soon) and whose catalog is currently mostly or entirely out of print. In no particular order:

    1. Jo Clayton — yes, Open Road did reissue some of her titles recently, but plenty more remains
    2. Jane Gaskell — the Atlan series, of course
    3. Fletcher Pratt — The Blue Star, Well of the Unicorn, etc.
    4. James Tiptree, Jr. — as far as I can tell, her only current titles in print are Brightness Falls from the Air and Her Smoke Rose Up Forever — or is that a sufficiently representative sampling?
    5. Elizabeth Willey — OK, she’s still alive, but her books have been out of print since the 1990s.

    (I was originally going to include Joy Chant, but then I discovered that she’s actually alive as well, and has at least one of her books — The High Kings — up on Kindle.)

  32. @Mike Glyer — Having some kind of weird trouble sending e-mail right now. The answer to the question you sent me is: Sure, that’d be fine!

  33. as far as I can tell, her only current titles in print are Brightness Falls from the Air and Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

    Nearly all of her work is available as ebooks, though — I think Meet Me At Infinity is the only omission there.

  34. @James — Link? I was checking on the US Amazon Kindle store and didn’t find much, although it’s quite possible I was missing something.

  35. @Xtifr: good one!

    @Joe H: I’m also a Willey fan; I especially liked how A Sorcerer and a Gentleman didn’t having facile sorting into heroes and villains (IME a common defect even of respected fantasy). I don’t know whether these didn’t sell well enough for anyone to buy later manuscripts, or she just stopped writing. The Blue Star is also an excellent suggestion; the antagonists pulling the protagonist every which way are easy to map to the writer’s contemporaries, but (as in 1984) that doesn’t make the book any less relevant now — and there’s a real story, almost a bildungsroman, for the politics to be a background to.

  36. Link? I was checking on the US Amazon Kindle store and didn’t find much

    This is the search I did there — I see other work mixed in with hers, but most of her books are there.

  37. I enjoy Pratt quite a bit, nonfiction and fiction alike, and I think The Blue Star and The Well of the Unicorn are excellent works, but both contain a certain amount of homophobia. The Blue Star is a bit more nuanced: one gay character is presented somewhat sympathetically, and a strongly homophobic society is presented negatively in other ways as well, but some parts of The Well of the Unicorn are downright ugly in this respect. Just be warned, if you decide to read them.

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