File 770 Destroys Poetry

File 770 commenters changed rhymes sublime and took a beater to the metre in yesterday’s spontaneous parody party.

ULTRAGOTHA bites This Is Just To Say

This Is Just To Say
I have consumed
the pixels
that were in
the scroll

and which
you were probably
posting
for news

Forgive me
they were delectable
so interesting
and so bold

RedWombat plucks The Raven

Once upon a laptop blurry, while I pondered, weak and bleary,
Over many a quaint and curious pixel of forgotten scroll—
While I nodded, nearly Skyping, suddenly there came a typing,
As of some one faintly sniping, sniping at the pixel scroll.
“’Tis some commenter,” I muttered, “sniping at my pixel scroll—
Only this and nothing mo’.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was the month after December;
And each separate dying ember of a flame war guttered forth fifth.
Reluctantly I saw the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
More time for reading’s surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the loss of myth—
For the rare and radiant Hugo whom the fans award to myth—
No award for pups and kith.

Bruce Baugh capitalizes on e. e. cummings

pity this busy monster, fanunfandom,

not. Blogging is a comfortable disease:
your victim (news and comfort safely beyond)

plays with the postness of his his blogness
— electrons deify one new item
into a mountainrange; pingback extend
unwish through curving wherewhen till uncomment
returns on its unself.
A world of made
is not a world of born — pity poor blogger

and dragons, poor brackets and reviews, but never this
fine specimen of hypermagical

ultraomnipotence. We commenters know
a hopeless case if — listen: there’s a hell
of a good blog next door; let’s go

Jim Henley destroys a Basho haiku

Vile hive
A scroll drops in
Without a pixel

Kip W changes the stripes on The Tyger

Pyxel! Pyxel! Scrolling fast
In the hives of columns past!
What dread buttons, what dread fans,
Dare dight the thoughts your maker scans!

RedWombat dismounts a Kobayashi Issa haiku

O Pixel!
Climb Mt. File 770
But slowly, slowly.

bloodstone75 carries off The Red Wheelbarrow

So much depends
upon

a fine scrolled
pixel

glazed with troll
nonsense

beside the cruel
brackets

Kip W disassembles Naming of Parts

Today we have scrolling of pixels. Yesterday,
We had spaceship coveting. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have several cascades of puns. But to-day,
To-day we have scrolling of pixels.

Bruce Baugh condenses Prufrock

In the dealer room the SJWs come and go
Speaking of Scalzi and of Hugo
I do not think they will vote for me.

Jonathan Edelstein sabers The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a scroll, half a scroll
Onward to destiny;
All in the valley of trolls
Wrote the sev’n seventy.
“Essays by Beale I spy!
Time for some snark,” say I:
Into the valley of trolls
Wrote the sev’n seventy.

Puppies are here to stay:
Greet they that with dismay?
Not though they see today
Months more of enmity:
Theirs not to look for sense,
Theirs but to make defense,
Guarding an art immense,
Into the valley of trolls
Wrote the sev’n seventy.

Puppies to right of them,
Puppies to left of them,
Puppies in front of them
Thunder’d unpleasantly:
Storm’d at with insults vile
Stood they with wit and style,
Into the culture wars,
There at the Hugos’ doors
Wrote the sev’n seventy.

Flash’d all their keystrokes swift
Flash’d as they gave short shrift
To those who spurn’d the gift
Cleaning the slate of them
And then, incredibly,
Once silent, they were now
Join’d by a common vow;
Sads and the Rabids
Reel’d from the ballots cast
Driven to entropy:
They were not overwhelmed
Not the sev’n seventy.

Puppies to right of them,
Puppies to left of them,
Puppies behind them
Thunder’d unpleasantly:
Label’d and curs’d apace
Stood they with wit and grace:
They that had won the race
Came thro’ with no awards
Back to the art’s embrace
Now even more of them
More than sev’n seventy.

When can their glory fade?
O the defense they made!
And again presently:
As Rabids now crusade
Honor the fan brigade:
Noble sev’n seventy!

Cally fires a clip at Hiawatha, on the way to Jerusalem

By the shores of the Pacific,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water
Scroll the pixels of Mike Glyer
Host of File 770, Glyer.

***

And did those scrolls in pixeled times
Talk about Fandom’s hopes and dreams?
And were the fans, and authors too,
On Worldcon’s pleasant panels seen?

And did the Hugo winners float
The rest of Worldcon on a cloud?
And Hugo losers truly say
The nomination made them proud?

Bring me my nomination form!
Bring me my list of what I love!
Let no one tell me how to vote;
My socks will orbit up above!

I will not yield to childish taunts,
Nor let a slate make choices less.
And we shall celebrate the works
That Worldcon fans think are the best!

Jim Henley destroys The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Some for the pixels of this scroll; and some
Sigh for the bracket tournaments to come;
Ah, take the filk and let the facecloths go,
Nor heed the rumble of the slates to come.

–From The Rubaiyat of Camestros Felapton.

ULTRAGOTHA immures Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a Hugo,
That sends the frozen-distain to destroy it,
And scoffs at the stories writ by Other,
And misconstrues even clear basic prose.
The work of puppies is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one word upon a word,
But they would beat the dinosaur with a tire iron,
To please the yelping dogs. The awards I mean,
Puppies have not created them or helped them become,
But at spring nominating-time we find them ripped apart.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to read the stories
And love the prose within covers once again.
We share the books between us as we go.
To each the narrative joy that has fallen to each.
And some are flash and some so nearly epics
We have to use a spell to set them right:
‘Stay as you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our eyes sore with reading them.
Oh, just another kind of well-loved game,
With no sides. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the Hugo:
He is all Fantasy and I am Military Fiction.
My Ray Guns will never fire across
And lay waste the magic in his books, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good genre make good neighbors’.

Ultra Frost

Camestros Felapton toots Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

Childe Pixel to the Dark Scroll Came – with apologies to Robert Browning

MY first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary blogger, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the working of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pix’ld and scroll’d
Its edge, at one more victim gain’d thereby.

What else should he be set for, with his posts?
What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
All fannish-readers who might find him posting there,
And ask the net? I guess’d what skull-like laugh
Would break, what crutch ’gin write my epitaph
For pastime in that dusty cyberwar,

If at his counsel I should turn aside
Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
Hides the Dark Scroll. Yet acquiescingly
I did turn as he pointed: neither pride
Nor hope rekindling at the end descried,
So much as gladness that some end might be.

For, what with my whole world-wide-web wandering,
What with my search drawn out thro’ years, my hope
Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
With that obstreperous joy success would bring,—
I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
My heart made, finding failure in its scope.

There the filers stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more comment! in a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew “Childe Pixel to the Dark Scroll came.”

Camestros Felapton plows under Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

An Australian’s Elegy on a US Blog Comment Section (with apologies to Thomas Gray)

The Glyer scrolls the pixel of the parting day,
The filking herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The comments homeward plod their weary way,
And leaves half the world to darkness and to me.

Kyra rolls up The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The Lovescroll of J. Alfred Pixel

Let us scroll then, you and I,
Where the pixels are spread out before the eye
Like a screenshot rasterized in nested tables;
Let us link to certain half-demented posts,
And make nostalgic toasts
To restless nights in three-night con hotels
And xeroxed RPGs with broken spells
(Spells that always cause a tedious argument
About authorial intent
And lead you to an underwhelming session —
So do not ask, “How’s that work?”
Just accept it’s mostly hackwork.)

In the scroll the pixels come and go
Talking of Attanasio.

The shallow blog that made a linkback to the Windows screen,
The shallow troll that tried to puzzle out the Windows screen,
Flicked its post into the corners of the comments,
Lingered so it could afterwards complain,
Attempted to backtrack the statements it had uttered,
Slipped in an insult, made a sudden pounce,
And seeing that it was trapped in moderation,
Snarled once about the host, and did a flounce.

After that, there is downtime
From the shallow troll that slides along the blog,
Rubbing its ick upon the Windows screen;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a post to meet the filers that you meet;
There will be time to edit and create,
And time for all the filks for all the fans
That lift and drop a poem on your plate;
Time for you and time for me —
Five minutes for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the finish of the post you see.

In the scroll the pixels come and go
Talking of Sergey Lukyanenko.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Did that rhyme?” and, “Was that worse?”
Time to look back and to soundly curse
At the lame spot in the middle of my verse —
(They will say: “How the verse is past its prime!”)
My meter and my word choice hewing strictly to the rhyme,
My subject apropos with substitutions made at fitting times —
(They will say: “A self-indulgent waste of time!”)
Do I dare
Disturb this classic verse?
In five minutes there’s no time
For decisions and revisions, and past that there’s no reverse.

For I have scrolled them all already, scrolled them all:
Have scrolled in evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my energy in spoons;
I have seen attack ships dying with a dying flare
Above the shoulder of a larger meme
(And glittering C-beams.)

For I have read the books already, read them all—
Books that transfix you with a fascinating phrase,
And when I am fascinated, reading through LeGuin,
When I am pinned and marveling at it all,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all my counterfeit and skim-milk filk?
And how should I presume?

And I have seen the films already, seen them all—
Films that are magical and finely wrought
(But in the daylight, full of holes in plot.)
Are there spoilers I have seen
Disguised in rot13?
Films that spin a timeless fable with a slanted starting crawl..
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dawn through SF brackets
And watched the votes that come out with the gripes
Of grumpy fans with Feelings, raving about God Stalk? …

I should have banned anthologies, because.
I should have crowdsourced long before round three.

And the pixel scroll, the comments, blog so peacefully!
Smoothed by Mike Glyer,
Relaxed … soothing … or do they tire,
Stretching the page, typed out by you and me.
Do I, as I feel my zeal diminish,
Have the strength to force this filking to the finish?
For though I have tried to keep myself inspired,
Though I have seen my rhymes (grown slightly weak) grow longer with each posting,
I am no poet, and make no great boasting;
I have seen the moment of my bedtime nearing,
And I have seen a comfy blanket temptingly appearing,
And in short, I’m really tired.

bloodstone75 multiplies Sonnet 18

Sonnet 770

Shall I compare this to a nutty tale?
Thou art too pink and poofy in thy prose.
Oh dear, thy hero isn’t even male;
Why must thee push thy dogma up my nose?

Sometime too loud the message fiction shrills
And often is thy plotting sadly dim
In service to thy listing of the ills
That needs must always stem from He and Him.

No, thy eternal grievance shall not fade
Nor wilt thou cease from ruining the gen’re,
‘Til ev’ry con and imprint you invade
Be stripped of fun and manliness and hon’r.

So long as men can type, thine eyes will frown,
And thou wilt work to keep the straight man down.

Kip W. tackles Tichborne’s Elegy

My scroll of pixels is but a flash of suns,
My slate of tales is but a mess of mutts,
My hive of wits is but a mash of puns,
And all my squirreling is but food for nuts;
The game is on, yet I did not pass Go,
And now I tell you what I do not show.

My thread is over, but yet it was not run,
My bows were taken, yet no curtain fell,
My jokes were told, but only half in fun,
And my Farmers did not come from Dell;
The game runs still, over top and below,
And now I tell you, and now you know.

I sought for life and found it on the page,
I looked for laughs and found them in the posts,
I tried to rhyme, for it was all the rage,
And now I’m haunted by great poets’ ghosts;
The glass is crack’d, and out the verses flow,
You’ve told me yours; here’s my quid pro quo.

Jim Henley plays Abbot to Elvis Costello

Welcome to the Pixel Scroll

Now that your fifth is in the roundup being SFnally admired and you can
troll anyone that you have ever desired
All you gotta tell me now is why why why why

Welcome to the pixel scroll
Oh I know that we file ya
because we are vile yeah
Welcome to the pixel scroll
The way it’s dated maybe grated
but at least it’s not slated

We wish our favorites somehow could have survived
Hartwell and Bowie maybe both might still arrive
along with Alan Rickman, and give us all high fives

Welcome to the pixel scroll
Oh I know that we file ya
because we are vile yeah
Welcome to the pixel scroll
The way it’s dated maybe grated
but at least it’s not slated

I heard you sayin’ even Puppies are fine
if they talk about their favorite books
Spend all your money on your TBR
cause you can’t resist the impulse to look

Sometimes I wonder who is really a Trufan
Why’d I break your bracket-heart when I
Rejected miniseries out of hand

Welcome to the pixel scroll
Oh I Welcome to the pixel scroll

Recommended Genre Work with Mature/Older Protagonists

Compiled by Dawn Sabados: When Bruce Baugh requested recommendations of sf, fantasy and horror with mature/older protagonists (“Sing, o muse, of stories about people in their forties and beyond”) the harvest was plentiful.

Dawn Sabados has turned the lot into another GoodReads list she titled, in a burst of misguided enthusiasm, “A vile and cowardly ort of feces recommends mature protagonists”.

Dawn also briefly explained a couple of points in an email —

Now that I know I can only add 100 titles, I did skimp a bit. I only add three Discworld books.

Someone else will have to make the spy thriller one, though. I’m not willing to put my name on a list of stuff “as good as le Carre.”

Furface Tension 6/26

aka A Puppy Thing Happened on the Way to the INB Performing Arts Center

Although the roundups generally copy little material from the File 770 comment section, it is heavily represented today. The roll call includes: L.E. Modesitt Jr., Lee Wise, Vox Day, Lela E. Buis, Bruce Baugh, Kary English, Lis Carey, Spacefaring Kitten, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, Dave Weingart, Christopher Chupik, Declan Finn, Kyra, and a few Shy Others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Paul Oldroyd and  ULTRAGOTHA.)

 L.E. Modesitt Jr.

“The Illusion of Social Media” – June 26

One of the great benefits touted by exponents of social media is that it brings people together. It does indeed, but each social media group brings together only those sharing similar views.

A good example of this lies in the “sad puppies/rabid puppies” kerfuffle involving “slate voting” to determine the nominees for the annual World Science fiction awards. The situation continues and appears to be getting increasingly acrimonious, with partisans on each side making declarations and demands, and even threatening the boycott of the books of one major F&SF publisher because of the intemperate comments of two employees on social media.

From what I can tell, this acrimony likely involves at most perhaps several thousand individuals, and probably less than a few hundred who are deeply involved and committed… and who feel that the entire literary “culture” of fantasy and science fiction is threatened in one way or another, with the “liberal” side declaring that “traditional” F&SF is the bastion of old white males who embody all of those stereotypes, and the “sad/rabid puppy” side declaring that the liberals have hijacked F&SF into everything they detest, including novels that focus on multi-culturalism, gender diversity, extreme environmentalism, etc. Each side is industriously employing social media to assail the other.

The truth is that F&SF is big enough for both sides, and in fact is far bigger than either…..

 

Lee Wise on Lee’s Blog

“They came for the fen…” – June 26

….And then I learned that Gallo and her ilk were claiming that all emails objecting to her libel and that of other senior people at Tor were being generated by bots. Peter Grant requested that people email several people at Tor and their parent company Macmillan, copy to him, to prove that real people were emailing.

So I did. For the first time in my life, I emailed a company. And you know what I got back?

*crickets*

Neither Tor nor Macmillan so much as acknowledges emails on the subject. They could have — and one would have expected them to have — a bot of their own that acknowledged your email and thanked you for your input. It needn’t have any reference to what you actually wrote. But they didn’t even bother with that.

So, Peter Grant called for a boycott of Tor. It will be fairly difficult for me to boycott Tor since they haven’t been publishing much of anything that I care to read anyway. Gallo and her ilk are undoubtedly responsible for this. Still, I’m being careful these days. I spent $66.91 on ebooks last Saturday — pretty standard — but none of them came from Tor.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Fire Irene Gallo” – June 26

The continued refusal of Tor Books to hold Irene Gallo responsible for her actions demonstrates that labeling Tor’s customers “racist neo-Nazis” and Tor’s own books “bad-to-reprehensible” is observably acceptable to its management, no matter what feeble protests Tom Doherty may offer.

 

Lela E. Buis

“No such thing as bad publicity…” – June 25

I’ve read some posts to the effect that this is the most entertaining Hugo season ever. We now see how the bad press is playing out. Because of the brouhaha, many more people now know that there is a Hugo Award for science fiction and/or fantasy. WorldCon is busting at the seams, and supporting memberships are going like hotcakes. People are busy reading and reviewing the nominations. Do you suppose the Nebula’s could arrange for Vox Day to game their system next year? Nevermind, just kidding.

A few blogs back, I did suggest that Day was in marketing mode with this Rabid Puppies scheme. His name has been up there in the lights for weeks now. The interesting thing is, so has the Hugo Awards, WorldCon, Tor Books, Irene Gallo, Moshe Feder and Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. I’d be willing to bet Tor comes out with a little spike in sales.

 

Bruce Baugh on Obsidian Wings

“On accusations of *-ism and prejudice” – June 26

[Promoted from a File 770  comment to a standalone blog post.]

….Other people believe that we never altogether escape our legacies, and that they include a bunch of ugly screwed-up stuff as well as good things. We can — and should — aim to do better, but perfection isn’t attainable, and we are likely to do small harms (and sometimes larger ones) all the time. Sometimes it’s through ignorance, sometimes it’s through laziness and unwillingness to change the habits that give hurt, usually it’s a fair dose of both. In this view, dishing out harm is a routine though unwelcome part of life, and it’s no great achievement — but also no great burden, really — to respond by acknowledging it, apologizing, seeing what you can do to repair things, and then working to not do that particular one again. As Huey Lewis put it once, “All I want from tomorrow / is to get it better than today.”

This view is more common among people who are “marked”: those who are hyphenated Americans, who will have to say something to avoid incorrect assumptions about the sex or gender of their loved ones, who can expect to be called a “lady X” instead of just “an X”, and so on. They have more experience of being on the receiving end of a lot of unintended but nonetheless genuinely hurtful junk, and of seeing other deny responsibility for the hurt they’ve given. They see too how even when dealing with their own friends, family, and peers, disparaging attitudes about their kind can slip in and color what they do. (This is what “internalized” bigotry means: believing crap about yourself and people like you, and treating yourself or others like you the way people with social advantages over you are prone to.)

In my view, the second approach is vastly more realistic. We do all screw up a bunch all the time. Nobody can go through life constantly apologizing…but we can go through life recognizing that we do things worth apologizing for all the time, and try to do better. We can be humble about our limitations….

 

Kary English in a comment on File 770 – June 26

[“Kary’s apology” included at her request.]

I also wish people like Brad, Larry and other SP notables would come out and say “Hey, this* isn’t what we intended or what we hoped would happen. We’re sorry the whole thing has become such a mess.” (*where “this” means locking up the ballot and shutting out other works)

I don’t consider myself a spokesperson for the SP, or even an SP notable, but I’ll say it. I never got involved in this with any idea that I’d even make the ballot, much less that VD would run his own campaign or that there would be a ballot sweep. If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have participated. To the extent that I’ve been part of that, even unknowingly, I apologize.

It seems I can’t say anything remotely in that vein without someone saying that if I truly thought that, I would withdraw. I’ve already given my reasons for not withdrawing, but I’ll mention again that a large part of it is not giving Vox Day the satisfaction.

All that stuff about nominating liberals just to watch them self-flagellate and see how fast they withdraw? I’m not his marionette, and I won’t dance to his tune. He set us up to be targets, just like he set up Irene Gallo. I’m not giving in to Vox Day.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier, screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)” – June 26

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form 2015 Hugo nominee

Captain America fights Hydra and confronts the deadly Hydra agent the Winter Soldier, who turns out to be [spoiler]….

The level of violence was too high for me to fully enjoy the Neat Superhero Stuff, though.

Overall, not really my cup of tea.

 

Reading SFF

“2015 Hugo Awards Reading: The Parliament of Beasts and Birds – John C. Wright (Short Story)” – June 26

Concerning the story: I was not impressed. It seems to be a religious (christian) parable of some kind and, adding to the annoyance over the vocab, I have the distinct impression that JCW is showing off how smart he is. I bet there are a bunch of references that I do not get because of how dumb and uneducated I am and didn’t do my bible studies diligently enough. (Or ever 😉 ). So now everyone knows that JCW is able to actively use a lot of randgruppen** words, knows his christian mysticism and is so very educated.

As you can see, the story’s prose and style annoyed so much that I barely was able to follow the actual story. Can’t be much good then. I didn’t like it.

 

TPI’s Reading Diary

“My Hugo award votes 2015 part 3 – Novellas” – June 25

[Reviews all five nominees.]

“Pale Realms of Shade”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House) The story starts as a sort of supernatural thriller. A detective has been murdered and his ghost has been waked up. His wife wishes that he should reveal his murderer and rule out the suicide in order to release the insurance compensation. (I wonder how the suicide is even suspected as apparently the victim was shot several times). He then meets temptations before finally he gets an atonement. The first few chapters offered some promise – the writing was slightly clumsy, but the premise as itself seemed interesting. Alas, the story went from below average to mediocre and eventually to ridiculously bad. The writing was clumsy, there were sentences like this: “Sly had come across the dead body of a man who had — let’s be frank with this now — I rode him pretty hard some times.”. What does that even mean? The plot went from allegorical to pounding heavy-handed religion with a sledgehammer. What we learn from this story: a freethinker is about same thing as a devil worshipper. One of the worst things I have read.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Happy Kittens

“Groundhogs in Battle Armor: Edge of Tomorrow” – June 26

Edge of Tomorrow, adapted from Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill, may not stand a change in the Hugo race, because Interstellar was made the same year — and that’s arguably one of the best (if not the best) SFF movies of all time. Still, it’s an enjoyable science fiction film with good storytelling and interesting characters.

 

Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

“Hugo Reading – Graphic Story” – June 26

[Reviews all five nominees.]

The top spot has to go to either Saga or Sex Criminals. I’m more impressed with what Saga managed to do in what is clearly a single volume of a long ongoing story, so I think I’ll probably give the top spot to Saga and the second to Sex Criminals. The clear third-place winner is Rat Queens, which is much more amusing than the top two, but just not quite as good. The Ms. Marvel volume is solidly in fourth place while Zombie Nation will take up the rearguard of the five nominees. If I wasn’t a charitable sort, I’d leave Ms. Marvel and Zombie Nation off the ballot entirely. But I’m inclined to include them.

 

 

 

Christopher Chupik in a comment on “How Authors Get Paid Part 2” at Monster Hunter Nation

Sad Puppies Monthly? I’d submit to that. It could be more hated among the SJW crowd than Baen in no time.

 

[Declan Finn is a man of great simplicity of mind.]

 

Kyra in a comment on File 770 – June 26

… Well. Now that I’ve managed to stop crying with joy about the Supreme Court decision for the moment, a brief word about short stories:

A is for Asimov, yes I’m his fan, especially for Bicentennial Man.

B is for Bixby, I read him and squealed; read It’s A Good Life (or end up in the field.)

Collier, genius that nobody knows, I treasure my copy of Evening Primrose.

Delany’s unique, with no mimics or clones; he saw Time As A Helix Of non-high-priced Stones.

Ellison, man of cantankerous bent, knew even a Harlequin has to Repent.

Foster just left, but we haven’t forgot her, and now that it’s Ended, I hope that He Caught Her.

G is for Gaiman, a winner because he scores with as few words as Nicholas Was …

Heinlein’s the standard by which some judge worth; my personal favorite? Green Hills Of Earth.

(I didn’t read any I’s, so I’ll just go with Ing, whose Devil You Don’t Know I guess was a thing?)

J’s for Dianna Wynne Jones, I’ll decide – just take any section out of her Tough Guide.

Keyes left us little, but each word we crave, we all lay our Flowers on Algernon’s grave.

LeGuin has so much that it’s hard to pick one, but I’ll go with Intracom just ’cause it’s fun.

M is for Merrill, who wrote like no other, her work is loved (and not Only by her Mother.)

N is for Niven, grandmaster for real, whose Woman of Kleenex met a Man of Steel.

O is for Orwell, a heck of a fella — and Animal Farm’s, technically, a novella.

Padgett, the union of Kuttner and Moore, who wrote The Proud Robot, which I just adore.

(Quaglia I’ve not read, but now Q’s represented; I’ve heard that his writing is good but demented.)

R is for Russ, and will not be exchanged; when she started writing, well, that’s When It Changed.

Sturgeon’s law states that most everything’s crap, but his Baby is Three neatly sidesteps that trap.

Tiptree, oh Tiptree, the greatest indeed; I ask, Houston, if you’ve skipped her, Do You Read?

U is for Utley, another departed, but Shattering came out as strong as he’d started.

Varley, most everyone knows, is top rank, you just can’t Overdraw from his Memory Bank.

Weinbaum was right there when all of this started and his Martian Odyssey’s still well-regarded.

(X is unknown, but don’t mock it or scoff, put here all the many I had to leave off.)

Yolen’s output is both varied and vast; The Devil’s Arithmetic showed us the past.

Zelazny is here as the final contender; how fitting for Camelot’s Last great Defender.

 

The Bark Between The Stars 5/29

aka If All Puppies Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?

Here in today’s roundup: Martin Wisse, Sarah A. Hoyt, Alexandra Erin, Lela E. Buis, Bruce Baugh, Adam-Troy Castro, Vox Day, Daddy Warpig, Phil Sandifer, Shaun Duke, Spacefaring Kitten, Rebekah Golden, Dave Noonan, Lis Carey, Aziz Poonawalla, Charlie Jane Anders, Natalie Luhrs, and Kyra. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and May Tree – who independently submitted the same item — and Owlmirror.)

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Your writer’s group would not be angry with this” – May 29

That’s the sort of bollocks you hear a lot of science fiction readers talk about, that they want prose that’s transparent, “doesn’t get in the way of the story”, doesn’t demand any attention paid, doesn’t challenge. There’s of course a huge inferiority complex running through parts of science fiction, resulting in the dismissal of everything that smacks of the literary and difficult. That’s what you see here. It’s not bad persé, it’s just a bit unambitious.

And to be honest, the Hugos too often have been that already. There are plenty of middle of the road novels that have been nominated and won it. Do we really need more of that, or do we rather have something a bit more challenging? Cetainly the Puppy nominees aren’t the answers: by all reports they mostly fail even Paulk’s rather low standards.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Pure Gold” – May 29

We know the air of collegiate comradery is a lie, to an extent. Note I said to an extent, and I’ll explain later.

Part of my amusement at the reaction to the whole Sad Puppies thing has been the very same people saying there were never politics in SF being the very same people who once told me that there were rifts I didn’t see in the field and that some people in the early two thousands still didn’t talk to each after arguments over the Vietnam war back in the day.

And anyone who has read Heinlein’s bio knows about the other rifts in fandom and among professionals way back before that, a lot of them political.

But this is to an extent, because to another extent… Well, guys, we’re all pretty weird. We spend our days writing about worlds and futures that don’t exist.

Older son who aspires to medicine (and is engaged in preparation to practice it) tells me that only people with a compulsion to work at healing (and he says it’s a compulsion) understand other people with the same issue. Well, guys… Yeah, same for writers, and to an extent for fans.

I’m not going to tell you that I love all my colleagues. There are many I loathe, many I cordially detest, many I tolerate, and, yes, many I love dearly. Weirdly, this doesn’t rift across political lines (of course, my politics being what they are, they are at best cross-sectional to real world politics) or even correlate to those I like to read. Yeah, curse it, some of the ones I loathe write pretty good stuff. (Shakes fist at great novelist in the sky, who has a sense of humor.)

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“The Puppies come so close to getting it, so often.” – May 28

…I stumbled across a post by Dave Freer from February called “To Serve One Master — The Reader“.

The major thrust of the blog post is the idea that however an author intends a work to be received is secondary to how readers receive it, which… okay. This is something that it’s taken me a long time to accept as an author, but I have to say that I am in general agreement with it.

The thing is, it’s weird to see a self-professed Puppy saying this. After all, these are the same people who, whenever someone starts talking about the racist or sexist content of a work, respond with “BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE AUTHOR MEANT! YOU CAN’T KNOW WHAT’S IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS! YOU’RE JUST READING INTO THINGS!”

 

Lela E. Buis

“Puppy Debate Maxing Out” – May 29

I’ve been involved in work-for-hire for the last couple of weeks, and am just coming up for air. Checking around my virtual environment, I notice the debate about the Hugo’s seems to have gone past the point of raging insults and into slash and burn territory.

This is a process that’s encouraged by the nature of the Internet itself. If this were a space opera, for example, the plot would play out something like this: The Puppies make a raid and take over territory at the Hugo Awards. Because this is considered an aggressive action, defenders of the award would assemble a force to shake them loose. They’d all let fly with photon torpedoes and phaser cannons set to “kill.” If the forces had to resort to hand-to-hand combat, they might bring out their light sabers and go at it in Star Wars style. The result would either be that the Puppies are driven off, or else they prevail and put down roots in their new territory.

The problem with this scenario, of course, is that all the battles are actually virtual. They’re being fought on blogs, websites, Twitter and Amazon accounts and in a few news outlets. This means that there can be no really decisive victory. Defenders of the Hugos can score against the other side with a well-turned phrase, but not really take back the stronghold.

 

Bruce Baugh on Google Plus  – May 28

Kate Paulk will be organizing the Sad Puppies 4 effort for next year’s Hugos, so it’s interesting to see what her creative priorities are. Two things of note, for me…

#1. Her guideline #7, “The prose is invisible.”, seems like a good way to toss out some of sf/f’s best writers, including Vance, Wolfe, Lafferty, and so many others.This line from Jack Vance’s “The Last Castle”, for instance, is delightful and very much visible: “In the end, death came uniformly to all, and all extracted as much satisfaction from their dying as this essentially graceless process could afford.” Prose I stop to admire in delight, or wonder, or the kind of bewilderment that leads to insight is a big part of why I read, and always has been.

#2. There’s nothing on her list about world-building, at all. This isn’t unique to this piece, either. None of the Puppies have much at all to say about world-building. I read sf/f for other places and times just as much for specific characters and stories within them, and one of the things that can make a work great is its setting. But seriously, they just don’t talk about world-building, which seems to me like talking about cooking shows and never wondering how something tastes.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – May 29

…Even if you’re Eric Flint and write exactly the kind of fiction the Puppies like, if you think the Puppies have no case, if you write several blog posts addressing them with logic, if you criticize Brad Torgersen in particular, you are a CHORF guilty of Saul Alinsky tactics and should be subjected to demands for apology.

Can we just make a rule in life that if you invoke the name of an old lefty who has been dead for decades and who is in fact unknown to most people who harbor left-wing beliefs, to attack criticism for crying out loud, you are at best a silly silly person?

 

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Olympian indifference of Johnny Con” – May 29

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich As a white straight male capitalist, I’m happy for @scalzi’s $3.4 million book deal. But how many women/POC are squeezed out because of it?

I had estimated 680 on the basis of other SF publishers’ current initial advances, but I stand corrected. …Tor is funding 13 more John Scalzi books at the opportunity cost of no less than 523 initial advances to new science fiction authors. As a side note, it is informative to see how much initial advances from major publishers have shrunk over time; the advance for my first published novel in 1996 was $20,000.

Those who have thrown hissy fits over Sad Puppies supposedly slate-blocking as many as 12 authors and preventing them from receiving recognition for their work at the Hugo Awards would do well to consider the fact that Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances. Opportunity cost is a bitch, especially when you’re the one upon whose fingers the window of opportunity has closed.

 

Shaun Duke on World in a Satin Bag

“On the Hugo Awards: Two Scholarly-ish Projects to Come (An Announcement)” – May 29

A lot of us in SF/F circles heard of the rumors circulating about the Hugos in the weeks prior to their announcement.  I heard many rumors from some of my friends, and many more circulated (or were revealed as truth) through RP/SP circles and through those with far more industry clout than myself.  Since last year’s Hugo Awards were also controversial, I had the feeling that these rumors were going to indicate a blow-up that we hadn’t yet scene.  And so I turned to a friend of mine for help:  Aaron Beveridge.

Aaron is one of the co-creators of MassMine, along with Nicholas Van Horn. MassMine was created with the intent of helping academics acquire meaningful data from social media platforms (specifically, Twitter).  Their program is pretty complicated, so I’ll let you go to the website and learn all about it (there’s a video and everything!).  Aaron, it turns out, is one of those enthusiastic individuals who believes, as I do, that collaboration is critical to academic work, and so it didn’t take any effort at all to convince him to help me collect data and put together the projects below.

This post serves as an official announcement for the projects that Aaron and I are working on.  These include the following:

1. MassMine-ing the Hugo Awards:  Social Media Reactions and What the Data Tell Us….

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’The Day the World Turned Upside Down’ by Thomas Olde Heuvelt” – May 29

I was pleased that a Lightspeed story made it. It’s a very good magazine that won the semiprozine Hugo last year, after all, and it has published some pretty awesome fiction in 2014 as well. I’m quite sure I nominated two stories from the magazine for the Hugos, plus the whole magazine in the semiprozine category, plus the editor John Joseph Adams in the editor category.

I don’t read absolutely everything LS publishes, though, and Olde Heuvelt’s story was new to me. Naturally, I had some great expectations. Too bad this story let them down.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Single Samurai” – May 29

It’s fairly obvious that Diamond had a vivid image of this story in his head, the problem is that at the end I did not. I think some of this is related to the fact that Diamond so utterly identified with the character he was writing that he did not see the foibles of the character’s personality.

 

Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Semi Pro Zine” – May 29

Wow! A whole category with no Puppy Shit smeared all over it.  I didn’t intend to read these because I did want to read more shitty short stories. So Beneath Ceaseless Skies sat open in my Moon+ for a couple of days before I started reading and then… shock!  The first story was good! The second story is good too!  Holy crap. So I went looking and discovered the Puppies apparently couldn’t find any right-wing nutjob Semi Pro Zines so I may actually get to read some decent stuff. Finger’s crossed.

 

Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Fanzine” – May 29

My notes and rankings for the Best Fanzine category of the 2015 Hugo Awards.

  • Journey Planet
  • Tangent Online
  • The Revenge of Hump Day

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form”  – May 29

I watched all of these movies before I saw them on the Hugo nominations list. They are all good movies, and worth a bit of hard earned down-time to watch. I get to review them without reflexively asking “Would anybody want to watch/read this?”, and get down to the more important business of defining my own personal opinion. All good reviews are subjective because they arise in part from the reviewer’s enjoyment of the subject, and resonate with the reviewer’s reasons for picking up the subject of the review to begin with.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Zombie Nation, by Carter Reid” – May 29

A complete loss, in my opinion.

 

Aziz Poonawalla on Beliefnet

“G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel nominated for Hugo Award — and needs YOUR support”  – May 29

In 2013, Saladin Ahmed’s book Throne of the Crescent Moon was nominated for Best Novel, losing out to John Scalzi’s Redshirts – a tough loss indeed, but a significant honor in its own right. And way back in 1980, Steven Barnes’s The Locusts (co-written with Larry Niven) was nominated for Best Novelette, losing out to George R.R. Martin. There may be other Muslims whose works were nominated that I am overlooking, but to the best of my knowledge no Muslim has ever taken home the iconic Huge Rocket statue.

This year, however, that all could change: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, is nominated for Best Graphic Story. This is huge news and a tremendous recognition by the SF/F community of the cultural, literary, and social impact of Ms. Marvel – which is almost impossible to summarize, but this article at the venerable AV Club magazine is a pretty good primer: “One year later, Ms. Marvel’s influence is felt far beyond the comics page”

 

Charlie Jane Anders on io9

“Someone Will Livetweet Vox Day’s Debut Novel For Charity” – May 29

Before Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was the central figure in the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo Awards hacking, he wrote a series of religious-inspired fantasy novels for Pocket Books. And blogger Natalie Luhrs is going to live-tweet his debut novel, Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, for charity….

 [Update: In case it’s not clear, she will livetweet her reaction to the book, one page per tweet, not the actual text of the book.]

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Bad Life Decisions: Make Me Read Theodore Beale” – May 29

So you can help me raise some money for RAINN (or a charity in your country which does the same sort of work).  For every $5 donated to RAINN, I will read and  live tweet one page of this 399 page delight with the hashtag #readingVD. I’ll also re-publish the tweets and add additional commentary by chapter here at Pretty Terrible–those’ll go up as I finish each chapter (there are 29 chapters in the book, as well as a prologue and an author’s note).

However, I’m not going to read any of it until we’ve raised at least $500–and I’d like to raise that by June 11.  If we manage to raise $2,000 I will read the entirety of Theodore Beale’s Eternal Warriors™: The War in Heaven™.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Rabid Puppies Review Books: HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON” – May 29

harold

Reviewed By Special Guest Reviewer Theophilus Pratt (Publisher — Hymenaeus House)

This instructive tale tells of a young man who all by himself creates a road which he then travels down, makes a mountain which he climbs, then saves himself from falling by conjuring a balloon which he hangs onto until he can bring into being a basket capable of supporting himself. His boundless creativity allows him to shape a whole civilization of buildings until, amusingly, he re-creates the very house he started out from and sleeps the sleep of the just, knowing that everything he has in life was fashioned by his own hand.

Amusingly, this book was sold to me as a work of fantasy when it is in fact the most realistic work of fiction I have ever encountered. If anything, it was too realistic to be fiction, a fact I found very amusing. Flipping through its pages proved to be instructive, as I began to see it was nothing more than a thinly veiled if amusing allegory for my own inimitable life.

Did I not provide myself with the only light I ever needed to walk by, as Harold did? Have I not always made my own road, and even left it when even it proved too stifling to my boundless intellect? Has not my dizzying intellectual magnitude taken me to the height of peaks so high that even I cannot long find purchase upon them? And when I fall, whom do I rely upon to prop myself up except myself?

 

Kyra in a comment on File 770 – May 29

Turning and turning in the widening blog
The puppy cannot hear the puppeteer;
Things fall apart; the Hugos cannot hold;
Mere doggerel is loosed upon the fans,
The canine tide is loosed, and in Spokane
The ceremony of awards is drowned;
The fest lacks all conviction, while the trolls
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some aggravation is at hand;
Surely the Slated Hugos are at hand.
The Slated Hugos! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image of a nominee story
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert prose;
A text with turgid body and an end wholly bland,
A phrase blank and meaningless about guns,
Is moving its dull verbs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant reviewers’ words.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That sixteen nominees in fiction slots
Were read like nightmares in my shaking Kindle,
And what rough book, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Sasquan for its award?

Will the Last Puppy to Leave the Planet Please Shut Off the Sun? 5/14

aka The Puppy Who Sold the Moon

The field for today’s royal rumble includes John C. Wright, Eric Flint, Vox Day, Tom Knighton, Spacefaring Kitten, Wayne Borean, Lis Carey, Lisa J. Goldstein, T.C. McCarthy, Kevin Standlee, Alexandra Erin, Thomas A. Mays, Brandon Kempner, Rick Moen, Peace Is My Middle Name, Bruce Baugh and Damien G. Walter. (Title credit to File 770 contributing editors of the day Whym and Rev. Bob.)

John C. Wright

”Suggested Reading for Sad Puppy Backstory” – May 14

Some of you came in to this theater late, and did not catch the first act.

For those of you puzzled or dazed or disgusted with the goings-on, allow me to provide a partial (and admittedly partial) list of the backstory on Puppy Related Sadness.

From Larry Correia you can get links to his original announcements of Sad Puppies 1,2,and 3. Allow me, at the risk of seeming egomaniacal, of listing only my own contributions to the movement and the columns leading up to it.

[Post includes around a dozen selected links.]

 

Eric Flint

“And Again On The Hugo Awards” – May 14

[Again, just a small excerpt of a long and wide-ranging post.]

I think one side in this dispute is wrong—that’s the side championed by Brad and Larry. I think that, not because I think the Hugo awards don’t have a lot of problems—I do, and I explained those at length in my first essay—but because their analysis of the problem is so wrong as to be downright wrong-headed. But I don’t think they pose a mortal threat to social justice, western civilization, science fiction or even the Hugo awards themselves.

 Why did they launch this brawl and keep pursuing it? Well, I’ve always been a devotee of Napoleon’s dictum: “Never ascribe to malevolence what can be adequately explained by incompetence.” I don’t think there was anything involved except that, driven by the modern American right’s culture of victimization—they are always being persecuted; there’s a war on white men, a war on Christmas (no, worse! a war on Christians themselves!), blah blah blah—they jumped to the conclusion that the reason authors they like weren’t getting Hugo awards or even nominations was because of the Great Leftwing Conspiracy against the righteous led by unnamed Social Justice Warriors—presumably being shuttled around the country in their nefarious plots in black helicopters—and off they went.

If they’d simply said: “We think the Hugos have gotten too skewed against popular authors in favor of literary authors,” there’d have still been a pretty ferocious argument but it never would have reached this level of vituperation.

 But simply stating a problem wasn’t good enough for them. No, following the standard modern right-wing playbook, SOMEBODY MUST BE TO BLAME.

 Enter… the wicked SJWs! (Whoever the hell they are. They’re to blame, dammit.)

 

Vox Day at Vox Popoli

“Islands in a sea of rhetoric” – May 14

I stopped commenting at File 770 as it proved to be another exercise in demonstrating the truth of Aristotle’s dictum about those who cannot be instructed. Give them dialectic and they shamelessly attempt to pick it apart, some honestly, most dishonestly, while constantly declaring that any errors or falsehoods on their part are irrelevant. Give them rhetoric to meet them at their level and they either cry about it or concoct pseudo-dialectic to explain why it’s not valid.

VD: SJWs always lie. SJW: I told the truth once back in 2007. See, you’re totally wrong. Your whole argument is disproved. You are a bad person. DISQUALIFIED!

But the ongoing Hugo coverage still makes for interesting reading, particularly as the few remaining commenters possessing intellectual integrity one-by-one throw up their hands and stop trying to force the relevant facts through the SJW’s cast-iron skulls. A pair of neutrals recounted typical experiences, as one of them juxstaposed his treatment at various Puppy sites versus SF-SJW Central:

 

Tom Knighton

“One problem with the Hugos that will never be solved?” – May 14

I’m sorry, but less than 50 votes got nominations on the ballot?  With such low numbers getting a work nominated, you can tell that there just aren’t that many people nominating.  This puts the fate of the Hugos in the hands of a few, which makes it possible for small groups to have a disproportional impact on the overall Hugos.  Let’s be honest, it’s why Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies were so effective.  Put those exact same groups into a pool of millions, and you’d never notice their impact.

However, back to the subject at hand, you have a handful of people who are essentially deciding who gets nominated for the Hugos, and if they don’t read something, it’s not getting nominated.  What if that handful hasn’t read the Best Book Ever Written yet?  Well, guess who isn’t getting a Hugo nomination?

That’s what almost happened with Three Body Problem this year.  The Puppies just hadn’t read it yet, so it didn’t make either slate.  It’s probably happened a dozen times previously, it’s just that this time there’s far more scrutiny being paid to the process.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“Disagreeing With Brad” – May 14

Because I so thoroughly disagree with Sad Puppy advocates, I’ve been thinking about doing a fisking of some essential Puppy advocate post. Fisking is a thing Larry Correia does sometimes in his blog, and as far as I’ve been able to decipher, what it means is a mean-spirited rebuttal of everything somebody else has written elseweb, line by line. Generally, it seems to involve a great deal of calling other people morons and idiots, but I’ll try to do it without the nasty parts, because I have no desire to be nasty.

An opportunity presented itself when Brad R. Torgersen published a blog post earlier today. In it, he says a lot of things that I don’t agree on. That let’s us, well, disagree.

 

Wayne Borean on Zauberspiegel International

“Hugo Gernsback Still Causing Controversy” – May 15

The Hugo Awards have lost their relevance. You might argue with me about the date I picked (1985), or my view of the Hugos, but you cannot argue with me about the demographics of fandom. We are a bunch of grey haired old folks, and the younger generation isn’t rushing to sit at our feet in awe for some reason.

To fix the problem we have to expand the Hugo Awards, and encourage younger people to get involved.

Yes, I am aware that I’m probably going to really annoy a lot of people by saying this, but we brought this on ourselves. We’ve been too self centered, for far too long.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Day the World Turned Upside Down, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (author), Lia Velt (translator)” – May 14

The story is competently written, but it’s the worst sort of “literary” fictions: Nothing needs to make any sense, and the protagonist is not someone I’m inclined to care about at all, for good or ill. I don’t care what happens to him.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Totaled” – May 14

I liked this story. I am not using “liked” as a euphemism for “reading this did not make me sick”. This story is a worthy Hugo nominee; the first story that has earned that description from amongst what I have so far read of this year nominees. Before I get into what is right with this story I should point out the a couple issues. This story is told through the juxtaposition of communications, but is recalled in near real time to the reader who does not exist in the story. The reader must carefully examine the types of communication; where it originates, how it is read, how the information is stored, even what type of images are implied by the mechanism of communication. However, when it comes to the story itself the reader is expected to unquestioningly act as an omnipotent recording device.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 9: Novelettes” – May 14

[“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart] is so slight, in fact, it could have been about half its size.  The first section, where Keller asks a Peshari artist to make him a tombstone and the artist refuses, might have been cut, and there are other unnecessary parts as well.  (The section gives us some important information about Keller and the Peshari, but that information could be presented in other ways.)  I actually like the idea of studying an enemy’s myths in order to defeat them, but I don’t think the story manages to use it to full advantage.

 

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way of Life

“Fandom Is A Pot-Luck Dinner” – May 13

My metaphor is that Fandom is a Pot-Luck Dinner. We have lots of acquaintances, we all like to eat, and we decide to hold a big pot-luck dinner where we can share our favorite dishes and socialize. We have so many friends and friends-of-friends that none of us owns a barn big enough to hold everyone, so we have to rent the community center. None of us is wealthy enough to do that on our own, so we ask everyone coming to not only bring a dish, but also to kick in part of the cost of renting the hall, plus the tables, chairs, etc. We’re not running a restaurant, and we’re not making a profit, just covering the cost of putting on the event. Some of us volunteer to schlep tables and chairs, others volunteer to wash dishes, and so forth. Everyone brings something. That means some of the food is stuff I personally like, and other stuff I hate. But that’s okay: I eat what I like, and leave the rest for those who like green bean casserole.

Somewhere along the way, we got the idea of voting among ourselves for what the best dishes were. (“Best Appetizer,” “Best Main Course,” “Best Dessert”) And we started holding this big pot-luck in different places so as to share the fun with our far-away friends who couldn’t necessarily make the trip to Our Fair City.

Well, now we’ve got people who started coming to the pot-luck, paying the share of the hall rental, and are angry that we’ve been choosing things they personally hate to eat, and have decided that they want to knock over all of the tables with food they dislike and insist that the rest of us eat that stuff that they personally like, because they say so. It should not be a surprise to them that the rest of us start saying, “I don’t think we want to invite you anymore; you’re making the rest of us very uncomfortable by your anti-social behavior.” They respond with variations of, “I paid my cover charge to your restaurant, and you’re responsible for feeding me things that I like, and to not serve food I don’t like!” and they don’t understand why that response alternately baffles or infuriates the rest of us.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“The Barker and the Big Tent” – May 14

A pair of burly roustabouts flanked each of the gates. As Jake watched, a couple of people were roughly turned away from one. The bouncers’ faces were murderous, while the people they sent packing just looked scared. All the lines got shorter as people saw this and left in apparent disgust or, in some cases, fear.

“Well, lad, that’s where we let everyone in,” the barker said, then repeated, “Everyone is welcome in the Big Tent.” He cupped his hands over his mouth and shouted, “Come one, come all, to the Big Tent! If you believe that any show is a good show as long as it’s entertaining, this is the place for you!”

“So, who were those people, then?” Jake asked.

“Gatekeepers,” the barker said.

“No, I mean the people your gatekeepers turned away.”

Our gatekeepers?” the barker said. He let out a loud, raucous laugh, slapping his knee. “We don’t have gatekeepers, son! This is the Big Tent you’re talking about, and everyone’s welcome in the Big Tent! No, those nice gentlemen are there to keep the gatekeepers out.

 

Thomas A. Mays in a comment on File 770 – May 14

Just a point of order here. I am not “one of the gentlemen on the other side” as Chris Gerrib put it. I have no dog in this hunt. Chris has admitted that he originally had me confused with James May when he called me one of the louder voices on Brad Torgerson’s blog, but it brought him to my book, A Sword Into Darkness. Yeah, a sale!. I’m glad he enjoyed it somewhat, and as it was intended as an homage to some of the mil and hard SF I grew up with, I do understand his charge that it may seem “recycled” or “trope-ish” (though I and my fans don’t necessarily agree). What I don’t understand is why he keeps copying, spreading, or reposting this review around with the misleading intro. It’s a free ‘Net, so he can do as he pleases, but it seems to suggest he has more ideological axes to grind than I do. For the record, I’m a middle of the road guy and a newbie to this industry. I can see and appreciate both perspectives, but believe the rhetoric and vitriol folks keep injecting into the “discussion” may be actively preventing a fair resolution to the issues at hand rather than expediting that resolution. I myself would have loved to have gotten the recognition of being selected for a non-ideological Puppy slate before it all blew up. Now? I get how the anti-puppies feel about the recommendation slate perhaps skewing results, though I’m reserving judgment on whether or not it was bloc voting until after the ballots are revealed. I will not have any part of the No Award movement though, and I’m about halfway through my reading list. I’m looking forward to the Hugos, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Sad Puppies 4 responds to the criticisms of SP3. For all those who wanna check out my non-nominated, but much referred to novel A Sword Into Darkness, it’s for sale now on Amazon and Smashwords. Take care, Tom Mays

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Hugo Award Nomination Ranges, 2006-2015, Part 4” – May 13

Maybe we don’t want to know how the sausage is made. The community is currently placing an enormous amount of weight on the Hugo ballot, but does it deserve such weight? One obvious “fix” is to bring far more voters into the process—lower the supporting membership cost, invite other cons to participate in the Hugo (if you invited some international cons, it could actually be a “World” process every year), add a long-list stage (first round selects 15 works, the next round reduces those 5, then the winner), etc. All of these are difficult to implement, and they would change the nature of the award (more voters = more mainstream/populist choices). Alternatively, you can restrict voting at the nominating stage to make it harder to “game,” either by limiting the number of nominees per ballot or through a more complex voting proposals.

 

Rick Moen in a comment on File 770 – May 13

Con Chair: What happen?
SMOF: Somebody set up us the tail.
Operator: We get spoor.
Con Chair: What!
SMOFr: Main piddle turn on.
Con Chair: It’s You!!
Dogs: How are you, fandom!! All your Hugo are belong to us. You are on the way to SJWdom.
Con Chair: What you say!!
Dogs: You have no chance to nominate make your time. Ha Ha Ha Ha ….
SMOF: Con Chair!!
Con Chair: Take off every “Noah”!! You know what you doing. Move “Noah”. For great justice.

 

Peace Is My Middle Name in a comment on File 770 – May 13

It was a dark and stormy mutt; the rage fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of whinge which swept up the streets (for it is in Spokane that our scene lies), rattling along the hotel-ballrooms, and fiercely agitating the skiffy flames of the fans that struggled against the darkness.

 

Bruce Baugh in a comment on File 770 – May 13

Toward the end of a stormy summer afternoon, with the sun finally breaking out under ragged black rain clouds, Castle Worldcon was overwhelmed and its population destroyed.

Until almost the last moment the factions among the fans were squabbling as to how Destiny properly should be met. The SMOFs of most prestige and account elected to ignore the en­tire undignified circumstance and went about their normal pursuits, with neither more nor less punctilio than usual. A few CHORFs, des­perate to the point of hysteria, took up weapons and prepared to resist the final assault. Others still, perhaps a quarter of the total population, waited passively, ready—almost happy—to expiate the sins of fandom.

In the end death came uniformly to all; and all extracted as much satisfaction in their dying as this essentially graceless process could afford. The letter hacks sat turning the pages of their beautiful zines, or discussing the qualities of a century-old essence, or fondling a fa­vorite Powers cover. They died without deigning to heed the fact. The hot-heads raced up the muddy slope which, outraging all normal rationality, loomed above the parapets of Worldcon. Most were buried under sliding rubble, but a few gained the ridge to blog, hack, tweet, until they themselves were shot, crushed by the half-alive power-wagons, hacked or stabbed. The contrite waited in the classic pos­ture of gafiation, on their knees, heads bowed, and perished, so they believed, by a process in which the Puppies were symbols and fannish sin the reality. In the end all were dead: letterhacks, actifen, faans in the lounges; dealers in the dealer rooms. Of all those who had inhabited Worldcon, only the media fans survived, creatures awkward, gauche and raucous, oblivious to pride and faith, more concerned with the wholeness of their hides than the dignity of their con.

 

Rick Moen in a comment on File 770 – May 13

No one would have believed in the first years of the twenty-first century that the SFF world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences stranger than fen’s and yet as demented as his own; that as fen busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a fan with a mimeograph machine might Letter of Comment about the transient mundanes that swarm and wander in a convention hotel lobby. With infinite complacency fen went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over genre. It is possible that the mundanes in the convention hotel do the same … Yet, across the gulf of the Internet, minds that are like unto our canines, intellects energetic and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this fandom with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. — Not Entirely H.G. Wells, Either