Pixel Scroll 2/3/17 The Pixel That Rowed The Scroll Ashore

(1) ASIMOV ON THE AIR. BBC Radio 4, as part of their 15 Minute Drama series, will be adapting five of the stories from Asimov’s I, Robot. Original broadcasts will run from February 6-10. As usual, episodes will be available for online listening “shortly after broadcast”.

A couple of clips promoting the series are already online –

Scriptwriter Richard Kurti tells us why Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi stories were so remarkable in their ability to predict the future.

Actor Nick Briggs introduces his characters and tells us what he finds appealing about Isaac Asimov’s sci-fi stories. He also explains why he doesn’t think we should fear a future dominated by robots.

Episode One will be ROBBIE.

The rise of robotics in the 21st century, told through the poignant and mysterious story of enigmatic lawyer, Stevie Byerley. Starring Hermione Norris.

Episode One : ROBBIE As a child, Stevie Byerley is raised by Robbie, a robotic childminder, because her parents are too busy working. The powerful bond she forms with the robot is unbreakable. Their relationship will change the course of Stevie’s life.

Originally written over 60 years ago, Isaac Asimov’s stories are becoming truer with every day that passes. The world that he imagined is now upon us.

(2) BURNT ENDS AND ZOMBIES. In Episode 28 of Scott Edelman’s Eating the Fantastic he feasts on BBQ with Craig Engler, Co-Creator/Writer/Co-Executive Producer of the hit zombie TV show Z Nation.

Join us as we discuss what life’s like when you’re a professional game player for Nintendo, how running the Syfy Channel’s digital side led to him getting a shot at writing TV movies such as Zombie Apocalypse, why he wrote Weight Hacking, his geek guide to losing weight and getting fit, plus much more, including behind-the-scenes secrets on the past, present, and future of his hit zombie TV show Z Nation.

 

Craig Engler

(3) SHE STABS IT WITH HER STEELY KNIFE. Violette Malan ranks “My Top Five Sword-Fight Movies” at Black Gate.

You don’t have to read many of my posts to know that The Princess Bride is pretty well my favourite movie. And though I love the sword fighting scene between Wesley and Iñigo, and the later one between Iñigo and Count Rugen, they are not actually my favourite sword fighting scenes. In both cases, it’s really the dialogue that makes the scenes memorable. So what movies would I rank above The Princess Bride in sword fighting wonderfulness?

Here they are, in the order in which I thought of them.

The Three Musketeers (1973, directed by Richard Lester)

One of the great things about this movie, along with its sequels The Four Musketeers, and The Return of the Musketeers, is that they all feature the same cast. There are good fight scenes in all the films (Oliver Reed is more impressive in the sequels), but it’s the first one I know the best. I particularly like the fantastic opening sequence, where D’Artagnan’s father teaches him the “secret thrust.” Anything between D’Artagnan (Michael York) and Rochefort (Christopher Lee) is well worth watching. There’s also some terrific ensemble fighting, notably the scene between the four leads and the Cardinals’ Guard in the convent courtyard. It should be noted that Christopher Lee was a fencer IRL as well…

(4) KA-CHING! Mary Rosenblum analyzes “What REALLY Sold in 2016?” at the SFWA Blog.

In 2016, 43% of all traditionally published books were purchased online.  Now, THAT is a reason to break out the champagne!  Why?  Because most readers pay little to no attention to the publisher.  As long as the small press or self published book looks professional and has a professional looking cover,  it’s competitive with books from the ‘bookstore’ publishers.  If your ebook or print book includes those 5 critical elements for success and looks like the other professionally published books out there, readers don’t care who published it.  They’ll look at price.

Aha!  That might just be the reason that self publishing authors sell almost as many ebooks as the traditional publishers. They can usually price their books lower.

But what about print books?

2016 Self Published Print Book Sales

In 2016, 21,800,000 self published print books were sold, mostly published through Create Space.  The average price was $10.34.  Amazon imprints sold another 959,000 copies.

That’s a lot of print book money!

(5) NEW EDITION FROM PENGUIN. Here’s the version of George Orwell’s book for the alternate timeline you’re living in.

(6) COMPLIMENTING SMUGGLERS. Nigel Quinlan writes, “I would like to selfishly draw your attention to the new issue of The Book Smugglers’ Quarterly Almanac. It contains a fun Mid-Grade fantasy short story by me, ‘The Gobbleens,’ which is featured on the utterly gorgeous cover.”

I’m happy to give it a mention, in part for the beautiful cover, and in part because I owe them thanks for sending a copy of the first one, which had a great story by Tansy Roberts.

Collecting original short fiction, essays, reviews, and reprints from diverse and powerful voices in speculative fiction, THE BOOK SMUGGLERS’ QUARTERLY ALMANAC is essential for any SFF fan.

IN THIS VOLUME (JANUARY 2017): BECKY CHAMBERS, SHERRI L. SMITH, A.E. ASH, KATHERINE MACLEAN, NIGEL QUINLAN, ZETTA ELLIOTT, ALLIAH/VIC, KATE C. HALL, NICOLE BRINKLEY, ANA GRILO AND THEA JAMES

(7) OCTAVIA BUTLER. Maura McHugh reviews the graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred on Irish national radio, now up as a podcast on this page — “Arena with Sean Rocks, Monday, January 30”

Maura McHugh reviews the sci-fi graphic novel “Kindred” by Octavia E Butler which has been adapted by writer Damien Duffy and artist John Jennings (published by Abrams ComicArts)

(8) BURNING MAN. I09 did a story on the edition of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 that was bound is asbestos. John King Tarpinian adds this “Fun Fact” —

Ray had one of his copies with burn marks on it because he would hold a lighter to it to show people it would not burn.

(9) TO THE STARS. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination has released the fourth episode of is podcast Into the Impossible, about “How to Make a Spaceship”.

How do you jumpstart the private spaceflight industry? Passion, commitment, bold risk-taking, some inspiration from Charles Lindbergh, and a little luck. On today’s show, we hear from Peter Diamandis, whose XPRIZE Foundation launched the competition that gave us the first private manned spaceflight–and paved the way for Virgin Galactic, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and his own Planetary Resources, among others–along with the prize-winning pilot, Brian Binnie, and the writer Julian Guthrie, who chronicled their stories along with those of the other teams from around the world inspired by this unprecedented challenge. Also on this episode: convincing Arthur C. Clarke to buy your college friends dinner and a nearly disastrous incident with a mother-in-law and a cup of coffee.

Be sure to check out Julian Guthrie’s book, How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight, for the rest of the story!

(10) QUOTABLE QUOTE

“The next time you’re abducted, just steal something off the ship.”  — Neil DeGrasse Tyson

(11) TODAY IN THE HISTORY OF THINGS YOU NEVER HEARD OF

  • February 3, 1993:  Dystopian satire Acción Mutante opens in its native Spain.

(12) BIRTHDAY WIZARD

  • Born February 3, 1970  — Warwick Davis

(13) HAZARDOUS DUTY. No OSHA in the Empire? “Why ‘Star Wars’ Hates Handrails: Finally We Know Why People Keep Plummeting to Their Death”.

Ever noticed that most of the locations in the Star Wars universe wouldn’t pass a basic safety inspection? A number of characters plummet to their doom throughout the series, and the risk of accidentally falling on The Death Star or in Cloud City, or even tripping into that floor hatch on the Millennium Falcon, seems incredibly high. A new episode of the official web series The Star Wars Show explains that this was by design: George Lucas was against building guardrails on Star Wars sets.

 

(14) THE OUTFIELDER WHO WOULD BE KING. San Francisco Giants baseball player Hunter Pence posted a great photo of him wearing a Hakuna Matata t-shirt trying to free Excalibur from the Sword in the Stone at Disneyland. He couldn’t do it! The throne rests easy tonight.

(15) COMIC HISTORY LESSON. Atlas Obscura remembers “Marie Duval, the pioneering 19th-Century Cartoonist That History Forgot”.

In the late 1800s, London was swept up in the new craze of visual, satirical journalism. When Judy magazine, a twopenny serio-comic, debuted a red-nosed, lanky schemer named Ally Sloper who represented the poor working class of 19th-century England, it was one of the first recurring characters in comic history.

But credit for that character has long gone to the wrong person. Two people were responsible for Ally Sloper—and one of the creators has only recently been rediscovered by academics and comic fans.

Wearing a shabby stovepipe hat and carrying a rickety umbrella, the iconic and popular cartoon is often credited to Charles H. Ross, a playwright, cartoonist, and eventual editor of Judy. However, Ally Sloper was actually illustrated and developed by two artists: Ross and his wife, actress-turned-cartoonist Marie Duval—who was responsible for the bulk of the Ally Sloper comics.

(16) SPEAK UP. This LEGO Batman Movie promo clip introduces the voice actors behind the characters.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Nigel Quinlan, Bruce D. Arthurs, Cat Eldridge, and Martn Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

Pixel Scroll 8/31 From the SJW Aisle at Victoria’s Secret

We now return you to those thrilling days of yesterscroll.

(1) Some anniversaries.

August 29, 1997 Cyberdyne’s “Skynet intelligence system becomes self-aware. September 1, 1922 Yvonne De Carlo (Lily Munster) is born in Canada. September 3, 1969 The Valley of Gwangi opens in New York City.

(2) The “17 places you won’t see on the official UCLA campus tour” include —

#1

On the second floor of Boelter Hall, home of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, there’s a seemingly random arrangement of dark and light gray floor tiles outside room 2714. The tiles actually spell out “Lo and behold” in binary code. The hidden message was secretly added to a renovation project in 2011 as a clever (and subtle) way to honor Internet pioneer and professor Leonard Kleinrock.

#4

Clayburn La Force, who received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA, was the Anderson dean who spearheaded the construction of the school’s contemporary building complex. To honor him, one of the exterior red brick pillars in the Anderson courtyard carries the inscription, “May La Force Be With You.”

#5

Among the campus’ little-known treasures is the largest collection of meteorites in California (and fifth-largest in the nation.) Assembled for years by cosmochemist John Wasson, researcher Alan Rubin and their colleagues, more than 1,500 space rocks rest in the UCLA Geology Building. About 100 of them are on display at the UCLA Meteorite Gallery,

#7

If you can find room 60 in the section of the basement of Powell Library Building housing the Office of Instructional Development, you’ll see a sign that commemorates the room where “Fahrenheit 451” took shape. In 1950 and 1953, author Ray Bradbury came supplied with a bag of dimes for the rental typewriters. He clacked out “The Fireman” in nine days (total cost $9.80) and returned to rework his story into “Fahrenheit 451.” You can still find a copy of his original work in UCLA Library Special Collections, which houses a rich treasure trove of Bradburyana.

(3) Eric Flint – “The Divergence Between Popularity and Awards in Fantasy and Science Fiction”

[Another epic.]

Here’s the truth. Of the twenty-two authors today whom the mass audience regularly encounters whenever they walk into a bookstore looking for fantasy and science fiction, because they are the ones whose sales enable them to maintain at least a full shelf of book space, only one of them—Neil Gaiman—also has an active reputation with the (very small) groups of people who vote for major awards.

And they are very small groups. Not more than a few hundred people in the case of the Hugos and Nebulas, and a small panel of judges in the case of the WFC.

With them, Neil Gaiman’s popularity hasn’t—yet, at least—eroded his welcome. He’s gotten five nominations and two wins for the Hugo; three nominations and two wins for the Nebula; eight nominations and one win for the WFC—and almost all of them came in this century.

But he’s the only one, out of twenty-two. In percentage terms, 4.5% of the total. (Or 4.8%, if we subtract Tolkien.)

There’s no way now to reconstruct exactly what the situation was forty years ago. But I know perfectly well—so does anyone my age (I’m sixty-one) with any familiarity with our genre—that if you’d checked bookstores in the 1960s and 1970s to see how shelf space correlated with awards, you’d have come up with radically different results. Instead of an overlap of less than five percent, you’d have found an overlap of at least sixty or seventy percent….

And that was the Original Sin, as it were, of the Sad Puppies. (The Rabid Puppies are a different phenomenon altogether.) As it happens, I agree with the sense the Sad Puppies have that the Hugo and other F&SF awards are skewed against purely story-telling skills.

They are. I’m sorry if some people don’t like to hear that, but there’s no other way you can explain the fact that—as of 2007; I’ll deal with today’s reality in a moment—only one (Neil Gaiman) of the thirty authors who dominated the shelf space in bookstores all over North America regularly got nominated for awards since the turn of the century. The problem came with what the Sad Puppies did next. First, they insisted that Someone Must Be To Blame—when the phenomenon mostly involves objective factors. Secondly, being themselves mostly right wing in their political views, they jumped to the conclusion—based on the flimsiest evidence; mostly that some people had been nasty to Larry Correia on some panels at the Reno Worldcon—that the bias against their fiction in the awards was due to political persecution. Neither proposition can stand up to scrutiny, as I have now demonstrated repeatedly in the course of these essays….

One more thing needs to be said. The biggest problem in all of this is that way, way too many people—authors and awards-bestowers alike—have a view of this issue which… ah…

I’m trying to figure out a polite way of saying they have their heads up their asses…

Okay, I’ll say it this way. The problem is that way too many people approach this issue subjectively and emotionally rather than using their brains. With some authors, regardless of what they say in public, there’s a nasty little imp somewhere deep in the inner recesses of their scribbler’s soul that chitters at them that if they’re not winning awards there’s either something wrong with them or they’re being robbed by miscreants. Or, if they don’t sell particularly well but do get recognition when it comes to awards, there’s a peevish little gremlin whining that they’re not selling well either because somebody—publisher, agent, editor, whoever except it’s not them—is not doing their job or it’s because the reading public are a pack of morons.

Everybody needs to take a deep breath and relax. There are many factors that affect any author’s career and shape how well they sell and how often they get nominated for awards. Some of these factors are under an author’s control, but a lot of them aren’t. And, finally, there’s an inescapable element of chance involved in all of this.

The only intelligent thing for an author to do is, first, not take anything that happens (for good or ill) personally; secondly, try to build your career based on your strengths rather than fretting over your weaknesses.

(4) Craig Engler – “Dear Sad Puppies, I’d like to share some thoughts with you (Part 1)”

However, it’s possible to overdo it. The FAQ on the Hugo Awards site even has something to say about self promotional efforts: “Be careful. Excessively campaigning for a Hugo Award can be frowned upon by regular Hugo voters and has been known to backfire.” The words are italicized for emphasis not by me but by the person who wrote the FAQ. Note that the FAQ is addressed to the entire world, not to a specific group within fandom. In other words, anyone anywhere who excessively campaigns may face a backlash. It’s actually happened before….

That stance against campaigning has nothing to do with the personal beliefs or the politics of the campaigner, but rather their actions, i.e. campaigning to an excessive extent. And yes there was a lot more going on with Sad Puppies besides just campaigning, but even if that’s all that had ever happened, it was extremely doubtful voters would have responded favorably to Larry [Correia]’s campaign to get himself a Hugo….

I’ve been a Hugo voter off and on since 1988 when I attended my first Worldcon, and it’s always been widely known that voters react badly to campaigning. So had anyone done what Larry (and later on other Sad Puppies did), voters would have responded the same way. In fact, Larry isn’t even the first to try campaigning and have it not work. (Thus the reason it’s in a FAQ to begin with.)

So my thought to you is, while there was more going on around the vote than just Larry’s excessive campaigning (again, I’ll talk about that stuff in Part 2), we really never had to get past the campaigning issue to know that Larry’s tactics were simply not going to work. Not because of his politics, not because of his story telling ability, but because of his actions.

(5) What do we call this — a matho?

https://twitter.com/HermesMenusco/status/638418745145298945

(6) The Carl Brandon Society has issued a “Non-profit Status Update”.

Due to a misunderstanding between board members in the wake of a personnel transition, we did not ensure that our tax returns were filed properly for 2012 – 2014. (It is worth noting that tax returns for organizations as small as the Carl Brandon Society are done via a form called the e-postcard, which requires only basic information, and does not require any degree of complex accounting).

We discovered the oversight when the IRS administratively revoked our non-profit status and provided instructions to us on how to be reinstated. We have spent the time since then working toward reinstatement and taking steps to assure that this does not happen again. These steps include, but are not limited to: (1) doing a complete examination of our fiscal practices and financial controls, (2) getting a new treasurer with significant non-profit experience, as well as a legal background and experience tracking and analyzing financial records, and (3) doing a complete review of our bookkeeping and financial records for all the affected years. We are about to file detailed tax returns for the years in question along with an application for reinstatement as a non profit charitable organization. We expect to be reinstated without difficulty as soon as our paperwork is reviewed by the IRS. Charitable donations made during this time will be covered by that application.

The Carl Brandon Society Steering Committee apologizes to everyone concerned for not resolving this issue in a more timely manner. Though the revocation happened in 2013, it was retroactive to the date covered by the missed filing. The reinstatement, likewise, will be retroactive to the same date.

The public became aware that the Society had lost its 501(c)(3) status after donations were solicited in connection with John Scalzi’s offer to voice an audiobook — “Charity Drive for Con or Bust: An Audio Version of ‘John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular’ Read by Me”

(7) Aristotle!

(8) Those E.T. the Extra Terrestrial Atari cartridges dug up in Alamogordo netted over $108,000 in an auction last year, Rolling Stone recalls:

Nearly 900 copies of the infamously terrible video game were sold on eBay after an April 2014 excavation in Alamogordo, New Mexico confirmed the urban legend that thousands of the cartridges were buried following the game’s critical and commercial failure…. The most an E.T. cartridge sold for at auction was $1,535.

“There’s 297 we’re still holding in an archive that we’ll sell at a later date when we decide what to do with them,” Lewandowski said. “I might sell those if a second movie comes out but for now we’re just holding them. The film company got 100 games, 23 went to museums and we had 881 that we actually sold.”

The city of Alamogordo will receive $65,000 from the sale, while the Tularosa Basin Historical Society gets over $16,000. The remainder of the money went towards shipping fees as buyers in 45 states and 14 countries scooped up copies of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.

(9) Coincidentally, the E.T. movie will be back in theaters for one day this October.

In conjunction with the Blu-ray release on October 9th and the film’s 30th anniversary, Fathom Events has announced that E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial will return to the big screen for one night only on October 3 at 7:00 p.m. local time with special matinee screenings in select theaters at 2:00 p.m. local time.

(10) Eric R. Sterner in “The Martian Message”  says he thinks movies do nothing to encourage space exploration.

Surely, several interests want to capitalize on the melding of film and speculative reality. Damon recently visited the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he talked about his role, and NASA’s website proudly uses the opportunity to explain the real NASA-developed technologies portrayed in the movie. It can only do a space advocate’s heart good when Hollywood seems to discover the same sense of excitement in space that we see and experience every day.

Sadly, if the space community seeks to turn The Martian into a commercial for sending people to Mars, we will fail miserably. The 2000 movie Castaway was nominated for multiple awards, including an Academy Award for Tom Hanks. It did not increase public support for sending people to deserted islands. Neither will The Martian bring them closer to Mars.

(11) Nerd Approved shows how you can get Serenity on your GPS.

You are seeing the Serenity instead of a car on this Garmin GPS image tweeted by Nathan Fillion. The picture was sent to him by Browncoat Greg H. and you can have it, too. All you need to do is download the image and then add it to your Garmin’s vehicles folder and you’ll be driving through the ‘verse. As far as finding a way to avoid the Reavers and outsmart the Alliance, you’re on your own.

(12) NPR interviewed Ursula K. Le Guin who has a new book coming out — Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story.

Interview Highlights

On the importance of “crowding” and “leaping”

Crowding is what Keats said when he said, “Load every rift with ore.” In other words, pack in all the richness you can. All great books are incredibly rich; each sentence can sort of be unpacked. But then also in telling a story, you’ve got to leap, you’ve got to leave out so much. And you’ve got to know which crag to leap to.

(12) Marc Scott Zicree posted a Special Space Command Update on his birthday, which included showing the birthday present he was given by John King Tarpinian (at :27).

(13) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog“Next Year’s Hugos”

Let’s make it about the work. Let’s argue about the BOOKS. And yes, of course, it will be an argument. I may not like the stories you like. You may not like the stories I like. We can all live with that, I think. I survived the Old Wave/ New Wave debate. Hell, I enjoyed parts of it… because it was about literature, about prose style, characterization, storytelling. Some of the stuff that Jo Walton explores in her Alfie-winning Best Related Work, WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO GREAT? That’s the sort of debate we should be having.

The elimination of slates will be a huge step toward the end of hostilities.

But there’s a second step that’s also necessary. One I have touched on many times before. We have to put an end to the name-calling. To the stupid epithets.

I have seen some hopeful signs on that front in some of the Hugo round-ups I’ve read. Puppies and Puppy sympathizers using terms like Fan (with a capital), or trufan, or anti-Puppy, all of which I am fine with. I am not fine with CHORF, ASP, Puppy-kicker, Morlock, SJW, Social Justice Bully, and some of the other stupid, offensive labels that some Pups (please note, I said SOME) have repeatedly used for describe their opponents since this whole thing began. I am REALLY not fine with the loonies on the Puppy side who find even those insults too mild, and prefer to call us Marxists, Maoists, feminazis, Nazis, Christ-hating Sodomites, and the like. There have been some truly insane analogies coming from the kennels too — comparisons to World War II, to the Nazi death camps, to ethnic cleansing. Guy, come on, cool down. WE ARE ARGUING ABOUT A LITERARY AWARD THAT BEGAN AS AN OLDSMOBILE HOOD ORNAMENT. Even getting voted below No Award is NOT the same as being put on a train to Auschwitz, and when you type shit like that, well…

The Pups have often complained that they don’t get no respect… which has never actually been true, as the pre-Puppy awards nominations of Correia and Torgersen have proved… but never mind, the point here is that to get respect, you need to give respect.

[Thanks to Craig Engler, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cubist.]

Puppies In Perpetual Motion

(1) We begin with some choice misinformation from Charlotte Eyre’s “Five ‘no awards’ given at Hugos” on The Bookseller.

The groups [Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies] had allegedly paid for fans to go to WorldCon to have influence over the final winners, an accusation which lead authors Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet to withdraw from the awards, despite their work being nominated.

That’s a very confused accusation, to such a degree it has to be classified as a fabrication by Eyre. The Kloos and Bellet withdrawals, of course, happened back in April. The voting for the Hugos was over two weeks before the convention, and could not even potentially be influenced by someone’s physical presence at the convention.

(2) Lou Antonelli on Facebook

Some people have said I’m mad because David Gerrold snubbed me at Sasquan. That’s not true – I’m not mad that he snubbed me, because he didn’t.

He did offer to buy me a beer, but that I guess was little more than a rhetorical flourish. I’m sure he was very busy. It think it would have made a great photo, the pair of us quaffing brews – it might have even helped show some kind of reconciliation was possible. A missed opportunity, perhaps?

Bumping into him in the hallway outside an elevator, I absent-mindedly and rather spontaneously went to shake his hand. He refused, saying “I may have accepted your apology, but I haven’t forgiven you.” Realizing my faux pas, I turned tail and took off.

That’s not a snub, that’s him exercising his personal rights. He doesn’t have to be nice to me, and he wasn’t rude, just firm. I may have other complaints about how some things were done, but a beer and handshake weren’t two of them.

(3) L. Jagi Lamplighter in a comment on “Smeagol Neilson Hayden”

Folks,

First, I think John has made it sound a bit worse than it was…but this is not his fault. I did not repeat to him all of what PNH said because I did not him to get upset during the reception. (I was afraid he would be very angry if he knew someone had sworn at his wife.)

Mr, Nielsen Hayden did shout, swear, and stomp off…but he was shouting and swearing at/about John, not at me personally and, actually, as far as swearing, he just used the phrase “tell him to shovel it up his…” You can figure out the rest.

This may not seem like swearing to many of you…many folks speak that way normally. But I do not. Nor do people normally speak that way to me.

My first thought after he stormed off was; isn’t it interesting that he yelled at the one person in the room whose only reaction is going to be to pray for him.

I was not the least upset…but I did think it ironic that, of everyone present, I was the person who got shouted at. But I suspect Mr. Nielsen Hayden knows nothing about me personally, has never read my blog, and is unaware of the irony.

(4) C. Joshua Villines – “My Thoughts On An Award I Shall Never Win”

I’m not sure how any of this helps the industry or the genre. Just because my side “won” doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the value of thoughtfully-articulated voices presenting a loyal dissent. If, no matter what the other side says, we cannot listen to what they have to say because of all of the ways in which they are “obviously” wrong, how will we ever hear the things that they have to say that are right? How can we move forward in a way that makes speculative fiction fandom, and SF publishing, as broadly representative of the interests of readers and the politics of writers as possible?

Step one, I think, is moving away from slates and treating the Hugos as a battleground. Perhaps this is easy for me to say, since I know I will never win one, but I think it is abundantly clear that this conflict did not change anyone’s mind, did not broaden the tent of SF at all, and did not establish a framework for dialogue. The agenda of the Sad Puppies is a minority one. The more actively and forcefully they push it, the more aggressively their peers and the genre’s fans will push back. The slate-stacking strategy failed everyone.

What might help is establishing open and honest conversations – with clear rules against strawmen and ad hominem attacks – around the three Puppy concerns I placed in bullets, above. The conversation around popular pulp versus literary art has a long history in speculative fiction, and it is no more likely to be resolved in SF than it is in cinema or television or general literature. That doesn’t mean we should stop talking about it. Should we give equal weight to David Gemmell, Jack McDevitt, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Gene Wolfe? I dearly love them all, but is the writing of one inherently superior to the others because of popularity, or accessibility, or literary sophistication?

We should also look at the books we read and tell others to read.  Are there litmus tests? I know I have several. I don’t recommend books, even by authors I love, even by ones who are friends, if they contain graphic rape. Lev Grossman is a kind man with a style that makes me weep with envy, but I won’t go near The Magician King. On the other hand, despite my socialist politics, I still recommend Modesitt’s Recluce books, even though I think he’s trying to subtly convert me to capitalism. Surely most of us have litmus tests of one kind or another. Let’s be honest about them, and let our colleagues tell us what we’re missing out on as a result.

Let’s also put some thought into the value, and peril, of novelty. Speculative fiction thrives on pushing, challenging, and redrawing boundaries. It is the genre of limitless horizons, of finding new questions, of challenging old answers. Consequently, I think we should recognize that sometimes it is worth celebrating when someone does something new, and does it well. Ann Leckie’s treatment of gender drove me nuts in Ancillary Justice, but I loved the questions it raised for me when I thought about why it drove me nuts. In addition, she told a darn fine story, and told it well. There is enormous value in introducing a new idea in a way that gets people talking and asking questions. We should not lose site of that. But writing is also a discipline that is inherently conscious of history and tradition, and doubly so in a genre that explicitly builds on ancient, mythic structures. There are people reading speculative fiction who lead deeply conventional lives, and who love how those old stories reinforce their conventionality. Do they deserve a voice as well? At what point does our love of ingenuity silence them? Is it better to innovate, or to excel in craft? Are they mutually exclusive goals?

(5) Chris M. Barkley on Facebook

I was required to atternd the Hugo Ceremony Rehersal in the afternoon. Rajnar Vajra had asked me to accept for him if his novelette, The Triple Sun, was honored.Our masters of ceremonies, GoH David Gerrold, Tananarive Due and the ceremony staff put us through our paces, showing us how to carry the Hugo Award, hitting our marks on stage and what to expect as the show progressed. I found out a few hours later that someone STOLE the practice Hugo! WUT????? I hope it’s recovered, sooner or later. VERY BAD things should happen to that thief!

Chris’ post is an installment of his an extensive report about his Worldcon adventures.

(6) Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas – “Back from Sasquan”

The usual suspects proved Larry Correia right as he claimed they were a tight inbred little social clique, by the way they reacted to the Sad Puppies. George R.R. Martin’s private invite-only “real” post-Hugo reception at an expensive rented historic mansion certainly clinched that. They proved Vox Day right when they nuked five of the most important Hugo categories rather than let “the wrong kind of people” win them. He said they’d do that all along, destroying the credibility of the award, and they did. They proved Lou J Berger wrong as he handed his “We are all fans” ribbons at Sasquan. No, we’re obviously not, and the people who cheered for No Awards at the Hugo ceremony proved that. I threw Berger’s ribbon in the trash as I left the hotel, along with all the others and my badge. No reason to bring home bad memories. Yes, you literary snobs, you got what you wanted. Happy now? Feel better? Wonderful.

(7) Darrell Schweitzer on Facebook

So now the Puppies are roadkill. I have to admit I predicted this, several times, right here on FB. The reason for their defeat is not, I think, politics at all, but the same reason that the Scientologist effort failed once they got Hubbard’s BLACK GENESIS on the ballot in 1987. This forced people to read it, after which there was no hope of winning. BLACK GENESIS finished sixth in a field of five, lower than No Award, which came in 5th. Sheer awfulness proved its undoing. I think that is what happened to the Puppy slate. It was clear from the Philadelphia SF Society Hugo Predictions panel (which was a No Award sweep) that fans who knew nothing about the controversy just found the material just outrageously bad. (The PSFS novel choice was THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, which I suspect will prove to have finished 2nd or 3rd.)

(8) NPR – “’Sad Puppies’ Fail To Stuff Ballot Box At Hugo Awards”

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There was no love for puppies at this weekend’s Hugo Awards. The sad puppies are a group who say the fan-chosen science fiction and fantasy awards have become too liberal and inclusive, so they nominated their own slate of candidates. And as NPR’s Petra Mayer reports, Hugo voters had other ideas.

PETRA MAYER, BYLINE: Over the past few years, more Hugo awards have been going to women and writers of color. The sad puppies – mostly white, mostly male – came together as a backlash. Right now it’s relatively easy to get a work on the Hugo ballot, so the puppy slate pretty much took over this year, causing months of controversy. But when it came time to hand out the iconic silver rocket ship trophies on Saturday night, Hugo voters chose to give no award in five puppy-packed categories, including best novella and best short story.

The night’s big winner was Chinese author Liu Cixin, whose book “The Three Body Problem” was the first work in translation to win the Hugo for best novel. Award organizers have now approved a rules change aimed at making it harder to nominate slates, though, it won’t take effect for two years. Petra Mayer, NPR News.

(10) Nathaniel Givens on Difficult Run – “Lots of Hugo Losers”

And yet the Sad Puppy / Rabid Puppy tactics obviously were a mistake. First, as I said, there’s the immense problem with The Three-Body Problem not even making the ballot. Sure, taste is subjective, but this book was really, really good. More importantly, however, it’s a book that was originally published in China in 2008. You want real intellectual diversity? Well there you go: a book that is literally off the American socio-political map. Additionally, the Sad Puppies again and again defended many of their choices (like Kevin J. Anderson’s The Dark Between the Stars) by referring to the author rather than the work. Best novel is an award for best novel. It’s not some kind of lifetime achievement award. So the repeated references to Anderson’s contribution to the genre (he’s written over 100 books) were not only irrelevant, but a real give-away that the Sad Puppies 3 slate had basically no serious thought behind it. It was just a haphazard collection of books a few of the Sad Puppies folks had happened to read last year, without sufficient regard for quality of the individual works.

As a result, the anti-puppies movement was able to easily cast the Sad and Rabid Puppies as invaders who had come to ruin the Hugos. Their hysterical accusations that the Puppies were Nazi’s were silly, but their accusation that the Puppies were ruining the awards had real validity. Sad Puppy opponents insisted that the only solution was for fandom to rise up in righteous wrath and repudiate the incursion by voting “No Award” above any and all Sad / Rabid Puppy nominations.4 This surge was quite strong. Nobody knew how strong until the votes were announced this past weekend, but–according to some preliminary analysis at Chaos Horizon–the breakdown of the record-breaking 6,000 voters went as follows:

  • Core Rabid Puppies: 550-525
  • Core Sad Puppies: 500-400
  • Absolute No Awarders: 2500
  • Primarily No Awarders But Considered a Puppy Pick: 1000
  • That sums up to 4600 hundred voters. We had 5950, so I thin the remaining 1400 or so were the true “Neutrals” or the “voted some Puppies but not all.”

(11) Matthew Bowman on Novel Ninja – “The Hugos, Now With No Mask to Hide Behind”

My take away, thus far, is pretty simple. The Puppies absolutely have a legitimate grievance, and the vile slander that came out vindicates them. Furthermore, the “No Award” campaign clearly crossed a line from a legitimate attempt to punish the bad tactics of the Puppies to a witch hunt when, for example, it No Awarded the Editor categories.

Thousands of people gathered for the convention, far more than normal; tens of thousands have been paying attention, for the first time in the Award’s history. They’ve all seen this play out. It’s made mainstream media outlets. It’s been trending on Twitter and other social sites. More and more people have found out about it.

This year’s Sad Puppies campaign was about bringing more attention to the Hugo Awards. It has succeeded precisely because the other side — which I have taken to calling the Leucrottas, after a mythical animal that hunts humans and dogs, solitary because even fellow leucrottas can’t stand their own company — have crowed to the world about how nasty the Puppies are. And so the world has seen the ugliness of the Leucrottas.

In the interest of protecting women and minorities, they have hurt them. In the interest of increasing diversity, they have clung to exclusivity.  To protect against invaders, they have destroyed their prize. To proclaim their enemies are racists and hate children, they have embraced racists and support pedophiles. All in the name of fiction; but only the fiction they approve of.

(12) Tom Knighton – “My Thoughts on the Hugo Awards”

The award ceremony itself…hoooooooooo boy.

Look, I joke on religions all the time.  Yes, including my own.  In fact, I’d share a Presbyterian joke, but none have made it out of all the relevant committees just yet.

However, the people who opposed the Puppies are the ones who scream about intolerance.  We’re allegedly so intolerant, yet who made the joke about Hare Krishnas?  Now, I’m not saying I was personally offended, because I wasn’t.  What I was is better described as “baffled”.

You see, I’m baffled by the people who would eviscerate me for a Muslim joke–the same people who objected to a proposed host from last year who might have told a fat joke–and yet are silent on a Hare Krishna joke on the Hugo stage.  What I hate more than anything is hypocrisy, and that’s what I see right now from these people.

(13) Tom Knighton – “From Me to Patrick Nielsen Hayden”

It’s simple.  John C. Wright wasn’t hiding from anyone.  He was there, he was visible.  PNH could have sought him out to have his words directly with John.  PNH is one of Tor’s editors, for crying out loud.  John, as is his wife, are Tor authors.  I find it hard to believe that if he had words to say to John, he couldn’t find a way to contact him and say them.

He didn’t.

Instead, he does it when Jagi offers an olive branch?

Look, I’m not saying he had to accept it.  He didn’t.  But lashing out at the spouse of the man you have an issue with?  Pathetic.

Had he said, “I’m sorry, but your husband has said some things that i simply can’t find it in myself to forgive,” I’d understand. Oh how I’d understand.  I think all of us who fought on the side of the Puppies understands it.  We’ve been called some horrible things too.

But that’s not what he did.  He yelled and cursed at a woman who offered remarkable little of the critical dialog that John did, or Larry did, or Brad did, or even I did.

I’m not saying that he has to forgive or forget.  I’m saying that he at least needs to be a man about it.  Say it to John, or even say it publicly, but don’t take it out on a Tor author who was trying to be a professional and bury the hatchet who isn’t responsible for any of it.

(14) Laughing Wolf on Blackfive“The 2015 Hugo Awards: Some Thoughts”

As I said, the response and results were not unexpected.  I honestly thought No Award would take at least two more slots than it did.

Where I’m not sparking is with how things were handled.  First, there was the biased and childish panel that preceded the Hugos.  Second, was the awards ceremony itself.  That one or more Hugo nominees walked out early (along with other professionals) says it all.  The deliberate and willful disrespect, and bias, shown says it all for me.

So, for me, it’s on.  For those of you ignorant enough to buy into the Social Justice Bullies lie that the Puppies were all angry white men, I simply point out that the Puppies were far more diverse than those that opposed them.  For a group of “neo-nazis” as an employee of Tor books called them (us, honestly), there sure are a lot of mutts in the group, and a lot females too.  In fact, one author attacked in this manner actually fought real neo-nazis and injustice, and has the wounds to show it.  Another author also schooled the idiots with the real deal.  I further note that only one, repeat ONE, reporter writing on the subject of the Puppies had the courage and integrity to actually interview the wonderful Sarah A. Hoyt, who is not a white male.  That Larry Correia is far more a mutt than I am, and hardly a lily-white male (unlike most of those attacking him).  That strawman Larry is not just a jerk, but an asshole and I want at least ten of the ribbons saying he is a jerk.  I could go on, but it is easy to pick apart the slanders, libels, and lies heaped upon them, Brad Torgersen, and others — for those with interest in the truth that is.

The blatant disrespect and insult offered to Toni last night is the final straw.  You attacked a friend.

So, I’m in on Sad Puppies 4.  If you want to destroy WorldCon and the Hugo awards, you will have your chance and you will own the results.  My hope, faint though it is, remains to make the awards truly relevant again as a means of promoting good writing, editing, and other efforts regardless of the message.

(15) Jay Maynard on Black Gate – “Dear Conservatives: Don’t Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out”

No more. It’s clear to me that a conservative cannot be accepted as an SF fan. One must kowtow to the leftist gods of diversity for its own sake and tolerance for only the approved subjects and equality of outcome, or else one is not a true SF fan. An author must be some oppressed minority to be considered worthy, and old white men need not apply.

Diversity? Great, as long as we all think in lockstep. Bring up diversity of thought and you’re immediately accused of only wanting to read stuff written by old white men.

I’m other things besides an SF fan. I’m a pilot, and a ham radio operator, and a computer geek, and more besides. I’d long thought that Worldcon was to SF fans what EAA’s Airventure at Oskhosh is to aviation geeks, and what the Dayton Hamvention is to hams: the premiere event of its fandom, to which any devotee should endeavor to go at least once in their life.

But I see no reason, now, to expend any effort at all to go to a Worldcon where those like me are plainly unwelcome. Oh, they’d happily take my money, but I’ve already had the experience of paying to go to a con where I was quickly made unwelcome — and that one didn’t require much in the way of travel. Paying a kilobuck to be miserable for a weekend is an experience I’d just as soon pass up.

Go ahead, fans. Hate Vox Day all you want. I am as repulsed by his misogynistic writings as you are (I’m not convinced he’s not simply trolling; to me, though, that is no excuse, as I consider trolls to be the scourge of the Internet). Don’t conflate me or the other Sad Puppies with him.

I am a conservative, and proud of it, but I also agree with the Left on subjects they hold near and dear to their hearts. As one example: I’m pro-choice. We’re not all monolithic in our beliefs.

But we’re all being treated that way, and repudiated by polite fannish society. The works we like are being held up as examples of our favorite writers’ inferiority and wrongthink to boot. “Your Taste Sucks”!

(16) Solarbird on Crime and the Forces of Evil – “and there was NO AWARDing”

Those of us who have been calling for a NO AWARD vote above any slate nominee for the Hugo have, I am told, won. We have doubled the number of NO AWARDs given throughout the previous history of the awards, and blocked the meaningful slate candidates pretty much in their entirety. We are being congratulated, and for that, I thank you.

But I cannot consider this winning. I consider it… oh, let’s call it the least bad possible disaster given the position in which their machinations put us. That’s important. It shows that the large influx of supporting members who voted were not a Puppy rush. It shows that World Science Fiction Society fandom cares about the Hugo awards quite a bit, in fact, and thank you very much. It shows that gaming the system and violating decades of voting tradition will not be rewarded. Well done, fandom.

But it is not a “win.” It is not even a victory, because it does not end anything.

(17) Frank Wu on Amazing Stories – “An Olive Branch for the Puppies”

I may not agree with everything you think but I’m big enough to let you say them. I’m not afraid of words. Science fiction should be a big enough tent for everyone.

What I am opposed to, is block voting. This is considered rude and will get you no-awarded every time.

My proposal?

What if you Puppies gave up block voting in exchange for Non-Puppies seriously considering your work for recommendation lists?

I’m defining block voting as the presentation of a finished slate, with the call or command for others to vote the slate, perhaps even without reading the pieces, for lols or to advance an agenda.

A recommendation list – and I’ve done this and been on them – is an acknowledgement that there are thousands of stories published every year, but, hey, look, I found a couple I loved. Maybe you’d like them, too, and if so feel free to nominate them. If not, whatever. One year I told everyone over and over how awesome Greg Van Eekhout’s story “In the Late December” was. Not because Greg asked me to, not because of his politics (which I know nothing about), but because I really loved that story. A recommendation list is a suggestion, not a command.

So, Puppies, my offer is this. If you send me some of your best 2015 publications – email them at FWu@FrankWu.com – I promise to read them and evaluate them on their merits. Regardless of your politics or anything else you may have said in any other venue. And if I like it (which is more likely if it has robots, spaceships, or aliens), I will add it to my recommendation list.

(18) Craig Engler’s eyewitness report of the Hugo Award ceremony — “I was there to witness the Hugo Awards (not) burn and here is what I saw”

In an especially smart (and kind) move, Gerrold asked the audience to applaud not for each individual nominee but for all the nominees in the category as a whole after all the names were read. That helped ensure no single nominee was ever booed despite the animosity of the voting process. The only time someone did let out a  boo…during a No Award result…Gerrold politely asked them not to and it didn’t happen again.

Gerrold also took on the burden of announcing the categories with No Award himself instead of having a special presenter on stage to do it. The five times no award was given, Gerrold handled it expeditiously and with no fanfare so the audience (and the nervous nominees in attendance) could move past the moment quickly. This helped focus the night on the 11 winners and not on the controversy.

For its part the audience was in tearing high spirits, applauding and cheering, laughing at the jokes and fun little skits (including having an award announced by a Dalek), focusing on the positives and spending little time on anything negative. Since there were still a lot of awards that were handed out, the night didn’t seem particularly shortened or bereft. Indeed, by the end it was full of such acceptance and good cheer that it was hard not to leave with a smile and a feeling of good will.

So, far from being “nuked,” these Hugos turned into the biggest, most well attended and most fun awards in history. They not only brought new attendees into the fold but also enticed lapsed people like me back to come together in a fantastic night of celebration. While it was unfortunate that some categories had no winner, it wasn’t catastrophic. Indeed it was fandom’s way of saying, this award has merit and needs to be earned and will never simply be given out to a slate because some people got together and mustered a certain number of voters. And if at times that means an award won’t be given in a category, that’s okay. The integrity and spirit of the Hugos is more important than that. We are not burning a village to save it, we’re simply inviting more people to the village and celebrating.

(19) Amanda S. Green – “Who should we be worried about impressing?”

To me, the only ones I need to be impressing are the readers. As I said earlier, it is clear from looking at the different genre and sub-genre lists on Amazon and elsewhere that there are more readers out there who want entertaining books than there are those who want books that put message first and story comes somewhere below that. No, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a message in fiction. Let me repeat that for those who tend to skim until insulted: It is fine to have a message in your fiction as long as you remember that your message won’t be heard if you don’t write a story that entertains and holds the readers’ interest.

So quit whinging and whining over the decline of the field. Quit whinging and whining over the decline of literary numbers. Instead, ask yourself why? Do a bit of market analysis and realize that readers — just like folks who go to the movies — want to be entertained. That is what I strive to do. That is what so many other authors strive to do. So, to all the fans, thank you for your support. To the Fans and authors who want to keep their little cliques, go ahead. Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m not going to try to convince you to do otherwise. For me, I’m going to do my best to remember that it is the fans who really count.

(20) Andrew Trembley on Facebook

Comedy gold seen elsewhere: “RequiresHoyt”

(21) Alexandra Erin on Quietly Thinking Aloud – “Unfortunately for your side George R.R. Martin was caught”

I tell you, it has been seriously amusing to watch the narrative take shape around this.

Background: George R. R. Martin has been attending WorldCon since 1971, I believe when he was up for a Campbell (new writer award). He did not win, but as no more than six people are considered finalists for this honor each year and each writer has at most two years of eligibility, he recognizes this as such a signal honor that he lists it on his website alongside his awards and other honors.

(Contrast this with Larry Correia, who seems to feel like his own Campbell nomination constituted a contract that was broken when he didn’t win it.)

A few years after that, Martin, being a frequent flyer on the Hugo ballot, instituted what he called the Losers’ Party, for all the nominees who don’t win. There are alcohol, and ribbons. It sounds like a lot of fun, and of course, it’s all in good spirit… it is an honor to be nominated, and the Losers’ Party just reinforces what rarefied air one breathes in making it to the ballot.

This year, Mr. Martin decided to hand out his own award, which he calls the Alfies, after Alfred Bester (the author, not the Babylon 5 character named after the author).

He apparently made them out of hood ornaments, which award trophies are often mockingly compared to. That right there should tell you how serious this business was.

Now, Mr. Martin is not the president of science fiction and fantasy. He does not occupy a position of leadership or authority with WorldCon. He is not affiliated with the Hugos except insofar as they are occasionally affiliated with him. This party that he instituted is a Hugo tradition, but it’s not a Hugo institution. In short, the party is no more an official ceremony than a guy who looks like Drunk Scary Santa Claus is an official presenter, which he is no more than the hood ornaments he’s passing out are official trophies.

George R. R. Martin, in his private capacity as an individual human being, thought he would have some fun and recognize some individuals he thought could use some recognition/a laugh.

And a few Puppies “caught him” doing it, and immediately started casting around for “evidence” and wringing their hands with glee over the thought that they’d found proof that the Hugo award ceremony was a scam, that the fix was in, that the real awards were being handed out by Drunk Scary Santa Claus to the people ordained by the hive mind…

It’s funny, but you know, this is the difference between the Sad Puppies and everybody else.

(22) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog – “Hugo Aftermath”

Then I hit a bump. Two bumps, in fact. Both editing categories went to No Award.

I had picked Mike Resnick in Short Form and Toni Weisskopf in Long Form, and indeed, each of them finished above all the other nominees in the first round of voting… but well behind No Award. This was a crushing defeat for the slates, and a big victory for the Puppy-Free ballot of Deirdre Moen. Honestly? I hated this. In my judgment the voters threw the babies out with bathwater in these two categories. Long Form had three nominees who are more than worthy of a Hugo (and one, Jim Minz, who will be in a few more years), and Short Form had some good candidates too. They were on the slates, yes, but some of them were put on there without their knowledge and consent. A victory by Resnick, Sowards, Gilbert, or Weisskopf would have done credit to the rocket, regardless of how they got on the ballot. (All four of these editors would almost certainly have been nominated anyway, even if there had been no slates).

((Some are saying that voting No Award over these editors was an insult to them. Maybe so, I can’t argue with that. But it should be added that there was a far far worse insult in putting them on the ballot with Vox Day, who was the fifth nominee in both categories. Even putting aside his bigotry and racism, Beale’s credential as an editor are laughable. Yet hundreds of Puppies chose to nominate him rather than, oh, Liz Gorinsky or Anne Lesley Groell or Beth Meacham (in Long Form) or Gardner Dozois or Ellen Datlow or John Joseph Adams (in Short Form). To pass over actual working editors of considerable accomplishment in order to nominate someone purely to ‘stick it to the SJWs’ strikes me as proof positive that the Rabid Puppies at least were more interested in saying ‘fuck you’ to fandom than in rewarding good work)).

(23) Otaku-Kun on Habibane.info – “Hugo Awards 2015 – the aftermath”

Make no mistake, EPH or not, it is still perfectly possible for Vox Day and whoever else to interfere with the results next year. There’s nothing I see in EPH that can forestall another wave of Noah Wards, since ultimately the outcomes are still gameable due to the small numbers involved. The time of hiding in the Shire is over – the world beyond has taken notice, and the stakes are higher.

What are the solutions?

For one thing, the Hugos were given a gift in terms of mass media coverage this year. From Wired to WaPo, Puppygate was media catnip as a proxy in the culture wars. This means that there are several dozen journalists who are now experts on Hugo arcana and who are an audience that can and should be cultivated. More importantly, all of their readers are now marginally aware of what the Hugos are, and the involvement of luminaries like GRRM also helps raise that awareness above background noise. Press releases to these journalists and direct advertising in their publications will maintain the interest.

Also, what about more aggressive marketing to Communities of Geekdom? For example, Comic-Con (and it’s satellites around the country, like Chicago’s version last weekend). AMAs on Reddit? A pitch to the writers at Big Bang Theory? How about a big party somewhere, a mass book signing of Hugo nominees?

(24) Brad R. Torgersen – “Emmanuel Goldstein is leaving the building”

4) The media — and the counter-media — see you as fodder for advancing their narratives. I’ve been talking to reporters and media people of various types for seven months. I was only ever interesting to anybody because I could help them tell the story they wanted to tell. Not the story I wanted to tell. The story I wanted to tell usually wound up on the cutting room floor. Now, in some cases — especially with the conservative counter-media — I didn’t mind too much. I agreed with what they were saying in most instances, and I was thankful for the coverage that helped me more than it hurt me. Because the negative coverage was plentiful, and too often I found myself offering the opposition-friendly press a pint of myself, for them to merely use a few drops; and then only if they felt it spun the way they wanted it too. Which was always against me and what I was fighting for….

12) You can’t control the fact that you have enemies, you can only try to make sure that they are the right enemies for the right reasons. I remember when my wife came home, bewildered, that afternoon when she first realized just how bad the opponents on campus had gotten. She couldn’t understand it. She wasn’t a threat to them at all. Or so she thought. But it didn’t matter how much she tried to mend fences or make offerings of olive branches, the enemy hated her guts. All she could do was push forward and focus on why she’d gotten into student office to begin with, and she succeeded handsomely. I do hope that of the committed enemies I’ve made — the men and women who now make it their business to spite me personally — that the dividing line between them and me, is values. It’s pretty evident that a wide gulf seperates me from the opposition; on perceived objectives. There was an Honest Opposition, because not everyone on the opposition side became an actual enemy. Only some did. And of those who did, I think it’s because my values so utterly clashed with the values of my enemies (and vice versa) that the matter was irreconcilable.

(25) Ann Leckie – “2015 Hugos”

I’ll start here: Thanks so very much to all the people I ran into over the weekend who either told me they were rooting for Ancillary Sword, or told me they were sorry it didn’t win. I love you all.

But the fact is, it never was going to win. If it seemed even briefly as though it might this year, it was because of this year’s…unusual aspects. Had the final ballot been what it ought to have been, I think ideas about AS winning would have been pretty easily dismissable. I find this pretty ironic, actually.

I knew from the start that a lot of voters were going to be thinking that I already got mine last year. And you know what? They’re right. Last year, my book did not just win a couple of awards. It stomped all over Award City making Godzilla roars as bullets bounced off its chest. That’s enough Win to last me for quite a while, and I am entirely happy to see other books and other writers get the acclaim and attention they deserve. The nomination was my win–I knew that going in, and was perfectly happy with that.

So I went to the Hugos as a nominee, with all the validation that brings, but also without any nervousness or suspense, so I could actually enjoy all of that validation. And it was awesome.

Yeah, there were some skunks at that picnic. The voters gave their very clear opinion of those skunks. And Mithras willing, E Pluribus Hugo will pass for the second time next year and in 2017 we’ll be back to ballots that are full of works the voters love. That will doubtless include some skunk favorites, but that’s as it should be. I just don’t think anyone should be able to make the Hugo ballot nothing but their own choices.

(26) Mike Selinker on Schrödinger’s Blog – “A Game Designer Tries to Fix the Hugo Awards”

Although I found the factual premises to be pretty thoroughly wrong, reading the author’s analytical process was entertaining.

[Second of five points.]

2. Don’t pay people to do things you don’t want them to do.

The above rule was coined by legendary game designer Jonathan Tweet, and I teach it to all my collaborators. At heart it requires you to look at what your game’s economy does and whether you want it to do that.

You might say, “The Hugo Awards doesn’t pay anyone!” And, Mr. Strawman, you’d be wrong. The Hugo Award has a value. Heck, even a Hugo nomination has a value. The ability to say “My Hugo-nominated novel…” is a real thing of worth. Ask anyone who has one.

So what’s the value of a Hugo nomination? I can’t say. But let me ask it like this: If I gave you a onetime chance to pay $2000 so that you could say you were a Hugo nominee, would you do it? And what if you could crowdsource the $2000? What if a mere donation to your GoFundMe of $40 could allow a friend of yours to say she helped you achieve your dreams?

And then, after all that, what if I told you that doing this can get a whole lot more of your friends nominations for no additional cost? Would you do it then?

And even if you wouldn’t do that, do you know someone who would?

Well, this analysis on the Amazing Stories site says it would work.

If it’s accurate (and I am not inside-baseball enough to know), then the problem of inequity is simply defined: the Hugo Awards are worth more to people who don’t have them than the price of acquiring them. For the price of $1600, you can suborn enough votes—in this case, 40 of them—to get a short story nomination; for a mere $6000, you can suborn the 150 votes to get a novel nomination. And once you have enough to get a novel nomination, you can get all the nominations you want.

So to solve your inequity problem, you should do one of three things:

  1. Lower the value of a Hugo nomination so that no one wants it that much
  2. Raise the price of buying a Hugo nomination so that no one can afford to game the system
  3. Be more equitable in your nominations

(27) Alison Herman on Flavorwire – “How This Year’s Hugo Awards Turned Into a Battle Over Race, Gender and the Soul of Fandom”

Blogger Chaos Horizon matched up the votes with Beale’s recommendations to arrive at his estimate that the Rabid Puppies made up about 10% of the final Hugo vote at slightly more than 500 members, with the Sad Puppies making up another 10%. During the nomination stage, those numbers were enough to guarantee five categories’ worth of all-Puppy nominees — in Best Novella, Best Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Editor for Short Form, and Best Editor for Long Form — and, according to iO9’s detailed analysis, greatly alter the makeup of the Hugo ballot.

But the Hugos ultimately didn’t go in the Puppies’ favor. In between the nomination announcement and WorldCon itself, the convention experienced a massive spike in membership. Over 11,000 people bought memberships, an all-time high, and nearly 6,000 people voted — 65% more than ever before, according to Wallace. Until this weekend’s award ceremonies, however, it wasn’t clear whether the new voters were heeding the Puppies’ rallying cry or reacting against it.

The numbers clearly indicate that most voters fell into the latter camp. Every single one of the all-Puppy awards resulted in a No Award vote; Chaos Horizon estimates that a full 2500 voters, nearly half the total voting pool, voted “No Award” across all of these categories on principle. Another 1000 voted “No Award” in at least some categories, indicating they were sympathetic to the anti-Puppy coalition and creating a consensus that dwarfed the Puppies’ vocal minority.

(28) Lou J. Berger on Facebook

WE are all Science Fiction.

When the fans who love the more popular Science Fictional stories abandoned WorldCon for other venues, those left behind became, by default, more literary. Literary fiction talks mostly about the human condition and is skewed to internal conflicts. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve handed out awards to many a square-jawed hero blasting bug-eyed monsters, but the overall trend has been left-leaning.

There’s nothing wrong with that, say the Puppies, until somebody notices that the Hugo awards are still labeled as the “best” of Science Fiction. And that’s when hackles raised.

We are a small community, even so, and our numbers, overall, aren’t huge. Who is to say that literary, left-leaning fiction is the “best?” Just because it USED to be the venue for handing out Hugo Awards, does it still mean that WorldCons are the measuring sticks for what is the “best” in all of SFdom? Even with it being so huge nowadays?

Our community is reeling, and it began when the Puppy movement started (rightfully) questioning the claim that Hugos represented the “best” of Science Fiction. It went off the rails when they pointed accusatory fingers and called the good people who have been attending, running, volunteering for, nominating and awarding Hugos “SJWs” and made it sound dirty.

What’s wrong with allowing others to love a type of Science Fiction not exactly like the Science Fiction you happen to love?

NOT A GODDAMN THING!

And that’s where we are, today. We have two large factions of angry people who both love Science Fiction and who both are passionate, and who both want to find satisfaction.

The mistake is assuming that we have to denigrate or push down the “other” side in order to “win” our side.

(29) David Gerrold on Facebook

Oh, one more thing. About those asterisks? Those asterisks raised almost 2700 dollars for Sir Terry Pratchett’s favorite charity, The Orangutan Foundation. Money will be delivered this week. Pictures will be posted.

(30) Steve Leigh – “Without an Obelix”

One item that bothered me about the Hugo Award ceremony was the use of the “asterisk” plaques. While I’m not at all sympathetic to the tactics of the Puppies (of either variety), the asterisks symbolize a slap in the face of every person who was nominated for a Hugo this year, puppy-nominated or not. I read the pre-Hugo comments by various bloggers about how if anyone won a Hugo this year, it should be considered as “with an asterisk” — as in, not deserved because the competition this year was changed and diluted by the packing of the nominations by the puppies.

To some degree, and in some categories, works and people who might have otherwise been on the ballot were indeed missing, but there were also deserving works and people nominated. I defy anyone to argue that Sheila Gilbert (who has been on the final Hugo ballot for three years running now in the Long Form Editor Category) doesn’t have the credentials to deserve her place there. She’s just one example… and not the only one.

For the convention to commission the asterisk plaques, and then to announce during the ceremony that they were going to be distributed to all the nominees this year is a blatant insult to every single nominee, with the sub-text being “Hey, if you were nominated, you didn’t deserve your nomination, and if you managed to win, well, your Hugo doesn’t mean anything.”

In my opinion, the creation and use of the asterisk plaques were entirely abusive and absolutely not in the spirit of the fandom that I love and consider myself part of. Shame on whomever decided that was a good idea, and those who supported it.

(31) William M. Briggs – “Social Justice Warriors! Marvel Announces New Movie At #HugoAwards”

Marvel’s new Social Justice Warriors! preview took the Hugo Awards by storm. And so did the team itself, who shocked and gratified attendees by using their mutant powers on the award ceremony itself.

Rather than hand out five major awards, which might have gone to authors who produced works of readability and quality, the social justice warriors of the Social Justice Squad slithered into action and, in an exquisitely staged show, mock-battled the Forces of Intolerance and squashed the awards.

The team snatched the best novella, best short story and three others out of the hands of judges mere seconds before they were given to deserving writers instead of favored minorities. The heroic team immediately called a press conference at which they shouted in unison, “Diversity!” And then they vanished!

Hugo Award judges who helped organize the faux-battle were quoted as saying, “This is good for speculative fiction. Our awards were in danger of being known for merit. With the help of the Social Justice Squad, everybody now knows our real purpose is inclusion and equality.”

(32) Vox Day on Vox Popoli – “What will Vox do?”

But in the interest of further demoralizing the already-retreating enemy, I’m not reluctant to reveal one of the new weapons in our arsenal. That’s right. The Evil Legion of Evil is training a corps of Amphibious Assault Otters. Armed with acid-filled squirt guns and supported by a crack squad of Attack Manatees, they will emerge from the rivers and literally melt the faces of the SJWs attempting to burn bridges as they continue to retreat. Good day, sir! I said good day!

Pixel Scroll 7/28 Pixels in My Pocket Like Scrolls of Sand

War, Famine, Conquest, Death, and a Puppy make up today’s Scroll.

(1) The headline reads “Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking Want to Save the World From Killer Robots” – more euphemistically called autonomous weapons.

Along with 1,000 other signatories, Musk and Hawking signed their names to an open letter that will be presented this week at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“Autonomous weapons are ideal for tasks such as assassinations, destabilizing nations, subduing populations and selectively killing a particular ethnic group,” the letter says. “We therefore believe that a military AI arms race would not be beneficial for humanity. There are many ways in which AI can make battlefields safer for humans, especially civilians, without creating new tools for killing people.”

(2) Margaret Atwood, in her article about climate change on Medium, senses perception of change is accelerating.

It’s interesting to look back on what I wrote about oil in 2009, and to reflect on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years. Much of what most people took for granted back then is no longer universally accepted, including the idea that we could just go on and on the way we were living then, with no consequences. There was already some alarm back then, but those voicing it were seen as extreme. Now their concerns have moved to the center of the conversation. Here are some of the main worries.

Planet Earth—the Goldilocks planet we’ve taken for granted, neither too hot or too cold, neither too wet or too dry, with fertile soils that accumulated for millennia before we started to farm them –- that planet is altering. The shift towards the warmer end of the thermometer that was once predicted to happen much later, when the generations now alive had had lots of fun and made lots of money and gobbled up lots of resources and burned lots of fossil fuels and then died, are happening much sooner than anticipated back then. In fact, they’re happening now.

One of the many topics she covers is the use of didactic fiction to awaken students to environmental problems.

Could cli-fi be a way of educating young people about the dangers that face them, and helping them to think through the problems and divine solutions? Or will it become just another part of the “entertainment business”? Time will tell. But if Barry Lord is right, the outbreak of such fictions is in part a response to the transition now taking place—from the consumer values of oil to the stewardship values of renewables. The material world should no longer be treated as a bottomless cornucopia of use-and-toss endlessly replaceable mounds of “stuff”: supplies are limited, and must be conserved and treasured.

(3) Of course, what people usually learn from entertainment is how to have a good time. Consider how that cautionary tale, The Blob,has inspired this party

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania — one of the filming locations for “The Blob” — hosts an annual Blobfest. One of the highlights for participants is reenacting the famous scene when moviegoers run screaming from the town’s Colonial Theatre.

(4) However, there are some fans who do conserve and treasure their stuff, like Allen Lewis, who recently donated his large sf collection:

The University of Iowa has struck gold. Not the kind that lies in the federal reserve, but one of paper in a Sioux Falls man’s basement. After 20 years of collecting, he is donating his one-of-a-kind collection of 17,500 books worth an estimated three quarters of a million dollars.

(5) And the University of Iowa makes good use of the material, for example, its project to digitize the Hevelin fanzine collection:

Hevelin-fanzines-e1437769140485Now, the pulps and passion projects alike will be getting properly preserved and digitized so they can be made accessible to readers and researchers the world over. The library’s digitization efforts are led by Digital Project Librarian Laura Hampton. She’s just a few weeks into the first leg of the project, digitizing some 10,000 titles from the collection of Rusty Hevelin, a collector and genre aficionado whose collection came to the library in 2012. You can follow along with Hampton’s work on the Hevelin Collection tumblr.

“These fanzines paint an almost outrageously clear picture of early fandom,” said Hampton. “If you read through every single fanzine in our collection, you would have a pretty solid idea of all the goings-on that shaped early fandom—the major players, the dramas, the developments and changes, and who instigated and opposed them. There is an incredible cultural history here that cannot be replicated.”

(6) The DC17 Worldcon bid has Storified a series of tweets highlighting reasons for vote for their bid.

https://twitter.com/DCin17/status/626081453638483968

It absolutely is an All-Star committee.

(7) JT in Germany has posted his picks in the Best Related Works category, and Antonelli’s Letters from Gardner ranked at the top of his personal scorecard.

Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli — 3 of 5 This is the one I was most interested in, as it’s about the actual mechanics of writing. It’s a series of short stories, starting as he’s trying to break into publishing short science fiction, and follows his career. Each of the stories is paired with an intro and follow-up about the changes the stories went through, including his interactions with famed editor Gardner Dozois. Unfortunately, the included sample was only just getting into the interesting part of his correspondence. It was good enough that I’ll be buying it soon enough.

(8) Another successful crowdfunding effort is bringing out Lovecraft: The Blasphemously Large First Issue, a new comic that portrays H.P. Lovecraft as “a modern-day, kick-ass action hero & alchemist.”

Writer Craig Engler is thrilled to report the copies have arrived from the printers and will be going out to donors. Lovecraft 48 pg COMP

(9) Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis by Abigail Santamaria is due out August 4. The biography of Helen “Joy” Davidman. Katie Noah’s review appears in Shelf Awareness (scroll down).

Joy cover

While she clearly admires her subject, Santamaria acknowledges Joy’s failings: her tendency to exaggeration and even lying; the spending sprees she could rarely afford; her troubled relationship with her parents and brother. Joy’s marriage to Bill also receives an even-handed treatment. Bill was undoubtedly an alcoholic who struggled to maintain a stable family life, but Santamaria clearly outlines the part Joy played in the failure of their marriage.

Frustrated by professional and personal setbacks, Joy uprooted her life–and that of her two young sons–to travel to England in 1952. She had struck up a flourishing correspondence with Lewis, and she set out to woo her literary lion. Santamaria chronicles the difficulties of Joy’s life in England and Lewis’s reaction to her arrival, but admits that, in the end, they did fall deeply in love. As Joy’s health began to fail, her relationship with Lewis flourished, and their last few years together were blissful.

(10) When Syfy isn’t busy feeding celebrities to sharks, they produce episodic sci-fi shows like the new Wynonna Earp project.

This classic by Beau Smith which was brought to us by IDW Publishing is being given a 13 episode first season run and stars Melanie Scrofano (‘RoboCop‘,’Saw VI’) in the lead role! She’ll be playing the great granddaughter of Wyatt Earp and works for The Monster Squad. Following in his infamous footsteps, she works with the US Marshals, only in a secret department that tracks down fiends that are just a bit more sinister than your regular criminal.

(11) They’re also readying an adaptation of Clarke’s Childhood’s End — here’s the supertrailer shown at Comic-Con

[Thanks to Mark, Andrew Porter, Michael J. Walsh, Martin Morse Wooster, Linda Lewis, John King Tarpinian and David K.M. Klaus. Title credit to Brian Z.]