Pixel Scroll 12/31/16 We All Know That The Pixel Never Scrolls Twice

(1) ON ITS WAY TO BEING DEADJOURNAL? LiveJournal was purchased by a Russian company in 2007 but continued to operate on U.S.-based servers until this month. According to Metafilter

As of a few days ago, the IP addresses for blogging service LiveJournal have moved to 81.19.74.*, a block that lookup services locate in Moscow, Russia. Now users — especially those who do not trust the Russian government — are leaving the platform and advising others to leave.

For years, the online blogging community LiveJournal — popular in Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine — has served as a key communications platform for Russian dissidents (the Committee to Protect Journalists earlier this month called on Russian authorities to release a LiveJournal user who has been sentenced to 2 years in prison for a critical blog post). Even after Russian company SUP bought it from California-based Six Apart in 2007 (previously), the fact that SUP continued to run the servers in the US meant that users felt relatively safe; a 2009 press release specifically said that LiveJournal, Inc.* would continue to run technical operations and servers in the United States (and claimed that 5.7 million LiveJournal users were Russia-based).

(2) REANIMATION NOW A HOLLYWOOD ISSUE. “Actors seek posthumous protections after big-screen resurrections” – Reuters has the story.

California law already gives heirs control over actors’ posthumous profits by requiring their permission for any of use of their likeness. As technology has improved, many living actors there are more focused on steering their legacy with stipulations on how their images are used – or by forbidding their use.

Robin Williams, who committed suicide in 2014, banned any use of his image for commercial means until 2039, according to court documents. He also blocked anyone from digitally inserting him into a movie or TV scene or using a hologram, as was done with rapper Tupac Shakur at Southern California’s Coachella music festival in 2012 – 16 years after his murder.

Virtual characters have been used when an actor dies in the middle of a film production, as when Universal Pictures combined CGI and previous footage for Paul Walker’s role in 2015’s “Furious 7” after Walker’s 2013 death in a car crash.

But “Rogue One” broke new ground by giving a significant supporting role to a dead star. A digital embodiment of British actor Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, reprised his role from the original 1997 “Star Wars” film as Tarkin.

Walt Disney Co recreated Tarkin with a mix of visual effects and a different actor.

A Disney spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Princess Leia would appear in films beyond “Episode VIII,” set for release in 2017. Fisher had wrapped filming for the next “Star Wars” episode before she died. She suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles.

(3) ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS CLOSES. Quoting from JJ in a comment on yesterday’s Scroll:

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has made a public posting on Patreon: “All Romance Ebooks and its sister website Omnilit did something incredibly awful on December 28, 2016. It sent out a handful of emails, letting writers, publishers, readers, and others know that it was shutting its doors four days later.”

This is a really well-thought-out and helpful piece. The TL;DR is: 1) if you’re an author who was using them as a distributor, get your rights reverted immediately; 2) if you’re a reader who bought books through them, get them copied to your computer immediately.

There’s a lot more helpful advice for affected authors in there. I really hope that no Filers are affected by this, and I feel bad for all authors who were involved with that business; they are almost certainly not going to get any money they are owed.

Part of what Rusch explained:

ARe is a distributor, mostly, and so it is dealing with its writers as suppliers and unsecured creditors. I’ve been through a bunch of distributor closings, many in the late 1990s, with paper books, and they all happen like this.

One day, everything works, and the next, the distributor is closed for good. In some ways, ARe is unusual in that it gave its suppliers and creditors four days notice. Most places just close their doors, period.

I’m not defending ARe. I’m saying they’re no different than any other company that has gone out of business like this. Traditional publishers have had to deal with this kind of crap for decades. Some comic book companies went out of business as comic book distributors collapsed over the past 25 years. Such closures have incredible (bad) ripple effects. In the past, writers have lost entire careers because of these closures, but haven’t known why, because the publishing house had to cope with the direct losses when the distributor went down.

The difference here is that ARe wasn’t dealing with a dozen other companies. It was dealing with hundreds, maybe thousands, of writers individually, as well as publishers. So, writers are seeing this distribution collapse firsthand instead of secondhand.

To further complicate matters, ARe acted as a publisher for some authors, and is offering them no compensation whatsoever, not even that horrid 10 cents on the dollar (which, I have to say, I’ll be surprised if they pay even that).

(4) NZ ORDER OF MERIT. Professor Anthony Phillip Mann,  a Sir Julius Vogel winner whose novel The Disestablishment of Paradise was a finalist for the Clarke and Campbell Awards, has been named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to literature and drama.

(5) NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR SIR JULIUS VOGEL. Nominations for the 2017 Sir Julius Vogel awards are being accepted until 8.00 p.m. on March 31, 2017.

The awards recognise excellence and achhievement in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents, and first published or released in the 2016 calendar year.

We are using a web-based system for nominations this year to aid our administrative processes. Full information about the awards, including the rules and criteria for the Sir Julius Vogel Award, can be found here.

Anyone can make a nomination and it is free! To make a nomination, go to http://www.sffanz.org.nz/sjv/sjvAwards.shtml  and fill out the web-based nomination form.

Get busy reading NZ authors and watching NZ movies to find work to nominate. We have a list of New Zealand works that may be eligible for nomination here.

(6) CAMPBELL AWARD. Mark-kitteh reports, “Writertopia have set their Campbell Award eligibility page to 2017 mode. It’s obviously very sparse on 1st year eligibility at the moment, but there are a few new entries already.”

The John W. Campbell Award uses the same nomination and voting mechanism as the Hugo, even though the Campbell Award is not a Hugo.

Like the Hugo Awards, the Campbell Award voting takes place in two stages. The first stage, nomination, is open to anyone who had a Supporting or Attending membership in the previous, current, or following year’s Worldcon as of January 31. For Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, this means members of MidAmeriCon II, Worldcon 75 itself, and Worldcon 76 can nominate any eligible author. This web page helps identify eligible authors for the Campbell Award.

The official nomination page will be posted when it is available on the Worldcon 75 website. Nominations will likely close on March 31, 2017.

To be able to vote for the award, you must be a member of Worldcon 75 in Helsinki. If you are not a member of Worldcon 75 and wish to vote, you must purchase a supporting membership or an attending membership before January 31.

(7) COVERS REVEALED. Greg Ruth’s cover art for Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch  and Akata Warrior has debuted online. Ruth wrote —

We often in art mistake race for color, and what this taught me was a way to skip past those initial assumptions and get right to the heart of her structure rather than her tone. This meant a lot of research into what physical features are distinctively Nigerian, and bringing those to bear on this young woman. She had to, without leaning on skin color, be authentically Nigerian and herself as a true native of her culture in every bit as much the same way in which I might need to address and accomplish the same for a Cambodian scientist, or an Icelandic luthier. We all within our tribes carry specific physical marks that stem from our localized familial genetics. Folks of a Rwandan Tutsi heritage have different physical features even from Rwandan Hutu people due to the way we as people form our tribes via family and region. Whether or not my own self-aware whiteness drove me to paying especial attention to these subtle but significant differences, or whether it was just about cleaving close to that aforementioned ethic of art making to be its best and truly objective self, I can’t say. But I do confess to feeling as someone coming from a  different cultural experience, I owe a lot to research as a means to be the best scribe for the cultural truths and realities of one that is not mine. That means, int he case of INDEH, years of research, tracking tribal origins, genetic traits and societal issues so that the Apaches look like Apaches, especially to actual real Apaches. If I had done this first as part of this ongoing series, I am not sure I would have been able to if I were being honest. I think I needed to do the other three to fully grok what it was this pair of images needed to have done. It was entirely essential to this potential hubris that Nnedi had been so excited about the previous three- and particularly to have been so spot on with them both culturally and inherent in her mind to the characters as she see saw them. Her words brought great comfort to me in times of doubt- (Thanks Nnedi!).

(8) HINES AUCTION RESULTS. Jim C. Hines’ fundraiser for Transgender Michigan brought in $1,655.55.

We know transgender youth are at a higher risk of depression and suicide, and these coming months and years could be very difficult. So I’m proud and grateful to announce that with the help of some SF/F friends and the generosity of everyone who bid and donated, we raised a total of $1,655.55 to help Transgender Michigan continue their important work.

I wanted to pass along this thank you from Susan Crocker of Transgender Michigan:

Transgender Michigan would like to thank everyone involved with the fundraiser auctions run by Jim C. Hines. All of you are helping us provide services to the transgender communities of Michigan and beyond. This will help our help line, chapters, referral system, community building, and advocacy.

(9) RULES VARIATION. Cheryl Morgan has “Arabian Nights Questions”:

Something else I did over Christmas, as a bit of a break from the Wagnerthon, was remind myself of the rules for Arabian Nights, just in case I should end up in a game at Chance & Counters. There are solo play rules, and it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things (not to mention crippled, enslaved, and ensorcelled). However, a couple of questions occurred to me along the way and I was wondering if anyone out there could enlighten me.

First up, I remember from playing the original version that you were not allowed to win if you were gender-swapped. Indeed, I wrote a whole blog post about that a couple of years ago. Checking the rules of the new edition it appears that rule has been dropped. The card for Geas still says you can’t win while you have that status, but no other statuses seem to have that effect. Can anyone confirm this, or have I missed something?

(10) WONG OBIT. Tyrus Wong (1910-2016) who worked on Disney’s Bambi, died December 30 according to the New York Times.

When Walt Disney’s “Bambi” opened in 1942, critics praised its spare, haunting visual style, vastly different from anything Disney had done before. But what they did not know was that the film’s striking appearance had been created by a Chinese immigrant artist, who took as his inspiration the landscape paintings of the Song dynasty. The extent of his contribution to “Bambi,” which remains a high-water mark for film animation, would not be widely known for decades

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 31, 1931 — A doctor faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run wild in Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, seen for the first time on this day. This was the first horror movie ever to win an Academy Award, it was for Best Actor. The movie was also nominated for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

dr-jekyll

  • December 31, 1935 — C. B. Darrow received a patent for his Monopoly game.
  • December 31, 1958Cosmic Monsters, aka The Strange World of Planet X, opens.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY AMPHIBIAN

  • Born December 31, 1955  — Michigan J. Frog, pictured with his dad, Chuck Jones.

frog-and-chuck-jones

(13) PROGRAM BREAKERS. The BBC discusses examples of names that break computer systems.

Some individuals only have a single name, not a forename and surname. Others have surnames that are just one letter. Problems with such names have been reported before. Consider also the experiences of Janice Keihanaikukauakahihulihe’ekahaunaele, a Hawaiian woman who complained that state ID cards should allow citizens to display surnames even as long as hers – which is 36 characters in total. In the end, government computer systems were updated to have greater flexibility in this area.

Incidents like this are known, in computing terminology, as “edge cases” – that is, unexpected and problematic cases for which the system was not designed.

I remember cracking up when I read an Ann Landers column about the soldier who didn’t have a regular name, just two initials, and once the military had processed him he was legally stuck with the name “Bonly Nonly.”

(14) PRESTIDIGITIZATION. Rich Lynch announces, “From out of the mists of nearly 30 years past, the third issue of the fanzine Mimosa is now online.  You can view it here: Mimosa #3.”

“Like everything else on the Mimosa website, the issue has been put online in eye-friendly HTML format.  This will make it easier to view, as it was originally published in two-column format and you do not need to turn pages to read an article in its entirety.”

Rich has also launched the 17th issue of his personal fanthology My Back Pages at eFanzines.com.

Issue #17 is a year-end collection that starts with a long and at times strange journey, and includes essays involving teetering glass display cases, sweaty dinner expeditions, accusations of spying, protected sanctuaries, icy traverses, well-attired mountain climbs, earthquake epicenters, frigid hitchhikes, altitude-challenged terrain, river confluences, photography challenges, clear skies, city park pow-wows, employment outsourcing, focal-point fanzines, woodland views from on high, Viennese composers, good and bad winter weather, entertaining musicals, minimalist paintings, subway mosaics, and the New York City street grid.  This issue also, for the first time in the run, includes a previously unpublished essay.”

(15) LEGENDS OF THE FALL. Jo Lindsay Walton’s blog has an impressive origin story, but he may be throttling back in 2017.

Superadded to this general siege of opinion, I had started to feel that those closest to me would sometimes, in a real casual way, slip into conversation a chance remark, not obviously aimed at me, which intimated that to hide one’s l33t under a bushel might itself be construed as vanity, and that in a way wouldn’t you say that, like, the most ostentatious blog you can have as a white middle class western cis man is no blog at all — the eyes flick anxiously to mine, linger an unsettling instant, flick away. I caved. My caving is all around you. In the end it was probably the dramatis personae itself that did it: what was reiterated strategum by strategum, however laughable the local strategic design, was this bald provocation: if so many millions of entities, living, dead, exotic, imaginary, could draw together under this one bloggenic banner, if Alex Dally MacFarlane, Alice Tarbuck, and Aliette de Bodard, if Amal El-Mohtar, Amy Sterling Casil, and Ann Leckie, if Anna MacFarlane, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and Brad R. Torgersen?, if Carol Emshwiller, Catherynne M. Valente, and China Miéville, if Christina Scholz, Chuck Tingle, and Connie Willis, if Elizabeth Jones, George O. Smith, and George RR Martin, if Gillian Anderson, Harlan Ellison, and Jack Vance, if Jim Butcher, John C. Wright, and John Scalzi, if Jonah Sutton-Morse, Joseph Tomaras, and Kate Paulk, if Kathy Acker, Kevin J. Anderson, and Kim Stanley Robinson, if Kir Bulychev, Lois McMaster Bujold, and L. Ron Hubbard, if Larry Correia, Laura J. Mixon, and Lavie Tidhar, if Margaret Cavendish, N.K. Jemisin, and Nalo Hopkinson, if Naomi Novik, Nick Mamatas, and Paul Weimer, if R.A. Lafferty, Renay, and Robert Heinlein, if Robert Jordan, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, and Saladin Ahmed, if Sarah Hoyt, Sofia Samatar, and Sophie Mayer, if Steven Gould, Tricia Sullivan, and Vox Day, if countless others, could all make cause together to beg this one blog of me, if even Alice Bradley Sheldon and James Tiptree Jnr. could set aside their differences to ask this one thing, why then could I not set my false modesty aside, look into my historically-determined and socially-constructed heart, and blog? But now the PhD is kinda done, so … well, this will probably go a bit dormant now.

A volcano puffing out the odd mothball.

(16) PAGES TURNED. Abigail Nussbaum closes out with “2016,  Year in Reading: Best Reads of the Year” at Asking the Wrong Questions.

The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar (review) I wrote several thousand words about Samatar’s second novel, the companion piece to her equally wonderful A Stranger in Olondria, earlier this year, and yet I still don’t feel that I’ve fully grappled with how special and revolutionary this book is.  This despite the fact that Histories initially feels a great deal more conventional, and much easier to sum up, than Olondria.  Its use of familiar epic fantasy tropes and styles is more pronounced than the previous novel, and whereas Olondria circled around the edges of a fantasyland civil war, Histories sets its story almost in the middle of it.  What ultimately becomes clear, however, is that just like the hero of A Stranger in Olondria, the four women who tell the story of The Winged Histories are trying to give shape to their lives by casting them into literary forms–in this case, the forms of epic fantasy, even if none of them are aware of that genre or would call it that.  And, one by one, they discover the limitations of those forms, especially where women and colonized people are concerned.  Not unlike Olondria, The Winged Histories is ultimately forced to ask whether it is even possible for people to tell their own stories using the tropes and tools left to them by their oppressors.  If the entire purpose of your existence is to be the Other, or the object, in someone else’s story, can you ever take their words, their forms, and make it a story about yourself?  For most of the novel’s characters, the solution is ultimately to fall silent, and yet The Winged Histories itself rings loudly.  As much as it is a rebuke of the fantasy genre, it is also a major work within it, and one that deserves more discussion and attention than it has received.

(17) KYRA LOOKS BACK AT 2016. In comments, Kyra sketched some mini-reviews of what she read this past year.

(18) SOME GOOD IN 2016 AFTER ALL. Creature Features, the Burbank collectibles store, put together a tribute to 2016 sff.

[Thanks to JJ, Andrew Porter, Kip W, Joe Rico, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ken Richards.]

Sputnik Award Finalists

Did you forget about The Sputnik Award? Jo Lindsay Walton’s new award, covered by File 770 in May, promised a winner would be announced before the year is out. And that’s almost what has happened.

Walton reports two finalists have emerged from the Dungeons of Democracy —

  • N.K. Jemisin, THE FIFTH SEASON
  • Naomi Novik, UPROOTED

“The winner will be announced in a virtual ceremony in the coming months,” he promises. “Keep your eyes flayed.”

Victory depends on an RPG-like tournament in the Dungeons of Democracy, governed by rules like these —

(6) Ballots who have run out of HP flee the Dungeons of Democracy using a Town Hall Portal spell, to await the results.

(7) The process is repeated from (2). If two rounds pass in a row without any damage being inflicted, the award administrator must either:

  • introduce a Monster Ballot (see below); and/or
  • eliminate the ballot with the lowest number of total HP, even if it’s not yet at zero.

While you’re waiting for the process to play out, entertain yourself by reviewing a list of the illustrious past winners of the Sputnik Award:

While 2016 is the first year that Terrans can vote in the Award, it has been going strong in other parts of the universe for eons. Past winners include:

#TeamHedgehog
Robert Silverbellied, Majiporcupine Chroniprickles
Theodore Pincushion, E Pluribus Unomnomnomnomnom
David Gerrolledup, The Hedgehog Who Folded Himself Right Up
William Gibsonic, Mario Luigi Overdrive

#TeamWitch
E.E. Smithryn, Expecto Galactic Patronum
David Broom, Hat of the Kermit
Frank Herb, Dune: House Hufflepuff Joe Haldemon, The Forever Wart
Vernor Vingerbread, A Frog Upon the Lap

#TeamDalek
Philip K. Dalek, Through a Stairwell Dalekly
J.K. Rolling, Harry Plunger and the Order of the Peppershaker
Kevin J. Anderselfiestick, The Dalek Between the Stairs
Ann Dalekie, Ancillary Justice! Ancillary Justexterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!

Pixel Scroll 5/24/16 Bark Side Of the Moon

(1) RELEASE THE MONSTER BALLOT. Jo Lindsay Walton is pleased with the flood of Sputnik Award ballots, and is at least not horrified by one of the suggestions.

Btw: I’ve received some really touching enthusiasm, warmth and wise counsels and offers of support, as well as a pretty significant amount of “eh?” “baroo?” “mph?” “wha-?”, which tbh is also kinda gratifying. One thing I’d love to hear more of is unwise counsel. The best I’ve heard so far is the suggestion that we do the Dungeons of Democracy for real.

Just imagine, ripping it from the Excel and into the streets, playing out the entire vote as a vast LARP, cosplaying Daleky Phoenixes and Hedgehoggy Thing Itselves . . .

(2) WINDLING. Remember, Terri Windling lectures on fantasy at Oxford on Thursday, May 26.

I will be delivering the 4th Annual Tolkien Lecture at Pembroke College, Oxford University this Thursday at 6:30 pm. The Pembroke Fantasy lecture series “explores the history and current state of fantasy literature, in honour of JRR Tolkien, who wrote The Hobbit and much of The Lord of the Rings during his twenty years at the college.”

The lecture I’ll be giving is Tolkien’s Long Shadow: Reflections on Fantasy Literature in the Post-Tolkien Era. Admission is free, but you need to register for a ticket and space is limited. Go here for further details.

(3) LUCAS MUSEUM. Mark Guarino’s Washington Post article “George Lucas’s dream of a Chicago lakefront museum faces choppy waters” even-handedly covers the battle to bring the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art to Chicago, showing the strengths – the vast art collection, and the architecture — and the minuses, chiefly that it will be partially paid with hotel taxes, which raises a question about whether George Lucas really needs to be subsidized by Illinois and Chicago taxpayers.

The Lucases had two real requirements: One, it would be in a prominent location and, two, that it would be near other museums,” he says. “The Lucases are not going to go to another site.”

A new plan approved by Lucas involves reconfiguring an aging extension of the McCormick Place convention center that sits on the lake and partially replacing it with the museum, 12 new acres of parkland, in addition to new convention space. That multipurpose site is more complicated because it involves borrowing nearly $1.2 billion and extending five taxes on hotels and more. Because it is co-owned by the state, approval from Springfield is required. With Illinois in a budget deadlock that is nearing a full year, and the state ranked at the bottom of those with underfunded pensions, the timing could not be worse. Koch says the selling point is long-term revenue in taxes and tourism dollars, as well as that it would add to Chicago’s “meaningful group of museums and cultural assets” that make it globally competitive.

This is both an enormous opportunity to update and modernize McCormick Place,” he says. “It has this element of Lucas, but they are two separate things that would happen to be tied together financially.”

Talks are on hold until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit rules on a city petition that asks for the lawsuit to be thrown out. Meanwhile, Hobson released a statement calling Friends of the Park “a small special interest group” that has “co-opted and hijacked” the process. “It saddens me that young black and brown children will be denied the chance to benefit from what this museum will offer,” she says.

She added that she and her husband “are now seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has already said he would welcome the museum in his city.

If the Lucases leave Chicago, it will ultimately discredit the couple’s statements about wanting to help the children there, park advocates say.

“They keep saying how committed they are to the city, but they’re not committed enough to build anywhere but the lakefront,” [Friends of the Park executive director Juanita] Irizarry says.

(4) THIS HAPPENED. N.K. Jemisin started a Patreon campaign less than a week ago and it’s been so successful she can give up her day job.

So, internets. Big changes in Noraland. For the few of you who don’t follow me on Twitter and FB, I Did A Thing. Specifically, last Friday I started a Patreon campaign with the specific goal of breaking free of the 9 to 5 life. I launched it officially at 5:35 pm on Friday afternoon, thinking nobody would much care since Friday News Dump, and thinking that would give me time to fix bugs and work out any kinks in the campaign over the weekend. Instead, to my absolute shock, I hit my baseline goal within 24 hours, and my stretch goal within 48. And it’s still going. People really, really want me to have a retirement plan, apparently.

(5) BEVERLEY OBIT. Jo Beverley passed away on May 23 at the age of 68. Though best known as a romance writer, she also wrote romances with fantasy and magic in them, was a Writers of the Future contest finalist (1988), and published in Songs of Love and Death (2010) edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

(6) HEARTWARMING WOOKIEE. In “Star Wars’ Favourite Wookiee Goes Back to School”, Lee Costello of the BBC’s Northern Ireland service reports on Chewbacca’s visit to a school in County Kerry.

Chewbacca, Star Wars’ world-famous wookiee, has left pupils at a Republic of Ireland primary school star struck after landing for a visit.

The star is filming the newest instalment of the blockbuster series in County Kerry.

He took a break from the set to visit Scoil Fheirtearaigh National School in Ballyferriter on Monday.

The visit was arranged after some pupils sent impressive artwork to director Rian Johnson.

(7) AND HIS MOM. Meanwhile, Hollywood summoned a viral video maker for 15 more minutes of fame — “J.J. Abrams Surprises Chewbacca Mom”.

Candace Payne, also known as the Chewbacca Mom, took over the Internet this weekend with her Chewbacca mask and infectious laugh. In the video, Candace is sitting in her car, super excited about a purchase she just made: a Star Wars Chewbacca mask with sound. The next few minutes are her trying to contain her infectious laughter. The video broke the all-time total for most views on Facebook Live, and everyone has been talking about the joyful mom from Texas.

James Corden brought Candace out to Los Angeles to appear on The Late Late Show and surprised her with a visit from J.J. Abrams. The trio took a ride in a car, where Abrams gives Candace some notes on how to play Chewbacca, but the best part was her reaction outside of the car when J.J. first surprised her.

Video at the link.

(8) START SPREADING THE NEWS. Looks like this will be no problem in Ireland, but for everyone else IFL Science contemplates “How Do We Tell The World That We’ve Found Alien Life?”

…That’s a topic discussed in a paper from astronomers Duncan Forgan and Alexander Scholz from the University of St Andrews in Scotland (hat tip to Cosmos Magazine for picking it up). They have examined the protocols that are already in place, and have suggested ways that those involved in the discovery should prepare for the media onslaught that would accompany a tentative detection.

“A critical concern for scientists pursuing the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is the reaction of the world to the knowledge that humans are not the only technological civilization in the universe,” they write. They suggest that the “culture shock” of such a discovery will put SETI scientists under intense scrutiny, which they must be prepared for…..

“SETI scientists must be prepared to not simply announce a detection via press release, but to be a trusted voice in the global conversation that will begin after the initial announcement,” the authors write. “This will require both pre-search and post-detection protocols to be implemented.”

(9) AWARD JUDGES. In Australia, the 2016 Aurealis Awards judging panels have been selected.

There’s a panel for every category – which means a lot of judges. Scroll down to see the judges’ bios.

(10) TRUER GRIT. Damien Walter believes Dune Deserves A New Film Adaptation”.

Dune’s cinematic qualities have made it a natural target for Hollywood adaptations. But the Lynchian weirdness, followed by a lacklustre mini-series, have left the franchise in a televisual limbo for most of the last two decades. Herbert’s own sequels, while conceptually interesting and widely loved by established fans, lack the storytelling muscle displayed in the first book. A risible series of cash-in prequels have dragged the Dune universe down to the bargain basement of pulp fiction. It’s a sad legacy for such a significant work of fiction.

(11) TROLL HOIST. Death and Taxes did an overview of Chuck Tingle’s Hugo nomination that ends with this paragraph:

Luckily these goons didn’t know who they were dealing with. This is Chuck Tingle, leading author of gay dinosaur erotica, licensed massage therapist, and outspoken enthusiast of hardness and love. Nobody nominates him for a prestigious award and gets away with it.

(12) ANOTHER FINE MESS. There’s reason to be interested in Charlie Jane Anders’ impressions about the field, despite the post ignoring the copious documentation available to answer its strawman question: “One way of looking at the Hugo Awards mess”.

So we’re once again having Hugo Awards drama. It’s confusing, because the people who packed the ballot with their choices have a bunch of vague explanations about why they’re upset. (Ranging from “OMG SJWs” and “affirmative action” to “we just want fun stories.”) They generally keep their grievances vague and nebulous (no pun intended), and it’s hard to pin down what they’re upset about. And this year, they changed tactics slightly, putting more “mainstream” choices on the ballot except for some of the short fiction categories.

So I figure one useful way to look at this issue is to ask: What’s changed? If there’s a group of people who are upset, what recent changes could possibly account for their being upset? Here are a few things that occur to me….

(13) AT WISCON. I see a lot of tweets promoting people’s panel appearances, but rarely one so artistic.

(14) THE SIGN OF THE Z. John Z. Upjohn joined Twitter today. The cause was soon revealed.

Alexandra Erin explained in a GoFundMe appeal update:

And because you all pitched in enough to cover airfare for WorldCon before I head off to my current con, Mr. John Z. Upjohn will be providing live twitter commentary of the event [WisCon]…

Erin also delivered another Sad Puppies Review Books installment once the fundraiser hit $300 (it’s now at $775) – Upjohn’s take on The Cat in the Hat.

The Cat in the HatThe protagonist of the book is a cat who develops games, games that are fun (like all games should be), and who wants nothing but to share them with children who are bored. Not so fast, cat! There is a game critic in the house, a fish who is clearly used to thinking of himself as a big fish in a small pond.

I almost threw this book across the room at one point, because the cat is playing a game and he is clearly having a lot of fun, but the fish says, “NO! THIS ISN’T FUN!” Imagine hating fun so much that you lie about what’s fun in order to ruin a game for everyone else….

(15) PRONOUN STICKERS. WisCon 40 registration will have pronoun stickers available.

Hihi!  I want to take a minute to talk to you about an exciting option we’re offering at Registration this year: pronoun stickers!

We offered them last year and got a lot of reaction, so here’s the explanation:

Pronoun stickers are totally optional to wear. You don’t have to declare anything to anyone. You don’t have to wear the same sticker all weekend. These exist to make it easier for all of us to treat each other respectfully.

If someone IS wearing a pronoun sticker, we expect you will use that pronoun for them. Part of our social contract is kind and respectful treatment of each other, and there are few things that feel as terrible as being misgendered ON PURPOSE. If you make a mistake, just correct yourself and move on…..

 

Options. God bless WisCon. #WisCon

A post shared by Monica Byrne (@monicabyrne13) on

(16) TOMORROW IS TOWEL DAY. The annual tribute to Douglas Adams, Towel Day, takes place on May 25.

Naturally there are dedicated social media sites– a Facebook page or a Flickr group, and a way to tag videos on YouTube.

There are also hybrid events with in-person and internet components like Lofty Pursuits’ Vogon Poetry Slam. You have only a few hours left to enter online.

If you are in Tallahassee, please come and enter the International Vogon Poetry Slam. It is a contest for the worst possible poem. It happens at 8pm on May 25th as part of our Towel Day celebrations. If you are coming in person DO NOT ENTER ON-LINE. You will get to read your own poem live in front of your victims. The rules are the same….

The Vogon Poetry contest. Rules: The worst original poem will win as judged by us. No appeal is possible.

Sent to vogon@pd.net to be considered for this contest. We must get the poems by midnight on the 24th, Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-5). Late entries will go to the spam folder.

(17) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born May 25, 1686 — Polish inventor Gabriel Fahrenheit

(18) NAMING CALLS. Rachel Swirsky considers short story titles in “What should I have titled this essay? (Thoughts on John Joseph Adams’ ‘Zen in the Art of Short Fiction Titling’”).

Titles That Come From the Text

John starts the article by noting several titles that he suggested to authors that he’s published in his magazines and anthologies. He discovered these titles “right there in the text of the stories themselves. When I’m reading or editing a story, I frequently highlight evocative phrases I come across that I can later suggest to the author as a possible alternate title. Sometimes the phrasing isn’t quite right for the title, but it’s something that can be massaged, or combined together with another phrase from elsewhere in the story, that somehow captures the essence of what the story is about.”

I used to do the large majority of my titling this way until I started my MFA program at Mills, where the teacher told me what John Joseph Adams brings up next: “I should note that some writing professors—including notable literary giants—advise against this practice, largely because, they say, doing this puts too much emphasis and meaning on the eponymous phrase when the reader comes across it in the story.”

(19) DON’T CALL ME ISHMAEL. “Moby goes where Brian Eno, and his ancestor Herman Melville, went before” at the LA Times.

As a famously brainy electronic musician — and a descendant of literary royalty — Moby had plenty of lodestars he might have looked to while writing his first book.

There was, for instance, Brian Eno, the pop experimentalist who reflected on his work with U2 and David Bowie in his 1996 volume “A Year With Swollen Appendices.” And the distant ancestor from whom Moby got his nickname: “Moby-Dick” author Herman Melville.

In reality, the DJ and producer best known for 1999’s multi-platinum “Play” album took inspiration from a more unlikely source: Duff McKagan, the tattooed bassist in Guns N’ Roses.

“Honestly, I’d never given much thought to the guy before I read his memoir,” Moby said on a recent morning at home in Los Feliz, referring to “It’s So Easy (and Other Lies),” in which McKagan writes frankly about the excess and the illusions of show business. “But he wrote a book that’s good enough that it transcends the fact that I wasn’t interested in him.”

(20) BLAME OF THRONES. Juliet McKenna has her own tangle of pop culture references to work through — “Sansa Stark’s joined the X-Men? Thoughts on popcultural cross contamination”

I’ve yet to see the X-Men Apocalypse movie, so I can’t comment on Sophie Turner’s performance. Her work on Game of Thrones – especially at the moment (NO spoilers in comments please!) – gives me every reason to expect she’ll do a thoroughly good job.

The thing is, though, this is becoming A Thing for me. An amusement at the moment, rather than a distraction, but definitely A Thing.

I caught a trailer for A Knight’s Tale on the TV last week, which is one of my favourite movies. Now though? That’s the one where Robert Baratheon makes The Joker’s armour while The Vision bigs him up to the crowd…

(21) DISCO SCI-FI. Thomas A. Foster looks back at the Seventies in “Sci-Fi TV of the Disco Era: The Grounded Astronaut” on Pop Matters.

…Another key to understanding the sci-fi of the era: the shrunken profile of space exploration. In the ‘60s, NASA was perhaps the most popular Federal project, partly because fallen leader John F. Kennedy was associated with the “space race”. Television covered every moment leading up to the first moon walk in 1969, and Hollywood pitched in with movies and TV shows (I Dream of Jeannie, Star Trek, the made-in-England 2001: A Space Odyssey). The Jetsons had a dog named Astro, and Houston chose the same name for its new baseball team, which played, of course, in the Astrodome.

As our radio-alarm-clocks flipped to the ‘70s soundtrack, however, the Apollo Program was curtailed by budget cuts and sharply declining interest. The scientific idealism of the ‘60s was victim to chronic civil unrest, distrust of authority, and general exhaustion, as Americans turned to self-improvement (meditation, back-to-the-land/find-your-roots trends); hedonism (swinging, cocaine, disco); and all things para- (the paranormal, paranoia), including persistent rumors that the moon landings had been faked. In keeping with the zeitgeist, most of our TV astronauts of the decade would be lost, passive, or grounded….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Pixel Scroll 5/22/16 Pixelpotamus vs. Scrolloceros

(1) PRECISION. In “Save the Allegory!” on Slate, Laura Miller calls on writers to actually define “allegory” correctly.  She quotes from C. S. Lewis’ The Allegory of Love at length and makes lots of superhero references.

What people usually mean when they call something an allegory today is that the fictional work in question can function as a metaphor for some real-world situation or event. This is a common arts journalist’s device: finding a political parallel to whatever you happen to be reviewing is a handy way to make it appear worth writing about in the first place. Calling that parallel an allegory serves to make the comparison more forceful. Fusion says that Batman v Superman is a “none-too-subtle allegory for the fight between Republican presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.” (It is not.) The Hollywood Reporter calls Zootopia an “accidental anti-Trump allegory”—this despite the fact that there is no literary form less accidental than allegory. The meaning of the word has drifted so far that even works that aren’t especially metaphorical get labeled as allegory: A film about artistic repression in Iran is a “clunky allegory” for … artistic repression in Iran.

Allegory or metaphor: The distinction might seem obscure and academic to many readers. Shouldn’t allegory be grateful to get any attention at all? Isn’t it just an archaic literary mode that nobody uses anymore? Yes and no. About the only people creating true allegories today are political cartoonists. But a culture never entirely discards its roots, and allegory, which first appeared in the waning years of the Roman Empire, is one of the foundations of Western literature. Maybe if we understood it better, we’d realize how much we owe to it.

(2) NEXT AT SFWA. While detailing her writing and travel plans for the summer, Cat Rambo also previews SFWA’s upcoming activities in “Catching My Breath and What’s Coming Up”. In her second year as the organization’s president, she will be putting some needed infrastructure in place.

In SFWA areas, I’m focusing on a new committee that I’ll be working with, the Membership Retention Committee, whose job will be to look at the new member experience for SFWA members as well as how to keep the organization useful for members. (If you’re interested in volunteering with that, feel free to drop me a line.) Other efforts include a) working with SFWA fundraising, b) a small musical endeavor that I just prodded someone about and which involves Tom Lehrer (yes, that Tom Lehrer), and c) helping out where I can with some of M.C.A. Hogarth’s amazing efforts, such as this mysterious thing here lurking under a tarp that I am not at liberty to discuss. *mouths the words “SFWA University” then is dragged away by the SFWA honey badgers while shouting something about a guidebook*

Three other important SFWA things:

  1. I’ll be watching the results of our decision to admit game writers with keen interest. I can tell you that the initial set is criteria is being voted on right now and I expect to see it announced soon.
  2. An effort is in the works that I think will prove a lovely tribute to longtime SFWA volunteer Bud Webster and which will, in the longtime SFWA tradition, provide a benefit for professional writers at every level of their careers.
  3. And we’ll (finally) be announcing some of the partnerships we’ve been making — you saw reps from Amazon, Audible, BookBub, Draft2Digital, Kickstarter, Kobo and Patreon at the Nebulas and those relationships are going to extend beyond the weekend and give our members special resources and relationships at all of those companies — and others, including one that I am super-stoked to have facilitated.

(3) DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH. Neil deGrasse Tyson gives his view about how long you could survive on each planet in our solar system. It’s a 2015 video.

(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born May 22, 1859 — Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

(5) POSERS FOR TINGLE. Neigh, a thousand times neigh!

(6) EVERMORE. The Baltimore Sun quotes lots of people involved with the convention in “Balticon grew to 50 as sci-fi, fantasy grew more mainstream”. Several are Filers.

Even 50 Balticons later, Ray Ridenour remembers his introduction to the annual gathering of the Baltimore region’s science-fiction and fantasy aficionados.

Ridenour, then a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, recalls taking the elevator to the top floor of the city’s since-demolished Emerson Hotel. This was the first Balticon put together by the then-4-year-old Baltimore Science Fiction Society, and he had little idea what to expect.

“As soon as I stepped out of the elevator, I heard something very noisy and stepped back in,” he recalls. “Two guys roared by in a wheelchair; one of them was singing loudly, the other was pushing loudly. They careened down the hotel aisle and then zoomed in another direction and disappeared.”

Ridenour asked someone walking by if they had any idea what was going on. “‘Oh, yeah,'” came the reply. “‘That was the president of the club.'”

Ridenour, now 68, a graphic artist and designer living in Hampden and a veteran of every Balticon since, knew he was in the right place. “So I said, ‘Well, these guys look like they know how to party.'”

…Baltimore natives Miller, 65, and Lee, 63, authors of a series of books set in the Liaden universe, were guests of honor at Balticon 37 in 2003. Veterans of Balticons dating to the mid-’70s — they met at Balticon 10 in 1976, when Lee won a short-story contest Miller had helped start — they have been married since 1980.

Balticon’s strength, Miller says, lies in its deep fan base. At a time when many fan gatherings have become massive affairs staged by professional organizations whose business is organizing conventions, with an emphasis on movie- and TV-star guests, Balticon is still organized and run by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and skewed toward the written word.

“Balticon hasn’t lost touch with the fact that it’s a bunch of fans putting this together, for their own interests and the interests of their friends,” Miller says.

(7) DUNGEON N-COUNTER. Jo Lindsay Walton tweeted this sample of what goes on in the Sputnik Award’s Dungeons of Democracy.

(8) ARE GO. Michael Flett describes the 2015 revival in “Thunderbirds 1965” at GeekChocolate.

…Adhering strictly to the ethic of the late sixties, wires are visible, the motion and expressions of the puppets are limited but still capable of expressing great character, and while Tracy Island is extended by the use of archive footage of tropical islands there can no justifiable objection to this use of stock footage nor in the famous launch sequences or any repeated shots of flybys, as this was all part and parcel of the original productions.

What is undeniable is the loving recreations of puppets, props, sets and machines, from Lady Penelope’s wonderfully shiny pink Rolls Royce FAB1 to the Thunderbirds vehicles themselves, the characters themselves graced by the creations of costume designer Liz Comstock-Smith who has crafted an exquisite new wardrobe for Lady Penelope, much to the chagrin of her chauffeur Aloysius Parker who in addition to his other duties must act as porter.

“When one is visiting, one tries to look one’s best,” his employer drily responds as she arrives at Tracy Island in opening episode Introducing Thunderbirds, less of an audio adventure now granted a visual dimension than, as the name would suggest, a showcase of International Rescue’s secret base and the amazing vehicles used to perform their daring missions.

Adapted from the soundtrack of F.A.B., The Abominable Snowman offers more in the way of spectacle with big explosions from the opening moments as a fire rages at Meddings Uranium, named of course in honour of the late special effects designer Derek Meddings who worked on many Anderson shows and later progressed to several James Bond films….

(9) STOP FIGHTING THE LAST WAR. Jim Henley, in “Hugo McHugoface Has Sailed”, offers his own frame for the Hugo reform discussions.

…Various options – including some kind of jury component and restricting voting rights (e.g. to only attending members) – have raised the objection that “They change the fundamental character of the award.” That class of objections fails to recognize the core truth: the character of the Hugo Awards has already changed. Again, the character of the Hugo Awards has already changed.

The Hugo Awards have become an internet poll in the age of Boaty McBoatface, freeping and chan culture. Nobody set out to make them this, and ex ante it was reasonable to imagine that the supporting membership fee (currently $50) was enough of a gating function to keep LULZers and trolls from targeting the process for abuse. But experience shows that there are enough motivated bad actors willing to spend that much to tie up the bulk of the ballot with whatever works their whims inspire them to place there, motivated by any combination of venial and mortal sins.

There is no question of preserving the character of the Hugo Awards. That ship has sailed, and it is not named for David Attenborough. The question is how can the award process be restructured so that future nominees and award winners will be of a character consistent with the Hugo tradition for the ’70 years prior to the mid-’10s.

I suppose the other question is how long it will take Hugo fandom and WSFS members to admit this.

(10) VERBAL AUTOPSY. Toby Litt tells Guardian readers “What makes bad writing bad”.

…Bad writers continue to write badly because they have many reasons – in their view very good reasons – for writing in the way they do. Writers are bad because they cleave to the causes of writing badly.

Bad writing is almost always a love poem addressed by the self to the self. The person who will admire it first and last and most is the writer herself.

When Updike began writing Rabbit, Run it was either going to be a great technical feat or a humiliating misjudgment

While bad writers may read a great many diverse works of fiction, they are unable or unwilling to perceive the things these works do which their own writing fails to do. So the most dangerous kind of writers for bad writers to read are what I call excuse writers – writers of the sort who seem to grant permission to others to borrow or imitate their failings.

I’ll give you some examples: Jack Kerouac, John Updike, David Foster Wallace, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou. Bad writers bulwark themselves against a confrontation with their own badness by reference to other writers with whom they feel they share certain defence-worthy characteristics….

(11) DOWN UNDER FAN FUND. Julian Warner, Justin Ackroyd and Lucy Huntzinger officially announced that the winner of the 2016 race is Australian fan Clare McDonald-Sims. She was the only candidate. The administrators say voting numbers to follow. McDonald-Sims will attend MidAmeriCon II.

(12) IT’S STILL NEWS TO SOMEONE. Fanac.org now has James V. Taurasi’s classic fan newzine Fantasy Times online, published from 1941-1955.

Also, congratulations to Jack Weaver, Fanac.org’s Webmaster of 20 years, and the site’s software developer, who received a special award at FanHistoricon in Virginia last month.

weaverplaque

(13) TANK FOR THE MEMORIES. NPR covered yesterday’s transfer from the harbor to the museum – “A 66,000 Pound Space Shuttle Fuel Tank Is Parading Through The Streets Of LA”.

fuel tank

The last remaining space shuttle external propellant tank is moved across the 405 freeway in Los Angeles on Saturday. The ET-94 will be displayed with the retired space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center.

A massive space shuttle fuel tank is winding its way through the streets of Los Angeles Saturday, on a 16-mile trek heading to the California Science Center.

It’s set to be displayed with the space shuttle Endeavor. The tank, which was never used in a mission, is the “last flight-qualified space shuttle external tank in existence,” according to the science center…..

As The Associated Press reports, the giant tank started moving at midnight from Marina del Rey, where it “arrived by barge Wednesday.” It’s crawling along at about 5 mph, the wire service reports, and is expected to take 13 to 18 hours to reach the science center….

The tank was donated by NASA, and Science Center President Jeff Rudolph tells Danielle that he’s thrilled to acquire the tank.

“As soon as we got Endeavor, we said we got to see if there’s any way we can get that one remaining external tank,” he says. Danielle adds that the center is hoping to eventually add booster rockets to the display.

According to the center, that means it will be the “be the only place in the world that people will be able to see a complete shuttle stack — orbiter, external tank, and solid rocket booster — with all real flight hardware in launch configuration.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Will R., Brian Z., and Jim Henley for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

The Sputnik Award

“Do you remember that crazy awards system I proposed, around the time of the first Puppies slate?” asks Jo Lindsay Walton. “OK, well this year I decided to make it real.”

And the result is – The Sputnik Award.

Look at the shortlist first. It may give you enough strength to endure the rest of the explanation.

The 2015/2016 Sputnik Award shortlist is:

  • Jim Butcher, The Cinder Spires (Roc)
  • Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Berit Ellingsen, Not Dark Yet (Two Dollar Radio)
  • N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season (Orbit)
  • Emma Newman, Planetfall (Roc)
  • Peter Newman, The Vagrant (Harper Voyager)
  • Naomi Novik, Uprooted (Del Rey)
  • Nnedi Okorafor, The Book of Phoenix (Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Adam Roberts, The Thing Itself  (Gollancz)
  • Kim Stanley Robinson, Aurora (Orbit)
  • Neal Stephenson, Seveneves (William Morrow)
  • Fran Wilde, Updraft (Tor Books)

Voting for the Sputnik Award: To vote, you fill in four places on your ballot, labeled Mithril Mech, Hedgehog, Witch and Dalek.

Frequently Asked Questions: Walton anticipates fans’ first reaction to the ballot.

“I don’t understand the voting system!”

That’s OK, it’s deliberately kind of intricate. The TL;DR version is: put the book you most want to win in the Mithril Mech slot, and some other books you like in the other three slots….

Then Walton gradually spoon-feeds people an explanation of the rest of the process.

“Do I have to vote in all four categories?”

Yes. It’s not safe for any book to venture into the Dungeons of Democracy without at least three friends….

“So how is this voting system better than other voting systems?”

Oh, it’s probably way worse. Like the worst?

“OK, but how is it different from other voting systems?”

One innovation is the substitution of words like “Hedgehog” for words like “Second Preference.”

Some awards use some kind of preferential voting systems, such as instant runoff. You rank your books in order of preference. The counting process goes through a number of stages. At each stage, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated, and the Ballots that were provisionally assigned to that candidate are instead redistributed among the other candidates, in accordance with the preferences listed on the Ballot.

In 2016 the Sputnik Award is a tiny bit like that, except you have one first preference (Mithril Mech) and three second preferences (Dalek, Hedgehog, Witch). When the time comes to combine the votes and produce a winner, the procedure incorporate will incorporate elements of luck and uncertainty. By and large the books with the most votes (and especially with the most Mithril Mech votes) should rise to the top, but it’s possible there will be a surprise upset.

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys delving into these things, you can study the rules of the Dungeons of Democracy.

Dungeons of Democracy: The winner of Walton’s Sputnik Award will be the contender who survives the RPG-like Dungeons of Democracy, featuring rules such as —

(5) After the fight, if the vote in the Champion slot matches the vote in the opposing Herald slot, then the Champion becomes the new Herald for the next round.

(6) Ballots who have run out of HP flee the Dungeons of Democracy using a Town Hall Portal spell, to await the results.

(7) The process is repeated from (2). If two rounds pass in a row without any damage being inflicted, the award administrator must either:

  • introduce a Monster Ballot (see below); and/or
  • eliminate the ballot with the lowest number of total HP, even if it’s not yet at zero.

You may think that the only way to win is not to play, but be brave.

The Paw of Oberon 5/4

aka The Puppy In God’s Eye

The Geiger counter pours out a relentless beat as the fallout rains down. The glow in today’s roundup comes from Kameron Hurley, Jo Lindsay Walton, Martin Wisse, Mark Nelson, The Weasel King, Joe Sherry, George R.R. Martin, Vox Day, Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Lou Antonelli, T. C. McCarthy, Michael Johnston, Alexandra Erin, John Scalzi, Myke Cole, Brad Torgersen, Dave Freer, William Reichard, Michael Z. Williamson and less easily identified others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Steve Moss and Laura Resnick.)

 

Kameron Hurley on Motherboard

“It’s About Ethics in Revolution” – May 4

Sorva took her seat on the other side of the table and waited. Both men could pass for Caucasian, as if that even bore mentioning, and sat in stuffed leather chairs. They wore extravagant codpieces that matched their suits, their members so cartoonishly large she could see the tips peeking up from the edge of the table. They both wore backwards caps.

It was the Director of Business Development, Marken, a lanky man with a sincere, pudgy face, who spoke first.

“Do you understand that when we choose the very best forward-looking brand messages each year for the Business Development Award ballot we open to our corporate writers, it must adhere to certain standards?”

 

Jo Lindsay Walton

“Quick Hugo thought”  – May 4

Some folk out there seem to be prevaricating between (a) No-Awarding the Puppies selections or (b) No-Awarding every Puppy-dominated category, since it would be totally unfair to give “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” a Hugo by default, and pretty unfair to give e.g. The Goblin Emperor a Hugo with reduced competition.

I’m prevaricating too, and I know exactly what would let me make up my mind: releasing the full nomination data. That way you could see who else could have been on the ballot. Then the procedure’s simple: you construct a virtual ballot from a Puppy-free world (the kind of Stalinist disappearing we SJWs lurve) and make your choice. If your selection from the virtual ballot is on the real ballot as well, you vote for them above No Award; otherwise you No Award the whole category.

But we don’t have the full nomination data, right?

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“No Award All The Things” – May 4

No Award All the Things!

Sorry Thomas Olde Heuvelt, you may actually get your Hugo this year, but since you’re the only candidate there on merit I felt uneasy voting for you by default. Better luck next year.

 

Mark Nelson on Heroines of Fantasy

“An Ever Changing Landscape” – May 4

Who pays when the real world intrudes on our imaginary landscape? If we start turning against each other and fall to squabbling over increasingly empty honors, how does that make us look? The truth is SFF needs to grow up.  At times I have felt that our genre heading allowed us to adopt a mock superior tone; mostly as a response to being ignored by “real literature” and those who write criticism.  We reveled in being aberrant. We rallied around our awards and celebrated our words in spite of the roaring silence from the wider world. We were a club with giants as members. We were privy to secret knowledge with informed, inclusionary eye-winks. We were the wandering Jews relegated to pulp fiction status, respected by none other than those lucky, lucky few who accepted the words and understood the latent power of the language of ideas. I wonder if the worst thing to ever happen to the genre was its popular success.  The bigger “it” got, the more insistently came the calls for “it” to be taken seriously.  And when film tech caught up with story tech, a marriage of commercial explosion formed. “Money, money changes everything…”  And at present the affect has not been altogether positive. We were once the progressives. Now we look like idiots fighting over cheesecake while the Titanic’s deck begins to tilt. Wow. We have all but rendered the Hugo award useless. WorldCon cannot avoid the taint of controversy. The folks putting on the con deserve better.

 

The Weasel King

“theweaselking.livejournal.com/4673543” – May 4

The Locus Awards: A collection of skiffy fic untainted by ballot-stuffing assholes. Maybe not all to your taste, but reliably “dickface asslimousines did not shit on this ballot and then demand that you to eat it with a smile” Bonus sick burn: Connie Willis, awesome author[1] and perennial Hugo presenter, told the Hugos to fuck off because of the penisnose MRA anuscacti who hijacked their nomination process, and she’s presenting the Locus Awards.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures in Reading

“Books Read: April 2015” – May 4

Discovery of the Month: If not for all of the fracas over the Hugo Awards, I may never have read Eric Flint’s 1632, which was a fairly enjoyable romp taking a group of twentieth century Americans back into seventeenth century Europe. I already have the next book, Ring of Fire, coming in from the library.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“LOCUS Nominations Announced” – May 4

While this year, admittedly, may be different due to the influence of the slate campaigns, over most of the past couple of decades the Locus Poll has traditionally had significantly more participants than the Hugo nomination process. Looking over the Locus list, one cannot help but think that this is probably what the Hugo ballot would have looked like, if the Puppies had not decided to game the system this year. Is it a better list or a worse one? Opinions may differ. The proof is in the reading.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Three centuries strong” – May 4

As Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil, we are pleased to declare that Malwyn, Whore-Mistress of the Spiked Six-Whip, has reported that she has completed the initial Branding of the Minions. She has now gone to take a well-deserved vacation in one of the more secluded lava pits in our Realm of Deepest Shadow, where she will no doubt be nursing her aching wrists and filing for overtime as well as worker’s compensation….

“How many of us are there?”

335 as of this morning.

 

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“Arthur Chu sucks at everything but Jeopardy” – May 4

Many regulars may remember Social Justice Warrior and Salon author Arthur Chu as the dipshit who declared Brad Torgersen’s 20 year interracial marriage and his biracial children as “shields” to hide Brad’s racism. He is one of the morons who blamed the Sad Puppies’ success on GamerGate.

Well, after a day of futile harassment, his team of idiots couldn’t even call in a bomb threat correctly.

 

T. C. McCarthy on YouTube

“Local 16, Bizarre Tweets, and Bomb Threats: #GamerGate an #SadPuppies Supporters Meet in DC #GGinDC” – May 4

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas

Reach out and insult somebody – May 4

The official announcement of the nominations for the 2015 Hugo awards was made on April 4, so its been a month since then, Gee, time flies when you’re having fun.

One thing I’ve learned in the past month is that, thanks to the wonders of the latest technology and the internet, someone you don’t know and have never met, who may live thousands of miles away, can call you an “asshole” in public.

 

Michael Johnston in a comment on Whatever – May 4

Rachel Swirsky said: “Please, please, please, please stop with the “put down” rhetoric about the puppies, and the “you know what has to be done about rabid animals” and “take the dog out behind the barn.”

It’s vicious and horrible. The puppies and how they’ve acted toward me and others sucks. But good lord, let’s keep threats of violence, however unserious, out of it. Please.”

This, in particular, illustrates the difference between the puppies and their perceived enemies. In every “liberal” space I’m following, any threats or overly abusive rhetoric is met with calls for civility. In the SP/RP spaces, the rhetoric is largely about how we deserve horrible things done to us, which are often described in detail–and the moderators not only allow it, but indulge in it themselves.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“What! Your Sad Puppies Are Evolving” – May 4

This is a significant shift from Day for two reasons.

The first is that it signals what he thinks is most likely to happen. He rode high on the sweeping fantasy vision of himself as a Roman general leading a slavering horde of berserkers across the frozen river to assault the well-fortified position of his enemies (note to self: suggest history lessons for Vox), but he has just enough self-awareness to know that his strategy of lying and repeating the lie could come back and bite him if he tried to claim a sweeping victory where none existed, so he’s starting the spin now.

The second is that—as mentioned before—the endgame he now endorses is something the Sad Puppies have claimed to have wanted as their ultimate endgame.

 

Season of the Red Wolf

“A Pox on both their Houses: Sad Puppies, Vox Day, Social Justice Warriors, the Hugos circus and the irrelevancy of a dying genre” – May 4

As with Torgersen, Correia can’t be bothered with addressing what Vox Day actually writes about blacks (the problem there – in the linked blog entry – is not the silly and ridiculous debate itself that Vox Day quotes from, it’s Vox Day’s own commentary on African-Americans in response to that debate that is eyebrow raising) and women alone. Of course as soon as one does acknowledged what Vox Day actually writes about blacks and women (never mind gays), then the only way to defend those indefensible prejudices, is by sinking into prejudice itself. Correia, like Torgersen, thus avoids that trap (defending the actual indefensible remarks/comments of Vox Day’s) by not ever quoting Vox Day’s most egregious commentary in this regard, and getting to grips with what he actually says. Correia, as with Torgersen, just doesn’t go anywhere near what Vox Day actually writes about blacks, women and gays for that matter. The easier to whitewash why Vox Day is considered persona non grata, namely for very good reasons. Yes it’s all so hypocritical, given the genre Left’s multiple prejudices (including of course their anti-Semitism that doesn’t bother anybody really, least of all genre Jewry) but this also misses the point.

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“I’d Rather Like Men Than To Be a Sad Puppy” – May 4

 

Myke Cole

“An open letter to Chief Warrant Officer Brad R. Torgersen” – May 4

Chief War­rant Officer Torgersen,

As you are no doubt aware, The Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Repeal Act of 2010 removed bar­riers to homo­sexual mem­bers in the armed ser­vices, who may now serve openly and as equals.

You have long held the posi­tion that homo­sex­u­ality is immoral behavior, and most recently made den­i­grating jokes regarding the ori­en­ta­tion aimed at Mr. John Scalzi.

Your moral posi­tions are your own, and I will not ques­tion them. How­ever, I will remind you that you are a mil­i­tary officer and charged with the lead­er­ship of men and women of *all* walks of life, reli­gions, creeds, sexual ori­en­ta­tions, socio-cultural back­grounds and eth­nic­i­ties. Every single one of these people has the right to believe that you will faith­fully dis­charge your duties as an officer, not spend their lives care­lessly, not make them endure unnec­es­sary hard­ship, that you will care for them with com­pas­sion and ded­i­ca­tion. On or off duty, you are *always* an officer.

Your repeated state­ments of your thoughts on homo­sex­u­ality in public forums create the very rea­son­able appre­hen­sion among homo­sexual mem­bers of the ser­vice that you hold them in con­tempt and will not lead them to the utmost of your ability, will not look to their needs and con­cerns, and may place them at undue risk. That this is surely not your inten­tion is irrelevant.

Fur­ther, your pub­li­cally den­i­grating state­ments regarding Mr. Scalzi are base, undig­ni­fied and show ques­tion­able judg­ment. You, Chief War­rant Officer Torg­ersen, are an officer, but no gen­tleman. Your posi­tions are incon­sis­tent with the values of the United States mil­i­tary, and its com­mit­ment to being a ser­vice that belongs to ALL Americans.

Our nation deserves better.

Respect­fully,

Myke Cole

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Never retreat, never apologize” – May 4

Does no one listen or learn? Never, EVER apologize to SJWs! Case in point: “The apology was worse than the ini­tial attempted slur — it rein­forced the fact that Torg­ersen thinks calling someone gay is a slur.” I repeat. NEVER APOLOGIZE TO SJWs. They will see it as fear, take the apology, and use it as a club with which to beat you. Never back down to them, never retreat, never apologize.Notice that this was all posted AFTER Torgersen apologized to Scalzi.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Keyboard rage” – May 4

Today, I am told Myke Cole is on about me. Since Myke doesn’t really know me from Adam, I have to shrug and take whatever he said with a grain of salt. But then, most people who’ve been on about me lately — because of Sad Puppies 3 — don’t know me, either. I may take it personally if a friend, a family member, or a respected senior I admire, has hard words for me. But total strangers spewing hard words?

Well, total strangers may have an opportunity to reconsider at a later point. Especially if they meet me face-to-face.

 

Cirsova

“Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer Category” – May 4

So, in this post, I will try to define what “Fan Writer” means and use it to justify my support of Jeffro Johnson in this year’s Best Fan Writer category.

On the face of it, a Fan Writer is just that. A fan who writes. They are a fan of something in the realm of fantasy and science fiction, and they write about fantasy and science fiction from the perspective of someone who is a fan to an audience of fellow or potential fans. A good fanwriter is like an evangelical minister of fantasy and science fiction; they give sermons to the believers to help them better understand the texts they know and love and they take the good word to those who have not heard it. You’ve been missing something in your life, and you don’t quite know what it is, but I think I can help you; here’s this story by Lord Dunsany!

 

Dave Freer on Mad Genius Club

“Research, Hard-SF, stats and passing small elephants” – May 4

John Scalzi kindly provided us via his friend Jason Sanford a near text-book perfect example of GIGO. “Recently author John Ringo (in a Facebook post previously available to the public but since made private) asserted that every science fiction house has seen a continuous drop in sales since the 1970s — with the exception of Baen (his publisher), which has only seen an increase across the board. This argument was refuted by author Jason Sanford, who mined through the last couple of years of bestseller lists (Locus lists specifically, which generate data by polling SF/F specialty bookstores) and noted that out of 25 available bestselling slots across several formats in every monthly edition of Locus magazine, Baen captures either one or none of the slots every month — therefore the argument that Baen is at the top of the sales heap is not borne out by the actual, verifiable bestseller data.” As I said: first you need to understand what you’re sampling. For example, if you set up a pollster at a Democratic convention, at 10 pm, in a site just between the bar and the entry to the Men’s urinals… even if he asks every person passing him on the way in, you’re not going to get a very good analysis of what Americans think of a subject. Or what women think of the subject. What you will get is middling bad sample of what mildly pissed male Democratic Party conference attendees think. Middling bad, because many of the passers will be hurry to go and pass some water first. It’s vital to understand what you’re sampling – or what you’re not. Let’s just deconstruct the one above. In theory Sanford was attempting to statistically prove John Ringo’s assertion wrong. What he proved was nothing of the kind (Ringo may be right or wrong, but Sanford failed completely). What he proved was that on the Locus bestseller list, (the equivalent of the Democratic Party convention and the route between the bar and the gentleman’s convenience) that Baen was not popular. That is verifiable. The rest is wishful thinking, which may be true or false. Firstly ‘Bestseller’ does not equal sales numbers. A long tail – which Baen does demonstrably have, can outsell ‘bestseller’ and five solid sellers outsell one bestseller and four duds. Secondly, independent bookstores who self-select by accepting polling, selected by a pollster (Locus) with a well-established bias are not remotely representative of book sales in general, or representative of the choices book buyers have. Thirdly, it is perfectly possible to ‘capture’ no bestseller slots at all, even in a worthwhile sample (which Locus polling isn’t) and STILL be the one house that is actually growing. It depends what you’re growing from – which of course this does not measure and cannot.

Short of actual book sales numbers, and data on advances – which we’ll never see, staffing is probably the best clue. I know several authors at other houses whose editors have left, and quite a lot of other staff at publishers who’ve been let go. Over the last few years, the number of signatures on my Baen Christmas card have gone up year on year.

 

William Reichard

“Silent Punning (aka ‘The Hijacker’s Guide to the Galaxy’”) – May 4

Having run through quite a few sci-fi themed puns regarding the Hugo Award debacle, the community is apparently moving on to Westerns (e.g., “A Fistful of Puppies“).

I have to say, this is my favorite part of online warfare–when the rest of the community acknowledges the madness of it all and just starts having fun again. Because there should be some kind of silver lining in this.

 

Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand

Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand

syberious _ny on “Ebay: Sad Puppy 1911 Holster Right Hand”

Here’s the scoop…I designed this holster (and its companion holster in Left Hand configuration) because of the whole Sad Puppy / Hugo Award kerfuffle. My original thought was to perhaps raffle them off to raise money for a veterans organization. But, online raffles in the state of Tennessee (where I live and have my business) are tightly regulated, and it would have cost more to run a raffle than what the raffle could potentially bring in.

So, I’m listing these here on FleaBay, with the proceeds going directly to help a friend who is a veteran, who has run into some heavy financial problems with squatters in her rental home. On her GoFundMe page, she’s committed to only using the cash that she needs, and anything extra will be donated to a veterans organization of her choosing.

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Puppies of War 4/19

Black Gate’s withdrawal from the Hugos may have been too late to change the ballot, but was just in time to provide fresh evidence of the social cost of this controversy.

George R.R. Martin says he still doesn’t agree with their advice to vote No Award.

Otherwise, appropriate to a Sunday, there was preaching to the choir all over the internet.

Alexandra Erin from a collected series of tweets on Storify

 “Why do book recommendations make Sad Puppies sad” – April 10

If I say “I want to read more feminist SF” or “I want to read more books with queer protagonists”, I didn’t *forget* about quality. Or fun.

Any more than I would have forgotten those things if I said “I want to read more military SF.”

The selective failure to understand this very simple point is what fuels the perpetual outrage machine that keeps the Sad Puppies sad.

 

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – April 19

2) The narrative about the sad-rabids has crystallized. As more than one analyst has pointed out, the sad-rabid position is based on a misreading of history and a misunderstanding of fandom — a failure to understand the context into which they are speaking. While the slate-mongering is technically legal, it violates the spirit of fairness. As a result, they have made themselves a focus of fannish anger. Never a good thing. A growing majority of fans are seeing this situation as the efforts of a small group of extremists to take over something that has previously belonged to all fans, ie. an attempted coup.

The short-term result here is anger. That will pass. Not soon enough, but it will. The long-term result will be that anyone too closely identified with the sad-rabids, anyone who benefited from this slate-mongering, anyone who did not publicly withdraw, will be indelibly tainted. Fans have long memories. Some grudges in fandom date back to the universe that existed before the big bang. Harlan, for instance, is still working on grudges from the twelfth century…B.C.

Those who have been tainted will find that they have put unnecessary obstacles in their own paths. There are editors who will not want the stink that certain authors will be tracking with them. There are conventions that will not invite them to be on panels. There are awards they can never be considered for, lest others wonder if there was a political agenda at work. There are websites and fanzines and podcasts that will choose not to interview them — conversely, there will be others that will interview them for their perspective on the situation, stirring the shit one more time and spreading it just a little more.

 

Paul Weimer on Blog, Jvstin Style

“2 Corinthians 6:14 and othering: Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies and SJWs” – April 19

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)

This Story on Hullabaloo got me thinking about the conflict in SFF Fandom lately regarding the Hugos and all sides.

There is a hell of a lot of “othering” going on, and yes, its not limited to one side, or even predominantly one side. There is also the perception of othering on BOTH sides that probably exceeds the actual amount going on.

Larry, Brad and Sad Puppies see themselves as being treated as pariahs and outsiders by the Worldcon crowd. Part of that perception, whether its ex post facto, perception only, or really there just amplifies itself on the Internet. Similarly, the other side (which I am going to call SJW, just because its easier) sees many right wing authors and people as being beyond the pale, unworthy or impossible to engage with, and sparks fly on that side.

 

Kevin Standlee

“2015 Business Meeting Updates” – April 19

The meeting is not secret. The only restriction on non-members attending is capacity. We will be officially recording the meeting, and we will upload those recordings to YouTube as soon as bandwidth allows. That doesn’t mean instantaneously. It will probably take several hours at least to pull the recordings out of the camera, convert them to the correct format, and upload them, even on a decently high-speed connection. There is currently no plan to live-stream the meeting, although this could change, as the new camera Lisa just bought does appear to have outputs that might be able to feed to something that could send the feed out live.

My reading of the WSFS Constitution is that the Business Meeting, besides being the only required event at a Worldcon (Site Selection isn’t an “event” in my formulation, and the Hugo Ceremony isn’t required) outside of stuff about MPC meetings and other minor trivia, is also the only event at a Worldcon where we’re not allowed to refuse entry to any qualified member who wants to attend. Even the Hugo Awards Ceremony can turn people away if the room overflows, but the Business Meeting cannot do so because it would violate the members’ rights under our rules. This of course has never been an issue before and it’s rare that more than about 2% of the qualified members want to attend. This year is looking so weird right now that we cannot as yet make an estimate of actual attendance with much confidence. Thus the currently booked room (300B) is subject to change, possibly on short notice due to changed circumstances. No change is intended maliciously, and any change on short notice at the convention will be publicized to the best of the convention’s ability to do so.

 

Kevin Standlee

“NPR Reports on Puppygate”  – April 18

…Incidentally, after declining from the initial huge spike on Finalist Announcement Day, it appears that traffic to TheHugoAwards.org is still running at more than quadruple the pre-announcement levels. April 2015 will be the busiest month in the history of the web site, exceeding the traffic from last August. I am so glad that we changed site hosts last month. Our previous host was warning us that we were already approaching traffic levels well above what they were prepared to handle, which was why we moved. If we hadn’t done so, I expect that our old host would have started blocking calls to the site entirely.

 

PZ Myers on Freethought Blogs

“The things you learn about the sf community”  – April 19

I have to hand it to those goons who made up a slate of ‘conservative’ science fiction and slammed it into the Hugo nominations: I’d had this vague assumption that science fiction fans would be generally progressive and tolerant and even enthusiastic about different ideas. The Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies have enlightened and disillusioned me.

 

Indiana on Indi in the Wired

“How right wing bigots are ruining science fiction” – April 19

Unfortunately, Day’s logically absurd and transparently self-serving tactic actually worked. You see, it’s never taken many votes to skew the Hugos. It would have just taken the subtlest nudge for Day to get his own stable of writers well-represented… but “subtle” is probably lost on people like that.

And while there have certainly been campaigns for specific works in the past, and lists of suggested works of course, never before has there been a situation where one group has set up a slate designed to clog up the nominations with their own shit, and block out other nominees. That’s really where the problem lies: though they technically broke no rules, they twisted the process to hurt other writers, rather than to merely promote works they liked. The “Sad Puppies” slate was not designed to put their favourite works on the nomination list (where they could then compete fairly with other works), it was specifically designed to keep the works of those they were ideologically opposed to off the list.

 

All Things Considered on National Public Radio

“Hugo Awards Highlight Scarcity of Women Minorities in Science Fiction” – April 19, 2015

NPR’s Arun Rath talks to author Monica Byrne about how controversy surrounding this year’s Hugo Awards highlights a lack of women and minority speculative fiction authors.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Black Gate Withdraws” – April 19

BLACK GATE is advocating the nuclear option: vote NO AWARD in all categories. I understand his reasoning, but once more, I disagree. I will vote NO AWARD only in those categories where I find nothing in the category worthy of a Hugo. If I think a book or story or editor IS worthy of a Hugo, I’m going to vote to award one.

The Hugos can withstand a few NO AWARDs, in categories where all the nominees are crap. They can NOT withstand an entire evening without a single rocket being presented, where one envelope after another is ripped open and NO AWARD is announced, again and again and again.

And as flawed and damaged as this ballot is, there ARE things on it deserving of our field’s ultimate accolade. Starting with BEST NOVEL, the Big One, where I know there is at least one Hugo-calibre book, and suspect there may be as many as three, or even four. Or BEST FAN WRITER, where Laura Mixon’s report on Requires Hate cries out for recognition. There are some terrific movies in Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. We missed PREDESTINATION, which deserved a nod, but we did get INTERSTELLAR, which I rank up there with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. There are editors on the ballot deserving of recognition (no, not him, obviously), there’s an artist (maybe more than one, but one for sure), there’s a bunch of fine fan artists…

 

Tom Smith on Patreon

“New Song: ‘Sad Puppies (Aren’t Much Fun)'”

[Excerpt]

All their plots, all their hooks,

But no one nominated their books,

Sad puppies never won.

 

Jo Lindsay Walton on All That Is Solid Melts into Aargh

“Happy Puppies” – April 8

[Another helpful suggestion for changing the system used to  Hugo nominees…]

Or. Embrace war. Create a system that celebrates and encourages tactics, which does not try to suppress or mask our political differences but magnifies and elaborates them. Perhaps instead of a ballot you have a “deck” or “team” in which you choose your books, stories, films etc. and can also assign them various powers, tools, weapons, factional alliances, behaviours. Instead of simply counting, the whole battle or adventure or whatever plays out on a ginormous screen at the awards ceremony, accompanied by some pretty serious atmosphere. Update: a very simple bare bones example …

Each nominator gets four slots in each category. They’re not ranked, exactly, but they are classed. It might be:

BEST NOVEL Hedgehog: 25 HP, +5 damage vs. witch Dalek: 25 HP, +5 damage vs. hedgehog Witch: 25 HP, +5 damage vs. dalek Mithril Mech: 30 HP, begins in herald slot

… so for best novel, my ballot might look like this:

Hedgehog: Jeff VanderMeer, Southern Reach Dalek: Cixin Liu, The Three Body Problem Witch: Adam Roberts, Bete MM: Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword

With each round of voting, each party is randomly paired with another. If the heralds are the same (i.e. in round one, if my ballot encounters another Ancillary Sword mithril mech) then both ballots survive intact and unchanged into the next round. Otherwise, a champion is randomly selected from the non-herald party members of each ballot.

Then:

(1) if the champions happen to be the same (e.g. my Southern Reach bumps into another Southern Reach) then the champions move into the heralds slots, but no damage is inflicted, and both ballots survive otherwise unaltered into the next round.

(2) otherwise, both nominations take damage according to their class. For example, say my Southern Reach hedgehog gets paired against a John Scalzi Lock In dalek. My nomination loses fifteen Hit Points, and the Lock In nomination loses ten (my quills aren’t much use against the dalek’s armour plating and selfie-stick).

Nominations that have fallen to zero Hit Points are eliminated, and a new round begins.

The cycle continues until all except five novels have been eliminated, comprising the short list.

Each nominator also receives an automated personalised chronicle of their ballot’s encounters and deeds. Nominators may also opt to make their ballot non-anonymous, so that their names come up in the battle reports of other nominators with whom they have friendly or warlike encounters. (“I literally met Hoyt in the fourth round! Her Correia Witch kicked my Leckie Dalek’s ass.”)