April Fails Day

Mark R. Kelly notified his Facebook readers around noon today, “Locus Online’s traditional April 1st spoofs, this year by Hal Graftswey, Paoli du Flippi, and L. Ron Creepweans, are now posted.” Those who waited too long missed out — within three hours Kelly yanked the items in response to what he termed a “kerfuffle” and posted this apology:

We would like to offer our apology for the offensive April Fool’s post that was published on the site today. The April Fool’s pieces were not seen by the Locus HQ staff before being posted — it was an ugly moment this morning when we saw the post already online, and we immediately took steps to remove it. Of course, being after the fact, it was too late, and the offense had already happened.

We did not find the post funny at all, and it does not reflect in any way the opinions of the magazine staff. We apologize for it appearing under our auspices.

The offending article was “WisCon Makes Burqas Mandatory for All Attendees” by L. Ron Creepweans. The Creepweans pseudonym is also part of the Locus April 1st tradition but after Kelly deleted the piece Lawrence Person revealed himself as the author.  

Person also posted an archival copy on his BattleSwarm blog. It begins:

Today the SF3 ruling committee for the Madison, Wisconsin-based feminist SF convention WisCon announced that starting this year, all attendees would be required to wear burqas.

Person has been contributing April 1st gags to Locus Online since 2002. He explained why he selected WisCon as the target of this year’s satire:

For those tuning in for the first time, this was a direct jab (in humorous form) at WisCon’s previous decision to yank their Guest-of-Honor invitation to Elizabeth Moon for daring to voice (in the mildest possible form) politically incorrect thoughts about certain aspects of modern Islam.

Meanwhile, commenters at Locus Online responded to its apology by continuing to berate the staff and demanding assurances against future offenses. Mark R. Kelly was provoked into ending the April Fool’s tradition:

I always thought that SF/F readers were more tolerant, less apt to take offense, than other folks; but apparently not. (Death threats!). So, no more April 1st spoofs ever.

Out of the Amazon

Locus Online was one of the casualties when Amazon cut ties to its California affiliates to avoid having to comply with changes in the state’s sales tax collection laws.

Mark R. Kelly explains the conflict on his blog. He also satisfies fans’ curiosity about how much it’s worth for a big portal like Locus Online to be an affiliate:

These commissions are typically $200-300 a month. Nothing like living wages, but enough to cover my personal book expenses, in most months.

Kelly ends by musing about ways to get back on the gravy train.

One solution would be to move to a new state. Or rehost the website’s affiliation in some other state, somehow. Hmm.

Is there such a thing as a Swiss internet account?

Light 10 Candles for Locus Index to SF Awards

Here’s an awfully good question. Mark R. Kelly of Locus Online wonders why there isn’t any link from the Hugo Awards or Nebula Awards site to his database The Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards (which just celebrated its tenth birthday).

…I can’t help but noticing that the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards is seldom linked from other sites. It doesn’t seem to have much of a profile, or presence. I visit both the Hugo Awards site and the Nebula Awards site, for example, and notice, most obviously, that neither site has indexes to nominees; there is no way I can look up Connie Willis, or Neil Gaiman, and find out how many nominations or wins they have for those respective awards. You would have to search through the annual listings and tabulate them manually. Whereas the Locus Index to etc. has had such nominee indexes for a decade now. One might think proprietors of those other sites might have noticed. Apparently not. (Yet they do link to a couple other SF awards sites, which similarly lack indexing.)

Certainly I owe a great big thank you to Kelly for his work. I frequently refer to the Locus Index to SF Awards when writing for this blog. It would make enormous sense for the fans behind the official Hugo Awards site to add a note advising everyone that this goldmine of information is available.

Kelly also asked readers whether the title of the database makes it seem likely to be just an index to the Locus Awards, thinking that might be a reason for its low profile. I’d say don’t blame the “brand name” if this excellent tool isn’t used as often as it deserves. Instead, ask ”How often do bloggers actually bother researching the stuff they write about science fiction awards?”