2017 LA Vintage Paperback Show

2016 Vintage Paperback Show, panoramic view. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

Over 400 people came out to the 38th Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show on March 19 at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.

John King Tarpinian and the rest of the event staff did a really fine job, always aware of what was going on and nice to everyone. John spoiled me with a reserved parking space that helped make everything more accessible.

As I went around the tables, many collectible items caught my eye – none more so than a Duke Snider action figure (he was a big Dodgers star when I was a kid). I find at this point in life I don’t need to personally own things like that, I’m just happy they still exist.

I wasn’t even expecting to buy any books, which must sound blasphemous considering where I was, until I visited Marty and Alice Massoglia’s table. On top of a pile was a Christopher Anvil novel The Steel, The Mist, and the Blazing Sun. I didn’t remember seeing that title before, although I read literally dozens of the guy’s stories in Analog. It was an Ace book edited by Ben Bova. The description on the jacket didn’t ring a bell either, so I paid the $2 and started reading – indeed, despite being published in 1980 it’s new to me.

I had volunteered to help at the Loscon fan table. After Michelle Pincus set up, I had a chance to talk to Marc Schirmeister and hear the latest about Taral’s health and recovery. Craig Miller, co-chair of this year’s Loscon, arrived and we table-sat for awhile, discussing his guests and publicity plans. Michael Toman came by and introduced himself, saying he reads File 770 often.

The Civic Auditorium has a stage at one end, and that’s where the Loscon and Horror Writers Association had tables. With an elevated view of the whole event, during the 11 a.m. hour I could see throngs of collectors carrying small piles of books for Jason Brock, William F. Nolan, Mel Gilden, Barbara Hambly, Joe Lansdale, Tim Powers, John Shirley and others to sign. At noon the sf/f writers included Dick Lupoff, Michael Kurland, and David J. Schow.

Larry Niven, Mike Glyer, and Jerry Pournelle. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

After lunch I got to have a long talk with Jerry Pournelle about his recollections of working in defense and on the space program in the early Sixties. He and I also compared notes about getting around on walkers. Larry Niven joined us, and when Steven Barnes came to say hello they had an impromptu 30-second story conference about the book the three are writing. I also had a chance to greet Harry Turtledove and Gregory Benford.

The Paperback Show is a terrific one-day event with a great spirit that reminds everyone why they’re glad they found the sf/f community. If you’re local, be sure to come out when it’s held again next year.

File 770 Withdraws From 2017 Hugos

I always enjoy the possibility that if I do something well enough that it might be competitive for a Hugo Award. And I have been very fortunate in that regard.

On the other hand, there have been times when I felt it was the right decision to step back for a year, which I did before in 1986 and 1996 for different reasons.

And when that happens, I think it is fair to let everyone know, and not put anyone in the position of leaving off their ballots something they would have wanted to vote for if they had known I wasn’t going to accept.

I know a few will be disappointed — File 770 is a community effort, and when it is nominated that is symbolic recognition of what everyone contributes, not just my own work. I apologize to anyone who feels let down, though I assure you I thought about the community here when making this complicated decision.

2017 DUFF Race Begins

Voting on the Down Under Fan Fund delegate to Continuum, the 56th Australian National Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne, Australia, has opened and will continue until March 10, 2017 at 23:59 PST. There is one candidate in this year’s race, our own —

Paul Weimer

I’m a podcaster for the Skiffy and Fanty podcast, the SFF audio podcast, a noted SF/F book reviewer and a regular panelist at local cons. I am also an amateur photographer. I have only been to one international con, the Worldcon in London in 2014, and would love to broaden my international fandom connections. If I have the honor of being selected, I aim to build the links I already have with Australian fandom (in things like being a prior participant in The Australian SF Snapshot) into face to face interviews, meetings, and more with fans and genre folk at Continuum and elsewhere in Australia. Have camera and recorder and ready to travel!

Nominators: North America: Mike Glyer, Arref Mak, and Jen Zink. Australasia: Gillian Polack and Alexandra Pierce.

It’s important for fans to vote because that’s a source of funds for Paul’s trip. (Votes should be accompanied by a minimum contribution of $5 in US, Australian, Canadian, or New Zealand currency, or an equivalent sum in other currencies. Any contributions in excess of the minimum voting fee will be gratefully accepted.)

You can vote online using this form, or you can print a copy of the ballot by downloading the PDF.

DUFF was founded in 1972 to exchange delegates from Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Delegates are chosen as active members of the SF community whom fans on the visited side would like to meet. The delegate travels as much as possible, makes friends, radiates goodwill, and becomes the Administrator in turn until the next cycle. There is an expectation (not always fulfilled!) that delegates will write a trip report during or after their trip. Delegates’ trip reports are sold to support the Fund.

The current administrators of the fund are Lucy Huntzinger in North America, and Clare McDonald-Sims in Australia.

Happy Birthday to File 770

By James H. Burns: I’ve thanked Mike privately, many times, for the opportunity to appear here in “the pages” of File 770.

Happy Birthday File 770 THUMBOne of the greatest gifts a writer can receive is simply the knowledge that there’s a home for his thoughts.

To be sure, what I like to call my “memory pieces”, began about seven years ago, when it finally dawned on me, after a slow realization, that there were some elements of our shared past that hadn’t particularly been denoted, anywhere.

I decided it was time to begin “recording” them, before the day may come — God forbid — when I no longer remembered quite as well.

A trap memory can also be a blessing!

Mike was kind enough to begin plugging some of these articles, and somewhere along the way, with this tacit encouragement of acceptance, I simply began sending some of these pieces to him.

There have been columns on science and politics and theatre (Broadway and elsewise, even abroad), other arts, and even a bit of Americana

But when a notion comes to me, what helps most seeing it through fruition is the knowledge that File 770 will give it a showcase.

(Among the most fun, in a way, have been the actor tributes, quick slices of their impact, I hope, presented here with a lovely array of photos that I work hard to assemble, and that Mike always does a fantastic job of presenting.)

(But then, it’s also been particularly joyous to have a place to forward what I hope are interesting tidbits of space and technology news, and even intriguing invitations…!)

I’ve been friends with editors before. But Mike is the first one who has given me the boon of a welcome forum!

Slowly, too, has been my finally starting to write about my own history, nearly forty years now as a writer,  and sometimes actor, among other media professions, starting when I was thirteen, in our very mutual worlds of science fiction and fantasy

Mike is also an excellent editor, pointing out the occasions when a piece may not necessarily have been what I intended.

I had heard of File 770, of course, ages before Mike and I ever “met” online. How could I not have?  Mike has, of course, won several Hugos.

But Mike may be surprised to discover that I ordered an issue from him back in the late 1990s, when I began, slowly, reacquainting myself again with science fiction fandom.

I was impressed then, as I continue to be now, by the variety and range of what File 770 features.

(Although, I must admit, I will never get this “Sad Puppies” thing…) It should come as no surprise, of course, after all these years of such valued contributions to this field, the number of friends that Mike has gathered, in this vast audience.

Because one of the very best things about being involved here, is getting to “know” so many of the readership, as well.

Sasquan Photo Gallery

Sasquan Opening Ceremonies. Seated (L-R): Leslie Turek, Tom Smith, Vonda McIntyre, David Gerrold, Brad Foster. Standing (L-R): Kjell Lindgren (photo), Mike Willmoth, Glenn Glazer, Pierre Pettinger. Photo by Michael Donahue, used by permission.

Sasquan Opening Ceremonies. Seated (L-R): Leslie Turek, Tom Smith, Vonda McIntyre, David Gerrold, Brad Foster. Standing (L-R): Kjell Lindgren (photo), Mike Willmoth, Glenn Glazer, Pierre Pettinger. Photo by Michael Donahue, used by permission.

Costume exhibit at Sasquan. Photo by Francis Hamit.

Costume exhibit at Sasquan. Photo by Francis Hamit.

S. Usher Evans. Photo by Francis Hamit.

S. Usher Evans. Photo by Francis Hamit.

Pat Sibley, attending her first Con.  Not just her first WorldCon but her first science fiction convention ever.  She is both writer and publisher with the first three books in a series abut Mark Praed, a half-human secret agent with special abilities in the far future.  This should be something that any lover of hard SF will enjoy. Photo by Francis Hamit.

Pat Sibley, attending her first Con. Not just her first WorldCon but her first science fiction convention ever. She is both writer and publisher with the first three books in a series abut Mark Praed, a half-human secret agent with special abilities in the far future. This should be something that any lover of hard SF will enjoy. Photo by Francis Hamit.

Sasquan dealers room. Photo by Francis Hamit.

Sasquan dealers room. Photo by Francis Hamit.

Greg Machlin, event organzier, center, Alexander Case, right, at File 770 Meetup in the Saranac. Photo by Francis Hamit,.

At the File 770 Meetup in the Saranac. Greg Machlin, event organzier, center, Alexander Case, right. Photo by Francis Hamit,.

Commemorative button.

Commemorative button distributed at meetup.

At the File 770 Meetup: Button maker Daniel Dern looks on as Mike Glyer admires his handwork.

Button maker Daniel Dern looks on as Mike Glyer admires his handwork.

T-shirt seen at Sasquan. Photo by Morris Keesan.

T-shirt seen at Sasquan. Photo by Morris Keesan.

With Six You Get Sleigh Dogs 7/2

aka My Enemy, My Alpo

Today’s roundup ropes and brands Peter Grant, Mike Glyer, Anonymous, John Seavey, Adam-Troy Castro, Lou Antonelli, Shaun Duke, Sarah A. Hoyt, Duncan Mitchel, John C. Wright, Larry Correia, Gef Fox, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, and Brian Niemeier. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day James H. Burns and Kyra.)

Comments on Bayou Renaissance Man post “The State of the Tor Boycott (And SJW’s)” – July 2

Peter Grant

I’d say it’s certain that we’re on track to cost Tor a six-figure sum this year, and probably that will continue for the foreseeable future.

Mike Glyer

Could you share the calculation behind this estimate?

Anonymous

If he’s talking gross sales and not net, the calculation is simple: X people not buying Y books for an average price of Z.

Lets say that, the boycotters normally buy…. 10 Tor books each, 3 HC, 7 PB (or ebook equivalents). That’s about what, $130 in gross sales by Amazon prices? 800 people boycotting * 130 =104,000.

John Seavey

Well, first off, you’d need to cut those prices by 30% or more, because Tor sells the books wholesale to retailers who mark it up to SRP. Retailers would be taking that hit, but it’s spread among all retailers.

But more importantly, where is Peter getting a figure of 800 boycotters who spent $130 per year on Tor books pre-boycott? The number of people willing to send an email, thr absolute minumum in time and effort, topped out at 765. And many of those admitted they didn’t like or buy Tor books. I’d say you can half that number, probably even quarter it. Then take another 30% off for the wholesale discount. So it’s probably hitting Tor to the tune of $20,000 a year.

Peter Grant

@John Seavey: Those figures are not mine, but another commenters. My figures, based on actual e-mails and many conversations, plus discussions with others involved, are considerably higher in terms of the number of individuals involved. The amount they used to spend on Tor books ranges from $10-$20 per year all the way to a couple of hundred dollars.

Multiply your guesstimate of $20K by at least seven, and you’ll get close to what I consider to be the current impact of the boycott. The word is still being spread by supporters, and more people are joining it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the financial impact rather higher by the end of the year. Time will tell.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 25

Rabid-puppy moment of the day: John C. Wright, who is now advising readers that he really doesn’t want anybody to boycott Tor because it would hurt him, wants “Mr. {Moshe} Feder, Miss Gallo, and Mr Nielsen Hayden to get back to the their job of editing books, and cease moonlighting as…” {among other things} “Christ-hating crusaders for Sodom.”

To be sure, he represents this as something he would say if he wasn’t keeping firm control of himself in order to avoid escalation, something he (heh heh heh) Isn’t *quite* saying, at least not at this point, but something he would say if he were to offer an opinion, so please don’t misrepresent him as actually saying it.

But he does make it clear that he would say this, quite happily, in a parallel world not very far removed from this one.

No, he’s not saying any of that, not really, but you, his alleged followers, can say whatever you want, nudge nudge, wink wink.

Putting this in perspective, John C. Wright is trying to stave off a boycott of the publisher who pays him, because of a creative director there who dared to suggest that some of his movement are neo-Nazis, and he’s doing this by applying the adjective “Christ-Hating” in part to an editor named Moshe who wears a yarmulke. He’s doing this while closely allied with a small press writer/editor who thinks we might all want to thank a racially-motivated spree killer someday.

“I’m not a Nazi, but damn the Jews, and mass murder is fine with my buddy here.” ….

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“Spell my name right” – July 2

Since I am a fellow traveler, not a ring leader of the Sad Puppies, I’ve never felt the same emotional investment as other people. I do know that I have a temper that can be set off by punching the wrong button, and I’ve always tried to control that. Some bystanders to the ongoing controversy have noticed that, too.

When I was growing up I was called Pollyanna by my mother because I refused to punch out people who disagreed with me. My father considered any discussion that ended short of gun play as cordial. It was an atypical childhood.

In a discussion yesterday on a web site about my blog post yesterday, one person said:

“I find Antonelli a bit more reasonable than the rest of the puppies. He has stated that the slate was a big mistake, has said that he doesn’t like the use of the word SJW and has said that it shouldn’t be a SP4 next year.

“I think he’s one that it is actually possible to have a discussion with and not just getting talking points back. Main problem is that he seems to have the temper of an irritated grizzly that missed his morning trout.”

In light that I am Italian, have diabetes and the body build of a bear, this is the most insightful thing anyone has ever said about me. Got me down, cold.

P.S. I still think any incarnation of Sad Puppies next year is a bad idea, and I will certainly not participate in any manner.

 

Shaun Duke on World in a Satin Bag

“On Unofficial Blacklists: Why I Keep a Mental List of Authors I Won’t Read” – July 1

To be clear, I don’t stick someone on my DNR list for having different political views than myself.  I DNR authors because of how they express those views.  There are a lot of authors who don’t share my worldview.  Most of those authors aren’t on my DNR list because they have never given me a good reason to put them there.  We disagree.  That’s it.  Big woop.  They’re not actively trying to have my mother’s rights stripped away, nor are they arguing that women should be assaulted for their own good or defending acid attacks or claiming that people of color are half-savages.  We just disagree with me (or other people) about things.  If we ever discuss those differences, it’s most often a discussion.  No rants and figurative rock throwing.

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Why Are You So Angry?” – July 2

….Last time I rose above peeved was reading Irene Gallo’s comments, and fortunately being on this side of the keyboard, I couldn’t reach through the monitor. When hands started shaking on keyboard, I went upstairs and perpetrated violence on waxed floors, which more or less fixed it. Or at least got rid of the strength to do anything.

But I think the trolls who as “Why are you so angry?” though it’s mostly an invalidating technique are also aware that we have reason to be angry. H*ll, they’d be angry if they were us, right?

And so… and so, I’ll give the reasons we have to be angry.

  • Anyone who goes against the Marxist line and points out that they’re lying gets persecuted and there are attempts to destroy them, ranging from professional to real destruction. Peter Grant and I should be grateful all they did was tar us with racist, sexist, homophobic and neo-nazi, particularly when those accusations are risible to anyone not deep in koolaid guzzling territory.

 

Duncan Mitchel on This Is So Gay

“An Area Which We Call The Comfort Zone” – June 22

Bradford concludes by asking the reader, “Are you up to this challenge?”  I wonder who she imagines her reader to be.  A straight white cis male could reasonably respond that he reads primarily work by straight white cis males in order to avoid writing that he actively hates, or that offends him so much that he rage-quits reading it.  (Something like this is the expressed motive of the Sad Puppies / Rabid Puppies who enraged a lot of science-fiction fandom by stacking the Hugo Awards ballots with work that didn’t offend their sensibilities or politics.)  The challenge she offers her readers is not the challenge — which is not the right word — she offered herself, and I’m not sure she realizes that.  My problem with Bradford’s piece is not that she focuses on race, gender, and sexuality illegitimately, as some of her white male critics accused her of doing, but that she’s not clear in her own mind about what she’s doing, or what it means.  To non-straight-cis-white-male readers, increasing the number of non-straight-cis-white-male writers they read means something quite different than the same program will mean to straight white cis male readers.  I must say, I was taken aback by her claim that she began reading only “stories by a certain type of author.”  It seems to me that she chose to read stories by several different types of authors, unless she read only stories by queer transgender women of color, and it doesn’t appear that she did….

Paradoxically, narrowing her focus in one respect broadened it another: by deciding to read more work by women, by people of color, by non-heterosexuals, and so on allowed Bradford to encounter writing and perspectives she might otherwise have missed.  There is too much to read out there, and no matter what we choose to read, there is vastly more that we can’t.  But even straight white cisgendered men aren’t all alike, and there’s as much range among their work, as much to learn and discover in it, as there is among queer trans women of color.  And if Bradford hasn’t discovered plenty of offensive, infuriating content in the work of non-white etc. writers, maybe she hasn’t been paying enough attention…..

 

John C. Wright

“Larry Correia and his Twit Service!” – July 3

The world reeled in flabberghastizement to read this generous announcement from the International Lord of Good Sense, Larry Correia:

So the author of 50 Shades of Grey did a Twitter Q&A, and in a series of events that came as a shock to exactly nobody on the internet except for the author and her publicist, trolls showed up to mock the hell out of her. The author was unprepared and it was a public relations disaster.

Meanwhile, I am an author who loves to fight with morons on Twitter.

That is why I am excited to offer an exciting new free lance service to publicists. The next time you want to do a Q&A wi…th your author on Twitter, simply retain my services and give me temporary access to your author’s Twitter account. The author can answer all the legitimate fan questions, and I’ll respond to the trolls as if I’m the author. Trust me. Fans love it when an author takes on a whole internet and wins.

For a low fee of $1 per character I will handle all of those pesky idiots for you. Is your author too kind to tell them to shut their stupid hipster faces? I’m not! Order now, and I will throw in the F word absolutely free! That’s right, every time I use the F word in a tweet it costs you nothing. This means huge savings for you.

But wait, there’s more! Retain my services now, and I’ll give you half price on special terms like Douchebag, Goony Beard Man, Rainbow Haired She Twink, Assclown, and more!

For more information and a collection of my greatest hits, contact my spokesmanatee, Wendell, at CorreiaTech headquarters, Yard Moose Mountain, Utah.

 

Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

“Transhuman and Subhuman Part XII: The Big Three of Science Fiction” – July 2

The twelfth essay in Transhuman and Subhuman by John C. Wright corrects the popular misconception that the third member of the Big Three Campbellian authors, alongside Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, wasn’t Arthur C. Clarke or Ray Bradbury, but A.E. van Vogt…..

Hard science fiction, says Wright, “consists of two elements…first, a social or philosophical commentary about man’s place in the universe…second, a fascination with the nuts and bolts of legitimate speculation into the near future of technical advance…” Campbell was the first to popularize stories combining both elements.

Describing the definitive mood and spirit of Campbellian tales is difficult these days, Wright contends, because they were “an extension of the scientific optimism and classical liberalism of the time.” A further characteristic of Campbell’s stories was “…a touching childlike faith in Theory, and, for conservatives (in the brilliant words of William Briggs) ‘Love of Theory is the Root of All Evil.’”

 

Gef Fox on Wag The Fox

“Chasing Tale [July 2, 2015]: Hugo, I’ll Stay”  – July 2

I received my Hugo Voter Packet last week, and with it were the majority of nominated works which I must now attempt to read before the end of July so that I can place an informed vote on which books are most deserving in my view of receiving awards. After reading a half dozen or so thus far, it is … a mixed bag. So … yeah. I’m not reading a bad book cover to cover. No way. So, depending upon how many of these erroneously nominated works fail to hook me, it may not be such a slog to read through the entire packet after all.

 

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

“Hugo Reading – Novelette” – July 2

  • “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium”, Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, 05-2014) I quite liked this one. It felt like it needed one or two more go-rounds with an editor to finish polishing it, but it had good ideas, a functional and nasty threat and a character I liked as the lead. It was a good length for what it was trying to do. There were some questions and plot holes, but the set-up was good enough I didn’t really worry about them until thinking about the tale in reflection. In short, a solid story. I’m not sure it’s Hugo worthy, but it was good.
  • “Championship B’tok”, Edward M. Lerner (Analog, 09-2014) This story made me very upset. Not because it wasn’t good, but because it was moderately ok and interesting… and then it just ended. No conclusions, no solutions, no answers. It just ended. I don’t know, but I kind of expected the novelettes to be self-contained, or at least be the end of a chapter and not stop before any resolution. I wouldn’t call this the best story even before the abrupt ending, but with that ending? No. Just no.
  • “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed, 04-2014) A charming little story with a little bit of whimsy along with some very odd science. It’s also a romance story gone bad. It’s an ok story, but I’m not sure it really deserves the Hugo.
  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House”, Michael F. Flynn (Analog, 06-2014) I tried to read this. I started it three times but just couldn’t get into it. The language turned me off, I guess. I just couldn’t do it. I’m seeing people referring to this as “bouncing off” a work. I suppose that’s descriptive enough. This work was not for me and will not be on my ballot.
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, Rajnar Vajra (Analog, 07/08-2014) This one came oh so close. It’s almost there. It was a good tale, written with a lot of sarcastic wit. It was the wit that amused me the most, but it almost went over the top multiple times (which I guess would mean for some folks it did go over the top). It almost nailed the landing, but the impact wasn’t nearly as great as I expected. I’m not sure where it stumbled, but it missed something in there that made it not quite as good as it ought to have been. Hugo worthy? No, not really.

 

https://twitter.com/OddlyDinosaur/status/616601730466324480

“If I Ran The Z/o/o/ Con” Reloaded and Reissued

If I Ran The ZooSasquan guest of honor Leslie Turek is preparing a 4th edition of the Worldcon runners’ role playing game If I Ran the Zoo…Con for delivery in Spokane. The cover illustration is by Merle Insinga, and interior cartoons by Steve Stiles. Preorders are being taken by OffWorld Designs.

First introduced and played at Smofcon 3 in 1986, If I Ran the Zoo…Con lets players lead a committee through the Bidding, Planning, and At-Con phases of a World Science Fiction Convention.

The game has been revised and updated with nine new scenarios, some contributed by Priscilla Olson, Mark Olson, and John Pomeranz.

The new scenarios include a crisis about losing a hotel while bidding, and a thinly-disguised adaptation of the 1997 Disclave flood. Leslie Turek continues: “Other scenarios cover things that are new in Worldcon-running since the 1980’s, such as web sites, social media storms, exhibit space layout, and the Hugo Loser’s party. No, we don’t address the Hugo controversy (too soon), but we do talk about Hugo base design (couldn’t resist the phrase ‘People are losing their balls’ – if you were at N3, you’ll understand that one).”

I was one of the lucky players when the game debuted in 1986.

Here’s is Leslie Turek’s description of that experience from Mad 3 Party #16 (February 1987):

The game was designed to be both an ice-breaker and also something to get people thinking about some of the perennial con-running problems in a humorous setting. (Joe Mayhew referred to it as a consciousness-raising technique.) It’s not clear how many consciousnesses were raised, but there certainly was a lot of hilarity.

First, three teams (known as con committees) were selected by leaders from each region: Mike Walsh for the East. John Guidry for the Central, and Mike Glyer for the West. Game officials were Chip Hitchcock as the SMOF (who read the game scenarios). Alexis Layton as the Independent Accountant (who kept track of the score), and Tony Lewis as Murphy (the element of chance). Murphy was aided in his job by a spinner in the form of a day-glo propeller beanie created by Pam Fremon.

The game took the committees through three phases: bidding, planning, and at-con. For each turn, the committee chose a chairman and also drew a scenario to play. Scenarios, which were written by a number of contributors, including such titles as:

Bidding:

  • Choosing the Bid Committee
  • GoH Choice
  • Booze
  • Pre-Supporting Memberships

 

Planning

  • Masquerade Length
  • The Big Premiere
  • The “Relationship”
  • Kids’ Programming
  • Ups and Downs (Elevator Management)
  • The Contract

At-Con

  • Turning the Tables (No-show Hucksters)
  • The Lady and the Snake
  • The Ice
  • Keep on Truckin’ (Logistics)

As each situation was read, the chairman would be given a number of options to select from. The committee could be consulted, but the chairman had to make the final decision. In some cases, the next situation was a direct result of the chairman’s choice, but in most cases, Murphy was also consulted. Murphy would spin the spinner and the SMOF would select the next situation according to that result. As the situations progressed, the team would win or lose Financial poings (representing money), People points (representing staff effort), and Goodwill points (representing the reaction of fandom and others whose cooperation is needed by the committee).

Many of the scenarios covered more than one phase. For example, a decision made in the planning phase might have results later in the game during the at-con phase. Murphy played a role here in deciding when each team would have to deal with the consequences of its earlier decisions. Murphy’s favorite line began, “Remember when you decided to….?”

The total game consists of 43 scenarios, and in about 2 hours of play we managed to go through only about 2/3 of them. After the game (which was won by the Central team), each member was given a printed copy of the full game to take home with them.

There were big plans in the 1980s to make a text-based computer game from the script. So far as I know that never happened, but MCFI and NESFA have kept the print version going for nearly 30 years.

All The Bradbury Bookends at Once

Mike Glyer with Bradbury bookends ready for shipping at ReUse People.

Mike Glyer with Bradbury bookends ready for shipping at ReUse People.

ReUse People says the Bradbury bookends are now sold out online. However, some units are still available for purchase in person at their Los Angeles warehouse.

I had lunch with John King Tarpinian today and went with him to pick up his set in person. He shot this photo of me in front of two pallets of bookends ready for shipping. On the right in shadow a manager affixes mailing labels on cartons.

Part of Tarpinian's Bradbury collection nestled between two 451 bookends.

Part of Tarpinian’s Bradbury collection nestled between two 451 bookends.

Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Puppies 5/5

aka The Puppy Who Mistook His Bark For A Hugo

Today’s roundup gathers together excerpts of Puppy-related thoughts from Mercy Pilkington, Paul St. John Mackintosh, Mike Glyer (who let him in here?), Deborah J. Ross, T.C. McCarthy, Kevin Standlee, Vox Day, Michael Kingswood, Tom Knighton, Lisa J. Goldstein, Jane Frank. Steve Davidson, Alexandra Erin and players to be named later. (Title credits go to File 770 contributing editors of the day Danny Sichel and Dawn Sabados.)

Mercy Pilkington on Good E Reader

“The Sad Joke That Is the Hugo Awards” – May 5

Unfortunately, this year’s nominations have allegedly been shanghaied by a small collective of people under the name “Sad Puppies” and a rival group “Rabid Puppies” who are disheartened with the “touchy feely” decline of science fiction into a genre that allows gay couples and women who don’t have giant breasts to exist. The groups have garnered enough voting support to send their favorites to the top of the lists, then have seemingly been quite open about achieving their goals.

 

Paul St. John Mackintosh on TeleRead

“Locus Awards finalists show the power of open voting” – May 5

You’re either forced to assume that the liberal-left-loony conspiracy beloved of the Sad Puppies ringleaders extends across the entire internet – or that the SP promoters are just a bunch of histrionic opportunists who hijacked the voting process of a particular set of awards in the name of a particular ideological agenda. Which also makes you wonder what future history will make of the 2014 Sad Puppies Hugo list, if not a single one of them has made the cut in a more open ballot. Apologies to any fine writers besmirched by that comment, but in the circumstances, it’s understandable. And apologies too to the Locus Awards for casting their fantastic slate of contenders in the shade of the Hugos/Sad Puppies fiasco. All the same, people, compare and contrast.

 

Mike Glyer in Uncanny Magazine

“It’s The Big One”  – May 5

Does The Award Matter? The award was forged as a weapon in the original culture war—the battle to earn acceptance for science fiction itself.

Isaac Asimov gave readers a taste of the mockery early science fiction fans endured in his introduction to a collection of Hugo–winning short fiction:

“You can imagine the laughter to which we were subjected when sensible, hard–headed, practical, every–day people discovered we were reading crazy stories about atomic bombs, television, guided missiles, and rockets to the moon. All this was obvious crackpotism that could never come to pass, you see.”

….Openly campaigning for a Hugo has long been culturally discouraged in fandom, however, that old–school tradition has not survived a collision with some other significant forces. Individual authors have been forced to shoulder the publicity burdens once carried by their publishers and one aspect of gaining attention is through awards – an approach discussed by Nancy Fulda (“Five Things You Should Know About Award Nominations”) on the SFWA Blog in January 2015. Furthermore, people steeped in the social media culture of constant self–expression and self–celebration have been conditioned to feel reticence is unnatural: Why wouldn’t they recommend themselves for an award?

 

Deborah J. Ross on Deborah’s Journal

“In Which Deborah Learns A New Word” – May 5

Normally, this is a politics-lite zone. Growing up in the ’50s with the McCarthy nuts breathing down my family’s neck has not endeared me to rancorous public discourse. I have, however, been following PuppyGate because I know some of the folks who withdrew their stories from the Hugo ballot and/or Puppy slate. The online debate has at times been pretty vile.

One of the few delightful things to come out of this mess is a new word: Puppysplaining. Akin to mansplaining, it refers to “Explaining to you how you really have no idea how completely wrong you are about your own lived experiences.” It comes to me from Gamer Ghazi. If it follows you home, you have my permission to keep it.

 

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way of Life

“Scheduling WSFS Business” – May 5

Because of a comment on the File 770 web site, I find that I’d better write about the subject of when the Business Meeting in Spokane will or might consider specific items, because it would appear some folks are taking this spot as the journal of record on such things.

Parliamentary Neepery about Business Meeting SchedulingCollapse )

So it’s possible for the meeting to put off consideration of proposals until Day 5, the morning after the Hugo Award Ceremony. How could it do this?

Agenda-Setting MechanismsCollapse )

I hope this explanation makes sense. It gets into a number of the finer points of parliamentary detail, but given the complexity of the tasks we may fact this year, I think it important that people understand what tools they have at their disposal.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Bi-discoursality” – May 5

The interesting thing about rhetoric is that it makes no sense to those who are limited to the dialectic. I didn’t fully grasp the way it worked until reading RHETORIC for the second time. It can be bewildering when people tell you that they have been convinced by something that you know can’t logically have persuaded them. In such cases, you know they have been persuaded by rhetoric, not facts, reason, or logic.

I wouldn’t expect an individual who only speaks one form of discourse to be any more able to follow me into the other than if I abruptly switched to speaking Italian or French after beginning in English.

For example, this was written for dialecticals. Rhetoricals only see “blah blah blah, I’m so smart, blah blah blah, Aristotle” and scan through it seeking to find some point of attack they can use to minimize or disqualify me. And if they can’t, that’s when they strike a bored pose or return to the snarky ad hom.

 

Michael Kingswood on Magic, Swords, and Laser Beams

“Myke and Brad” – May 5

Look, I’ve had to set fellow officers straight before because they were messing up.  Mostly those junior to me, occasionally a peer, and once or twice more senior officers, up to and including my CO.  It’s part of the job, and expected: forceful backup is a primary tenet of submarine operations.  So I have no issue with one officer correcting another.

That said, there is a way to do that sort of correction, and I do take issue with the nature, style, and content of Myke’s open letter.

The entire letter is condescending, and lacking in professional courtesy or respect.  Does he honestly think that Brad doesn’t know that, as an officer, he has a duty to all of his men, regardless of their personal situation?  Or does he just think Brad knows but doesn’t care?  Brad’s been doing this for a long time now.  I think he gets it.  And who the hell is Myke to lecture anyway?  He doesn’t work with Brad, doesn’t serve with him.  They’re not in the same chain of command, and neither has authority over the other.  Has he ever observed Brad’s professional behavior?  If not, he’s just speculating not even based on hearsay, and has no standing to judge or cast dispersions.

 

Tom Knighton

“An Open Letter to Myke Cole” – May 5

Dear Myke,

As a veteran who is now firmly ensconced in civilian life, I’m writing you to discuss your open letter with CWO Brad Torgersen.  This is not to defend Brad’s comments, because there is nothing I feel like defending.  Brad was out of line, and I think he knows that.  One thing I agree with John Scalzi on is that being gay is not anything to be ashamed of, so there’s no reason it should be categorized as an insult.  Thus far, we are in agreement.

However, you chose to address this issue in an open letter.  In and of itself, this wouldn’t normally be an issue.  Open letters are quite common in this day and age.  However, you opted to do so as a commissioned officer who is addressing a warrant officer.  This is where I must take issue.

You are a commissioned officer, a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard Reserves.  You are addressing a warrant officer in the United States Army Reserves.  In essence, you are addressing a junior officer in a different chain of command.  As you are an officer, one would assume that somewhere in your training, you were instructed in how to address junior personnel while counseling them in matters such as proper execution of their duties.

If you were, then I am quite sure that the Coast Guard instructed you similarly to the way the Navy instructed me in such matters.  Simply put, you handle stuff like this behind closed doors.  A private message, an email, something.  You address it directly and privately and, if that doesn’t resolve the matter, you address it with his chain of command.

However, that’s not what you did.  Instead, you opted to put your disagreement with Brad’s comments out in public.  Again, had you done this as one writer addressing another writer, then so be it.  You didn’t.  Like most other things on your website, you couched it all under the color of your own uniform and did so publicly.

 

Font Folly

“Visions and Ventures: why I love sf/f” – May 5

As an adult, I’ve been attending sci fi conventions for decades. I’ve even been a staff member at a few. I’ve had some of my own tales of the fantastic published, even though most of my published stories have been in fanzines and other small semi-pro publications. I’ve had the good fortune to be the editor of a fanzine with a not insignificant subscriber base. I count among my friends and friendly acquaintances people who have been published in more professional venues, people who have run those conventions, people who have won awards for their sf/f stories and art, even people who have designed some of the trophies. Not to mention many, many fans. I have even occasionally referred to that conglomeration of fans, writers, artists, editors, and so forth as my tribe.

All of that only begins to scratch the surface of why I find the entire Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies mess so heart-wrenching. Yes, part of the reason the situation infuriates me is because the perpetrators are all so unabashedly anti-queer. For this queer kid, sf/f and its promise of better worlds and a better future was how I survived the bullying, bashing, hatred, and rejection of my childhood. To find out that there are fans and writers who so despise people like me that they have orchestrated a scheme whose ultimate goal is to erase us goes beyond infuriating.

 

Wikipedia  entry on “Science Fiction”

A controversy about voting slates in the 2015 Hugo Awards highlighted tensions in the science fiction community between a trend of increasingly diverse works and authors being honored by awards, and a backlash by groups of authors and fans who preferred what they considered more traditional science fiction

 

Sappho on Noli Irritare Leones

“The flames of the Tigers are lighting the road to Berlin” – May 5

This year’s Hugo Awards have proved more controversial than usual, with the sweep of several categories of Hugo Award nominations by two slates known as Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies.

I don’t mean this to be a post about Puppies. If you want to know more about puppies, you can check out the blog of, well, almost any science fiction author right now, or Google “Hugo Awards 2015? and look at all the Puppy posts and articles. But the debate about Puppies raised a meta-Puppies point that interests me: the relationship between politics and art.

You see, two things are true, at the same time. The first thing: Art has always been, and always will be, political, and in the sense in which “politics” is being discussed here, politics can’t be extracted from art. The second thing: What Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns, and Money likes to call aesthetic Stalinism – preachy message fiction where the message overwhelms the story, and preachy reviews that evaluate books, movies, music, or other art solely on their political implications – is really, really annoying.

 

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot Continued: Short Stories” – May 3

The next story up is “Totaled,” by Kary English.  English is the only woman to make it onto the ballot in the writing categories (short story, novelette, novella, novel) from the Sad Puppies’ slate, although another woman, Annie Bellet, made the ballot but withdrew her story from contention.  Elsewhere the Puppies tout the diversity of their nominees, but their record in this slate is pretty terrible, at least concerning women who write.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 3: Short Stories” – May 5

The story after Diamond’s is John Wright’s “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds.”  Wright’s style here is deliberately archaic, in a stately, somewhat pompous, King James Bible vein, and for the most part this serves him fairly well.  Every so often, though, he will stray from purple into ultraviolet and become lost to human ken.  What, for example, is one to make of “All about the walls of the city were the fields and houses that were empty and still,” which seems to have one too many “were”s in it?  Or a description of leaves as “wallowing”?  Leaves may do a lot of things, but I’ve never seen one wallow.  And then sometimes Wright will leave this style altogether and use words King James would have a hard time recognizing, like “sangfroid.”  The effect for this reader at least is to be yanked, hard, out of the story.

[There should be a law that anyone who wants to write in this style has to read Ursula Le Guin’s essay “From Elfland to Poughkeepsie.”  Sorry, no exceptions.]

 

Jane Frank on Amazing Stories

“The Artful Collector: On the Topic of ‘Puppies’ from a Former ‘Loser’” – May 5

And It’s not that attempts to skew Hugo outcomes have been solely the province of that literary set.   Lobbying to get certain (overlooked) artists on the ballot has been attempted, as well. In years past I’ve been approached to participate in these efforts, to garner support (assuming I had such influence!) from other voters I knew, and get them to nominate one artist or another. I guess I was seen as the perfect lobbyist for such a cause, considering I was then selling original art for such well –known (but never nominated) artists as John Berkey, Paul Lehr, Darrell K. Sweet.  To name just three  . . that never enjoyed that honor during their lifetimes.

Not that such efforts would have been without merit, or weren’t well-intentioned. But even I – an outsider who actually never minded the objectification of women AND men on the covers of books and magazines (how else are you gonna get young men to READ, duh?) – knew enough to know that such lobbying was simply NOT DONE.   Voting has always been an individual thing – and I never had any interest in influencing the votes of others. Indeed, I have always been able to act as has been suggested by others. That when I wasn’t familiar with the work, if I hadn’t read the story, if I never heard of the artist, saw the TV episode or movie, I just didn’t vote for it.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“OMG! That SJW Fannish Cabal is WAY Bigger Than They Thought!” – May 5

So lets get this straight.  Locus Magazine publishes the final ballot for this year’s Locus Poll – a poll of the readers of science fiction and fantasy, one that costs nothing to participate in*, one that doesn’t require special membership in a special organization, a poll of the READERS rather than just a poll of those nasty liberal WSFS Trufans and Message Fictioneers, a poll presumably participated in by the folks who really count – consumers!, the ones untainted by the crushing weight of 75 years of special cabal-think (libprog, social justice creep), the Goodread and Amazon four-star-review-unless-we-don’t-like-you crowd, the great unwashed masses of REAL FANS(tm), the folks who supposedly believe that sales figures and best seller lists are the only markers one needs to confer awards, the readers who the Suicide Puppy Squad claim want nothing more than entertaining adventures  (weirdly homoerotic broad chested man adventures at that) is published with NOT ONE SINGLE WORK BY A Puppy of any breed!  (Thank goodness for super lungs!)

 

Aaron Kashtan on The Hooded Ultilitarian

“The End of Comic Geeks?”  – May 5

This piece originated as a paper presented at the 2015 University of Florida Comics Conference. A slightly different form of this paper was incorporated into my lecture “Change the Cover: Superhero Comics, the Internet, and Female Fans,” delivered at Miami University as part of the Comics Scholars Group lecture series. While I have made some slight changes to the version of the paper that I gave at UF, I have decided against editing the paper to make it read like a written essay rather than an oral presentation. The accompanying slide presentation is available here ….

Now in other fan communities, the opening up of previously male-only spaces has triggered a backlash from the straight white men who used to dominate. The obvious example of this is Gamergate, where the inclusion of women in video gaming has led to an organized campaign of misogyny which has even crossed the line into domestic terrorism. SLIDE 6 A less well-known example is what’s been happening in science fiction fandom. In recent years, novels by liberal writers like John Scalzi and female and minority writers like Nnedi Okorafor and Sofia Samatar have dominated the major science fiction awards. SLIDE 7 When this started happening, certain mostly white male writers became extremely indignant that science fiction was becoming poiliticized, or rather that it was being politicized in a way they didn’t like. So they started an organized campaign known as Sad Puppies SLIDE 8 whose object was to get works by right-wing white male authors included on the ballot for the Hugo award, which is the only major science fiction and fantasy award where nominations are determined by fan voting. And this led in turn to the Rabid Puppies campaign, which was organized by notorious neo-Nazi Vox Day and which is explicitly racist, sexist and homophobic. SLIDE 9 And these campaigns succeeded partly thanks to assistance from Gamergate. On the 2015 Hugo ballot, the nominees in the short fiction categories consist entirely of works nominated by Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, and this has led to an enormous public outcry.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK” – May 5

monster-256x300

The cover of this book promises a monster, which implies there’s going to be a battle. But there’s no battle. There is barely even a monster! Just some blue gamma male wimp who begs and pleads with you to stop reading the book on every page.

Looking at the obviously inflated Amazon reviews I can only conclude that a number of weak-willed liberal readers gave in to this blue cuck’s loathsome SJW bullying tactics and stopped reading before the disappointing reveal. Of course this doesn’t stop them from lavishing it with glowing reviews. These people care only about politics and demographics, not merit or value.

Well, I read it all the way to the end. The last thing you want to do is tell this red-blooded American he mustn’t do something or shouldn’t read something because I believe in the first amendment and I will read whatever the hell I want.

 

An Uncanny Mother’s Day Present

Uncanny issue 4 cover COMPUncanny Magazine #4 will be available May 5. Some of sf’s leading storytellers adorn the table of contents, while the slate of nonfiction writers includes at least one who will be buying a copy of the issue for his mother.  She’s not an eBook reader but, if yours is, eBook subscriptions to Uncanny Magazine are available from Weightless Books.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 4 Table of Contents

Cover:

  • Tran Nguyen- “Traveling to a Distant Day”

Editorial:

  • The Uncanny Valley

New Fiction

  • Catherynne M. Valente- “Planet Lion”
  • A.C. Wise- “The Practical Witch’s Guide to Acquiring Real Estate”
  • John Chu- “Restore the Heart into Love”
  • Elizabeth Bear- “In Libres”
  • Lisa Bolekaja- “Three Voices”

Reprint:

  • Delia Sherman- “Young Woman in a Garden”

Nonfiction:

  • Mike Glyer- “It’s the Big One”
  • Julia Rios- “Top Five Myths about YA”
  • Kameron Hurley- “I Don’t Care About Your MFA: On Writing vs. Storytelling”
  • Christopher J Garcia & Steven H Silver- “Peggy Rae Sapienza”

Poetry:

  • Alyssa Wong- “For the Gardener’s Daughter”
  • Ali Trotta- “From the High Priestess to the Hanged Man”
  • Isabel Yap- “Apologies for breaking the glass slipper”

Interviews:

  • John Chu Interviewed by Deborah Stanish Delia Sherman Interviewed by Deborah Stanish

Podcasts:

  • Podcast 4A Story- Catherynne M. Valente’s “Planet Lion” as read by Heath Miller Poem- Alyssa Wong’s “For the Gardener’s Daughter” as read by Amal El-Mohtar Interview- Deborah Stanish interviews Catherynne M. Valente
  • Podcast 4B Story- Elizabeth Bear’s “In Libres” as read by C.S.E. Cooney Poem- Isabel Yap’s “Apologies for breaking the glass slipper” as read by Amal El-Mohtar Interview- Deborah Stanish interviews Elizabeth Bear