Pixel Scroll 10/3 The Red Scroll of Westmarch

(1) Harry Potter fans taking the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London have been trying to “free” Dobby the house elf by leaving socks beside his display case.

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Lucious Malfoy is tricked into freeing Dobby by handing him a sock. (A house elf can only be freed from its service if its master gives it a gift of clothing.)

(2) James H. Burns recounts a memory of 1973, about the Mets clinching the pennant, and his 6th grade teacher, in the Long Island Press.

(3) Joel Achenbach in the Washington Post says, “Don’t worry. Matt Damon won’t get stuck on Mars. NASA can’t get him there”. He explains why it’s highly unlikely that NASA will lead an expedition to Mars in the next 25 years. Two key points: we don’t have a rocket, and NASA has no plans to develop a Martian lander.

(4) A collection of Vince Clarke’s fanwriting, assembled by David Langford, is a free download on the TAFF Ebooks page. More details and the list of contents here.

Vince Clarke Treasury cover

Mike Moorcock approves: “Glad the Vince Clarke book’s out. I mention Vince quite a lot in The Woods of Arcady. Sequel to W.Swarm … As I say in the book, Vince was something of a mentor to me and really helped me. Great bloke.”

(5) Patrick May reviews Dark Orbit:

“Dark Orbit” by Carolyn Ives Gilman tells the story of Saraswati “Sara” Callicot, a researcher who spends her life traveling via lightbeam, and Thora Lassiter, a member of an elite caste who was involved in an uprising of the women on the planet Orem against a male-dominated, Sharia-like government.

(6) Cedar Sanderson’s “A List of Books for Big Girls” at Mad Genius Club, while recommending characters, is also a built-in set of book and story recommendations.

Character! That’s what we want. And inspiring heroes, and damsels who can’t be bothered to be distressed, and the men who respect them… You’ll find all that and more in the list of books below.

I want to thank everyone who helped with suggestions for the lists. I’m not including all of the titles that were given to me, some because I wasn’t looking for YA, and some because I was emphasizing character rather than other features. You will find that I’m listing the books by character name, rather than individual books, as many of these are series. Some of the comments in the list are from the people who gave the recommendations to me (I’ve anonymized the lists since they were collected in private groups). 

(7) I’m always a sucker for those internet list posts and get hooked into clicking through a whole series of pages by sites trying to maximize their ad exposure. I rarely post those here.

An exception I can recommend in the Scroll is complete on one page: “My Favorite Movie Endings of All Time”.

(8) I bet she’s right —

(9) Can’t get it out of my mind. Iphinome’s lyrical comment on File 770.

We built this concom, we built this concom on pixel scroll.

Say you don’t scroll me, or pixelize my face,
Say you can’t lose Hugos with any grace.
Knee deep in the hoopla, sinking in your fight,
Too many puppies, yapping in the night.

Glyer posts a roundup, givin’ us the pixel scroll
Don’t you remember?
We built this concom
We built this concom on pixel scroll.

(10) Larry Correia explains in the beginning of his “Fisking the New York Times’ Modern Man”

See, I have two sons. As a father, it is my duty to point out really stupid shit, so they can avoid becoming goony hipster douche balloons. So boys, this Fisk was written for you.

His target is Brian Lombardi’s “27 Ways to Be a Modern Man”, which is sort of wryly serious and so lends itself to Correia’s mockery.

SELF-HELP

Even the header is wrong. This article is the opposite of self-help. This is like the instruction guide for how to live life as a sex-free eunuch.  …

  1. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.

Most real men have whatever flooring their wife wanted when they built their house, because we don’t care, because we’re working all day so don’t get to stand on it much. Or they have whatever flooring came with the house when they moved in, and eventually when they can afford to they’ll put in whatever flooring their wife wants, because they don’t care. Some men do care, and they can put in whatever floor they feel like. Good for them. All of those men think this reporter is a douche.

I don’t even know what a Kenneth Cole is. I’m not sure what an oxford is, but from the context I believe it is a type of shoe. As a man who usually wears size 15 Danner boots, this is my Not Impressed Face.

(11) This Day in Non-Science-Fictional History

Debuted on this date in 1961, the first successful TV-show-within-a-TV-show, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” When Carl Reiner created and starred in the pilot that preceded the hit show, it was not a success. Casting Dick was the one major change that propelled the show into a five-season successful run on CBS.

Also –

In 1955, the children’s TV show Captain Kangaroo with Bob Keeshan in the title role was broadcast for the first time.

(12) Marc Zicree delivers a quick tour of the Science Fiction Exhibit at the LA County Fair — complete with Rod Serling, Jurassic Park, the Back to the Future DeLorean and HAL 9000.

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

Pixel Scroll 9/5 Their Eyes Were Watching Cod

(1) As noted by Patrick on Making Light, the Guardian has an editorial about the sudden turnaround in British public opinion regarding the need to help Syrian refugees, “a shift clearly caused by the heartrending photographs of young Aylan Kurdi’s drowned body washed up on a Turkish beach.” More commentary about the main topic in his post, but here’s the reason someone sent me the link —

Likewise, I’m as small-minded and focused on the local as anybody else. Normally the displacement of millions of innocent Syrians tends to weigh on me as merely one of a seemingly endless series of humanitarian crises for which there is never enough attention or care. But put one particular namecheck into a Guardian editorial and you have my undivided attention:

[I]t is also an astonishingly vivid demonstration of the inadequacy of statistics to move our moral sentiments compared with the power of pictures, and still more of pictures that bring to life stories, to affect us in ways that reasoning never could. As the critic Teresa Nielsen Hayden observed, “Story is a force of nature.” One single death and a refugee family have moved a nation to whom 200,000 deaths and 11 million refugees had remained for years merely a statistic, and not a very interesting one at that.

That was…unexpected.

(2) The impression I get from Larry Correia’s “MHI Challenge Coin Update” is that today – the 5th – is the last day to order Monster Hunter International challenge coins. Unlike another famous Puppy, he probably has only one 5th in his deck.

Monster Hunter International challenge coin

Monster Hunter International challenge coin

(3) Steve Davidson ends his new opinion piece about SP4 on Amazing Stories on a satirical note:

But until the event is scheduled, we’ve still got Sad Puppies IV to deal with, because the problem is, as spokesperson for that effort, Kate Paulk’s words do not match her stated intent.

I’ll shortly be announcing the creation of the One True SF/F Award Run by Real Fans for Real Reasons, which will be presented at a soon-to-be-announced convention, the One True SF/F Genre Convention Run by Real Fans for Real Reasons. Which no doubt will be quickly shortened to SFFGCRBRFFRRCon, just as the awards themselves (a silver flying saucer base, above which will be mounted a symbol for science fiction, fantasy or horror that will be crowd-sourced and unique every year) will soon be known as the SFFGCRBRFFRRies.

Everyone attending the convention will receive a ribbon to attach to their ID badge. That ribbon will state that the wearer is a REAL FAN for REAL REASONS. Additional ribbons, containing short, pithy summations of REASONS can be appended to the RFRR ribbons for those who wish greater specificity. Summations such as: “I’m clueless about fandom but it must be doing something wrong because I am not the center of attention”, “Money is the root of all evil, I earn so much I must be Evil”, “The message in my message fiction is that message fiction sucks” and “Someone on the internet told me that someone on the internet is doing it wrong”. For a fee, personal REASON ribbons will be made on site.

(4) Patrick May – “Sad Puppies 4:  A Slate By Any Other Name”

Recommendations will be collected on the Sadpuppies 4 website, where one page will be dedicated to each category. In February or March, Paulk’s stated goal is to post “a list of the ten or so most popular recommendations in each Hugo category, and a link to the full list in all its glory.” Paulk goes on to say “If you want to see your favorite author receive a nomination and an award, your best bet will be to cast your nomination ballot for one of the works in the top ten or thereabouts of The List.”

And therein lies the problem. Even though SP4 is not positioning their list as a slate and even though the organizers plan to provide a recommendation list with more entries than allowed nominees, the approach of ranking the recommendations and suggesting that people vote for more popular works gives the appearance of attempting to game the Hugo nomination process. As we saw at Sasquan, this raises the ire of a significant percentage of Hugo voters. Yes, some people voted against the works themselves and, yes, some people voted against the Sad Puppies personally, but many voted No Award because slates violate what they see as the spirit of the process. Skewing the voting patterns from anything other than purely individual choices will be interpreted similarly.

(5) We interrupt this Scroll to link “If You Were A Platypus, My Dear – A Play In As Many Acts As Is Required” by RedWombat (Part I and Part II)

Puppies: DO YOU SEE THIS ANTI-RURITANIAN SCREED!? IT WON THE HUGE AWARD!

Commenter D: No, it was only nominated—

Puppies: THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE HUGE AWARD!

Troll B: You’re all so racist against Ruritanians.

Commenter B: You’re the one who brought them up in the first place! No one was saying anything about Ruritanians!

Troll B: As an outsider, it’s obvious to me that’s what you were talking about. You should just admit that you all think they’re tax cheats.

Commenters J-Q: …we don’t. No one thinks that. That would be racist.

Troll B: JUST LIKE THAT RACIST PLATYPUS WHO HATES RURITANIANS

FFA: *makes popcorn*

(6) A post on Hackaday admires Sasquan’s Hugo base, made by Matthew Dockery (aka gfish):

A lot of hackers like science fiction. If you aren’t one of them, you might not know that the Hugo is a prestigious science fiction award handed out at the World Science Fiction Convention every year. The statue looks like a rocket ship, but every year the base the rocket ship rests on is different. Kinetic sculptor [gfish] realized the convention would be in Spokane (his hometown and near his current residence) and decided to enter the competition to create the bases. He won, so the 2015 Hugos all have [gfish’s] bases on them and it’s pretty neat that he’s shared the process he used to make them.

And base maker “gfish” takes you step-by-step through the design and manufcaturing process:

The image I had in mind was a kind of spiky, tessellated… something. Rocket blast, maybe, or the central plateau of Washington state, surrounded by mountains. I wanted to leave it ambiguous…

Once I was happy with the design, I needed to find a way to “unfold” it into individual polygons. I had heard of the Japanese papercraft program Pepakura being used by costumers to make armor, so I tried that. It worked — and it even let me test my design in paper first! I’m glad it did, because this let me refine the design in a very fast and cheap way. Things always look different in real life.

I’ve wondered whether people have been shanking themselves on the edges while carrying these Hugos. Flashback: In 1989 Deb Geiser says she cut herself working on a Hugo (mine, as it turned out) and those weren’t sharp at all.

Gfish/Dockery continued a tradition started by Hugo-maker Jack McKnight — missing part of the con to finish working on the awards —

There was a slight panic at the last minute because I sized the holes wrong on one of the nameplates before sending the file to the laser etching service, but that was easily solved with my dad’s drill press. And I missed the masquerade because I was stuck in a hotel room bolting on rockets. But you know what? That was absolutely okay. This is probably the closest I will ever come to winning a Hugo myself, and I loved every minute of it.

(7) Cracked delivers another round of honest movie posters.

little orphan ani

(8) Thomas Olde Heuvelt comments on John C. Wright’s “Hugo Controversy Quiz Questions”

What struck me is your answer to question 6. You state: “Do you remember how science fiction began? We write stories about space princesses being rescued by space heroes from space monsters, pirates, and evil robots. Those who attempt to find a deeper meaning or a social crusade in that are ill informed illwishers whose ulterior motives are unfriendly to our genre.” This much boils down to something I’ve read was part of the main argument for Sad Puppies 3 (I believe it was Brad Torgersen who said it, but I may be mistaken): that they wanted stories about tentacles, not social issues. A pledge for more ‘adventure’, to generalize. Which is a fair argument, I think.

Except… your story that got replaced by mine, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause,” is not a story about space monsters or tentacles, it’s a story about a Christmas miracle imposed by God, and fairly evangelical as interpreted by many. (Whether it can be taken as an ‘adventure’ story, is an argument I won’t go into here). I immediately take your word that your intent is not to “indoctrinate the readers into a particular [in this case Christian] worldview” and even “reject that premise with scorn and umbrage”. But I do know that for many who are not Christian (like me), the story *may* read as evangelical and indoctrinating. So, if you didn’t have any agenda and just wanted to tell a good story, the interpretation of indoctrination is purely based on a difference between what is close to you and what is close to non-religious readers. And that, I think, is exactly the same the other way around. I am fairly sure that John Chu didn’t have any political agenda when he wrote a story with gay characters (“The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere”), and I’m a 100% sure that I didn’t have a political agenda when I wrote my first Hugo-nominated story, “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” (which also happened to feature a gay character). I’ve read many misassumptions that stories like these are always part of some bigger conspiracy to push a social agenda. But that’s nonsense. I don’t have an agenda, except to write what I think are good stories. They may differ from what you think are good stories, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s the real diversity in sciencefiction and fantasy.

Let me state this: people who write different stories than what you know or like, not necessarily have “sad and narrow lives”. You glorify what you know. I glorify what I know. Stephen King glorifies what he knows. Whether it’s God, or a gay tentacle, or an evil clown – as long as they are good stories, who cares?

(9) Otherwise, a typical day at the office for John C. Wright – “More of the Same”

I note that Mr George RR Martin calls for a return to civility in the Sad Puppies debate (http://grrm.livejournal.com/440444.html). I welcome the idea and would not be displeased if the Puppykickers were men of such character as to be able to carry through with it. But I applaud the gesture….

They addicts of Social Justice seek forever to be outraged at some nonexistent injustice, so that they can paint themselves as martyrs and crusaders in a righteous cause, but without the inconvenience of suffering martyrdom or the travail of crusade which would accompany any fight against a real injustice.

One sign of Morlockery is to pen a missive asking one’s foes to abandon their arms and surrender in the name of compromise or civility or somesuch hogwash, while offering nothing, nothing whatsoever, in return, not even basic honesty.

Nor is Mr. Martin in a position to offer anything. Like the Sad Puppies, his side is a loose coalition of likeminded but independent members.

If he refrains from incivility, but his allies do not, I gain nothing by forswearing the use of such colorful terms as ‘Morlocks’ or accurate terms as ‘Christ-haters.’ If I wanted to be bland and inaccurate, I would adopt the flaccid language of political correctness.

And, by an entirely expected coincidence, during the same fortnight as Mr. Martin’s call for civility, we find other members of the SocJus movement busily not being civil or honest:

The surrealistic sensation of finding oneself subject to the two-minute hate for things one did not say by  eager Witch-hunters (leveling silly, false and negligent accusations apparently in hopes of gaining a reputation for zealotry) is not one I would wish on any unstoical soul. In this week’s episode, we find that I call men bad names not because they betray my trust, ruin my favorite show, and seek to worm their sick doctrines into the minds of impressionable children, but because I do not like women befriending women. Who knew?

https://quoteside.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/the-weekly-round-up-592015/

(10) Philip Sandifer – “Weird Kitties: Best Novel Open Thread”

So far, for my part, I’ve gotten through Seveneves, which I thought a good but not great Neal Stephenson novel, and am about a third of the way through The Vorrh, which is very much the sort of novel you’d expect Alan Moore to call “the current century’s first landmark work of fantasy and ranking amongst the best pieces ever written in that genre.” The latter will almost certainly make my ballot; the former could be knocked off without too much trouble. I’ll probably not get to The Shepherd’s Crown, since I’ve not read a Discworld novel in decades, but may well nominate it just because a Hugo ballot without it would just feel wrong somehow.

(11) The argument against reblogging entire posts:

[Thanks to Shao Ping, Mark, Steve Davidson and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

Pixel Scroll 8/6 Even Robots Get the Blues

The A-Train, EPH, and AI make up the alphabet soup that is today’s Scroll.

(1) An effort to get sf writers on postage stamps fizzled a couple of years ago. A new effort to might wind up putting a fanzine editor on a stamp – albeit for reasons entirely unrelated to fandom. See NPR’s report “Willis Conover, The Voice Of Jazz Behind The Iron Curtain”

Willis Conover at a 1970s Lunacon. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

Willis Conover at a 1970s Lunacon. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.

Willis Conover, who died in 1996, could pack concert halls for jazz shows behind the Iron Curtain. But he wasn’t a household name in his own country because by law, the Voice of America cannot broadcast to the United States. This week, Doug Ramsey, who writes about jazz for The Wall Street Journal, reported that a campaign to persuade the Postal Services Stamp Advisory Committee to put Willis Conover on a U.S. postage stamp now has thousands of signatures. It would send the face of the voice who brought the light of hot jazz into the darkest places of the Cold War around the world again.

Andrew Porter explains the fannish connection:

Before Willis Conover was the voice of American jazz to the world behind the Iron Curtain, he was a science fiction fan and reader. Although he left the field for wider seas, he came back to SF in the 1970s, reviving his earlier fanzine Science-Fantasy Correspondent in 1975, and resumed attending science fiction conventions. He should be honored for his work with the VoA. Like Rog Ebert, who honed his writing skills in the fanzines he wrote for before he started college and eventually became a film reviewer, Conover’s heart belonged to science fiction and fantasy first.

 

And Bill Burns said,

When I worked at BBC Overseas Services (1968-71) we relayed the VoA signal, picked up on shortwave at Caversham, sent by landline to Bush  House in London, then to the BBC’s shortwave transmitters.  Music programmes such as Jazz Hour didn’t really sound very good after this  treatment, so the VoA would ship us tapes of each show which we would  insert into the outgoing stream instead of the received signal. I didn’t know it when I was at the BBC, but I saw Conover a few years  later at a Philcon and discovered that he had published a fanzine in the 1930s and was a correspondent of HP Lovecraft.

Jim Freund, whose program “Hour of the Wolf” is heard on WBAI-FM, met some of these folks through Conover.

I worked with Mr. Conover quite a few times in the early 70s. I was introduced to him by Hans Stefan Santesson, who was a frequent guest on ‘Hour of the Wolf.’ Mr. Conover would give me a call at the station and ask if I’d be free and could book a studio for a given time, and would then show up with surviving members of the Lovecraft Circle. I clearly recall his bringing along Manly Wade Wellman, and most dramatically, Sonia Greene, who was married to Lovecraft (if not living with him most of their years.) This was not long before her death in 1971.

In my wisdom, I tried to make Mr. Conover take the lead in these interviews — he was a true radio professional with a fabulous voice, and knew far more about American and early horror than I ever could. I got the impression he didn’t want to make too much of a public thing of his name on WBAI — I think the political views of the VoA and Pacifica Radio were not very compatible. So I took the lead, but usually with a briefing by him and/or Hans beforehand.

He gave me a recorded reading he’d made of ‘The Willows’ by Algernon Blackwood, recorded for an airline for passengers to listen to in-flight.  We were never sure of the rights to broadcast this, but we did so anyhow. (Safe in those days — especially at 5:00 AM.)

Nice man.

(2) If you’re not the kind of collector who insists on pristine copies of your trading cards, you might end up with a very entertaining autograph someday —

If you ever plan to approach Mark Hamill for an autograph, make sure you have a Star Wars baseball card handy. As it turns out, the man otherwise known as Luke Skywalker has made an artform out of prefacing his John Hancock with hilarious captions on vintage collectible cards.

hamill autograph

(3) Patrick May has done another set of calculations in “E Pluribus Hugo vs Slates” using historic vote data from the 1984 Hugos to show the impact of the proposed rules change.

E Pluribus Hugo vs Slates

With the EPH algorithm, the results in the Novel category in 1984 would have been:

  • Startide Rising: 105 ¼ points, 136 ballots
  • The Robots of Dawn: 52 ¾ points, 75 ballots
  • Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern: 41 ¾ points, 54 ballots
  • Tea with the Black Dragon: 40 1/6 points, 55 ballots
  • Millennium: 33 5/6 points, 52 ballots

This is the same result as under the existing rules.

With 43 slate ballots (10% of the number cast) added, the result would have been identical to the actual 1984 result.

With 85 slate ballots (20% of the number cast) added, one slate work would make the list, bumping off “Millennium”. This is quite different from the current rules where only “Startide Rising” would remain out of non-slate works.

With 128 slate ballots (30% of the number cast) added, two slate works would make the list, bumping off “Millennium” and “Tea with the Black Dragon”. Again this is quite different from the current rules where the only non-slate work remaining would be “Startide Rising”.

Even with 170 slate ballots (40% of the number cast) added, both “Startide Rising” and “The Robots of Dawn” would remain on the nomination list under the EPH rules. Under the current rules, slate works would sweep the category.

(4) NASA Totally Found an Alien Crab on Mars and Didn’t Tell Anybody – debunker Robbie Gonzalez has the story and close-up photos at io9!

UFO Sightings Daily reports it also spotted in this photo “another animal close to this crab, as well as a broken stone building.”

(5)The Daily Dot asked seven scholars what might happen when superintelligence bumps into religion. There are also questions like whether AI counts as being alive —

The singularity is a hypothesized time in the future, approximately 2045, when the capabilities of non-living electronic machines will supersede human capabilities. Undismissable contemporary thinkers like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Ray Kurzweil warn us that it will change everything. Hawking likens it to receiving a message from aliens announcing their arrival in “a few decades,” saying this is “more or less” what’s happening with artificial intelligence software….

How “alive” would a superintelligence be?

Mike McHargue, host of the Ask Science Mike podcast: We think nothing of wiping out bacteria by the millions when we wash our hands, and most people don’t hesitate to slap the fly buzzing around their heads. But dogs? Dolphins? Apes? We see some reflection of awareness in their eyes, and mark them as greater peers among life. What’s fascinating about machine intelligence is we are presented with some level of consciousness that is not associated with biological life. We’ve already built robots with similar intelligence and conscious awareness as an earthworm, and we’ve modeled neural network as complex as insects and possibly reptiles.

As computer technology advances, there’s a real possibility of something that is highly intelligent but not “alive” in any traditional sense.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Mark, Patrick May and John King Tarpinian for some of the stories. Title credit to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R .]

Ayes Wide Mutt 7/3

aka The Doxxer Rebellion

In today’s roundup: Malcolm ‘f.’ Cross, Tom Knighton, Dorothy Grant, Adam-Troy Castro, David Gerrold, Mike Resnick, Lawrence Person, John C. Wright, Nicholas Whyte, and Patrick May. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and Kurt (not Kent) Busiek.)

Foozzzball (Malcolm ‘f.’ Cross)  on Weasyl

“My ounce of bile: Yarn is cowardly” – July 3

….Here’s the thing. These guys (and a very, very few women) are all screaming, defensively, that they’re writing good old fashioned YARNS. Entertaining STORIES. Books with rocket ships on the covers instead of that inconvenient new-fangled social commentary. And they point at luminaries like Heinlein, and Asimov, and all those golden age authors.

Heinlein who was talking about contemperaneous issues like the cold war, the morality of total warfare, free love, the impact of new and changing technology and the need for retaining simple skills (such as the much loved slide rule), and was a man who spoke very much to the issues of his time. Asimov who attacked major issues of his lifetime like eugenics and social engineering through his work (what, you think Foundation’s psychohistory has nothing to say about the pursuit of social purity?), wrapping up issues of perception and belief and creation in rip-roaring stories.

These men were not writing yarns. They were products of their time, attacking the issues of their time. That they did so skilfully, entertainingly, and thought-provokingly is testament to their genius. They were not saints, their opinions are not sacrosanct, they, like any other person, held opinions agreeable and disagreeable.

You know who else wasn’t just spinning yarns? Orson Scott Card. Ender’s Game is fundamentally about the boundary between being a soldier and a human being. It’s implicitly about genocide, about hands on the big red button, about the ignorance required to perform such a terrible action and remain innocent. It was originally a short story written in 1977, in the middle of the cold war, and rewritten as a novel by 1985, just as the cold war got terrifying all over again. Attacking the issues of his day, OSC put together a masterpiece. And then, quite honestly, he started looking at his personal bugbears instead of the wider world, and never did anything so good again in his life. That’s when he started writing yarns.

Fiction isn’t about entertainment. It never has been. From the earliest stories we’ve told ourselves, the myths that grew into religions, Aesop’s fables, the fairy-tales you were told as a child, they’ve all been about communication. Discussion. Opening a dialogue. They are vehicles for exploring, and thinking about, the world. This is all fiction, not just science fiction…..

 

Tom Knighton on According To Hoyt

“On Villainy” – July 3

…Right now, the most popular villain is the turdnugget who decided to walk into a church in Charleston, SC and kill people for nothing more than the color of their skin. This is something that the vast majority of us are unable to comprehend. I mean, skin tone is as arbitrary a dividing line as hair color or eye color, so why kill people for just that factor?

We can’t grasp it, yet it happened. I refuse to actually write the turdnugget’s name anywhere, because I don’t want to give him any more press. He already got his fame, which I suspect was a factor in his attack, but I refuse to add to it. It’s a small effort to keep people from mimicking his efforts.

All too often, people think of “villains” as those who oppose them on whatever issue they hold dear. Monsanto is the villain to people like “Food Babe”. The NRA is the villain to the gun control crowd. The Sad Puppies are the villains to the Puppy Kickers. The flip side is also generally true as well.

The thing is, most of us have never truly experienced real “villainy”. We’ve never witnessed the pits of dead Albanians following the break-up of Yugoslavia. We never witnessed the Rwandan tribal slaughter. Many of us have never met a Jewish concentration camp survivor. To us, that level of villainy just doesn’t exist except as an abstract…..

And yet, there are those who are ready to ascribe such motives to us. They’re ready to link this turdnugget to us, despite the fact that most of us not only decry his actions, but we actually supported several authors who don’t fit the “white, Mormon male” narrative (to say nothing of the fact that authors were nominated that we may disagree with politically).

Look, I’m going to make this clear. Bigotry is stupid. Racism is beyond stupid. All we have ever wanted is people and works to be judged based on quality, both the quality of the person and the quality of the work. Anyone who opposes a work because the author is black, or a woman, or gay, or a socialist is a moron. Anyone who dislikes a work because the author is white, or male, or straight, or a conservative/libertarian is just as much of a moron.

There are real villains in this world. How about some of the people screaming the most about villains try something different and start looking at real villains for a change.

 

Dorothy Grant in a comment on Tom Knighton’s post “On Villainy” at According To Hoyt – July 3

I suspect that people who have very little life experience and not much in the way of bedrock principles shrink their scale of villainy to fit their experience.

The best example of this is the root of the Tor boycott; Irene Gallo was upset at people voting for the Hugos in ways that did not benefit her logrolling clique, and she started calling her customers and her own authors neo-nazis and the books she had even worked on “bad to reprehensible.” In her pampered, privileged world, someone not giving a plastic statue to the clique that was certain they deserved it is the worst villainy possible.

Then there’s my husband, who has traded fire with real, actual neo-nazis and dealt with their carbombs and terror tactics. He was working on ending apartheid and giving every human being in South Africa the vote and the recognition of their human dignity. The worst villainy possible that he’s seen… let us pray fervently to all our spirits and deities that we never see its like again.

 

 

John C. Wright in a comment on File 770 – July 3

“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.”

What a vile and cowardly ort of feces this is. I see the method here is merely to make so many false and outrageous accusations that no one can possibly refute them.

Since I am an open philosemite, active supporter of the State of Israel, an unapologetic Zionist, and married the daughter of a Jew, and since I immediately ban any holocaust deniers who dare to show their subhuman snouts on my blog, the accusation that I am an antisemite is beyond libel, beyond madness.

Why not simply accuse me of being a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater while you are at it?

The Christ-haters hate Christ because they are Social Justice Warriors, which is a religion that is jealous, and excludes the practice of Christian and Jewish faith alike.

It was the God of Abraham, the God worshiped by all practicing Jews, who destroyed the city of Sodom and outlawed the practices which made that name a curse. I am being reviled precisely because I love and fear the God of Moses.

I am against the SJWs precisely for the same reason I am for the Jews. I hate bullies and cowards, and I hate liars, and I hate antisemitism with an unquenchable burning hatred, and I love the people that God loves.

Mr Glyer, for a while, you had won my respect, as you seemed to be an honest fellow, trying to maintain some sense of fairplay. I called your blog a wretched hive of scum and villainy as a joke, which you took up.

But this is beyond the pale, that you should print such things of me, or aid and condone these libels. I trust you will reprint these remarks of mine in a prominent place.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – July 3

…I am aware that I’ve been cited in Larry Correia’s environs, though as far as I know not specifically by Larry Correia (I am careful to make that distinction), as the “stupidest man in science fiction.” Some of my friend Brad Torgersen’s pals have come here to spew rage at me and calling me a false friend for daring to tell Brad that on this subject, at least, he has his head so far up his own ass that he can’t see daylight. I had an illiterate crazy guy come here to slam me for my liberalism, and when the height of his wit was that I should put on my big boy pants, I pretty much plowed him under with a demonstration of how ploughboys should not draw on shootists. And then there’s Tom Monaghan, who has yet to discover the comma, but who has showed up at least one convention panel just to hop up and down in his audience seat and yell at me.

These are glimpses. It is possible that I have not been under any further discussion at all, by these people, because I am that much beneath their notice, and that would make me tremendously happy; it is also possible that there are extended exchanges about what a low-life idiotic liberal prick I am, and this I cannot care much about either, because aside from these manifestations I have not seen it…..

I don’t know. There may be entire threads out there, closed to me, about what a piece of shit I am.

This does not particularly please me. Making enemies can be fun, but having enemies is not.

So why do I persist in doing stuff like pointing out that a guy who uses the phrase “Christ-Hating Crusaders for Sodom” when talking about a Jew, and counts among his allies a lunatic who cheers on spree killers, has little basis for high moral dudgeon at the suggestion that the movement of which he’s a part extends to the realm of neo-Nazidom? Why would I put myself in the cross-hairs of those among his fans who are exactly as crazy in potential as he is in rhetoric?

Simply put: because the one discussion thread I cannot escape is between my ears, and the one troll I cannot block is my conscience…..

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – July 3

Because silence equals death.

I don’t know Brad or Larry or most of the others who have spoken up on the puppy side of the kerfuffle. I only know them by what they post online.

They may be good people. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I disagree with them. I disagree with their perception of SF. I disagree with their interpretations. But I would never use that disagreement as a justification for behaving unethically.

I don’t speak for anyone else, but I think I know why so many others of merit in the field — George R.R. Martin, Eric Flint, Connie Willis, John Scalzi, Adam-Troy Castro, Mary Robinette Kowal, and many others — have spoken up. It’s why I have spoken up.

For those who missed it the first time, and who think I’m a terrible person — well, yes I might be, but I’ll say it again. I would have cheered a recommended reading list. I would have discovered books I might otherwise have missed.

But the slate-mongering was wrong. It wasn’t about the quality of the work. It wasn’t about excellence. It was about a political agenda. And the justifications that have been offered — “we’re creating diversity and inclusiveness” — are disingenuous. (That’s the polite word for pants-on-fire lying.) You don’t create diversity and inclusiveness by denying other people a fair opportunity.

And when I have asked for some discussion, for some explanation why the authors of the slates felt their nominated stories represented “best of the year,” how do these stories represent excellence in the genre, no one has stepped up to the microphone to answer that question, except the usual crickets to indicate an embarrassing silence. When we read the comments by those who are sludging their way through their Hugo packets, we do not find the joyous exhilaration of excellence. We see reactions that range from skeptical to hostile, confirming the perception that the slates were motivated by political bias.

So, yes, I have spoken my opposition to the slates. I have spoken my opposition to the name-calling (regardless of which side it’s coming from), and I have spoken my opposition to the political polarization of this community. I would call it a disastrous miscalculation — except that I wonder if perhaps this polarization is exactly what a couple of the people behind this mess intended from the beginning.

If you want to talk about what makes for a great science fiction story, I’m interested. I’m there. If it’s a conversation I can learn from, I want to be a part of it. If it pushes me in the direction of being a better writer, sign me up.

But all this other stuff — slates and name-calling, boycotts and shit-stirring? I’d say “include me out” except as I said above, silence equals death. ….

 

Mike Resnick in Galaxy’s Edge Magazine

“The End of the Worldcon As We Know It” – July 3

….Ah, but this year will be different, I hear you say. This year we’ll be voting No Award in a bunch of categories, and history will thank us.

Well, it just so happens that No Award has triumphed before. In fact, it has won Best Dramatic Presentation three different times. (Bet you didn’t know that Rod Serling’s classic “Twilight Zone” series lost to No Award, did you?)

But the most interesting and humiliating No Award came in 1959. The category was Best New Writer, and one of the losers was future Worldcon Guest of Honor and Nebula Grand Master Brian Aldiss, who actually won a Hugo in 1962, just three years later. That No Award was so embarrassing that they discontinued the category until they could find a sponsor eight years later, which is how the Campbell Award, sponsored by Analog, came into being.

Please note that I’ve limited myself to Worldcons. I haven’t mentioned the X Document or the Lem Affair or any of the other notable wars you can find in various pro and fannish histories (or probably even by just googling them). This editorial is only concerned with The End of Worldcon As We Know It.

And hopefully by now the answer should be apparent. You want to End Worldcon As We Know It? Don’t feud. Don’t boycott. Don’t be unpleasant. Don’t be unreasonable. Don’t raise your voices in mindless anger.

Do all that and none of us will recognize the Worldcon that emerges.

 

Nicholas Whyte on From the Heart of Europe

“2015 Hugo fiction: How bloggers are voting” – July 3

For three of the last four years, I carried out a survey of how bloggers were planning to vote in the Hugos. Last year this proved a fairly effective methodology, calling Best Novel and Best Short Story correctly and pinging the actual winners as front-runners for Best Novella and Best Novelette. In 2013 two winners were clear and two were missed (including Best Novel). In 2011, however, my survey failed to pick a single winner of the four fiction categories. So this should be taken as a straw poll, necessarily incomplete and this year earlier than usual. There is certain to be a selection bias in that people who feel more strongly are more likely to blog about it; so we have no insight into the preferences of less articulate or invested voters.

Having said that, the results are interesting. In particular, No Award appears to be leading in all the short fiction categories (though not necessarily decisively in every case), and there is no clear single front-runner for Best Novel….

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Awards Novel Category” – July 3

[Comments on all five nominees.]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Skin Game
  2. The Goblin Emperor
  3. Ancillary Sword
  4. The Three Body Problem
  5. The Dark Between the Stars

I would really like to give “Skin Game” spots 1-3 and “The Goblin Emperor” and “Ancillary Sword” spots 4 and 5 to demonstrate my real preferences. The other two novels aren’t what I consider Hugo quality, but I’m leaving them above No Award because they’re no worse than some recent winners like “Redshirts”. (I’m not hating on Scalzi. I think all of the “Old Man’s War” series is Hugo worthy. But “Redshirts”? I’ve read better fanfic.)

If Kloos hadn’t declined his nomination, I would have ranked “Lines of Departure” just after “Ancillary Sword”.

The Snifferance Engine 6/23

aka Altered Slates

Today’s roundup comes courtesy of Adam-Troy Castro, Matt Forney, Vox Day, A. G. Carpenter, Nicholas Whyte, Brandon Kempner, Eric Flint, Melina D, Patrick May, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, and Lis Carey. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and  Glenn Hauman.)

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 23

Evidence, to me, that this is an aesthetic issue and not just a political one. (Though of course it’s that as well).

Brad Torgersen pronouncing what kinds of stories he sees as worthy.

“Downbeat endings suck. They are ‘literary’ and some critics and aesthetes love them. But they suck. If you’re going to roast your characters in hell, at least give them a little silver lining at the end? Some kind of hope for a more positive outcome? Your readers will thank you.”

I…can’t even begin.

I love a happy ending as much as the next guy. But not all stories need to be geared to the “rah-rah us.” And if I started naming great works in and out of science fiction where “readers thanked” the author for going black, I’d be here all day. I do this without being a critic or aesthete. I loved the despairing endings of Jack Williamson’s “With Folded Hands,” of Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Nine Billion Names of God,” of John W. Campbell’s “Night,” of Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream,” of any number of TWILIGHT ZONEs and of George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, before I was ten — all before I discovered film noir or got into horror or watched Von Stroheim’s GREED or even knew that stories could be *about* the things in life that aren’t fair. Downbeat endings do *not* suck. Who would dare to say that the ending of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE sucked? Or that the ending of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME sucked? Or that the ending of DOUBLE INDEMNITY sucked? Or that the ending of MILDRED PIERCE — the novel, not the much-altered Joan Crawford movie — sucked?

Downbeat endings don’t suck. Pointless endings suck. There’s a difference.

Just speaking as a writer, alone: Gad, am I happy I am not shackled to that criterion. I go downbeat about half the time, because different stories go different places, and I have gone dark with some of my most popular work. HER HUSBAND’S HANDS AND OTHER STORIES is not exactly a collection of uppers.

***

IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: Brad has communicated with me about this post, and wants to make clear that in context he was speaking, specifically, of space opera, and no other genre or subgenre. I think he’s likely wrong even when talking about that limited context — I can think of a number of cases where intrepid space heroes came to grief, and have indeed written a book of them — but you know what? In the context of that clarification it is not exactly fair to paint him as being unaware of the depth and breadth of the use of the downbeat ending in literature. I want this known and recognized.

 

Matt Forney on Return of Kings

 “Backlash Against The Boycott Of Sci-Fi Publisher Tor Books Shows The Hypocrisy of SJWs” – June 23

In the past couple of decades, publishing in general—and sci-fi and fantasy publishing especially—has become increasingly dominated by leftists, who have jettisoned the genres’ focus on adventure and exploration in favor of heavy-handed social justice narratives blaming cishetwhitemales for all the world’s ills.

Any writer who dissented from the SJW line was effectively blacklisted from Tor and other major publishing houses, as well as denied nominations in the industry’s prestigious Hugo and Nebula Awards.

As you would expect, sales of newer sci-fi and fantasy books have flatlined as SJWs such as Nielsen Hayden and N.K. Jemisin have become dominant voices. As it turns out, nobody wants to read “socially aware” dreck like If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love and other works that cast straight white men as the devil incarnate.

Sales figures show this: of the top ten best-selling sci-fi books in 2012, all but two of them were either Star Wars/Halo tie-ins or published decades ago. The number one best-selling book was Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, published in 1985.

Last April, SJWs threw conniption fits when the Sad and Rabid Puppies, two campaigns spearheaded by sci-fi authors Larry Correia and Vox Day, respectively, successfully nominated several non-SJW works for this year’s Hugo Awards. Beyond showing how petty SJWs are, the Sad and Rabid Puppies’ campaign showed that SJWs are a vocal-but-tiny minority, since it only took a handful of votes to swing the nomination results.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Let reason be silent” – June 23

When experience gainsays its conclusions. Ed Trimnell argues against fighting fire with fire:….

How did Brandon Eich fail to out-argue his opponents? How did the Nobel Laureates Tim Hunt and James Watson fail to make their cases? The fact is that one cannot out-argue anyone in debates that do not take place, debates that Mr. Trimnell knows very well, from personal experience, will never take place. He can attempt to out-argue me because I am willing to engage with him, debate him, and discuss our differences in a civil manner rather than pointing, shrieking, and summoning an Internet mob to shout him down, disqualify, and disemploy him. He simply cannot do the same with the people at TOR Books, among others. He knows that.

Furthermore, Mr. Trimnell is ignoring the wise advice of Aristotle. He is appealing to dialectic in a rhetorical battle where the greater part of those on the other side are not even capable of understanding that dialectic. That is why following his advice is a surefire way to ensure defeat.

I am offering a proven way to win, one that is both historically and logically sound. Mr. Trimnell is offering nothing but certain defeat because feels. He doesn’t like not feeling morally superior to the other side, so much so that he would rather lose than give up that feeling of superiority in order to meet the enemy head-on. I dislike boycotts too, much as General Ferguson disliked poison gas. But I dislike being methodically mobbed, disqualified, and disemployed even more, I dislike being falsely accused and blatantly lied about even more, so I am utilizing certain SJW tactics even more efficiently and more effectively than the SJWs can. Everyone else of influence on the Right should be doing the same.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 23

Vox Day’s contribution is to the daily File 770 roundup what FAMILY CIRCUS is to the Sunday comics section — a guaranteed bummer often marked by the requirement that you follow the most torturously convoluted of dotted lines.

 

A.G. Carpenter

“Silence is Support” – June 23

….But, Torgersen and Correia maintain that they themselves are not racist, sexist, or homophobic. They just, don’t say anything about Beale’s ongoing rants. Maybe they laugh at his jokes or hit like on the comment window. They can argue all they want that they are not be bigots themselves, but their actions say otherwise.

Correia reached out to Beale last year. This year he reached out to GamerGate (with admittedly uncertain results when it comes to the ballot stuffing) – a group known for its sexist attitudes towards women and a radical and violent fringe. And Torgersen got in deeper with Beale by coordinating their slates under the Sad and Rabid Puppies flags. This isn’t just silent support.

This isn’t just silence that is interpreted as support. This is a deliberate alliance with those who do not hide their racist, sexist, homophobic agendas.

But I will not be silent. And I will not support the ideologies that led a young man to murder nine men and women in a church in Charleston. i will not shrug and say “That Vox Day. He’s an asshat but what can you do? It’s just one man ranting on the internet.” I do not want the others like Dylan Roof looking at the world of SF/F and thinking “See? They agree with me.”

Because I don’t.

Because we don’t.

Because silence only leads to regression.

 

Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“E Pluribus Hugo, revisited” – June 23

I’ve spent more spare time than is healthy over the last few days musing on the proposed new system for counting Hugo nominations, designated E Pluribus Hugo (henceforth EPH) by its designers (to whom detailed observations should be directed here). I am in sympathy with its intent, which is to prevent any group – whoever that group may be – from absolutely excluding nominees from having the chance to be considered for the Hugo Award. I think that the proposal as it currently sits achieves that aim, but at a cost of making it too easy for a group which is otherwise utterly unconnected with Hugo voters to get a single work onto the ballot by “bullet votes” (ie votes for their candidate[s] and no other). I explore this problem below, using data from the 1984 Hugo nomination ballots, and propose a partial solution, which is to use square roots as divisors when weighting nomination votes.

Detail

I’m tremendously grateful to Paul Evans for providing me with the 1984 data he described here. Having spent a couple of evenings crunching figures, I now feel huge sympathy and admiration for the Hugo administrators trying to make sense of the variant titles and spelling submitted by voters. Administering what are essentially thousands of write-in ballots is not exactly straightforward, and I am not sure that I would have the patience to do so in an RL setting myself. Not surprisingly, my tallies vary a bit from Paul’s. He has taken more time over it, so his numbers are probably right.

I’ve picked three different ballot categories from 1984 to analyse mainly because they were relatively easy to process, with less name and category confusion than some of the other options would have presented.

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Modelling a Best Saga Hugo Award, Part 1” – June 22

I find it difficult to imagine an award in the abstract, so in this post and the next I’m going to model what a hypothetical Best Saga Hugo would look like for the past 4 years (2011-2014), using two different techniques to generate my model. First up, I’ll use the Locus Awards to model what the Best Saga would look like if voted on by SFF-insiders. Then, I’ll use the Goodreads Choice Awards to model what the Best Saga would look like if the Best Saga became an internet popularity contest. Looking at those two possible models should give us a better idea of how a Best Saga Hugo would actually play out. I bet an actual award would play out somewhere in the middle of the two models.

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Modelling a Best Saga Hugo Award, Part 2” – June 23

…. Methodology: The same as last time. Goodreads publishes Top 20 lists of the most popular SF and F novels; I combed through the list and chose the most popular that were part of a series. The Goodreads lists actually publishes vote totals, so I used those to determine overall popularity. Here’s the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards; note that these would be the books elgible for the 2014 Hugo. The Goodreads categories are a little wonky at times. Keep that in mind. They also separated out Paranormal Fantasy until 2014, so no Dresden Files or Sookie Sackhouse in the model…..

This model looks less encouraging than the Locus Awards model. I think this is what many Hugo voters are afraid of: legacy series like Ender’s Game, Sword of Truth, or even Wheel of Time, showing up long after their critical peak has worn off (if Goodkind ever had a critical peak). Series can maintain their popularity and sales long after their innovation has vanished; readers love those worlds so much that they’ll return no matter how tired and predictable the books are. A 10 or 15 year series also has 10 or 15 years to pick up fans, and it might be harder for newer series by less-established authors to compete.

Still, even the Goodreads awards were not swamped by dead-man walking series, and the Hugo audience would probably trim some of these inappropriate works in their voting. It would be interesting to see someone like King win a Hugo for The Dark Tower; that’s certainly a very different feel than the current Hugos have.

 

Eric Flint

“A DISCUSSION WITH JOHN SCALZI ABOUT THE PROPOSED ‘SAGA’ AWARD” – June 23

….But my biggest difference with John’s approach has to do with something very general—about as general as it gets, in fact.

What are the goals of literary awards in the first place? And what’s the best way to achieve those goals?

There are two ways to look at this. The first is the way John is looking at it, which runs throughout his entire argument, not just in the two paragraphs I quoted above. For John, awards should not only be a recognition for excellence, they should be designed to encourage the development of new talent by being concentrated in those areas where new talent is most likely to emerge.

Hence, he champions short fiction awards. Please note that John is not disagreeing with a point I made in my first essay and have repeated many times since—to wit, that short fiction represents only a very small slice of F&SF whether you measure that either in terms of readers or (especially) the income of authors. He simply feels that’s not very relevant because what he sees as most important is the following:

It [a “Best Saga” award] privileges the established writer over the newer writer. Almost by definition, the authors who are eligible for the “Best Saga” award are very likely be writers who are already successful enough to have a long-running series and the ability to publish in those series on a recurring basis. It’s theoretically possible to have someone toiling away on a series in utter obscurity and suddenly emerge with a knockout installment that would pop that writer up into “Best Saga” consideration, but as a practical matter, it’s almost certainly more likely than not that the nominees in the category would be those authors with perennially popular series — people, to be blunt, like me and a relatively few other folks, who are already more likely to have won the “genre success” lottery than others.

I don’t disagree with the point John makes when he says that “the authors who are eligible for the ‘Best Saga’ award are very likely to be writers who are already successful enough to have a long-running series and the ability to publish in those series on a recurring basis.”

He’s absolutely right about that. But where he sees that as a problem, I see it as an essential feature of any award structure that’s designed to attract the attention of its (supposed) audience. In fact, it was exactly the way the Hugo awards looked in their heyday in the 1960s and 1970s…..

At the moment, and for some time now, the “pendulum” of the Hugo awards has swung too far away from the mass audience. Where I differ from John is that I don’t see any way to reverse the increasing irrelevance of the Hugo awards to most F&SF readers unless the Hugos adopt one or another version of an award for series (i.e., the “Saga” award that’s being proposed). When most popular authors are working exclusively or almost exclusively in series and most of the awards are given for short fiction you will inevitably have a situation where the major awards in F&SF become irrelevant to most of the reading audience. Which, in turn, means that winning an award becomes less and less valuable in any terms beyond personal satisfaction.

If the idea of modifying an award structure to better match the interests of the mass audience really bothers you, grit your teeth and call it Danegeld. But it works.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Recommendations: Best Related Work” – June 23

This is how I am voting in the Best Related Work category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 383 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF”
  2. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth
  3. “Why Science is Never Settled”
  4. Letters from Gardner
  5. Wisdom from My Internet

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015: Thoughts on Editing” – June 23

I’m not going to talk about individual nominees here, but I did want to talk about the editing awards, particularly short form editing. I’ve heard people talking about these award before and how you can’t really judge editing unless you are either the author or the editor (or someone who works with them) – usually implying that ‘regular fans’ shouldn’t be voting for these awards.

I have to disagree. When we look at the nominees for the short form editing, we’re essentially looking at editors who have put together anthologies or collections (or in one case a magazine, similar to the anthologies/collections, but with more of them over the course of a year). And I strongly believe that you can see good editing when it comes to these forms – as well as bad editing.

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Best Fan Writer” – June 23

I’m not actually going to talk about the nominees individually. There’s a few reasons for this. Firstly, I think some of the nominees thrive on notoriety and get a buzz from someone talking about them. It feeds into their over-inflated sense of self-importance and I don’t feel like adding to that. Secondly, I don’t think any of the provided submissions were at an award level – in content or writing, so there’s no benefit in discussing them individually. Finally, the tone of a few of the pieces left me concerned that I would become a target for abusive behaviour if I was publicly critical of the authors. There’s probably a very slim chance of it, but events of the last couple of years has shown me that it does happen, and I’d prefer not to deal with that at the moment. So, my discussion here is going to be a more general look at what was submitted and what made me so ranty about it.

One thing that really struck me while I was reading, was that many of the pieces had little to do with speculative fiction or media or the community as fans. When we’re celebrating fan writers, I’m looking for people who are passionately engaged as fans. I want to know about the books and stories and media they love and why they love it. I want to know about the spec fic they find find problematic and why. I want to know why media inspires them and why. I want to know what kind of fan community they aspire to belong to and why.

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Awards Graphic Story Category” – June 23

[Reviews all nominees in category.]

The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate

This is the only nominee not included in the Hugo packet. I asked the author on his website and on Twitter if there is an excerpt available, but got no response. Since it’s a webcomic I read a few months worth online to get a feel for the work.

This is less a graphic story than a series of loosely connected gags. Some are amusing, most are not. The artwork is decent, but neither it nor the writing make it a Hugo contender.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant” – June 23

Lightspeed Magazine is a 2015 Best Semiprozine Hugo nominee.

Lightspeed publishes a wide range of science fiction and fantasy fiction, as well as interviews, Q&As with their authors, and fiction podcasts. What I did not find is an archive allowing me to look at their 2014 issues, the relevant issues for this year’s Hugos. The only thing I’ve been able to read that they published in 2014 is “The Day The World Turned Upside Down,” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt. I’ve already expressed my opinion on that one, and you can read it, if you wish, by clicking the link.

It’s very well presented visually, but with the Heuvelt story being the only thing from 2014 that’s available to read, I’m not prepared to rate it very high.

 

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

“Hugo Reading – Short Stories” – June 23

[Reviews all five nominees.]

The best story of the five by a few lengths was definitely “Totaled”, although it wasn’t perfect, nor even the best I’ve read from 2014. It was just very good. In descending order of quality I would rank “A Single Samurai”, “On A Spiritual Plain”, “Turncoat”… and then “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” a distant last. Four of the five have something to recommend them, but only one was good enough to even be considered for an award.

 

 

 

The Castalia of Fu Manchihuahua 6/11

aka At The Mountains Of Muttness

Galloping through today’s roundup are Adam Troy-Castero, Steven Saus, Jim C. Hines, Moshe Feder, Vox Day, Larry Correia, Greg Machlin, J. C. Carlton, Tom Knighton, K. Tempest Bradford, Brenna Clarke Gray, Saumya Arya Haas, Simon Bucher-Jones, Lela E. Buis, Sean Struck, Heather Allen and Tqwana Brown, Lou Antonelli, Eric Flint, Lis Carey, Ferrett Steinmetz, Martin Wisse, Peter Grant, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, James Schardt, Patrick May, Charlotte Ashley, and Kate Paulk. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Anthony and SocialInjusticeWorrier.)

Adam-Troy Castro

“The Art Of The Apology Is Broken Beyond Repair” – June 11

[Numbers 5 and 6 of 11.]

The I-Can-Demand-An-Apology-But-Will-Never-Give-One-And-Never-Accept-One Dynamic: This is a related phenomenon to the previous, in which the offended party cannot and will not accept any responsibility for a mutual dispute, saying, “I would be more than happy to apologize if I was wrong,” which somehow never ever happens. In such relationships, the offended party can last years without ever being once in error. Imagine that. The current controversy in the SF community is led by an individual who has actually come out and told his followers, in as many words, that they should never apologize at any point no matter how excessive their behavior might have been, because that’s surrender. He has also simultaneously demanded apology for one offense or another an almost daily basis. Here, apology is used primarily as a tool to back the other party further and further away from his previous position, gaining ground but never at any point acknowledging any point on which ground might be given. Apology is here a strategy, and it’s all about getting the other guy to issue one. One manifestation of this is insisting that everybody on the other side apologize for and disavow every regrettable thing ever said by any ally, no matter how tangential, while simultaneously saying, “I’m not responsible for everything everybody on my side does!” Apology is here a military strategy, not an attempt at understanding.

The I-Can-Demand-An-Apology-While-Indulging-In-Equivalent-Behavior-Apology: Otherwise known as the Torgersen, this is best summarized as “X needs to apologize for tarring everybody on my side with the same brush, which is the way those SJWs and CHORFS always behave.” This manifests without any self-awareness or sense of irony. Again, this is about gaining ground, not achieving understanding.

 

Steven Saus on ideatrash

“On His Flaming Phallus Substitute (or ‘Why Does It Burn When Vox Posts?’) and The Whole Tor Thing” – June 11

Vox (or Theodore Beale) revealed that he had held on to the screencap in question for weeks for maximum effect.  To quote what he told File770 (source):

I’ve held onto this since I had the screencap, which as you correctly note was made several weeks ago. As for the “sinister plotting”, I have long been in the habit of never using all of my ammunition at once, or pointing-and-shrieking for its own sake. I am a patient man and I didn’t strike back at TNH, PNH, or even John Scalzi right away either.

So here’s the thing. I think Beale got a case of the supervillain soliloquy when he made that comment on File770 – because it tips his hand.  It clearly shows that this isn’t real outrage.  He’s not really upset about what was said. Vox’s actions are a deliberate, orchestrated, premeditated attack on a person and group that he has a beef with.  This isn’t about beliefs or values.  It isn’t about anything in fiction. This looks like nothing more than sociopathic pique, spite, and bile.

 

Jim C. Hines

“The Tor Mess” – June 10

Today: The apology thread at Tor.com has almost 500 comments. People on all sides are expressing anger at Tor and Tom Doherty, and some folks are still talking about a boycott…

…which would seem to be exactly what Beale wanted when he posted that screenshot and released the rabid hounds.

I mean, come on. You don’t think the man who routinely calls John Scalzi a rapist gives a damn about “libel,” do you? Gallo’s comment was a weapon he could use to try to damage Tor Books. And right now, in the heat of anger and argument, it looks like he succeeded.

Realistically though, I can’t imagine this boycott will be any more successful than his last effort. And most of the internet will probably have moved on by the end of the week.

 

Moshe Feder on Facebook  – June 10

As far as I can tell, Irene didn’t start her personal blog page intending to malign any Puppies, either Sad or Rabid. Rather, she responded in a spontaneous, unpremeditated way to a request for an explanation about the Hugo controversy, in the process accurately describing Theodore Beale as a neo-Nazi. Since her answer to the query was so brief, the Sad Puppies were mentioned in close proximity to that description, which understandably left them very uncomfortable. (Eric Flint‘s analysis concluding that this was all a deliberate subtle ploy on Irene’s part to use guilt by association against them gives her too much credit. Like many visual artists, she is a spontaneous writer and not a calculating one.)

Irene has never been known for her diplomacy — I say that as someone who’s knocked heads with her more than once on work-related matters — but I think the reaction to her off-the-cuff statement is more extreme and over-the-top than the statement itself. After all, in the end, it was just one person’s opinion, readily ignorable by those who differ with it. (In fact, it actually _was_ ignored for weeks, until someone decided to weaponize it.) It’s _trivial_ compared to Brad and Larry’s premeditated, organized effort to violate a social compact of 60 years standing. If you want to express outrage, that’s where it should properly be applied.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Moshe Feder doubles down… twice” – June 11

The Associate Editor of Tor Books doubled-down on Facebook:

I’ll be happy to say right now, here on my _personal_ FB page, speaking for myself and not Tor, that I agree with Irene that Vox Day can be fairly described as a neo-Nazi. – Moshe Feder, Associate Editor, Tor Books

It’s a very strange to accuse a self-declared Zionist who edits and publishes Israeli authors of being a neo-Nazi, but then, these are the same people who insist that Brad Torgersen is racist despite his marriage to a black woman…..

In light of these additional provocations by a Tor Books employee, I sent an email to Tom Doherty, Publisher at Tor Books, requesting that he deal directly with the public misbehavior of his Associate Publisher and his Associate Editor. I trust that he will address the situation in a professional and decisive manner. It should be obvious, at this point, that I am far from the only individual being attacked by his employees and that the unpleasantries are not going to end until those employees are held fully accountable for their ludicrously unprofessional actions.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Yes, but…” – June 11

A File 770 SJW frets that we won’t be satisfied with Gallo’s resignation: ….

Well, that all depends on how many SJWs Mr. Doherty and/or Macmillan have the good sense to stop inflicting on science fiction. But (and this is the relevant point), thousands of current customers attacked by Ms Gallo won’t stop buying their books. If Gallo was a fry cook or a sales clerk, she’d be gone already. You don’t show that kind of disrespect and hatred for your customers and keep your job. You simply don’t. I am under no illusion that anyone at Tor or Macmillan like me or wish to do me any favors. But I do assume that they are capable of doing basic math and grasping the lesson of Fox News. Of course, if they instead decide that they want to play the role of CNN and sell only to the left one-third of the population, well, that is certainly their prerogative.

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“The latest Sad Puppies related stuff” – June 11

You might have noticed that I’ve not posted much about this topic lately. My original points, that there is political bias in the system, which would result in slander and sabotage, has been pretty well proven. I don’t have much else to add.

Recently a Tor editor said something false and asinine. This is kind of a tradition, but for a bunch of fans this was the final straw. People got really mad (it turns out regular fans don’t like being called neo-nazis) and this time the comments came to the attention of Tor management.

I’ve personally stayed out of this one. I’m used to being lied about by these people. However, it turns out regular fans aren’t. Go figure.

As far as I’m concerned, this is between Tor and its customers. A bunch of folks have come out to condemn Tom Doherty as a misogynist for trying to protect his company, and more #standwithGallo to double down on her comments about how everybody who disagrees with them politically is a racist, sexist, homophobe. That’s awesome. You guys do far more to prove my original contention than anything I could have ever done on my own.

 

J. C. Carlton

“Is It Smart To Piss Off Your Customers And Vendors?” – June 10

Most of the puppies had been giving Tor a break.  It was assumed that the extreme language that we had been seeing was the production of a very small group of individuals, not the entire Tor office.  The call was “not to punish Tor” for the actions of those few.  Ms. Gallo’s comment, and her actions represent  behavior far outside the normal course of business.  For that matter, so do those of the Neilson Haydon’s  and others at Tor.  The obvious intent was, from even before the nominations were announced to essentially destroy any credibility the puppies might have using the usual methods of the typical leftist power elite. Which is to cast anybody who has even a small argument against whatever the leftist agenda as “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.”

Well we have Mr. Doherty’s answer.

http://www.tor.com/2015/06/08/a-message-from-tom-doherty-to-our-readers-and-authors/#comment-526375

Apparently, using words like, “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.” as blanket statements under promotional posts for Tor’s is Ok as long as it’s not on Tor’s website.  I think that the problem at Tor isn’t that Gallo made the statements as libelous and disgusting as they were, but the fact that Tor is the kind of place where statement like that are even thought of as something you would say as part of the regular part of business.  the statement was made in response to an honest and easily answered question.  instead of doing what any of we puppies would do and point the questioner to a bunch of websites or saying google it, Gallo resorted to the worst kind destructive and hateful language. Is this what it’s like in the Tor office?  Apparently so.

 

Tom Knighton

“Where the differences lie” – June 11

From our perspective, the sin wasn’t that she [Irene Gallo] hated us.  While her choice of words was upsetting to say the least, that wouldn’t have been enough to “rally the troops”, so to speak.  The issue was that it was while she was promoting a Tor book.  The perception, for right or wrong, was that she was operating in a professional capacity within that post.

No one thinks her personal Facebook page is an extension of her professional life as a general rule.  The difference was what the post was.

Had her post simply been Puppy-bashing like Feder, both Neilsen Haydens, John Scalzi, David Gerrold, or a number of other people, nothing really would have been said.

The truth is, had it been any of those people, the apology wouldn’t have been enough for even me to call for folks to let it go.  Some critics of the Doherty statement are absolutely correct.  Those folks have said far, far more than Gallo ever did.  They owe us far more in the way of an apology than Gallo ever did.  They’ve said as much, if not worse, and said it far more often.  The simple fact is that they haven’t said it on the same posts that they used to promote books by their employer.

For me, the difference simply lies in what they were doing.

Here’s something for folks to remember about me personally.  The situation with Gallo is a historical note in Sad Puppies 3.  It’s over and done with.  But Patrick Neilsen Hayden and Moshe Feder?  No, they’re ongoing and they are the reason I’m still considering whether I really want to buy any Tor books down the road.  I’d rather not contribute to the level of hate I’ve seen come from them.

 

K. Tempest Bradford on Facebook – June 9

With the current situation, you have the big boss publicly shaming one female employee and sending a message to others that only certain behaviors are tolerated, and have you crossed the line? Watch out! (The line being: saying true things about a Tor author. The line not being: sexually harassing Tor authors, contractors, and employees.)

How the fuck are the other Tor editors supposed to feel about this? (This is not a call for said editors to tell us publicly. There’s a whole lot of reasons why they probably don’t want to do that. I don’t blame them.)

Then there’s the whole thing where Doherty just let Jim Frenkel do his thing for years and years, through multiple complaints from authors who weren’t signed with Tor, authors who were signed with Tor, independent contractors working with Tor, and Tor employees. I don’t remember a public statement about that. I don’t remember a Tor.com post shaming Frenkel. What I do remember is that we found out he was no longer employed at Tor from PNH’s Twitter account. I also remember that he wasn’t fired, he was allowed to resign.

I don’t remember Doherty apologizing to anyone for that.

 

Brenna Clarke Gray on Book Riot

“Reflecting on the Tor Letter as a Lady-Geek” – June 11

I am going to state three givens vis-à-vis this post: if you disagree with them, that’s cool, but maybe you shouldn’t bother reading this post because it will just make you want to say angry things on the internet that I don’t care to read.

  1. I think it’s pretty clear that Vox Day intentionally sat on Gallo’s weeks-old comments until Nebula Awards weekend when, presumably, it would have the greatest impact to trot them out and rally up an angry mob.
  2. I agree in spirit if not in language with Gallo’s critique of SP/RP.
  3. I’m a feminist. This post is categorized as “Feminism.” If the concept of feminism enrages you, feel free to go about your business elsewhere.

So. The Tor letter was a major disappointment for me as a female SFF fan. I was at NorWesCon when the Hugo Award nominees were announced and, having spent most of my weekend in well-attended panels dominated by female pros and openly discussing issues from Gamergate to Women in Refrigerators, hearing the success of Sad Puppies was a punch to the gut. Sometimes female fandom can feel like a game of one step forward, two steps back: every single time we make major representative strides, someone decides that our mere presence at the table — our mere desire to be seen — is political correctness run amok and we must be silenced.

 

Saumya Arya Haas on The The

“Infoxicated Corner: ALL THESE THINGS ARE TRUE: Saumya Arya Haas” – June 11

It is true. As in many SF/F tales, a world is at risk. The world of “tradition,” the world where straight, cis, white guys are the inheritors of the throne, the world where women and minorities have their identities dictated and blunted by a dominant narrative: that world is gravely at risk. It is slow erosion, but it’s real. The Puppies, caught up in the echo chamber of their own fantasies, see themselves as valiant heroes who must save this dying world. They want to control the narrative of the real world by symbolically controlling the narratives of a literary tradition. The world is being remade: by people living their lives out loud, by books, by outrage. We won’t be stuffed back into narrow margins. It must be terrifying to own the whole damn world and then feel it begin to slip away. No wonder they’re sad, and rabid.

We are not outraged about who wins a genre literary award; we are fighting over the world. We are outraged when our meaning comes in conflict with someone else’s meaning and there is a fight to subsume our perspective. We’re outraged because, for many of us, this is not a story about stories. This is the story of our lives. My sympathy with the other side evaporates because there is, very clearly, room for them in the new world we are building. There is room for everyone to have their own place and share their own stories and preserve their own traditions (there is not, however, room for them to impose their narrative on anyone else). Their world, the old world they are struggling to preserve, would grind me down into a minor character written by someone else.

 

Simon Bucher-Jones on SBJ’s pantechnicon extravaganza

“A helpful graphic comparing Vox Day with Nazis” – June 11

The rabid puppies are lead by one Vox Day (Theodore Beale) who believes (or chooses to post as if he believes – and lets give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s not lying) a lot of very right wing things.  These have lead to the sad puppies and the rabid puppies being called “extreme right wing to neo-nazi respectively”, and the woman who said that – the art director for Tor books has been upbraided by people who don’t understand the ‘to’ and ‘respectively’ in that description, and seemingly have read nothing by Vox Day.

So to help clarify matters here’s a simple diagram with footnotes:….

 

Bestertester on SFF World

“Sad Puppies Draw Blood” – June 10

Trolls just want attention. So does everybody else, especially authors. To have influence when you’re not rich and connected, you have to get the public’s attention somehow. The most effective way to get the public’s attention is to make people angry. The angry hubbub draws a crowd, and you’ve got name recognition and a following. Outrage goes viral better than anything else. Persecution bestows relevance. The more you harsh on the heretic, the more you fuel his movement. But when the heretic harshes on the establishment, he undermines them. If it’s not a level playing field then the warfare is asymmetric. What works for the underdog works only if you’re the underdog. Vox Day is crazy like a fox,

 

Lela E. Buis

“Cracks in the façade” – June 11

I like Tor books. I don’t care much for traditional, white male SF. I tend to be a flaming liberal, but like the Puppies, I am personally affronted by SJWs (from either side) and publications that assume I don’t really understand the issues and translate the power plays. Plus, I don’t want my submissions to any editor to be evaluated on hidden social justice assumptions.

Over the Nebula Weekend, Vox Day attacked Irene Gallo, who is an editor at Tor, for comments she made on her personal Facebook page. I support Gallo’s right to express her opinions, but this was ill advised. It looks like Gallo fell for the Puppies’ baiting and made a provocative statement that could be construed to represent Tor. Founder Tom Doherty responded with a post distancing himself and Tor from Gallo’s comments and suggesting that he could be forced into asking her to resign. This provoked an immediate chortle from the Puppy supporters, who then fired the opening salvo of an attack on Moshe Feder, another editor at Tor. There were also calls for a boycott of Tor books.

 

Shawn Struck on The Code

“How Tor Books Threw Its Women Employees Under The Bus” – June 11

What’s odd is that Editor at Tor Books Patrick Neilsen Hayden called the Sad Puppies evil. Best aelling author John Scalzi– yes the same John Scalzi that signed a 10 year deal with Tor Books for 3.4 million— has publicly feuded with Vox Day (the white supremacist behind the Rabid Puppies slate) and called him a bigot. Neither of these high profile men had these actions or statements repudiated in public statements from Tom Doherty. In fact,Tom Doherty’s been quiet about a lot of things done by men at Tor.

 

Heather Allen and Tqwana Brown on Around The World In 80 Books

“Tor Books: Mismanagement of PR” – June 11

I always imagine SFF as pushing the envelope, but, in fact, the actions of Tom Doherty takes women a few years back. He represents Tor just as much as Irene does, he just put himself and Tor in the public sphere. I don’t see any positivity coming from this post. Did you really think we would all be on your side? That there would be no consequences to calling out a female employee for something that is affecting the industry she works in? There was a better way to handle this situation which did not include seceding to pressure from a group of Sad Puppies, and which did not include publicly shaming an employee.

 

Lou Antonelli on Facebook – June 11

By the way, I want to take a minute to thank the many people who have been supportive and encouraging to me in the wake of the controversy engendered by this year’s Hugo nominations.

I am proud of my work. No, I am not the greatest s-f writer on the planet. I am not in the Top Ten. Heck, I don’t know if I am in the Top 100. But there are many people who enjoy my work, and they’re the reason I write. I certainly don’t do it for the money. I write for the fans and the enjoyment it brings both them and myself.

 

 

Eric Flint

“NO, AWARDS AREN’T “FAIR.” NEVER HAVE BEEN, NEVER WILL BE. SO WHAT?” – June 11

So, to those of you reading this who are writers yourselves and may have a story eligible to be considered for a Hugo award, have at it. But approach it like an author.

Don’t get worked up because a lot of what happens with awards isn’t “fair.” No, it’s not. It wasn’t “fair” a generation ago—consult the ghosts of Hal Clement, Andre Norton, Richard Matheson and James H. Schmitz—it’s not “fair” now and it’s not going to be “fair” after you’re dead and have joined those ghosts. Accept that now or you will just sink into stupid and pointless resentment.

Yes, there are some steps that could be taken that would improve the situation. I’ll get into those in my next essay. But there is no way to get around the objective reality that only a tiny percentage of eligible authors will ever or can ever receive a Hugo award—or even be nominated for one—and the odds that you will be in that select group are tiny. You will certainly improve your odds if you can write really well, but that’s all you can do—improve them.

If you can’t accept that—accept it ungrudgingly; better yet, cheerfully—then you’re not thinking like an author. You’re thinking like a damn fool.

 

Ferrett Steinmetz

“How Much Of The Sad Puppy Divide Is Just An Approach To Novelty?” – June 11

And I think a lot of the Sad Puppy divide comes down to those who value comfort reading – they want mostly what they’ve read before, with a few twists to keep it fresh – and those of us who only get off on things we haven’t seen before.

There’s nothing wrong with either side, of course – I don’t disdain those who want to read their Laurel K. Hamilton and Harry Potter books a hundred times over, even as I don’t understand it.  Reading is reading. Love what you like.

But I think at some point, people like Brad and company have metastatized their tastes to go “Everyone really wants to hear the same basic stories, deep down” – and from that perspective, of course we’re only adding these weird-ass characters because we’re pandering.  Why would you want to write a gay character when what you’ve read before are straight characters, and the only thing that really scratches your itch is stuff similar to what you’ve read before?

 

Kyle on The Blogdom

“Ugh” – June 11

I love science fiction and fantasy novels. I love the movies. I love comics. The characters, the stories, they make my imagination soar. I also love reading new things. I like it when people write in these genres from perspectives I’ve never thought about.

But right now, a certain subset of the fandom just makes me sick. I feel like we’ve just realized that Hydra has been within our ranks all along. I mean, I always knew there was a certain type of nerd out there. We’ve all run into these dudes. They’re white, afraid of anything not white, and usually very antagonistic towards women. Probably they smell. These shits are out there. Now they’re constantly trying to ruin science fiction and fantasy. The Hugo awards, this controversy, and the entire Sad/Rabid Puppy movement (how absurd is my world at this point? I just typed Sad/Rabid Puppy movement), not to mention the GamerGate shitvalanche, just proves that people still suck. In case you’ve been asleep for a while and maybe thought it was getting better. Nah, they’re still awful.

 

Headmisstress on The Common Room

“Well, hoity toity” – June 11

In a frontal attack, employees at Tor have been going on record attacking  sci-fi authors who , one Tor editor went so far as calling some of Tor’s own authors ((and the readers who read their books) neo-nazis, reprehensible, racist, misogynist, and homophobic (and amazingly, she still has a job). More here.  And here.

Progressives in general have little use or admiration for free speech, for initiative, for lone wolves, for individualism, and especially for entrepreneurs, so niche publishing, the explosion in self-publishing, the ability to say what you want to say without passing the approval of  a left side publisher and its Social Justice Warrior editors is, to them, a downside, not something they see as a benefit.  Niche marketing is not a good thing unless it’s their niche.

 

Martin Wisse on Wis[e]e Words

“Puppy baiting for fun, not profit” – June 11

Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens gets it right when they say we’re wasting time, energy and attention by engaging the Puppies: …

They miss one thing though: for all the outrage and anger it generates, it can also be fun to blogivate about how awful those people are. At least for those of us not the victim of harassement campaigns. It’s whack-a-mole, but it doesn’t have to cost too much energy as long as you manage to restrict yourself.

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“The conundrum of wider horizons and narrower systems” – June 11

This is why one side can categorize Sad or Rabid Puppies as ‘neo-Nazi’ or ‘racist’ or ‘bigoted’ or whatever.  Those words are defined on their own terms, not in relation to reality.  Anyone with a couple of brain cells to rub together and an interest in history can define what actually made a Nazi a Nazi.  However, most people don’t bother to do that research.  They merely parrot the ‘Nazi’ label as it’s spoon-fed to them, and in time come to believe it, even though it’s factually false.  On the Puppy side of the fence, I’ve seen far too many people categorize all SJW’s as liars, communists, socialists, deluded, whatever.  I’ve no doubt some of them are, but not all of them – and if we refuse to look at our opponents as individuals, lumping them instead into categories or groups or races or ethnicities, aren’t we doing the same as both Communists and Nazis did?  They demonized “the bourgeoisie” or “the kulaks” or “the Jews” or “the Communists”, and treated them as subhuman, disposable groups.  (There was precious little to choose between Hitler and Stalin, between the Nazi concentration camps and the Soviet gulags.)  Both sides disposed of those they demonized without consideration for their individual humanity.  Aren’t we at risk of doing the same to our opponents, at least in our minds?

I already know that the extremists on both sides will scoff at me for saying that.  “You can’t compromise with evil!”  “It’s no good talking to bigots!”  “If you’re not for us, you’re against us!”  “If you’re not against them, you’re for them!”  Trouble is, who defines evil?  Who defines what is or is not a bigot?  What gives anyone the right to define my beliefs or attitudes or opinions on my behalf?  The answer, of course, is “Nothing and no-one” . . . but that won’t stop them trying.

 

Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag

“The ongoing Hugo mess comes to haunt me again…” – June 11

In short, VD manipulated the puppies, all of them. He whistled and they all trotted up panting, he fed them a piece of month-old meat and they gleefully ripped it apart and started barking on cue. He completely owned them. All of them. And they totally fell for it. They are his dogs and he knows it. Any puppy who responded to that without saying, “why didn’t you bring this up a month ago when it was first posted, instead of on the night the Nebula’s were awarded?” is totally in VD’s control. Their souls belong to him.

As for the comment by Gallo? Well, I don’t know if all the sads are extreme rightwing, but I’m relatively certain that anyone who follows and supports VD fits the other category. I’m also not really sure if all the works on the slates are bad, though I suspect some fit the category of reprehensible. She probably shouldn’t have posted it, but a lot of us post things we later regret. Most of us are lucky enough to not be monitored by a sociopathic misogynistic sicko who has managed to manipulate a bunch of fans into fighting his battles for him, who wants to hurt us just for spits and giggles.

 

James Schardt on The Otherwhere Gazette

“In Defense of Irene Gallo” – June 11

This is another Hugo Award/ Sad Puppy post. I wish it were not true but there is something that needs to be said. The title of this piece says I am defending Irene Gallo regarding the remarks she made on her Facebook page. I am, to a point. And by the end of this article I know she will be angry at me for doing so. The gaffe was ugly and nothing I have to say will make it look any better. I am serious about what I am saying here. I say this because it can be difficult to deal with the fact that someone hates you and actually believes you hate them and their beliefs in return.

 

TPI’s Reading Diary

“My Hugo award votes 2015 part 2 – Short stories” – June 11

All nominees in this category originate from the “puppy lists”. And it shows. I wonder why selected these stories to their slates. There are mostly a celebration of mediocre writing and extreme stupid plotting. The only decent story was Totaled by Kary English. As the nomination was manipulated (and stories were mostly bad) I will vote “no award” for the first place and put the only decent story to the second place.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Skin Game (The Dresden Files #15), by Jim Butcher” – June 11

The writing here is nothing really exceptional, but it’s perfectly competent and smooth. The problem is that because this is a Hugo Best Novel nominee, I’m coming into the series at book number fifteen. At this point, the book relies on the fact that everyone reading it knows the major recurring characters and the world they live in–and I don’t. And sadly, without the backstory, I don’t care.

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Awards Related Work Category” – June 10

[Preceded by comments on all nominees.]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Letters from Gardner
  2. The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF
  3. No Award
  4. Wisdom from My Internet
  5. Why Science is Never Settled
  6. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth.

Yes, “Transhuman and Subhuman” is bad enough to rank below two pieces that aren’t even appropriate for the category.

 

Charlotte Ashley in Apex Magazine

“Clavis Aurea #30: 2015 Hugo Awards Edition (Short Fiction)”

[Includes comments on all nominated short fiction.]

None of these stories challenged or delighted me the way a story meant to represent the best of the year should. They range from poorly executed to merely dull, a great disappointment, given some of the truly excellent work that was published last year.

 

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“Attack of the Infinite Stupid” – June 11

For starters, the Evil Legion of Evil is not Nazi, neo or otherwise. As if we’d associate ourselves with those losers. Seriously, how can an Evil organization expect to be taken seriously if it models itself after a political ideology that started by kicking out some of the most competent people in the country, and went on to our world’s version of “Never start a land war in Asia”, invading Russia.

We are most certainly not racist, misogynist, or homophobic. How could we be when half the ELOE’s founders are female, when the International Lord of HATE (Hi, Larry!) is Hispanic, right alongside Her Draconic Majesty, The Beautiful But Evil Space Princess, Sarah Hoyt. We even have a Brain in a Jar, and a Powder Blue Care Bear with a Bleeding Heart And a Flamethrower, two Redheads of Doom (no one really knows which one is The Redhead of Doom and which is the Other Redhead of Doom). I’m not entirely sure how one classifies the sexuality of a brain in a jar (presumably sapiosexual) but I’m not going to be the one to ask.

Is that not a truly diverse group of people? I haven’t even started on the Vile Faceless Minions or the Mini-Onions in the Tower, or… Oh, nevermind. These twits will never believe a word of it anyway.

 

 

 

The Puppies Who Walked Into Walls 6/4

aka The Genre That Day Stood Still

In the roundup today: Craig R., L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Sanford Begley, George R.R. Martin, Sarah A. Hoyt, Brad K. Horner, Lis Carey, Patrick May, William Reichard, Fred Kiesche and mysterious others. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Daniel Dern and Glenn Hauman.)

Craig R. on Boston Progressive

“’Just this one teensy, tiny little change…’” – June 4

One of the great divides in SF/F right now is between groups of readers that want to claim SF and Fantasy as purely descriptive entertainment, the epitome of escape literature, just living in shared authorial moments of the storyteller entertaining us at the fair, or in the tavern, with no other motive express, implied or accepted. You pays your pennies on the drumhead for the entertainment and that’s all you want to see and hear.

On the other side of the table or those who say that all stories have some ulterior external dimension, some subtext,  some “message.”  There is no choice, there is always subtext, whether the author means for inclusion or not.  It is inevitable.

In the Interests Of Full Disclosure, I will tell you that I belong in the second camp: not from any skill at analysis, nor any training in critical literature theory, just cause it seems like the way things are.

From my viewpoint, the very act of reaching for the ability to entertain, or the ability to make any kind of contact with the intended audience requires an assumption of commonality of fundamental background points.

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright interview for Superversive SF

“Interview with Hugo Nominee: Arlan Andrews, Sr.!” – June 4

1) All the Sad Puppies selections came from a list of stories that fans felt were their favorites from 2014. What about your story do you think brought it to the attention of whomever suggested it?

Presumably, because they liked the setting, the characters, and the story of my novella, “Flow.” “Flow” was the sequel to 2013’s “Thaw,” (the cover for which won the Analog Reader’s Award for Best Cover of 2013).  The whole series of stories takes place after the next Ice Age (a politically incorrect supposition in itself), and the protagonist, Rist, is himself quite politically incorrect, though dark-skinned; he is a diminutive, sexist smartass (as are most males in the primitive society in which he was raised) and his mouth gets him literally into deep shit.  The story, actually a vignette, ends in a (literal) cliff-hanger that will be followed by “Fall,” where Rist descends into yet another kind of society existing some 30,000 years from now.  It will likely be called non-PC as well, though I have to remind people that authors are not necessarily the same as their characters.

 

Alex on Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe

“Madeline Ashby: Fiction Writer and Futurist” – June 4

One particularly poignant statement we both picked up on was made in the context of the controversy surrounding the 2015 Hugo Awards. Madeline [Ashby] said that we all have a tendency to “presume people think like (we) do, but generally, they don’t.” Though perhaps a bit of an obvious statement, I think it is equally powerful. Whether positively or negatively, humans must regularly navigate the disparity between our processes of thinking. Imbuing your actions with a recognition of difference may be a way to bridge gaps between people approaching a conflict in different ways, or at least a way to mitigate frustration when questionable (or outright despicable) decisions are made.

 

Alanaburke.com

“Local editor earns prestigious science fiction/fantasy award nomination – Ottawaherald.com” – June 4

“I was quite stunned and surprised [when I first heard] frankly due to the fact that I’ve just been executing this for concerning 6 years and I’ve just got four anthologies under my belt,” Schmidt said. “I’m relatively new, so to me it seemed earlier in my job compared to I would certainly have actually expected for something adore that to happen. I was thrilled and humbled at the exact same time that people believe I’m great enough to receive a nomination due to the fact that it is a fairly prestigious award. There was a great deal of excitement and happiness mixed in there as well.”

That happiness will certainly travel along with Schmidt to Spokane, Washington, where the awards will certainly be presented Aug. 22 at the 73rd Globe Science Fiction Convention. The Hugo Awards, named after pioneering science fiction magazine “Incredible Stories” founder Hugo Gernsback, are provided annually for the very best science fiction and fantasy functions of the previous year, according to a news release.

 

Sanford Begley on The Otherwhere Gazette

“The Puppies need to thank these recruiters”

The Sad Puppies really do need to thank some people who are not of their number. I’ve been watching this fiasco as someone who is in sympathy with the SP movement without being one myself. The truth for the rank and file SP members is basically that they were informed that they could vote on the Hugos and actually get books they liked on the ballot. From the point of view of the rank and file Puppies this was information on how-to and some recommendations they could follow, but were not required to. Most of the rank and file used some of the suggestions and substituted others as they saw fit. Admittedly this did cause those who did not have enough recommendations in their own reading to use the list as a source for filling out the rest of the nominations. After all, they knew a bit about Brad Torgerson and Larry Correia and could rely on them to suggest good books. Which they could then read in the voter packet and vote upon.

[This author needs to correct a tendency to misspell everybody’s name – “Brad Torgerson,” “Teresa Nielson Hayden,” “Patrick Hayden Nielson,” “Betsy Wolheim,” “N.K. Jemison.” I leave aside one other that was clearly intentional, but always remember, intentional misspellings are meaningless when true errors abound.]

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Catching Up” – June 4

— Conquest was cool. The KC fen throw a great con. And I was heartened by all the people who came up to thank me for my posts about the Hugos. Even in the nation’s heartland, it seems, there is considerable fannish anger about the Sad and Rabid Puppies pooping on our awards,

— Yes, Puppygate has continued, though I’ve been too busy to post about it. The Sad Puppies continue to be clueless, moving their goalposts almost daily. The Rabid Puppies continue to be venomous. Lots of other people are reading the Hugo nominees and reviewing the finalists. That’s what I am doing myself, though I am way behind in my reading,

 

Sarah A. Hoyt

“The Condescension of the Elites” – June 4

In fact, if one wades into the Sad Puppy mess (here, wear galoshes. You’ll need it) the side that says things like “You’re not true fans” or “your tastes are just low” or “your writing is bad” or “Our opinion of what is good IS the maker of what is good” or “you’ll never work in this town again” or “for daring talk against us, you’ll never win a Hugo” is not the Puppy supporters.

This is because the “power” at least if understood as traditional publishing power, in this field is NOT from puppy supporters. The people opposing the puppies (not their lickspittles running around blogs shouting the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables) are powers in the field: well established editors with power of the purse; writers who get publicity campaigns and push and huge advances; critics who have for years been reviewing the “well regarded” stuff and establishing a taste that is Marxism with a mix of glitterati, or in other words, positional good leftism.

You’d think that people who have been extensively indoctrinated in Marxism would understand the difference between “establishment power” and “economic power” and the revolutionaries who come in saying “But you’ve been going wrong by alienating the reading public; we don’t give a hot damn what your political opinions are, but you need to tell stories people want to read, and if you don’t people should be able to participate in the intervention to make you see why your print runs keep falling.”

I.e. they would understand that they are in fact on the side that is being condescending by virtue of having all the power in the field, including power of the purse.

 

Brad K. Horner

“Flight of the Kikayon: A Sci-Fi Novelette by Kary English” – June 4

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a crisp and gloriously clear adventure story of a woman trying to escape her abusive husband with the help of her clone. I was touched. It really had heart.

Of course, the planet where she eventually wound up, swiss family robinson style, had one hell of a fascinating sea monster in it, so that’s a huge plus.

The story made me think about love and children, but not exclusively, and not oppressively. It was warming, not frantic, and I really enjoyed the ride. Crisp and gloriously clear sums it up very nicely, from writing, to imagery, to themes. Nothing was out of place and it felt inevitable. Which is very strange, considering that she wound up stranded and losing everything. Who am I to argue about the vagaries of fate or authorship?

I read this in preparation for the Campbell nomination of 2015, and I’m proud to say I read it, regardless. It shines.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Sci Phi Show, presented by Jason Rennie” – June 3

The Sci Phi Show discusses major philosophers and schools of philosophy illuminated in science fiction, fairly broadly defined. In the sample episode, it’s Nietzsche and the movie The Dark Knight. It’s an intelligent, thoughtful discussion, with good production values, accompanied by odd, distracting sound effects. There’s also opening and closing theme music that tries hard to give me a headache.

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Award Novella Category” – June 4

[Each nominee is analyzed, then this conclusion — ]

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. Flow
  2. Big Boys Don’t Cry
  3. The Plural of Helen of Troy
  4. No Award
  5. One Bright Start to Guide Them
  6. Pale Realms of Shade

Aside from the first two, the entries in this category are disappointing. There were far better novellas published in 2014 in Analog and Asimov’s alone. “Big Boys Don’t Cry”, while not as good as “Flow”, is certainly no worse than some nominees and winners in the past. I’m leaving “The Plural of Helen of Troy” slightly above No Award solely because Wright plays with (and occasionally loses to) some classic science fiction concepts. Overall it’s not really Hugo worthy, though.

 

William Reichard

“Apres Hugo” – June 4

After a lively day of schussing down the slippery slopes of unwinnable arguments, you’re pleasantly stupefied. Now you just want to relax and kick back, are we right?

That’s why when you get back to the toasty comfort of your own ideological hearth, you should reach for Hubik.

Hubik has everything a tired mind craves: a refreshing illusion of efficacy, a promise of persistent meaning, and a soothing anesthetic effect that will help you drift off to an untroubled sleep. Just spray a little around your armchair, and presto! The perfect ending to another day of lovely mountain sport.…

 

 

 

 

We Are Sad Puppies If You Please; We Are Sad Puppies If You Don’t Please 5/23

aka One Hundred Days of Being Stuck in a Crate Just Because You Ate the Goddamn Plum Pudding Again, if you Didn’t Want Me To Eat It You Shouldn’t Have Put it on the Table, Signed, Maggie, Your DOG

There are familiar and new bylines in today’s roundup: Bradley Armstrong, David Gerrold, John C. Wright, Michael Senft, John Ohno, Andrew Hickey, Vox Day, Amanda S. Green, Lis Carey, Elisa Bergslien, Patrick May, Rebekah Golden, Joseph Tomaras, and Spacefaring Kitten. (Credit for the alternate title goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg.)

Bradley Armstrong on Screen Burn

“Solitair vs. The Hugos: Introduction” – May 22

I’ve seen Correia and company get a lot of bad press for this latest battle in the American culture war, but after a few arguments online I’m going to cool my jets. At least Sad Puppies is not as disgusting as this other movement from last year I won’t dignify with a name. Correia has been acerbic in arguing his case, but he hasn’t crossed any lines of decency unless you see the slate voting as an immoral-in-spirit rigging of democracy via statistical loophole. He was even harassed and slandered online, which I can’t approve of no matter the cause. I flipped my lid about the epidemic of that same thing springing from that-which-must-not-be-named, and I’m not going to go back on that because it’s happening to someone I disagree with.

Correia has my condolences, but I do still disagree with him on this matter. Matthew David Surridge, in declining his Puppy-backed nomination, wrote the most clear-headed and sensible summary of this whole affair I’ve seen on the internet by a wide margin, and my position mostly reflects his. In short, I see no evidence that there is a conspiracy to culturally control the Hugos, at least not one that is in any way recent, and I like stuff with literary aspirations just as much as modest pulp fare, if not more. I thought that high-brow art was what awards were for, since bestseller lists aren’t going to give the good ones the recognition they deserve. As far as the preachy sermonizing goes, I and everyone else who saw James Cameron’s Avatar knows that pain, but I don’t know what the Puppies’ threshold is for that. Are they objecting more strongly to badly-written garbage, or the presence of progressive stances in fiction?

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 23

[A long post that explains what Gerrold told the Wall Street Journal reporter during a 45-minute call, of which he says only three out-of-context sentences were used. The following is a short sample.]

When you get that many nominees dropping out and when you get so many major voices in the field condemning the slate-mongering, this is not just a casual disagreement. It is evidence that there is a widespread perception that the slate-mongering was a miscalculation on the part of Torgersen and Correia — and a deliberate attack on the field by Vox Day. (Vox Day has publicly declared his intentions to destroy the Hugos.)

That’s the situation. And that’s pretty much the gist of what I told the reporter from the Wall Street Journal — okay, in the interests of journalistic integrity, I also let the reporter know that I too share the views of Martin, Willis, Castro, Flint, Scalzi, Kowal, and others — that the slates were a bad idea and that this is the year of the asterisk.

And that brings me, finally (yes, I know you’re exhausted, me too) to the most important point I want to make. I know some of the people who ended up on the slates. They’re good people. They’re the real victims of this mess.

I’ve known Kevin Anderson for a long time and have a lot of affection for him. He’s had an enviable career. He’s a good man. I can’t imagine that Kevin would have been a knowledgeable part of any attempt to rig the Hugo awards. Likewise, I’m pretty sure that Tony Weiskopf and Sheila Gilbert would not have been either. They’ve all been around long enough to know better. They have great reputations, fairly earned by a lifetime of hard work.

Unfortunately, despite the integrity of the nominees, there’s still an asterisk on this year’s awards. It’s not their fault, but there it is.

 

John C. Wright

“No One Cares About Your Hooey” – May 23

….Anyone clicking through the link there will come to this:

  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
  • I believe, profess, and unambiguously support the view that These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
  • I believe everything the one, true, holy, catholic and apostolic Church teaches.

So, from your reaction, I take it you did not click through the link….

 

Michael Senft interviews Ann Leckie for The Arizona Republic

“Ann Leckie on ‘Ancillary Justice’ acclaim and breaking the pronoun barrier” – May 21

Q: One common comment about the Imperial Radch books is that you are writing a “genderless” society. That doesn’t seem an accurate interpretation.

A: Yeah, it’s been very interesting to me to see some of the discussion surrounding Radchaai and gender. The assumption, for instance, that the Radchaai must have “eradicated” gender in that society, when that’s really nowhere in the text. Or that, as you say, gender doesn’t exist, or that Breq “doesn’t understand” the concept of gender. Not infrequently someone will comment that it’s really stupid to think that a being as smart as Breq couldn’t get her head around the idea of gender, which is probably true, and that’s not really the problem Breq has, is it.

 

Michael Senft on Relentless Reading

“Ann Leckie on Hugos, pronouns and Genitalia Festivals” – May 23

And in an outtake from the story, she weighed in on the Hugo Awards, offering some advice to readers and members and why we she doesn’t worry about them too much:

“I probably shouldn’t comment on the Hugos this year. Though I will say what I would say any year, and that is that if the Hugos matter to you, you should nominate and vote. Sometimes I hear people comment that they don’t think they’re qualified because they don’t read enough, but I think the Hugos have always been about what the voters love, and if you love something and think it’s worthy of an award, you should be able to nominate it.

Beyond that—well, honestly, I figure I could spend my time worrying about awards, or even more pointlessly worrying about people’s opinions of awards, or even more pointlessly worrying about people’s opinions about who does or doesn’t “deserve” those awards — or I could spend my time writing. And I didn’t get into writing for awards. There are no guaranteed outcomes from anything, much less writing, and if I wanted a sure track to acclaim and fame and fortune I sure as heck wouldn’t have chosen writing to get that. I write because I want to tell stories, anything after that is extra. And fortunately I’ve got plenty of writing to do, and plenty of readers waiting for me to do it.”

 

John Ohno on The First Church of Space Jesus

“Utopianism and sci-fi as machine-lit” – May 13

There are several popular ways to look at science fiction as a genre. I have my own preferences. That said, the major opposing perspective — what I’d term the ‘machine-lit’ school of thought — has its merits, insomuch as it highlights a set of common tendencies in science fiction. I’d like to take this space to highlight the basic premise of machine-lit, the tendencies it breeds, and why I find most machine-lit to be relatively uninteresting.

(The third major perspective, what I call the spaceship-on-the-cover style, I find wholly uninteresting and is the subject of other essays; however, this perspective is becoming historically important lately because of some drama surrounding the Hugo awards being gamed by groups who prefer this style, so it’s worth mentioning in passing.)

 

Andrew Hickey on Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

“Hugo Blogging: ‘Best’ Short Story” – May 23

….As a result, I do not believe a single story on the ballot is on there legitimately, and so I will be ranking No Award at the top of the list.

I would perhaps have some ethical qualms about this, were any of the nominated stories any good. However, happily, they range from merely not-very-good to outright abysmal. I shall rank the stories below No Award as follows:

Totaled by Kary English. This story is not in any way bad. It’s also, however, not in any way *good*, either. Were it in an anthology I read, I’d read through the story and forget it immediately, maybe remembering “the brain-in-a-jar one” if prodded enough. Perfectly competently put together, but with no new ideas, no interesting characters, and no real reason for existing. Certainly not Hugo-worthy…..

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novel” – May 23

This is how I am voting in the Best Novel category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 367 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. The Three-Body Problem
  2. Skin Game
  3. The Goblin Emperor
  4. The Dark Between the Stars
  5. No Award

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“A few thoughts” – May 23

I’m busy making my way through the Hugo packet. My goal is to read everything included in it. Once I have, I will vote for those works I feel best deserve the Hugo. So far, only a few things have thrown me out from the beginning because the author forgot that you can get your message across without beating your reader over the head. And, no, not all of them are anti-Puppy supported works. Will I post my ballot? Probably, but only after I vote.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Cedar Sanderson Hugo Nomination Fanwriting Samples” – May 23

The distinctive feature here is that she congratulates herself on being feminine and a lady, as well as, of course, strong–unlike, we are given to understand, those silly and obnoxious feminists. She demands equality, and likes it when men put her on a pedestal, and doesn’t seem to notice the contradiction. Feminists are women seeking notoriety based solely on their femaleness, and want to grind men under their heels. There’s a long rant about lazy, wish-fulfillment fantasy, which does in fact say some useful and interesting things….

 

Elisa Bergslien on Leopards and Dragons

“My Three Body Problem problem”  – May 22

When I started this book, I was really looking forward to it.  I actually had it in my wish list at Amazon months ago because it sounded so cool. Now that I have finished it, I am really disappointed.  With all the hype about how deep, insightful, and exciting the book is, I have been left wondering if I read the same book. It wasn’t all bad I guess, but for me it definitely didn’t even remotely live up to the hype and I honestly don’t know if I will ever bother to pick up the next book to see what happens with the human race. As it is presented in the book, you kind of have to wonder if anyone is worth saving.

 

RogerBW’s Blog

“The Three Body Problem Liu Cixin” – May 23

This is a perversely fascinating book that gains far more interest from the problems it sets up than from the way it resolves them….

 

Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Award Novelette Category” – May 23

[Ranking is preceded by comments on all of the novelettes.)

My Hugo ballot for this category is:

  1. The Journeyman: In the Stone House
  2. The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale
  3. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium
  4. Championship B’Tok

I am not including “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” on my ballot.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist: Reviewing A Pollack” – May 23

His imagery is clear, epic, sweeping and fun….

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best TV Show: Reviewing Doctor Who” – May 22

I knew a guy who was a virgin and didn’t know what the big deal about sex was. Then he had sex. Then he wanted to have sex all the time. I’ve watched a few episodes of Doctor Who but I admit while I liked it I didn’t know what the big deal was. Now I know what the big deal is.

 

Joseph Tomaras on A Skinseller’s Workshop

“Novelettes, Novellas and Fan Writers” – May 23

Of the Analog stories, that leaves Rajnar Vajra’s story with the deceptively stupid title “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”. The title is clearly meant to pander to nostalgia for this-boy’s-life-in-space military SF stories of the so-called “Golden Age,” and insofar as it was selected by both sets of puppies for their slates, it succeeded. The title, however, bears little resemblance to the story itself, which can be read as subverting the tropes in which it superficially seems to glory. There is a valid argument to be had about whether subversion-of-tropes has not itself become a trope in contemporary SF, and a redundant one. I sympathize with that argument, but Vajra’s story is at least a better-than-average exemplar of the type, which held by interest start to finish and left me with a smile on my face. I encourage Hugo voters to read it with an open mind, and those who are not WorldCon members to seek it out.

 

 

John Scalzi on Whatever

“A Brief Note About Me Reviewing the Hugo Nominees” – May 23

I’ve been asked a few times if I plan to write any reviews of the Hugo nominees this year after I’ve read them. The answer: No, I don’t. One, if you look at my general modus operandi around Hugos, I don’t ever really comment on what I think of the merits of the individual nominees* until after the voting window has closed. Two, this year, this policy seems even more advisable as there are excitable people who would point out any reviews on my part as scale-tipping, regardless of what the review said. Three, as a general rule, in public, I try not to say negative things about the work of other writers. I will make exceptions from time to time. But generally, I avoid it….