The Cold Nose Equations 6/6

aka Summa Rabid Puppies: A Casuistry of the Hugo Controversy

In today’s roundup are Pat Cadigan, Max Florschutz, Craig R., Kevin J. Maroney, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Vox Day, Peter Grant, Camestros Felapton, Russell Blackford, Nicholas Whyte, Lis Carey, and Spacefaring Kitten. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Dex and sveinung.)

 

Max Florschutz on Unusual Things

“The Coming of the Ent March” – June 6

And that’s what the insulars are truly afraid of, and why this year isn’t really the big year for an asterisk. Next year will be that year. Right now, the insulars are shouting as loud as they can, trying to drown out the barking puppies. And you know what? To most Sci-Fi/Fantasy fans, it’s just noise.

But it’s noise that’s waking them up. Making them look around and say “What’s going on here?” It’s noise that’s drawing attention to the Hugos, alerting the silent readers who before, like the reader of my other blog, never even knew that they were allowed to participate. And regardless of who they agree with … a lot of them are going to say “Oh, cool,” and get in line for the chance to support their favorite works.

That‘s what the insulars are afraid of. The Hugos have been a large award for a long time, but they’ve also been voted on by a phenomenally small group of people for an award that’s suppose to represent Sci-Fi/Fantasy as a whole.

 

Craig R. on The Boston Progressive

“Where Are My Nutty Nuggets? I Want My Nuggy Nuggets!” – June 6

"They told me there would be Nutty Nuggets!"

“They told me there would be Nutty Nuggets!”

Sad Puppy Central seem to have given up on their first justification, that there was some Super Double-Sekret Social Justice Progressive Cabal that was blocking the Manly Man Rocket Adventure Stories that they Like So Well from making either the nomination lists or the winning slots.  Except for Freer, who, I guess, didn’t get the memo.

This is because they actually swamped the nomination choices.  Now, this has got to be embarrassing, if you’re all fired up to crow about having Proof, I tell you! Proof! That it’s all a fraud and that we couldn’t get on the ballot ’cause there is no way that we could succeed in gaming the system.  There’s no way that simple a cheat can get us on the ballot….

Uhh, why does the ballot look like this?

The latest reason put forth for poor prior puppy performance in the ballot is that there has been this long-running con, where each year the convention committee for the WorldCon is purposely making it hard for people to find out how to nominate and vote!

Yeah, that’s it! Well, lets look at the websites for the past 4 world cons:….

 

Kevin J. Maroney in a comment on “The Puppies of Terror” at New York Review of Science Fiction – May 30

The only substantial regret I have about my editorial is that it moved too seamlessly from discussion of the *Puppy movement to discussion of Panzergroup Asshole, making it seem as if I thought they were the same people. I don’t.

Let me elaborate on Panzergroup Asshole and online harassment. PGA is a real thing–probably 400-500 people who participate in systematic online harassment*, a weapon waiting for a target. There’s a larger body of casual trolls among whom PGA hide–sometimes PGA follow the other trolls and sometimes PGA’s activities attract the other trolls.

*This can run the gamut from purely online attacks like verbal abuse, tweet flooding, sealioning, comment spam, account takeover, and DDOS attack to offline dangers such as publishing personal information, leaking nude pictures, elaborate death threats, bomb threats, credit card fraud, and SWATting. I’ve had multiple friends say to me that they won’t mention certain names online for fear of attracting the attention of GG and the abuse it brings. Using the fear to silence one’s opponents has a name: “terrorism”.

I do not believe the *Puppies–the leaders and most of their supporters–are themselves members of Panzergroup Asshole. However, the Puppy leaders (Correia, Torgersen, and Day) deliberately and repeatedly invited an alliance with GamerGate, a movement inseparable from Panzergroup Asshole.

Asking people to block-vote for the Hugos (as the Puppies did) was a dick move, taking advantage of the good will assumptions inherent in the Hugo process. This is not significantly different in kind from the outright ballot-box stuffing that got Black Genesis and The Guardsman onto the nominee lists in 1987 and 1989. It’s shameful and nasty, and if they had stopped there, the second half of the editorial wouldn’t have been present. But by deliberately positioning themselves as part of GamerGate-writ-large was a step beyond.

And if it’s “assholery” to point out that someone is allying themselves with terrorists–I think I can live with that charge.

 

 

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Turbo-charging the award pimpage” – June 6

As it happens, I’d been contemplating following the International Lord of Hate’s lead and recusing myself from the ballot in the future, since I didn’t want to end up with more Hugo nominations than the likes of Heinlein, Clarke, and Asimov. That would be ridiculous. However, now that I know the SJWs are preemptively planning to No Award me, I think I would be remiss if I did not consider award pimpage for every single Hugo Award for which I am even remotely eligible for in 2016. Let’s see. In addition to the professional categories, there is Best Fan Writer, Best Related Work, and perhaps I can throw a few doodles together for Best Fan Artist while I’m at it.

 

 

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Is it time to call for a boycott of a mainstream SF publisher?” – June 6

I’ve remained silent about many previous slanders and libels about this situation, but this is just about the last straw.  I would very much like to know whether Tor shares and/or espouses the false, slanderous and libelous views expressed by Ms. Gallo.  If that company doesn’t take a stand against such lies, or even chooses to remain silent about them (despite their being propagated by one of their editors), then I will have to assume that the time has come to openly call for a boycott of Tor by all objective, non-partisan, independent fans of science fiction and fantasy.  I’ll be discussing this option with other SF/F authors (and individuals involved in this controversy) during the coming days, to see whether we can co-ordinate a suitable response.

 

Camestros Felapton

“A short post about Aristotle and syllogisms” – June 6

So Chris Hensley is right. It isn’t that the system of syllogistic reasoning that Aristotle proposed was wrong but it genuinely has been superseded. The fact that we are using computers to discuss this is partly as a consequence of that. In the 19th and 20th century logic went through a revolution that took it far beyond the simple syllogism. Liebniz, Boole, Frege, Whitehead, Russell, Tarski, Godel made giant leaps and these leaps were not just freaky abstract navel gazing.

Consider this chain: Russel and Whitehead’s Principia inspired Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorem. Alonzo Church and Alan Turing developed a related theorem that examined incompleteness from the position of an abstract mechanical device. John Von Neumann at around the same time was also looking at logical foundations of mathematics. The jump from freaky-abstract-navel gazing to birth-of-the-modern-electronic computer is almost a direct one.

So what is wrong with syllogisms? Well nothing as far as they go. They adequately describe one form of logical reasoning but it is essentially self limiting. Later Stoic philosophers made significant headway in developing Proportional Logic. Propositional Logic itself has limitations but it allows for more complex arguments to be modeled and to deal with the notion of implication. The basic difference between the syllogistic logic and propositional was the kinds of units that were being used. In syllogisms terms are important. For example take this Syllogism:

  • All SJW’s lie
  • Camestros is a SJW
  • Camestros lies….

 

Russell Blackford on Metamagician and The Hellfire Club

“Concluding comments on “Best Short Story” – Hugo Awards voting 2015” – June 6

The problem will keep recurring this year: how much stronger might this list (each list) of nominees have been without blatantly political block voting delivered care of the “Puppies” campaigns? We’ll never know. Meanwhile … none of the stories really blew me away, but one came closer than the others. In this company, the standout, for me, was “Totaled”, by Kary English : for its skill and innovation, it will receive my vote. I doubt that any of the others merit such an important international award.

 

Nicholas Whyte on From the Heart of Europe

“My vote for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, John W. Campbell Award” – June 6

I usually enjoy tracking down the various entries in this category (I rarely have time to watch the movies nominated for the Long Form equivalent). But unfortunately three of the finalists in this category were helped to get onto the ballot by a campaign led by a misogynist racist whose declared intention was to destroy the Hugos. I am not going to vote for them, and am not going to any great lengths to watch The Flash: Pilot or Grimm: Once We Were Gods…..

1: Doctor Who: Listen. In a Doctor Who season with one very low point (Kill The Moon) this was very much a high point, Moffat with some of his best lines – Clara in particular getting some good ones (“People don’t need to be scared by a big gray-haired stick insect but here you are” balanced by “If you’re very wise and very strong fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly – fear can make you kind”) in a story that actually makes sense and taps into some deep human fears. Gets my vote without any hesitation or special pleading, and I suspect it will win.

Also, just to record a couple of items here which are not worth separate posts: I’m voting No Award for Best Fan Writer, and giving Laura J. Mixon my second preference. I take very seriously Matt Foster’s argument that a ballot with only one non-slate finalist does not offer enough choice to make the award meaningful….

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Dungeon Crawlers Radio” – June 6

http://www.dungeoncrawlersradio.com/

Another Best Fancast Hugo nominee.

This is also an interview podcast, in this case focused on gaming and related subjects. As such, it doesn’t really speak much to me, as this is not an area of interest for me. However, it is fairly cleanly and professionally produced, even managing an effective interview presentation in the midst of the chaos of Salt Lake Comic Con. I would expect this to be at least very interesting for viewers more into gaming. The knowledge of the interviewers I can’t seriously assess, but they at least seemed knowledgeable and reasonable to me.

If gaming is your thing, you should at least give this a try, if you haven’t seen it yet.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch #2), by Ann Leckie (author), Adjoa Andoh (narrator)” – June 6

There’s a lot going on here, in character development, revealing more about the history and culture of the Radch, and action as the conflict between the Mianaais and even older tensions in the Radch empire play out.

I’m looking forward to the third volume, Ancillary Mercy.

Recommended.

 

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale’ by Rajnar Vajra” – June 6

Slates: Rabid Puppies & Sad Puppies

“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” is a lightweight adventure story that — according to its subtitle — tries to take us back to the Golden Age of science fiction. There are space cadets who get into trouble because of a fight and have to make it up for it by going on an expedition to an alien world, the inhabitants of which the Earth scientists have a hard time understanding.

 

Will McLean on A Commonplace Book

“Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword” – June 6

It requires the usual suspension of disbelief required for interstellar empires, FTL, artificial gravity and decanting extensions of machine intellects into human bodies; in short, what is normally required for space operas.

 

Camestros Felapton

“A warning from the future” – June 6

[A satire that lists future Hugo slates.]

redshirtpups

“Dear traveler from the future” I cried “You are in need of medical care! I would take you inside but I’m afraid that Timothy has a thing abut people he doesn’t know arriving unannounced. Let me fetch you a pillow and a glass of water.”

“No…” she gasped “it is too late for me…I have come to bring you a warning”.

She was briefly consumed by a coughing fit, after which she spat out a green mess of mucus and fundamental void particles.

“They didn’t realize…they tried to tinker with the Hugo rules…but instead…” she paused again

“Yes? The rules? Is this the WorldCon 15 rules you mean?” I inquired as gently as I could despite my ankle pain and a croquet hoop digging into my thigh unpleasantly.

“The horror of Spokane they called it. The rule changes…they went wrong…a memetic virus was introduced…it spread through blog posts…the world became consumed by puppy-slates”

 

Canterbury Tails 5/27

Aka Mansfield Puppy Park

The wisdom of crowds is supplied by Ruth Davies, Adam-Troy Castro, Nancy Lebovitz, Gabriel McKee, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Lyda Morehouse, L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, Alexandra Erin, Vox Day, JDZ, Lis Carey, Joe Sherry, Lisa J. Goldstein, Rebekah Golden, Joseph Brassey, John Scalzi, Katya Czaja, plus less identifiable others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day rcade and Kary English.)

Ruth Davies on The Hippo Collective

“Taking a Literary Step Backwards: the Hugo Awards 2015” – May 24

This scandal is clearly worrying; such regressive views placed upon particular literary genres, such as science fiction and fantasy, must have implications for other genres, and the larger literary field. Literature is key in its power to evolve and combat the oppression of minority groups, by allowing a voice and platform (although being well heard often unfortunately relies on getting ‘discovered’ and subsequently published). Right-wing action is also more concerning when involved with such canonising activity as literary awards. Awards often help shape the (Western) literary canon, which contains a lot of the West’s most famous and widely read literature. Therefore right-wing attitudes, such as those of the ‘Sad Puppies’ and ‘Rabid Puppies’, merely blocks diversification of the canon – discouraging the cultural change that the West still desperately needs.

However, the question still remains: how do we overcome such regressive strategies in literature? The democratic fan vote should appear the fairest and least problematic strategy, yet as seen, it has its fundamental drawbacks.

 

Font Folly

“Tom Puppy and the Visitor from Planet Clueless” – May 27

A Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy supporter posted an op-ed on the men’s rights site Return of the Kings (he links to and heavily paraphrases one of the Sad Puppy podcasts), “How Female-Dominated Publishing Houses Are Censoring Male Authors” that is a great example of several of the issues that I believe underpin the Sad Puppy position. Never mind that the statistics show that men make up more than 65% of the annual publishing lists of most of the publishing houses, and male-authored books comprise more the 80% of books reviewed in the major publications, this guy is here to tell us that men are being censored!

 

Adam Troy-Castro on Facebook – May 27

(Sigh) No, I am not saying, nor am I ever going to say, that the organizers of the Sad Puppy nonsense need to be “boycotted” for what they have done and said, and I am most certainly not saying that the writers they advocated for need to be boycotted for the actions of those who supported them.

This is after all me, the guy who has made such a regular habit of arguing for separating the art from the artist, most of the time in more extreme circumstances. If I can distinguish between Bill Cosby and “Bill Cosby,” if I can praise the occasional film by Roman Polanski, if I can struggle in vain to discuss the filmic achievements of Woody Allen without being slammed by the same stuff that artistic discussions of Woody Allen are always slammed with, if I can further regularly wax enthusiastic about work by writers like Stephen Hunter and Dan Simmons who exist so far from me on the political spectrum that we are almost on separate rainbows, then why the hell would I tell anybody to boycott the work of {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts}, to name one, just because I think it’s fun to summarize his persona as {Gay-Basher McManly-Nuts}? Ditto with {Hurt-Feelings Harry}, {Steely-Eyed Rage-Monster}, Beale The Galactic Zero, and the rest of that crew. I mock them with abandon, but want *none* of them subjected to organized boycott of any kind.

I have said nothing advocating otherwise, and anybody who represents me as having said anything of the kind is, in precise measurement, a goddamned liar.

 

Nancy Lebovitz in a comment on Making Light – May 27

At Balticon, someone asked Jo Walton about the Hugos at her GoH speech, and she said that ideally, the Hugos are a gesture of love and respect, and campaigning for the Hugos is like persistently asking your partner whether they love you. It just isn’t the same.

 

Doctor Science on Obsidian Wings

“Problems with the Hugo Nominations for Pro and Fan Artist” – May 28

[Doctor Science vetted the sample art in the Hugo Voters Packet and says she discovered most of the material from Nick Greenwood and Steve Stiles came from another eligibility year, and that among all artists he traced 14 items to periods before 2014.]

I’ll stop here for the moment, and go on later to talk about things like: how I’m going to vote, what I think the problems with the categories are, and start some ideas about how to fix them.

For a start, though, I urge my fellow voters to click around the 2014 Pro and 2014 Fan collections at Hugo Eligible Art, to get a sense of what your baseline should be for comparison.

 

Gabriel McKee on SF Gospel

“The Way the Future Never Was” – May 27

For a lot of us, SF’s ability to deal with current problems in metaphorical terms is the whole point. It’s why we got interested in the genre, and why we’ve stuck with it—because there will always be new quesitons, and new angles on them. Does Brad Torgersen really want SF to be a genre about space ships and ray guns with no resonance with current society? Does he really want SF authors to abandon the time-honored tradition of exploring social issues with SFnal metaphor? That sounds to me like an SF that’s afraid of the future.

 

Gabriel McKee on SF Gospel

“The Way the Future Never Was: A Visual Appendix” – May 27

To get a better idea of Brad Torgersen’s problem with today’s science fiction, let’s take a look at some good, old-fashioned, reliably-packaged SF….

The Space Merchants cover COMP

Hey, this one looks fun. It’s got space ships and all kinds of stuff. Wait, what? It’s about the evils of capitalism? Bait and switch!

 

 

Lyda Morehouse on Bitter Empire

“Real Talk About John Scalzi, Vox Day, And That Big Big Book Deal” – May 27

Vox Day (Theodore Beale), if you recall, is the mastermind behind the Rabid Puppies (the super-far right organizers of this year’s Hugo debacle.) Beale apparently also sees himself as Scalzi’s rival. Beale has all sorts of “hilarious” nicknames for Scalzi….

So, as you can imagine, Beale’s head is near ready to explode.

He starts off with a simple report of the deal, but then it takes a hard right into God knows what. Beale says that Scalzi’s deal can really only be expected because Tor, his publisher, really doesn’t have any big name authors in its stables beyond Scazli, except maybe one other, and, more importantly, “It’s not as if the award-winning Jo Walton or the award-winning Catharine (sic) Asaro or any of their other award-winning authors sell enough books to support all the SJW non-SF they keep trying to push on an unwilling public.”

What.

Whoa, ladies, that was almost a compliment there for being all award-win-y, but nope. According to Beale, the only reason Walton and Asaro write is push the SJW (Social Justice Warrior) “non-SF” on all of us non-willing readers.

 

JDZ on Never Yet Melted

“John Scalzi Gets $3.4 Million Publishing Deal” – May 27

Scalzi has alienated a significant portion of his readership with sanctimonious hoplophobic blog posts (example) and by lining up with the Social Justice Warriors in the fighting over the Hugo Awards. My guess is that his backlisting powers will be declining.

 

L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright conducts interview on Superversive SF

“Interview with Hugo Fan Writer Nominee: Dave Freer!” – May 27

7) How did you come up with the idea for your current nominated story?

Eating cheese late at night. It was that or my concern for the state of a genre I love. I happen think all nice boys and girls should love sf and fantasy (and find sf and fantasy to love). I think all nasty boys and girls should too. I am delighted if the rare, nasty, odd, and possibly puke purple creatures crawling out of the East River do too. I just find it worrying when the latter group seems to have become so dominant that the rest lose interest and go and pursue other forms of entertainment and escapism.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Of Dinosaurs, Legos, and Impossible Hypotheticals” – May 27

There’s another work nominated this year that has stirred similar questions in a more limited way, perhaps more limited because the Dramatic Presentation categories are seen as less serious and crucial in a literary award than the literary categories, and perhaps because as a Sad Puppy pick it is taken less seriously to begin with.

The work in question is The Lego Movie, which contains a couple of scenes near the end that make explicit the implicit framing device for a movie about Lego characters in a world made out of Lego blocks: it’s all a child, playing with toys. It is this moment, in my opinion, that elevates The Lego Movie from merely being charming and fun to actually pretty sublimely brilliant. It explained so many of the odd quirks of characterization and storytelling earlier in the film.

I mean, it changed the movie’s version of Batman from “weirdly out of character, but okay, it’s funny” to “…that’s freaking brilliant” because it wasn’t Batman as adult comic book fans understand him but Batman seen through the eyes of a child, with way more focus on the cool factor of everything and of course he has the coolest girlfriend and of course even the grimdark angst seems kind of fun…

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Awards 2015: Best Novella” – May27

This is how I am voting in the Best Novella 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. “One Bright Star to Guide Them”
  2. “Big Boys Don’t Cry”
  3. “The Plural of Helen of Troy”
  4. “Pale Realms of Shade”
  5. “Flow”

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Rat Queens, by Kurtis J. Wiebe (writer), Roc Upchurch (illustrator)” – May 27

ratqueens

Booze-guzzling, death-dealing, battle maidens-for-hire.

This is so not my thing. The art is excellent. The writing is quite good. There’s a plot–but here’s where I run into trouble.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Related Work” – May 27

Letters from Gardner: Lou Antonelli’s collection is an interesting one. It’s part memoir, part short story collection, part writing advice, part I have no idea. It shows Antonelli’s development as a writer, some of the revision progress, and how influential some of those early rejections from Gardner Dozois were. It’s not necessarily my cuppa, but it’s not bad.

No Award: No Award continues to rear its ugly head. I read half of Wright’s Transhuman and Subhuman collection (approximately), and I bounced off of it. His essay on fiction writing directed at a nonfiction writing friend was fairly solid, but I had issues with the rest of what I read – mostly in that I disagree with much of what Wright has to say and his essay writing style does little to encourage me to continue reading even despite my disagreement. I can’t get into specifics here because each time I bounced off an essay, I moved onto the next. That said, he’s not wrong that Ulysses is a terrible book.

On the other hand, Wisdom from my Internet is truly a terrible book that has no place anywhere near this ballot. I can understand, more or less, why people may have enjoyed / appreciated Wright’s collection. I’m not his audience, but many people likely are. Michael Williamson’s collection of non-sequiturs and jokes is sort of organized by topic, but most are not at all entertaining and what, exactly it has to do with the field of science fiction and / or fantasy is completely beyond me. But it isn’t so much the lack of relation to SFF that gets me, it’s how bad the jokes are and how disinteresting the whole thing is. I may not think that Wright’s collection is worthy of an Award, but I don’t think Williamson’s should have been considered for nomination. I may never understand how or why it was….

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“There can be only one SNARL” – May 27

Where did such a foolish name as “Sad Puppies” come from? Larry apparently likes cutesy names; he was co-founder of a gunshop he named “Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns”. The gunshop went under, but the enduring flikr record of it shows racks of plastic-furnitured AK-47s, and glass cases with handguns lovingly laid out for display. “Sad Puppies” is a name derived from the kind of immature humor that wants to be irony when it grows up.

The idea for “Sad Puppies” pre-dates the Hugo kerfluffle. On Larry’s blog one of the first posts he tagged with “Sad Puppies” is a reactionary commentary-style rebuttal to a September 2009 POTUS speech to a joint session of congress, and the next is a similar reactionary commentary to the 2010 SOTU. So “Sad Puppies” in Larry’s mind is political in the strictest sense of the word. Yet somehow everyone else is really political people –whether they say so or not- and poor Larry is just trying to give his embattled writers the only chances available because he perceives them as having been shut out.  And the only way to get “his” writers a fair shake is to shut out any competing works that might try to leverage some unfair literati elitist advantage by not being crappy.

The reason the Sad puppies can pee all over the Hugo process is because of complacency in fandom. When I talk about complacency I am mostly talking about myself. I ask myself “How can you make good nominations when you haven’t read more than a dozen SF novellas this year?” The nice voters packet provides a guided reading list; the trufans have done the heavy lifting. So far this year there are over 9,000 voting members of worldcon, and membership is open for a few more days. For $40 you can get a vote and a nice electronic voting packet; unfortunately many of the stories in it are crap. Some of the Hugo nominations this year received less than 30 votes. There needs to be some way of bridging the complacency gap so the large numbers of fans who care enough to vote for a Hugo are presented with a couple choices worth voting for.  Perhaps that means I need to get off my rear and wade through the vast number of published SF/F stories to make recommendations and vote during the nomination process instead of waiting until after the nominations list is published.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“Let Me Explain… No, There Is Too Much. Let Me Sum Up.” – May 27

One of my questions when I started was why the Puppies chose these specific stories.  And after all that reading, I have to say that I still don’t know, and the statements of the Puppies themselves don’t really help.  Larry Correia wanted to nominate stories that would “make literati heads explode,” stories with right-wing themes that would anger SJWs (Super-Judgmental Werewolves?) when they appeared on the ballot.  But we’re very used to narratives of straight white men doing straight white manly things, and even seeing those stories nominated for Hugos.  It’s all just business as usual.  I don’t know about other people’s crania, but my head stayed firmly on my shoulders while I was reading — though it did slip toward the desk a few times, my eyes closing, thinking, Ho hum, another one …

Correia also rejected “boring message fiction” — but then how to explain John C. Wright’s Catholic apologia, or Tom Kratman’s push for more and more weaponry?  And his final explanation was that people were mean to him at a convention.  Okay, but why these stories?  Was putting us through all of this his idea of revenge?

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing J C Wright” – May 26

This is a parable told in the style of Kipling or of old Buddhist tales. It takes a mythology well known to the author and extends it into a second mirroring mythology like Zeno’s Paradox applied to christianity. It was clever and written well, if in a pre-Hemingway style, but overall not a story for me.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Artist: Reviewing N Aalto” – May 27

Ninni had two pieces included in the Hugo Voters packet. Both were very well drawn and nicely colored. Based on her online portfolio I like her style and find her work pleasing to the eye. I suspect there are some in jokes I don’t get but that’s the nature of being the best fan at something. In short, nicely done.

 

Katya Czaja

“Hugo Award: Professional Artist” – May 27

Ranking Julie Dillon stood out as the clear winner in this category.

1) Julie Dillon
2) Nick Greenwood
3) Allan Pollack
4) No Award
5) Carter Reid
6) Kirk DouPonce

 

 

 

13 Is A Lucky Number For Scalzi — So Is $3.4M

John Scalzi has signed a $3.4 million deal with Tor Books that covers his next 13 books the New York Times reports.

Some of the books will extend the popular “Old Man’s War” series, building on an existing audience, and one will be a sequel to “Lock In.” Mr. Scalzi said he hoped books like “Lock In” could draw more readers toward science fiction, since many, he said, are still “gun-shy” about the genre.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the executive editor for Tor, said the decision was an easy one. While Mr. Scalzi has never had a “No. 1 best seller,” he said, “he backlists like crazy.”

“One of the reactions of people reading a John Scalzi novel is that people go out and buy all the other Scalzi novels,” Mr. Hayden said.

Though busy celebrating, Scalzi did not neglect to send this cryptic tweet for no particular reason at all —

A Kerfuffle in Transylvania

Phil Foglio blogged how unhappy he is about the lack of communication from Tor concerning the future of the Girl Genius books.

Tor published a hardcover omnibus edition of Girl Genius collecting Phil and Kaja Foglio’s first three books in one volume. Afterwards the Foglios asked when the paperback would come out, and about doing a follow-up collection of the next several books in the series. They say a year went by with no response from their (unnamed) editor at Tor.  Even the Foglios’ agent couldn’t get an answer.

Phil ran into another Tor senior editor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, at the 2013 Worldcon and enlisted his help, but by autumn became impatient for action and frustrated that Nielsen Hayden also wasn’t answering e-mails. So in the January 29 post Phil not only teed off on Nielsen Hayden but asked everyone on the internet to join in voicing their disapproval on Patrick’s Facebook page. (Curiously, to him alone, still no mention of the editor actually working on Girl Genius.)

Today Patrick explained his side of things on Making Light, including the caveats he’d given Phil about his schedule.

What happened next? Well, despite what I said to Phil about not being in a position to help him until late November, September wasn’t even over before I began getting emails from Phil’s agent demanding that I deal with this and/or instruct Phil’s editor to deal with this—emails in which it was clear that, in Phil’s agent’s eyes, I was now Part Of Phil’s Problem At Tor.

And Patrick emphasized that the people at Tor who are the source of Phil’s complaint don’t report to him. Senior editors report to the publisher; Tor doesn’t have an editor-in-chief; Patrick is not the other editor’s boss. It does Phil no practical good to bury him in complaints.

Bottom line: As far as I can see, Phil’s problems with Tor are being dealt with now. Sending me dozens of angry emails isn’t going to get them dealt with any faster or better. If you want to send me email telling me I’m a craphead for not having answered Phil Foglio’s emails from late November to mid-January, okay, guilty as charged. But I’m not the guy on a golden throne proposing and disposing the actions of all the other senior editors at Tor.

The thing that struck me is how many writers I’ve heard agonize about how slowly the publishing process works – with every publisher. It takes forever to get a decision about a submission. When a book is accepted, it takes another year or three to grind through the editorial process and reach market. Writers fear that infinite patience is likely to be rewarded with maximum delay, but are also wary about doing much elbow-jogging and ending even worse off. Since Phil’s post goes well beyond elbow-jogging – a body slam is more like it, and on the wrong party — I wonder if Girl Genius still has a future at Tor or will the publisher cut the Foglios loose as Phil more or less seems to hope at this point:

I mention that we’ve been selling graphic novels fairly well for quite awhile, and that we’d cheerfully give them pointers. However, if they just can’t wrap their heads around it, which seems obvious since after three years they have yet to sell through the initial print run (We’d have done it in 16 months- and that’s with no advertising, which is a fair comparison, as they did no advertising either), then we’ll just sing a chorus of “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You”, and then we’ll publish them ourselves, because if there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s publish and sell Girl Genius graphic novels.

Brother from Another Planet

Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden are interviewed in the May issue of Locus. Amidst the congratulations at their blog Making Light, as Bill Higgins kindly points out, Patrick has added a link to this meditation, ultimately concerning a fanzine, by Brother Guy Consolmagno — “A letter to me at age 20″.

(Anticipatory endnote — MITSFS = MIT’s science fiction club.)

Monahan: Olympus 2012 Eastercon Report

By Jacq Monahan – TAFF Delegate 2012: From April 6-9, Olympus 2012 attendees convened at the Radisson Edwardian Heathrow for the 63rd Annual Eastercon (National British Science Fiction Convention). The venue lived up to its labyrinthine reputation by confusing everyone who checked in after they’d received their key card. I myself thought that I’d been given a gag room number that didn’t really exist. Then again, I’m a Yank, and that’s both a noun AND a verb.

All of the action (panels, bar, Art Room, Ops, Gopher Hole) happened on the third and fourth floors, accessible by marble staircases, elevators, and accident. It seems that one could find their way around by not looking for anything in particular and simply stumbling across the place they were looking for.

The four Guests of Honor (George R.R. Martin, Cory Doctorow, Paul Cornell, and Tricia Sullivan) were introduced at an Opening Ceremony where they shared the stage with Eastercon organizers and two Fan Guests of Honor (Margaret Austin and Martin Easterbrook).

Membership got attendees a badge with the descriptive name of their choice. Somehow I got the moniker TAFF Jacq, perhaps to differentiate me with fellow con-men FLAP and CAR. Other creative badges held names like Crazy Dave, Lost Car Park, and THE Anders.

A heavy bag accompanied the lanyard, and it contained two large paperback books, an Olympus mug and pen, programme books (two) and various flyers touting future conventions and publications. Locals were thrilled. Travelers wondered how they would stuff the extra 10 lbs. into already crammed suitcases for the return flight.

An entire third floor wall was dedicated to various other-con information. Most of the third floor, however, was taken up with the popular bar area, a place I christened Wasted Space. The name suited the activity that went on there – pints poured, shaved, and consumed at 4 pounds each – but the name was also quite literal. Most of the square footage was consumed by a large pond full of ceramic animals and fish, good for no other purpose than to gaze upon while being forced into closer proximity than one would like with fellow con-panions.

False indoor bridges gave the inebriated an extra sense of danger in maneuvering their way around the crowded-though-spacious, area.

The Dealers’ Room was full of books, jewelry, Beeblebears (at 29 pounds each, all 20 of them sold out) weapons, dragons, and even more books.

The Art Room featured a Fiji Mermaid, paranoid signs forbidding photographs, requisite female-only nudity in more than one painting, and fantasy sculptures left uncaptured for this report because of paranoid signs forbidding photographs.

The Green Room was where you’d go before your assigned panel to order a drink. The Gopher Hole was where you’d go if you suddenly lost your mind and was looking for frenzied organizational tasks to complete.  Lost was a place you found yourself several times during the first two days and it was always in a different location each time.

Ops was where you’d find people who eyed you warily as you entered. Were you heaving yet another complaint their way? Urgent problem? Logistical nightmare? These were the people with the Big Printout, who could unravel any mystery. One could virtually wither under their laser-like gaze and their heard-it-all-before pronouncements.

Panels – there were scores of them, covering fantasy, television, film, REAL science, GOH interviews and readings, a fan programme, and one constructed just for kids.

Of course the hotel’s largest meeting room, the Commonwealth, was reserved for the well-attended Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the George R.R. Martin and Cory Doctorow interviews and readings, and the notorious, traditional spoof that is Ian Sorenson’s play.

This year’s offering was Oliver, with a Twist, and starred Ian himself (in a dress) along with Yvonne Rowse, Julia Daly and Doug Spencer. There were parts for the TAFF and GUFF delegates, too, although it was rumored that Charles Dickens himself lobbied to have his name taken off the credits. Those brave enough to attend got enough laughs and groans to approximate a drunken revel, and soothe entire affair was deemed a rousing success by all.

GRRM, as he’s known, dominated the con with his reading of an excerpt from his unfinished The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his popular Ice and Fire series, telling the crowd that it all came to him “in a vision.”

Canadian Cory Doctorow was interviewed by his longtime publisher Patrick Nielsen Hayden (TAFF ’85) and opined on world affairs and the stoicism of Brits. Seems sometimes even the urbane Doctorow likes a good rant – he just wishes he’d get a little sympathy from his English counterparts.

Panel names ranged from the whimsical (Imaginary Gripe Session) to the uber-serious, real science-oriented (MER Rover Mission to Mars, Geo-engineering to Save the Planet, The Science of Rocket Science).

Gender Parity was a hot topic. Were females being equally, even adequately represented on panels? For example, Sex and Fantasy on TV featured five male panelists and only one female to fend off comments like, “I’ll never object to nude women on television” and “why do they have to show male full frontal?” These last two utterances were made by men. Surprise!

A Fan Programme introduced Fan Fund delegates to interested attendees and also offered an auction and Tombola Table for eager chance takers who seemed to toss their pound coins into the till for a chance to win the set of Dr. Who figures – 11 in all.

A Kids’ Programme featured Balloon Modeling, a Beads and Origami Workshop, How to Knit a Dalek, Parts 1 and 2, a Beeblebears’ Picnic, and Clay Creature Composition, in addition to an Easter Egg Hunt.

Panels on Film and TV were augmented by an eclectic group with titles like Training Horses for Film Work, Tips for Playing Scrabble, Podcast Workshop, and Sufficiently Advanced Magic.

A movie room screened Minority Report, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Galaxy Quest, and assorted shorts (not the wearable kind, mind you).

There was a Disco, a Masquerade (the Wirrm from a Dr. Who episode won the Award), a Red Planet LARP, hours of Filking, and even dance lessons for the incredibly brave or alcohol-fueled.

BSFA Awards were announced (Chris Priest controversy aside) and Hugo Nominations netted congratulations for attendees Claire Brialey, Mark Plummer, and James Bacon.

The con sold out before it opened – a rare occurrence – with nearly 1,400 souls meandering about the confusing corridors of the Radisson at any given moment. You could say that the experience added to the exploratory and discovery experience of the event if you were so inclined.

You could say that Eastercon Olympus 2012 was a smashing success and you’d be correct, if only you could find the right hallway to take you to tell someone about it.

Tracking Withdrawals from the 2012 Hugos

A number of past and present Hugo winners, out of a gracious desire to share the wealth, have already announced they will not accept an award nomination in 2012 for a specific category.

Inevitably, these kinds of announcements get distorted in the retelling. Or somebody will post what they wish the person had said, not what they really said. I’ve already seen this happening though Renovation was just last month!

That’s why I thought it would be helpful to run down the correct information about four prior nominees whose real or rumored withdrawals from the 2012 Hugos have made news. Here is their verified status:

Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius (2012 withdrawal)
Best Professional Editor, Long Form: David Hartwell (permanent withdrawal from this category only)
Best Semiprozine: Clarkesworld (2012 withdrawal)

Also, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who withdrew from the Best Professional Editor, Long Form category in 2011, says he has yet to make up his mind about 2012 — therefore he has not withdrawn as of this writing.

Girl Genius: Phil Foglio must wonder how he could have made it any more clear, with a public announcement at the 2011 Hugo ceremonies, followed by online comic explaining that the decision to bow out affects next year alone.

David G. Hartwell: The popular editor wants everyone to understand he has pulled out of only one category:

I want this to be very clear. I withdrew from one category only, Best Editor Long Form, permanently. I would very much like to be nominated again in Best Editor Short Form, and for NYRSF (or any other category). But I felt after all these years, and finally three wins in four years, that I should withdraw permanently from Best Editor Long Form, as long as it remains a category. And I am pleased to see the way the category has opened up to younger talent.

Neil Clarke, Clarkesworld Magazine: The outspoken champion of the semiprozine category, whose zine won the Hugo in 2010 and 2011, said he wants to see new titles on the ballot:  

Yes, Clarkesworld is withdrawing itself from consideration in 2012. The category has suffered from a history of serial nominees and winners and after two consecutive wins, I felt this was the right thing to do. In stepping down, I hope to encourage people to put their support behind one of the many semiprozines that have never been nominated. There are a lot of worthy candidates. The ballot has been reflecting more of that recently and it’s a trend I’d like to see continue.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: Patrick withdrew from the Best Professional Editor, Long Form category in 2011 but there’s a reason he has yet to make a decision about 2012:

My only real public statement on the matter was while actually accepting the 2010 Hugo on stage in Melbourne — I said, roughly, that since my colleague David Hartwell and I had now split the four-so-far “Editor Long Form” awards between us, I was going to withdraw from the category in 2011 in order to make sure some other editors got their long-overdue recognition. I meant to write a post on Making Light repeating this, but I never got around to it.

I didn’t commit to withdrawing from the category beyond 2011, and to be honest I haven’t actually made up my mind what I’m going to do next year. I do have one remaining major-SF-award ambition, which is to win a Hugo or something equally whooshy when Teresa is actually in the room. I’ve won a World Fantasy Award and two Hugos, all of them at overseas conventions that Teresa didn’t attend. 

Not that I’m presuming I would automatically make the ballot in future years. As I pointed out to my assistant Liz Gorinsky at the post-Hugos party in Reno, she got the second largest number of nominations, trailing only Lou Anders who actually won. Liz got significantly more nominations than either David or me, and over twice as many as any of the other five runners-up. “That’s crazy,” Liz said. “Hey, numbers don’t lie,” I said. “That’s crazy. That’s crazy. That’s crazy,” was all she would say.

(It is actually a matter of non-trivial pride to me that in 2010, Liz and I were both on the ballot — the first time an editor and his-or-her assistant have been shortlisted for the same Hugo award. In 2010, Liz was also the youngest-ever finalist in any of the editor categories, a record previously set by 31-year-old Jim Baen in 1975.)

[Thanks to Neil Clarke, David G. Hartwell, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, for their comments. ]

SFContario Comes to Toronto in 2010

SFContario will gather sf fans in downtown Toronto over the November 19-21 weekend in 2010 for a “big tent” type of convention offering guests of honor Michael Swanwick, author of Bones of the Earth and winner of five Hugo awards; Karen Linsley, writer and performer of the Mars Society anthem “Pioneers of Mars”; Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden; and Geri Sullivan.

The full press release follows the jump.

[Thanks to Murray Moore for the story.]

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“30” Is Not the End of This Story

While rereading DNQ #16 I came across the announcement of Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s marriage on March 23, 1979. Being a whiz at basic arithmetic, I promptly realized they recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. Needless to say, they marked the date. Congratulations! And the same to those other March 1979 newlyweds, Bruce Gillespie and Elaine Cochrane. Many more joyous years to you all.

Tor.com Hacked

Patrick Nielsen Hayden announced to Tor.com readers that the site was hacked, a post defaced with a threatening message, and a few other alterations made. Everything is now restored.

The break-in was most likely accomplished by means of a vulnerability in Joomla, our content-management system, which was first discussed in public on Tuesday and patched on the same day; in other words, the intruder took advantage of a very brief window of opportunity.

Boy, do I sympathize. One of the most frustrating things about blogging is this kind of attack. I haven’t fallen prey to a hacker, but the relentless spam is bad enough. Every day I delete dozens of bogus comments full of malicious links, a very boring “one-person-shooter” game. Waging technological war against a robot army is not the science fictional experience I want from this blog.