Pixel Scroll 8/11/17 “Scrollpathy for the Pixel” By The Scrolling Stones

(1) RECORD LONGEVITY. Who knew?

Or as Paul Mackintosh says at Teleread: “Hugo Awards get their own award – from the Guinness Book of World Records”.

In the course of Worldcon 75, the organizers have just announced that “the Hugo Awards have been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running science fiction award.”

(2) HUGO VOTING STATISTICS. If you haven’t already seen them, here’s where you can download the reports.

(3)  IT CAUSES ME TO TINGLE. Chuck knew it all along. And had a book ready to go.

(4) BONUS WOMBAT COVERAGE. She dared to enter the Hugo Losers Party.

(5) HUGO VOTING ELIGIBILITY CHANGE. Something else passed at the business meeting —

(6) WORLDCON 75 DAILY NEWZINE. The Worldcon daily zine reports there were 4,759 visitors on Day 1. Who knows what other tidbits you’ll find in the issues linked here?

(7) ANOTHER BRILLIANT OBSERVATION. From a W75 panel:

Er, were we really that reluctant we were to being saved by heroes played by William Shatner and Lorne Greene?

(8) THE WATCHER. Jo Lindsay Walton shares sightings of “Power Couples of WorldCon: A Field Guide”.

Malcolm Devlin and Helen Marshall. Travellers to antique lands frequently flock to Shelley’s two vast and trunkless legs of stone. But why not squint up with the locals into the desert firmament azure, where hover two vast and trunkless arms of flame, Helen and Malcolm?

(9) CYCLIC HISTORY. Ah yes. Those who don’t know the lessons of fanhistory are doomed to repeat them. As are those who do know them.

(10) WIZARDLY INTERIOR DÉCOR. The Evening Standard knows where to find it: “Primark works its magic with a new Harry Potter collection”.

Witches and wizards the world over will rejoice this week at the news that Primark has announced it will be introducing a Harry Potter range to its stores in honour of the famous book series’ 20th anniversary.

The high street retailer, which is famed for its bargains, has created an official range of clothing, stationery and home accessories in line with the wizarding theme which will be available in shops from next week.

Fans of the fantasy world will be able to pick up everything from potion shaped fairy lights (£8) to cauldron mugs (£6) with some items costing as little as £2.

The wait will finally be over for those after their Hogwarts acceptance letter too, which can be bought on a cushion for £4 and whether you’re a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, you’ll be able to pick up a pair of pyjamas in your house colours for just £6.

(11) BANK WITH THE BARD. Here’s what the world has been waiting for: “Batman 1966 Shakespeare Bust Bank”.

To the Batpoles! This awesome 20? tall replica of the Shakespeare bust from the 1966 Batman TV series doubles as a coin bank. Like the prop, the coin slot (along with the customary dial and button) is hidden inside the bust’s neck. See it unboxed on video here.

(12) WALKING DEAD CREATOR ANKLES TO AMAZON. From io9: “Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman Leaving AMC, Signs New TV Deal With Amazon”.

The Walking Dead has been a big money-making success at AMC, pulling in an impressive amount of viewers for the network. But Skybound—the entertainment company founded by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman—just announced that Amazon will be the home of all their new TV content moving forward.

(13) COMIC SECTION. Chip Hitchcock found more on autonomous cars in Arctic Circle.

(14) THE TRUE SIGN OF QUALITY. Camestros Felapton (or was it Timothy?) put his marketing and design skills to the test.

(15) NUCLEAR FREE ZONE. The South China Morning Post makes an appeal: “If Trump must start a nuclear war, at least let us finish Game of Thrones first”.

I’m not worried about American lives above everyone else’s – hopefully nobody has to die because of two unhinged custodians of nuclear power taking brinkmanship too far – but there is one American who must be kept safe, no matter what.

I’m talking about George R. R. Martin, the author of the epic fantasy book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, better known to most people as Game of Thrones, the HBO hit series that is, hands down, the best show on TV these days.

… But if you’ve read the books, you’ll agree that the TV show is not a patch on Martin’s writing and sheer storytelling genius. He makes The Lord of the Rings look like a slow ride to grandma’s cottage. George R.R. Martin is J. R.R. Tolkien on steroids, and then some.

(16) LOST LIGHT. Electric Lit talks to someone who has seen Octavia Butler’s papers at the Huntington: “Now More than Ever, We Wish We Had These Lost Octavia Butler Novels”

In 2006, Butler died of a stroke outside her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington. Her many papers now reside at the Huntington, a private library in San Marino, California. Curator Natalie Russell describes the collection as including “8,000 manuscripts, letters and photographs and an additional 80 boxes of ephemera.”

On display there now are numerous treasures, including working manuscript pages from The Parable of the Sower covered in her brightly colored notes: “More Sharing; More Sickness; More Death; More Racism; More Hispanics; More High Tech.”

There are the beautiful, bold affirmations that recently went viral online, which she wrote to frame her motives for writing: “Tell Stories Filled With Facts. Make People Touch and Taste and KNOW. Make People FEEL! FEEL! FEEL!” On one page of her journals she visualized the success that she desired: “I am a Bestselling Writer. I write Bestselling Books And Excellent Short Stories. Both Books and Short Stories win prizes and awards.”

But what is not on public view are the drafts?—?the things she had hoped to write someday and never did, including The Parable of the Trickster.

Scholar Gerry Canavan described getting a look at that work-in-progress for the LA Review of Books in 2014:

Last December I had the improbable privilege to be the very first scholar to open the boxes at the Huntington that contain what Butler had written of Trickster before her death. What I found were dozens upon dozens of false starts for the novel, some petering out after twenty or thirty pages, others after just two or three; this cycle of narrative failure is recorded over hundreds of pages of discarded drafts. Frustrated by writer’s block, frustrated by blood pressure medication that she felt inhibited her creativity and vitality, and frustrated by the sense that she had no story for Trickster, only a “situation,” Butler started and stopped the novel over and over again from 1989 until her death, never getting far from the beginning.

The novel’s many abandoned openings revolve around another woman, Imara, living on an Earthseed colony in the future on a planet called “Bow,” far from Earth. It is not the heaven that was hoped for, but “gray, dank, and utterly miserable.” The people of Bow cannot return to Earth and are immeasurably homesick. Butler wrote in a note, “Think of our homesickness as a phantom-limb pain?—?a somehow neurologically incomplete amputation. Think of problems with the new world as graft-versus-host disease?—?a mutual attempt at rejection.”

(17) NEVERTHELESS. Mindy Klasky has put together an anthology by Book View Café authors, “Nevertheless, She Persisted”. It has released in July Here’s the table of contents.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Those were the words of Mitch McConnell after he banned Senator Elizabeth Warren from speaking on the floor of the United States Senate. In reaction to the bitter partisanship in Trump’s United States of America, nineteen Book View Café authors celebrate women who persist through tales of triumph—in the past, present, future, and other worlds.

From the halls of Ancient Greece to the vast space between stars, each story illustrates tenacity as women overcome challenges—from society, from beloved family and friends, and even from their own fears. These strong heroines explore the humor and tragedy of persistence in stories that range from romance to historical fiction, from fantasy to science fiction.

From tale to tale, every woman stands firm: a light against the darkness.

Table of Contents:

  • “Daughter of Necessity” by Marie Brennan
  • “Sisters” by Leah Cutter
  • “Unmasking the Ancient Light” by Deborah J. Ross
  • “Alea Iacta Est” by Marissa Doyle
  • “How Best to Serve” from A Call to Arms by P.G. Nagle
  • “After Eden” by Gillian Polack
  • “Reset” by Sara Stamey
  • “A Very, Wary Christmas” by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
  • “Making Love” by Brenda Clough
  • “Den of Iniquity” by Irene Radford
  • “Digger Lady” by Amy Sterling Casil
  • “Tumbling Blocks” by Mindy Klasky
  • “The Purge” by Jennifer Stevenson
  • “If It Ain’t Broke” by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
  • “Chataqua” by Nancy Jane Moore
  • “Bearing Shadows” by Dave Smeds
  • “In Search of Laria” by Doranna Durgin
  • “Tax Season” by Judith Tarr
  • “Little Faces” by Vonda N. McIntyre

(18) RECOMMENDED TO PRODUCERS. Observation Deck tells “Why Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Should Be the Next Game of Thrones”

Fritz Leiber, a science fiction and fantasy author, wrote a story in 1939 called “Two Sought Adventure” starring Fafhrd, a large barbarian from the frozen North, and the Gray Mouser, a taciturn thief. Soon, Leiber realized he could use these characters to not only poke fun at the Conan the Barbarian-type stories that pervaded fantasy magazines, but to also construct his own fantasy world and deconstruct a various number of characters and tropes.

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser sold their services to anyone with the right coin — more importantly, Mouser was a former member of the Thieves’ Guild and would often go up against his former employers. But they also went on adventures due to bets or because they wanted to have a bit of fun. Sometimes they got into trouble because of drink or because of women — they were often subject to the Cartwright Curse, where their love interests ended up dead by the end of the story. However, later stories gave both of them long-term girlfriends, even if one of them was, uh, a big unconventional.*

* One of Mouser’s girlfriends was Kreeshka, a ghoul, whose skin and organs are all invisible. Which means she looks like an animated skeleton. Whatever you do, don’t think about their sex life.

(19) BUGS, ZILLIONS OF ‘EM.  Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars trailer #3:

(20) SHOOTING AND BLOWING UP. Kingsman 2 trailer #3 TV spot.

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Lee Whiteside, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Pixel Scroll 4/15/16 Barkleby

AKA Dogless In The Arena

(1) WHERE NEXT TREK FITS IN. IGN reports

Birth.Movies.Death.’s sources are saying that the CBS All Access show will be set in the classic continuity, which is to say not in the J.J. Abrams reboot-verse. Additionally, Season 1 of the series will be set before the era of The Next Generation, but after the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. That covers a lot of years, and BMD’s report is not specific beyond that, but essentially what this means is that the era that could be covered spanned the time of the Enterprise-B (the one captained initially by Cameron from Ferris Bueller!) and the Enterprise-C (the one that was destroyed defending a Klingon outpost, as we learned in the classic TNG episode ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’). Not that an Enterprise will figure into the show necessarily…

(2) THE CHECK STOPS HERE. Scott Edelman’s Eating the Fantastic with Andy Duncan, Episode 6 of the series, unfolds at the Princess Cafe in the same booth where Harry and Bess Truman had lunch one Father’s Day more than 60 years ago.

Andy Duncan and Scott Edelman.

Andy Duncan and Scott Edelman.

Andy’s an award-winning writer many times over, having won a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, a Nebula Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. Plus he’s also been nominated for the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards. His collections include Beluthahatchie and Other Stories (which came out in 2000) and The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories (published in 2011).

(3) BEHIND THE THRONES. Maureen Dowd interviewed Peter Dinklage for the New York Times “Dinklage and Dragons: Will Tyrion Win the ‘Game of Thrones’?” And blabbed a secret.

So now that the global hit — Season 6 starts in two weeks — has brought his character, the wily and louche “halfman” and “perverse little imp” Tyrion Lannister, into the sun-baked realm of Daenerys Targaryen, was it fun to act with the dragons? Or were they temperamental divas who chewed — or incinerated — the scenery?

“They’re not real,” he says, looking at me solemnly with his big, droopy blue eyes.

Whaaaaa? I am shocked, given the C.I.A.-level secrecy around the HBO show — which has sometimes confiscated extras’ cellphones and this year declined to provide the press with episodes in advance — that Dinklage would let such a huge spoiler slip out. (On a less top-secret note, HBO plans to make a comedy pilot inspired by my book “Are Men Necessary?”)

“The dragons are just a projection,” Dinklage says in his melodious baritone. “Ah, working with something that is not there. Sometimes I work with some actors who aren’t fully there. The guys in the visual effects department show you pre-visualizations, pre-vis. It used to be just storyboards, but now they’re really well done on computers, and you see the whole scene with you and the animated dragons before you do it, so you get that in your head. It’s neat. It’s cool. I like it.”

(4) A CENTURY OF FORRY. Monsterpalooza, April 22-24 at the Pasadena Convention Center, will feature a Forry Ackerman centennial panel on Sunday afternoon.

Forry 100th at MonsterPalooza

(5) TELEREAD COVERS HWA CONTROVERSY. Paul St. John Mackintosh, in “Horror Writers Association endures horrific meltdown over Bram Stoker Awards juror”, catches up on the David A. Riley story at TeleRead.

Riley, meanwhile, protested on his blog that: “It has been alleged by some people that I would be prejudiced against anything written or published or edited by non-white writers/publishers/editors. Utter twaddle. Yes, I am so prejudiced that I have paid for covers on two of the books I have published by Vincent Chong – one of my favourite artists. I am also in an advanced stage of negotiating with a black British writer to publish a collection of his stories.” Following that comment, the same Facebook respondent also posted: “That’s like saying I’m not racist I HAVE A BLACK FRIEND.”

Since I’ve found that my own past writings on the previous Riley controversy are being quoted in this context – as somehow “less negative than most” – I want to be quite clear where I stand on this go-round. Editorship of a revived horror anthology franchise is a totally different ball game to serving on a jury for a major award. Lisa Morton may say that “in specific regard to HWA’s Bram Stoker Award juries, the HWA will certainly act if/when a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works,” but I can’t see how a juror’s potential bias can not be an issue when appointing them to an awards jury. Would some worthy candidates boycott the Awards simply because Riley is on the jury? It’s already happened. Would the Stokers be tarnished by association? Ditto.

(6) ON THE BOTTOM. The BBC has pictures: “Film’s lost Nessie monster prop found in Loch Ness”.

A 30ft (9m) model of the Loch Ness Monster built in 1969 for a Sherlock Holmes movie has been found almost 50 years after it sank in the loch.

The beast was created for the Billy Wilder-directed The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, starring Sir Robert Stephens and Sir Christopher Lee.

It has been seen for the first time in images captured by an underwater robot.

Loch Ness expert Adrian Shine said the shape, measurements and location pointed to the object being the prop.

The robot, operated by Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime, is being used to investigate what lies in the depths of Loch Ness.

(7) INVENTED LANGUAGES. John Garth reviews A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages , edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins, is published by HarperCollins, in “Teach yourself Dwarvish: behind Tolkien’s invented languages” at New Statesman.

It is only thanks to a talk that he gave in 1931 at his Oxford college, Pembroke, that we have his considered thoughts on language invention. From its title, “A Secret Vice”, onwards, he strikes a note of embarrassment: “I may be like an opium-smoker seeking a moral or medical or artistic defence for his habit.”

It was indeed a long-standing obsession. Although the editors of this new critical edition place his earliest inventions in his mid-teens, Tolkien told one interviewer that he began when he was eight or nine. His talk is a vigorous defence of the “hobby” and, with the support of the background commentaries provided by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins, it becomes clear that the invention of languages has been a surprisingly widespread activity. A Secret Vice is a thoroughly engaging introduction for the outsider.

Tolkien describes hearing a fellow officer in a dull First World War army lecture exclaim dreamily, “Yes, I think I shall express the accusative case by a prefix!” Whether or not this is Tolkien in fictional guise, the scene is nicely conjured. “How far he ever proceeded in his composition, I never heard. Probably he was blown to bits in the very moment of deciding upon some ravishing method of indicating the subjunctive. Wars are not favourable to delicate pleasures.”

(8) GUNN REVIEWED BY LETSON. Russell Letson reviews Transgalactic by James Gunn for Locus Online.

…On one hand, SF traditionally sees itself as celebrating New Things so new that they haven’t even happened yet. On the other hand, there are the alternate history and steampunk subgenres (the latter of which quite deliberately adapts SF motifs and grafts them onto historical settings), so there is clearly an audience for retro-flavored entertainments.

And in any case, SF has worked and reworked its core materials since before the genre even had a name. With space opera, work by, say, Neal Asher, Iain M. Banks, Nancy Kress, Linda Nagata, or Walter Jon Williams is part of a tradition that goes back to E.E. ‘‘Doc’’ Smith and extends through Edmond Hamilton, Jack Williamson, Poul Anderson, and Jack Vance. Its story-space is a galaxy populated by exotic alien species, containing one or more star-spanning polities, possibly with a dizzyingly deep history. It is a setting made for explorations, intrigues, alien encounters, and wars – arguably a futureward projection of the condition of an Earth that still had blank spaces on the map, unknown peoples and societies, and tramp steamers to visit them.

This brings me to Transgalactic, the sequel to James Gunn’s Transcendental (reviewed in December 2013), which maintains its predecessor’s backward looks at earlier genre motifs and atmospherics. Transcendental echoes Olaf Stapledon in its embedded pilgrim-tales of alien evolutionary paths and ends with scenery and action right out of the SF-pulp version of lost-city adventures. Transgalactic continues that latter line, interleaving images and gestures from earlier cycles of science-fictional storytelling with more contemporary devices and shaping the whole concoction into an old-fashioned interstellar odyssey. …

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 15, 1983 — New-wave sci-fi classic Liquid Sky debuts in theaters.

(10) POPCORN WILL BE SOLD. Film exhibitors were courted at CinemaCon. Variety has the details — “Warner Bros. Offers ‘Wonder Woman’ Footage, Touts ‘Expansive’ DC Comics Universe”.

Warner Bros. talked up the “expansive” nature of the DC Comics cinematic universe during a presentation to exhibitors at CinemaCon on Tuesday, while debuting footage from “Wonder Woman” that highlighted the Amazonian warrior princess beating up a platoon of World War I soldiers. There was also a brief glimpse of love interest Chris Pine atop a motorcycle, as well as Wonder Woman using her shield to deflect gunfire, and riding a horse, sword drawn and ready for action…

The DC presentation ended on a high note with an ebullient Will Smith and the cast of “Suicide Squad,” a film about a team of super villains, taking the stage.

“What if Superman decided to fly down, rip off the roof of the White House and grab the president right out of the Oval Office,” a character asks in the extended trailer shown to the audience, setting up the film’s stakes. “Who would stop him?” The answer was a rag-tag group of amoral avengers, brought together by shadowy government operatives looking for an edge in a world of metahumans.

Smith promised that “Suicide Squad” will “fill those theaters up real thick,” while director and writer David Ayer pledged that “thirsty, hungry people are going to show up.”

(11) BYE KITTY. Rachel Swirsky bids “Farewell to Carrie Vaughn’s urban fantasy series about a werewolf named Kitty”.

Poor Kitty Norville. Everyone always laughs at the werewolf named Kitty, even though, as she points out, she had the name first.

I’ve read every single one of Carrie Vaughn’s urban fantasy series staring a werewolf named Kitty. So, of course, just like Mary Robinette’s Glamourist Histories and John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, Carrie’s books ended last year.

The best one is book four. It packs a hell of a punch…

(12) STAR PROJECT. SFWA’s latest Star Project is By the Silver Wind by Jess E. Owen.

Fair winds to you!

If you’re already a member of the Gryfon Pride, please, make yourself comfortable, find a mossy rock to lounge, or go explore the amazing rewards for this, the campaign to fund the final volume of the Summer King Chronicles.

To those who are new, welcome! You’ve entered the world of the Silver Isles, where gryfons rule, dragons roam, ravens riddle, and wolves sing. I hope you’ll stay and become a member of the Pride!

The SFWA Blog explains:

This is a model Kickstarter for all self-published professionals. Congratulations!

SFWA makes small, targeted pledges to worthy Kickstarter projects by non-members, designating them  “SFWA Star Projects.” Projects are selected by the Self Publishing Committee, with coordination by volunteer Rob Balder. Selections are based on the project’s resonance with SFWA’s exempt purposes, and special preference is given to book-publishing projects in appropriate genres.

Funds for these pledges come from the SFWA Givers Fund. When pledges result in receiving donor rewards (such as signed books), these items will be auctioned off at fundraising events, to help replenish the Givers Fund.

The project has 10 days left in its campaign. All support is appreciated.

(13) 55 YEARS AGO IN THE UK. Galactic Journey’s overseas corresponded Ashley Pollard delivers “[April 15, 1961] London Calling (A Peek At UK Fandom)”.

Now a Red star has risen in the East — Vostok — aboard the ship is the first human in space: Major Yuri Gagarin, who is now a Hero of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and by extension a hero for all mankind.  The local prestige of our former wartime allies had plunged due to the recent discovery and capture of the Portland Spy Ring, causing ripples of concern over secrets lost, so having Major Gagarin take over the headlines has been welcome change — if only from one kind of paranoia to another: Reds with atomic secrets versus Reds in Space!  And because it turns my liking for all things to do with rocketry into a respectable talking point at parties.

Certainly, Thursday nights conversation at The London Circle, a meeting of like minded science fiction fans, was of nothing else.  (The London Circle was the basis for Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart.  I will not be drawn into the recent fan feud that has split the group because I attend for the absence of the pub and the chance to have a G&T with ice and a slice. How very non-fannish of me.)

Of course, this being Britain, we had to draw comparisons to Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass Experiment and the British Experimental Rocket Group and what happened to the hapless astronaut to leaven the concerns of those who see Soviet dominance in space as threat to World Peace.

As you can well imagine our conversations were more along the lines of aliens returning to Earth with Major Gagarin, and what would the Russian counter-part of Bernard Quatermass do?

(14) CHARITABLE COSPLAY. Will R. writes, “There seems to be a real thing over here–maybe it’s true in the States too–of people cosplaying for good (not to say cosplaying isn’t good for its own sake, I just mean explicitly to help others). We watched a doc one night on Star Wars cosplayers, who invest thousands in being Boba Fett or whatever, and do a lot of charity events in costume. It’s cool. Real heroes, you ask me.”

BelfastLive reports on one example — “Batman swoops into Northern Ireland Hospice to make patient’s dream come true”.

Batman swooped in from Gotham City to make a super fan’s dream come true – and share some crime-fighting secrets.

Northern Ireland Hospice patient Gary Owen – a self-confessed Dark Knight fanatic – received a very special visit from his hero today.

Gary, who is 28 and comes from Newcastle Co Down, chatted for more than an hour with the man in black, discussing movies, comics, Batman gadgets, and how to deal with villains.

The caped crusader brought special gifts from Forbidden Planet Belfast and exclusive Batman vs Superman merchandise – before Gary and his family watched The Dark Knight Rises movie.

A spokesman for Northern Ireland Hospice told Belfast Live: “Gary’s passion for Batman and super-heroes was obvious to Northern Ireland Hospice nursing staff and inspired them to create a special memory for him and his loving family.

“We created a cinema in the Day Hospice for Gary and family to watch the Dark Knight Rises, and Batman came in with gifts and comics.

“He and Gary chatted as if they had known each other for a long time. It is occasions like this that make lasting memories for families….”

 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will R. and Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little.]

HWA on Bram Stoker Award Jury Controversy

Horror Writers of America President Lisa Morton responded on Facebook to the public controversy about a Bram Stoker Award jury member’s political views.

I have asked both HWA’s Board of Trustees and the chair of our Diverse Works Inclusion Committee to advise on a recent situation surrounding a member who is serving on a Bram Stoker Award jury who holds certain political views. After considerable discussion and research, here is the official response:

The HWA does not support discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on political views. Not only is this form of discrimination specifically illegal in a number of U.S. states, HWA’s Board of Trustees also does not believe it’s in keeping with our principle of supporting and practicing freedom of expression. In specific regard to HWA’s Bram Stoker Award juries, the HWA will certainly act if/when a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works.

Thank you to everyone who has voiced concern over this issue, especially those who have taken the time to contact me privately.

David A. Riley announced on his blog last week that he had joined the Bram Stoker Award Jury for anthologies. Some colleagues took issue, asserting Riley is a white supremacist who was once part of the UK’s National Front.

The HWA appointment became news at a point when questions were already being asked of Riley due to his involvement in the relaunch of Weirdbook. Riley reportedly answered in a no-longer-available Facebook thread. The davidandrewrileyisafascist Tumblr hosts a screeshot of the comment, which says in part:

I think I need to put the record straight. Yes, I was in the National Front for ten year from 1973 to the middle of 1983. During that time I never regarded the party as fascist, though it did have minority elements within it that undoubtedly were. …I have never regarded myself as a fascist, and certainly not a nazi. The term ‘white supremacist’ is one I don’t recognise and certainly repudiate. If you saw me associating with my ethnically diverse neighbours in Bulgaria you would not level that at me then. I know this will not convince some people, and, quite honestly, I accept that….

The relationship between Riley’s past political views and organizing activity, and his current views, and whether he should be serving on a HWA awards jury, are now subjects of intense discussion. HWA President Morton’s statement indicates no action will be taken unless “a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works.”

Paul St. John Mackintosh’s take on Riley is less negative than most — “The other current genre controversy: The David A. Riley Feud” at TeleRead.

I chose some words carefully there because, as may be obvious, I think the most charitable interpretation that can be put on this is that Riley must have been exceptionally naive to conclude that the NF wasn’t racist or fascistic in its tendencies from the start. I certainly had no such illusions growing up in the UK in the 1970s. Even if there was definite infiltration by more extreme neo-Nazis during the 1970s, the party was founded with the aid of such delightful people as the Racial Preservation Society to oppose immigration and multiculturalism in Britain.

That said, Riley left the NF and is no longer associated with it – to my knowledge at least – or to any active right-wing group, and again, as far as I know, doesn’t project significantly racist views in his current work, even to whatever degree H.P. Lovecraft did in his. (Although for some possible past concerns, see here.) Quite a few significant writers of impeccable left-wing pedigree, including Samuel R. Delany and Charles Stross, are still his friends on Facebook. Maybe they’ll change their minds now, but we’ll see. I’m one too, for now, partly to keep track of what’s going on, but also because after what happened, I feel like making a stand on the issue of personal conscience here….

Plus, if Riley can’t turn around and repent his past follies, what hope is there for any of us? Maybe he hasn’t – but quite enough people seem to have concluded that once a fascist always a fascist, and damned him eternally. And Riley’s verdict on his own past may have been less than 100 percent convincing, but others obviously didn’t wait to read that before condemning him. And for opponents of virulent racism and poisonous attitudes, there are enough all-too-live and current targets to go after, without dredging up moribund and past ones.

Nick Mamatas classifies Riley as a fascist and contends he should be removed from the awards jury.

Some notes on the recent drama in the Horror Writers Association (of which I am no longer a member) and their appointment of fascist David A Riley to the award jury. This is a public post. My FB is not normally public….

1a. Liberals confuse this idea with a broader idea that unpleasant people are unpleasant and thus should be excluded from pleasant activities. This is the core of the slippery slope arguments around no-platforming. If the answer to “Where does it end?” isn’t “Where it begins; with fascism”, the argument to no-platform will never be consistently won, especially in groups like HWA, which have intrinsic and correct allegiances to freedom of expression and diversity of thought. The sad fact of this political juncture is that neither the mainstream liberal or conservative factions are interested in free expression—only the smarter elements of the far left and the less stupid bits of the libertarian right are. Fascism is a particular and singular exception, and even then, the state should not be involved in limiting speech—it’s up to activists to militantly defend creative milieux against fascism….

3. What’s the harm? Editors and publishers submit work to the jury. One need not be HWA members to submit work. I’ve submitted stories by Japanese authors, and my Japanese anthologies as a whole, in past years. Why would I do that if I know that one of the members considers Asians to be necessarily inferior? I was also published in an anthology called CALEDONIA DREAMIN’ with a theme of celebrating the Scots language, a few years ago—why submit work from that book to a juror who belongs to a group that believes that Scottish independence is a trick by EU “string-pullers” and “traitors” in Westminster, and that the Scots language is illegitimate? Fascists make bad jury members for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who ever noticed names like, oh, “Klein” on their bookshelves.

(Mamatas also feels people who quote his post should oblige by plugging his book The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools.)

Many writers have commented on Lisa Morton’s open Facebook thread. Usman Tanveer Malik and Kate Jonez thoughtfully expressed divergent viewpoints.

Usman Tanveer Malik:

The HWA is a supposedly professional For Writers entity, correct? How can an organization that professes non-discrimination ascertain that a person with a history of fascism will not be biased when it comes to making selections from works of potential merit? Like Nick Mamatas points out, why should I as a writer or editor submit my work to a jury that has doubled down on including and retaining a known white supremacist–esp. when any psychologist will tell you bias and human error creep into every operative system? The bigger the bias, the more unstable the operation and the more suspect the results. Moreover, by excusing the past history of a supremacist/fascist and allowing them a position of power, the message we’re sending is quite clear: we the organization are condoning such behavior and actors of such behavior.

Kate Jonez:

I am just a member so my opinion is just that. I am on the diversity committee and have volunteered for other jobs in the HWA I encourage others to join and work for what you think the organization should be. I would very much like to see a documented racist removed from the jury. I just don’t see how to do it.

Free speech is tricky territory. It always has been. To believe in it, a person has to hear a lot of crap that he or she would rather not. As a private organization the HWA could remove any member or juror they choose. As an HWA member I would very much like that all racists be out of the organization. I’d really like them to be removed from the US… the world.

Like many other organizations the HWA has chosen to support free speech. This forces them to accept situations that many members would prefer not to accept. The HWA can and has removed jurors who can be documented as instigating violence or making threats, but vetting jurors’ political background is outside the scope of a writers’ organization. Who else should be removed? Should the HWA remove people who’ve spoken out against Syrian refugees, anyone who has a negative position on Affirmative Action, anyone been accused or convicted of domestic violence, anyone who has voted against gay marriage? I personally would be happy never to hear opinions from people holding these views. I don’t think people who think this way are capable of making informed decisions any more that white supremacist/fascists are. I believe many HWA members feel the same way. Unfortunately, that’s not how free speech works. How do you get rid of abhorrent ideas and maintain intellectual freedom? I truly would like an answer to this.

Hugos v. Locus Awards: Which Gets The Most Votes?

The claim “Over the decades the Locus Awards have often drawn more voters than the Hugos and Nebulas combined” is repeated by Paul St. John Mackintosh in his latest article “Locus Awards finalists show the power of open voting”.

The claim is quoted from the SF Awards Database. While true in past years, therefore still true in a literal historical sense, the statement does not represent the current state of affairs.

We’re all interested in the outcome of a readers poll where there is no charge to vote, however, it has now been many years since the number of ballots cast for the Locus Award was even close to the number cast for the Hugos.

Locus Award Votes Hugo Award Final Votes
2008 1,012 895
2009 662 1,074
2010 680 1,094
2011 785 2,100
2012 736 1,922
2013 770 1,848
2014 871 3,587

Participation in the Locus poll has never returned to the level it reached in 2008 when, after voting closed, Locus announced a new policy of counting subscriber points double the value of points voted on the ballots of non-subscribers.

Update 05/07/2015: Filled in Locus vote number for 2012.

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

aka The Puppy Who Mistook His Bark For A Hugo

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

Mercy Pilkington on Good E Reader

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

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

 

Paul St. John Mackintosh on TeleRead

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

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

 

Mike Glyer in Uncanny Magazine

“It’s The Big One”  – May 5

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

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

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

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

 

Deborah J. Ross on Deborah’s Journal

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

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

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

 

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way of Life

“Scheduling WSFS Business” – May 5

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

Parliamentary Neepery about Business Meeting SchedulingCollapse )

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

Agenda-Setting MechanismsCollapse )

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

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Bi-discoursality” – May 5

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

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

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

 

Michael Kingswood on Magic, Swords, and Laser Beams

“Myke and Brad” – May 5

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

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

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

 

Tom Knighton

“An Open Letter to Myke Cole” – May 5

Dear Myke,

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

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

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

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

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

 

Font Folly

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

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

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

 

Wikipedia  entry on “Science Fiction”

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

 

Sappho on Noli Irritare Leones

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

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

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

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

 

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

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

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

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

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

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

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

 

Jane Frank on Amazing Stories

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

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

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

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

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

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

 

Aaron Kashtan on The Hooded Ultilitarian

“The End of Comic Geeks?”  – May 5

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

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

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

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

monster-256x300

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

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

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