Pixel Scroll 7/27 Riffing on AD&D

A long-eared geezer, eight stories and an embarrassing admission in today’s Scroll.

(1) Today’s birthday boy is… Bugs Bunny. He’s 75 years old.

(2) David Steffen answers “Why Do I Value The Hugos?” on Diabolical Plots.

[Excerpt is the second of seven points.]

I’ve been following the Hugos closely for several years, trying to read and review as many of the nominated works as I can digest between the announcement of the ballot and the final deadline.  I also follow the Nebulas, and I glance at the results from other SF genre awards, but for me the Hugos take up most of my attention come award season.  With this eventful Hugo year, it crossed my mind to wonder why the Hugos specifically, and whether I might perhaps be better off devoting more of my attention to awards that don’t collect controversy the way the Hugo Awards always seem to do, and in escalating fashion these last few years….

  1.  The Hugos Have a Long Reading Period

The Nebulas and the Locus awards have very short reading periods (the period of time between the announcement of the ballot and the voting deadline) of only about a month.  If I want to read as much of the fiction as possible, that’s not nearly enough time–I can’t finish all the short fiction, let alone start the novels.  The Hugo ballot is announced around Easter weekend (usually early April or so) and the voting deadline is at the end of July, so there are nearly four months to try to do all the reading.  The Hugo Packet isn’t released right at the beginning of the reading period, but usually enough of the short fiction was published in online venues so that I can fill my reading time with Hugo material.

https://twitter.com/LisaR_M/status/625448045316943872

(3) Then maybe Lisa would rather hear about – Worldcon site selection?

Spacefaring Kitten thinks it’s only fair that Helsinki win the right to host 2017 because all the other contenders have already had a turn…or seven.

A few facts to consider:

Five last countries that have hosted a Worldcon: United States (2015), United Kingdom (2014), United States (2013), United States (2012), United States (2011). Next year, the Worldcon will be in United States. In case the bid for Washington DC in 2017 (that is sort of a favorite at the moment, I guess) is successful, that’s third United States year in a row, and given the fact that there are only US bids for 2018 at the moment, it’s quite probably going to be four years of back-to-back United States Worldcons and seven United States Worldcons in eight years. That’s a lot of United States in one paragraph.

Competing for the 2017 Worldcon location, there are also bids for Montreal (in Canada) and Shizuoka City (in Japan). After 2000, the Worldcon has been in Canada twice (2009, 2003) and in Japan once (2007). Now, I’m sure that all proposed locations would hold a wonderful convention, but Helsinki would certainly be something new.

worldcon(4) Toymakers have got to protect the brand. Or, “Why Thomas the Tank Engine Doesn’t Kill Anybody in Ant-Man.

“I believe in Edgar [Wright] and Joe Cornish’s original drafts it was a train set,” Reed recalls. “At some point in the process that predated my involvement it became Thomas. As I came on, they had not secured the rights to Thomas. We had to do this whole thing where we did this presentation for the people who own the rights to Thomas. Thank God they agreed and found it funny, but there were definite stipulations. For example, nobody could be tied to the tracks and run over by Thomas. Thomas couldn’t be doing anything that could be perceived by children as evil Thomas. Thomas had to stay neutral in the battle, which was always our intention. Like anybody, they’re protective of their brand. I didn’t know what we were going to do if we didn’t get the rights to that. There are certain things I was going to be devastated about if we couldn’t have them. Thomas was one, because… you could do any kind of toy train, but the personality of that thing and the eyes moving back and forth give it a whole vibe and took it to another level.”

(5) Another Castalia House child prodigy! Jeffro Johnson reports in “First Session Report for my Daughter’s Dungeon Design!”

At the age of nine, my daughter has designed a 15 level dungeon, gotten paid for her work, and received back playtest report. It doesn’t get any better than that…!

It’s true – and entertaining, too.

(6) The Official Tolkien Calendar 2016 featuring artwork by Tove Jansson will be released on July 30. The cost is £9.99.

Jansson, who passed away in 2001, is well-known worldwide as the author and artists behind the popular Moomin series. As an accomplished artist, she provided the artwork for the Swedish editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Hobbit (also later used in Finnish editions). In Boel Westin’s autobiography of Jansson, she is quoted as saying “The figures are banal: dwarves, gnomes, fairies, dark-elves. But the scenery is luring in its macabre cruelty … Haunted woods, pitch-dark rivers, a moon-lit moor with burning wolves.

2016 Tolkien Calendar(7) Ursula K. Le Guin is offering writing advice through an “Online Fiction Workshop” at Book View Cafe. Use the form at the post to submit your question.

I have enough vigor and stamina these days to write poems, for which I am very thankful. It takes quite a lot of vigor and stamina to write a story, and a huge amount to write a novel. I don’t have those any more, and I miss writing fiction.

Reliable vigor and stamina is also required to teach a class or run a workshop, and so I had to give up teaching several years ago. But I miss being in touch with serious prentice writers.

So in in hope of regaining some of the pleasures of teaching and talking about writing fiction with people who do, I’m going to try an experiment: a kind of open consultation or informal ongoing workshop in Fictional Navigation, here on Book View Café.

I hope it will work its own process out as we go along, but here’s how I plan to start:

I invite questions about writing fiction from people who are working seriously at writing fiction.

(8) Explore the author’s earliest novels in Part I of SF Signal’s Interview with Samuel R. Delany.

Q: Your new book, A, B, C: THREE SHORT NOVELS, takes the reader back to the beginning of your career by offering up your first three novels. What is it about these works that impelled you to offer them up again?

Samuel R. Delany: With all these books’ clumsinesses and immaturities, I think—I hope—I was trying for something that is probably harder and harder to see with time’s passing. Indeed, it may never have been there. The only thing that might have thrown some highlighting onto it at the time they were published were slight differences between them and what was then coming out in the genre. Because so many changes have taken place in the background against which individual works now register, however, it’s harder and harder to read the signals.

(9) The Guardian included Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves on its 70 title longlist for the “Not The Booker prize”.

If you want to become part of this noble process, all you have to do is vote for two books from the longlist, from two different publishers, and accompany those votes with a review of at least one of your chosen books in the comments section below. This review should be something over 100 words long, although, as the rules state, we probably won’t be counting all that carefully.

Readers have until August 2 to vote titles onto the shortlist.

(10) After using geometric logic to deduce the wrong writer behind “Ray Blank’s” real-life identity, I was informed by a friend that it’s not even a secret. Eric Priezkalns says it’s him:

Ray Blank is the pen name I use when submitting speculative fiction to publishers.

And just in case I needed more convincing, my friend also ran comparative text samples through IBM Watson Personality Insights. Because science!

Really, though, it’s just not any kind of a secret.

[Thanks to JJ, Mark, Will R., Jonathan Olfert, and John King Tarpinain for some of these stories. Title credit to Soon Lee]

Pixel Scroll 7/25 – A Pixel in Time

Five stories, two videos and a tweet in today’s Scroll. Now with extra subtitle goodness.

(1) What’s that sound? Everybody look what’s goin’ down…. Aaron Reese writes audio history in “From vrrrramp to snikt: exploring sci-fi’s most iconic movie sound effects”.

This is also the decade of the Wilhelm Scream, which is perhaps the most ubiquitous sound effect on this list. Appearing in over 300 films, big blockbuster and indie alike, you’ve more than likely heard the Wilhelm Scream.

 

 

The Wilhelm Scream originated in a 1951 Warner Brothers western called The Distant Drums, recorded for a scene in the movie in which a character gets attacked by an alligator (the sample is aptly named “”man getting bit by an alligator, and he screamed”). The name, however, comes from the sound sample’s use in 1954 western The Charge at Feather River, when the character Private Wilhelm, well… screams after being shot by an arrow.

While studying film at USC, friends Ben Burtt, Richard Anderson, and Rick Mitchell noticed the pervasive stock sound in a number of favorite flicks, and would jokingly use it for school projects. A few years later, however, Burtt would take the joke to Hollywood when asked by George Lucas to direct sound for Star Wars: A New Hope, using the Wilhelm Scream when a stormtrooper is shot by Luke Skywalker and falls into oblivion in the Death Star. Anderson would follow suit, sneaking it into the truck chase scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

(2) After I ran a Star Wars themed parody of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in yesterday’s Scroll, Michael J. Walsh suggested people might be interested in a Western-themed instrumental cover of the Game of Thrones theme music. “There’s the awesome ability of a guitar with no speakers to be playing so many instruments,” says Mike. “Anyway, the idea of a spaghetti Westeros is amusing.”

(3) Ray Blank – “one of several identities deployed by a confused cosmopolitan” – tells Superversive SF readers that the Hugos want to be free! Or at least a lot cheaper. And not run by the Worldcon. And have Korean and Indian films as nominees.

Worldcon members can vote for the Hugos online. But why should the “premier awards in the science fiction field” still be associated with a physical meet-up? That approach was optimal in the 1950’s, and for a long while after. It is no longer a good way to serve your goal, if the goal is to promote an art form, and to engage with the greatest number of fans. The internet has changed what is possible. The internet connects us to millions, when we used to be satisfied with reaching thousands.

It appears that Worldcon2015 will have more non-attending members than attending members. The disproportionate growth in Worldcon supporting memberships demonstrates an inconvenient truth. The awards could be managed separately from the event. There are only two reasons to connect the two: marketing, and a subsidy for the physical convention. By connecting the two, the legitimacy of the award is undermined. This is supposedly an award given by all fans, wherever they are. So why confuse a voting electorate with a membership system that prefers some fans to others?

Associating an internet-based vote with a convention inevitably skews the vote towards the population who live near to the convention’s location. If the organizers of a ‘world’ event really wanted to maximize the diversity of participation in SF, they would separate the convention from the award, and lower the cost of voting.

You may not have been aware of Superversive SF’s commitment to diversity, a word Blank uses 10 times in his post. But yes, they support it just as strongly as Michael Z. Williamson.

(4) George R.R. Martin opposes the “nuclear option,” nevertheless will be voting No Award in several Hugo categories.

I favor reading the work, and voting for the stories, books, and writers you feel are worthy of a Hugo. Those you do NOT feel are worthy of the Hugo can and should be ranked below No Award or left off your ballot entirely.

This does not mean I am entirely opposed to voting No Award in all cases. Far from it. Having now finished most (not quite all) of my Hugo reading, I can say that I will probably be voting No Award myself in… hmmm… at least three categories, maybe four, maybe even five. These are categories where in my judgement none of the nominated work is worthy of a rocket.

But in those categories where I do find one or more nominees to be of sufficient quality, I will be voting for him or her or them, regardless of whether or not they were on a slate. And yes, this is true even if only one nominee is worthy. To throw out that one worthy nominee because they “had no real competition” (as some have suggested) seems wrong-headed to me. If it is worthy of a Hugo, give it a Hugo, that’s what I say.

Let me be specific here. Short Form Editor, Long Form Editor are all slate, but there are nominees in both who deserve a Hugo, and I’ll be voting for them. The Puppies liked a lot (though not all) of the nominees in the two Dramatic Presentation categories as well… but you know, so did I, so I’ll be voting for those as well. Sorry, but IMNSHO, only an idiot would want to “no award” GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY or INTERSTELLAR because the Puppies slated them. I am not going to tell you which movie or TV show or editor or novel I am voting for. I’ve mentioned some that I liked in older blog posts. Your mileage may vary; read, watch, consider, vote.

(5) I felt like I hadn’t seen Natalie Luhr’s name for a long time so I looked her up – darned if people aren’t still paying her money to tweet her way through Vox Day’s book.

(6) Will Baird on The Dragon’s Tales linked to an abstract that may show the origins of agriculture can be traced back to the Pleistocene – “The Origin of Cultivation and Proto-Weeds, Long Before Neolithic”. Farming. Yes, people have been raising weed(s) for a long time.

Authors: Snir et al

Abstract: Weeds are currently present in a wide range of ecosystems worldwide. Although the beginning of their evolution is largely unknown, researchers assumed that they developed in tandem with cultivation since the appearance of agricultural habitats some 12,000 years ago. These rapidly-evolving plants invaded the human disturbed areas and thrived in the new habitat. Here we present unprecedented new findings of the presence of “proto-weeds” and small-scale trial cultivation in Ohalo II, a 23,000-year-old hunter-gatherers’ sedentary camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel. We examined the plant remains retrieved from the site (ca. 150,000 specimens), placing particular emphasis on the search for evidence of plant cultivation by Ohalo II people and the presence of weed species. The archaeobotanically-rich plant assemblage demonstrates extensive human gathering of over 140 plant species and food preparation by grinding wild wheat and barley. Among these, we identified 13 well-known current weeds mixed with numerous seeds of wild emmer, barley, and oat. This collection provides the earliest evidence of a human-disturbed environment—at least 11 millennia before the onset of agriculture—that provided the conditions for the development of “proto-weeds”, a prerequisite for weed evolution. Finally, we suggest that their presence indicates the earliest, small-scale attempt to cultivate wild cereals seen in the archaeological record.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh, John King Tarpinian, James Davis Nicoll, and Will Baird for these stories, or at least for leaving them in plain sight.]

Lord Foul’s Baying 6/14

aka Spaceships and Solar Sails and Puppy Blog Tales.

In the roundup today: Brad R. Torgersen, George R.R. Martin, MD Laclan, Scott Alexander, Peter Grant, Vox Day, John C. Wright, Sarah A. Hoyt, J. A. Micheline, Ray Blank, Spacefaring Kitten, Mark Ciocco, Lis Carey, Russell Blackford, Rebekah Golden, Bonnie McDaniel and Silly But True. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Bruce Baugh and Jack Lint.)

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment on George R.R. Martin’s Not A Blog – June 13

Which of the Puppies are clueless? Is it me? The readers? Somebody else? From which way does the venom flow? There’s a lady over at TOR who’s in a lot of hot water right now, because she regurgitated venom she’d absorbed (or been spoon-fed) by folks on your “side” of this thing. Her chief mistake was in assuming that she knew who she was calling names, when she did not.

And now the customers are remarkably unhappy with her.

I’ve said it before: I don’t mind people who criticize Sad Puppies 3 for either mode, or method. If you can criticize the method, without impugning the integrity of the man, all well and good. That’s a conversation worth having.

Problem is, some opponents of Sad Puppies 3 have been impugning the man (singularly, collectively) from the get-go, and the invective has been of a type and kind so outlandish, so below the belt, so filled with promises both dire and dreadful, that I’ve struggled to understand why people who claim to tread the high frontiers of the world’s most imaginative form of literature, can be frightened into nasty hysterics by the fact that a democratic process was exercised democratically.

Eric Flint’s a friend of mine, and I trust him on most things. But he’s not immune from getting it wrong. I think his criticism has been better then most, because he’s tried to be fair-minded. But he’s also gotten a few things out of whack.

CHORF came about because the SMOFs who are supporting Sad Puppies didn’t want to be lumped in with the hysterical crowd calling Sad Puppies a lot of terrible stuff.

Puppy-kicker was suggested to me by a female member of the Sad Puppies 3 slate who was tired of seeing anti-Puppy ad hominem attacks. So, I adopted Puppy-kicker as a means of referring to people who are in it for the sake of personal vendetta, or who can’t seem to stop themselves from being nasty churls at a personal level, against everything and everyone Puppy-related.

CHORF and Puppy-kicker may seem offensive to some, but they are attempts to refine the conversation while not letting the bad-spirited, badly-behaving actors off the hook.

And to be blunt about it, George, some of the folks on “your” side have been very, very bad-spirited, and made it their personal business to be fantastically terrible to not just myself, not just Larry Correia, but to all of Puppydom. And as Tom Doherty discovered, Puppydom also includes respected colleagues and authors with decades of investment in this field. As well as a heap-load of readers. You know, those people who pay us money for the crazy shit we make up and pull out of our heads?

I’d love to see things dialed down, but the bulk of the dialing has to come from your “side” and to be honest, I am not really sure the fans (aka: customers!) who’ve been tarred with the anti-Puppy brush, are feeling terribly pleased at the moment. This was never a top-down effort, it was always grass-roots. Larry, myself, Sad Puppies, we gave faces and a name to a sentiment that’s been there for many years. Among the readership. Among people who were tired of being treated like they were second-class citizens, either because of their Fandom pedigrees, or because of their Fandom tastes and interests, or because they were professionals deemed to be “cut-rate” in the back-room conversations amongst other pros.

That kind of thing leaves bruises to the bone, George. And whether you like it or not, it’s some of the people on your side eagerly doing the bruising.

 

George R.R. Martin replies in a comment – June 13

[First of five parts.]

I have spoken out against name-calling from the first, Brad. It is the Puppies and their supporters who started it, and who keep dialing it up. I will concede that you yourself have been mostly civil, but read the comments in your own blog, or Correia’s, or even on FILE 770, and it is all venom and epithets.

>And now the customers are remarkably unhappy with her.

The vast majority of customers have no idea about any of this. The “unhappiness” here is a campaign orchestrated by the odious Mr. Beale, and once again you Sad Puppies have lined up behind the Rabids. Early in this debate, I heard a lot of stuff from your side about careers being threatened and your opponents saying “you will never work in this town again” and similar crap. Not one instance of that was ever substantiated. But now we are seeing a deliberate internet campaign to cost someone their career — and it is coming from VD, with the full howling support of Puppies of all stripes.

No one on “my side” ever threatened anyone’s livelihood or career. Your side is doing just that. In public.

 

MD Laclan on Fantasy Faction

“Breakfast of bullshit: Futurephobia, the Hugos and the invention of SF’s past” – June 14

What you doubtless wanted when you sparked up this blog was another comment on The Hugos controversy, where – summing it up – a bunch of right wing idiots have been acting like right wing idiots and annoying the good and sensible folk of the SF&F parish. OK, then.

SF – and the debate seems centred on SF rather than fantasy – shouldn’t be about social issues, they say, it’s rayguns and aliens. (I’m obviously making their argument slightly more complex than it is – it seems to reduce to ‘er, girls, thinking, ugg, sissy, me feel insecure.’)

Particularly annoying seems the inclusion of a diverse cast of protagonists – transgender people, homosexual people, female people and black people. They actually say this, which seems surprising in 2015 as opposed to, say, 1915.

Rightist light sabre rattler Brad Torgensen says on his blog that buying SF with a spaceship on the cover nowadays is like buying one kind of cereal but getting quite another.

 

Scott Alexander on Slate Star Codex

“Fearful Symmetry” – June 14

Likewise, when people wanted TV star Phil Robertson fired for saying (on his own time) that homosexuality was unnatural and led to bestiality and adultery, they said it wasn’t about policing his religion, it was about how these were “hateful” comments that would make the people working with him feel unsafe. At the time I said that was poppycock and that people who wanted him fired for having a private opinion were the worst kinds of illiberal witch-hunters.

On the other hand, consider Irene Gallo. I know nothing of her except what the Alas blog post says, but apparently in science fiction’s ongoing conflict between the establishment and the anti-SJW “Sad Puppies”/”Rabid Puppies” groups, she referred to the latter as:

Two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, sexist and homophobic.

These are some pretty strong allegations, and range from “false” to “bizarre”; Brad Torgenson, leader of the group she called “extreme right wing neo nazi unrepentant racists”, is happily married to a black woman. And the people she’s talking about are her company’s authors and customers, which hardly seems like good business practice. Some authors have said they feel uncomfortable working for a company whose employees think of them that way, and others have suggested boycotting Tor until they make her apologize or fire her.

Barry says that since she said these on her own private Facebook page, it is a private opinion that it would be pretty censorious to fire her over. Part of me agrees.

On the other hand, if I were a sci-fi author in one of the groups that she was talking about, I’m not sure I’d be able to work with her. Like, really? You want me to sit across a table and smile at the woman who thinks I’m a racist sexist homophobic extremist neo-Nazi just because I disagree with her?

 

Peter Grant on Bayou Renaissance Man

“Do empty vessels make the most sound?” – June 14

I’ve been quietly amused by the number of SJW’s who are trying to dismiss the current brouhaha over Tor as something ‘manufactured by troublemakers’, individuals who don’t have a following and are ‘nobodies’ making a fuss over nothing.  They take great care to attack ‘Puppies’ supporters and commenters, often going so far as to attribute emotions and attitudes to them that have no existence whatsoever in reality – but they never address the real issues involved, as I pointed out recently.  It’s a very strange, almost surreal attitude to life.

I’m sure many of my readers have seen SJW attacks on Larry Correia, Brad Torgerson, Vox Day and the like.  Even humble little me has come in for his share of them – as, for example, in comments to this article at File 770.  For your entertainment, here are some of them, with links: ….

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The outrage is not manufactured” – June 14

So, now it is time to demonstrate that we are not bots. Now it is time to let Macmillan know that we truly exist and we do NOT approve of the senior SJWs at Tor Books who have been publicly attacking us for more than a decade. It is time to prove to Macmillan that the senior SJWs at Tor are lying to them by sending ONE email apiece to the following people on MONDAY morning. (Emphasis added as a result of already seeing emails in my inbox.) Send the emails separately, do not CC them or send out one email to the three email addresses at the same time. The point is to make it clear that you are NOT a bot, you are a human being, and therefore the people at Tor Books are lying to their superiors at Macmillan.

  1. tom.dohertyATtor.com
  2. andrew.weberATmacmillan.com
  3. rhonda.brownATmacmillan.com

The three emails should be short, straightforward, polite, and respectful. It should have I AM A REAL PERSON in the subject, CC voxdayATgmail.com, and address the following points:

  • I am a real person and not a bot.
  • I do not approve of the behavior of the senior people at Tor Books, specifically Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and Irene Gallo.
  • I am requesting you to require Irene Gallo to resign from her positions at Tor Books and Tor.com as a consequence of her egregiously unprofessional public attack on science fiction readers and writers.
  • I request a response to confirm that my email has been received and read.

Something to that effect, anyway. There is no need to mention any possibility of a boycott, tell them how many books you buy in a year, or anything else. The people at Macmillan are smart, they are professional, and they know what is at stake. What they do not know is something we are going to have to demonstrate to them: SJWs always lie.

 

John C. Wright

“I Am A Real Person” – June 14

I have received more messages, publicly and privately, from fans who enjoy and buy my works but who, deeply offended at at least four, perhaps more, of the ranking officers of my publisher, have told me they can no longer buy my works.

This is unprecedented, or, I should say, at least I have never heard of readers disavowing books based not on the content or author, but the publisher.

Some have likewise written to Tor books to express their displeasure at this high handed and unprofessional treatment.

However, the latest slander issued from the enemy is that these readers do not exist.

They are trying to blank you out of their minds. You are unpersons. The claim is that the emails and letters sent to Tor expressing the displeasure of the customer are said to be faked, counterfeit, written by robots.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“This, That, The Other, Now With More Robots” – June 14

This bizarre belief that thousands of pissed off fans are just a “robot army” invoked by the Lord of All Evil is one of the ways of pinching off reality and self-insulating so the faith can stay strong.  They know that those who disagree with their progressive view for the future are few, old, and frankly probably too dumb to read for fun.  They know also that VD has some mysterious mastery of the dark forces of computing which they don’t fully get.  Ergo, presto, the annoying supposed evidence they might not be right is enemy action and fakery.

 

Ray Blank on Superversive SF

“On Worldcons and World Cups” – June 14

Torgersen is right about Worldcon and the awards it hands out. It is an event for Americans, by Americans. Everybody else assimilates, or is excluded. Worldcon might promote an American industry to customers overseas, but reveals little appetite for international diversity within that industry. That would imply more competition for American writers and American businessmen, and it would also mean more competition amongst ideas.

I like my science fiction to be challenging, and I find the world to be a challenging place. Not everyone is like me, and not everyone shares my tastes or opinions. It would be unreasonable to expect otherwise. So I must expect that some will prefer to observe the world whilst wearing blinkers or rose-tinted spectacles. They have a right to free speech, even if they only use it to talk amongst themselves. If it makes them happy, they should continue as they are. But nobody should pretend that the members of Worldcon aspire to realize the greatest, most diverse potential of the SF market. They may refer to their event as Worldcon, but this ‘fandom’ retreats from the world at large.

 

J. A. Micheline on Women Write About Comics

“A Message From Tom Doherty: We Are An Apolitical Island, Nothing to See Here” – June 14

Some of you may be familiar with the Rabid/Sad Puppies Hugo Award Scandal of 2015, which has basically been a study in gatekeeping, sexism, racism, and all the less-than-cute things we have all come to know and hate about…well, fandom. Last month, Tor.com’s Associate Publisher and Tor Books’ Creative Director Irene Gallo made statements on her personal Facebook page that expressed her disgust with the Rabid/Sad Puppy movement. She describes them as “right wing to neo-nazi,” and “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.” She also did not clarify that these statements were her own and not reflective of Tor.com/Tor Books as a whole.

You know. Even though they were on her personal Facebook page.

So, naturally, on Monday–coincidentally, mere days before the winners of the Nebula Awards were announced–Tom Doherty, Tor Books President and Publisher took to the Tor.com page to let everyone know that (1) that Sad Puppies is “not all (white) men,” (2) that Tor is about publishing a diverse set of books and has no political agenda, and (3) that Irene Gallo has been tamed and put back in her cage, y’all, so let’s get back to business and forget this ever happened.

I mean, I’m paraphrasing, but you get it.

I’m not going to spend time debunking the “not all (white) men” portion of the post because other people have already made this point about the Rabid/Sad Puppies’ agenda. I’m just going to let it sit there that the odd circumstantial nature of this statement coming out a month after Ms. Gallo’s words but just in time to distract from women basically sweeping the Nebula Awards. I will say that making a list of some of the women and people of color included on their slate to prove that they aren’t racist or sexist is a very, very weird thing to do if your site and/or publisher has no political agenda.

 

JoeMama on Eaton Rapids Joe

“Sad Puppies” – June 14

Traditional publishing houses are still pretty good at putting physical copies of books on the shelves of physical book stores.  It can do that because of its access to commercial credit….the ability to take on debt.

They also retain the ability to promote although most readers find a hundred favorable on-line reviews infinitely more compelling than a frothy blurb written by a shill-for-hire.

And, until this year, traditional publishing houses “owned” the Hugo award process and thus controlled the free publicity the Hugos generated.

But the chickens came home to roost this year.  All of those writers that the gate keepers were discarding because their politics were not “good”….they never went away.  They self published.  They banded together to create pools of alpha and beta readers.  They communicated.

And they got mad.  These are smart people.  They were able to synthesize the Big Picture.  And they did not like it.  They were filled with the anger of a spurned lover, one who had been ditched for a rich girl.

Here is the joke, the rich girl only looks rich.  She is living on debt and past glory.  She is about to collapse like a brittle drunk.  The traditional publishing industry is doomed unless it has its own  Counter Reformation.

 

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment to Eric Flint  – June 10

4) Mike Resnick is an outlier, Eric. You yourself have always talked about outliers. And the reason Mike is an outlier is because Mike has been in Fandom (caps f) for his entire life, and is known and beloved to many, and he’s never made it his business to broadcast his politics on social media. The great sin of the 21st century Fandom landscape, has been for conservatives and libertarians — like Michael Z. Williamson — to actually display their beliefs in the public square. I know you don’t think much of William F. Buckley, but he was dead right when he said, “Liberals will often tell you that they are open to other opinions; then react with shock and dismay to discover that there are other opinions.” That’s progressive Fandom in a nutshell. Notice that Mike Resnick got his cojones rosted on a spit the second he and Barry Malzberg actually did express themselves, in the pages of the SFWA Bulletin. They were castigated, maligned, and ejected.

 

JT’s German Adventure

“The REAL Hugo Controversy” – June 14

The Sad and/or Rabid Puppies may try to convince you that there’s a bias at work in the Hugo Awards*, and they may be right. However, they’ve overlooked the REAL shameful secret of the Hugo Awards. That secret? No novel written in a language other than English has ever won. Do you really believe that the best sci-fi/fantasy novel of the year was originally written in English… for SIXTY consecutive years? This stretches credulity.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“Grimm: ‘Once We Were Gods’” – June 14

I had never watched an episode of Grimm prior to this year’s Hugos, so it’s a new show for me. I checked out a few of the very first episodes and then skipped to the third season, watching some of the episodes leading up to the 15th one that is up for a Hugo. Grimm seems to be the male version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with fairy tale backstory and some police procedural thrown into the mix. It’s a decent show, with crimes perpetrated by different monster species, all with German names, and a council of unionized monsters to complicate matters here and there.

 

Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog

“Hugo Awards: The Dark Between The Stars”

The idea of a distinction between a true Auteur and a craftsman is what keeps coming to mind when I think of Kevin J. Anderson. I mean, books aren’t collaborative in the way movies are, but the distinction between a craftsman and, let’s say, a master, is what I’m falling back on here. He’s a fine author, his prose gets the job done, and the books I’ve read by him are enjoyable. I still find them a little too diffuse, a little too derivative. So Anderson is a fine craftsman, and honestly, I could see myself revisiting this universe because I had a decent enough time with it. But he’s not a master, and while this represents good old-fashioned SF comfort food, I’m not sure it’s well executed enough to be worth the stretch.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, by John C. Wright” – June 14

With a bit more restraint, his prose could be lyrical–the opposite of the transparent prose the Puppies say they’re looking for, and certainly not to everyone’s taste, but offering its own kind of enjoyment. Without that restraint, alas, it too often becomes word salad, and at best is tiring and annoying.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Flight of the Kikayon, by Kary English” – June 14

Kary English is a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

This story is a rare treat in the 2015 Hugo Voters packet.

 

Russell Blackford on Metamagician and The Hellfire Club

“Concluding comments on “Best novelette” category – Hugo Awards voting 2015” – June 14

And the winner is…

well, I don’t know who will win this award. I will not be voting “no award” ahead of any of them. However, the standout is Heuvelt’s surrealistic fantasy story, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing C Sanderson” – June 13

My eyes glazed over and I didn’t learn anything new about some awesome corner of the sf/f community. Not my best fan writer.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing L J Mixon” – June 13

She writes about fandom and meta issues. Am I being unfairly focused? Is my definition too strict? It’s harder to tell with someone whose politics align with my own. Still, for me, one of my favorite writers will not be best fan writer. She did not improve my understanding or love of works in the sf/f realm. I’m sticking to my definition. And feeling sad.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Fan Writer: Reviewing J Johnson” – June 13

I opened up Jeffro Johnson’s PDF in the voter’s packet for the Hugo Awards and breathed a sigh of relief. This. This is what I’ve been looking for. Jack Vance and D&D. YES. Each article is full of Johnson’s enthusiasm for the genre, tidbits of collected information, quotes, and references. This is a fan writer! After finishing reading I know more than I did, I appreciate more than I had, and I am (momentarily) interested in exploring more. Well done.

 

Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme

“The Hugo Project: ‘Best Related Work’” – June 14

[After comments on each nominee…]

Mr. Noah Award in a runaway. In fact, Noah is the equivalent of the magnificent Secretariat thundering down the stretch in the Belmont Stakes, straight and true and overpowering, leaving his competitors in the dust.

 

Silly But True in a comment on File 770 – June 14

…Fifty-four rubbed his temples. Voting had been so much easier before the Dog Wars destroyed the world. It was a terrible thing to watch first hand as a civilization died from a lack of civility. And Fifty-four was old enough to have survived the those times — even the worst of the fighting of 2019 when the atomics and bioweapons started being deployed. He checked his Aggregator 9000 and saw he still had some time left to complete his recommendations, if he chose to make any more, which could count on the final ballot, or not, depending on how many people agreed with him, or not.

He thought about how it would be nice to take a morning stroll after being cooped up in his ever so small cubicle. But that was stopped after the Slate Cullings of 2021. The initial recommendation-based society had quickly imploded as people found they could convince others of their recommendations. Soon, what had begun as cliques grew into gangs, and then armies, and then nation states. Finally, after the tactics had become so vile, the last people left alive on earth set about enshrining rules for the recommendations that could never be gamed. One of the side effects is that all human contact with one another was stopped.

So, Fifty-four sat in his box. Alone. Thinking of whether he should maintain the strength of his single vote, or dilute it for a time by adding more.

That was odd. Lights blinked on his Aggregator 9000. That never happened before. But there it was. A series of blinks. Some long. Some short. Suddenly, an epiphany struck Fifty-four. The sequence was Morse code, but for the life of him, Fifty-four could not remember what letters the dits and dahs represented…..