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(1) TED’S HOUSE SAVED. A copy of Ted White’s thank-you to supporters of his GoFundMe comes via Andrew Porter.

My thanks and my gratitude to all of you who helped me meet my goal within one day. I’m flabbergasted. I’m still getting my head around it.

But I must point out to everyone who has proffered Joel [Zakem]’s advice that I am not the legal owner of my house. My daughter is (I have the lifetime right of occupancy — for as long as I keep the taxes paid). For this reason I have been unable to qualify for tax abatement.

The moment I move out of the house, it will revert to my daughter, who will sell it to developers who will tear it down and build two separate houses on the adjoining lots and sell each for over a million bucks. I expect I’ll be dead by then.

In the meantime, my heartfelt thanks.

(2) AMBITIOUS COMIC CON. The Outdoor Retailers Show was formerly the largest event in Utah, generating $45M each July between hotel, dining and touring. They left over a public lands debate.

Conrunners Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg wrote on Linkedin that “Salt Lake Comic Con Can Fill the Void of Outdoor Retailers Exit”. They are scheduled to make a presentation before the Utah Legislature to promote their ideas, which might become one of the largest fannish public/private initiatives in the country.

…It’s a shame that Outdoor Retailer has left the state. Let’s fill that void with a world class comic con event. We can do this.

…We believe this creates an opportunity for us to step up and take advantage of an industry that is already thriving in Utah and make it even more beneficial to the state and its residents. We believe we can build something that will have much more impact if we are able to line up the type of support that Outdoor Retailers had here. Salt Lake Comic Con is only three years old and we’ve already helped generated tens of millions of dollars in economic impact to the area.”

Right now we are the largest comic con per capita in the world. The people of Salt Lake City and Utah are used to doing more with less. We are one of the top economies in the country, #1 for volunteerism, a top outdoor destination, best skiing on earth, have the internationally renowned Sundance film festival and one of the top locations for movies. But most importantly, Utah is the nerdiest state in the country. Let’s take all the successes and resources to become one of the top comic con destinations in the world.

(3) VON DIMPLEHEIMER’S LIST OF LISTS. Eric von Dimpleheimer has assembled another masterpiece which you can download free. He explains:

I began putting together an ebook of the various 2016 recommendation lists and sorting them by magazine (with some links to free stories), but as I kept coming across more recommendations, I abandoned the Sisyphean project. It is still useful (to me at least) and I thought others might be interested in it. I included two of Rocket Stack Rank’s annotated lists and Greg from Rocket Stack Rank is OK with me including them as long as the ebooks are free, which they are.

I want to stress that the ebooks are NOT finished or free from errors, but they are as complete as I am likely to make them. Anyone is free to add to or alter the ebooks as they see fit, as long as links to the sites of the original listmakers  remain (or in a few cases, better links are found.)

(4) MIND MELD. Shana DuBois has organized a new installment of this classic feature – “Mind Meld: Fresh Perspectives on Common Tropes” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

Tell us about a book, or books, that flipped SF/F/H on its head, approaching a common trope from such a fresh perspective you couldn’t stop thinking about it: What fresh methods did the book(s) use to look at the world anew?

Answering the question are Sofia Samatar, Max Gladstone, Joyce Chng, Jaime Lee Moyer, and Rachel Swirsky.

(5) BLOWN UP, SIR! Think of Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet made with transparent balloons. Then go to io9 and see the pictures – “Just Let This Little Girl’s Wonder Woman Invisible Jet Costume Win Every Contest”.

(6) THE SHADOW JURY KNOWS. The Shadow Clarke shortlists are starting to come thick and fast:

…But first, my six in alphabetical order by author surname:

The Power — Naomi Alderman (Penguin Viking)

I hummed and hawed the most about including this book on the list. It seems to be another example of one type of book that has done well in the Clarke during recent years; the kind of novel that features one or more young female protagonists and reflects on aspects of a patriarchal society in a manner that can be compared with the work of the Award’s first winner, Margaret Atwood. Indeed, Alderman was actually mentored by Atwood during the writing of the novel. Moreover, it might be argued that The Power is simply a provocative what-if story that turns on a gimmick. However, any such reading would miss the book’s capacity to mix raw excitement with complexity and subtlety. The combination of the framing narrative and the unforgettable illustrations is worth the price of admission alone.

I sat at my computer last Tuesday morning, flicking between my work and the Clarke Award twitter feed, waiting for the submissions list to drop. When it finally did and I clicked through, with trepidation and a flicker of excitement, my first thought was: there are fewer eye-catching features in the Award’s 2016 landscape than I was hoping for. By which I mean, the list felt very flat.

As I scrolled down the 86 submitted books the wildcard submissions seemed fewer and further between than in recent years.  The avalanche of self-published works that some anticipated didn’t materialise – submissions were actually down this year overall – but it looked as though a lot of other submissions hadn’t materialised either. A brief and unscientific comparison between 2016 and 2017 lists for example, seems to suggest a decrease in submissions from ‘mainstream’ or non-genre imprints – 36 in 2016, 28 in 2017 (with 20 imprints and 17 imprints submitting respectively). There were some books in this category notably absent.  The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan (William Heinemann) for one, Hystopia by David Means (Faber & Faber) for another. I’d also hoped that Salt might take a punt on Wyl Menmuir’s uncanny dystopian fable The Many; and Galley Beggar Press on Forbidden Line by Paul Stanbridge. The fact that the ratio of books by women has fallen this year (from 33% of the total to 28%) may be attributable to the drop in submissions from non-specialist imprints who, as a fellow shadow juror pointed out to me, are far more likely to publish female writers of SF.

My shortlist is primarily based on optimism– being impressed by the multiple things these novels are attempting to do– and, to quote Nina Allan’s recent introduction, “to pay sufficient attention to the ‘novel’ part of the equation.” It includes books I might not love, but I would like to see discussed in relation to more popular books that have a better chance of landing on the official shortlist. I have followed only one firm rule: I will not include any previous Clarke award winners. This omits Chris Beckett, Paul McAuley, China Miéville, Claire North, Christopher Priest, and Tricia Sullivan. In a couple of cases, this rule made my shortlist picks more difficult, but I’m a big proponent of the one-and-done rule (or won-and-done, rather) because it’s only too obvious SF awards culture likes to chase its tail.

(7) THE ENTERTAINER. Larry Correia’s Toastmaster speech at the Gala Banquet at Life, The Universe and Everything (LTUE 2017) is available on YouTube.

(8) STARGAZING. The Google Doodlers had fun with the discovery of seven exoplanets at Trappist-1.

(9) SUSAN CASPER OBIT. Philadelphia author Susan Casper (1947-2017), wife of Gardner Dozois for 47 years, passed away February 24.

Announcing her death on Facebook, Dozois said: “She was an extremely tough woman, and fought through an unbelievable amount of stuff in the last couple of years, but this last illness was just too much for her fading strength to overcome.”

She was the author of two dozen published stories. Her 1994 novella “Up the Rainbow” took sixth place in  Asimov’s annual Readers Poll.

Her fiction in collaboration with Gardner Dozois is part of Slow Dancing through Time (1990), which includes one collaboration with both Dozois and Jack M Dann.

She served as a Tiptree Award judge in 1994.

There will be no viewing or funeral service, but there will be a memorial gathering in the future.

Susan Casper. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter.

(10) MARTIN DEUTSCH OBIT. Courtesy of Dale Arnold:

Martin Deutsch, President of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, died February 24. He had been receiving chemotherapy for a bone marrow condition for several weekly cycles of treatment and his doctor was optimistic, but fate intervened.

The night before he had reported being very tired, but intending to meet with the BSFS Treasurer that morning as previously scheduled. He had also said he would be attending the BSFS book discussion on Saturday, but might need to borrow one of the wheelchairs BSFS keeps around for people who need them at Balticon to get into the building. However, the morning of the 24th before the BSFS Treasurer arrived Martin passed out in his favorite chair and died before medical assistance arrived. It is reported that there was little pain.

Martin was first elected as President of BSFS in 1980 and served continuously since then leading the meetings with his own twist on formal meeting rules. He never tired of building things for BSFS and Balticon and many of the fixtures and displays at the convention, particularly in the art show which he ran for many years with his wife Shirley Avery, were his inspiration made manifest. During the most recent election of BSFS officers Martin said he was not ready to give up yet and indeed his spirit never gave up.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • February 24, 1786 — Wilhelm Grimm was born, one of The Brothers Grimm.

(12) TODAY IN ALTERNATE HISTORY

  • February 24, 1989 The body of Laura Palmer is discovered in Twin Peaks, WA.

(13) NOW WITH SUBTRACTED GOODNESS. MovieWeb passes along the scuttlebutt – “Unaltered Original Star Wars Trilogy to Be Re-Released Before Last Jedi?”

This year not only brings Star Wars fans a new theatrical adventure in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but also a number of new books and, of course, another Force Friday event happening this fall, but that’s not all. This year also marks the 40th Anniversary of the original Star Wars, with the anniversary celebration kicking off at Star Wars Celebration, which runs from April 13 through April 16 in Orlando, Florida. If a new rumor is believed to be true, LucasFilm may be making a big announcement about the 40th anniversary soon, with plans apparently under way to release a new Blu-ray set with the theatrical versions of the original trilogy films.

(14) HERE’S THE PITCH. From MLB.com “Five baseball movies you probably haven’t seen that (mostly) deserve watching”. Martin Morse Wooster sent the link and a couple of comments:

  1. The fine film Battlefield Baseball HAS to be seen (or at least the trailer does).

The MLB.com description reads —

It’s kind of like “Friday Night Lights” in that it’s about high school sports rivalries. But it differs in one crucial way: The game doesn’t end until the opposing team is dead. Oh yeah, the synopsis also sounds like a Stefon sketch. “Battlefield Baseball” features zombies, deadly baseball equipment and that thing where a pitcher throws a lethal pitch known as the “Super Tornado.”

 

  1. The clip from Rhubarb does have Leonard Nimoy — in 1951!

There’s a good (very short) view of him about 2:10

(15) INCLUDES SEMIPRO AND FAN RECS. Shaun Duke has assembled a crowdsourced “2017 Hugo Awards Reading / Viewing List”.

As I did last year, I have begun to compile a big massive (and, indeed, very sexy) list of all the books, stories, comics, movies, fans, etc. suggested to me via my recent 2017 Hugo Awards Recommendations form. The following is by no means a comprehensive list, as it is based on suggestions by readers. If something is missing, let me know in the comments.

(16) PROBLEM DAUGHTERS ANTHOLOGY CANCELED. Nicolette Barischoff and Rivqa Rafael made the announcement in their “Statement on the Dissolution of the Problem Daughters Anthology”.

Unfortunately, the Problem Daughters project has been canceled, and Nicolette Barischoff and Rivqa Rafael have parted ways with Djibril al-Ayad and FutureFire.net Publishing. This decision was extremely painful, and not taken lightly in consideration of the many wonderful, generous people who helped us get to this point. Unfortunately, the ideological differences between the involved parties have proved insurmountable, leaving us no choice but to end this collaboration.

We apologize to all of you who feel let down by this decision — our backers, our potential contributors and just anyone who wanted to read this book. We did, too.

Everyone who backed the project will be contacted as soon as possible so we can arrange a refund. We ask for your patience as we undergo this process.

Once again, we thank you for your support, and apologize for this inconvenience and disappointment.

Publisher The Future Fire also posted that the anthology is permanently closed to submissions.

The editors of the Problem Daughters, Djibril al-Ayad, Rivqa Rafael, and Nicolette Barischoff were behind the “Intersectional SFF Roundtable” for Apex Magazine that was taken down after Likhain’s open letter to the editor protesting the involvement of Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Apex Magazine editor Jason Sizemore issued an apology, and briefly there also was an apology signed the three editors on The Future Fire site, now only readable in the Google cache file. The gist of their apology was that they were sorry for not including a black woman in a panel about intersectionality. The controversy about Sriduangkaew’s participation was not addressed.

(17) BE YOUR OWN BBC STATION. Michael O’Donnell recommends these BBC radio programs currently available on the BBC iPlayer.

In “I Was Philip K Dick’s Reluctant Host”, Michael Walsh – a journalist and respected film reviewer for The Province, a leading Vancouver newspaper – talks about the time he came to the aid of the author of Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall and Man in the High Castle, who he met at a convention in 1972.

Discovering that Dick’s wife had walked out on him, that he had nowhere to go and was also suffering deep addiction problems, Michael invited Philip to stay with him and his wife Susan at their home in Vancouver.

It would go on to be one of the most challenging experiences of Michael’s life, as drug dependency, unwanted advances on Michael’s wife and unpredictable mood swings made the period something of an emotional rollercoaster for the wary hosts – but also fascinating insight into one of Sci-Fi’s greatest ever visionaries.

Clarke Peters (The Wire, Treme) reads The Underground Railroad, the new novel by Colson Whitehead. This brilliant and at times brutal novel about the history of slavery and racism in America won the US National Book Award for Fiction in 2016.

“What if the underground railroad was a literal railroad? And what if each state, as a runaway slave was going north, was a different state of American possibility, an alternative America?”

Whitehead’s inventive novel follows Cora and Caesar as they escape from a Georgia slave plantation and run north in pursuit of freedom, aided by the stationmasters and conductors of the Underground Railroad.

Vintage sci-fi serial from 1961.

“A glimpse across a weird threshold, on the rim of space where there should be nothing but eternal, frozen darkness. Yet where there was something more…..”

Newspaper reporter, Tom Lambert has decided to reinvestigate the strange events of ten years before, concerning the “cosmic noise”. Believing the inside story was never told, he’s tracked down the only man who knows, Dr Hayward Petrie.

Told in flashbacks, the story unfolds from Dr Petrie’s own recordings of the time when the detection of a strange pattern of signals sparks a mysterious discovery…

[Thanks to Michael O’Donnell, JJ, Daniel Dern, David Doering, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Moshe Feder, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

Survey of International Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans About The Hugo Awards and the Puppies Controversy

Mini Hugo rocket carried into space and photgraphed by astronaut Kjell Lindgren in 2015.

Mini Hugo rocket carried into space and photgraphed by astronaut Kjell Lindgren in 2015.

By Shaun Duke and Aaron Beveridge:

Introduction

In April 2015, conversations with several non-U.S. fans about the then-developing controversy surrounding the 2015 Hugo Awards motivated the work that follows. Though no digital archeology of that conversation remains, a passing remark that the Sad/Rabid Puppies controversy is a product of the American culture wars sparked the work that follows. Unfortunately, the Hugos remain subject to the whims of American politics, whatever they might be at a given time. This prompted the initial question as to whether or not many non-U.S. fans held this same view of the Hugo Awards. Shortly after that conversation, a survey was created to ask that very question.

The initial aim of the survey was to determine how non-U.S. fans discovered the Hugo Awards, whether they considered the awards an American affair, and what they thought of the Sad/Rabid Puppies controversy. We began the survey with two assumptions based on the conversations that inspired this survey: (1) that non-U.S. fans largely viewed the Hugos as an American award which often excluded non-U.S. works by default; and (2) that non-U.S. fans were largely unfavorable to the Sad/Rabid Puppies controversy. Additionally, we used the survey as an opportunity to learn more about how non-U.S. fans learned about and engaged with the Hugos.

The following sections provide some background information, our methodology, and details about the results of the survey. This project summarizes and investigates the perception of non-U.S. fans. Certainly, it by no means captures a fully-representative global opinion of the effects that American politics have on the Hugos, but we were able to gather enough international survey responses to feel that our results add to the ongoing conversation. As with any opinion survey, the responses are merely that:  the gathered opinions of the individuals that decided to respond to the survey.[1]

The Controversy

The Sad Puppies is a slate voting campaign begun in 2013 designed to counter the perceived dominance of left-leaning science fiction and fantasy literature — what conservatives in the movement initially called “message fiction.” As the movement progressed, the supporters and writers of these works of “message fiction,” particularly those most opposed to the Sad Puppies movement, were referred to as the snobbish literati and, more recently, “Social Justice Warriors” (borrowing a term more broadly associated with the Gamergate movement); detractors have accused the Sad Puppies of being racists and sexists (Wallace).  Members of both sides have argued that the other is, in effect, actively destroying the science fiction and fantasy community, either through regressive politics and selfishness or through oppressive political correctness.

While there are many motivations behind these campaigns and their detractors, the veracity of which is not the purview of this report, the act of slate voting to “hack” the Hugo Awards took the campaigns from the fringes of science fiction discourse to the forefront of the awards discussion. The greatest Puppies controversy emerged in 2015, in which a new group called the Rabid Puppies (a more reactionary slate voting group than their Sad Puppies counterparts), organized a larger following to effectively dominate the 2015 Hugo Awards nominee ballots.  The final ballot — after several nominees recused themselves from consideration — contained 59 nominees from Sad and Rabid Puppies out of 85 total nominee slots.  The campaigns were less successful when final votes were cast.  In the end, no Sad or Rabid Puppies selection won an award, with all categories containing only slate items resulting in no awards being given.

In 2016, the Rabid Puppies had a similar influence on the awards, with 64 of their 81 selections making the final ballot; however, unlike in 2015, the Rabid Puppies slate for the 2016 Hugo Awards ballot consisted of many works chosen to deliberately counter the “No Award” process by essentially forcing the “sf/f left” to either “No Award” works they otherwise would support OR compromise their anti-slate values in order to support those same works.  Voters responded to this latest variation of the Kobayashi Maru[2] by rejecting “Trojan Horse” options[3] and handing awards to an overwhelming number of women and people of color.

Though the Sad Puppies were active in 2016, the shift from a slate to a longer, categorized recommendation list that favored a more diverse group of works and creators has made their present efforts less controversial than in previous years.

Methodology

The survey was conducted between April 22nd, 2015 and July 5th, 2015 using Google Forms with a combination of long answer and yes/no questions.  To find participants, the survey was disseminated through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and, in rarer instances, email.  Participants were not asked for their names or identifying markers to protect their identities and to facilitate honest responses.

The original questions were as follows:

  1. What is your country of origin? (One-word Answer)
  2. How did you hear about the Hugo Awards? (Short Answer)
  3. Do you nominate/vote for the Hugo Awards? (Multiple Choice: Yes/No/Sometimes)
  4. Do you think the Hugo Award is primarily an American award? (Multiple Choice: Yes/No/Mostly)
  5. If you answered “yes” to the previous question, please explain your position here. (Long Answer)
  6. Do works nominated for the Hugo Awards reflect sf/f as you see it? (Long Answer)
  7. Do you think the makeup of the Hugo Awards voters reflects sf/f fandom as you see it? (Long Answer)
  8. Do you think others in your area share your opinion? Feel free to elaborate if necessary. (Long Answer)
  9. How do you view the current controversy regarding the Sad Puppies / Rabid Puppies and slate-based voting? Do SP/RP proponents (or opponents) represent fandom as you see it? (Long Answer)
  10. Do you feel drawn to certain Hugo categories more than others? If so, please explain. (Long Answer)
  11. Are there SF/F awards that you find more relevant? (Short Answer)
  12. Is there anything else you would like to add? Feel free to use this space for additional thoughts! (Short Answer)

We might have anticipated that the answers to some of these questions would prove redundant or repetitive.  In some cases, more participants answered one related question or another.  Inevitably, we chose to reduce the questions used for our data set; this removed redundancy and focused the survey on the original intent:  to understand how non-U.S. fans engage with the Hugo Awards and its current controversy.  In the end, we narrowed the questions down to the following categories, which will be explored in the following section:

  1. Participant Countries
  2. Are the Hugos an American Award?
  3. How did the participants her about the Hugos?
  4. Did the participant vote for the Hugos?
  5. What is the participant’s opinion about the Sad / Rabid Puppies and Slate Voting?

The next step involved coding the answers for category 5.  In order to do so, we applied the following rubric to the answers:

  • Undecided: the participant offers no opinion on the subject.
  • No Answer: self-explanatory
  • Agree: unequivocal agreement; the participant states “yes” with no reservations, offers absolute support of the Sad / Rabid Puppies side, and/or uses extreme language to describe the anti-Sad / Rabid Puppies or related groups.
  • Mostly Agree: nuanced agreement; the participant may sincerely agree with slates or the Sad / Rabid Puppies, but they offer concessions concerning the other side’s position or qualifications in their language.
  • Mostly Disagree: nuanced disagreement; the participant may sincerely disagree with slates or the Sad / Rabid Puppies, but they offer concessions concerning the other side’s position or qualifications in their language.
  • Disagree: unequivocal disagreement; the participant states “no” with no reservations, offers no statements of understanding concerning the opposite side, and/or uses extreme language to describe the Sad / Rabid Puppies.

We individually coded the entire dataset for category #5 and ranked each answer according to the above rubric, and then we compared our individual rankings to determine any areas of disagreement. Where disagreements existed, we chose the more conservative (less extreme) of the two options.

Once completed, we compiled all of the data into graphs and charts, which can be found in the following section.

Our method presented several limitations for the breadth and specificity of the data:

  1. The survey was conducted in English. As such, the majority of the participants came from countries in which English is regularly spoken — specifically, North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.  Roughly 90.6% of our participants came from these regions and 9.4% came from other areas.  It is possible that the Hugo Awards have had minimal penetration into the non-English-speaking world due to its association with the United States and with English-language works — the success of The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin and “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang notwithstanding.
  2. Some of the questions on the survey resulted, as indicated above, in repeated answers or in participants simply pointing to another question to find their answer. As such, we chose to remove some questions from the final data set to limit redundancy and to provide focus.
  3. The survey resulted in responses from approximately 393 people and should not be viewed as anything but the opinions of 393 people. It is likely impossible to determine the size of the population of non-U.S. science fiction and fantasy fans in the world or to adequately conduct a study whose sample size could account for the variations of such a population.

Despite the limitations of our survey, the results offer some insight into the science fiction community outside of the United States.

Results

The following sections detail our findings for each of the five categories.

Category #1:  Participant Countries

countryTable [4]

Unsurprisingly, the majority of the participants came from countries with strong or dominant English-speaking populations, including Australia (15.7%), New Zealand (3.8%), Canada (14.2%), the United Kingdom (comprising England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland)(29%), Ireland (2.3%), France (1.7%), and others.  Europe dominates with 56.5% of the responses originating from the continent.

Unfortunately, countries outside of Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand are noticeably sparse.  Though we did receive some responses from surprising places — Zambia (0.02%), Trinidad and Tobago (0.02%), and Malaysia (0.05%), for example — our survey regrettably missed the sizable science fiction and fantasy community in China, Japan, and South Korea, among other places.  This is almost certainly due to the language of our survey (English) and to our own failure to do more to reach into those communities.  In the future, we hope surveys like this will be translated for non-English audiences and that more will be done to reach out to fandoms outside of the English-speaking world.

The participant countries list also contains a nation that one would rightfully assume doesn’t belong:  the United States of America.  Our survey didn’t account for individuals from the United States who have since taken up residence elsewhere OR individuals from outside the United States who have taken residence within the states.  Though they accounted for only 1.2% of the responses, we chose to keep them in the survey as a reminder of avenues that we might explore in the future.

Category #2:  Are the Hugos an American Award?

amTable

We anticipated that the answers to this question would lean toward our own initial assumptions, in part because the conversations that led to the survey took a similar position. Unsurprisingly, then, the majority of participants either emphatically declared Yes (49.6%) or Mostly (31.8%), with a smaller percentage (17%) stating either that the awards are not an American award or that they shouldn’t be perceived that way.

Many of the respondents argued that the awards were a reflection of the most dominant group within the larger field; the United States was typically identified as dominant within the sf/f field at large for what should be obvious reasons (the size of its publishing industry and fandom and the global influence of U.S. culture).  Some respondents were quick to note that just because the awards are American in nature, either due to its history or the culture that influences it, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a reflection of American culture as a whole.  Indeed, many of the responses to our survey seemed to recognize the fractionality of American fandom in the basic sense of being loosely split across region, topic, age group, etc.

How respondents felt about the Hugo Awards “being American” varied between resigned to the current state of the awards and optimistic about a more international future.  Those who were more resigned tended to agree that the awards have favored American fiction due to history.  One respondent offered three reasons for this:

1) Locals make up a large proportion of each Worldcon. Most Worldcons are held in the US, therefore a large proportion of the Voting group is always American

2) Up until the 21st Century voting was mostly in person (yes, paper ballot was possible but the majority of ballots were not paper). e-voting mean that non-attendees can vote easily now. And as most Worldcons were in the US, pre-21st Century voters were therefore mostly American[5]

3) American fiction is known well in the rest of the world, but non-American literature is not known well in America. Therefore, the way the nomination system works, American works get on the ballot more often

[Mr. Glyer notes that statement 2) may confuse Site Selection voting with Hugo Awards voting. As far as we are aware, Hugo Awards voting has always involved mail-in ballots.]

The more optimistic side of this conversation noted that the greater influence of the Internet on engagement could potentially make the awards more inclusive, though such responses were occasionally tempered by the acknowledgement that the awards would probably always maintain an American focus for the exact reason listed in the first point above:  Worldcons are typically held in the United States.

For those who listed “Mostly” as their answer, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia were often listed as being secondary focuses for the Hugo Awards.  However, for a small minority of respondents, the notion that the awards might be international at all was met with either severe skepticism or outright rejection.

Category #3:  How did you hear about the Hugos?

hearTable2

For the most part, the answers were expected, with the majority of participants (63.3%) stating that they learned about the Hugos from traditional sources such as book covers, magazines, the Internet, conventions, marketing, blogs, and the news.  There is certainly overlap in the various categories, as some who answered “store” may have seen a Hugo Awards sticker on a book; however, we chose not to interpret words for the participants, opting instead to place such items as “store” and “university” in their own categories.

Category #4:  Have you voted for the Hugos?

voteTable

We were surprised to find that the majority of participants (47.3%) have never voted for the Hugos or consider themselves not to be voters because they rarely vote.  In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have found this alarming given that only 6 (30%) of the Worldcons in the last 20 years have occurred outside of North America the U.S..  Of those 6, only 2 have been held in a country whose primary language is not English (Nippon, Japan in 2007 and Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 2009).  In total, only 18 (24.3%) of the 75 concluded or upcoming Worldcons have been or will be held outside the U.S.; 2017 will see Worldcon hosted in Finland for the first time (“The Long List”).

Combined with the responses to Category #2, it is clear that the perceptions of the Hugos as an American award influences the voting activity of the participants, with only 18.8% declaring that they are regular voters.  This is also supported by the fact that the majority of Worldcon attendees and supporters hail from the United States (see the chart below).  In the last four Worldcons, Americans were the overwhelmingly dominant demographic in three, each convention hosted in the United States; at LonCon3, whose membership naturally skewed towards the United Kingdom, Americans were the second largest demographic next to members from the host country (44.9%).  The data — and the history of the convention in the United States — reflect the notion that the location of a Worldcon heavily influences the degree to which non-U.S. fans participate, as to be expected given that the majority of non-U.S. survey participants see the Hugo Awards and Worldcons in general to be rooted in American fandom (as clearly shown in Category #2).  To our knowledge, however, no data is currently available for the voting demographics for every Hugo Award.

Convention U.S. Attending / Supporting Non-U.S. Attending / Supporting Source
ChiCon 7

Worldcon 70

2012

84.9% 15.1% (ChiCon 7 Progress Report #4)
LoneStarCon3

Worldcon 71

2013

88.7% 11.3% (LoneStarCon3 Progress Report #4)
LonCon3

Worldcon 72

2014

44.1% 55.9% (LonCon3 Membership Demographics)
Sasquan

Worldcon 73

2015

82.4% 17.6% (Sasquan Member Numbers)

 

Category #5:  What is your opinion of the Sad Puppies / Rabid Puppies and Slate Voting

pupTable

If 47.3% of participants do not vote in the Hugo Awards, it is not surprising that a sizable portion of them either had not decided what they thought about the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies controversy or had no opinion whatsoever (25.7%).  However, of those who had formed an opinion, almost all of them (72.3% in total and 97.3% of those who had an opinion) were neither favorable to the Sad Puppies nor the Rabid Puppies, with most vehemently disagreeing with the entire affair (38.7% of the total respondents and 52% of those who had an opinion).

Participants were not particularly shy about their opinions either.  Some of the most vocal detractors associated or compared the Sad or Rabid Puppies to neo-fascism, the Tea Party, Mens Rights Activists, and Gamergate.  These sorts of terms coincided with concerns about the damage the SP/RP event would have on the Hugo Awards and SF/F fandom in general.  For example, one respondent argued that

It has caused irreparable damage to the reputation and good names of the Hugo and of SFF fandom, which is almost entirely the fault of established fan-run management of the community. In less than a decade, the Hugo has gone from a calling card to Hollywood for SFF creators, to a flame war with white supremacists and Tea Party goons. You could see – from space, ironically – that this was going to happen and yet the mostly white and mostly American SFF fandom sat on its hands and hoped the problem would go away. Just as American fandom sat on its hands and hoped Marion Zimmer Bradley’s child abuse wasn’t real (her photo was still up at the London world con as a “professional SF writer). Yes, the puppies represent traditional SFF fandom just as Fox News playing in a MacDonald’s in Indiana represents the American midwest. Most people stopping by a MacDonald’s probabaly don’t agree with Bill O’Reilly but they do nothing to stop his toxic opinions from spreading in public space.

Part of this perspective was common among those who most vehemently opposed the SP/RP project:  namely, that the movement is both irrational and regressively conservative.  However, the above respondent is unusual in that they also place the blame partly on the feet of American SFF and fandom.

Most respondents, however, took the perspective, as the following respondent did, that SP/RP proponents viewed the world in “black and white” and “presumed themselves to be the ‘good guys’ and so [looked] around for enemies.”  Respondents in the two negative categories also cited “diversity” as a primary concern; quite a few held a similar position as the following:  “I think the Puppies represent an older demographic that’s threatened by the growing diversity of the genre — or, I should say, the growing visibility of diversity that has always been there.”  Diversity, of course, was a major issue in the conversation surrounding the events of 2015.

Not all respondents were entirely uncharitable to the SP/RP project.  Even those who largely viewed the movement as negative occasionally expressed an understanding of the movement’s intent or, more likely, an acknowledgement that the SP/RP proponents “[meant] to do a good thing by expanding the voter base [to] a slightly under-represented group (fans of military sf, Baen, Analog, etc.).”  However, these same respondents also rejected the methods used by the leaders of the SP/RP group (i.e., slate voting).  In a lot of cases, these slightly more favorable respondents differentiated between understanding or acknowledging the Sad Puppies and unambiguously rejecting the Rabid Puppies.

There were also a handful of respondents who took a positive view of the Sad Puppies in particular.  In almost all of these cases, the response specifically cited “ending political correctness” as the reason; for several respondents from the United Kingdom, the Jonathan Ross controversy in 2014 was the primary example of “political correctness” run amok.

Conclusions

The majority of non-U.S. participants agreed that the Hugo Awards are definitively an American award; they also overwhelmingly rejected the rhetoric and agenda of the Sad and Rabid Puppies, often emphatically so.

However, there are several unanswered questions which might be answered by a future survey.  First, we wonder how non-American fans living within the United States and American fans living outside of the United States view the ownership of the Hugo Awards and its controversies.  Second, we think a future survey should ask the participants who never voted or only occasionally voted what motivated their decisions to abstain entirely or participate only sporadically; this might help us better understand unseen divisions within international science fiction fandom. Finally, we think it crucial to reach out to communities that were not present in our survey.  In the map below, the black areas represent areas from which we received no responses:

country-map

 

As we suggested earlier in the essay — and as the map makes clear — we were unable to reach communities in these areas for a variety of reasons, including language and the limitations of our outreach methods. We hope to conduct a much more extensive survey in the next year in order to fill some of these gaps.

Special thanks goes to all those who helped create and disseminate the survey, including Ian Sales, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and many others.

Biographies

Shaun Duke is a PhD student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, Caribbean literature, and the rhetorics of fandom.  His non-fiction work has appeared in Science Fiction Film and Television, Extrapolation, The Journal on the Fantastic in the Arts, Like Clockwork (forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press in December 2016), and Strange Horizons.  Shaun also hosts the Hugo Award-nominated podcast, The Skiffy and Fanty Show, among others, and co-edited Speculative Fiction 2014: The Year’s Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary (The Booksmugglers Publishing) with Renee Williams.  You can find out more about Shaun’s podcasts, writing, etc. at http://www.shaunduke.net/

Aaron Beveridge is a doctoral student in the University of Florida’s Department of English. His research intersects writing studies and data science paradigms — focusing on programming, data mining, and data-visualization as they motivate the ongoing expansion of research methods in rhetoric, writing, and the digital humanities. Grounded primarily in the study of networked writing and trend circulation, his research interests also include technical communication, the rhetoric of science, media ecology, and maker culture. Visit Aaron’s personal website: here.

Sources

ChiCon 7 Progress Report #4. Chicago: ChiCon 7, 2012. Print.

“LonCon3 Member Demographics.” Member Demographics. LonCon3, July 2014. Web. 29 June 2016. <http://www.loncon3.org/demographics.php>.

LoneStarCon 3 Progress Report #4. San Antonio: LoneStarCon 3, 2014. Print.

“The Long List of World Science Fiction Conventions (Worldcons).” The Long List of Worldcons. WSFS Long List Committee, n.d. Web. 29 June 2016. <http://www.smofinfo.com/LL/TheLongList.html>.

“Sasquan Member Numbers.” Sasquan — 2015 Worldcon. Sasquan, 30 June 2015. Web. 29 June 2016. <http://sasquan.org/member-numbers/>.

Wallace, Amy. “Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 23 Aug. 2015. Web. 02 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wired.com/2015/08/won-science-fictions-hugo-awards-matters/>.

Footnotes

[1] This survey is an informal, non-academic survey.

[2] Technically, this situation is closer to a Cornelian Dilemma than the infamous Star Trek test of character.

[3] “Trojan Horse” votes refers to items places on the final ballot by voting campaigns that are designed to force competing camps of voters to choose between choosing what they love or maintaining their anti-slate principles to vote “No Award” a second time around. For the most part, voters seemed to reject this dilemma. One interpretation holds that voters voted on merit, an argument made in defense of the Hugo voting process on numerous occasions; it is also likely that some voters were able to identify deserving nominees in the list.

[4] The following countries had one respondent each and were not listed in the countries chart:  Austria, China, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, The Philippines, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Zambia.

[5] Mr. Glyer notes that this statement may confuse Site Selection voting with Hugo Awards voting. As far as we are aware, Hugo Awards voting has always involved mail-in ballots.

Pixel Scroll 5/21/16 Pixel Shop of Scrollers

(1) TREKKIN’ WITH FILLION? Here’s some clickbait for you – “Rumor Mill: Nathan Fillion New Star Trek Captain?” asks SciFi Obsession.

Many noticed how much weight Nathan lost for the final season of Castle. Now that it’s 8 year run is over, could he be sitting in the center seat for the new 50th Anniversary Trek series on CBS All Access?

(2) CAPT. JACK VAGUEBOOKS. And here’s a second helping of clickbait – Den of Geek quoted John Barrowman’s comments about coming back to Doctor Who.

Adding fuel to the fire that he could return to the live-action Doctor Who universe in the near future, John Barrowman has now instructed fans to “keep watching.”

Asked on The One Show whether he’d be returning to either Doctor Who or Torchwood, the Captain Jack Harkness actor said, “I’d love to, keep watching. Keep watching. I’d love to! I don’t know!”

“It’s not up to me,” he added, “but keep watching!”

(3) DOZOIS REVIEWS SHORT FICTION. Locus Online has posted an excerpt from the magazine edition, “Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction April 2016”, covering Clarkesworld 1/16, 2/16, Asimov’s 2/16, and Interzone 1-2/16. With the link, Greg Hullender passed along his theory that Dozois is Lois Tilton’s replacement.

(4) WHAT’S OPERA? Andrew Liptak recommends “15 Space Opera Books for Firefly Fans” at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

We don’t need to tell you that Firefly has transformed from failed TV series to cultural phenomenon in the years since its 2003 cancellation after an inauspicious 12-episode run on Fox. Joss Whedon’s Western-styled space opera might be missed, but in the years since, its fans have found ways to cope with its absence, turning to other TV shows, writing fan fiction—or searching out books that scratch their Big Damn Heroes itch. We always find ourselves reaching for a solid space opera novel during the summer months, so we’re offering up 15 space opera books for Firefly fans, each embodying one or more of the qualities that made that show so great.

(5) CHECK REJECTS. SJPA, the organization behind Anime Expo, has partially retracted its recently announced Youth Protection policy. Anime News Network has the story — “Background Checks Not Mandatory for Anime Expo, Except for Its Employees, Volunteers”.

The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the California-based non-profit organization behind Anime Expo, announced on Friday that the criminal background check requirement it introduced as part of its Youth Protection Program are now only mandatory for its own employees and volunteers. Background checks are optional but strongly encouraged for Artist Alley participants, exhibitors, press, Guests of Honor, performers and vendors.

SPJA is partnering with the Nonprofit Risk Management Center to launch the Youth Protection Program to protect young attendees at Anime Expo. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center began streaming an introduction video for the program on Tuesday. The organization also began streaming a video on April 29 that explains the responsibilities of being a partner to the Youth Protection Program.

SPJA noted the other elements of the program that will remain in place:

We are creating SafeSpace kiosks and other means for youth to report and receive immediate help. Significantly increased private security and LA Police officers will be present onsite. To protect minors from exposure to adult content, spatial separation and ID checks will be enforced at AX. Exhibitors will be required to keep adult materials behind closed pipe and drape, and to conduct ID checks at entrances to adult areas. Similarly, adult programming will be physically separated from other programming spaces and IDs will be required for access.

The policy originally required all employees, volunteers, panelists, performers, guests, members of a guest’s or performer’s entourage, and Artist Alley participants to consent to a background check, as well as completing certain online youth protection training courses. Exhibitors, press, and vendors were also required to affirm that all representatives complete a background check. Some exhibitors had already signed to agree with this previous policy and submitted information to comply.

2016 WISB Awards(6) WISB AWARDS. Shaun Duke of The World in the Satin Bag has distributed the 2016 WISB Awards – including some for File 770!

The fiction section is led off by Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s novel Signal To Noise. The Best Non-Fiction Work was Eric Flint’s “A Response to Brad Torgersen.”

Now that awards season is in full swing, it’s time to release the winners of the 2016 WISB Awards.  As with every year of the award, the winners are selected from my reading and viewing experiences throughout 2015 and during my annual Hugo Awards reading binge.  As such, the long list included works published decades ago.

Unlike previous years, the 2016 WISB Awards included a long list, which you should check out to see all the great stuff I enjoyed.  You might also check out the 2016 Hugo Awards Reading/Watching List, which includes works from my original list and works suggested by readers.

As with every year of the awards, these selections are based entirely on my own tastes, which are imperfect, narrow, and weird….

(7) ALPHA GAME. The Traveler at Galactic Journey found a classic in “this month’s” F&SF — “[May 21, 1961] Pineapple Upside-Down Month (June 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction).

Cordwainer Smith’s Alpha Ralpha Boulevard is one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time.  Most tales of the future are either frustratingly conventional or completely opaque.  Not so in Boulevard, which features a world dominated by “Instrumentality”, an omniscient computer dedicated to the happiness of humanity.  16,000 years from now, after a placid, highly regulated existence, people are, at last, offered the luxury of uncertainty (or at least the illusion thereof).

(8) PICS OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. I guess readers are supposed to be shocked and dismayed that if you leave a flag outside in the sun for 50 years it isn’t going to stay looking brand new.

On the other hand, nobody has any photos showing “The American flags on the Moon have all turned white”.

(9) OPPOSED BY MARS. But this story you can see with your own eyes. NPR tells you how easy it will be to view Mars this weekend.

Sometimes astronomy can be challenging, but spotting Mars this weekend should be a breeze.

Step 1: Head outside right after sunset and look toward the southeastern sky.

Step 2: Find the full moon. (So far, so good, right?)

Step 3: Look up and to the right, and find what looks like a bright red star.

That’s Mars, our planetary neighbor — getting up close and personal.

This weekend is the “Mars opposition,” when the planet shines most brightly; at the end of the month, in a related event, we’ll have the “Mars close approach,” when there’s the shortest distance between the two planets.

(10) YOUR ROBOTIC FUTURE. Robin Hanson’s The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth will be released by Oxford University Press on June 1.

Age of Em cover

Many think the first truly smart robots will be brain emulations or ems. Scan a human brain, then run a model with the same connections on a fast computer, and you have a robot brain, but recognizably human.

Train an em to do some job and copy it a million times: an army of workers is at your disposal. When they can be made cheaply, within perhaps a century, ems will displace humans in most jobs. In this new economic era, the world economy may double in size every few weeks.

Some say we can’t know the future, especially following such a disruptive new technology, but Professor Robin Hanson sets out to prove them wrong. Applying decades of expertise in physics, computer science, and economics, he uses standard theories to paint a detailed picture of a world dominated by ems.

The book, set 100-150 years in the future, is “speculative nonfiction” by an economist. The publicity blurbs come from David Brin, Vernor Vinge, Gregory Benford, and Hannu Rajshiemi, among others.

The website includes a TEDx talk Hanson did which got 2.2 million hits.

(11) GOOD, IF YOU LIKE ADS. “Goodreads has found a new way to get money from authors while annoying their use base,” says Dawn Sabados. “Opt out of ads features are just so wonderful.”

“Goodreads Deals: A New Way to Promote Your Ebooks to Millions of Goodreads Members (U.S. Market)”

With the launch of Goodreads Deals in the U.S., we’re now offering authors and publishers a new way to amplify ebook price promotions to our millions of members. The Goodreads Deals program comes with built-in personalization options based on members’ Want to Read shelves, the authors they follow, and the genres they prefer—all designed to help your deals reach the readers with the highest interest in buying your books. Goodreads Deals is unique because we’ll enable you to reach existing fans and introduce your ebooks to new readers:

  • Existing Fans: Every second, our members add 6 books to their Want to Read shelves—that’s 15 million books per month that have captured the interest of readers. With Goodreads Deals, you can now tap into that interest. We’ll email members when a book on their Want to Read shelf has a price promotion. We’ll also email any members who follow the author on Goodreads.

(12) IT IS SO. Writer and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan Emily Spahn, after learning that MLP is up for a Hugo because of the Rabid Puppies slate, wrote “I Have a Pony in this Race” to tell Hugo voters why the show (and that particular episode) are good sci-fi worthy of serious consideration rather than being just a troll nomination:

You know, it’s kind of appropriate that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was nominated for a Hugo in order to troll people. Our entire fandom was built on some trolling.

Way back in 2011, some guys on 4Chan started posting My Little Pony pictures and memes from the then-new series, Friendship is Magic. Other people complained, and being 4Chan, they responded by flooding the site with pictures of ponies.

But somewhere in there a strange thing happened. People checked out the show, whether because they thought the characters were cute or because they thought it would be dumb and wanted to mock it, and they liked it. Not ironically, and not because it was subversive or slipped adult humor in under the radar. They just really liked the simple stories about Twilight Sparkle and her pony friends. And Bronies were born.

Three weeks earlier a post written by Horizon, “MLP’s Hugo Award nomination: Into the culture wars”, provided historical context and  got picked up by Equestria Daily, MLP fandom’s biggest website.

It is ambiguous whether the nomination was serious and ideological (the episode in question is about Starlight Glimmer’s “equality cult”, making it a potential political statement), or whether it was a “joke” nomination in the same vein as short-story finalist Space Raptor Butt Invasion, but in either case it was pretty transparently proposed as a slap in the face to Hugo voters.

If you don’t give a crap about SFF or American culture wars, that should be all the context you need to understand what has other people upset, and help you avoid falling into the drama if you stumble into someone slamming MLP.

(13) SCHOOL’S IN! SF Crowsnest points to this Eighties-style trailer for the new X-Men movie. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is now open for enrollment… (X-Men: Apocalypse in theaters May 27.)

[Thanks to Dawn Sabados, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Petrea Mitchell, Paul Weimer, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

Pixel Scroll 1/9/16 To Flail Beyond the Sunset

(1) USE THE FARCE. Entertainment.ie says this Twitter spat between Emo Kylo Ren and Very Lonely Luke is what the internet was made for. Here are the first two tweets in the exchange —

(2) BEWARE FAUX SPOILERS. Will R., who says Hobotopia is a long-running web comic, and one of the nicest things in all of the Internet, draws attention to its ostentatious Spoiler Alert for what turns out to be a pretty obscure The Force Awakens spoiler.

(3) ACTION FIGURES. Here are your prototype action figures for the Ghostbusters reboot. There wasn’t much chance Mattel would repeat the mistake Hasbro made with The Force Awakens of leaving out the female characters, was there?

Amanda Kooser at CNET already has play suggestions.

The action figures come from toy company Mattel and will be 6 inches (about 15 centimeters) in height. That’s a pretty standard size for action figures, so you should be able to fold them into imaginative play along with your Star Wars and Star Trek collection. The crossover possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to see what a proton pack does against Kylo Ren.

(4) STABBY WINNERS. Reddit’s r/Fantasy group has chosen the winners of the 2015 Stabby Awards. Here are the top vote-getters in 3 of the 15 categories:

Stabby Award

Stabby Award

  • BEST NOVEL OF 2015 Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
  • BEST SELF-PUBLISHED / INDEPENDENT NOVEL OF 2015 The Labyrinth of Flame by Courtney Schafer
  • BEST DEBUT NOVEL OF 2015 The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Click on the link to see the rest.

(5) MEAN STREETS. Tobias Carroll at Literary Hub introduces a review by reminding everyone of the time Raymond Chandler mocked science fiction.

In a 1953 letter to his agent H.N. Swanson, Chandler indulges in a brilliantly entertaining, paragraph-long parody of sci-fi writing, which hits every trope and cliché of the genre. Oh, and he namedrops Google some 45 years before Larry and Sergey registered the domain.

Did you ever read what they call Science Fiction? It’s a scream. It is written like this: “I checked out with K19 on Adabaran III, and stepped out through the crummaliote hatch on my 22 Model Sirus Hardtop. I cocked the timejector in secondary and waded through the bright blue manda grass. My breath froze into pink pretzels. I flicked on the heat bars and the Bryllis ran swiftly on five legs using their other two to send out crylon vibrations. The pressure was almost unbearable, but I caught the range on my wrist computer through the transparent cysicites. I pressed the trigger. The thin violet glow was ice-cold against the rust-colored mountains. The Bryllis shrank to half an inch long and I worked fast stepping on them with the poltex. But it wasn’t enough. The sudden brightness swung me around and the Fourth Moon had already risen. I had exactly four seconds to hot up the disintegrator and Google had told me it wasn’t enough. He was right.”

They pay brisk money for this crap?

In the case of Adam Christopher, Chandler’s rivalry with science fiction gave rise to literary inspiration. In the acknowledgements to his new novel Made to Kill, Christopher writes that “what I really wished did exist was Raymond Chandler’s long-lost science fiction epic.” He describes himself as “amused” by “the way Chandler hated science fiction.” There are a handful of nods to Chandler’s infamous riff on the genre peppered throughout Christopher’s novel, including as its epigraph. Made to Kill can be read as a science fiction-laced detective story and as a way of using the detective story template to investigate more archetypally science fictional themes of memory and identity.

The setting of Made to Kill is an altered 1965: John F. Kennedy is president, the Cold War rages on, and American society has had an unsuccessful dalliance with incorporating robots into everyday life. The last survivor of this program, narrator Ray Electromatic, is the detective at the center of this novel, drawn into a conspiracy involving Hollywood stars, radioactive material, and Soviet spies. Ray makes for an interesting protagonist in a number of ways: as robots go, he has an unexpected moral compass, and the fact that his memory only lasts for a day does a good job of establishing him as a less-than-reliable narrator from the outset.

(6) YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. David Gerrold says he’s learned from (bad) experience to avoid feuds, as he explains on Facebook.

Here are 5 of his 10 points:

4) “Forgive and forget” does not apply here. Everyone in a feud, no matter what side they’re on, has already succumbed to self-righteousness, simply by being in the feud. Self-righteousness is terminal.

5) A really spectacular feud, if it goes on long enough, if it gets loud enough, if it gets ferocious enough, will not only destroy the participants, it will destroy the community in which the feud occurs. (I have seen this happen multiple times, where whole forums evaporated because the toxicity reached armpit level.)

6) Sociopaths and attention whores enjoy feuds. People who have not yet learned a modicum of restraint or self-awareness are the biggest victims.

7) Screechweasels and harangutans will outlast everyone and declare the victory of getting the last word. It’s a hollow victory, because most of the other participants will have walked away in disgust.

8) Reconciliation of any kind is almost always impossible — because there is always at least one person who needs to recap the past in one last attempt to prove the other side wrong.

(7) CALL FOR PAPERS. “Reframing Science Fiction”, a one-day conference on the art of science fiction, will be held in Canterbury (UK) on March 21. Keynote speakers: Dr. Jeannette Baxter (Anglia Ruskin University) and Dr. Paul March-Russell (University of Kent).

From William Blake and John Martin to Glenn Brown and The Otolith Group, artists have been producing works of art that are science fiction. And artists and their works have been incorporated into many works of sf.

Meanwhile, on countless book covers and in magazine illustrations, a visual language of science fiction has evolved: bug-eyed monsters; spaceships; robots and so on.

Art in the comic strip and the graphic novel has been the means of telling stories in visual form – whilst artists such as Roy Lichtenstein have made comic panels into art.

The call for papers (which opened some time ago) has a January 15 deadline.

We invite 300 word proposals for twenty minute papers on the intersection of art and sf across the media – painting, sculpture, drawing, collage, photography, film, performance, prose, dance, architecture and so on…

(8) ONE ISLAND’S OPINION. Colleen Gillard’s article “Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories” in The Atlantic is high-brow click-bait.

The small island of Great Britain is an undisputed powerhouse of children’s bestsellers: The Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh, Peter Pan, The Hobbit, James and the Giant Peach, Harry Potter, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Significantly, all are fantasies. Meanwhile, the United States, also a major player in the field of children’s classics, deals much less in magic. Stories like Little House in the Big Woods, The Call of the Wild, Charlotte’s Web, The Yearling, Little Women, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are more notable for their realistic portraits of day-to-day life in the towns and farmlands on the growing frontier. If British children gathered in the glow of the kitchen hearth to hear stories about magic swords and talking bears, American children sat at their mother’s knee listening to tales larded with moral messages about a world where life was hard, obedience emphasized, and Christian morality valued. Each style has its virtues, but the British approach undoubtedly yields the kinds of stories that appeal to the furthest reaches of children’s imagination.

And it works – people are coming unglued in the comments.

(9) FX. Doctor Science formulates a TV production axiom in “How special effects eat characterization”. The Doctor’s last paragraph says it best, but you should read it there. Here is the first paragraph:

I don’t think this trend is mostly an artistic or marketing choice, even though that’s what people in Hollywood usually say. I think “more explodey” is driven by the need to justify budgets, and by the individual interests of the people who have to do it.

(10) UNEMPLOYED KAIJU. They won’t be needing any special effects for Pacific Rim 2 — it’s dead, Jim.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the follow-up to director Guillermo Del Toro’s monsters-versus-robots epic is “off the table indefinitely” – and in its place, del Toro has entered talks with 20th Century Fox to helm a rather different sci-fi spectacular.

Del Toro is reportedly gearing up to take the helm on ‘Fantastic Voyage,’ a remake of the 1966 sci-fi classic which starred Raquel Welch and Donald Pleasance as members of a team who are miniaturized in a submarine and injected into the body of a dying scientist in order to save his life.

(11) CLASS. The Doctor Who spinoff Class will air on BBC America in 2016. It was already on BBC Three’s schedule in the UK.

The eight-part series is from young-adult author Patrick Ness, who is known for writing the “A Monster Calls” books. The series is exec produced by “Doctor Who’s” Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin and is a co-production between BBC America and BBC Cymru Wales. It is filmed in Cardiff in the U.K.

“I’m astounded and thrilled to be entering the Doctor Who universe, which is as vast as time and space itself,” said Ness. “I can’t wait for people to meet the heroes of ‘Class,’ to meet the all-new villains and aliens, to remember that the horrors of the darkest corners of existence are just about on par with having to pass your exams,” he joked.

(12) BESTSELLER SNARK. Diana Gabaldon zinged George R.R. Martin – The Hollywood Reporter has the quote:

When asked by a reporter whether her work on the Starz drama [Outlander] — she penned a season two episode — would interfere with her meeting the deadline for the ninth installment in her saga — in light of Game of Thrones’ George R. R. Martin’s recent announcement that, of course, his next book will be delayed — Gabaldon didn’t miss a beat. “No. Unlike George, I write no matter where I am or what else I’m doing,” she said, adding: “He admits it himself that he likes to travel and he can’t write when he travels. That’s just the way he works. Everybody’s got their own writing mechanism. When I began writing, I had two full-time jobs and three small children.”

(13) TENTACLE TIME. Matthew Dockrey, designer of Sasquan’s Hugo base, made news with his new piece of public art in Vancouver (WA).

A newly installed tentacle sculpture is seen on Main Street in Vancouver Wednesday January 6, 2016. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian)

A newly installed tentacle sculpture is seen on Main Street in Vancouver Wednesday January 6, 2016. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian)

A giant steel tentacle bristling with saucer-sized suckers is slithering from the sewer in Uptown Village at Main and West 23rd streets.

Does it belong to an enormous octopus? A sea monster? Is it the tail of a dragon?

The imagination reels with possibilities.

The sculpture, created by Seattle metal artist Matthew Dockrey, is Vancouver’s newest piece of public art. Called “The Visitor,” the 5-foot-tall appendage cradling a genuine city manhole cover was installed Saturday. It will be dedicated at a celebration at noon Friday by the Uptown Village Association, Arts of Clark County, Vancouver’s Downtown Association and the city.

Karen Madsen, chairwoman of the nonprofit Arts of Clark County, said the artwork selection committee had sought a piece that was whimsical and interactive and that would endure over time. The sculpture, which Dockrey specifically created for the site in front of the old Mission Theatre, fits within the Steampunk art movement, she said.

(14) THE FRONT. Cedar Sanderson has pulled together the Mad Genius Club’s considerable wisdom about cover creation for self-published books into one post.

First and most important: before you start designing a cover, creating art intended for book covers, or even thinking about a book cover, you need to look at book covers. A lot of them. Specific book covers to your genre is even better, as there are subtle cues you need to know and recognize, even if you aren’t doing your own covers. So first, before anything else, go to Amazon and search for your sub-genre (space opera, paranormal romance, werewolf stories, historical military fiction, whatever it is) and look at the top 100 selling books. Not the freebies (unless you are looking at what not to do). Make notes of elements you like, things you hate, and the consistent notes that many of the covers have in common. When you’re done with this, you are ready to begin.

(15) HUGO PREP WORK. Shaun Duke has posted a crowdsourced list – “The 2016 Hugo Awards Reading/Watching List (or, My Next Few Months)”.

Last month, I asked for recommendations for my annual Hugo Awards reading bonanza.  A bunch of you responded with books, movies, TV shows, cookbooks, and so on.  The form will remain open for the next month or so, so if you haven’t submitted anything or want to submit some more stuff, go for it!

So, without further delay, here is the big massive monster list of stuff I’ll be reading or watching for the next few months…

(15) IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR. Doris V. Sutherland resumes her analysis of the comparative quality of Puppy and non-Puppy Hugo nominees in the past two races in “2014 Hugos Versus 2015 Sad Puppies: Novelettes” at Women Write About Comics.

Breaking down the above ten works, we have two stories from the 2014 Sad Puppies slate, four from the 2015 Sad Puppies slate, one from the Rabid Puppies and three that were not Puppy picks. In terms of numbers, this is a strong showing from the Puppies. In terms of quality, well…

Before I go on, I should—in the interests of balance—remind my readers that I generally liked the Puppy choices for Best Short Story; some had their flaws, but I felt that the only out-and-out dud was the Rabid slate’s “Turncoat.” Looking at the Puppy novelettes, on the other hand, I find myself decidedly unimpressed.

(16) ROCK ENROLL. NASA’s new Planetary Defense Coordination Office will coordinate asteroid detection and hazard mitigation.

NASA has formalized its ongoing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). The office remains within NASA’s Planetary Science Division, in the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The office will be responsible for supervision of all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass near Earth’s orbit around the sun. It will also take a leading role in coordinating interagency and intergovernmental efforts in response to any potential impact threats….

NASA’s long-term planetary defense goals include developing technology and techniques for deflecting or redirecting objects that are determined to be on an impact course with Earth. NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission concept would demonstrate the effectiveness of the gravity tractor method of planetary defense, using the mass of another object to pull an asteroid slightly from its original orbital path. The joint NASA-European Space Agency Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission concept, if pursued, would demonstrate an impact deflection method of planetary defense.

Even if intervention is not possible, NASA would provide expert input to FEMA about impact timing, location and effects to inform emergency response operations. In turn, FEMA would handle the preparations and response planning related to the consequences of atmospheric entry or impact to U.S. communities.

(17) AFRICAN SF. There are six African authors on BSFA Awards Longlist.

Sarah Lotz has been nominated in the Best Novel category for Day Four, the follow-up on her bestseller The Three.

Chinelo Onwualu of Nigeria has been nominated in the Best Non-fiction category for her essay “Race, Speculative Fiction And Afro SF”, published by the New Left Project.

The Best Short Fiction category features four other African nominations:

Unfortunately Samatar’s story won’t be eligible for the award as she announced hers is a reprint of a 2012 story.

(18) ANIMAL FARM. The extended trailer for Disney live-action movie The Jungle Book looks pretty good.

(19) WUV. Matthew Johnson contributed these instant classic parody lyrics in a comment.

Star Base… LOVE.”

Love, at Warp Factor Two

Beam aboard, we’re expecting you

Love, it’s a captain’s reward

Make it so, it warps back to you

 

The Love Base

Soon we’ll be plotting a different course

The Love Base

You’ll learn a new way to use the Force

Love

Won’t stun anyone

It’s fruity drinks ‘neath the double suns

It’s the Love

It’s the Love

It’s the Love

It’s the Love Base

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Brian Z., Will R., Standback, and Alan Baumler for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

With Six You Get Sleigh Dogs 7/2

aka My Enemy, My Alpo

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

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

Peter Grant

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

Mike Glyer

Could you share the calculation behind this estimate?

Anonymous

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

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

John Seavey

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

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

Peter Grant

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

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

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

“Spell my name right” – July 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Shaun Duke on World in a Satin Bag

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

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

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Why Are You So Angry?” – July 2

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

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

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

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

 

Duncan Mitchel on This Is So Gay

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

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

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

 

John C. Wright

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

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

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

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

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

 

Gef Fox on Wag The Fox

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

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

 

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

“Hugo Reading – Novelette” – July 2

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

 

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

The Bark Between The Stars 5/29

aka If All Puppies Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?

Here in today’s roundup: Martin Wisse, Sarah A. Hoyt, Alexandra Erin, Lela E. Buis, Bruce Baugh, Adam-Troy Castro, Vox Day, Daddy Warpig, Phil Sandifer, Shaun Duke, Spacefaring Kitten, Rebekah Golden, Dave Noonan, Lis Carey, Aziz Poonawalla, Charlie Jane Anders, Natalie Luhrs, and Kyra. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and May Tree – who independently submitted the same item — and Owlmirror.)

Martin Wisse on Wis[s]e Words

“Your writer’s group would not be angry with this” – May 29

That’s the sort of bollocks you hear a lot of science fiction readers talk about, that they want prose that’s transparent, “doesn’t get in the way of the story”, doesn’t demand any attention paid, doesn’t challenge. There’s of course a huge inferiority complex running through parts of science fiction, resulting in the dismissal of everything that smacks of the literary and difficult. That’s what you see here. It’s not bad persé, it’s just a bit unambitious.

And to be honest, the Hugos too often have been that already. There are plenty of middle of the road novels that have been nominated and won it. Do we really need more of that, or do we rather have something a bit more challenging? Cetainly the Puppy nominees aren’t the answers: by all reports they mostly fail even Paulk’s rather low standards.

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Pure Gold” – May 29

We know the air of collegiate comradery is a lie, to an extent. Note I said to an extent, and I’ll explain later.

Part of my amusement at the reaction to the whole Sad Puppies thing has been the very same people saying there were never politics in SF being the very same people who once told me that there were rifts I didn’t see in the field and that some people in the early two thousands still didn’t talk to each after arguments over the Vietnam war back in the day.

And anyone who has read Heinlein’s bio knows about the other rifts in fandom and among professionals way back before that, a lot of them political.

But this is to an extent, because to another extent… Well, guys, we’re all pretty weird. We spend our days writing about worlds and futures that don’t exist.

Older son who aspires to medicine (and is engaged in preparation to practice it) tells me that only people with a compulsion to work at healing (and he says it’s a compulsion) understand other people with the same issue. Well, guys… Yeah, same for writers, and to an extent for fans.

I’m not going to tell you that I love all my colleagues. There are many I loathe, many I cordially detest, many I tolerate, and, yes, many I love dearly. Weirdly, this doesn’t rift across political lines (of course, my politics being what they are, they are at best cross-sectional to real world politics) or even correlate to those I like to read. Yeah, curse it, some of the ones I loathe write pretty good stuff. (Shakes fist at great novelist in the sky, who has a sense of humor.)

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“The Puppies come so close to getting it, so often.” – May 28

…I stumbled across a post by Dave Freer from February called “To Serve One Master — The Reader“.

The major thrust of the blog post is the idea that however an author intends a work to be received is secondary to how readers receive it, which… okay. This is something that it’s taken me a long time to accept as an author, but I have to say that I am in general agreement with it.

The thing is, it’s weird to see a self-professed Puppy saying this. After all, these are the same people who, whenever someone starts talking about the racist or sexist content of a work, respond with “BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE AUTHOR MEANT! YOU CAN’T KNOW WHAT’S IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS! YOU’RE JUST READING INTO THINGS!”

 

Lela E. Buis

“Puppy Debate Maxing Out” – May 29

I’ve been involved in work-for-hire for the last couple of weeks, and am just coming up for air. Checking around my virtual environment, I notice the debate about the Hugo’s seems to have gone past the point of raging insults and into slash and burn territory.

This is a process that’s encouraged by the nature of the Internet itself. If this were a space opera, for example, the plot would play out something like this: The Puppies make a raid and take over territory at the Hugo Awards. Because this is considered an aggressive action, defenders of the award would assemble a force to shake them loose. They’d all let fly with photon torpedoes and phaser cannons set to “kill.” If the forces had to resort to hand-to-hand combat, they might bring out their light sabers and go at it in Star Wars style. The result would either be that the Puppies are driven off, or else they prevail and put down roots in their new territory.

The problem with this scenario, of course, is that all the battles are actually virtual. They’re being fought on blogs, websites, Twitter and Amazon accounts and in a few news outlets. This means that there can be no really decisive victory. Defenders of the Hugos can score against the other side with a well-turned phrase, but not really take back the stronghold.

 

Bruce Baugh on Google Plus  – May 28

Kate Paulk will be organizing the Sad Puppies 4 effort for next year’s Hugos, so it’s interesting to see what her creative priorities are. Two things of note, for me…

#1. Her guideline #7, “The prose is invisible.”, seems like a good way to toss out some of sf/f’s best writers, including Vance, Wolfe, Lafferty, and so many others.This line from Jack Vance’s “The Last Castle”, for instance, is delightful and very much visible: “In the end, death came uniformly to all, and all extracted as much satisfaction from their dying as this essentially graceless process could afford.” Prose I stop to admire in delight, or wonder, or the kind of bewilderment that leads to insight is a big part of why I read, and always has been.

#2. There’s nothing on her list about world-building, at all. This isn’t unique to this piece, either. None of the Puppies have much at all to say about world-building. I read sf/f for other places and times just as much for specific characters and stories within them, and one of the things that can make a work great is its setting. But seriously, they just don’t talk about world-building, which seems to me like talking about cooking shows and never wondering how something tastes.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – May 29

…Even if you’re Eric Flint and write exactly the kind of fiction the Puppies like, if you think the Puppies have no case, if you write several blog posts addressing them with logic, if you criticize Brad Torgersen in particular, you are a CHORF guilty of Saul Alinsky tactics and should be subjected to demands for apology.

Can we just make a rule in life that if you invoke the name of an old lefty who has been dead for decades and who is in fact unknown to most people who harbor left-wing beliefs, to attack criticism for crying out loud, you are at best a silly silly person?

 

 

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“The Olympian indifference of Johnny Con” – May 29

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich As a white straight male capitalist, I’m happy for @scalzi’s $3.4 million book deal. But how many women/POC are squeezed out because of it?

I had estimated 680 on the basis of other SF publishers’ current initial advances, but I stand corrected. …Tor is funding 13 more John Scalzi books at the opportunity cost of no less than 523 initial advances to new science fiction authors. As a side note, it is informative to see how much initial advances from major publishers have shrunk over time; the advance for my first published novel in 1996 was $20,000.

Those who have thrown hissy fits over Sad Puppies supposedly slate-blocking as many as 12 authors and preventing them from receiving recognition for their work at the Hugo Awards would do well to consider the fact that Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances. Opportunity cost is a bitch, especially when you’re the one upon whose fingers the window of opportunity has closed.

 

Shaun Duke on World in a Satin Bag

“On the Hugo Awards: Two Scholarly-ish Projects to Come (An Announcement)” – May 29

A lot of us in SF/F circles heard of the rumors circulating about the Hugos in the weeks prior to their announcement.  I heard many rumors from some of my friends, and many more circulated (or were revealed as truth) through RP/SP circles and through those with far more industry clout than myself.  Since last year’s Hugo Awards were also controversial, I had the feeling that these rumors were going to indicate a blow-up that we hadn’t yet scene.  And so I turned to a friend of mine for help:  Aaron Beveridge.

Aaron is one of the co-creators of MassMine, along with Nicholas Van Horn. MassMine was created with the intent of helping academics acquire meaningful data from social media platforms (specifically, Twitter).  Their program is pretty complicated, so I’ll let you go to the website and learn all about it (there’s a video and everything!).  Aaron, it turns out, is one of those enthusiastic individuals who believes, as I do, that collaboration is critical to academic work, and so it didn’t take any effort at all to convince him to help me collect data and put together the projects below.

This post serves as an official announcement for the projects that Aaron and I are working on.  These include the following:

1. MassMine-ing the Hugo Awards:  Social Media Reactions and What the Data Tell Us….

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“’The Day the World Turned Upside Down’ by Thomas Olde Heuvelt” – May 29

I was pleased that a Lightspeed story made it. It’s a very good magazine that won the semiprozine Hugo last year, after all, and it has published some pretty awesome fiction in 2014 as well. I’m quite sure I nominated two stories from the magazine for the Hugos, plus the whole magazine in the semiprozine category, plus the editor John Joseph Adams in the editor category.

I don’t read absolutely everything LS publishes, though, and Olde Heuvelt’s story was new to me. Naturally, I had some great expectations. Too bad this story let them down.

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Short Story: Reviewing Single Samurai” – May 29

It’s fairly obvious that Diamond had a vivid image of this story in his head, the problem is that at the end I did not. I think some of this is related to the fact that Diamond so utterly identified with the character he was writing that he did not see the foibles of the character’s personality.

 

Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Semi Pro Zine” – May 29

Wow! A whole category with no Puppy Shit smeared all over it.  I didn’t intend to read these because I did want to read more shitty short stories. So Beneath Ceaseless Skies sat open in my Moon+ for a couple of days before I started reading and then… shock!  The first story was good! The second story is good too!  Holy crap. So I went looking and discovered the Puppies apparently couldn’t find any right-wing nutjob Semi Pro Zines so I may actually get to read some decent stuff. Finger’s crossed.

 

Dave Noonan

“2015 Hugo Fanzine” – May 29

My notes and rankings for the Best Fanzine category of the 2015 Hugo Awards.

  • Journey Planet
  • Tangent Online
  • The Revenge of Hump Day

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form”  – May 29

I watched all of these movies before I saw them on the Hugo nominations list. They are all good movies, and worth a bit of hard earned down-time to watch. I get to review them without reflexively asking “Would anybody want to watch/read this?”, and get down to the more important business of defining my own personal opinion. All good reviews are subjective because they arise in part from the reviewer’s enjoyment of the subject, and resonate with the reviewer’s reasons for picking up the subject of the review to begin with.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Zombie Nation, by Carter Reid” – May 29

A complete loss, in my opinion.

 

Aziz Poonawalla on Beliefnet

“G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel nominated for Hugo Award — and needs YOUR support”  – May 29

In 2013, Saladin Ahmed’s book Throne of the Crescent Moon was nominated for Best Novel, losing out to John Scalzi’s Redshirts – a tough loss indeed, but a significant honor in its own right. And way back in 1980, Steven Barnes’s The Locusts (co-written with Larry Niven) was nominated for Best Novelette, losing out to George R.R. Martin. There may be other Muslims whose works were nominated that I am overlooking, but to the best of my knowledge no Muslim has ever taken home the iconic Huge Rocket statue.

This year, however, that all could change: Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, is nominated for Best Graphic Story. This is huge news and a tremendous recognition by the SF/F community of the cultural, literary, and social impact of Ms. Marvel – which is almost impossible to summarize, but this article at the venerable AV Club magazine is a pretty good primer: “One year later, Ms. Marvel’s influence is felt far beyond the comics page”

 

Charlie Jane Anders on io9

“Someone Will Livetweet Vox Day’s Debut Novel For Charity” – May 29

Before Theodore “Vox Day” Beale was the central figure in the Sad/Rabid Puppies Hugo Awards hacking, he wrote a series of religious-inspired fantasy novels for Pocket Books. And blogger Natalie Luhrs is going to live-tweet his debut novel, Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven, for charity….

 [Update: In case it’s not clear, she will livetweet her reaction to the book, one page per tweet, not the actual text of the book.]

 

Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible

“Bad Life Decisions: Make Me Read Theodore Beale” – May 29

So you can help me raise some money for RAINN (or a charity in your country which does the same sort of work).  For every $5 donated to RAINN, I will read and  live tweet one page of this 399 page delight with the hashtag #readingVD. I’ll also re-publish the tweets and add additional commentary by chapter here at Pretty Terrible–those’ll go up as I finish each chapter (there are 29 chapters in the book, as well as a prologue and an author’s note).

However, I’m not going to read any of it until we’ve raised at least $500–and I’d like to raise that by June 11.  If we manage to raise $2,000 I will read the entirety of Theodore Beale’s Eternal Warriors™: The War in Heaven™.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Rabid Puppies Review Books: HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON” – May 29

harold

Reviewed By Special Guest Reviewer Theophilus Pratt (Publisher — Hymenaeus House)

This instructive tale tells of a young man who all by himself creates a road which he then travels down, makes a mountain which he climbs, then saves himself from falling by conjuring a balloon which he hangs onto until he can bring into being a basket capable of supporting himself. His boundless creativity allows him to shape a whole civilization of buildings until, amusingly, he re-creates the very house he started out from and sleeps the sleep of the just, knowing that everything he has in life was fashioned by his own hand.

Amusingly, this book was sold to me as a work of fantasy when it is in fact the most realistic work of fiction I have ever encountered. If anything, it was too realistic to be fiction, a fact I found very amusing. Flipping through its pages proved to be instructive, as I began to see it was nothing more than a thinly veiled if amusing allegory for my own inimitable life.

Did I not provide myself with the only light I ever needed to walk by, as Harold did? Have I not always made my own road, and even left it when even it proved too stifling to my boundless intellect? Has not my dizzying intellectual magnitude taken me to the height of peaks so high that even I cannot long find purchase upon them? And when I fall, whom do I rely upon to prop myself up except myself?

 

Kyra in a comment on File 770 – May 29

Turning and turning in the widening blog
The puppy cannot hear the puppeteer;
Things fall apart; the Hugos cannot hold;
Mere doggerel is loosed upon the fans,
The canine tide is loosed, and in Spokane
The ceremony of awards is drowned;
The fest lacks all conviction, while the trolls
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some aggravation is at hand;
Surely the Slated Hugos are at hand.
The Slated Hugos! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image of a nominee story
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert prose;
A text with turgid body and an end wholly bland,
A phrase blank and meaningless about guns,
Is moving its dull verbs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant reviewers’ words.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That sixteen nominees in fiction slots
Were read like nightmares in my shaking Kindle,
And what rough book, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Sasquan for its award?

The Three-Puppy Problem 4/24

aka, We, in Some Strange Puppy’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line

Today’s roundup brings back Eric Flint, George R.R. Martin, Deirdre Saoirse Moen , Damian G. Walter, Alexandra Erin,  and Steve Davidson, introduces Ciaran, J. T. Glover, Jack Heneghan, and Chris Barkley, and launders a few talking socks. (Title credits go to File 770 consulting editors of the day, NelC and Brian Z.)

 

Eric Flint on The official home page of author Eric Flint

“More on the Hugos from a Dark, Dark Place” – April 23

The best estimate that you will usually encounter of how many people in the U.S. regularly read science fiction and fantasy is five million. There are probably three or four times that many who read F&SF occasionally, and there are certainly fifty or sixty million who enjoy science fiction and fantasy in the dramatic form of movies or television.

So. My solid fan base consists of about one percent—that’s right, ONE percent—of the solid mass audience for F&SF. It rises to perhaps two percent—yeah, that’s right, TWO percent—if we measure everyone who’s occasionally read something of mine against the occasional audience for science fiction and fantasy. And it falls back closer to one percent if we measure my name recognition against the entire audience (including movie-goers and TV-watchers) for our genre.

In other words, the difference between Resplendent Popular Author Me and Pitiful Literary Auteur Whazzername is the difference between tiny (one percent) and miniscule (one-tenth of one percent).

Yes, that’s what all the ruckus is about. The Sad Puppies feel that they have been wronged because Their Tininess has been downtrodden by the minions of the miniscule.

Give me a break. No matter who gets selected for awards by the comparatively tiny crowd of a few thousand people who show up at Worldcons and nominate writers for Hugo awards, they will always—and inevitably—diverge from the broad preferences of the mass audience….

Okay, now I’ll make my second point, which is briefer….

I don’t propose to eliminate any of the existing awards for short fiction. I have no objection to them, in and of themselves, and I have no desire to make those writers who concentrate on short fiction feel slighted in our genre. I simply think that the category of “novels” needs to be expanded into at least three and preferably four award categories.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Fanageddon” – April 24

What’s even more unusual — though perfectly understandable in context — is that this huge upswell is for SUPPORTING memberships, not attending. In other words, these are people who want to vote on the Hugo Awards, but have no actual interest in attending the worldcon.

But who are they? Are these new members Sad Puppy fans, signing up to vote the Torgersen/ Correia slate to victory? Are these the Rabids, the lockstep legions of Vox Day? Or is this fandom, gathering to defend the integrity of the Hugos? Pronouncements abound, but no one really knows, and no one is likely to know until the envelopes are opened. This will be the most dramatic Hugo night in worldcon history. But not in a good way.

Myself, I think it’s All of the Above. Fans on both sides — or all three sides, if you want to draw a line between the Sad Puppies and the Rabids — are laying down their money to cast their vote. I also think the votes may be way closer than some of the people on “my side” think. I am sensing way too much complacency from fandom. The Puppies dominated the nominations by mustering 200-300 votes for their slate, out of 2000; the fans seem to be counting on the “other” 1800, the voters who scattered their own nominating ballots, to outvote the Pups. And yes, 1800 beats 200 every time… but that does NOT account for all these new members.

 

Ciaran on Geek Ireland

“The Hugo Awards and Puppygate” – April 23

The current day controversies over diversity and identity politics largely come in three flavours. There’s the, you should probably let women and black people into your golf club flavour, which is generally only opposed by those for whom Pepperidge Farm Remembers memes evoke actual nostalgia. Then there are the horseshoe progressives or leftists, who tend to become so insular and extreme that they end up effectively supporting gender and racial segregation. Lastly, there are the reactionary conservatives, who believe that all they hold dear is about to crumble around them because Asami and Korra are bisexual. Both of the latter are as shallow as they are pervasive in these debates, particularly, and hilariously so, the reactionary viewpoint.

 

Damien G. Walter

“SF & Fantasy Publishing needs Industry Awards” – April 23

The Eisner’s announced their shortlists today which, low and behold, managed to be interesting, diverse and relevant to the comic book industry they represent. The Eisner’s are in actuallity what the Hugo awards are often assumed to be – an industry award. The main purpose of the Eisner’s is to serve the comic book industry in the ways such awards do, primarily by raising the profile of the industry’s best work and expanding the audience for the medium overall. On a much larger scale, the Oscars have been fulfilling this role for the film industry for decades. So why doesn’t the SF & Fantasy field have a proper industry award?

The main reason is that the Hugos, and alongside them the Nebulas, come very close to being an industry award without quite fulfilling that role. The Hugos could do, and many people seem to be working to get them there, but they won’t achieve that without becoming much more international and overhauling their voting system.

 

J. T. Glover

“The Hugos: Shenanigans & Unpopular Opinions”  – April 24

But politics are a dirty business! So indeed. The best, most thoughtful comments I’ve read along those lines come from Nick Mamatas. I have not (God help me) followed every corner of this debate, but I do think his points about “next steps” are good. Likewise, I strongly agree that the sword cuts both ways. You can’t engage in politics and then squeal when someone out-politics you. And make no mistake: “eligibility posts” are a form of campaigning, and saying anything less is hypocritical sophistry (even if one thinks, as I do, that they help to shed light on underrepresented people who and works that otherwise get lost in the scrum). Charlie Jane Anders argued after the awards were announced that the Hugos have always been political, and now they’re only political, and I very sincerely hope she’s wrong… but put three people in a room and you have politics.

Is this the end of the Hugos? I can’t count the number of people I’ve read dolefully and/or gleefully saying that this is The End for the Hugos, or that it’s The End under X or Y condition. This is nonsense. If you want it, fight for it. The Puppies figured out a way to mobilize, and so can anyone else, particularly given how few people have historically voted in the Hugos: 40-ish percent near the high water mark. Thousands of votes that don’t get cast are sitting there, ripe for the motivating/wheedling/convincing/mobilizing.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“How I’ll Vote the Hugo’s, Part 2” – April 23

The cabal of troublemakers and malcontents are campaigning strenuously against the No Award option, lumping all three variations together under a nuclear option rubric, and claiming that anyone who endorses it are guilty of discrimination, being tools of the SJW cabal, stifling the diversity of the field.  At least one full round of daily discussion has been devoted to the utter chutzpah of this last claim.  It’s truly mind boggling.  Apparently we’re not allowed to push for true diversity in the field until after we honor fake diversity by giving it a bunch of Hugo rockets.  Pointing out that this is pretty much the way things have worked up till now doesn’t really seem to penetrate.

So here’s an argument in favor of voting No Award (whichever methodology you choose) that I’ve not seen presented before:

Just as the slates proved that the Hugo award nomination process had a flaw that made it vulnerable to manipulation (but only when people who don’t care about the system get involved) voting No Award proves that the final found of voting still works, and works well and as intended.

Voting No Award not only sends a message of displeasure and rejection of nomination campaigns, it also sends a message that the awards system itself is healthy and has worked exactly the way it was intended to.

 

 

Chris Barkley on Facebook – April 24

Under the current Constitution of the World Science Fiction Society, you may nominate a work for a Hugo Award if you are a current member OR an attending or supporting member of the previous Worldcon. This amendment was passed to encourage a continuing number of members to vote every year, regardless of their status.

So, this morning I found out that some people who attend the WSFS Business meeting are floating an idea to discontinue this practice and restrict nominations and… voting only to members of a current Worldcon.

Oh, HELL To the NO!

Are you kidding me? Voting on Hugos has gradually gone UP since this amendment was ratified and now, when some idiots come along and upend our applecart, should we cringe in fear change the rules because we’re afraid they’re going to do it again?

NO, this is how the Sad/Rabid Puppies win; we conform to their actions, we react to demands and THEY WIN.

The benefits that the expansion of voting have provided FAR outweigh the risks. We, the relative sane fans who want to uphold and continue the Hugo Awards, are stronger and better than than these Puppygate (insert appropriate expletive here).

 

Jack Heneghan on exempli gratia

“My Disclaimer” – April 24

I should note that while I am interested in what is going on with the Hugos and would like for the Final Ballot to represent the best of SF for the previous year, I do not participate in the nominating process myself. My backlog of reading material is several decades long and I actually use the final ballot, or short list, to provide me some guidance for reading material for the current year. If I am able to get to a number of items on the list then I will participate in the voting in the appropriate categories.

Looking at the Hugo winners and runners-up over the years will give you good guidance to selecting a reading list. (My problem is not getting to them until the voting is well over.) It will also give you an idea of which authors were consistently honored by the community. (I am really surprised to see that Iain M. Banks only had one nomination in his career. Be sure to put Iain M. Banks on your reading list. To be confused with Iain Banks.)

 

Vox Maximus

“SJWs, a Podcast, and a Special Kind of Lie” – April 24

Because I like to amuse myself, I recently listened to the Nerdvana Podcast on the 2015 Hugo Awards (a two-part series with Part 2 being located here). Minute after minute, I listened to these individuals converse about Vox Day. They mused about his motives. They psycho-analyzed him. They called his family members “stooges”. And they just talked, and talked, and talked about Vox in quite a bit of detail (they also cried–seriously–when they thought about what Vox was “doing” to the Hugo Awards). But do you know the one thing that they did not do? TALK TO VOX DAY HIMSELF. That’s right, these individuals used up precious time speculating about everything from Vox Day’s goals to his potential financial fixing of the Hugo Awards themselves. And yet, they did not talk to him. They did not send him an e-mail with questions. They did not try to contact him on his blog. In fact, they did not even quote anything from his blog or his writings (or a bad paraphrase or two was included). Now it is their podcast, so it’s their decision whether to speak to Vox Day or not. But the point is this: How seriously can you take a bunch of people that speak about one particular individual—an individual who is readily available for comment—without even trying to speak to the actual individual himself? How genuine are the calls for “dialogue” and “understanding” when the people calling for dialogue and understanding don’t actually dialogue with the person that they are talking about and don’t seek to understand that person either. In fact, in my view, talking about Vox Day in such detail without allowing him to speak for himself is just a special kind of lie; a sort of lie of omission, for they omitted to include the very person that they were speaking of even though he would most likely have readily appeared upon request. And this just adds weight to what Vox Day says:  One way or another, SJWs always lie.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

So, Let’s Talk About The Hugos: A Puppy Primer – April 24

So, Why Do I Care?

Simply put, when I see people making claims based on the most tenuous of intuitions and calling it hard evidence, that bothers me. When I see people trying to police what other people are allowed to write, read, and like while pretending that this is being done to them, that bothers me. I am disturbed at the idea that someone can take such exception to the fact that other people like other things for other reasons that they would reject that in favor of a conspiracy theory and then take drastic action to overturn the supposed cabal.

Basically, I don’t want to read and write in a world when a man who equates the existence of books he doesn’t approve of to false advertising is able to set himself up as some sort of tastemaker-in-chief because he throws a big enough tantrum whenever a book or author he disdains gets too popular for him to make sense of.

The original Sad Puppies initiative predates Gamergate by a couple years, but they’re both powered by the same sense of aggrieved entitlement cloaking itself in phony virtue. Some people, rather than acknowledging that an entire medium/genre will not always reflect their own personal tastes, decide that the relative success of anything they don’t like is a kind of cheat, and by golly, they’re going to do something about it!

So the stakes here are, we either label this nonsense as what it is and find a way to work around the tantrum-throwers, or we just sort of give up and give in.

 

 

Deirdre Saoirse Moen on Sounds Like Weird

“Hugo Awards: Blocs, Slates, Lists and Milliscalzis” – April 24

One of the questions when faced with bloc nominating in the Hugo Awards is this: when is something bloc voting/nominating? When isn’t it?

….So, given that Aidan [Moher] and I hang around in the same milliScalzi hood, I feel I can say about how much influence he had this year. Let’s put it this way: it only took 23 nominations to get on the fan artist ballot, and his nomination didn’t make it onto the list.

More Compelling Reasons I Don’t Consider Aidan’s List a Slate

  1. Aidan didn’t highlight his own work. Do I need to explain how the puppy slates differed in that regard?
  2. Aidan posted it on March 9th (though he’d posted novel thoughts earlier), and nominations closed less than a week later. The Sad Puppies 3 slate was posted at the beginning of February. While I could also see a case being made for people just nominating without reading, I believe the extra lead time is a significant factor.
  3. A slate with little to no effective conversions (in the marketing sense, by which I mean people taking action) is not a slate. Given that the fan artist influence didn’t push his candidate up and over, I think the “slate” argument is truly a non-starter.

 

Marsultor13 on Mars Is

“In which this ignorant ass redneck attempts to fisk one of them genius professorial types” – April 24

One such indyvidual goes by the name of Philip Sandifer. And not only is Mr Sandifer powerful annoyed at us yokels not staying down on the farm, (or trailer park as the case may be) he also happens to be a jen-U-wine professor of that there litrature. Now I did try and read Professor Sandifer’s overly long post about why I aint the write type of fan to be voting in them thar Hugo’s rewards, but wouldn’t you just know it? Afore I could even get halfway through that there know-vella I started to notice that a lot of what he was saying just dint make no damned cents.  And given that I reckon I could always use more traffic at this here blog, I decidered to take a page outta Mr. Correia’s book and do me a good old fashioned fisking. As Mr Correia always says, My words will be in bold, his’ins’ll be in eye-talics.

 

Joshua Dyal in a comment on Vox Popoli – April 24

It would be an event of deliciously hilariously irony if all of the nominations for Best Short Story 2016 were parodies of “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.”