Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask — Special Irish Worldcon Edition, Day Two


By Chris M. Barkley: When I woke up Friday morning, I reminded myself that I was not in my own home, that I was, for better or worse, a representative of the United States and should be on my best behavior as a guest in the warm and welcoming community of the Republic of Ireland.

And then I turned on the news and heard that the “president” of my country has seriously floated the idea of BUYING THE ISLAND OF GREENLAND! (Because he doesn’t have enough real estate for golf courses in the US?)

As usual, the rest of the world made fun of this delightful development on the internet, the best of which was New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz, whose headline story read, “DENMARK OFFERS TO BUY U.S.” The one stipulation was that the offer was only good for the land, NOT the current government.

I must say that as an American, I am proud to know that no matter how bad our situation seems at the moment, that we, on the whole, have a wonderful sense of irony and humor that will see us through. I hope.

Juli and I rode the tram which stopped right near our apartment. We also bumped into fan Mike Willmont and Dublin Hugo Administrator Nicholas Whyte, who, like us, were on their way to the Preliminary Business Meeting.

Mike Willmoth and Nicholas Whyte

The meeting was chaired for the first time by a well-known acquaintance of ours, Jessi Lipp. We started at 10:20 am. They appeared a little nervous but we wished them well because managing the Business Meeting is much akin to the sport of herding cats.

I was nervous for a different reason, Item D-14 on the proposal for the Best Translated Novel. If it passed a procedural vote, the amendment would be passed along to the Main Session on Friday to be debated.

Before the meeting started, I sought out and formally apologized to Cliff Dunn, the Chair of the Hugo Study Committee. I also offered my resignation from the Committee, which he accepted.

The Committee had voted and recommended that the Translated Novel proposal should be discussed for another year. I had willingly broken an unwritten protocol regarding this; I, committee member Mark Richards and Juli had drafted a full amendment for this year’s Business Meeting. While the idea had been batted around the email list intermittently last year, we were adamantly certain that the drafted amendment would pass muster. We sat with Mark as all of this played out.

I admit that I was particularly impatient with the progress of the committee on this issue. When Mark stated that he would support an amendment, I recruited him and my partner Juli on this rogue operation. 

As single item on the agenda was passed and scheduled a debate time, I tried to calm myself and expect the worst. And it was.

After Mx. Lipp announced the proposal several people immediately jumped to their feet shouting “postpone indefinitely”, and my heart sank. Mr. Dunn was recognized and he stated that he thought the amendment needed more study.

Mx. Lipp scheduled four minutes of debate time for the matter. I had drafted a longer speech but due to time constraints, I put it in my back pocket and decided to wing it. After Mr Dunn spoke, I was recognized by the chair and went to the podium.

I stated briefly that in these troubled times, we need to be the vanguard of diversity, not the rear guard. That this community was in a perfect position to tell the world that we believed in diversity.

Jo Van Ekeren, a member of the Study Committee stated that a foundation for a new category had not been established and that another year of demographic and statistical study was needed.

Mark Richards offered a defense of the amendment, saying it was needed now more than ever to ensure some measure of diversity on the Hugo Award ballot.

Mark Richards and Chris Garcia

Alas, it was all for naught, the proposal was postponed until such time as the Hugo Study Committee issued a final report.

Cliff apologized to me during the first break in the morning. He told me that in essence, he saved the proposal from being killed outright (which is entirely correct) because he wanted to be assured that the amendment would be perfect for passage.

I thanked him for his efforts but in effect told him that the Best Translated Novel was now in his committee’s hands, not mine.

It was at this moment that Mark Richards came up with the idea of proposing a formal advisory directive from the Business Meeting to future Hugo Administrators that if a translated work should be awarded a Hugo, the translator must be given an award as well. While not being formally codified into the WSFS Constitution, this advisory notice should serve a placeholder for a legal insertion at some later date and as a sign that the Business Meeting is aware of the good work being done in this realm. 

In the end, I was not angry or bitter, just sadly disappointed that others could not see what we see and take the necessary action needed to ensure the right thing gets done.

Vanessa Applegate and Juli Marr

There have been times over the past few months that my thoughts have turned to John Adam’s character in the classic musical 1776. Adams, considered a visionary and the intellectual equal of many of the Founding Fathers of America, was also seen by many of his peers as a crank, self-aggrandizing, egotistical and arrogant.

And, it seems, it is as I am by some of my peers in fandom.

My partner Juli consoled me as Abigail Adams did for her partner. In fact, she told me she was thinking of 1776 all day Friday as things unfolded. She cited a significant moment in the musical and posted it on her Facebook page for me to see:

John: ” You must tell me what it is. l… Well, I have always been dissatisfied.”

Abby: “I know that.”

John:  “But lately, I find that I reek of discontentment.
It fills my throat and it floods my brain.
Sometimes I fear there is no longer a dream,
but only the discontentment. “

Abby: “Oh, John. Can you really know
so little about yourself? Can you think so little of me
that you’d believe I’d marry the man you’ve described?
Have you forgotten what you used to say to me?”

John: “I haven’t. “Commitment” Abby.”

Abby: “Commitment.” There are only two creatures of
value on the face of this Earth. Those with a commitment, and those who require the commitment of others.”
Do you remember, John?”
John : “Yes, I remember.”

And sometimes I am reminded that commitment has been the key to why I have dedicated myself to seeing Hugo Awards become more successful and diverse. In twenty years of fan activism I have seen many changes and advances. I am quite satisfied if that is all I am known for.  And  I am happy and grateful for the love of a kind and loving person to remind me that I am loved and have worth.

I Love You, Juli Marr.

Apparently, Friday was Pizza Day: Mr. Richards, Juli and I dined at Milano’s and were treated to an excellent, authentic-looking sausage and cheese pie that was quite delicious.

We then made a courtesy visit to the Press Office for details about where members of the press were going to be seated and stood in yet another queue for a 7 p.m. blue entry lanyard for the symphony concert scheduled for 8 that evening. We were joined in line by our good friends Gary, Carole and John who are fellow members of the Cincinnati Fantasy Group.

The Worldcon Philharmonic – Dublin was led by Conductor Keith Slade who was accompanied by a nearly fifty-piece orchestra. Also on the program were Traditional Flute soloist Eimear McGeown, Mezzo-Soprano Naomi Rogers and our host, two time Worldcon Chair Vincent Docherty.

The program consisted of selections from Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, two pieces from Ms. McGeown’s album “Inis”, a ferocious version of Mussorgsky’s NIght on Bald Mountain and several other well-known classical works.

The highlights of the evening were the magnificent renditions of the various themes of Star Trek films and series and John Williams scores from E.T., The Force Awakens and most memorably, Episode IV, A New Hope.

I used my phone to broadcast the Star Trek and Star Wars selections live on Facebook, much to the delight of several of my Facebook friends who happened to be online at the time. As I tried to keep the phone focused on the orchestra, my feeling of disappointment melted away as Williams’ powerful scores unleashed a torrent of joyful tears streamed down my face in the darkened theater. As the concert concluded and the lights came up, everyone saw me wipe my dampened face and I did not care who knew I had been moved so much.

Unfortunately, the evening ended on a rather bad note; the five of us took taxis to the Temple Bar area on the other side of the river in search of food. We tried to get into Difontaine’s, a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and packed with young people intent on becoming obese by sunrise.

Luckily, there was a formal sitdown Italian restaurant called Cafe Topolis was only a few doors away from the awful, doughy bacchanal

Gary had a regular pie with pepperoni while Juli, Carole, John and I dined on a traditional thin crust white pizza with olive oil, sausage, mushrooms and basil. DELICIOUS!

We were hit with the bad news as we divided the bill; Carole could not find her wallet, which contained all of her cards and a majority of her cash. It was quite fortunate that Carole had her passport and phone, but little else.

As we retraced our movements, we all became certain that she must have put the wallet down the side of the seat instead of an intended pocket.

Carole and Gary, who were in the cab in question, could not remember the name of the cabbie or the cab number. We flagged a passing cab and sought some advice. The driver said that as a rule they are very honest and they usually make sure the car is clear before the end of the shift. He advised us to go to the nearest police station and file a report

We googled and found a Garda precinct about 1000 meters from where we were. Carole wanted us to gome home and not worry about her but we were having none of it. When a fan is in trouble we should do everything possible to make sure they get home, no matter what has happened or how late the hour becomes.

We trooped into the station at around 1:30 a.m. local time. Gary, Juli and I sat down with a drunken man who was rambling incoherently, mostly at three women standing at the desk. It turns out that the two women had led a third woman, whom, it turned out to be a stranger they happened upon and did not know, could barely stand due to her total inebriation. As an officer took Carol’s information, the two women sat the drunk on a nearby bench for another officer to collect. As the two women left, the drunk woman made a run for it and made it out the door. I was going to run after her myself but the officer coming to retrieve her and the two samaritans  chased her down and caught her before she ran into traffic. The very cross officer proceeded to drag the drunk woman into a holding area for her own safety and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

After Carole was done, we all went out and caught cabs to our various residences; Carol and John in one and the rest of us in another. As of this writing, there has been no word on whether the wallet has been found.              

CORRECTION: I was accosted by Edie Stern and was chastised for NOT mentioning that her partner, Joe Siclari, was also a Worldcon Chair (MagiCon, the 50th Worldcon held in Orlando, FL). File 770 regrets the error. We also want to point out that while no currency was seen changing hands at this semi-clandestine meeting, we cannot be certain it had not already changed hands at the time of the incident.

In other words, Just Sayin’… 

The Scene in Martin Hoare’s Bar

Resolution Asks That Hugo Trophy Also Be Given To Translator, When Applicable

A resolution by Mark Richards, Chris Barkley and Juli Marr has been added to the Dublin 2019 Business Meeting agenda. It has been designated B4, (although there was another item which had that number.)

B.4         Credit to Translators of Written Fiction

Resolved, it is the sense of the Business Meeting that, for the written fiction categories of Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story, when the winner in one of these categories is a translated work, the credited translator shall be awarded a Hugo alongside the author.

Mark Richards explains the purpose of the resolution with these comments:

The choice of translator can make the difference in the impact of a work of fiction in translation, in comparison to its impact in its original language.

Fluency in the original language may be enough for a good translation. We feel that familiarity with the context in which a work was written adds to the quality of the result, and that a translator’s contribution there can make a difference.

For example, Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Problem wouldn’t have been nearly as successful had Ken Liu not gotten all of the nuance of Chinese history during the Cultural Revolution and been able to transmit that
emotional impact.

And there’s a collection of connected short stories, Kalpa Imperial, by the Argentine author Angelica Gorodischer, Any decent translator, I imagine, would have given us a good translation. It was the late
Ursula Le Guin, however, whose prose style was perfect for giving us as fine a work in English as it presumably was in the original Spanish.

Closing, we feel that a translator’s contribution to the success of a story merits recognition in the awarding of a Hugo.

Dublin 2019 WSFS Business Meeting Day 2

Corina Stark provided full notes of the Saturday session in “WSFS Business Meeting 1 Liveblog”, which can be read on Alex Acks’ blog.  (And Acks will be writing summary articles later.)

Once video of the meeting has been uploaded, it will be available at Worldcon Events on YouTube.

The agenda is available here. The references (e.g. “D7”) refer to items in it.

Mark Protection Committee: The current year’s open seats on the Mark Protection Committee were filled by Kevin Standlee, Ben Yalow, and Jo Van Ekeren by vote of the meeting.

New Resolution. A new resolution was added to the agenda, B4: Credit to Translators of Written Fiction. In it, Mark Richards, Chris Barkley and Juli Marr request that when a work in translation for Novel/Novella/Novelette, or Short Story wins a Hugo, that a Hugo rocket also be awarded to the credited translator. (See makers’ explanation in File 770 post “Resolution Asks That Hugo Trophy Also Be Given To Translator, When Applicable”.)

Business Passed On: Items that received first passage in 2018 were brought up for ratification.

C1, Adding Series to the Series, adds the bolded words and deletes the struck-over word.

3.2.6: The categories of Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short Story, and Series shall be open to works in which the text is the primary form of communication, regardless of the publication medium, including but not limited to physical print, audiobook, and ebook.

The motion passed unanimously.

C2: Comic Books and Graphic Stories. The motion adds “or Comic” to the category title. The change was a product of the Hugo Awards Study Committee.

3.3.7: Best Graphic Story or Comic. Any science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form appearing for the first time in the previous calendar year.

The argument was that it avoids any implication that comics are less eligible than graphic novels. The meeting voted to ratify the change.

C3, Notability Still Matters. The motion adds the language in bold. (See Dave Wallace’s File 770 guest post “How ‘Notability Still Matters’ Would Have Affected the 2017 and 2018 Hugo Long Lists”.)

3.12.4: The complete numerical vote totals, including all preliminary tallies for first, second, . . . places, shall be made public by the Worldcon Committee within ninety (90) days after the Worldcon. During the same period, the results of the last ten rounds of the finalist selection process for each category (or all the rounds if there are fewer than ten) shall also be published. Rounds that would otherwise be required to be reported for nomination may be withheld from this report if the candidate to be eliminated appeared on fewer than 4% of the ballots cast in the category and there are no candidates appearing on at least 4% of the ballots cast in the category in rounds to be reported below them.

Dave McCarty advocated the change, saying it would lower the burden on administrative staff as many administrators publish a long “long list” anyway.

Dave Wallace shared an analysis of past results if the change had been in effect, saying that the Short Story category is disproportionally affected and that it would have left off many excellent stories by well-known names in the field. As this helps Hugo voters to discover new works, the harm of leaving this information off outweighs the benefits of the proposed amendment.

Ratification failed, by a vote of 41 for, 44 against.

New Constitutional Amendments: Any of the proposals that pass get forwarded to next year’s Business Meeting for a ratification vote.

D1, Clarification of Worldcon Powers. The proposal removes struck over words and adds words in bold.

3.2.12: The Worldcon Committee is responsible for all matters concerning the their Awards.

Kevin Standlee said the change would make it mechanically impossible for a future Worldcon to “take away” Hugos from a previous year. The motion passed unanimously.

D2, Disposition of the NASFiC Ballot. The proposed addition to the rules would resolve Site Selection if it crashes at a NASFiC, which has never happened, but this would allow for a safety net and call a Business Meeting at a NASFiC solely to deal with Site Selection.

4.8.5: In the case the administering convention is a NASFiC, it shall hold a Business Meeting to receive the results of the site selection voting and to handle any other business pertaining directly, and only, to the selection of the future NASFiC convention. This meeting shall have no other powers or duties.

The motion passed.

D3, A Problem of Numbers. The proposed change clarifies that a member can vote in the Final Hugo Awards and the Site Selection even if they do not know their membership number or it has not yet been assigned, as the staff may supply it for them. The motion passed unanimously.

D4, The Needs of the One. Clarifies that an item can be moved around on an individual ballot, while the other clauses in the line item applies to categories as a whole. Adds the words in bold.

3.8.7: The Committee shall move a nomination on an individual ballot from another category to the work’s default category only if the member has made fewer than five (5) nominations in the default category.

Motion passed unanimously.

Item D5, The Forward Pass. Clarifies that the pass-along of member information to future Worldcons must be done in compliance with all appropriate laws such as GDPR. Discussion surfaced several issues that could not be immediately resolved and the pending amendment and a related motion on the floor were referred to the Nitpicking and Flyspecking Committee for a report next year.

D6, That Ticket Has Been Punched. The proposal would amend the WSFS Constitution by adding a subsection to Section 3.4.2: For finalists in the Series category which have previously appeared on the ballot for Best Series, any installments published [in English] in a year prior to that previous appearance, regardless of country of publication, shall be considered to be part of the Series’ previous eligibility, and will not count toward the re-eligibility requirements for the current year.

During debate a motion to amend the proposed rule by adding “in English” was passed 39-29. Stark’s notes don’t say where the words were added, so I have placed the phrase in brackets about where it seems to belong, pending confirmation. The motion as amended then passed and will be subject to ratification next year.

Stark’s notes say “D7, Five and Five will take significant time to discuss and debate…” without stating what happened to it, but that the meeting voted to proceed to item D8.

D8, No Deadline for Nominations Eligibility was debated. The proposal would get rid of the requirement for people to buy Worldcon memberships by the December 31 deadline in order to be allowed to nominate for the Hugos. (See File 770 discussion “The Right Date?”) Martin Pyne moved to add a sunset clause for 2024.

At that point the meeting adjourned, with plans to take up D8 on Sunday tomorrow with proper wording of the sunset clause. D13, the Best Game or Interactive Experience amendment, will also be discussed on Sunday, after the Site Selection results are presented.

Apply for 2019 Tiptree Fellowships by October 31

For the fifth year, the Tiptree Award is welcoming applications for Tiptree Fellowships: $500 grants for “emerging creators who are changing the way we think about gender through speculative narrative.”

If you think that description could apply to you — even if you are not working in a format most people would recognize as part of the science fiction or fantasy genre — you are eligible to apply for a Fellowship. Tiptree Fellows can be writers, artists, scholars, media makers, remix artists, performers, musicians, or something else entirely. So far our Fellows have been creators of visual art, poetry, fiction, and games.

The Tiptree Fellowship is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. The Fellowship Committee particularly encourages applications from members of communities that have been historically underrepresented in the science fiction and fantasy genre and from creators who are creating speculative narratives in media other than traditional fiction. In keeping with the focus of the Tiptree Award, the selection committee is seeking projects that explore and expand understandings of gender, particularly in relationship to race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age, and other factors that set individuals or groups apart as “other.” Fellowship applicants do not need a professional or institutional affiliation, as the intention of the Fellowship program is to support emerging creators who lack institutional support for their work.

The deadline to apply is October 31. The complete guidelines are available on the Tiptree Award site: “How to Apply”.

Applicants are asked to write an answer to the question: “How are you working with speculative narrative to expand or explore our understanding of gender?”

We are open to broad understandings of “gender” and are especially interested in its intersections with race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, and other categories of identification and structures of power.

Here we want you to tell us why your work is groundbreaking in the ways that the Tiptree Award honors: what’s speculative about it, and how you engage the complexities, intersections, and possibilities of gender in real and imagined worlds. Use this statement to tell us why we should be excited about supporting your work.

And they are asked what they will use the fellowship for.

Here we want to know why the monetary grant will be important for the particular project you plan to use it to help realize. Maybe it will go toward materials, travel for research, or the cost of presenting your work at a conference or exhibition. Maybe it will buy you time away from a job or other responsibilities so that you have time to focus on your creative work. We realize that $500 is a drop in the ocean for some kinds of projects, like films; maybe you will be using your fellowship as seed money, to help build up a larger sum you need to raise.

This is also where you can tell us more about who you are – how this project fits into your overall trajectory, what challenges it might help you overcome, and what it would mean to you to be named a Tiptree Fellow.

To apply, you will need to write short responses to the two questions and to share a sample of your work – the complete guidelines are at this link.

To read about the work of previous Tiptree Fellows, click on their names below:

[Thanks to Pat Murphy for the story.]

Dublin 2019 Opening Press Conference — Thursday

James Bacon, Diane Duane, Ginjer Buchanan, Ian McDonald, Mary Burns, Bill Burns.

By Daniel Dern: The opening press conference was great! Chair James Bacon, and guests Diane Duane, Ginjer Buchanan, Ian McDonald, Mary Burns, Bill Burns were introduced.

Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be any video — neither official nor any of us press folks. .(I’m sure that if we pressers had known/noticed there was no official videographer, we’d have held our phones etc. aloft throughout. Note to ConNZealand etc, these events are worth videoing.)

Happily, Chris Garcia has audio of the event, posted to his Journey Planet site “Dublin 2019: The Press Conference”

Diane Duane and Ian McDonald expressed their joy at a Worldcon they could take their local bus (or other public transit) to.

The panelists talked about the importance of Ireland’s first Worldcon. Other topics included ‘how I got started in fandom,’ ‘Worldcons I’ve been to,’ and a few ‘worst con stories,’ like which was the con where the hotel fell into the sea.

With centuries of fannish history at the table, lots of great stories!