Pixel Scroll 1/23/19 I Should Be Writing But I’m Sitting Home Watching Pixels Scroll

(1) PAGING MR. WIRE, MR. GUY WIRE. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] SpaceX had a little oopsie when one of their rockets fall-down-go-boom. Well, not so much “boom” as “crunch.” The Verge has the story (“SpaceX’s new test rocket topples over thanks to strong Texas winds”).

A prototype of SpaceX’s next big rocket fell over and sustained damage in south Texas, thanks to high winds in the area. Images from SpaceX’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas show part of the vehicle sideways on the ground and slightly crumpled. The damage from the mishap will take a few weeks to repair, according to CEO Elon Musk.

Since the holidays, SpaceX engineers in south Texas have been building a prototype of the company’s new Starship rocket. Formerly known as the BFR, the Starship is the next-generation vehicle that SpaceX is developing to transport cargo and people to orbit, as well as to the Moon, Mars, and maybe even beyond. The full system actually consists of two big components: a large rocket booster, named Super Heavy, which will launch a crew-carrying spacecraft — the Starship — into space.

(2) BETTER WORLDS. Cadwell Turnbull’s “Monsters Come Howling in Their Season” is the latest story in the “Better Worlds” series from The Verge.

Listen to the audio adaptation of “Monsters Come Howling in Their Season” below or in Apple PodcastsPocket Casts, or Spotify.

(3) IN THE YEAR 2054. On January 30, The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination presents Freeman Dyson and Gregory Benford discussing the topic “Foreseeing the Next 35 Years–Where Will We Be in 2054?”

Gregory Benford and Freeman Dyson

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
4:00 – 5:30 p.m. 
Roth Auditorium, Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine 
UC San Diego

This event is free and open to the public; RSVP required.

35 years after George Orwell wrote the prescient novel 1984, Isaac Asimov looked ahead another 35 years to 2019 to predict the future of nuclear war, computerization, and the utilization of space. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and the Division of Physical Sciences are honored to welcome two living luminaries in the fields of physics and futurism–Freeman Dyson and Gregory Benford (Ph.D. ’67)–to peer ahead another 35 years, to 2054, and share their insights into what may be in store for us.

Professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Freeman Dyson is an English-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician….

Gregory Benford is a physicist, educator, author, and UC San Diego alumnus (MS ’65, PhD ’67)…. A two-time winner of the Nebula Award, Benford has also won the John W. Campbell Award, the British Science Fiction Award, the Australian Ditmar Award, the 1990 United Nations Medal in Literature, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award.

(4) RSR ARTIST RESOURCE. Rocket Stack Rank has posted itsannual page that highlights work by over 100 professional artists who are eligible for the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. “2019 Professional Artists”. Eric Wong says —

It complements JJ’s Best Professional Artist Hugo: Eligible Works from 2018 page because only 19 artists overlap, meaning 24 are unique to JJ’s list and 83 are unique to RSR’s.

It takes about a minute to browse the thumbnails on the page, or 5-10 minutes to view all 300+ large images one by one with just a key press or screen tap each (no need to close tabs or hit the back key for the next one) thanks to the “lightbox” view. Creating a shortlist of ones you like is also easy by control-clicking or long pressing the artists’ name in the lightbox. Moreover, we’ve included links to the artists’ websites and search links to find artist interviews. If an image makes you curious about the book/magazine/story, there’s a link for that, too. 🙂

Performance-wise, the page is fine on phones and tablets because it’s a bit smaller and loads a bit faster than the File 770 home page (about 5 MB, under 2 seconds). If you view all 300+ large images in the lightbox, about 40 MB will be downloaded by the time you reach the end.

(5) SFWA STORYBUNDLE. The SFWA Fantasy Bundle curated by Terry Mixon is available from Storybundle for about another three weeks. Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Pay what you want!

For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • The Twenty-Sided Sorceress – Books 1-3 by Annie Bellet
  • Ashwin by Kit Rocha
  • Blade & Rose by Miranda Honfleur
  • Amaskan’s Blood by Raven Oak
  • Genrenauts – The Complete Season One by Michael R. Underwood

You choose how much you want to pay for these awesome books. (Click on each book above to check them out.) You decide how much of your purchase goes to the author and how much goes to help keep StoryBundle running. If your purchase price is $15 or more, you get SEVEN more books: Radiance by Grace Draven, The Arrows of the Heart by Jeffe Kennedy, The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher, Blood Dragon – Books 1-3 by Lindsay Buroker, Al-Kabar by Lee French, The Glass Gargoyle by Marie Andreas and Catching Echoes – Reconstructionist Series Book 1 by Meghan Ciana Doidge!

(6) LE GUIN ON SCREEN. Eileen Gunn has been to see the Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin documentary and paid it some compliments on Facebook:

“Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin,” a film by Arwen Curry, opened today in Seattle, exactly a year since Ursula died. John and I went to the first showing. It’s quite a wonderful film, lots of voiceovers by Ursula, lots of photos of Ursula, a few talking heads, and a number of interesting special effects. I was pleased to see Vonda N McIntyre there, in the film, and surprised to see a clip of Nisi Shawl and myself chatting with Ursula in an episode of our short-lived cable talk show, produced by Vonda. (I mean, we had all given our permission, but I had forgotten.) It was lovely to hear her voice again.

(7) WHAT I TELL YOU THREE TIMES IS TRUE. Andrew Liptak’s new Wordplay has as its anchor a segment titled, “Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien”.

…As I’ve been somewhat immersed in Tolkien’s lore, I’ve been thinking about what the future of Tolkien’s legacy might be. Clearly, there are huge Hollywood ambitious with it. Amazon is spinning up a fantastically expensive show that’s not *quite* an adaptation of LOTR, but which is said to follow Aragorn before the trilogy, which would be… interesting. It’s also supposedly set in Jackson’s particular vision of Middle-earth, which would make sense, given that that’s what the general public is most familiar with. After all, Guillermo del Toro apparently got the ax by deviating too much from Jackson’s world when he went to adapt The Hobbit.

Adapting Middle-earth is a huge challenge, and looking back on Jackson’s efforts on the first trilogy shows just how well they nailed it — Tolkien purists be damned — balancing the need for something accessible while getting the right tone of the world *right*.

(8) WHO LIVES UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS? [Item by Mike Kennedy.]Buzzfeed has a list of Twitter posts for “15 Times Meeting A Celeb Lived Up To Our Expectations,” and several of the named celebrities have genre ties. Carie Fisher appears on the list twice. Also on the list: Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan, George Takei, and Guillermo Del Toro.

Over the weekend, Twitter user Doug Tilley asked his followers to share stories about meeting their heroes and having the interaction live up to the hype: The thread quickly went viral, with people from all over sharing their heartwarming exchanges with celebs. The thread starts here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 23, 1939 Greg and Tim Hildebrandt. Greg is age 80, but Tim passed in 2006. I’d say best known for their very popular and ubiquitous Lord of the Rings calendar illustrations, also for illustrating comics for Marvel Comics and DC Comics. They also did a lot of genre covers so I went to ISFDB and checked to see if I recognized any. I certainly did. There was Zelazny’s cover of My Name is Legion, Tolkien’s Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham and Poul Anderson’s A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows. Nice.
  • Born January 23, 1943 Gil Gerard, 76. Captain William “Buck” Rogers in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century which I fondly remember as a really a truly great SF series even if it really wasn’t that great. He also shows up in the very short lived E.A.R.T.H. Force as Dr. John Harding, and he’s General Morgenstern in Reptisaurus, a movie title that proves someone had a serious lack of imagination that day. In Bone Eater, a monster film that Bruce Boxleitner also shows up in as Sheriff Steve Evans, he plays Big Jim Burns, the Big Bad. Lastly, I’d like to note that he got to play Admiral Sheehan in the “Kitumba” episode of fan created Star Trek: New Voyages.
  • Born January 23, 1944 Rutger Hauer, 75. Roy Batty In Blade Runner of course but did you know he was Lothos In Buffy the Vampire Slayer? That I’d forgotten. He’s also William Earle in Batman Begins, Count Dracula himself in Dracula III: Legacy, Captain Etienne Navarre in Ladyhawke, the vey evil John Ryder in The Hitcher, Abraham Van Helsing in Dracula 3D, King Zakour in, and no I didn’t know they’d done this film, The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power and finally let’s note his involvement in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets as President of the World State Federation.
  • Born January 23, 1950 Richard Dean Anderson, 69. Unless you count MacGyver as genre which I can say is open to debate, his main and rather enduring SF role was as Jack O’Neill in the many Stargate Universe series. Well Stargate SG-1 really as he only briefly showed up on Stargate Universe and Stargate Atlantis whereas he did one hundred and seventy-three episodes of SG-1. Wow. Now his only other SF role lasted, err, twelve episodes in which he played Enerst Pratt alias Nicodemus Legend in the most excellent Legend co-starring John de Lancie. Yeah, I really liked it.
  • Born January 23, 1964 Mariska Hargitay, 55. Did you know she’s the daughter of Jayne Mansfield? I certainly didn’t. Her first film appearance was as Donna in Ghoulies which is a seriously fun film. Later genre creds are limited but include playing Marsha Wildmon in the Freddy’s Nightmares – A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series. She also plays Myra Okubo in the Lake Placid film and voices Tenar in the not very good, indeed truly awful, Tales from Earthsea.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) DR. DEMENTO. The LA Times interviews the Doctor about a huge tribute album that’s just been released: “Dr. Demento, comedic song hero and unsung punk rock legend, gets his due on new album”.

The punk connection takes center stage with “Dr. Demento Covered in Punk,” an exceedingly ambitious and densely packed double album — triple in the vinyl edition — being released Jan. 12.

The album comprises 64 tracks spread over a pair of CDs, pulling together new recordings of “mad music and crazy comedy” songs long associated with the quirky radio emcee. Participants include Yankovic, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, William Shatner, Adam West, the Vandals, Fred Schneider of the B-52’s, the Misfits, Japan’s Shonen Knife, Los Straitjackets, Missing Persons, the Dead Milkmen and at least a dozen more.

“I was always a fan of rock ‘n’ roll, and some of the early punk music of the ‘60s with groups like the Music Machine,” Hansen, 76, said in the cozy living room of his home in Lakewood, where he also records his shows that now reach listeners through subscriptions by way of his official website.

“So when the new punk rock showed up around 1976 and 1977, I played a few samples on my show,” he said. Hansen graduated as a classical music major from Reed College in Portland, Ore., and subsequently earned his master’s degree in folk music studies from UCLA.

“I got the Ramones’ first album and played several of those songs, including ‘Beat on the Brat,’ the song Weird Al did for this album,” said Hansen, who has been inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame, the Comedy Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

(12) WORKAROUND. Now I Know calls it “A Fine Way to Encourage Reading”. Daniel Dern says, “I’d call ’em ‘BookBuster’.”

Imagine a bookstore that worked on a membership program — instead of buying books, you rented them. …Seems like a fancy Internetty startup? Nope. It’s your local library….

…And let’s face it, many kids with fines don’t have to have those conversations with their parents — they can avoid the fine simply by avoiding taking other books the library. (And at that point, the library is going to suspend their borrowing privileges anyway.) The result is a lose-lose situation: the kids read less and the library doesn’t get that $10 anyway.

So, the Los Angeles County library system fixed it. They call it the “Great Read Away.”

Cardholders under the age of 21 have a new way to pay their fines through the program, no money required. All they need to do is come to the library and read. For every hour of reading, the library system will forgive $5 worth of fines. And it needn’t be a book, either — magazines, newspapers, and comic books count. (Listening to audiobooks or watching movies based on novels does not, however.) Parents and caregivers can read to children to help the kids pay off the debt (but only the kids’ debt), and for those kids who don’t have the stamina to read for an hour, the librarians can give pro-rated credit.

(13) DOGGING IT. A federal worker I know spotted this clip while he was canvassing for jobs — Wienermobile drivers wanted:

Processed meats purveyor Oscar Meyer announced it is seeking a qualified “Hotdogger” to be the next driver of the famed Wienermobile.

The hot dog company said it is accepting applications until Jan. 31 to be the newest “Hotdogger,” Oscar Meyer’s term for Wienermobile drivers.

The job, which begins in June, would involve driving the iconic sausage across the United States, visiting locations including stores, military bases and charity events.

Did you know this job requires a four-year degree? Don’t ask me why.

(14) WELL-USED TECH.  “Facial recognition tool tackles illegal chimp trade”.

Wildlife criminals had better watch out! The same software that recognises you in a friend’s social media post is being adapted to tackle the illegal trade in chimpanzees.

The amber eyes in the image above belong to Manno, who was trafficked from Africa to Syria before being rescued.

Pictures of Mano are now being used to train the algorithm that could help save members of his endangered species from the same experience. It’s a first for chimpanzee conservation.

The algorithm will search through photo posts on social media looking for the faces of rescued apes.

If the technology recognises a trafficked animal, the owners of the accounts featuring the chimp can then be targeted by the authorities.

(15) BCS SIPS. Charles Payseur’s latest short fiction reviews — “Quick Sips – Beneath Ceaseless Skies #269”.

The latest issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies has a lot to do with transformations, with the threat of revenge, and with the need for freedom. It finds characters who are caught in circumstances of waiting to be punished. To be found out. And trying to find a way free of the things hanging over them. Now, some of those things are no fault of their own and some of them…well, the characters aren’t always quite so innocent. But the piece looks at freedom and who can hope for it, and what it might cost. The stories deal with the weight of revenge and the feelings that can come when that weight is lifted and set down. To the reviews!

(16) DOES THAT BRAND NAME SOUND FAMILIAR? Eater reports “Furloughed Federal Workers Supposedly Surviving on Soylent Is So Very 2019”. I’m sure this is totally credible!  

It’s barely three-quarters of the way through January, and already a story has emerged that seems to perfectly encapsulate the early 2019 hellscape: According to a somewhat dubious Reddit post, two furloughed federal workers are subsisting solely on the Silicon Valley-born meal replacement known as Soylent so they can afford to feed their infant child.

Titling his post “Soylent has financially saved my family’s life amid the government shutdown,” the author thanks the company for offering a discount for affected federal employees, writing, “This has literally saved my family’s lives. I was in tears when I saw the [discount advertised] on their Instagram story.” Soylent is offering furloughed workers 35 percent off until the government resumes normal operations.

(17) IN JEOPARDY! Jeopardy! monitor Andrew Porter saw this come up on tonight’s show.

Answer: Dame Daphne Du Maurier’s works made into Hitchcock films include ‘Rebecca’ and this high-flying novelette.

Wrong question: What is “Vertigo”?

Correct question: What is “The Birds”?

(18) PERMISSION GRANTED. You know that thing about decluttering and how many books you should keep? Felipe Torres Medina of Points In Case says he heard it this way: “I’m Marie Fucking Kondo and You Can Keep All Your Fucking Books, You Ingrates”.

Hi, Marie Kondo here. Author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and host of the new Netflix show Tidying Up.

I know you guys are not used to listening to a small-framed Asian woman speak with authority, but I’m going to say this once and for all: You can keep all your fucking books, you ungrateful motherfuckers. All I wanted was to spark a little joy in your fucking miserable lives, which you’ve tried to make fulfilling by purchasing fucking stuff. But fuck me, I guess, for mentioning that I like to have only 30 books in my house.

See, the problem here is that some of you have interpreted my warm voice, bubbly attitude, and cheery disposition as a surefire sign that I will personally come to your home and build a bonfire out of your unread copies of those J. K. Rowling novels she wrote under a pseudonym that sounds like the name of a Hogwarts professor. Your ex-boyfriend gave you those for your anniversary three years ago. Had you ever mentioned wanting to read those books? Not really. But you did once tell your ex you were a Hufflepuff, so surely they must have some emotional value to you. What kind of fucking monster am I for suggesting you maybe consider donating those books to a local library or thrift shop? So yeah, go off. Enjoy the adventures of Cormoran Fucking Strike. Yeah, that’s the name of the main character. Buckle up, buddy…

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Eric Wong, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Liptak, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

73 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/23/19 I Should Be Writing But I’m Sitting Home Watching Pixels Scroll

  1. Greg: Or just have it be for Best Professional Artwork and you get covers, interior illustration, Picacio’s Loteria cards, and any other work of art that fits the rest of the category description. I’m probably never going to make a business meeting (or many Worldcons), but I’d support getting away from awards for a single person even if it means that my very limited chance of Fan Writer would then be eliminated.

  2. The thing the Hildebrandts did that I liked was a series of posters for schools, depicting fantasy versions of the lunchroom, study hall, and so on.

    I remember getting these as small posters from McDonald’s in 1980. I think there were four or five and you got a new one each week. The one I wanted, but never got, was a demon cramming for a test.

    I never really liked their Tolkien calendars. I had liked the 1975 calendar by Tim Kirk and was disappointed when they switched to the HIldebrandts.

  3. I’m pretty sure I had a Hildebrandt Tolkien calendar at one point, but TBH when I think of them these days I mostly see the original cover painting for Sword of Shannara.

  4. One of the few kid’s books to stick in my head was “Junk Day on Juniper Street” about people putting out their junk for trash pickup, but by the end of the day everything had found a new home with a neighbor.

  5. A “Best Original Art Work” category existed in 1990 and 1992 to 1996. I think I recall reading that it was discontinued because the nominations were too scattered to be useful but somebody who was active then could probably shed more light.

  6. Joe H. says I’m pretty sure I had a Hildebrandt Tolkien calendar at one point, but TBH when I think of them these days I mostly see the original cover painting for Sword of Shannara.

    When Borders Books & Music was open, the calendars were indeed ubiquitous as was lots of other material from them. Books-A-Million which replaced Borders in many markets has much less by them which suggests their popularity was waned in recent years.

  7. Cora: Thanks. I think Spermull was what I was thinking of. I also think Goodwill and Salvation Army here are our equivalents of your social department stores.

    Xlftr: I think Manhattan has the same tradition of leaving yout stuff out for others to pick up. This makes good sense to me.

  8. (4) I found the history of WSFS rule 3.10.2 “In the Best Professional Artist category, the acceptance should include citations of at least three (3) works first published in the eligible year.” It was first changed in 2007 in section 3.9 (search for “at least three”) and the meeting minutes from 2006 and 2007 show folks like Ben Yalow debating “must” versus “should” with the latter winning. The resolution states three times that failure to provide three citations does not invalidate the nomination or final award ballot. There might be more discussion in the course of moving from section 3.9 to 3.10.2 (or the shift could be due to other reasons) but this is probably enough background for now.

  9. Greg Hullender: This points up (again) the problem with awards that are for people and not for works. This would all be a lot easier if the awards were for best professional and best fan covers (where the difference between pro and fan is simply whether it was paid for or not and “cover” means it was the definitive picture for an issue of a prozine, semiprozine, or fanzine as currently defined).

    This would make determining what is eligible much easier, but as Goobergunch has mentioned, it would not make the category more meaningful. During the time when Best Artwork was a category, the finalists all had very low nomination totals because the nominations were dispersed among so many works, and that was exactly why the category was changed to Best Professional Artist.

    And it’s not as simple as “works get more nominations than people”. The Pro Artist category averages more of the voters nominating than Graphic Story, Semiprozine, Fanzine, and Fancast. I don’t think changing it back to Best Artwork is a good solution. It’s for a body of work, not one work, and I think that’s what voters should be recognizing.

  10. Eric Wong: I found the history of WSFS rule 3.10.2 “In the Best Professional Artist category…

    Wow, that discussion went all over the place.

    It’s quite strange that they would put a “recommendation” into the Constitution. Pretty much everything else in the Constitution is a rule, not a recommendation. And it’s also bizarre that they only applied it to the Pro Artist category and not the Fan Artist, Fanzine, Semiprozine, and Editor categories — especially the Editor Long Form category, where it is far, far harder to figure out what eligible work a person has done.

    It doesn’t help that what was finally decided on happened in Japan, where the U.S. member turnout was quite low, and only 30 WSFS members voted on what got passed.

    And what got passed, even though the chair ruled that it was a “lesser change” from what was passed the previous year (and thus did not require an additional year for ratification), was the wording of “should” instead of “must”.

    I’d say that the difference between a recommendation and a rule is a hell of a greater change.

    If it’s not a rule, then I think it should be stricken from the Constitution. If it is a rule, then the wording should be changed so that it’s clear that it’s a rule.

  11. JJ on January 24, 2019 at 2:16 pm said:

    Argggh… apparently Dublin 2019’s system is allowing people who joined after December 31 to nominate.
    https://twitter.com/eustaciavye77/status/1088532312667627522

    It’s possible @eustaciavye77 was a member of Worldcon 76 and doesn’t realize she’s eligible to nominated due to that. There’s no Eustacia or Vye on W76’s Member list but that might not be her real name, or she may not have wanted it public on the list.

  12. @Ultragotha: Eustacia Vye was a major character in Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native, so probably not a real name.

  13. JJ on January 24, 2019 at 5:41 am said:

    Joe Sherry:

    My interpretation, without yet getting further insight, is that three works are not required for Professional Artist. With that said, I do think that any gallery or recommendation list should only include qualifying works from the previous year.

    In 2017, a Pro Artist was disqualified because they had no work published in an eligible professional venue from 2016 (though they did have work published).

    Joe Sherry is correct. that “should” language is not “must” and the wording is deliberate.

    I don’t think it’s ever been tested. No finalist, at least in recent history, has been unable to produce at least 3 eligible works for the packet. (Even the ones last year whose packet included works from the wrong year still had plenty of eligible works from the right year, they just weren’t in the packet.)

    I think if the packet came out, and a finalist had been allowed onto the ballot with only one work, it would be very noticeable, and you would hear some substantial rumbling from Hugo voters about it. The category is supposed to recognize a body of work for the year. I would be very surprised if a Hugo Admin allowed someone with only one eligible work to be a finalist.

    I have been an Administrator under those rules (including last year), and I would never disqualify an artist who cited at least one but fewer than three professional works. One work is sufficient. Three citations are suggested, but are not required.

    Joe Sherry on January 24, 2019 at 8:32 am said:

    Or just have it be for Best Professional Artwork and you get covers, interior illustration, Picacio’s Loteria cards, and any other work of art that fits the rest of the category description.

    As others have pointed out, we have tried this. There was a Best Original Artwork category for several years. It had very few nominations. In several cases, there were only three finalists due to the paucity of nominations. (Go have a look at the Hugo Awards web site for 1990-94 to see the results.) It was widely considered a failure as a category and was removed.

    I think that Best Original Artwork is one of those categories that sounds good in theory but runs afoul of the inconvenient fact that the members won’t nominate specific works even when you give them the opportunity to do so.

    JJ on January 24, 2019 at 4:23 pm said:

    I’d say that the difference between a recommendation and a rule is a hell of a greater change.

    I’m the Chair who made that ruling. I ruled that requiring that something be done is more restrictive than suggesting that it be done. Therefore, the amendment reduced the scope of the change. And it’s not unprecedented to have non-binding suggestions in our rules.

    You are of course welcome to propose any changes you want to the Constitution if you’re a member of the 2019 Worldcon.

  14. Kevin Standlee: I ruled that requiring that something be done is more restrictive than suggesting that it be done. Therefore, the amendment reduced the scope of the change. And it’s not unprecedented to have non-binding suggestions in our rules.

    I read through the Constitution, and found nothing that isn’t a rule apart from in Site Selection where it says “Each bidding committee should provide at least two (2) tellers”.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been recommendations in the Constitution in the past, I just think it’s bizarre that people felt the need
    1) to encode this recommendation into the Constitution, and
    2) to not have it apply to any other categories.

    It seems to me that there were unstated motivations behind such a strange decision. Whether anyone who was involved will be willing to explain what those were is doubtful. 😐

  15. JJ on January 24, 2019 at 9:59 pm said:

    I read through the Constitution, and found nothing that isn’t a rule apart from in Site Selection where it says “Each bidding committee should provide at least two (2) tellers”.

    Correct. This means that the failure to provide tellers does not disqualify a bid.

    Something you’re probably unaware of is that Westercon’s bylaws sometimes influences WSFS’s, and it contains a lot more recommendations that aren’t requirements.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been recommendations in the Constitution in the past, I just think it’s bizarre that people felt the need
    1) to encode this recommendation into the Constitution, and
    2) to not have it apply to any other categories.

    It seems to me that there were unstated motivations behind such a strange decision. Whether anyone who was involved will be willing to explain what those were is doubtful.

    You appear to be looking for a conspiracy and lots of devious intentions when in fact it’s a reaction to a specific condition in a specific category. It’s intended to be a fairly mild response to complaints that people were being nominated in a category when they hadn’t done any qualifying work at all. That’s all it is, nothing more.

    While there are obviously people who want our rules to be full of things that go out of their way to disqualify as many things as possible, with Strong Administrators disqualifying things left and right, the legislative history of WSFS in my opinion — and I’ve been at every WSFS Business Meeting since 1989 — is that the people actually making the rule decisions don’t really want a Boss deciding things. They want the members doing so as often as possible, not a single Strong Man. Yes, there are many members who want a Strong Man (as long as Strong Man does exactly what they personally want done), but they don’t participate in the legislative process to a sufficient extent to make things happen their way.

  16. JJ: I’m not aware of any Semiprozine covers which have been included for Pro Artist portfolios in the packets for recent years.

    Last year John Picacio included the Feb 2017 Uncanny semiprozine cover in his packet. It was a reprint of his El Arpa Loteria card which was included in his 2013 calendar (so 2012 pub date?). Not that he didn’t have 2017 pro work, of course, but that wasn’t one of them.

    It stuck out in my mind because I had already been wondering about reprints used as cover art counting as that year’s body of work.

  17. Kevin Standlee: You appear to be looking for a conspiracy and lots of devious intentions when in fact it’s a reaction to a specific condition in a specific category.

    I’m not looking for a conspiracy. I’m just trying to understand things which don’t seem to make a lot of sense.

    WSFS members are, for the most part, a highly intelligent (if contentious) group of people. It’s been my observation that when things happen in the Business Meeting which don’t seem to make sense, it’s not that WSFS members are doing things senselessly, it’s that there are usually unstated reasons which, if known, do make sense — like that time, a couple of years ago, when someone was summarily removed from their position as a committee chair for unstated political reasons.

  18. JJ on January 25, 2019 at 3:35 pm said:

    I’m not looking for a conspiracy. I’m just trying to understand things which don’t seem to make a lot of sense.

    Because you don’t seem to want to believe the stated reasons for making the change: that in that particular category (and only that category), there appeared to be enough of an issue with artists being nominated even if they hadn’t published any new work, simply because they were well known in the field, that some sort of change to the system was warranted. Also, because there is a strong feeling among most of the people who write these rules (I’m one of them, of course) that whenever possibly you should not have decisions made by a single person or a small select group, but by the voters; in other words, give the voters the information and let them decide.

    In other words, in general we’d rather let the decisions be made by the jury (the members of WSFS who participate in the nominating/voting process), not by the judge (the Hugo Award Administrator, who may be one or more people in a given year).

    You may be unaware of it, but “fixing the Pro Artist category” had been an ongoing topic of smoffish conversation to my recollection for years before that proposal came to the floor of the meeting. The attempt to add Best Professional Artwork was thought by some to be the solution: if it was a success, we could eliminate Best Professional Artist. The clear and obvious failure of that category in practice, despite how lovely it appears in theory, scuppered that idea.

  19. Kevin Standlee: the stated reasons for making the change: that in that particular category (and only that category), there appeared to be enough of an issue with artists being nominated even if they hadn’t published any new work, simply because they were well known in the field

    So they were allowing Artists who had no eligible work for the award year to remain on the ballot anyway?

    If so, then I can understand why that was a problem. But I don’t understand why they weren’t disqualifying them, since the rules at that time did specify that they had to have had work published during the award eligibility year.

    Also, “artists being nominated even if they hadn’t published any new work” is very different from “artists making the ballot and being allowed to be Finalists even if they hadn’t published any new work”. I would certainly call that an “unstated motivation”, and I would appreciate an apology for being accused of being a “conspiracy theorist” despite the fact that I was correct.

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