Pixel Scroll 1/9/21 Magnetic Monopology: Do Not Exceed C, Do Not Collect 200 Zorkmids

(1) NOT MY FAULT. The designer of the coin that shows H.G. Wells’ Martian tripods with four legs, Chris Costello, is passing the buck to the unknown artist of an old paperback cover which he displays as part of the following statement:

It appears that I have once again drawn ire from the sci-fi community. First it was the Papyrus/AVATAR thing, and now this. No disrespect to H.G. Wells or any of you. To give more context, I will share about this specific coin design challenge and my creative process on a permanent page next month, but for now…

The characters in War of the Worlds have been depicted many times, and I wanted to create something original and contemporary. My design takes inspiration from a variety of machines featured in the book—including tripods and the handling machines which have five jointed legs and multiple appendages.

(2) WHAT YOU’D EXPECT AT BAEN. Tom Kratman is coaching the next stage of the insurrection in the storefront window. Here’s an excerpt from a comment made in his Baen’s Bar author forum.

So where do Trump and the nation go from here?

He needs to do three things; start his own news channel, start his own party, and start his own well-armed militia as part of the party.

The militia – again, a _well_armed_ militia – is necessary to present a threat in being to the powers that be such that, should they use extra-, pseudo-, and quasi-legal means to try to suppress the party, the price presented will be far too high.  The militia will be heavily infiltrated; this is a given.  No matter; it will not be there for any purpose but to present a serious threat of major combat, and the shame of defeat, and the reality of death, to the tactical elements, police and military, that may be used against the party.

It ought to be made clear that, “I can start the civil war with a stamp of my foot.  I’ve refrained, so far, but you cannot count on that restraint under all circumstances.  And if I am infiltrated, you are even more so.”

The militia should probably be neatly but simply uniformed, nothing flashy.  Solid colors, no camo.  Haircuts and facial hair trimmed.  A simple shirt and bluejeans for non-firearms related activities / head busting….

(3) WHEN AUTHORS DON’T GET PAID. Sff critic Paul Kincaid shares an email he has written to the publisher that has announced a book containing his essay which they didn’t buy the rights to. It begins — 

Following my ongoing posts relating to the unexpected appearance of my essay in Science Fiction published by Routledge, I have just sent the following email to Taylor & Francis. Let us see what sort of response this brings….

(4) TA-NEHISI COATES’ BLACK PANTHER FINALE. The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda Saga continues next month in Black Panther #23, which hits the stands on February 24. Featuring art by Daniel Acuña and Ryan Bodenheim, the issue marks the beginning of the epic conclusion of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ redefining work on Black Panther that began in 2016.

Deep in space, T’Challa has discovered an alternate Wakandan society. Known as the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, these ruthless warriors present a dark reflection of T’Challa’s kingdom. Having abandoned their peaceful ways, this powerful empire looks to conquer the cosmos… and Earth’s Wakanda is their next target. This daring, thought-provoking take on the Black Panther mythology also features surprising developments for supporting characters such as Shuri, Storm, and Black Panther’s greatest foe, Erik Killmonger.

(5) JEWISH SF. Jewish Museum of Maryland will host a panel discussion “People of the (Futuristic) Book” on March 4 at 7:00 Eastern about Jewish science fiction with Steven H Silver, Valerie Estelle Frankel and Michael A. Burstein.

What makes a science fiction story Jewish? Jewish writers have worked in the science fiction genre since the very beginning, thought you might not always know it from reading their work. But some stories are clearly Jewish, whether through tone and theme or explicitly based on Jewish ideas and culture. Join us for an exploration of Jewish sci-fi and fantasy – and a discussion of what makes them Jewish stories.

This Zoom event is presented by the museum in relation to the special exhibit Jews in Space: Members of the Tribe in Orbit, on view through April 11, 2021. 

(6) COMING ATTRACTIONS. Leah Schnelbach lines up “The Most Anticipated Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2021” at Book Marks, including Andy Weir’s next novel.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
(Ballantine Books, May 4)

The author of The Martian and Artemis is back with another interstellar thriller! When Ryland Grace wakes up in a small makeshift spacecraft, he can’t remember his own name—but that’s not even his biggest problem. Why is he on this ship? And should he know the two corpses who are on the ship with him?

As his memories return, he realizes that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. His ship was thrown together by dozens of different governments. And, unfortunately, his mission is to stop a terrifying threat which, if it reaches Earth, will mean the destruction of the human race. If only he had any idea how to do that.

(7) REDISCOVERING THE WRITER IN AMERICA. On Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog he collects links to the 1963 KQED documentary Take This Hammer with James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, Janet Flanner and “Ross Macdonald” and others on The Writer In America, and producer/director/editor/interviewer Richard O. Moore. Mason says, “With luck, I might find some more of these. I’d hope this would be the kind of thing World Channel would be dusting off, along with Take This Hammer.” About the link to the Toni Morrison episode of The Writer In America he says, “These old film or video source copies certainly mangle their fine musical soundtracks, but Morrison’s voice particularly manages to retain its musicality.” 

KQED’s mobile film unit follows author and activist James Baldwin in the spring of 1963, as he’s driven around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African-American community. He is escorted by Youth For Service’s Executive Director Orville Luster and intent on discovering: “The real situation of Negroes in the city, as opposed to the image San Francisco would like to present.” He declares: “There is no moral distance … between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. There is no moral distance … between President Kennedy and Bull Connor because the same machine put them both in power. Someone’s got to tell it like it is. And that’s where it’s at.” Includes frank exchanges with local people on the street, meetings with community leaders and extended point-of-view sequences shot from a moving vehicle, featuring the Bayview Hunters Point and Western Addition neighborhoods. Baldwin reflects on the racial inequality that African-Americans are forced to confront and at one point tries to lift the morale of a young man by expressing his conviction that: “There will be a Negro president of this country but it will not be the country that we are sitting in now.”

(8) INSIDE HOLLYWOOD. Interesting discussion about making Terry Gilliam’s classic film. “The oral history of 12 Monkeys, Terry Gilliam’s time travel masterpiece” at Inverse.

Charles Roven (producer): I was given the short film La Jetée by Chris Marker by a gentleman by the name of Robert Kosberg. I then gave that to Dave and Jan [Peoples].

David Peoples (screenwriter): We had missed seeing La Jetée in the ‘60s when we should have seen it. They sent us a terrible video of it, but in spite of the fact that it was an awful video, it really was such a wonderful movie. We said, “We’ll spend a weekend on it and see if there’s anything we can come up with that would be interesting.” It did come to us that people hadn’t been doing a lot of stuff with the threat of germs – man-made germs or germs from nature. We had an image of a city with no people and just animals roaming around, totally out of place. Chris [Marker] hadn’t said it was OK to make a movie out of his movie. He hated all Hollywood movies except Vertigo.

Janet Peoples (screenwriter): We bumped into a friend of ours from Berkeley: Tom Luddy. Tom laughed and said, “Oh, I know Chris. You know, Chris loves Francis Coppola. And Francis is in town.” So we all met at a Chinese restaurant – writers and a couple of directors; no producers, no suits – and Chris Marker at one end of the table and Francis at the other. Francis looks up and says, “Chris!?” and Chris says, “Yes, Francis?” and Francis says, “Jan and Dave want to make this movie. They’re good people; I think you oughta let them do it.” And Chris says, “Oh, OK, Francis.”…

(9) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1991 — Thirty years ago, Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer wins both the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and the World Fantasy Award. (It was the last single Award given out before it was split into into Adult and Children’s Awards.) Based off Thomas the Rhymer myth who was carried off by the Queen of Elfland and returned having gained the gift of prophecy.  

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born January 9, 1886 – Walter Brooks.  Two hundred stories; ours are two dozen about Mister Ed, a talking horse (these got onto television), and two dozen novels about Freddy the Pig and more talking animals on the upstate New York farm of a man named Bean.  The Freddy books have some science fiction; Uncle Ben, Mr. Bean’s brother, is an inventor, and beside that some Martians show up (Freddy and the Baseball Team from Mars).  As with much good art, what matters is less the so-called contents than the manner of telling, at which Freddy is deft and enough fun to please both The NY Times and The Imaginative Conservative.  (Died 1958) [JH]
  • Born January 9, 1890 – Karel Capek.  (The software won’t allow a caron over the C, a diacritical mark like a showing the has the sound of ch in English chat.)  Three novels for us, as many others; thirty shorter stories for us, as many others; timeless for the play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) introducing the word robot (although, being chemical not mechanical, they’re what we’d later call androids) and portraying the fundamental unease about them.  (Died 1938) [JH]
  • Born January 9, 1906 – Barbara Sleigh.  Five novels, four anthologies for us; two other novels, shorter stories, radio scripts, film criticism, picture books, memoirs.  Best known for books about Carbonel the King of Cats.  (Died 1982) [JH]
  • Born January 9, 1925 Lee Van Cleef. The Warden of the Prison in Escape from New York but he was best known for acting in Spaghetti Westerns. Genre wise, he was also Col. Stone in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, and Dr. Tom Anderson in Corman’s It Conquered the World. (Died 1989.) (CE) 
  • Born January 9, 1931 Algis Budrys. I am trying to remember what I read by him and I think it was Some Will Not Die which I remember because of the 1979 Starblaze edition cover. I’ve also read and enjoyed his Rogue Moon. Setting aside his work as a writer which was exemplary, he was considered one of our best genre reviewers ever reviewing for GalaxyMagazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and wrote genre reviews even in the more mainstream Playboy. He edited a number of the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future anthologies which I’ll admit I’ve not read any. I should note his Tomorrow Speculative Fiction prozine was quite excellent.(Died 2008.)  (CE) 
  • Born January 9, 1950 David Johansen, 71. He’s the wisecracking Ghost of Christmas Past in the oh-so-perfect Scrooged, he played Halston in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie in “The Cat from Hell” episode, and he appeared as a character named Brad in Freejack. I think the brief Ghost of Christmas Past riff in the aforementioned Scrooged is enough to earn him as Birthday Honors here. (CE) 
  • Born January 9, 1955  J. K. Simmons, 66. You may know him as J. Jonah Jameson in the various Spider-Man films but I find his more interesting genre role to be as Howard Silk in the Counterpart series where he plays two versions of himself in two versions of parallel Berlins in a spy service that may or may not exist. He also portrayed Commissioner James Gordon in Justice League. (CE) 
  • Born January 9, 1957  — Greg Ketter, 64.  Leading Minneapolis fan and bookseller; chaired Minicon 40-41 and the 1993 & 2003 World Fantasy Conventions; Guest of Honor at DucKon 16; has written for Rune and Minneapa; published the DreamHaven Fortieth Anniversary Scrapbook having earned his way there with a press so named and a shop, which last year suffered but is thankfully recovering from a disaster.  [JH]
  • Born January 9, 1954 – Philippa Gregory, Ph.D., age 67.  Half a dozen novels for us; thirty others (half about Plantagenets and Tudors), also picture books.  Outside our field The Other Boleyn Girl won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award; it and successors are also bemoaned as failing the historical accuracy they’re promoted for.  PG’s charity Gardens for the Gambia has dug two hundred low-budget wells, teaches bee-keeping, and funds batik and pottery workshops.  [JH]
  • Born January 9, 1975 – Gunnhild Øyehaug, age 46.  Two dozen of her short stories for us available in English, see the collection Knots.  Also poetry, teaching, criticism.  Co-edits literary journal Kraftsentrum (in Norwegian).  Dobloug Prize.  [JH]
  • Born January 9, 1976 Jenna Felice. Tor Books Editor. She suffered what the doctors are called a massive allergic reaction compounded by asthma. She died having never emerged from her coma. There’s a memorial page for her here. (Died 2001.) (CE)
  • Born January 9, 1981 Julia Dietze, 41. She’s Renate Richter in Iron Sky: The Coming Race, a Finnish-German film in which the Nazis are occupying the moon after a nuclear war. (It garnered a 31% rating by reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes. And yes critics were really, really hostile.) It wasn’t her first bad film as she was Princess Herzelinde in 2  Knights: In Search of the Ravishing Princess Herzelinde (1+ 1 / 2  Ritter – Auf der Suche nach der hinreißenden Herzelinde) which it won’t surprise you  didn’t exactly make the German reviewers gush over it. (CE)

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) TAKING TO THE LIFEPODS. Alexandra Petri provides some much-needed comic relief in “I see no choice but to resign from this Death Star as it begins to explode” at the Washington Post.

It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of responsibility that I must submit my resignation, effective immediately, from my post on this Death Star. However, I see no other choice.

Now is the time for all of us to stand up from our posts and do what is right.It’s been an honor to work on this Death Star. I love the aesthetic. I love how I’ve been able to pursue my greatest passion: destroying planets and pressing buttons. I love my little hat that is a sunshade for no reason!

(13) GOTHAM’S SISTER CITY, ISTANBUL. Take a look at “Turkey’s legacy with sci-fi and superheroes in film” at Daily Sabah.

Last week marked the start of Turkey’s first-ever science fiction television series, “Ak?nc?,” which tells the story of an Ottoman superhero tasked with guarding over the Istanbul of Sultan Mehmed II, also known as Mehmed the Conqueror, in contemporary times.

A teacher by day and a superhero by night, the handsome Ak?nc?, whose name refers to the advanced troops of the Ottoman Empire, is tasked with stopping terrorism while being followed by an equally attractive female journalist who has been on his trail for the past three years. An enthralling and entertaining watch, the highly anticipated Ak?nc? premiered on Jan. 1 and will continue to air on Friday evenings at 8 p.m. on ATV.

In light of this exciting addition to Turkish primetime television, which is also the first of its kind within the genre of science fiction and superhero television series, it might be an opportune time to reflect back on Turkey’s famous legacy of its films in these genres….

(14) SF2 CONCATENATION HERALDS SPRING WITH NEW ISSUE. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] The latest edition of SF2 Concatenation is now up. The spring season sees the return of a full news-page and the return of its forthcoming SF and fantasy books listings.

SF2 Concatenation is about the only place on the net with a forthcoming books listing from several genre imprints and major UK publishers.

As done every January, SF2 Concatenation has its choices as to the Best SF books and Best SF films of the previous year.  Just a bit of fun, yes, but over the years every year, one of either their choices of books or films, often both, subsequently go on to be short-listed for a major award (Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Locus etc.) some even win.  See their track record (scroll down).

Also in the mix are half a dozen articles covering conrunning, publishing, fanzines, convention reviews and an SF diary, as well as another in the series of articles by SF author scientists on their science heroes. Plus there’s over 30 standalone fiction reviews. Hopefully something for everyone.

v31(1) 2021.1.15 — New Columns & Articles for the Spring 2021

v31(1) 2021.1.15 — Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Reviews

v31(1) 2021.1.15 — Non-Fiction SF & Science Fact Book Reviews

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. What will NASA be doing this year?

Sending the first Artemis mission to the Moon in preparation for human missions, landing a new rover on Mars, and launching the James Webb Space Telescope into space, expanding our ability to see deep into the universe, are just a few of the things NASA has planned for 2021.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Steven H Silver, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, JJ, Mlex, Todd Mason, Jonathan Cowie, Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

144 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/9/21 Magnetic Monopology: Do Not Exceed C, Do Not Collect 200 Zorkmids

  1. I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about this in the last 24 hours, and I want to apologize for, and retract, my original comment on this thread, which said that “DisCon 3’s GoH roster indicates that that particular Worldcon has some major Puppy sympathizers very high up in the hierarchy.”

    Instead, I want to say this:

    Of those of you who are good friends with Mr. Yalow, did it never occur to any of you, that him being a regular commenter on Puppy blogs and fighting tooth-and-nail to block EPH, would be construed by a lot of Worldcon members as him being a Puppy supporter? The optics of this never occurred to any of you???

    It never occurred to anyone on the DisCon 3 concom that putting on DisCon 3’s GoH roster the editor who decried Worldcon members as not being “real fans”, and the guy who did everything he could to block EPH, would be perceived to be an endorsement of the Puppies?

    Nobody saw this as a possibility? Nobody understood that this might be the perception of a lot of Worldcon members?

  2. JJ,

    Thank you for the retraction of your original statement, which was outrageously offensive and incorrect.

    I cannot speak for DisCon III, as I am not on the team in any way, but I think that most Worldcon members who are aware of Ben Yalow know that he didn’t appear out of nowhere in 2015, and that he has a long history of work in and for fandom since 1972; and assumed that anyone else who wondered about him who carried out even the slightest amount of good faith research would be satisfied, as you in fact were once you did that research.

    As for EPH, let’s be realistic. EPH does make it much more difficult for a category to be completely dominated by a single slate. It would have allowed one or two non-Puppy finalists in the 2014 and 2015 cases where the Puppies got five out of five in real life. Reasonable people may disagree about whether that theoretical outcome justifies the effort of making the change. I was a very late convert myself, so I am not criticising anyone who did not agree. When I was Hugo Administrator in 2017, the most visible effect of EPH was that Vox Day took the finalist slot that would otherwise have gone to Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and I struggle to call that a huge success for the system.

    What really drove the Puppies away was not any terror of EPH, but the fact that they got fed up of giving money to Worldcon for the sake of losing all the time – the results of the votes, not the voting system – and went on to other activities, mainly supporting a fascist in his campaign for and tenure of the US Presidency.

  3. Nicholas Whyte: What really drove the Puppies away was not any terror of EPH, but the fact that they got fed up of giving money to Worldcon for the sake of losing all the time

    On this, I very much agree. What EPH did not do was to eliminate the possibility of a slate getting 1 work onto the ballot – it actually almost ensured that, if a slate had a large enough minority (and honestly, I think that’s fair: a minority that’s sizable enough should be able to get one work onto the ballot, that is how the Hugos should work).

    What EPH did do – and I don’t think that the importance of this can be emphasized enough – was ensure that a slate of bad actors could not entirely take over the ballot; that at best, they might get one, or maybe two slots out of 6 – entries which, if they were not of sufficient quality, would almost certainly then end up getting No-Awarded. And for bad actors and griefers, the satisfaction level in getting 1 or 2 works onto the ballot which then got No-Awarded was way too low for the cost incurred for a Supporting Membership.

    So I think it’s erroneous to say that EPH is not effective. It’s effective at deterring bad actors and griefers, not at deterring sub-groups of fandom who love a particular thing. And I think that’s exactly the success of EPH.

  4. Nicholas Whyte: What really drove the Puppies away was not any terror of EPH, but the fact that they got fed up of giving money to Worldcon for the sake of losing all the time – the results of the votes, not the voting system – and went on to other activities, mainly supporting a fascist in his campaign for and tenure of the US Presidency.

    This kind of political retconning is very frustrating to me. And some go even further — Dave McCarty, also a past Hugo administrator, dismisses EPH as a product of panic. The idea that it’s safe to go back to building our houses with straw is based on a mistaken idea about the nature of the threat. The people who take their cues from Vox Day provide the numbers that drive the slates, and Vox Day sees vandalizing the Hugos as a means to show his power in carrying on his grudge against John Scalzi and Tor Books, which dates back years to when Theodore Beale (Vox Day) was being ridiculed in a forum. It may be dressed up with the verbiage of the culture war, but that is not what drives him. Losing effectiveness is a bad look for him — EPH choked off the reward to a level where it was so small he moved on to selling comic books to his followers. The grudge remains, and resurfaces on his blog several times a year.

  5. Nicholas Whyte:

    “What really drove the Puppies away was not any terror of EPH, but the fact that they got fed up of giving money to Worldcon for the sake of losing all the time “

    I do not agree on this, as the objective was as much about destroying joy for others as it was about winning.

    With EPH, they didn’t have the power to destroy whole categories anymore.

  6. There are people who are so psychotic I won’t even mention their names. I simply don’t see a limit to their behavior and I am too afraid to say anything even online. It frightens me that they continue to be a toxic presence. I can only hope they finally get bored of bullying and go away.

    As far as Baen goes, they cater to a demographic which has weakened them ultimately, because you don’t want to become dependent on the whim of a variety. A wide net gathers more fish. (Yes, in this analogy we are fish. Sorry.). I have read and enjoyed many of the books they have published. I could wish they not support stupid, though. Be smart, Baen.

    Algis Budrys is the only editor who ever, over the course of twenty years of submissions, ever wrote a personal rejection to one of my (apparently) awful, awful stories. Even Ferman, who treated me like I was a prince, never wrote a personal rejection. Budrys may not have been a saint, but he was a mensch in my view. Also, he didn’t like my crummy stories either. Herm.

    If you want to read a history of written sf, or are interested in a solid theory of sf, I highly recommend Budrys’ sf criticism and history, available as noted above from ansible. Solid, enlightening, entertainment.

    Fave Budrys novel? Hard Landing.

  7. @Brown Robin: “Hard Landing” was good.

    I think Phlebas was the first Culture novel I read. I liked it in spite of its grimness. What other ending is appropriate in the ruins of a society’s elaborate deterrent strike system (which had conspicuously failed to deter the real threat) than a chaotic, misunderstanding-filled climax with death and sacrifice? (I did read it decades ago – my reaction today might be different).

  8. Jayn –

    Elspeth, since you enjoy the things Baen publishes, perhaps you could specify which things you enjoyed most and why? No doubt you have preferences, and discussing SFF is why we’re here.

    Once again Rikki-Tikki-Tavi has taken over my brain. After I finished work I was going through the Baen list; one of the first authors is Poul Anderson; and I just noticed I’d been rummaging around the internet doing research ever since.

    Briefly, Poul Anderson has/is considered one of the best authors in the field. And if you (general) haven’t read the Hoka books you’re also missing some of the best written humor in the field. Skipping the results of that batch of rummaging, he won seven Hugos, three Nebs, I’ve lost track of the others, and an asteroid discovered by Eleanor Helin was named after him. Granted, naming an asteroid isn’t difficult but still.

    With Baen re-publishing his works I’m finally catching up.

    Of course there’s also Tim Powers who, to the best of my recollection often comes up with ideas when he starts wondering about something. I got hooked by Declare, which starts out sounding like John le Carre the goes – I’d say sideways. Once my brain comes back I’ll double check the title but I think it was The Stress of Her Regard, a Hugo nominee dealing with the Romantic poets, that had me still reading while I went turning on lights in every room. Baen doesn’t have a list of what they’re publishing but at least two are on my shelves. Excellent short novels even without my bias.

    There are many other authors but one of the things I like most is that Baen publishes re-print anthologies, an excellent thing for me since I can never keep up with short stories. Important to the field, though, is that they contain work that has been neglected. But Baen also publishes books you can read the way other people watch TV; light fiction. And some that simply . . . as I said, if you haven’t read the Hoka books you’re missing out. I’ve forgotten the name of the series where the author just went out and had fun. (Elves are trailer trash, orcs fly helicopters – their best pilot is named Skippy.) Balancing that I just discovered that they publish non-fiction by Vladimir Bukovsky

    I know that this is more about what they publish, touching on only two authors, one of whom I’m finally catching up on and the other one moving to Baen fairly recently. But it might give you an idea of why I enjoy their books. The style they use for their covers is off-putting, and obviously I don’t like everything they publish. To be fair, though, I’ve been judging Mario Acevedo because of the titles, not because I’ve read them.

    I’ll add that Poul Anderson’s Wikipedia entry is a good introduction but for various reasons it’s tagged. And I just stupidly said I’d work on correcting it. But the NYT has an excellent obituary which might give me a jumping off place.

  9. @Elspeth

    I’ve forgotten the name of the series where the author just went out and had fun. (Elves are trailer trash, orcs fly helicopters – their best pilot is named Skippy.)

    If I remember correctly, that’s the Tinker series by Wen Spencer.

  10. I’m guessing “Baen was treated badly” translates roughly to “Baen editors ended up under No Award after being slated onto the ballot – which they never repudiated – and refusing to tell anyone anything about their work in an already difficult to judge category”. Could be wrong.

  11. Meredith: I’m guessing “Baen was treated badly” translates roughly to “Baen editors ended up under No Award after being slated onto the ballot

    Or maybe they feel that Baen deserves to receive X number of Hugo nominations for its books, and anything less is somehow the result of Worldcon members depriving them of what they think they rightly deserve.

    There’s no way to know what people mean when they show up, make vague accusations, and then complain that being asked to explain their accusations is being “jumped on”. 🙄

  12. NEW TOPIC:

    Mike – why I have a love/hate relationship with File 770

    (5) Jewish SF – I’m likely to forget about the panel then kick myself. Several times.
    (7) REDISCOVERING THE WRITER IN AMERICA – Something I would never have known about. Also the first of a basic problem: going through this post is going to take forever.
    (8) INSIDE HOLLYWOOD – the oral history of 12 Monkeys – this is terrific.

    Born January 9, 1955 — J. K. Simmons
    “I find his more interesting genre role to be as Howard Silk in the Counterpart series where he plays two versions of himself in two versions of parallel Berlins in a spy service that may or may not exist.” That alone makes me love it and – again! – something I wouldn’t have known about. Downside: I wouldn’t have known about something I’m going to run out and buy the moment I get paid.

    Born January 9, 1954 – Philippa Gregory, Ph.D., age 67.
    “Half a dozen novels for us; thirty others (half about Plantagenets and Tudors)” I think I’ve gone through most of her Plantagents and Tudors this year. But – once again – didn’t know she’d published novels for us. Same downside as above.

    (12) TAKING TO THE LIFEPODS. Alexandra Petri. Again, terrific. Also the first (I think) of the time consumers: I managed to stop after two columns but he’s now bookmarked. Right up there where I’m going to see it all the time where it’s going to be whispering to a budding addict.

    (13) GOTHAM’S SISTER CITY, ISTANBUL. Take a look at “Turkey’s legacy with sci-fi and superheroes in film” at Daily Sabah. This is going to be fascinating.

    (14) SF2 CONCATENATION “SF2 Concatenation is about the only place on the net with a forthcoming books listing from several genre imprints and major UK publishers.” Enough said. But you’re driving towards what (I hope) are long lists.

    v31(1) 2021.1.15 — New Columns & Articles for the Spring 2021.
    SF In Romania leapt out at me: I’ve been trying for quite some time to track foreign-to-me things. But it also woke up Rikki-tikki-tavi: I’m going to go wandering off studying the history of Romania.
    I won’t bother listing the rest that grabbed me.

    v31(1) 2021.1.15 — Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Reviews Now you’re handing heroin to an addict.

    Meanwhile from the comments I now have to go find Freddy the Pig and books by Burdrys.

  13. @elspeth It’s worth noting that neither Declare or The Stress of Her Regard were published by Baen. To the best of my knowledge, the only Powers published by Baen are a few of the very most recent things.

  14. rochrist: neither Declare or The Stress of Her Regard were published by Baen. To the best of my knowledge, the only Powers published by Baen are a few of the very most recent things.

    I was blown away by Salvage & Demolition (Subterranean Press, 2013), but the works released since then that I’ve read, Down and Out in Purgatory and More Walls Broken (both Sub Press), and Alternate Routes and Forced Perspectives (both Baen), were what I considered to be 3 or 3.5-star reads — okay, but nothing really exceptional.

    As far as I’m aware, the last two books and a collection are the only works by Powers which were originally published by Baen.

  15. @JJ: Only Powers last three books were published by Baen because it’s what he’s written (I presume) since changing publishers. Subterranean having first rights to Salvage & Demolition: one of the many reasons they’re correctly considered one of the best specialty presses. For some reason I can’t include the link but look at the ‘about us’ on their site.

    All: ordered the first Freddy and the first of the Tinker books before I started raving about Subterranean. Judith Merril – any preference of the anthologies? (Going through her books I found Sin in Space: apparently someone broke the pseudonym and unlike another author who first supported him/herself that way added the names. I bought the only copy but it may still show up on Amazon anyway.)

  16. @Elspeth: I’ve read most of her annual “best of” collections. Every one of them has been great. Look for a bundle of three or four. That’s how the kid’s mom got me mine.

  17. Elspeth: Only Powers last three books were published by Baen because it’s what he’s written (I presume) since changing publishers. Subterranean having first rights to Salvage & Demolition: one of the many reasons they’re correctly considered one of the best specialty presses. For some reason I can’t include the link but look at the ‘about us’ on their site.

    I’m well aware of what Subterranean Press does, I read half a dozen of their books every year. But thanks for the fansplaining.

    You insist that Baen is a great publisher (an opinion you are certainly entitled to hold) — but then give as evidence Poul Anderson, who (for obvious reasons) hasn’t published any work in 20 years, and when he did, most of it wasn’t with Baen.

    And you cite as evidence decades-old novels by Powers from other publishers. It’s good that Baen is reprinting highly-esteemed classic novels, but that’s not really evidence of Baen being a great publisher.

    You haven’t listed any new Baen books in your evidence of Baen’s greatness.

    Consider that the reason people speak disparagingly about Baen is that its books are consistently rife with spelling and grammar errors (and its publisher/editor has actually bragged about the fact that their books aren’t edited), and that most of its covers are visually hideous. On the occasions when I check Baen books out from my library, I keep them cover-down at home, because the covers are so visually atrocious I can’t bear to look at them. Bujold and Hodgell have arranged for some control over their covers after being really upset by the early ones.

    I’ve read 11 Baen books which were published in the last 5 years. I love Catherine Asaro’s books, but the last 3 have been so rife with errors, pretty much on every page (as were the 2 Powers books), it was just painful to read them. Lois McMaster Bujold outsourced to beta readers and fans the proofreading and continuity checking of her Vorkosigan and Penric books published by Baen — almost certainly because she cares about the quality of her books and knew that she wasn’t going to get any help on quality control from the publisher.

    When Weisskopf was put onto the Hugo ballot by the Puppies, she refused to supply a list of the year’s works which she had edited for the Hugo Voter Packet. Voters were apparently just expected to vote for her based on no evidence of the quality of her work.

     
    I know that some Puppy friend of yours has told you how pure and honest the intentions of the Puppies were, and that Worldcon members have been unfair to Baen and to Weisskopf, and you’ve taken that at face value. All of the defenses you’ve made of them over the past few years have been made without you ever actually being able to back up what you claim with evidence. Every time you are asked for evidence or explanations, you just change the subject and complain that people are being mean to you.

    The reality is that the Puppy campaigns were about (Sads) getting Hugos for themselves and their buddies, and (Rabids) taking over the Hugos for lulz.

    The reality is that a lot of the Worldcon members read a lot of the works that the Puppies cheated onto the ballot, and their reactions were pretty uniformly negative. There are reviews of those works posted all over the Internet: on File 770, on blogs by Camestros Felapton and Steve J. Wright and Bonnie McDaniel, and many other sites. Those reviews give actual reasons and justifications for why the opinions of the Puppy works are bad. When Puppies were asked to justify why any given slated Puppy work deserved a Hugo Award, the best they could come up with was “He’s sold a lot of books! He deserves a Hugo Award!”

    The reality is that a lot of Worldcon members who are big readers have very legitimate reasons for having a poor opinion of Baen’s work as a publishing house.

    Now, you are entitled to have whatever opinion you want. The members of the community here have a huge range of opinions — there is no consensus or conformity here — and people disagree with each other civilly here all the time.

    I think you will find that the way to have credibility on File 770 is to be able to back up your opinions with reasonable explanations and justifications. If you choose not to do so, that is your choice, but you shouldn’t be surprised if people don’t find your arguments persuasive.

  18. JJ:
    I may have posted this twice. In any event it’s a placeholder to let you know I’m not ignoring you, will get back to you, and have cut’n’pasted your post to a document so it’s easier to read and consider.

  19. Elspeth: placeholder to let you know I’m not ignoring you, will get back to you, and have cut’n’pasted your post to a document so it’s easier to read and consider.

    Thanks for letting me know. I don’t believe that people are obligated to respond on online forums, and never have any expectation that people will do so (of course, if they don’t, then other readers may wonder why). If people do post a response, great, if they don’t that’s fine, too.

  20. @JJ: I know you didn’t think I was obligated! I simply didn’t want you thinking you were being ignored or dismissed, that I would get back to you.

    Meanwhile I’ve been scribbling and was about to post a response which, it is to be hoped, will wrap things up. I’d saved what you said to file and have been working on it there so I’ll probably get the quoting wrong or somesuch.

  21. Elspeth: Only Powers last three books were published by Baen because it’s what he’s written (I presume) since changing publishers. Subterranean having first rights to Salvage & Demolition: one of the many reasons they’re correctly considered one of the best specialty presses. For some reason I can’t include the link but look at the ‘about us’ on their site.

    JJ: I’m well aware of what Subterranean Press does, I read half a dozen of their books every year. But thanks for the fansplaining.

    JJ, that’s not fansplaining, that’s fan-girl with five paragraphs knocked off! But you’re missing the, albeit technical, important phrase: first rights.

    You said that Subterranean published Salvage & Demolition, that it wasn’t original with Baen. The thing is that book rights are sold to different publishers in different formats – hardback, paperback, trade paperback, various editions in various countries, in what order things are published, etc. Book contracts are private and anything coming up or not coming up in conversation stays that way. Thus, concerning Salvage & Demolition:

    It appears that Subterranean bought first rights and they published it. That’s the copy you purchased.

    It appears that some other type of rights were sold to Baen, possibly at the same time, and they published it.

    In other words, Subterranean and Baen are both the publishers of that particular book albeit in different formats.

    You insist that Baen is a great publisher (an opinion you are certainly entitled to hold) — but then give as evidence Poul Anderson, who (for obvious reasons) hasn’t published any work in 20 years, and when he did, most of it wasn’t with Baen.

    And you cite as evidence decades-old novels by Powers from other publishers. It’s good that Baen is reprinting highly-esteemed classic novels, but that’s not really evidence of Baen being a great publisher.

    No, JJ, I don’t insist Baen is a great publisher and never have. I’m trying – and clearly failing – for what I thought possible, letting people know that Baen isn’t anathema. But, once again, that’s a side issue.

    Perhaps you don’t understand but Poul Anderson was one of the greats in our field, Baen keeping him in print and available to new generations is a gift to the entire field of SF/F. (Anyone who hasn’t read the Hoka! books: you don’t have to run off to buy the first immediately. You can wait until you finish reading this.) To paraphrase, everyone is entitled to hold their own opinion. The opinion of his heirs was that Baen was the publisher to do it.

    You need to check your dates for Tim Powers: Medusa’s Web came out in 2016, hardly decades ago. The point is that he, too, chose Baen as his new publisher.

    You haven’t listed any new Baen books in your evidence of Baen’s greatness.

    I haven’t said anything about Baen’s ‘greatness’ either so there’s no evidence to give. I didn’t mention any of their new books (except explaining what ‘new’ means) because I simply assumed that learning that both the Anderson estate and Powers choosing Baen as publisher would suffice.

    . . . and that most of its covers are visually hideous.

    I don’t think I’ve ever specifically called them hideous. Wretched, sometimes. Garish, often. And the style they use is part of what had me snooty about Baen for so long. Thank god for some self publishers! I learned to not judge a book by its cover and fairness required that I look past Baen’s as well.

    I think that pretty much wraps things up. I’m not running away from or dodging any of the rest of what you wrote, and it’s not not answering since you aren’t asking anything. It’s just that we’ve gone over that ground enough; clearly we’re not going to agree; I have better things to do with my time and know you do as well.

  22. @Elspeth: You need to check your dates for Tim Powers: Medusa’s Web came out in 2016, hardly decades ago. The point is that he, too, chose Baen as his new publisher.

    Medusa’s Web came out in 2015 and was first published by Morrow, a division of Harper Collins.

    I’m going to assume that it’s completely lost on you that pretty much your entire reply to JJ is filled with fansplaining and dripping with condescension, e.g., Perhaps you don’t understand but Poul Anderson was one of the greats in our field….

  23. Oh, Elspeth. You seem to have some bizarre idea that you are a Wise Elder and that the members of this community are Clueless Noobs Who Are In Desperate Need Of Enlightenment From You.

    Most of the commenters here read dozens of SFF books a year. Many of them, like me, read hundreds of SFF books every year. Most of the people here, like me, have been reading SFF books for decades.

    Many of the members here, like me, have attended, and worked on, Worldcons and other fan cons and participated in the Hugo Awards — many of them for decades.

    I know how Subterranean Press works. I know how publishing works and how reprint rights work. I’m well aware of who Poul Anderson is and what his accomplishments are. And yes, you’ve been fansplaining, again and again and again.

    Medusa’s Web was published by Corvus (UK) and William Morrow / HarperCollins (US) in 2016. I can find no evidence anywhere that it has ever been published by Baen.

    The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) is a great resource for finding out who has published what, and when. It’s not always fully up-to-date, but the accuracy of the information there is always extremely high.

    Consider that treating the people here as equals, rather than offering continual fansplaining and condescension, might get you a much more positive reaction.

  24. Elspeth, one of the important things an editor (and their associated imprint) does is introduce and cultivate new and wonderful authors.

    I have probably thirty or more books by Poul Anderson. He’s a legend in the field. But he’s not a new, wonderful author. Neither is Tim Powers.

    Let’s look at the last four years of Astounding Award finalists to see which imprints seem to be cultivating brilliant (as decided by the fen) new authors. I did a quick check to see which US publishers published their novels:

    Rebecca Roanhorse winner – Saga Press
    Jeanette Ng winner – Angry Robot
    Ada Palmer winner – Tor
    Andy Weir winner – Self-published, Crown
    Katherine Arden – Del Rey, G. Putnam’s Sons
    S. A. Chakraborty – Harper Voyager
    R. F. Kuang – Harper Voyager
    Vina Jie-Min Prasad – (only short fiction)
    Rivers Solomon – Akrashic Books
    Sarah Gailey – Tor
    * J. Mulrooney – Castalia House (under No Award)
    Malka Older – Tor
    Laurie Penny – (only short fiction)
    Kelly Robson – (only short fiction)
    Alyssa Wong – (only short fiction)
    Brian Niemeier – Self-published
    Pierce Brown – Del Rey
    Sebastien de Castell – Jo Fletcher, Orbit
    Sarah Kuhn – DAW

    So, fifteen novelists total. Twelve imprints (not counting self-publishing). Baen doesn’t show up even once.

    But, I hear you say, what about a stable of high-quality authors? Does that mean nothing? That’s a fair point. Let’s look at the last four years of Hugo-nominated novels. These are easier for me because I don’t have to try to chase down who published them:

    A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK) winner
    Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
    Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
    The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
    The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
    The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)
    The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor) winner
    Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
    Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
    Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)
    Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
    Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga/Corsair)
    The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit) winner
    The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (Tor)
    Provenance, by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
    Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
    Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
    New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
    The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books) winner
    All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
    Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
    A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
    Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)
    Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)

    Lots of Tor books; lots of Orbit books; a good scattering of other publishers. But no Baen books to be seen.

    I used to read a LOT of Baen books. Starting about fifteen or twenty years ago, it seemed to me that the quality had markedly fallen off, and I stopped scanning for the Baen imprint in bookstores as I had used to do. Now I buy very few books published by Baen, and I often actually open Baen books in an ebook editor and copy-edit them while I’m reading them, because egregious typos make my brain itch.

    I don’t hate Baen Books. I wish them well. It is my firm belief that the more SF publishers there are in the business, the better it is for SF readers and writers alike. But I really, really wish that they could go back to being the quality publisher that they were a couple of decades ago, because unfortunately right now their output speaks for itself.

    Cassy

  25. Using Hugo awards as a proxy for quality may have some validity, but when a publisher skews conservative (as Baen does) and when the awards have skewed in the other direction (as many contend the Hugos have done in the last decade), it gets harder to justify the substitution.

  26. @bill–Baen brags about not doing any real editing. The Baen authors I still read are ones who recruit their fans to do proofreading, because Baen doesn’t even do that.

    Baen hasn’t slipped in its standing because it skews conservative. It has slipped in standing because it doesn’t put in the effort to produce a quality product in even the most basic–and hasn’t for a long time.

    On a more substantial level–I remember all too clearly, over twenty years ago, a writer I talked to regularly at the time, moving from Baen to another publisher. When they sent in their new book to their new editor at the new publisher, they called me burbling with happiness at the genuinely useful feedback they’d gotten from the editor. Feedback that enabled them to make their book genuinely better, tighter, more effective in its theme and story.

    They said that had never, ever happened at Baen.

    That’s one anecdote, but for me it’s a telling one, expressing what I see as the weaknesses in Baen books now and for quite a few years past.

  27. If one doesn’t want to use the Hugo Awards to check for new and wonderful authors there is the Locus Recommended Reading List and it’s category First Novel. I have the data here for 2000 – 2019.

    Total number of books: 282

    Publishers listed 10 or more times:
    Tor / Tor.com: 48
    Bantam / Bantam Spectra: 17
    Gollancz: 15
    Del Rey: 12
    Harper / Harper Collins / Harper Voyager: 12
    Night Shade Books: 10
    Orbit: 10

    Baen: 0

  28. bill: Here’s something I understand even less about Baen’s position in the field, that the Locus Recommended Reading List last included one of their books in 2017, a Tim Powers collection. And before that, not even Charles Gannon’s novels which became Nebula finalists were on the Locus list.

  29. Giant Panda: If the Locus Recommended Reading List is going to be treated as an authority, first someone needs to explain how science fiction novels that make a Nebula finalists list of seven books fail to appear on a Locus list of 28. (That number, because I’m specifically thinking about a science fiction book — fantasy would be a different Locus category.)

    Another, separate, concern for the Locus list is that they virtually never recommend indie self-published books, so you can be certain good work is being overlooked.

  30. Mike: Both true.

    Unfortunately, I cannot think of a better data source or even what exactly to look for.
    (No biased awards, no subjective recommendation lists, no anecdata… what else is there and publicly available?)

  31. Four Baen novels won the Prometheus award – 1991, 1992, 2001 and 2011. Eleven Tor Books won (including at least one year when only Tor books were nominated).

  32. @Lis Carey

    Baen brags about not doing any real editing.

    Which is absolutely a valid criticism.

    Baen hasn’t slipped in its standing because it skews conservative.

    An argument that no one is making.

    @GiantPanda

    Unfortunately, I cannot think of a better data source or even what exactly to look for.
    (No biased awards, no subjective recommendation lists, no anecdata… what else is there and publicly available?)

    You won’t find anything better, because nothing exists. Baen is as good as their books — that’s all. To some readers, they do great books. To some, they do bad books. Neither opinion is wrong.

    If Elspeth had said “Baen books has a good staff of proofreaders”, then that is an argument that can be rebutted. But if the argument is that they are good, or that she enjoys them, it’s useless to say that she is wrong. The best you can do is say “I don’t see it your way”.

  33. @bill–

    Baen hasn’t slipped in its standing because it skews conservative.

    An argument that no one is making.

    In fact, you did–suggesting that Baen books don’t win awards because if political bias in the awards, not their lower quality in a variety of ways, some of which, such as the basics of decent proofreading, and the openly admitted lack of editing.

    People like what they like, and they have every right to. People may enjoy books, or in my case movies, for reasons that have nothing to do with the qualities that win them major awards.

    And no, that doesn’t mean the awards are awarded on the wrong basis.

  34. @Lis — The only conclusion you should draw from what I said is:
    If you want to use the Hugos as a strong proxy for quality, you have to show you’ve eliminated other reasons for voting down works that don’t do well in the balloting.

    Another way of saying, the map is not the territory. That is, accumulated votes from the Membership of the WSFS are not themselves a measure of quality. They may correlate with quality. But the membership of WSFS has biases, and it defies common sense to say that those biases don’t show up in the voting. One of those biases, I believe, is that the voting membership skews more liberal than the editorial stance and readership of Baen Books. If you have evidence in opposition to that belief, I’m open to being convinced I’m wrong.

    As an example: James David Nicoll doesn’t read Baen because of their association with Puppies. I’m sure there are many Hugo voters with similar predispositions, and that pulls Baen down in the voting for reasons that overtly are not related to quality.

    If you contend that Baen Books, as a whole, are not good, I won’t dispute that (it’s not really disputable, as I said earlier). I know that there have been stories they published that I did not finish. But I don’t agree with (No Hugo/Locus awards) = (proof of bad quality).

  35. Anecdotally (other UK or European or other non-USA peeps, y/n?) even quite big Baen authors tend to have less of an international presence in my experience. I realise that much of the WSFS voter base is American, but even so, if I’m right and you’re dropping most of the international voters from the potential pool, I’d guess that might ding chances a little for reasons that have nothing to do with quality.

    (The general abdication of editorial anything – which we know is the case – will have significantly hurt quality overall, though. How many times have readers bemoaned an author getting too big to edit? Now apply it across the board and… that’s not a good thing, and it won’t lead to great books except for those authors who can and want to outsource it, like Bujold.)

    (I don’t think we’ve actually had a clear explanation of how Baen was badly treated, though, and iirc that was the original assertion, not anything to do with their relative quality.)

  36. bill: If you want to use the Hugos as a strong proxy for quality, you have to show you’ve eliminated other reasons for voting down works that don’t do well in the balloting.

    This is the same fallacy that the Puppies put forth to justify their cheating: that Worldcon voters had been “voting down” or discriminating against Baen works and works by Puppies.

    Nobody was “voting down” those works. They weren’t appearing on the ballot because not enough Worldcon members thought they were good enough to nominate them.

    As far as voting down the Puppy works that were then cheated onto the ballot, there are actual reviews all over this site and the rest of the internet which give valid reasons for voting them down.

    If the Puppies wanted to prove that Hugo voters were discriminating against quality works by conservatives (as they claimed), then they should have put quality works by conservatives onto the ballot. Instead, they slated works written by themselves and their buddies, which ranged from mediocre to absolutely execrable, onto the ballot.

  37. @JJ

    They weren’t appearing on the ballot because not enough Worldcon members thought they were good enough to nominate them.

    My example was that some people reject Baen works a priori for reasons unrelated to inherent quality, not that they do read them and then vote them down.

  38. @bill–

    My example was that some people reject Baen works a priori for reasons unrelated to inherent quality, not that they do read them and then vote them down.

    Yes, a single example of one person, in the aftermath of the Puppies effort to take over/burn down the Hugos, and Weisskopf’s comprehensive dismissal of people who regularly participate in Hugo voting as dishonest and not real fans.

    That’s not why Baen books didn’t make the Hugo shortlist in quite a few years before that. Weisskopf bragging during the Puppies assault about Baen not doing any editing only confirmed what many had suspected before that, due to the painful reality of what appeared on the pages of Baen-published books.

  39. Anecdotally (other UK or European or other non-USA peeps, y/n?) even quite big Baen authors tend to have less of an international presence in my experience. I realise that much of the WSFS voter base is American, but even so, if I’m right and you’re dropping most of the international voters from the potential pool, I’d guess that might ding chances a little for reasons that have nothing to do with quality.

    Yes, this. Baen Books have never been easy to find in Europe. You can’t find them on the shelves except in a few specialty bookstores and have to order them from Amazon or special order them at the bookshop. And if books are not in bookstores, only those who are already aware of the author/title will order them.

    Like many others here, I read Baen Books on occasion. I read Lois McMaster Bujold, Catherine Asaro, Elizabeth Moon, P.C. Hodgell, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Susan Matthews, etc… I also own several of Baen’s reprints of classic SFF, including Poul Anderson’s.

    However, the garish covers and editing and production issues are offputting. And the covers seem to have become worse, e.g. if I compare the covers of my Poul Anderson reprints from the 1990s with the current covers of the same books, the 1990s covers weren’t great, but the current ones are awful.

    Also, because a lot of Baen’s output is the sort of pew pew military science fiction that does not appeal to me, I’m less likely to buy a book by a new to me Baen author (if I can even find it on the shelves), unless they come recommended by people I trust.

  40. @bill If you’re arguing that the reason Baen books haven’t been winning Hugos is that the nominators and voters are biased against conservative authors, can you give us some examples of books by conservative authors, not published by Baen, that you think should have won or been nominated for the Hugo, but weren’t?

    Awards aren’t being given for “yes, it’s readable and this person wrote lots of them” or even “this is as good as most of what’s out there.” It’s an award for “best novel,” not a report card or test on which, ideally, everyone would do well and get a good grade. People are nominating what they think are the best works published in the relevant year–by any definition of “best,” if you read 23 new novels, they can’t all be the best, or even one of the five best.

  41. There’s been a recurring and understandable misapprehension over the decades of what fans meant by “trufan.”

    A huge amount of verbiage has been expended on this topic over the years — I’d suggest starting with THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR, by Bob Shaw and Walter A. Willis — but suffice to say that the word means neither “true fan” nor “real fan.”

    It’s a perfectly understandable misunderstanding, but it’s still always a huge misunderstanding of a term of art.

    In the 21st century, it’s probably long past time to retire “trufan” from fannish vocabulary because of this ever-repeatable miscommunication, but it’s a word with a long and deep history in fandom, particularly fanzine fandom.

    https://fanac.org/fanzines/Enchanted_Duplicator/Enchanted-00.html

  42. I’m way behind on my file reading, but… Capek wrote more than RUR in the way of plays. Although RUR doesn’t get done very often anymore, his play The Makropolous Case was made into an opera by Janacek not long after it’s premier, and depending on how you read it, its both science fiction and fantasy. The opera has taken a few years to get traction, but by this point it has joined the repertoire and gets done frequently.
    Janacek also composed “The Excursions of Mr. Broucek,” which is purely science fiction: a two act opera, the first act of which is a voyage to the Moon, the second act of which is a time travel story. Even if both stories are derived from Mr. Broucek’s drinking habits, the stories are both genre.

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