Pixel Scroll 10/1/17 And Lockjaw The Teleporting Bulldog (Played By A Bunch Of Pixels)

(1) STONY END. At Asking the Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum delivers a masterful review of the third novel in the acclaimed trilogy, “The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin”.

It might seem a bit strange to say that The Stone Sky, the concluding volume of the Broken Earth trilogy, had a lot riding on it.  For the past two years, the SF field and its fandom have been falling over themselves to crown this trilogy as not just good, but important.  Both of the previous volumes in the series, The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, were nominated for the Nebula and the Hugo.  When The Fifth Season won the Hugo in 2016, it made Jemisin the first African-American (and the first American POC) to win the best novel category.  When The Obelisk Gate won the same award earlier this year, it was the first time that consecutive volumes in a series had won the Hugo back-to-back since, I believe, Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead thirty years ago.  That’s probably not considered the best company nowadays, but it speaks to the kind of zeitgeist-capturing work that Jemisin is doing with this series.  In that context, the third volume might almost be looked at as a victory lap, just waiting to be showered with laurels.

To me, however, a great deal depended on the kind of ending Jemisin crafted for her story….

(2) STAN BY ME. This doctor makes house calls? Here in LA in October!

(3) THEY WERE JUST RESTING. Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch have launched a Kickstarter to bring back “Pulphouse Fiction Magazine” after a 21-year hiatus.

Dean returns as editor of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, bringing back the attitude and editing eye that got Pulphouse three Hugo nominations and thousands of subscribers. Kris will function as executive editor. Allyson Longueira is the publisher, Gwyneth Gibby is the associate publisher, and Josh Frase will be the managing editor and website guru….

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine returns as a quarterly publication, with the first issue coming out in January 2018.

But before January, as was a tradition with Pulphouse Publishing, there will be an Issue Zero. Basically, Issue Zero will be a complete issue of the magazine, but will function as a test run.

Issue Zero will be given to anyone who supports this Kickstarter subscription drive if we make our goal.

They’ve already surpassed their $5,000 goal, with 17 days left to run.

(4) BURNING LOVE. The anonymous Red Panda Fraction calls Dragon Con their home convention, and seeks to justify one of their tactics to level the Dragon Awards playing field in “Why Did We Create a Red Panda Slate? 1st Post from Rad Sonja”.

Now that Dragon Con is over and our schedules have returned to normal, it seems like it’s time to explain why the Red Panda Fraction decided to create a slate for the Dragon Awards this year. It was the most controversial thing we did, and we noted the consternation among blog commenters. We appreciate the criticism that authors may not want to be on any slate because it would make them “political footballs” or put targets on their backs. If we create a recommendation list for the next Dragon Award, we will ask authors if they want to be taken off before sending anything out to the public….

“Rad Sonja” doesn’t really delve into the ethics of slating beyond the poetic “fighting fire with fire”, but instead indulges in lengthy speculation about the networking that led to certain results in the first year of the award.

Moreover, from the beginning, the most active boosters of the award have been Puppies. Among the first places to publish a story about the Dragon Awards (April 8th, 2016) was the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance (CLFA), a closed Facebook group which includes a number of major Puppy organizers. It didn’t take much digging for us to figure out that Dragon Con’s SF=literature track director, Sue Phillips, and long-time SF-lit track volunteer, the Puppy-booster blogger and podcaster, Stephanie Souders, (aka “The Right Geek”, who added Phillips to the FB group in 2014) were also members of the CLFA Facebook group. The CLFA actively promotes the work of their members on their blog. See, for example, this post from this year….

(5) FROM ARES TO ARTEMIS. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination will host “An Evening with Andy Weir” on December 9 at UCSD. Time and ticket information at the link.


Join us for the launch of the much-anticipated new novel by Andy Weir, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Martian. Weir will discuss Artemis—a crime caper set on the moon, in a near-future world that Weir builds with his trademark rich, scientifically accurate detail.

Artemis is the first only city on the moon. If you aren’t a tourist or an eccentric billionaire, life in this fledgling new territory is tough. Providence and imperial dreams have been nickel-and-dimed from those who have called the moon their home. That’s why Jazz doesn’t rely on her day-job. She moonlights, instead, as a smuggler, and gets along okay with small-time contraband that is, until the chance to commit the perfect crime presents itself.

Weir will discuss Artemis with Dr. Erik Viirre, Associate Director of the Clarke Center and the Medical and Technical Director of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE.

Book signing to follow. Copies will be available for purchase.

(6) JUST GUYS DOIN’ STUFF. Ashe Armstrong answers the question “What is Orctober?” at Fantasy-Faction.

Orctober seeks, as you may have guessed by now, to celebrate the orc. With the Elder Scrolls and Warcraft blowing up like they have, thanks to World of Warcraft and Skyrim, orcs have started to be viewed differently. While there are still those who love the old vision of them, grimy and lanky and full of malice, many of us are embracing a changing view of them. Orcs can be just as varied as the other races. They’re no longer an Evil Race of Evil, or at least not just that. It even happened with the Forgotten Realms books, with Drizzt and the orc, Obould Many-Arrows. In Warcraft, you had Thrall and Durotan. The Elder Scrolls had Gortwog go-Nagorm, who sought to reclaim the lands of Orsinium and help his people find respect.

(7) IN LIVING 3-D. This is great! Walk through the Center for Bradbury Studies using My Matterport.

In the spring of 2007, IUPUI’s School of Liberal Arts created the nation’s first center for the study of Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

(8) PERSONAL FANDOM STORIES WANTED. Joe Praska at The Continuing Voyage is looking for autobiographical contributions to their series “My Fandom. My Story.”

My Fandom. My Story. is a series on The Continuing Voyage that aims to share the stories of individuals; their fandoms, passions, identity, struggles and successes.  Maybe you have a passion for a certain science fiction franchise that’s helped shape your ideals as an adult, maybe your knitting hobby led you to find a sense of community, maybe your love for a specific book helps you feel a deeper connection to your family or your culture, or maybe your interest in science has shaped your career.  Whatever it is, we’d like to hear your story.

My Fandom. My Story hopes to bring to light personal stories that explore countless themes that may arise such as community, family, creativity, art, inspiration, identity, mindfulness, politics, social justice, and culture while of course exploring the fandoms and passions of the individuals writing.


In the original and best The Wolf Man, Larry Talbot had been away 18 years working on Mt. Wilson Observatory in California.


Silent film actor Gibson Gowland appears in The Wolf Man as a villager present at the death of Larry Talbot. He also had been present during the Phantom’s death scene in the 1925 version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925), becoming the only actor to appear in death scenes performed by both Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr.


  • October 1, 1957 The Brain From Planet Arous premiered on this day.
  • October 1, 1992 — The Cartoon Network started.


  • Born October 1, 1935 — Julie Andrews (whose best-known genre work is Mary Poppins.)

(13) COMPELLING SF. Publisher Joe Stech has released the 9th issue of Compelling Science Fiction. You can buy the issue from the Kindle store, or download the issue from Patreon in DRM-free mobi and epub format if you’re a subscriber. They also welcome readers to their new Facebook page — facebook.com/CompellingSF

(14) CHEERING FOR CHAOS. Camestros Felapton, in “Separatism, Spain, Catalonia, Russia, the Alt-Right & Chaos-Fascism”, tries to fathom the motives behind the latest political posturing.

I don’t know what Putin’s perspective is on Catalonia but I can guess by looking at more accessible proxy mouthpieces. Our least favourite science fiction publisher, Vox Day, is very much against the Spanish government’s actions and supportive of the Catalonian government. Likewise Julian Assange. The Alt-Right, in general, are treating events in Catalonia and the Spanish government’s heavy hand suppression of the voting as vague proof of something – it isn’t clear what they think it proves but their choosing of sides is clear: Madrid bad, Barcelona good. For once they aren’t on the side of militarised police beating the crap out of ordinary people. Why not? After all, in many ways, the current Spanish government is also nationalist and its application of force to quash dissent would, under other circumstances be cheered by the Alt-Right as strong government protecting national identity.

The answer is that there is always at least 50-50 chance which side of a cross-nationalist conflict they will pick but they will tend to pick the side that creates the biggest headache for trans-national cooperation. Putin wants Western Europe divided, both as payback and strategically and the alt-right follows suit. Everybody loses except chaos-fascism.

(15) BLATANT LIVING. Ethan Mills of Examined Worlds is ready to lament “The Death of Subtlety?” (if the answer turns out to be yes.)

The problem with our civilization is the death of subtlety.  Or – scratch that.  One of many problems with a lot of the culture of the United States in 2017 is that there is less subtlety than there maybe should be.

I continue to have – albeit with somewhat diminished enthusiasm as of late – hope that subtle questioning is on the whole a better method than bludgeoning people with the truth….

(16) IN ITS DNA. The Hugo Award Book Club argues that science fiction is, in some ways, a “more political form of literature” than other genres: “The Political Power Of Science Fiction”.

…You cannot write about imaginary futures and different worlds without showing how their societies are different than our own; how they are better and how they are worse. In this sense, as others have observed, science fiction is a medium of utopias and dystopias. And the determination of what makes a society dystopic or utopic is inherently about political values.

If you believe that all humans are really created equal, your utopia likely won’t include a caste system. If you believe that humans have a right to privacy, a government surveillance state will be depicted as a dystopia. If you believe that the world needs racial purity and genetically superior heroes to save us from corruption, you might write a fantasy about a man of high Númenórean blood who is destined to reclaim the Throne of Gondor.

These are all political beliefs.

Practical politics is about changing the world. Science fiction is about exploring worlds that have been changed. The two are intertwined.

This is what the Futurians and their critics at the first Worldcon all understood: By imagining utopias and dystopias, science fiction helps create blueprints that guide us towards, or away from, potential futures….

(17) TV TRIBUTE. Inverse has been eavesdropping: “Elon Musk Named ‘Moon Base Alpha’ After Grooviest Sci-Fi Show Ever”.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced Friday that his space exploration plans now include not just Mars but also the moon. Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Musk revealed the company’s planned next-generation rocket will make it possible to build a moon base — and the name he picked is just his latest homage to beloved science fiction, in this case, the British cult classic Space: 1999….

Musk’s proposed name for the base is Moon Base Alpha, which is a reference to the 1970s British cult classic Space: 1999.

(18) THIS JOB IS NOT THAT #@%! EASY. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination shares episode 10 of its podcast Into the Imagination, “Pictures, Pastries, and the Matter of the Universe”.

Physics is cool–and sometimes very hard to understand. …We talk to Duncan Haldane, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize, about quantum topology and why the Nobel committee brought a bagel, a pretzel, and a bun to the award ceremony to explain his ideas. And with the inimitable Sir Roger Penrose, we explore the visual imagination as it relates to science, the work of artist M.C. Escher, and what it has to do with Penrose’s cosmological theory of the universe.

(19) ESKRIDGE PREMIERE. On October 5, the film OtherLife, written by Clarion Workshop alum Kelley Eskridge, gets its North American premiere at the San Diego Film Festival. In the film, OtherLife is a new drug that creates virtual reality directly in the user’s mind–a technology with miraculous potential applications but also applied to dangerous uses, like imprisoning criminals in virtual cells.

Click this link for time and ticket information.

(20) YOU AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A SOUND DOG. Warts and all, “The Voyager Golden Record Finally Finds An Earthly Audience” – from NPR.

Pescovitz approached his former graduate school professor — none other than Ferris, the Golden Record’s original producer — about the project, and Ferris gave his blessing, with one important caveat.

“You can’t release a record without remastering it,” says Ferris. “And you can’t remaster without locating the master.”

That turned out to be a taller order than expected. The original records were mastered in a CBS studio, which was later acquired by Sony — and the master tapes had descended into Sony’s vaults.

Pescovitz enlisted the company’s help in searching for the master tapes; in the meantime, he and Daly got to work acquiring the rights for the music and photographs that comprised the original. They also reached out to surviving musicians whose work had been featured on the record to update incomplete track information.

Finally, Pescovitz and Daly got word that one of Sony’s archivists had found the master tapes.

Pescovitz remembers the moment he, Daly and Ferris traveled to Sony’s Battery Studios in New York City to hear the tapes for the first time.

“They hit play, and the sounds of the Solomon Islands pan pipes and Bach and Chuck Berry and the blues washed over us,” Pescovitz says. “It was a very moving and sublime experience.”

(21) RED NOSES, GREEN LIGHT. Was this campaign meant to coincide with the clown consciousness-raising of Stephen King’s It? Or is it too funny for that to matter? From Adweek — “Audi Sends in the Clowns for This Madcap Ad About How to Avoid Them on the Road”.

A lot of car advertising treats the obstacles that drivers face on the road as literally faceless threats—an avalanche of rocks tumbling across a mountainside road, or a piece of cargo falling blamelessly off a pickup truck in the city.

But let’s face it. The real problem on the roads is the other drivers. Or, if you like, the clowns who share the streets with us…

As simple as it is, the concept also lends itself to brilliant visuals, as the Audi drivers have to deal with all sorts of clowns driving all sorts of clown cars (and buses). It’s all set to a whispering version of Sondheim’s “Send In the Clowns” by Faultline and Lisa Hannigan.


[Thanks to JJ, Joe Stech, Chip Hitchcock, Camestros Felapton,  Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jamoche.]

87 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/1/17 And Lockjaw The Teleporting Bulldog (Played By A Bunch Of Pixels)

  1. 3) Probably should have used “Finalist” instead of “Nominee”. If they can make a go of it, coolness. Good short fiction markets are still a limited resource, given just how many submissions each of the current ones get.

  2. (4) BURNING LOVE.
    I can understand not wanting your home con be co-opted by right-wing promoters, but I am uneasy about RPF’s slate vs slate tactics. I suppose if it all results in much greater participation next year and consequently the results more accurately reflect the opinions of the majority of Dragon attendees, then that’s not a bad outcome.

    (17) TV TRIBUTE.
    Wait, didn’t that Moonbase Alpha get blown out of orbit? Not exactly auspicious y’know?

  3. Soon Lee on October 1, 2017 at 7:09 pm said:
    (17) That was my thought, also. Maybe he’s too young to remember that part of it.

  4. Soon Lee: Wait, didn’t that Moonbase Alpha get blown out of orbit? Not exactly auspicious y’know?

    Yeah, I got a good laugh when I saw the name choice: the space equivalent of The Titanic. 😀


    I’m all for more people getting involved in the Dragon Awards, but I don’t see why that has to take the form of slating. I strongly disapprove of slating whoever is doing it, and while Red Panda Fraction continues to do so I am not okay with their influence on fandom. There are many, many ways to promote involvement in nominations and voting without sinking to Puppy level.

    It bothers me that one of them commented here on the recs thread saying they were putting something on their “list”. From an ordinary commenter, that would just mean their personal nomination ballot, but from one of them, it sounds like slating, and I’m not happy about them putting it on the recs thread. It seems to me to be violating the spirit of the thing.

    Amazon UK Sales:

    Sealskin, by Su Bristow
    What happens when magic collides with reality? Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous … and makes a terrible mistake.

    Temeraire, by Naomi Novik
    After a skirmish with a French ship, Captain Will Laurence finds a dragon egg, but when the newly-hatched dragon ignores the young midshipman Laurence chose as its keeper and decides to imprint itself on the captain instead, Laurence’s life is forever changed.

    The Masked City, by Genevieve Cogman
    (The second title in Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library series, which is eligible for Best Series next year.) Librarian-spy Irene is working undercover in an alternative London when her assistant Kai goes missing. She discovers he’s been kidnapped by the fae faction and the repercussions could be fatal. Not just for Kai, but for whole worlds.

    The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
    A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.

    Anno Dracula, by Kim Newman
    It is 1888 and Queen Victoria has remarried, taking as her new consort Vlad Tepes, the Wallachian Prince infamously known as Count Dracula. Peppered with familiar characters from Victorian history and fiction, the novel tells the story of vampire Geneviève Dieudonné and Charles Beauregard of the Diogenes Club as they strive to solve the mystery of the Ripper murders.

    Timebound, by Rysa Walker
    When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.

    Sanctum, by Sarah Fine
    A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a ritual gone awry, Lela is looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards and their leader, Malachi, who forms his own plan: get Lela out of the city at all costs, even if it means leaving Nadia behind.

    The Wretched of Muirwood, The Blight of Muirwood, The Scourge of Muirwood, all by Jeff Wheeler
    Lia’s days are spent toiling away as a kitchen slave under the charge of the Aldermaston, the Abbey’s watchful overseer. But when an injured squire named Colvin is abandoned at the kitchen’s doorstep, an opportunity arises.

    The End of the World Running Club, by Adrian J Walker
    When the world ends and you find yourself stranded on the wrong side of the country, every second counts.

    The Rats, by James Herbert
    It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming black creatures with their razor sharp teeth and the taste for human blood began to be realized by a panic-stricken city.

    The City & The City, by China Miéville
    When the body of a murdered woman is found in the decaying city of Beszel, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Borlú must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other.

    The Abyss Beyond Dreams, by Peter F. Hamilton
    When images of a lost civilization are ‘dreamed’ by a self-proclaimed prophet of the age, Nigel Sheldon is asked to investigate. Especially as the dreams seem to be coming from the Void – a mysterious area of living space monitored and controlled because of its hugely destructive capabilities. But when Nigel crash lands inside the Void, on a planet he didn’t even know existed, he finds so much more than he expected.

  6. (1) I can’t access the site from here, but this line seems like it’s trying to cut it too fine:

    When The Obelisk Gate won the same award earlier this year, it was the first time that consecutive volumes in a series had won the Hugo back-to-back since, I believe, Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead thirty years ago.

    In what sense do Bujold’s 1991 and 1992 wins for The Vor Game and Barrayar not count? They’re in the same series, published consecutively (sure, not narratively consecutively, but Bujold hardly ever does that in that series).

    All credit to Jemisin for her wins, but I remember an early article after The Obelisk Gate won which completely ignored that Card & Bujold had accomplished the back-to-back feat, too. Is it that hard to remember, or what? It literally took 5 seconds for me to confirm Bujold’s accomplishment.

  7. @17: just when I thought Musk couldn’t get any loonier….
    I also note that the story calls out Asimov (presumably as a big name) but misses Chartrand’s immortal putdown “marked down from 2001

    @21: cute, I think; I wonder how much explanation will show up with Sondheim’s royalty check, and what he’ll think of it.

    @Meredith: I’m missing the meaning of this list; is it UK Amazon’s current best-sellers?

  8. @Meredith If you read the post, Rad Sonja talks about how we’ll only make a slate if authors agree to be on it. I don’t think it’ll be necessary as long as more and more people vote in the Dragon Awards.

    And I was talking about Annalee Newitz’s new book, Autonomous, yes? A friend is mailing me a signed copy, and what I meant by putting it on my list was my personal list of potential Hugo Award nominees that I intend to read.

  9. @Meredith
    Or maybe it was All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells. That’s definitely on my potential Hugo novella list.

  10. @Chip Hitchcock

    Sorry, I know I haven’t done one in awhile – no, it’s the Original Meredith Moment – Amazon UK ebooks that are on sale and looked like they might be interesting.

    @Red Panda Fraction

    I don’t really care whether people agree to be on the slate or not. It changes my opinion of the people on the slate but doesn’t significantly alter my opinion of the people creating the slate. Not fully informing people was one of the objectionable things the Puppies did, but the more important objectionable thing they did was make a slate. Asking doesn’t make it not-a-slate, and it doesn’t make so that you’re doing the right thing. You’re still making a slate.

    You could have chosen any number of perfectly decent and acceptable ways to promote participation in the award that didn’t involve slating, and you chose to do the wrong thing anyway. I’m not okay with that and I’m not going to be happy with you or your compatriots until you stop doing it and commit to not doing it again.

    I was referring to this comment, actually:

    I finished All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells last night in one sitting, and I really enjoyed it. It’s on my list.

  11. @Red Panda Fraction

    Oh, and less important but hugely irritating, you went and validated their stance that the “other side” does it too, so thanks for that.

  12. Meredith: you went and validated their stance that the “other side” does it too, so thanks for that.

    ^THIS. I was so proud of fans for not stooping to the dishonesty level of the Puppies. Thanks ever so much for ruining that, and for validating their previously-false claims. 😐

  13. Rad Sonja talks about how we’ll only make a slate if authors agree to be on it.

    Slates bad.

    Even slates with authors who agree to be on them.

    Maybe especially slates with authors who want to be on them.

    Bad slates. Bad.

  14. (4) BURNING LOVE.

    Agree with Meredith. Also, if you are making slates for one award, do not make recommendations for others. Because everything you recommend is tainted by your cheating tactics.


    The Rats, by James Herbert was a very nice horror book. I read a lot by James Herbert when I was younger. But the really good one is book three of the series, Domain. Where the horror of the apocalypse is mixed with giant mutated rats. Part two you can safely skip. Not that it was awful, only that it wasn’t that good.

    Anno Dracula was also very nice, but I’m not sure how it holds up when the world has been overrun with alternative takes on history and vampires are everywhere.

  15. (1) Wonderful review, especially in how it analyses how Jemisin’s work is exploring what oppressive systems does to people.

    (1) and @David H: Nussbaum made an error, just as the earlier article did. Note it down and move on, I say. It doesn’t change anything about Nussbaum’s analysis.

    (4) Apart from the slating aspect, there is another more troubling aspect here to me. I’m sorry to say this, but my impression of the Red Pandas are that they are simply incompetent from a political viewpoint.

    First, their slate was posted just before voting closed, and as far as I can tell there were no sounds out of them before that (granted it’s easy to slip under my radar). Second, as the Red Pandas note themselves, the Dragon Awards are not in a secure or firm position within the greater Dragoncon organisation: they seem to be the brainchild of some people within it, but have very little support from other parts of it. That can explain a lot about the general incompetence surrounding the Dragon Awards.

    To me that implies that rather than trying to emulate the tactics of the Sad and Rabid Puppies visavi the Hugos – standing outside the process while taking advantage of its flaws – what I think they should do is engage within the DragonCon organisation to fix the Dragon Awards. It’s hard work, yes, but right now the Dragon Awards are broken as designed.

    (I also am more than a little uneasy about the lack of transparency around the Red Pandas.)

    (14) Noted for reading later. The situation in Catalonia just makes me sad.

    (16) Can’t say I disagree, even if science fiction far too often has been the playground of unthinking conservatism as well. But both Heinlein and Wells were profoundly political authors, and they have had many followers. That doesn’t mean that other genres can’t be political, but sf deals readily with groups and ideas, both of which are central to politics.

    I’d say the only literary genre that comes close to engaging as much and as easily with politics is the mystery genre, which can be turned into questions of right and wrong, the causes of crime, and so on.

  16. @Hampus

    Popularity among individuals does not usual come in sets of 20.

    Reader, I guffawed.

  17. (17) I have to disagree that Moon base Alpha is an unlucky name – that was one sturdy moon base. It survived an explosion of such size that it ejected the Moon from the solar system. The Space Dock near the moon exploded like a firecracker just because gravity, that’s how disastery it was.

  18. @Hampus Eckerman Anno Dracula was also very nice, but I’m not sure how it holds up when the world has been overrun with alternative takes on history and vampires are everywhere.

    If it has a unique selling point, it’s probably the sheer depth of Kim Newman’s genre references and how much fun he’s obviously having with them. Where else are you going to find Doctors Jekyll and Moreau performing an autopsy on (G W Pabst’s) Lulu? And the subtext about the rise of Thatcherism might still have some relevance in these last days of the neoliberal consensus.

  19. (4) BURNING LOVE

    I’ve already given the Pandas my tuppence worth about slating on Camestros’ blog so I’m not going to repeat myself. What they’ve dug up regarding the involvement of various puppy-aligned individuals is rather interesting though.
    I think the takeaway is that DCs ordinary membership have some very legitimate questions about the creation of the award in their name. The only people that can put pressure on to have things done properly are the ordinary members, so I do approve of the elements of the RPF actions that relate to that.

  20. “Where else are you going to find Doctors Jekyll and Moreau performing an autopsy on (G W Pabst’s) Lulu?”

    League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? I just don’t know. I loved Annu Dracula when it came, bought all the sequels at that time, but I haven’t really dared to buy Johnny Alucard yet, as I’m not sure I’m still into that kind of books.

  21. As far as the Pandas go, I’m sure (well, reasonably sure) that their motives are pure… it’s just the tactics that stink. For a popular award, voters should be completely free to vote their own preferences – they shouldn’t be choosing between a set of “approved” lists, no matter who’s doing the approving. (And, yes, I agree with JJ on this one: the Pandas going out and doing exactly what the Puppies have been accusing the left of doing is playing right into Puppy hands.)

    So, with all due personal respect, I would wish the Pandas to keep their paws firmly off the Hugos. As for the Dragon Awards… well, it’s still early days for those, and maybe their administrators actually want them to be subject to slates and log-rolling and all sorts of manipulation. Which is fine, if that’s what they want their award to be. (It’s incompatible with the Dragons being an award I take seriously, though. If that matters.)

  22. @redPandas:
    Please stop slating. In my opinion, slating the final ballot, was even worse than slating the nomination was. Both are scummoves, but imho slating the winners makes the voters even more unimportant sheeps. (You cold argue that for the hugos, slating the final ballot, is not that bad because it is ineffective, but I still have an even biger hate for that tactic.)
    Of course I agree that your choices weren’t bad , but I don’t think the slating is helping and you leave the same as the puppies a lot of good works in the dust.

    Your analysis and your opinions on chancing the Dragon awards are interesting, for that think.

    Shorter: The Red Pandas have better tastes than the puppies, are much more intersting to engage with and much polite but unfortunatly they are using the tactics of the puppies and that is not a good thing.

  23. I’m pretty sure that VD’s #1 victory condition* in the Pupaclypse was to provoke counter-slating on the part of the people he aspires to have as enemies. I was relieved to see that it never happened with the Hugos, and I’m sorry to see it happening with any other award. (Keeping in mind that “the other side did it first, but secretly” was the Pups’ own justification for slating.)

    * Since all endings are wins when you play in VD mode, you need to distinguish between the top win — what lesser Gammas would call “winning” — and all your other possible wins, which they would feebly call “losing.”

  24. @Hampus Eckerman: “Popularity among individuals does not usual come in sets of 20.”

    And that matters why, exactly? If a slate stimulates a popular choice, then it’s a popular choice. The slate did an efficient job of popularization.

  25. “And that matters why, exactly? If a slate stimulates a popular choice, then it’s a popular choice. The slate did an efficient job of popularization.”

    Artificial popular choice, you mean.

  26. No slating for sf awards. Ever.

    Red Pandas, knock it off. As others have said, you are playing into the hands of the Puppies, and hurting the entire community that cares about sf awards.

  27. (16)

    “If you believe that the world needs racial purity and genetically superior heroes to save us from corruption, you might write a fantasy about a man of high Númenórean blood who is destined to reclaim the Throne of Gondor.”

    If you want to make a (totally reasonable) point about fiction being inherently political it’s probably the stupidest possible way to go about it, to impute political motives that any educated person knows weren’t held by Tolkien to him and his works.

  28. Well, I guess it was the Moon that got blown out of orbit, and Moon Base Alpha was simply along for the ride. And a most weird explosion it was, in taht it kept on moving the Moon from planetary system to planetary system, and slowed it down in time for the next episode as well.

  29. I have approximately one recommendation to anyone who considered “slating” as a valid tactic for an award:

    Please don’t slate. It’s counter-productive and will make everyone angry. If you feel that you need to build some sort of momentum for the thing(s) you like to read, make a “recommended reading” list, and try to make sure that there’s at least twice as many things on the list, as there are nomination slots. That way, you are working entirely within the spirit of the regulations (or, at least, that is the case for the Hugo awards).

  30. I’m not sure how slating is more artificial than any other form of promotion or publicity. It’s not like the Dragon awards are the Hugos. The Dragon awards are supposed to reflect something very different from what the Hugos exemplify, right? So why does it matter that slating is bad for the Hugos when we’re talking about the Dragons?

  31. Slating is a cynical act. When you create a slate, your goal is to win instead of working together to decide the best work. That is against the spirit of any award.

  32. The best part of the Anno Dracula series was The Red Baron (protagonist of book 2) vs that little white dog.

  33. My ideal outcome for the Dragon Awards would be that they go away.

    My really ideal outcome would be for DragonCon to become enshrined not as some kind of commercialized convention, but as what some news outlets refer to it as – “popcultural” event, divorcing it from “fandom”.

    It represents, to me, a corruption of fandom and fannish ways, presents a faux-fannish experience that supplants and obscures fandom and does so in a commercialized way that traditional fandom can’t compete with (in the long run) (not that traditional fandom wants to compete); it is rapidly becoming the public face of what fandom is and does, and represents none of those things.

    (WSFS should never have given them that weekend, should never have let them host a nasfic; water under the bridge, but also the beginning of the creep.)

    My desires are windmills, I admit, but in the greater scheme of things, the “dragon awards” are just another symptom, not the real issue(s).

  34. @Karl-Johan Norén:

    what I think they should do is engage within the DragonCon organisation to fix the Dragon Awards. It’s hard work, yes, but right now the Dragon Awards are broken as designed.

    I think you’re presuming there’s such a thing as an organization; I get the impression (entirely from the outside) that DC is more a set of loosely-regulated fiefdoms — especially wrt written SF, which (again ISTM) is a small and decreasing part of their reason for being. Worse, if there is any centralization and the Panda claims of bias on both the SF-track director and the top boss are correct, fixing the awards would be not merely hard but Sisyphean.

    @Ghostbird: …sheer depth of Kim Newman’s genre references and how much fun he’s obviously having with them. Just so; it’s a fun mish-mosh rather than a serious attempt at alternate history. This is one of Newman’s specialties, continued in the rest of the series. It also leaves him room for wonderful pastiches, as in The Hound of the D’Urbervilles, his memoirs of Sebastian Moran.
    @Hampus: note that Johnny Alucard is a pottage of stories spread over decades; again with the fun references (e.g., why did Welles stop shooting a certain movie), but less coherent.
    @Jon Meltzer: maybe not the very best, but a great reference (that took me way too long to spot, since it quotes a hit song from the brief time I was listening to AM radio).

  35. In the vein of Anno Dracula, I am really, really enjoying Theodora Goss’ THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER. I think Mary Jekyll and Diana Hyde are my new favorite “odd-couple crimefighters” pairing. Plus the other characters (League of Extraordinary Not-So-Gentlewomen?) for even more thrills and enjoyment.

    (Pretty sure some of the references and Easter eggs have zoomed right past me, tho’.)

  36. When you create a slate, your goal is to win instead of working together to decide the best work. That is against the spirit of any award.

    Again, why? It’s against the spirit of an award, clearly, whose aim is to work together to select the best work; which is indeed the aim of the Hugos. But not every award is like that; an award which rewards popularity by seeing who has the most supporters (which seems to be the aim of the Dragons) will work differently. Bear in mind that the Dragons positively encourage authors working to get out the vote, which is deprecated in the Hugos.

    No one objects to political parties issuing slates, though it would be objectionable if the aim of elections were for the electorate to work together to find the best person for the job.

  37. @Bruce Arthurs:

    Along that same line, there’s a series by Coleen Gleason which pairs the sister of Bram Stoker with the niece of Sherlock Holmes. The first book was fairly good, though I haven’t gotten around to the others yet.

    I have fond memories of Pulphouse in general and the magazine in particular. I had a subscription to it when it was ended and was sad to see it go. I may just have to contribute to the Kickstarter before it ends. It’s good to see they made their goal.

  38. @Chip Hitchcok: A set of loosely-regulated fiefdoms is still an organisation, even if it happens to fly in loose formation.

    As the Pandas say they care about the DragonCon, then their goal should be to fix the Dragon Awards and make DragonCon better, not try to hijack one minor process from another direction.

  39. Rob Thornton on October 2, 2017 at 7:03 am said:
    Slating is a cynical act. When you create a slate, your goal is to win instead of working together to decide the best work. That is against the spirit of any award.

    Agreed wholeheartedly.

  40. @Red Panda Fraction
    Do you encourage people to vote your slate without reading the works? I suppose if a slate is published just 24 hours before the deadline, that’s the only way to interpret it, but is that your general message? If so, then, yes, you’re not much better than the Puppies; an award given based on the votes of people who mostly didn’t read the winners seems utterly pointless.

    Otherwise, you’re making a recommended-reading list–not a slate. While I know some people even object to recommended reading lists (unless they are so large as to be useless), most folks are generally okay with them. Given the kooky eligibility rules, merely listing which works are eligible for the Dragon Awards would help a lot of folks pick from works they had already read.

    Which is it that the Pandas intend to be? Slaters, or recommenders? I read your whole posting, but I still don’t know.

  41. Boo on slates.

    Also, TFW you are enjoying a science novel about a trading vessel caught up in intrigue and discover the author is Puppy-adjacent if not actually a card-carrying member.

  42. “… an award which rewards popularity by seeing who has the most supporters (which seems to be the aim of the Dragons) will work differently.”

    Seeing who has the most supporters in one category is one thing. What set of 20 works taken as a whole that has the most supporters accross several categories is a totally different thing.

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