Pixel Scroll 10/23/17 A Long Scroll To A Small Angry Pixel

(1) ASKING FOR A MULLIGAN. The Hugo Award Book Club casts aspersions on a 2001 winner in “Harry Potter and the Undeserved Hugo”.

If Hugo Award voters had the prescience to have recognized (via award or nomination) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1998, perhaps it would be more forgivable. But looking at the situation with 15 years of hindsight, it feels like the Hugos were just bandwagon jumping on an established series that was already extraordinarily popular.

It seems to me that honouring the book with a Hugo Award did nothing to help it find new readers, and this feels like an abdication of what the award should be about.

(2) SOUND THE HORN. Since being chastised for misspelling Froot Loops, John King Tarpinian has been doing penitential research about the cereal. Those of you who were saying you can’t get unicorn burgers may want to know you can get unicorn breakfast cereal, for a limited time — “Unicorn Froot Loops Are Now Enchanting Store Shelves”.

Kellogg’s is giving early mornings a major dose of magic. According to Delish, the cereal giant is remixing its fan-favorite Froot Loops with a very 2017 makeover: unicorn.

Almost unrecognizable without Toucan Sam, eagle-eyed shoppers are sure to get pulled in by the rainbows, stars, and a very cute unicorn. The limited-edition cereal comes with new packaging that features the as-yet-unnamed animated unicorn complete with a requisite rainbow mane, but the real magic is inside the box.

While standard Froot Loops are already a Technicolor addition to any breakfast, the unicorn version is a little more subdued, but ups the ante when it comes to trendy hues.

(3) SPEAKING UP. Neil Gaiman voiced a character on The Simpsons on Sunday – a Coraline parody was part of the latest “Treehouse of Horror” episode.

A.V. Club reviewed the overall effort: “The Simpsons walks us through a visually ambitious but forgettable Treehouse Of Horror”.

The 28th “Treehouse Of Horror” carries on the venerable Simpsons institution by, as ever, tossing a whole lot of stuff at the screen and seeing what sticks. To that end, this year’s outing gives us: An Exorcist parody, a Coraline parody, Homer eating human flesh (just his own, but still), stop-motion segments, horror and fantasy-specific guest stars, a little light Fox standards-pushing (Homer does, as stated, eat human flesh), and the usual string of hit-or-miss gags. That last part isn’t really a criticism in itself. Freed up from the need to calibrate the heart-yucks equation, a “Treehouse Of Horror” rises or falls on the strength of its jokes, although the annual Halloween anthology provides its own unique degree of difficulty.

(4) ON THE CANVAS. Walter Jon Williams does a draft cover reveal for the next book in the Praxis Series. He has been making a heroic effort to complete it but  the book isn’t cooperating, as he says in “Punch Drunk”.

I haven’t been posting for several days, because I’ve been trying to finish  The Accidental War, which (according to the publisher) is Book IV of the Praxis series, but which (according to me alone, apparently) is Book VI, because I count Impersonations and Investments, and they don’t.

See?  It even has a cover!  Though this may not be the actual cover when it’s released, at the moment it’s just sort of a cover suggestion the art department is playing with.

Wow!  Sure looks like MilSF, doesn’t it?

(5) PENRIC. And at Goodreads, Lois McMaster Bujold has shared “The Prisoner of Limnos cover sneak peek” with art by Ron Miller.

So, as promised, here is the e-cover of the new Penric & Desdemona novella. It will be #6 in the current internal chronology (and publishing order.)

The vendor-page copy will read:

“In this sequel novella to “Mira’s Last Dance”, Temple sorcerer Penric and the widow Nikys have reached safety in the duchy of Orbas when a secret letter from a friend brings frightening news: Nikys’s mother has been taken hostage by her brother’s enemies at the Cedonian imperial court, and confined in a precarious island sanctuary.

“Their own romance still unresolved, Nikys, Penric, and of course Desdemona must infiltrate the hostile country once more, finding along the way that family relationships can be as unexpectedly challenging as any rescue scheme.”

(6) PRODUCT PLACEMENT. Adweek tells how “A Baby Dragon Brings the Heat for Doritos on Twitter”.

You don’t have to be a Targaryen to know the value of a baby dragon.

When Doritos U.K. released a limited edition of extra-hot tortilla chips called Heatburst this past spring, it became part of the conversation on Twitter by creating its own “celebrity”—a comical, fire-breathing baby dragon—to represent the new flavor.

As described in the video below, the Heatburst campaign, with the hashtags #HeatWillCome and #BabyDragon, centered on the dragon character. It launched with a series of quirky videos where the baby dragon innocently ignited virtually everything around him. As awareness for the product grew, the baby dragon became a Twitter character in his own right, inserting himself into pop-culture moments and current events to keep the brand top of mind. Doritos U.K. did this using a full-range of Twitter formats, including branded emojis, GIFs, and conversational videos.

(7) CONTINUED WEINSTEIN AFTERMATH. The Hollywood Reporter says female animators sent a letter to executives at major animation studios insisting on an end of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Among the 217 women and gender-nonconforming people who signed the letter are Netflix’s head of kids programming Jenna Boyd, Bob’s Burgers producer and writer Wendy Molyneax, Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar and Danger & Eggs co-creator Shadi Petosky, as well as animators of BoJack Horseman, Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls.

The full text of the letter is at The Wrap (“Women Animators Pen Open Letter on Sexual Harassment: ‘This Abuse Has Got to Stop’”.) The demands include:

  1. Every studio puts in place clear and enforceable sexual harassment policies and takes every report seriously. It must be clear to studio leadership, including producers, that, no matter who the abuser is, they must investigate every report or face consequences themselves.
  2. The Animation Guild add language in our constitution that states that it can “censure, fine, suspend or expel any member of the guild who shall, in the opinion of the Executive Board, be found guilty of any act, omission, or conduct which is prejudicial to the welfare of the guild.” To craft and support the new language, we ask that an Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Committee be created to help educate and prevent future occurrences.
  3. Our male colleagues start speaking up and standing up for us. When their co-workers make sexist remarks, or when they see sexual harassment happening, we expect them to say something. Stop making excuses for bad behavior in your friends and co-workers, and tell them what they are doing is wrong.

(8) MAKING LIGHT. Overshadowed by the Cuban Missile Crisis is Galactic Journey’s review of the November 1962 Fantastic.

It seems likely that the threat of violence, which hangs over our heads in these troubled times, makes it necessary for us to make light of traditional terrors.  We laugh to keep from screaming.  As an example, on the same day that China invaded India, Bobby Picket’s novelty song, The Monster Mash, reached the top of the charts.

Appropriately, the latest issue of Fantastic features another comic version of old-fashioned horrors….

It’s Magic, You Dope! (Part 1 of 2), by Jack Sharkey Lloyd Birmingham’s cover art, which reminds me of the macabre cartoons of Charles Addams, captures the spooky but laughable nature of this short novel by editor Cele Goldsmith’s resident comedian.

(9) YESTERDAY’S DAY

(10) THE MALL’S OUR DESTINATION. At Pornokitsch, Jared takes us shopping: “Malls, Mallrats and Browsing”.

Doug Stephens wrote a powerful piece on how ‘to save retail, let it die’. In it, he lists all the ways in which retail is doomed (hi, Amazon!) on his way to a, more-or-less, familiar conclusion: retail spaces need to become experiences.

Stephens posits that the future retail spaces aren’t about buying products at all, but about:

  1. gathering data
  2. selling experiences that involve the products

Imagine, I suppose, the LEGO store, but solely with the build-your-own minifig display. And lots of covert measurement over which pieces everyone uses… (Ok, this must happen already, but still. Imagine!)

Then, presumably, we all go home and receive Snapchats telling us that a new set of our favourite LEGO can be purchased, right now. Just wink acceptance, and your facial recognition purchasing programme will do the rest. Then, when you lose a piece, you shout at Alexa, and the replacement follows. Whatever. That sort of thing. All beside the point.

(11) LOU ANDERS. Variety includes Lou Anders’ good news in “‘Dark Matter’ EP Vanessa Piazza Sets Multi-Year Producing Partnership With eOne”.

Piazza is also developing “Masked,” based on the original super-hero fiction anthology edited by Lou Anders, who will also be involved in the series adaptation. Notable comic and graphic novel writers, including Lilah Sturges, Paul Cornell, and Gail Simone whose short stories appear in the book, will contribute to the anthology series, working with Piazza and executive producer and showrunner Joseph Mallozzi.

(12) INDIE FOCUS. The inaugural issue IndiePicks Magazine is now on the street.  You can read an electronic copy via their website.  Subscriptions to the electronic and paper versions are also available.

Their sff reviewers appear to be Alan Keep and Megan McArdle.  Their horror reviewer is Becky Spratford.  And their YA reviewer is Magan Szwarek.

(13) EARLY ELECTRONIC MUSIC. NPR on the creator of the Doctor Who theme: “Forebears: Delia Derbyshire, Electronic Music’s Forgotten Pioneer”.

All that changed in 1960 when she went to work at the BBC as a studio manager. She soon became enamored of the Radiophonic Workshop, a division of the media conglomerate dedicated to electronic experimentation. The invention of tape recording in the 1950s allowed sounds to be manipulated in entirely new ways; in a time when radio dramas ruled popular entertainment, the Workshop was a creative — and coveted — place of employment. In 1962, Derbyshire was assigned a position at the workshop, where she’d work for over a decade, becoming a sound specialist and a leading voice in musical counterculture: The weirder her soundscapes became, the more wondrous they felt. She created music for the world’s first fashion show with an electronic soundtrack (and considering the commonality of techno/dance music on the runway, she left a legacy in that field, too). She organized robotic noise in a way that felt truly alien, shocking sounds whole decades ahead of this music’s time.

(14) GUARD YOUR ARTISTIC FREEDOM. Max Florschutz issues a warning in “Being a Better Writer: Preaching to the Choir” at Unusual Things.

They adjust the story that they’re telling so that it is no longer aimed at the general audience, but at those who already buy into it. And that means changing the presentation.

For example, say someone writes a story that is going to preach to the choir with regards to one of the US’s political parties (which happens a lot, unsurprisingly). Writing a story that appeals to the group already supporting that party is going to result in a different story than one written to a general audience. A story that was written for a general audience on the topic would need to, for starters, approach all of its topics from a neutral starting point, as it would need to assume that those approaching the work didn’t share or even know of the authors ideas and views. It would then need to examine the ideals it wanted to present from a variety of points, answering the reader’s questions and concerns—which could be fairly vast—as it attempted to explain the stance of the author. It would also need to do so while maintaining a level voice and giving the various viewpoints a fair shake.

But if we compare that to a title written for an audience that wants to be preached too, most of that will disappear. For example, that audience does not want to start from a neutral point. They’ve already left that ground. They want a position already ensconced in their stance. Nor do they want to examine their own beliefs from a variety of angles—that can raise uncomfortable questions and truths that they’d rather not deal with—so each angle approached must be designed to reinforce that safe space they’ve already built for themselves by making sure that all other ideas, themes, etc, are wrong. It also can’t have a level voice nor give equal treatment to other views; after all, those views are wrong. Lastly, to preach to the choir, the work needs to reinforce the idea that the audience is safe where it is, that they have made the right or smart decision by believing what they believe.

And the truth is, creating this kind of work is extraordinarily popular. Everywhere. Because there’s a guaranteed audience as long as the “choir” exists. Michael Moore films, for example? One-hundred percent preaching to the choir. Baptist-ploitation films like God’s Not Dead? Also preaching to the choir. And many, many others—crud, you readers along could probably fill the comments with thousands of works from all sides of any spectrum or idea that preach to the choir. It works because it appeals to a set audience that wants to be told that they’re right, to be reinforced without thinking critically (or in some cases, by being giving a thought that sounds critical, but actually isn’t). And that audience? They eat this kind of pandering up.

… So, with that said—specifically the bit about a quick buck—why wouldn’t you want to preach to the choir? Why not go for it?

Well, the answer is pretty simple: Once you do, it’s hard to go back. Once you’ve started writing stories that support that little “safe zone,” you’ve effectively shackled yourself to it and to that audience. That audience is going to want more of the same, and if you don’t deliver it, they will become unhappy.

(15) I’M NOT OKAY, YOU’RE NOT OKAY. Douglas Smith spends the first four paragraphs of “On Writing of a Different Culture” at the SFWA Blog apologizing for world history before getting to the point:

So, yes, I was a tad paranoid of being accused of cultural appropriation.

Let me first explain why I was drawn to Cree and Ojibwe culture for The Wolf at the End of the World.

If you think you’re doing something wrong, wouldn’t it be better to not do it? If you haven’t done something wrong, why are you apologizing?

(16) JOE HILL. Lisa Taylor reviews “Strange Weather by Joe Hill” for The Speculative Herald.

Strange Weather is a collection of 4 short novels, each telling a unique story. They are all independent of one another, and could be read in any order. I may not rate this one quite as high as most of the works I’ve read by Hill, but I suspect most of that comes from my preference for longer works. The stories are quick and varied covering funny to horrifying to creepy and the main character in each are varied.

(17) PERSONAL BEST. Here’s a record that will appear with an asterix next to it.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Dann, Andrew Porter, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ryan H.]

93 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/23/17 A Long Scroll To A Small Angry Pixel

  1. Aaron on October 24, 2017 at 1:36 pm said:
    You seem to be implying that there wasn’t thought put into the votes for the Rowling book, which is a pretty damn arrogant position to be taking.

    I’m sorry that you read that implication into my statement, that’s not my intent. I am disagreeing without thinking other peoples’ points of view aren’t valid.

    I’d like to emphasize that in the original blog post, I was saying that in retrospect it doesn’t look that great. It looked better at the time, and I even like the book moderately well.

    But if there’s another big fad like Potter in the future, I’d argue that we could learn from the past.

    And yeah, that’s just an opinion. But I think it’s fair to argue the point.

    I actually love the fact that people disagree with me, and are offering solid rebuttals. Honestly, I’m surprised that so many people are saying GoF is one of their favourites, and that’s kind of cool.

  2. JJ: “A journalist has compiled a list, with citations, of Hollywood figures who’ve been accused of harassment, assault, or worse.”

    JJ, the Medium article you linked to was written by a “journalist” who deliberately abandoned journalistic standards and said she was doing so. And the “citations” you mentioned are just a series of links, many linking to trash-tabloid sites. It makes no distinction between people making (tasteless) rape jokes and actual rapists. One of the people listed responded in comments, noting he had been cleared in court. Even by Medium’s abysmal standards, the article is disgraceful.

  3. “The Hugo Award Book Club” – Just going by this it feels like they might be competing with the Clarke Award Second-Guessers for least fun at parties?

  4. @Ivan Bromke: you seem to be suggesting that tastes change, opinions shift over time, and people who voted for one thing on one day might, on reflection, have chosen to vote differently.

    Seems reasonable to me. But this is true of every Hugo winner, isn’t it? What makes it especially relevant to the Harry Potter book?

    There are plenty of examples of Hugo winners which – obviously – were wildly popular at the time, but haven’t aged well. (Some of them have been discussed, even, in this very venue.) What makes this one case particularly egregious? Fads have always come and gone: what’s so bad about this particular one?

  5. Just a minor factual point, but while Goblet of Fire opensish with a quidditch match, isn’t Hogwarts quidditch is supended in favour of the Triwizard Tournament, so, um, there isn’t really very much quidditch description in the book, if I’m remembering correctly? Less than the previous three novels, I think. The Triwizard Tournament has very little to do with quidditch.

    I thought the argument that the Hugo should go to less popular works was weakened by the suggestion that perhaps it should have gone to a GRRM instead. Even before the tv series ASoIAF was doing just fine. Not exactly a novelist in need of a reputation boost.

    I also don’t quite feel the same need to promote sff to the pop culture majority as people in the 50s understandably did. Science fiction, fantasy and horror dominate the pop culture landscape of 2017.

    Given the various pros and cons of the various Harry Potter books, I think Goblet of Fire is probably the best single novel, although Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite. I don’t personally feel that it was an error in judgement – Goblet of Fire was huge that year for a reason.

  6. Church of All Worlds reaches half-century mark.

    One of its subscribers was Robert Heinlein himself, who Zell finally contacted in 1972. He’s heard that the author was cantankerous and prone to lawsuits, but upon writing him a lengthy letter, he received an equally verbose reply. Zell still has all the letters he received from Heinlein during a correspondence that lasted many years.

    Zell would have given Heinlein a subscription for free, but the author strongly believed that “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and preferred to pay. He never contributed anything to the newsletter and later magazine, but from time to time Heinlein would write directly to someone whose letter tickled his fancy, as mailing addresses were included much of the time.

    “He found the idea fascinating,” Zell recalled, and appreciated that this was not an attempt at imitation, but rather was inspiration.

    “He thought Witches were pretty cool.”

    Organizing those letters and the rest of his archives is on Zell’s to-do list, but “if you want to hear the laughter of the gods, tell them your plans.”

  7. @Meredith

    Just a minor factual point, but while Goblet of Fire opensish with a quidditch match, isn’t Hogwarts quidditch is supended in favour of the Triwizard Tournament, so, um, there isn’t really very much quidditch description in the book, if I’m remembering correctly? Less than the previous three novels, I think.

    Less explanation of what Quidditch is, perhaps, but several chapters with people preparing to go to a big Quidditch match, going to the match, watching the match and finally having the match disrupted.

    The Triwizard Tournament has very little to do with quidditch.

    Except for the professional Quidditch player competing for the Goblet, and dating Hermione.

    As I mentioned above, I think this is the first book where there was a major to-do on the book’s release date. I had started reading Harry Potter sometime before Goblet was released, so Goblet was the first of the books that I had to wait for – but not as long as some people, since, although I was several dozen people back in the advance reserve list at my library, the library had ordered many dozen copies – and somehow misunderstood that they shouldn’t give out the books until midnight between Friday and Saturday – so I got a copy on Friday at 5PM. Good times…

    P.P.S. The funniest review of “Goblet” I read is “This is the one where the killer turns out not to be the new character we’ve never heard of before, but a different new character we’ve never heard of before, who is disguised as the new character we’ve never heard of before…

  8. Yeah, sorry, I see nothing wrong, even in retrospect, with the HP win. It may not have been my first choice (but since I wasn’t a voter that year, my opinion doesn’t count for much), but it certainly seems at least as worthy as the average winner. It was an outstanding book.

    Now, it’s true that it was targeted at a younger audience, and I know that bothers some people, but I have no problem with that, as long as it’s a really good book targeted at a younger audience. Which I think it was.

    So, no, not seeing the problem here.

    I mean, yeah, I’d prefer it if all the other voters would just shut up and let me pick the best book each year. I’m pretty that’s the only thing that would allow me to be fully satisfied with the outcome. But I do recognize that that might be a bit unfair… 🙂

  9. @Andrew

    When there’s only one quidditch match (unlike books 1-3, 5 and 6 which all have Hogwarts tournaments, I think) saying that Goblet of Fire offers only “Almost endless description of a Quiddich tournament” and nothing else is highly inaccurate both for the book itself and in comparison to nearly all the rest of the series.

  10. @Meredith:

    Agreed. HP&TGOF opens up the universe both by showing other schools for magic exist, and by showing magical folks doing stuff outside of Hogwarts. It also is the turning point of the series where the overall plot arc of the series becomes as important as the individual arc of each book.

  11. Steve Wright on October 24, 2017 at 3:17 pm said:
    What makes this one case particularly egregious? Fads have always come and gone: what’s so bad about this particular one?

    It’s just my opinion, but I think Potter’s win is more egregious because it’s the *fourth* book in a series. Few readers are going to start reading mid-series, and it doesn’t stand on its own very well.

    Meredith on October 24, 2017 at 4:03 pm said:
    I also don’t quite feel the same need to promote sff to the pop culture majority as people in the 50s understandably did. Science fiction, fantasy and horror dominate the pop culture landscape of 2017.

    That is a 100% good point.

    I agree almost wholeheartedly, but still think that the Hugo has an important role for literature. The type of SFF books that have won most in most years of the last decade are still not as mainstream as blockbuster SFF movies and TV shows are. I think promoting NK Jemisin & Ann Leckie out to a wider audience has enormous value.

  12. So which book would have been a better winner in 2001 than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?

    The 2001 Hugo shortlist was:

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
    A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
    Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
    The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod
    Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson

    Other notable SFF novels published in 2000 that were not nominated for a Hugo that year were:

    Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
    Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
    Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks
    Storm Front by Jim Butcher
    1632 by Eric Flint
    The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
    Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
    Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
    Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay
    Daemonomania by John Crowley

    Of those, Perdido Street Station seems like a huge oversight. Revelation Space seems like an oversight as well. But since both were first published in the UK, while WorldCon was in the US, I suspect many nominators might not have been aware of them.

    Of the actual 2001 nominees, I would vote for Midnight Robber, followed by A Storm of Swords and Harry Potter. Haven’t read either the MacLeod or the Sawyer, but based on previous experiences with those authors, I suspect I would have voted them near the end of the ballot.

    Of the extended list of eligible SFF novels. Perdido Street Station would be my choice (partly based on hindsight) and would probably also have been the “worthiest” winner. However, Harry Potter is not a bad choice at all.

  13. Ivan, has it occurred to you that everyone else voting has their own opinions, and are just as correct in them as you?

  14. @Lis — Hooray for apartment! If you want something somewhat seasonal, on Amazon Prime you can stream a German adaptation of Lovecraft’s Color Out of Space that I thought was actually pretty good — they changed the setting from New England to rural Germany, and changed the framing story, but it’s otherwise relatively faithful.

    Man in the High Castle was also quite good. And while I haven’t watched Amazon’s version of The Tick yet, it’s on my list.

  15. Ivan Bromke on October 24, 2017 at 5:47 pm said:

    It’s just my opinion, but I think Potter’s win is more egregious because it’s the *fourth* book in a series. Few readers are going to start reading mid-series, and it doesn’t stand on its own very well.

    There have been lots of not-the-first-book-in-the-series which have won the Hugo. Foundation’s Edge, Startide Rising, The Vor Game, and Green Mars all leap to mind, and I’m sure I could find a bunch more if I went and looked at a list of winners. (And I’m ignoring cases where an earlier book in the same series has also won.) At least two of those do not, in my opinion, stand all that well on their own–and again, I’m sure I could find more where that’s true if I went and looked at the list.

    As for promoting lesser-known authors–that’s never been the purpose of the Hugos. It does frequently recognize new authors, but well-established, even world-famous authors can and do regularly win Hugos. Yes, there’s been a few more than usual recently (although Cixin Liu was a huge bestseller long before he won his Hugo), but that doesn’t mean the purpose of the Hugo has changed. Heinlein continued winning Hugos long after he’d become “the Dean of Science Fiction” and the closest thing the genre had to a household name. Clarke was able to win a Hugo many years after 2001 made him a household name. And, of course, Neil Gaiman won in 2009….

  16. Ivan Bromke:

    My larger point is that in retrospect that particular choice of which book got the award doesn’t look so good. That this is a conversation that fans should have, and that perhaps next time we’ll make a different choice.

    The Hugo awards are described as “best of the year”; “best” might include “being in dialog with other works”, but those works have to exist when the vote happens — I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect voters to say “I won’t vote for this because the next one will be better.” IMO the award should also not go to the final book in a series just because the series as a whole was remarkable.

    bookworm1398:

    1) The thing I regret in retrospect is that it seems to have broken the bias against fantasy in the Hugos

    IMO there was never a bias against fantasy (overall; there certainly were — and are — curmudgeons who pissed&moaned, even recently, when fantasy won). Bear in mind that a Bloch fantasy won one of the first awards. However, there wasn’t nearly as much fantasy as SF being written for some time after the Hugos were started; I specifically remember very little when I was cataloging for the MITSFS in the 1970’s, and The Magazine of Fantasy became F&SF after one issue. Now the balance has shifted, in title count and perhaps sales (factoid: Modesitt said at a recent GoH stint that his fantasy sells much better than his SF), and the awards are reflecting this.

  17. P J Evans on October 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm said:
    Ivan, has it occurred to you that everyone else voting has their own opinions, and are just as correct in them as you?

    I think I said at 1:52 p.m. today, in a previous comment in this chain “I am disagreeing without thinking other peoples’ points of view aren’t valid.”

    Actually, I love the fact that people are disagreeing with me and providing solid reasons for their disagreements. If I continue to disagree, please understand that it is not from a place of disrespect. IDIC.

  18. (1) @Cora: Looking at the longlist, you get the following works:

    (381 nominating ballots, 205 nominees):
    (56) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    (53) Calculating God
    (48) A Storm of Swords
    (29) The Sky Road
    (28) Midnight Robber
    — final ballot complete
    (24) Declare
    (24) In Green’s Jungles
    (24) The Telling
    (23) Eater
    (23) The Truth
    (22) Book of Ash
    (20) The Coming
    (20) Galveston
    (19) The Amber Spyglass
    (18) Infinity Beach
    (18) Oceanspace
    (18) Revelation Space
    (18) Ventus
    (18) Wheelers
    (18) Zeitgeist

    So of the books you mention, only Revelation Space came close to the ballot. On the other hand, Mary Gentle’s Ash managed to pick up a decent number of nominations.

    That period of time was really a high mark for British sf. Just look at the Arthur C Clarke award shortlist, and compare it to the Hugo shortlist!

    Perdido Street Station (Miéville, winner), Parable of the Talents (Butler), Ash (Gentle), Cosmonaut Keep (MacLeod), Revelation Space (Reynolds), and Salt (Roberts). I didn’t care for Salt at all, but Miéville, Butler, and Gentle would all be more than worthy Hugo winners (haven’t read the MacLeod or Reynolds).

  19. Taking a look at that long list… A Storm of Swords is the third book in an ongoing series; The Sky Road is the fourth book (by publication order) in a loose but connected sequence; The Amber Spyglass is the final volume of a trilogy, On Green’s Waters the middle volume of a trilogy – there may be others, I don’t know every book on that list. So, I don’t think being part-way into a series is a disqualifier for a novel, and Hugo nominators appear to agree with me.

    If you want to recognize up-and-coming new talent, that’s what the not-a-Hugo Campbell Award is for.

  20. It occurs to me that the Jenkins quote in the article was from a time when any SFF writing being noticed by the general world was “Inconceivable!”; this is no longer true, and was significantly untrue even in 2001. So citing a founder as evidence that mundane acceptance should disqualify a work from a Hugo is (IMO) trying to dredge up a well-lost part of the past.

    I know I voted that year but have no recollection of what order (except that I’m sure I didn’t put the Rowling first). If the nominations had come out slightly differently I would certainly have put Declare on top; I remember being so blown away by the scope and focus that the unusually blatant (even by Powers’s standards) invocation of Christian theology didn’t irk me. I haven’t found an explanation of why it came out first from a small press, which meant it wasn’t eligible for the year when it was easily available.

  21. 15: This doesn’t strike me at all as an apology for doing what he did. It’s an explanation why it’s not always a good idea, an outlining of the steps he took to make sure he had done the best he could, and a question to the people he tried to depict. I want to read this book now, because now I know a lot more about the thinking behind it, and that he did approach the material with some consideration. This makes it vastly less likely he wrote the next “What those people need is a honky” story.

    And the very fact that he thought about it is a large part of that, even if it comes across now as self-doubt.

    (I have tried to write a story with two Anishinaabe characters — the Ojibway he refers to are Anishinaabe people — so I am in something of the same boat and could have written his comments. Except I have not taken steps as big as visiting a Reserve to make sure I was doing it right.)

  22. 1) The Will Jenkins mentioned in the article is actually Will J. Jenkins, a fan who was one time president of PSFS and who helped found the Hugo Award. He was not the same was Will F. Jenkins who wrote as Murray Leinster (as the article identifies him with a photo of Jenkins/Leinster).

    They aren’t the first to make the mistake, of course. At Discon in 1963, when Leinster was the GoH, the hotel attempted to give his complementary hotel room to the fannish Jenkins.

  23. Thanks for that correction; I was wondering whether Leinster was more involved in fandom than I had read.

  24. @Karl-Johan Norén
    Good call with the longlist. I actually forgot that Declare and Book of Ash came out in 2000 and that Parable of the Talents could have been eligible as well. Okay, so I have massive issues with Declare (and I’m a big Tim Powers fan, but Declare infuriated me), but it would have been a worthy nominee. Ditto for Ash and Parable of the Talents.

  25. @Cora: Thanks for the info on other notable novels, not just nominees, etc. I’ve only read Sawyer’s (at the time) and I DNF’d Butcher’s (years later). I’m shockingly poorly read for that year. 😉

    @Kari-Johan Norén: More info, yay! I’ve read the Telling (very good) and I’m impressed (if a bit surprised) it got so close to the ballot.

    This all makes me wonder what I was reading that year (er, the year before the award, of course). 🙂

    @Soon Lee: “Oh Pixel, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you Scroll my mind, hey Pixel!”

    ROFL, that’s a great one!

  26. @Ivan Bromke: “in retrospect it doesn’t look that great” – I think it’s a fine winner, but sure, opinions do change over time. I’m not sure why they are supposed to have in this case, though. There was a lot to love in “Goblet,” and differences from previous books in the series that kept things fresh (not just moving along) (though I could say this about most or all of them?). I wasn’t voting back then, though, so I can’t take any credit for the win.

    But if there’s another big fad like Potter in the future, I’d argue that we could learn from the past.

    Like what?! If there’s something a lot of people genuinely love (calling it a fad seems very dismissive and pointless, unless a lot of folks who loved it then, hate it now), I’m not sure what lesson they should learn. Other than “vote in the Hugos.” 😛 The more who vote, the better, IMHO.

    (The Harding comparison was bizarre, BTW.)

    I think Potter’s win is more egregious because it’s the *fourth* book in a series

    Meh, for reasons up-thread, but to focus on one example that seems a good parallel: Bujold’s first novel win was the 6th novel in the series (methinks; some earlier items appear to be novellas or shorter, but I’m not 100% sure) and only her second nom. So Rowling’s was the 4th book and 2nd nom – not wildly different. This makes sense to me, for a popular series with broad appeal.

    BTW thanks for coming over and talking in comments with folks here! 🙂 Much appreciated. And sorry I’m a little late to the party here.

  27. Bosch is a LA Cop show.

    And a good one, very faithful to the also-good books.

    In a month, the first season of THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL hits, and judging from the pilot and the talent involved, it’s going to be delightful.

  28. (The Harding comparison was bizarre, BTW.)

    Why? I chose it because it’s a case in which democracy got it wrong. I was trying to pick a political campaign that’s long enough ago that people wouldn’t look at it through partisan eyes, or with as much anger as they might if I had picked an election in recent memory.

    Harding’s win didn’t mean that the system was bad, or that we should be scornful of voters. The the guy got elected (by a fairly wide margin), then later a lot of people had second thoughts.

    By using the Harding metaphor, I’m not presuming that most Hugo voters have had second thoughts, but I’d argue that perhaps there should be some re-evaluation.

    Bujold’s first novel win was the 6th novel in the series (methinks; some earlier items appear to be novellas or shorter, but I’m not 100% sure) and only her second nom.

    The Vor Game may be the sixth volume, but it’s easily a place to pick up the series. It’s the first Bujold book that I read, and had no problem picking up the narrative thread. Miles graduates the academy, and gets posted.

    Likewise for Startide Rising, which was mentioned earlier in this thread as an example of the second book in a multi-volume series that won the Hugo. You don’t have to read Sundiver to enjoy Startide.

    I don’t think that the same can be said for Harry Potter Volume Four. It is a book that is more difficult to enjoy without having read the first three volumes. And that’s a major strike against it.

  29. BTW thanks for coming over and talking in comments with folks here! ? Much appreciated. And sorry I’m a little late to the party here.

    I <3 File770.

    Love it whenever one of my posts ends up on Pixel Scroll, even when people disagree with my point of view 😀

  30. Ivan Bromke: You don’t have to read Sundiver to enjoy Startide.

    Indeed. The reason I even knew to look for Sundiver was that I’d read Startide first.

  31. Ivan Bromke on October 26, 2017 at 7:49 am said:

    The Vor Game may be the sixth volume, but it’s easily a place to pick up the series.
    […]
    Likewise for Startide Rising, which was mentioned earlier[…]

    Yes, when I posted my off-the-top-of-my-head list of four nth-in-series winners earlier, including those two, I did suggest that two of them might be reasonable as standalone. And you have correctly managed to identify the two I had in mind. So, um, congratulations, I guess, but that still leaves Foundation’s Edge and Green Mars.

    Now that I’m actually looking at the list of winners and finalist, I think the first finalist which wasn’t standalone was Harpist in the Wind, the third book of Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster series, in 1980. It may not have won, but I think it shows that the Worldcon membership has considered not-standalone-books eligible for a rather long time.

    And the year that Foundation’s Edge won, 2010: Oddysey Two and The Sword of the Lictor were both finalists. Neither of which would be considered standalone.

  32. @Kendall

    Thanks for the info on other notable novels, not just nominees, etc. I’ve only read Sawyer’s (at the time) and I DNF’d Butcher’s (years later). I’m shockingly poorly read for that year.

    I did enjoy the Butcher, when I read it a couple of years later, but it’s far from Hugo worthy.

  33. @Ivan Bromke: “I don’t think that the same can be said for Harry Potter Volume Four. It is a book that is more difficult to enjoy without having read the first three volumes. And that’s a major strike against it.”

    Heh, and some folks complain because later series books “never win” (obviously not the case, but a lot tougher to win as a later book). 😉 I don’t believe that’s a major strike against, though, unless one was a Hugo voter at the time who didn’t like/didn’t want to read Harry Potter, of course.

  34. Xtifr: I consider Harpist a separate case because it was the last part of a closely-bound story; at the time it seemed like a way of recognizing the whole story, absent an award that would do so explicitly. But your argument (that non-standalones have long been considered) holds in general because Foundation’s Edge came only 3 years later.

  35. @Xtifr – I’d argue that Foundation’s Edge is far more self-contained that you’d expect. It’s set in the Foundation universe, but it introduces us to a new protagonist Golan Trevize, a new challenge, and a new storyline. It’s been a long time, but I think it might have been the first Foundation novel that I read, because I was new to SF when it came out.

    But Green Mars is a fair point. I <3 that whole trilogy unreservedly, and completely agree that Green Mars almost entirely dependent on the previous book.

    Worldcon membership has considered not-standalone-books eligible for a rather long time.

    Not arguing with you about that, because I agree. I think they’ve always been eligible. I wouldn’t even argue that they shouldn’t be eligible – precisely because of works like Startide Rising and Deepness In The Sky.

    I would argue however that the stand-alone-ness of a work should be an important part of the conversation when we’re nominating and voting on works.

  36. Give me Harry Potter before Foundation’s Edge any day. I found it extremely boring and I can’t see any value in it for anyone who hadn’t read the previous books.

  37. Now that I’m actually looking at the list of winners and finalist, I think the first finalist which wasn’t standalone was Harpist in the Wind, the third book of Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster series, in 1980.

    Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Sword of Aldones, which was nominated in 1963, was a sequel to The Planet Savers, but was mostly written to stand on its own.

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