Pixel Scroll 12/14/18 Good King Pixelslas Looked Out On The File Of Seven

(1) WRITING SPACE. In “Why I Write in Cafes”, Rachel Swirsky unpacks all of her reasons.

I’ve been writing a lot in cafes recently. Well, mostly one cafe, but I’ve dallied with others…

I always accomplish something, or prove I can’t.

Because I’m at the cafe with someone else, and we are there with a purpose, I always spend at least some time trying to write. Some days, nothing comes. More often, even if I feel creatively dry, I can scrape up something, whether it’s a bit of editing, a paragraph or two, or the beginning of a story (which I may never finish). On my own I can get depressed over those days when the writing doesn’twork, and it makes me avoidant for a while afterward. With a writing partner, there’s a set time to try again.

(2) BRING PLENTY OF NAPKINS. Scott Edelman will be at the microphone while you slurp down Thai Beef Noodle Soup with Stephen Kozeniewski in Episode 84 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

This time around you’ll sit in on my meal at Noodle Charm with horror writer Stephen Kozeniewski.

At least I think we ate at Noodle Charm. I’m not really sure. (Give a listen to the episode to find out the reason for my uncertainty.)

Kozeniewski is the author of such gonzo novels as Braineater Jones, Billy and the Cloneasaurus, and The Ghoul Archipelago. He’s also been part of the writers room for Silverwood: The Door, a 10-episode prose follow-up to Tony Valenzuela’s Black Box TV series Silverwood, which was released in weekly installments in both prose and audiobook formats.

We discussed how it took nearly 500 submissions before his first novel was finally accepted, why he has no interest in writing sequels, his advice for winning a Turkey Award for the worst possible opening to the worst possible science fiction or fantasy novel, why his output is split between horror and science fiction (but not mysteries), the reason Brian Keene was who he wanted to be when he grew up, why almost any story would be more interesting with zombies, when you should follow and when you should break the accepted rules of writing, where he falls on the fast vs. slow zombies debate, and much more.

(3) BROKE-DOWN ENGINE. NPR’s Mark Jenkins is frank: “‘Mortal Engines’ Internally Combusts”.

…That’s just a cursory account of Mortal Engines, which would have benefited from losing a few supporting characters, several flashbacks and at least one subplot. Yet the movie’s major weakness is not story, but characterization.

The only actor who holds the screen is Weaving, and even he suffers from a cardboard role and plywood dialogue. Hilmar, Natsworthy and Jihae are all as bland as their parts, lacking charm, swagger and humor. The disastrous absence of the last quality can partly be blamed on the script, which hazards a joke about every 45 minutes.

(4) CAUGHT UP INTHE WEB. Meanwhile, Chris Klimek writes at NPR that “‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ Is A Fun, Warm-Hearted Treat”.

It’s hard to fathom that the same Sony Pictures that, in 2012, decided the best way to expand the appeal of its live-action Spider-Man franchise was to start over with lesser movies, has now become smart enough to put its resources into a superb new — really new — Spider-Man cartoon. Maybe someone in a Culver City boardroom got bit by a radioactive MacArthur Fellow.

Whatever the reason, for a powerful corporation to relax its grip on an ancient specimen of blue-chip IP enough to let the creatives have some fun is a rare thing, and one that should not go unheralded. Marvel Comics weathered the ire of reactionary fandom back in 2011 when it introduced Miles Morales, a Spider-Man no less Amazing than that nerdy orphan Peter Parker, but for the fact he was the son of a Puerto Rican ER nurse and an African-American beat cop. Miles became the Spider-Man of the publisher’s “Ultimate” line, a spiral arm of the Marvel Universe that…

…you know what? Don’t worry about it. To cite the refrain of this graphically dazzling, generously imaginative, nakedly optimistic, mercilessly funny and inclusive-without-being-all-pious-about-it animated oydssey called Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, “Anyone can wear the mask.”

(5) STELLAR POPPINS.The BBC’s Nicholas Barber finds many defects compared to the original, but gives 4 stars to Mary Poppins Returns.

Sensibly, Blunt doesn’t impersonate Andrews. Less sensibly, she impersonates Maggie Smith: her haughty, upper-crust Mary would be right at home in Downtown Abbey. But otherwise, Mary Poppins Returns is so similar to its predecessor as to be almost identical. There are no revelations, no unexpected locations, no hints at what Mary gets up to when she isn’t looking after the Banks children – although we’ll probably get a prequel set in nanny-training college in a few years’ time. The only significant difference is that the story has been moved on from 1910 to the 1930s, so it’s Mary Poppins: The Next Generation.

(6) BORDER TOWN DROPPED. “DC Cancels Hit Comic Book Series ‘Border Town’ After Abuse Claims”says The Hollywood Reporter.

The publisher is immediately ending the critically acclaimed series, amid accusations of sexual abuse by writer and co-creator Eric M. Esquivel.

DC Entertainmentimprint DC Vertigo has canceled comic book series Border Town effective immediately, with all orders for the unreleased issues 5 and 6 being canceled, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Those issues will not be published, and all issues already released are also being made returnable, according to the publisher.

The publisher has not commented on the reasons for the title’s cancellation, but it coincides with the release of a statement by toy designer Cynthia Naugle in which she wrote about being “sexually, mentally, and emotionally abused” by an unnamed figure later identified on social media — and seemingly confirmed by Naugle via retweets — as Border Town writer and co-creator Eric M. Esquivel.

Since Naugle’s statement went live, both Border Town artist Ramon Villalobos and color artist Tamra Bonvillain released statements via Twitter on the subject, distancing themselves from the project.

(7) HUGO VOTING STRATEGY TRUE OR FALSE. Karl-Johan Norén warns, “The meme that one should not ‘dilute’ ones Hugo nomination power under EPH is going around again, and I wrote a quick refutation.”

…As a voter and nominator for the Hugos, it is in your best interest to nominate as many works as you find worthy as you can.

I will illustrate it using two cases. The first is that if every single nominator in a Hugo category nominates only a single work, EPH will default back to a simple first past the post selection with six finalists — exactly the system that we had before EPH, but with much less input! …

(8) THE POINTY THRONE. This cover for the March issue of Amazing Spider-Man resonates with a certain TV show you may have seen….

(9) BLACK SCI-FI DOCUMENTARY. Three excerpts from Terrence Francis’ 1992 documentary Black Sci-Fi, originally broadcast on BBC2 as part of the Birthrights series.

The documentary focuses on Black science fiction in literature, film and television and features interviews with Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Mike Sargent, Steven Barnes and Nichelle Nichols.

In this extract, Octavia Butler discusses how her interest in science fiction developed and the genre’s potential for exploring new ideas and ways of being.

In this section Samuel R. Delany, Mike Sargent and Steven Barnes discuss the stereotypical portrayal of black characters in science fiction literature and cinema, including the predictable fate of Paul Winfield in films like Damnation Alley, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and The Terminator.

In this section, Nichelle Nichols discusses the significance of her character, Uhura, in Star Trek; Steven Barnes and Mike Sargent consider how attitudes towards race and skin colour might develop in the (far) future.

(10) VAULT OF THE BEAST. Robert Weinberg interviewed A.E. Van Vogt in 1980 – now posted at Sevagram.

Weinberg: How did you first get interested in science fiction, and in particular, how did you come to write a science fiction story?

Van Vogt: I first read science fiction in the old British Chum annual when I was about 12 years old. Chum was a British boy’s weekly which, at the end of the year was bound into a single huge book; and the following Christmas parents bought it as Christmas presents for male children. The science fiction in these stories was simple. Somebody built a spaceship in his tool shop (in his backyard) and when he left earth he took along all the neighborhood twelve-year-olds without the parents seeming to object.

Later, at age 14, I saw the November 1926 Amazing and promptly purchased it, read it avidly until Hugo Gernsbach lost control and it got awful under the next editor, T. O’Connor Sloane. So I had my background when I picked up the July, 1938 issue of Astounding and read “Who Goes There?” It was one of the great SF stories; and it stimulated me to send Campbell, the editor, a one paragraph outline of what later became “Vault of the Beast. “If he hadn’t answered, that would probably have been the end of my SF career. But I learned later he answered all query letters either favorably or with helpful advice. The helpful advice he gave me was to suggest that I write with a lot of atmosphere. To me that meant a lot of imagery, and verbs other than “to be” or “to have.”

(11) ANDERSON OBIT. Author Paul Dale Anderson (1944-2018) has died, the president of the Horror Writers Association Is reporting. Biographical details from hiswebsite —

Paul Dale Anderson has written more than 27 novels and hundreds of short stories, mostly in the horror, fantasy, science fiction, and suspense-thriller genres. Paul has also written contemporary romances, mysteries, and westerns. Paul is an Active Member of SFWA and HWA, and he was elected a Vice President and Trustee of Horror Writers Association in 1987.  Paul is also a member of International Thriller Writers, the Authors Guild, and MWA.

His wife, Gretta, predeceased him in 2012.

(12) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 14, 1984 – John Carpenter’s Starman premiered on this day.
  • December 14, 1984 – For better or worse – Dune debuted in theaters.
  • December 14, 2007 – Will Smith’s I Am Legend opened.

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 14, 1916 Shirley Jackson. First gained public attention for her short story “The Lottery, or, The Adventures of James Harris” but it was her The Haunting of Hill House novel which has been made her legendary as a horror novelist as it’s truly a chilling ghost story.  I see that’s she wrote quite a bit of genre short fiction —has anyone here read it? (Died 1965.)
  • Born December 14, 1920 Rosemary Sutcliff. English novelist whose best known for children’s books particularly her historical fiction which  involved retellings of myths and legends, Arthurian and otherwise. Digging into my memory, I remember reading The Chronicles of Robin Hood which was her first published novel and rather good; The Eagle of the Ninth is set in Roman Britain and was an equally fine read. (Died 1992.)
  • Born December 14, 1949 David A. Cherry, 69. Illustrator working mostly in the genre. Amazingly he has been nominated eleven times for Hugo Awards, and eighteen times for Chesley Awards with an astonishing eight wins! He is a past president of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.
  • Oh and he’s is the brother of the science fiction writer C. J. Cherryh (“Cherry” is the original spelling of the last name of the family) so you won’t be surprised that he’s painted cover art for some of her books as well as books for Robert Asprin, Andre Norton, Diane Duane, Lynn Abbey and Piers Anthony to name but a few of his contracts.
  • Born December 14, 1966Sarah Zettel, 52. Her first novel, Reclamation, was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award in 1996, and in 1997 tied for the Locus Award for the Best First Novel. Writing under the alias of C. L. Anderson, her novel Bitter Angels won the 2010 Philip K. Dick award for best paperback original novel. If you’ve not read her, I’d recommend her YA American Fairy Trilogy as a good place to start. 
  • Born December 14, 1968 Kelley Armstrong, 50. Canadian writer, primarily of fantasy novels since the early party of the century. She has published thirty-one fantasy novels to date, thirteen in her Women of the Otherworld series, another five in her Cainsville series. I’m wracking my brain to think what I’ve read of hers as I know I’ve read something. Ahhhh I’m reasonably sure I listened to the Cainsville series and would recommend it wholeheartedly.

(14) SAVE THE PICKLE! Has your deli warned of a shortage? Chip Hitchcock says, “Famous fan stop Rein’s, near Hartford, had a problem a few years ago.” From NPR : “Scientists Are Fighting For The Stricken Pickle Against This Tricky Disease”.

With failed harvests, fewer growers are taking a chance on cucumbers. According to USDA records, pickling cucumber acreage declined nearly 25 percent between 2004 and 2015. Globally, downy mildew threatens fields as far flung as India, Israel, Mexico and China.

“This is the number one threat to the pickle industry,” says vegetable pathologist Lina Quesada-Ocampo of North Carolina State University. The growers, she says, lose money on failed crops and pricey fungicides. “It is a really bad double whammy.”

Fortunately for pickle lovers, vegetable breeder Michael Mazourek of Cornell University is close to releasing varieties that resist downy mildew. “It’s been one of our proudest David and Goliath stories,” he says. But his success hinges on funding at a time when public support of agricultural research is declining.

(15) HEVELIN PHOTOS SOUGHT. Bruce Hevelin is looking for photos of his father, James “Rusty” Hevelin. If you have any scanned in or in digital form, please send them to him at: <bruce911@sonic.net>

(16) WOODEN FRIED CHICKEN. Forget about making this one of your last-minute gift purchases – The Takeout says “KFC fried chicken-scented firelog sold out in hours ¯\_(?)_/’”:

Update, December 14: Oh, you actually were interested in that chicken-scented log, eh? Sorry for those who didn’t snatch theirs up early, as the logs reportedly sold out within hours yesterday.

Original story, December 13:

“Back in my day,” your grandpa begins wheezily, “If we wanted fried chicken-smellin’ fires, we had to throw the chicken on the flames ourselves.”

He’s right, friends, but that hardship ends today, as KFC introduces a firelog that smells like the Colonel’s 11-herbs-and-spices fried chicken, made in partnership with Enviro-Log.

(17) NOT SOLD OUT.This is still available. No wonder! It will cost a heck of a lot more than a log! The Houdini Seance at LA’s Magic Castle.

The séance is held for a private group of ten to twelve guests in our historic Houdini Séance Chamber. Decorated in the High Victorian style, it is now the home of many priceless pieces of Houdini memorabilia, including the only set of cuffs Houdini was unable to open.

…You will experience remarkable things you might not fully understand. Don’t feel alone. It’s that way for all of us.

Your party begins its experience with a four-course gourmet meal at 6:30 p.m. with bottomless red and white house wine during the dining portion of your evening — all created by your own private chef and served by your own private butler.

A medium will then join you who will open the veil between this world and the next. Your medium will begin with fascinating experiments in the power of the unseen and then, forming a magic circle, will summon the spirits and allow them to demonstrate their awesome ability to manifest in our physical world.

(18) THE SECRET IS NOT TO BANG THE ROCKS TOGETHER. BBC asks “What chance has Nasa of finding life on Mars?”

It could be easier to detect the signs of ancient life on Mars than it is on Earth, say scientists connected with Nasa’s next rover mission.

The six-wheeled robot is due to touch down on the Red Planet in 2021 with the specific aim of trying to identify evidence of past biology.

It will be searching for clues in rocks that are perhaps 3.9 billion years old.

Confirming life on Earth at that age is tough enough, but Mars may have better preservation, say the researchers.

It comes down to the dynamic processes on our home world that constantly churn and recycle rocks – processes that can erase life’s traces but which shut down on the Red Planet early in its history.

“We don’t believe, for example, that Mars had plate tectonics in the way Earth has had for most of its history,” said Ken Williford from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

“Most of Earth’s rock record has been destroyed by subduction under the ocean crust. But even the rock left at the surface is heated and squeezed in ways it might not have been on Mars.”

(19) BEFORE THE STORY WAS TRAPPED IN AMBER. BBC tells about “The Jurassic Park film that was never made”.

The structure is so ancient that it feels almost prehistoric. Some people take a trip to a remote island, they see some dinosaurs, and then the dinosaurs try to have them for lunch. It’s what happened in Jurassic Park in 1993, and by the time the first sequel came out in 1997, the screenplay was already poking fun at how formulaic it was. “‘Ooh, aah’, that’s how it always starts,” says Jeff Goldblum’s Dr Ian Malcolm in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. “Then later there’s running and screaming.” How right he was. But this self-knowledge didn’t stop the makers of Jurassic Park III (2001) and Jurassic World (2015) sticking to the formula, and it wasn’t until the second half of this year’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that the series found somewhere else to go.

How different things might have been. Back in 2004, John Sayles (the writer-director of Passion Fish and Lone Star) wrote a half-crazy half-brilliant screenplay for Jurassic Park 4 that took the story all over the planet, and which pioneered several radical ideas that are only just being incorporated into the franchise now. Steven Spielberg, the series’ producer and its original director was keen at first, and it’s easy to see why: Sayles’ rollicking script is sprinkled with quintessentially Spielberg-y moments. On the other hand, it’s also easy to see why Spielberg cooled off on the project. A movie about a globe-trotting A-Team of genetically modified, crime-busting Deinonychuses might have strayed just a little too far from the Jurassic Park films that audiences knew and loved.

(20) TITANS. The season-ending episode:

Titans 1×11 “Dick Grayson” Season 1 Episode 11 Promo (Season Finale) – Robin faces off against Batman when Dick takes a dark journey back to Gotham in the first season finale of Titans.

(21) YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD BAGGAGE PROBLEMS. “Southwest Airlines flight turns back after human heart discovery” – BBC has the story.

A US passenger plane travelling from Seattle to Dallas was forced to turn back hours into its flight because a human heart had been left on board.

Southwest Airlines says the organ was flown to Seattle from California, where it was to be processed at a hospital to have a valve recovered for future use.

But it was never unloaded and its absence was not noticed until the plane was almost half-way to Dallas.

The heart itself had not been intended for a specific patient.

(22) WHERE TO FIND YOUR DOOM, AND WHAT TO DRINK ON THE WAY. Another thing for Worldcon travelers to check out: “In Ireland, a taste of the underworld”

Oweynagat cave is a placeof both birth and death. An unimposing gash in the ancient misty hills of north-western Ireland, it is said to be the entrance to the underworld where fairies and demons lure mortals to their doom, and the sacred birthplace of a warrior queen. For thousands of years, the Irish have regarded Oweynagat as a site of awe-inspiring magic, weaving a rich tapestry of mythology around it.

…For millennia, Queen Medb has remained the most intoxicating thing to come out of the cave. However, just this year that changed with the creation of a beer made from wild yeast cultivated from the walls of Oweynagat. Called Underworld Savage Ale for the mythic place that it was conceived, this beer is the first of its kind, with a backstory strange enough to fit within the cave’s fantastic mythology

(23) FROM THE HISTORIC RECORDS. Rachel Swirsky discovered a reference to File 770 in a 1981 copy of Fandom Directory.  The zine was only three years old at the time.

(24) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “The Mother of All Demos Hosted by Douglas Englebart” on YouTube is a video (recorded by Stewart Brand) of the December 1968 demonstration where Douglas Englebart introduced the world to videoconferencing, hypertext, and the computer mouse.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Rachel Swirsky, and Andrew Porter for some oft hese stories, Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day John Winkleman.]

34 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/14/18 Good King Pixelslas Looked Out On The File Of Seven

  1. Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
    Walla Walla, Wash., an’ Kalamazoo!
    Nora’s freezin’ on the trolley,
    Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

    Ummmm. Sorry. The scroll title had me singing “Good King Sourkraut looked out, on his feets uneven!”

    😉

    (yes, I know that it’s spelled sauerkraut)

  2. (7) HUGO VOTING STRATEGY TRUE OR FALSE.

    Indeed, I saw someone who ought to know better repeating this very recently. Your vote is not diluted, just your points that determine ranking – and most dilution disappears as your lower-ranked works get knocked out anyway. Just vote as normal and it all works out!

    (OK, there’s an edge case where a work that is due to be eliminated in 7th could dodge that fate if heavily bullet voted up to 5th, but unless you know exactly how the voting is going to go it’s pointless to try and plan for that)

  3. (6) Another one bites the dust… I just wish we could find better ways to stop these people before the only way is to destroy them.

    (7) @Mark: Indeed, we might have seen it at the same spot. But it’s been going around for so long I decided to create some counterexamples to show the fallacy.

    And every voting system has edge cases. But under the old FPTP system, slate voting is a built-in edge case that can easily be generated by a sufficiently organised group.

    Fifth! – Curses! Foiled again!

  4. @13: The only Jackson I know I’ve read (out of the list at ISFDB) is “One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts”; I’d call it mimetic-weird rather than genre, but Merril included it in a best-SF-of-the-year anthology. Note that the short story is simply “The Lottery”; the long title is a collection (looks like over half of her short work, per ISFDB)

    @13 ct’d: Cherry has also done Magic: The Gathering cards and at least one piece of non-genre gaming artwork, the box cover for “India Rails” (the south Asian member of the Empire Builder family of board games). I was surprised to discover that art was his second career; he practiced law for some years.

  5. Chip says The only Jackson I know I’ve read (out of the list at ISFDB) is “One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts”; I’d call it mimetic-weird rather than genre, but Merril included it in a best-SF-of-the-year anthology. Note that the short story is simply “The Lottery”; the long title is a collection (looks like over half of her short work, per ISFDB)

    I debated that title for some time as the ISFDB entry is more than a bit vague on it. It was just plausible that the longer title could be correct that I went with it knowing I’d get corrected if it wasn’t right.

    Re Cherry. Yeah I knew he’s done stuff outside of the genre but I try to restrict myself to genre material mostly or these Birthdays could get hideously Cthulhuian in size quickly…

  6. In Jr. High School English class, we read The Lottery. And then held one. And I drew the black dot and was “stoned” with wadded up paper balls….

  7. Karl-Johan Norén on December 15, 2018 at 5:18 am said:

    (6) Another one bites the dust… I just wish we could find better ways to stop these people before the only way is to destroy them.

    The better way to “stop” them is for them to take responsibility to not harass, abuse, and be a creep in the first place. The responsibility is on them to not be horrible people.

  8. With respect to Jackson’s “One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts”: I also first came across it in one of the Merril anthologies, and although some of her selections are surely debatable, I think this one is legitimately genre in much the same way that Bester’s “The Pi Man” is. (In my view the original 1959 F&SF version of that story, if you can find it, is superior to Bester’s 1970s rewrite.)

  9. (6) @Ultragotha: And how do we help them learn that? And how do we teach all the bystanders and enablers to see such behaviour and react properly to it?

    I’m sure the current effort of whack-a-mole helps to some degree, but I sure wish we could find a more sustainable and less chaotic longterm solution.

  10. (7) One way of thinking about this is that you are definitely NOT helping a work get nominated if you don’t nominate it. The circumstance where your vote might feel like it is getting diluted is when you actually do have a bunch of works that you want to see get nominated (i.e. not just one) and you know lots of people feel the same way about the same books. In other words, if you have or suspect you have an organic choice that sort of behaves like a slate.

    The non-puppy example would be a bunch of Doctor Who episodes – you’re a Who fan and you know what the general consensus was on the best episodes is among other fans etc. If you nominate a bunch of Who episodes, your vote will be very similar to lots of other people. The quid pro quo of EPH means the most popular of the common choices gets a bit of a boost and the less popular pick does less well than under the old system. If all the Doctor Who fans colluded and bullet voted then the most popular episode still gets nominated and the less popular pick doesn’t get nominated (because nobody nominated it). It’s swings versus roundabouts – sure, depending on the dynamics of everybody else’s votes its possible that a bullet vote might do better than a (let’s call it) shotgun approach but also vice-versa and the difference would be small and unpredictable.

    For an individual just picking stuff they like from a varied field, bullet voting carries no advantage at all. Having said that, there’s no point nominating stuff you don’t particularly want to see on the ballot. If there’s only one work you want to see on the ballot then only vote for that one unless you don’t want to 🙂

  11. (7) If someone really just had one work he/she wanted to win, then it would make sense to nominate that one work and not pad out the list with other works that were just ok.

    If you really want to game EPH, the strategy is to not nominate anything that’s so popular you’re sure it’ll end up a finalist without your help.

    For example, suppose there are two works you want nominated, but work A is more popular than work B. If you nominate both, then each gets 1/2 point. Suppose that B just barely gets eliminated, so that in the final round, you’ve giving 1 full vote to A, which ends up on the final list.

    Now imagine that you only voted for B. This time B gets 1 full vote from you and has a slightly better chance of not being eliminated, at the cost of a slightly greater chance that A gets eliminated. If enough people (but not too many) follow your example, and A and B can both end up as finalists.

    Of course you have to be really, really sure that A won’t get eliminated, but it’s not an impossible scenario. However, anything that’s that big a favorite to get nominated will be an equally big favorite to win the final vote, so it’s hard to say what the point would be.

  12. Sadly, an author has an incentive to falsely tell fans that they ought to bullet vote. That’s because the author really does have just one work he/she wants to see win. The fan gets a better result if he/she nominates all the works that he/she really liked, but the author does better if the fan only nominates that author’s work.

    This is an unfortunate side-effect that I don’t think anyone anticipated.

  13. Greg Hullender on December 15, 2018 at 1:30 pm said:

    Sadly, an author has an incentive to falsely tell fans that they ought to bullet vote. That’s because the author really does have just one work he/she wants to see win. The fan gets a better result if he/she nominates all the works that he/she really liked, but the author does better if the fan only nominates that author’s work.

    Good point – mind you that was also true of the old system. The downside is the same as well. The author should want their superfans to only nominate them (that way other works get fewer nominations) but the author also wants moderate fans (i.e. people who like their book but like some other book more) to also vote for them and hence would want the moderate fans NOT to bullet vote.

    I guess the difference with EPH is that makes it plausible that bullet voting might give an advantage.

  14. (7) @Greg Hullender: While mathematically possible under EPH, the scenario you describe would be extremely unlikely. It requires the following set of prerequisites:

    a) Work B has enough “organic” voting power to reach place 7–8 on the finalist list, otherwise it will be eliminated before your bullet voting has a chance to make an impact.

    b) EPH works by selecting two candidates for elimination based on points, and then eliminating based on raw votes. That means that B needs to have enough points to reach not only the last place on the finalist list, but realistically place 5 on points alone, in effect pushing it past two other works (the last entry on the ballot and the runnerup). Half a point is unlikely to have such an impact.

    I’m sure such a scenario will turn up sometime, but I believe the ability to generate it would require both precognition and ability to organise far superior to any known sf fan.

  15. (9) Those video clips are great–does anyone know how to get one’s hands on the full film? I’d love to see it screened at a convention.

  16. gottacook says With respect to Jackson’s “One Ordinary Day, with Peanuts”: I also first came across it in one of the Merril anthologies, and although some of her selections are surely debatable, I think this one is legitimately genre in much the same way that Bester’s “The Pi Man” is. (In my view the original 1959 F&SF version of that story, if you can find it, is superior to Bester’s 1970s rewrite.)

    You can get the original version in the iBooks store Short Stories Collection (Yes that’s the title) for a mere three dollars). There’s a total of eighteen stories there.

  17. @Karl-Johan Norén
    So imagine that ten of us decide to use this strategy. We’re still only nominating works we thought worthy (work B) but we’re deliberately not nominating one work that we think worthy but also think will make the list without us (work A). We’ve effectively transferred 5 points from work A to work B.

    As you say, to make a difference it has to be enough to lift work B into position #5, not #6, since we haven’t changed the total number of votes (only the score), but that would have been plenty (probably) in 2018 for Best Novelette, Best Graphic Story, Best Editor (Long Form), Best Professional Artist, Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine, Best Fan Writer, Best Young Adult Book, and the Campbell Award. (We can’t be sure because we don’t know exactly how much the scores would have changed after the elimination of #7, but they’d certainly be very close.)

    The catch is, you have to be sure that work A will make the finalist list. And if work A is that popular, it’s almost sure to win the Hugo itself, so why bother?

  18. Greg, is there an actual point to your rambling about how to wreck the Hugo nominations, other than demonstrating that you have no idea how they work?

  19. (11) (From the Rockford paper) Paul Dale Anderson, 74, of Rockford, passed away on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Born on September 11, 1944, in Rockford, the son of Paul S. and Winifred L. (Crosby) Anderson. He earned a BA in English from Loyola University, an MS Ed in Educational Psychology from Northern Illinois University and an MA in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin.
    Paul married Gretta Louise McCombs on June 22, 1985 in Berwyn, IL. They moved to Rockford in 1988. Gretta worked at Camcar-Textron and Paul served as an adult reference librarian until he retired in 2011. After Gretta died in 2012 of a sudden heart attack, Paul returned to fiction writing.
    Paul wrote dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories, was an active member of SFWA, HWA, and MWA, and was elected Vice President and Trustee of Horror Writers Association in 1987. He was a current member of International Thriller Writers, Author’s Guild, and Sisters in Crime. Paul was also an NGH Certified Hypnotist, an NGH Certified Hypnotism Instructor, a certified Past-Life Regression Therapist, and a certified professional member of the International Association for Regression Research and Therapies.

  20. @Darrah Chavey
    Paul was . . . a certified Past-Life Regression Therapist

    Not the sort of thing that adds to one’s reputation, I should think.

  21. @bill
    Paul was . . . a certified Past-Life Regression Therapist

    Not the sort of thing that adds to one’s reputation, I should think.

    I was figuring it as sort of genre, actually.

  22. As a Past-Life Regret Therapist, I wish I’d never been that nun 400 years ago. “You’re going to regret it”, they said. And here I am, 400 years later, still doing it.

  23. @P J Evans: I’d argue that a core part of any definition of ~our ~genre is that it is acknowledged to be fiction (however realistic/plausible the authors try to make it); claiming that a non-mimetic work is fact moves one from ~art into Charles Fort territory (to be polite).

  24. @gottacook: can you expand on your thought that …Peanuts is genre? I see two people playing extreme roles (“playing” because ng gur raq bs gur qnl gurl nterr gb fjnc ebyrf sbe gur arkg qnl); the Pi man, on the other hand, has an extra sense that gives him something like large-scale extreme OCD.

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