Pixel Scroll 12/20/17 God Stalk Ye Merry Pixel Scrolls

(1) IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR. Somebody reading this needs a ThinkGeek Steampunk Styled Tesla Analog Watch.

Tesla came up with all sorts of inventions and has sort of become the poster scientist for awesomeness now. Sure he wasn’t perfect. Sure he was a bit crazy. But he was always on time for his appointments. (Ed. note: We made that up.) And now you can be, too, with the new Tesla Watch.

The Tesla Watch goes with your steampunk aesthetic. With a weathered-brass look on all the metal parts, this analog watch features a leather strap. The highlights of this design, however, are the two faux vacuum tubes with red LEDs inside that you can turn on and off with the flick of a switch. Everybody will want to ask you what time it is so they can see your watch. Just remember to follow the answer with, “… 1875.”

(2) ACADEMY MUSEUM. The opening of The Academy Museum in 2019 is more than a year away, however, they have a website to satisfy your curiosity about what’s coming:

The Academy Museum will be the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies. Located on Wilshire and Fairfax in Los Angeles, the Museum, will be simultaneously immersive, experimental, educational, and entertaining. More than a museum, this dynamic film center will offer unparalleled experiences and insights into movies and moviemaking.

The Museum will have huge resources to draw its exhibits from:

The Academy’s unparalleled permanent collection contains more than 10 million photographs, 190,000 film and video assets, 80,000 screenplays, 50,000 posters, 20,000 production and costume design drawings, and 1,400 special collections.

Their Rick Baker page illustrates the range of their offerings, in photos, videos, and documents.

A record-holding winner of seven Academy Awards for Makeup out of eleven nominations, Rick Baker is a lifelong “monster kid” who won the first competitive Oscar awarded in that category for his innovative work on An American Werewolf in London (1981), one of several collaborations with director John Landis. His apprenticeship under one of the industry’s greatest makeup artists, Dick Smith (including working as his assistant on The Exorcist), prepared him for a career providing cutting-edge makeup effects in many genres ranging from comedy to science fiction to horror, with titles including Ed Wood (1994), The Nutty Professor (1996) and Men in Black (1998).

(3) ONE MAGAZINE, ONE YEAR. Standback has Storified his “Favorite Stories From F&SF Magazine, 2017”:

F&SF is a magazine that always fills me with joy, wonder, and feels. A quick rundown of my favorite stories of 2017.

(4) THE REASON FOR THE FIFTH SEASON. N.K. Jemisin’s Twitter stream is filled with holiday song mashups today.

(5) SURPRISES. John Scalzi did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” today. You never know what you’re going to learn.

Q: Do you often set out to write a book to be a series? Or do some of them just insist that you write more in that universe?

SCALZI: Only once: The Collapsing Empire, which we knew was the first installment of a series. Everything else was written standalone, and became series in when they sold well and the publisher asked for more.

(6) NEW SPECULATIVE FICTION AWARDS. Darthmouth College’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College has created two new literary awards, the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Speculative Fiction and the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction, For A First Book. Each award comes with an honorarium of $5,000. The deadline for entry is December 31, 2017. Complete information about eligibility and submission guidelines is at the linked sites.

(7) TOYS, FIGURATIVE AND LITERAL. While Rian Johnson reasonably says — “You Have To Take The Toys Out Of The Box.” Rian Johnson Talks Creative Risks In “The Last Jedi” (at Fast Company), not as many people are doing that literally this year — “Star Wars ‘Last Jedi’ Toy Shipments Down Sharply From ‘Force Awakens'” (from The Hollywood Reporter.)

(8) WFC PROGRAMMING SURVEY. World Fantasy Con 2018 co-chair Bill Lawhorn announces they have put up a programming survey on their website — http://www.wfc2018.org/programsuggest.php

Lawhorn says, “You do not need to be a member to suggest ideas. There are no guarantees that any individual suggestion will be used.”

One of the things they’re looking for are items that carry out the WFC 2018 themes “Ports in a Storm” and “Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein.”

(9) U.F.O. 6. Laura Resnick has a story in Unidentified Funny Objects 6 called “Lost & Found”. That story has a backstory.

I used to work part-time at a community newspaper. It should have been a great job. The hours, the location, the work, the community, and the rest of the staff were all pleasant, and the pay was okay.

Unfortunately, though, the boss (who was the editor, publisher, and owner of the paper) was an incredibly toxic person, which made working there miserable and stressful, despite all the positive attributes the place otherwise had….

Well, at one point, the boss wanted to print some “joke” stories in the newspaper. He presented staffers with a few real news stories that he wanted us to riff on. I selected one about NASA, wrote my story as directed, and turned it in. After reading it, the boss informed me that this story was not at all what he had wanted. In fact, it was what he had asked for, but now he was asking for something else. So I wrote another draft. He sent this one back to me with some notes. I revised the material in accordance with the notes and turned it in. Now he gave me all-new feedback, stuff he had not said on any previous iteration, and had me revise it again. I did so. And then he did the same thing again.

Next, he told me to start all over from scratch. He couldn’t articulate why, he just knew he wanted something else. I pointed out that I had already done 5 versions. He said I would probably have to do 10 or 12 versions before we were done….

The sad part, so to speak, was that the pieces he kept spiking were funny, and none of them ever saw the light of day.

So when Alex Shvartsman asked me to participate in UFO6, I decided to turn my ideas  for that article into a short story. The result is “Lost & Found,” in which some surprising visitors emerge from a UFO orbiting Earth.

And apparently someone thinks I can write humor, since Imagine A Book SF gave my story 5 stars and said, “So many different layers of humor. Wonderful.”

Yep, getting published is still the best revenge.

(10) HELP WANTED. Roger Silverstein is trying to identify a story —

Tim Pratt posted this on Facebook a little while back, he is hunting for a half-remembered fantasy story.  I actually remember reading this story, but I cannot remember the dang title.  This is bugging me almost as much as it bugs him.  Would you be willing to post this?  (I emailed Tim Pratt for permission to copy and paste and he said “Sure, feel free” He has posted this in various places, but never File 770.

I’ve been trying to track down a half-remembered story for the past 25 years or so. Maybe one of you will recognize it. Google always fails me, either because it’s an obscure story with no digital footprint, or because I’m misremembering salient details. I was reading some rooming house stories by Theodore Sturgeon today, and it reminded me.

The story is set in a boarding house, full of peculiar characters, many of whom have supernatural powers. There’s one man who travels the world and fixes tears in reality; I think he’s described as having “lightning in his hands.” There’s an old woman who sees angels, or maybe just one angel, I think named Toby. There’s a man with magical mechanical aptitude; I think he fixes up an old car, and takes a left turn, and the car disappears, taking him with it. There’s someone who can make things you desire appear, maybe — they make the angel the old woman sees visible to everyone, at one point; that’s one of the hazier details. I don’t remember the plot at all. I probably read it in an anthology or SF magazine that was available at the Wayne Country library in Goldsboro North Carolina in the early ’90s, but it could be from any year before that.

Ring any bells? It’s entirely possible I’m misremembering or even conflating. It was a long time ago, but the story made a big impression on my fledgling writer brain, and I’d love to find it again.

(11) SPEAR CARRIER. “Remember That Guy Who Speared a Drone At a Ren Faire?” (Reference is to this video.) They made a runestone of his feat.

(12) TRIVIAL TRIVIA

Rudyard, Montana is the only populated place in the US where if you drill through the earth you wind up on land — the Kerguelan Island in the South Indian Ocean.

(13) TODAY IN HISTORY

The remarkable Ed Wynn makes his second and final appearance in The Twilight Zone as Sam Forstmann, a septuagenarian obsessed with maintaining the family grandfather clock. Sam is convinced that if the clock stops, he will die… a belief that baffles his family and the psychiatrist he visits (William Sargent).

  • December 20, 1974 — Walt Disney’s The Island At The Top Of The World debuted.
  • December 20, 1978The Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake opened.
  • December 20, 1985  — Enemy Mine was released

(14) COMICS SECTION.

  • If this link works, it will take you to Matthew Gallman’s incredible 360-degree cartoon spoofing The Last Jedi.
  • Mike Kennedy says, “You haven’t seen that? Quelle horror!” – two Game of Thrones jokes, one in Pearls Before Swine, the other in Foxtrot.
  • John King Tarpinian knew we wouldn’t want to miss this moderately horrible superhero-inspired pun — Brevity.

(15) MYTHBOOSTER. In the unlikely event somebody thinks Game of Thrones is science fiction rather than fantasy, Live Science’s Charles Q. Choi, in “Is the Ice Wall from ‘Game of Thrones’ Physically Possible?”, summarizes a paper by University of Alaska (Fairbanks) glaciologist Martin Truffer about whether “The Wall” in Game of Thrones could exist.  He notes that ice flows over time and the only way to preserve a giant ice wall is to keep it at -40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the wall from cracking or deforming.

(16) FOR THE BIRDS. BBC covered the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards:

An owl dangling precariously from a branch has scooped the overall prize of this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

Out of the 3,500 entries, Tibor Kercz won the overall prize with his series of images showing an owl losing its footing and trying to claw its way back on to a branch.

Other entrants included a yawning dormouse, a photobombing sea turtle and a rather shocked seal.

(17) GORMENGHAST. John C. Wright griped about Gormenghast being published as fantasy, and prompted in response this terrific essay on the subject by Tom Simon, “Gormenghast and the Great Tradition”. (Hat tip to Niall McAuley.) At the end of his tour-de-force, Simon says –

In Britain, where genre labels count for less, the books found a permanent following years before anybody troubled to ask whether they were fantasies or not. In America, they were flung on the ash-heap by the strict rules of Modernism as practised by New York publishers, only to be rescued by Lin Carter. They are the very opposite of fairy tales; but they belong to Faërie nonetheless, for no less spacious realm will claim them. What the critics call ‘Realism’ is a small and besieged principality, entirely surrounded by the empire of Fantasy. On one side, the map says ‘Here Be Dragons’; the other side could plausibly be labelled ‘Gormenghast’. But both are provinces of the same boundless country.

That, my dear Mr. Wright, is why Titus Groan and Gormenghast count as fantasy.

(18) SMITHSONIAN CATS. SJW credentials for everything: “No Kitten Around: Museum Exhibit Celebrates ‘Divine Felines'”.

Independent, graceful, agile, adorable when they’re small — if cats are where it’s at for you, the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery of Asian Art has you covered. Their new exhibition is called Divine Felines, and it features images of cats both big and small from the land that honored them as holy: Egypt.

Ever feel fearful? Or brave? Protective? Aggressive? They had a cat for that in ancient Egypt….

(19) THE INSIDE GAME. The BBC asks — “Video games: How big is industry’s racial diversity problem?”.

When Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was released this year, it gained a lot of attention – not because it is the latest instalment for a popular franchise, it stood out for another reason.

The game was set in India, had two lead women, and one of them, Nadine Ross, is a black South African.

Other big releases this year include Assassins Creed Origins, which is set in Egypt with an African protagonist, while Star Wars Battlefront II used the likeness and voice of Janina Gavankar, an actress with part-Indian heritage.

But speaking to BBC Asian Network, Jo Twist, chief executive for Ukie, the trading body for the UK’s games industry, said there was still a long way to go before video games could be truly representative of the gaming audience.

(20) ABOUT FINN. Steven Barnes weighs in on “’The Last Jedi’ (2017)” – beware spoilers. (I thought this one mild enough to excerpt.)

I’m also still not happy with the amount of “Jar Jar” DNA in Finn. It is noticeable on a couple of levels, although they did allow his character to expand and grow some. When the very first thing we see with him is him falling out of bed, the first “buffoon laugh” of the film, you have a hill to climb, and they didn’t quite climb it. Finn’s treatment was an “othering” I didn’t appreciate. And if you defend it, you are, frankly, the reason I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized Marvel was seeking a black director for T’Challa’s saga.

(21) SFWA’S NEXT MEMBER? Jon Del Arroz publicly applied for SFWA membership today.

To SFWA’s leadership: You can check with all these people listed to verify payment, they are all members of your club. If you try some funky stuff to disqualify me, 10,000+ people who read this blog see it, that’s 5x the amount of members you have. I know you’ll play fair.

I guess we’re all interested to see what happens with that. My sympathy to whoever has to make the decision. I’d say it matters less whether his act is better or worse than other SFWA members’ than if there’s even more damage he could do once he’s inside the tent.

Maybe this is the answer.

(22) DRINK UP. The Daily Beast’s Max Watman hasn’t been killed by doing it, and he sets out to convince others “Why You Should Be Drinking Month-Old Eggnog”.

My friends Ford and Lisa invited me to their “Nog Salon” this year, and I was thrilled to attend. For you see, Ford and Lisa are practitioners of the mysterious art of aging Eggnog. Yes, aging Eggnog is actually a thing. No, I don’t have a death wish. I was actually very excited to taste their mature Nog side by side with a fresh batch we were going to whip up together.

…But I’ve learned that aging Eggnog—contrary to anyone’s first gut instinct—actually can make it safer. To be clear, I’m not talking about the non-alcoholic cartons you buy in the supermarket but the boozy old-fashioned treat that’s made from scratch. In fact, it’s very important that your recipe contains a sufficient amount of liquor, generally recommended at around 20 percent, since the alcohol is key to killing bacteria.

(23) NOT THE GREATEST MOVIE. The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney tries to convince people to stay home: “‘The Greatest Showman’: Film Review”.

The sawdust and sequins are laid on thick, the period flashbulbs pop and the champagne flows in The Greatest Showman, yet this ersatz portrait of American big-top tent impresario P.T. Barnum is all smoke and mirrors, no substance. It hammers pedestrian themes of family, friendship and inclusivity while neglecting the fundaments of character and story. First-time director Michael Gracey exposes his roots in commercials and music videos by shaping a movie musical whose references go no further back than Baz Luhrmann. And despite a cast of proven vocalists led with his customary gusto by Hugh Jackman, the interchangeably generic pop songs are so numbingly overproduced they all sound like they’re being performed off-camera.

(24) STARGATE TEASER. The Verge reports —

After releasing a pair of behind-the-scenes clips from Stargate: Origins, MGM has unveiled its first teaser for the upcoming digital-only show. While the franchise is known for its interstellar adventures, this prequel looks as though it’s remaining firmly grounded, and taking a bit of inspiration from the likes of Indiana Jones.

 

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, IanP, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Niall McAuley, Roger Silverstein, Daniel Dern, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mr Dalliard.]

101 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/20/17 God Stalk Ye Merry Pixel Scrolls

  1. That might be good for GRRM, but it doesn’t tell me what she has done. Why should I vote for someone that I have no idea what she has done?

    So you have given a reason for GRRM to vote. Not for anyone else. “Solid friend” isn’t really a reason.

  2. Standback on December 21, 2017 at 10:19 am said:

    I’d been trying to figure out what new hell one can raise from inside the SFWA. But of course, John’s already got big plans.

    But John has fancy plans! And pants to match.

  3. (13) I had forgotten the Twilight Zone episode, but not the song on which it was based. It’s now stuck in my head.
    Ninety years without slumbering.
    Tik tok tik tok.
    His life-seconds numbering
    Tik tok tik tok.
    It stopped — short,
    Never to go again,
    When the old man died.

  4. The very first Hugo Awards included encouragement to lobby for your favourite works: “There is still time to organize a solid bloc of votes …”

    That was then. The rules have changed. So have the view of most of the fans who vote. Slating and block-voting are not acceptable NOW.

  5. In other news Pixi L. Coyote got an ACME package of a Tornado Kit, Rubber Band (For Tripping Scroll-Runners), and a Water Pistol via 2-Day Prime Shipping and is certain that this time their convoluted plan to capture the Scrollrunner will not blow up in their face.

  6. @Ivan

    That’s fine. What exactly did she edit in the year she was nominated? Titles and authors, please.

    I was never able to figure that out, and Weisskopf didn’t include anything in the Hugo packet to help me, not even a list. That’s a big part of why I didn’t vote for her.

  7. (17) Another reminder that I need to someday get around to reading the Gormenghast novel(s). Someday…

    (11) Ha! Nice. I’d forgotten about that video.

    (21) I hate to compare anyone to the despicable James O’ Keefe, but it does seem that JDA is attempting to become the O’Keefe of SFF. What horrible depths to aspire.

  8. @Standback

    It occurs to me that I’d really like to see end-of-year reviews of individual magazines. In contrast to individual stories, or issues — and, in contrast to end-of-the-year lists of recommended stories from all over . . . . I’m also suddenly wondering why I haven’t seen anybody do it…

    We’ve talked about doing it at Rocket Stack Rank, so I can tell you why we haven’t done it. Our main focus is to be useful and we’ve always struggled to see the value to our readers of us reviewing individual issues, years, or magazines as a whole.

    The best I’ve come up with is that reviews for individual issues of print magazines might encourage people to buy them. But the print magazines contain a good bit of non-fiction as well. That ought to factor into a proper review, but I’m not willing to read and evaluate that material. Several of the non-print magazines publish reprints as well as original fiction, so if we wanted to do per-issue reviews of those magazines, we’d have to evaluate the reprints as well, which would add to our reading burden .

    As for reviewing a whole year for each magazine separately, that would be a lot more interesting if there were awards for magazines and not just editors. It would potentially be useful for the semiprozine award, but so many online magazines have been reclassified as professional that there are only 3 semiprozines left on our list of 12 magazines that we follow.

    Doing a “review” for a magazine as a whole could make sense if it were targeted at writers trying to submit stories. It could talk about what sort of stories each magazine seems to like the best, for example. However, our target audience is readers and fans–not writers or editors.

    Every now and then we talk about it–usually every time we review an anthology and wonder “why don’t we have reviews like that for issues?” But we always end up with the same answer.

    New thoughts would be warmly welcomed, though.

  9. @Matt Y – Bravo!

    @Ivan Bromke – George R. R. Martin said…

    Yeah, I read that at the time. And then I looked at the statement that Baen team edited and even before I looked at the Baen books I’d read that year I’d already decided there was no way to rank Weisskopf or Minz, so I left them off my ballot. If I had to go on quality of editing, I might have no awarded both of them, because the Baen books I read that Bujold doesn’t write are a train wreck of discontinuities.

  10. Well, this is fun.

    If anyone doubted, JDA is still reading File770.

    Over on Twitter, not here, he admonishes me not to “libel other writers.” Since I haven’t mentioned him on Twitter, or anywhere else except my comments here, we know for sure he’s lurking here, and just can’t imagine how his past behavior or recent comments could possibly be viewed in a negative light.

    One would think it would be easier for him to just respond here. Or have I forgotten OGH getting fed up with him? That seems possible.

  11. Michael J. Walsh on December 21, 2017 at 10:53 am said:

    Can an organization that might host a party at a con have different rules?

    Any organization hosting a party in Worldcon space is subject to Worldcon rules. Here is what there is so far of Worldcon 76’s Code of Conduct. It addresses alcohol at parties, for example.

    The SFWA Suite is both a Worldcon space, and subject to their rules AND a SFWA space and subject to their rules. So SFWA could have more strict rules, but not less strict rules than Worldcon.

    Unless SFWA gets a space that is unconnected in any way to the convention in which case only their rules would apply. But most Worldcon staff lists I’ve seen include a “SFWA Liaison” person and they make plans to find SFWA a suite space.

  12. @Lis Carey – IIRC, JDA’S gleeful trolling and seeming inability to tell a truth got him banned here a while ago.

  13. Standback: I’m kind of assuming most SFWA members don’t get to use the SFWA Twitter account, and the odds of giving JDA access in 2017 should be way, way worse than the previous case.

    VD never had access to SFWA’s Twitter account. He tagged SFWA in a tweet to broadcast a horrendously racist comment about one of its members to everyone following that account.
     

    Chip Hitchcock: ISTM that JDA has already established himself as an all-around jackass, where VD had to build up to it. (It was a long buildup; he showed up in Making Light in ~2008.) I don’t envy SFWA the decision on whether to let him in, given the likelihood that they’ll have cause to toss him.

    Given all the severe harassment he has already engaged in against various members of SFWA, it seems to me that they are already justified in denying him membership. To do otherwise would be to tell all those existing SFWA members that their well-being is unimportant to the organization, and that their Code of Professional Conduct is meaningless.

  14. Ivan Bromke: George R. R. Martin said “Toni is a solid professional with a lot of friends in fandom and prodom as well, and she’s done a commendable job with Baen Books since succeeding the late Jim Baen.”

    The Hugos for editing are for EDITING — not for “having a lot of friends in fandom and prodom”, and not for Publishing. If that’s how GRRM decides his nominations and votes, that’s fine for him — but given his legions of fans who will slavishly do anything he says, I thought it was extremely poor form for him to advocate publicly (and he did it again last year, too) that nominators and voters should ignore the Hugo rules and vote based on career achievements rather than for the specific year.

    And the “having a lot of friends in fandom and prodom” — what the hell does that have to do with a Hugo that’s supposed to be for excellence in editing???

    Gah.

  15. Lis Carey: we know for sure he’s lurking here

    He lurks here so that he can go over to Twitter and lie about what is said, because he knows that the people following him there are too gullible to verify what was actually said.

    Interestingly, he’s still blathering on about “people who don’t even know me”, as if he’s too stupid too understand that a lot of people who’ve never met him now know quite well what sort of person he is, from his long history of online behavior.

  16. @JJ – Reading the comments on his blog, it seems that people who do know him are disturbed by his apparently very recent flip to the alt right.

  17. California is a two-party consent state. So while he can wander around the SFWA suite or indeed anywhere in California and tape things without having a conversation…the moment he does have a conversation, even in a party situation, he’d be required to get the other party’s consent. See Cal. Penal Code § 632

    So, there’s that.

  18. Here’s a link to See Cal. Penal Code § 632. I’m wondering about one of its requirements, that the eavesdropping be on a “confidential communication.” Is conversation in the SFWA Suite confidential?

    (c)?For the purposes of this section, “confidential communication” means any communication carried on in circumstances as may reasonably indicate that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the parties thereto, but excludes a communication made in a public gathering or in any legislative, judicial, executive, or administrative proceeding open to the public, or in any other circumstance in which the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded.

  19. With the caveat that I am not your lawyer —

    Just because a conversation is taking place at a party doesn’t mean it’s not confidential. The public statue means if you’re shooting your mouth off in public, you can be taped, obviously. But if you’re having a private convo in the SFWA suite, discussing your divorce or bookdeal with another person, the expectation of privacy would remain, as would their need to get your permission before taping your voice. (Images are not protected.)

    So, if two people have a chat about something at a party and take steps to be out of earshot with the intent of that conversation being private, then yes, that law applies.

    It’s all situational. I have a feeling that, should Arroz manage to get into the SFWA suite, everyone else there will manage to protect themselves accordingly. And, if he tries to discuss things one-on-one with anyone, then they have a lawful expectation of not being taped without consent.

    Alternatively, SFWA could put a sign up outside the suite saying, “Recording prohibited.” Or, “By entering into this room, you are relinquishing your right to any photos or video recordings to the SFWA org,” etc (only with more legalese.)

    Nothing’s perfect though when fools are gonna fool — so the best way to win is not to let him play.

  20. steve davidson: Considering the unprecedented use of No Award when shilling for votes was evident and public and an expression of a desire to DESTROY the awards and their validity, I would suggest that your approach was obviously outside the mainstream of Hugo voting Fandom.

    No, sir, you do not get to do that. You do not get to claim that the vast majority of fandom agrees with you that all slated works must be unequivocally No Awarded, simply because they used No Award on a bunch of works which, based on reviews by many voters who read them, were not worthy of award nomination.

    You can certainly talk about what you think and believe and do, but you have made a practice of posting sweeping claims here on File 770 about what fandom thinks and believes and does. Please stop. You do not get to speak for others in that regard.

  21. My novella what I wrote is online! At The Fantasist magazine! It’s called Lures. Pummel me with your critiques! (At my linked blog, as I doubt this is the right venue for such pummeling.)

    About Gormenghast – while there is no outright magic, there is so much of the bizarre in it (essentially a country entire enclosed in the castle, a caste of hereditarily deaf cleaners known as the Grey Scrubbers, just to name two off the top of my head) and IIRC no indication that it even takes place in our world at all, that I don’t know what else to call it.

  22. JJ on December 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm said:
    No, sir, you do not get to do that. You do not get to claim that the vast majority of fandom agrees with you that all slated works must be unequivocally No Awarded, simply because they used No Award on a bunch of works which, based on reviews by many voters who read them, were not worthy of award nomination.

    You can certainly talk about what you think and believe and do, but you have made a practice of posting sweeping claims here on File 770 about what fandom thinks and believes and does. Please stop. You do not get to speak for others in that regard.

    Agreed 100% with JJ.

    My novella what I wrote is online! At The Fantasist magazine! It’s called Lures. Pummel me with your critiques! (At my linked blog, as I doubt this is the right venue for such pummeling.)

    I look forward to reading it later tonight. 😀

  23. @Cheryl S (wrt @Ivan / @Nicoll):

    the Baen books I read that Bujold doesn’t write are a train wreck of discontinuities.

    Not to mention typos and grammatical errors that raise the question of whether they’ve been edited at all, or merely typeset as PublishAmerica blatantly did with Atlanta Nights. Note that the latest P. C. Hodgell (another Baen book) seemed OK to me — but I suspect Hodgell turned in a clean manuscript. There may be other Baen authors who come out clean because they’ve gone in clean, but I haven’t seen anything else from Baen that looked worth reading (not that I’ve been hunting…).

    The conversation about taping in the SFWA suite seems to have drifted from video to audio, which AFAIK is not the primary purpose of a “bodycam”. contra @ULTRAGOTHA, it’s unclear to me that the convention rules can be applied in a space that a separate organization rents from a third party (the hotel), even if facilitated by the convention; this strikes me as the sort of issue that lawyers can get rich on, although I suspect there’s already some precedent (e.g., enough that the lawyers would just become well-off on another case…). If the concom’s rules extend to hotel rooms, bringing a bodycam could infringe restrictions on taking pictures without permission; that might rule out having several other bodycams active, such that there would be evidence of both sides of an interaction with JDA.
    @ULTRAGOTHA: IME, rules on alcohol are commonly imposed by the hotel, or by statute (as cited in the rules you link to); concoms can advertise these so people don’t do something that would cause trouble for the convention, where trouble includes “legal action that turns out to be groundless”.

  24. I seem to recall reading somewhere that it was Baen’s proud claim that they didn’t edit their books at all, because they’d found it had no effect on sales.

  25. I seem to recall reading somewhere that it was Baen’s proud claim that they didn’t edit their books at all, because they’d found it had no effect on sales.

    My reaction to that was to write Baen off as a publisher completely, unless they’re the only way to get a book I want. [Hey, I already hated their approach to the book’s covers, and learning they don’t give a shit about the quality of what’s between the covers doesn’t leave much left.]

    If they want to state that they care only about sales and not at all about quality (except to the extent that it affects sales), that’s their business, but I’m not interested in any publisher that thinks that way.

    And I’d add that no editors working under such a policy deserve editing awards.

  26. Dann:

    “Speaking of deserving consideration….Nicholas Eames “Kings of the Wyld” is a fun and imaginative romp. I plan on putting him on my Campbell Award nomination list as a result.”

    I’ve been thinking of buying this. You persuaded me.

  27. I will be recording with a bodycam for anyone who is thinking of hijinx 🙂

    Mmm… that becomes an interesting legal question. Is the SFWA suite a ‘private’ event?

    If it is, the legal case will be amusing.

  28. Ed Green: Is the SFWA suite a ‘private’ event?

    It is a private venue, funded by a private organization. And SFWA is entitled to decide who may, or may not, be permitted entry.

  29. JJ wrote:
    The Hugos for editing are for EDITING — not for “having a lot of friends in fandom and prodom”, and not for Publishing. If that’s how GRRM decides his nominations and votes, that’s fine for him — but given his legions of fans who will slavishly do anything he says, I thought it was extremely poor form for him to advocate publicly (and he did it again last year, too) that nominators and voters should ignore the Hugo rules and vote based on career achievements rather than for the specific year.

    Quotation needed. Actually GRRMs fan do not seem to do everything that he says he would do. A Counterexample is Station 11, strongly addvocated by GRRM, was not even on the longlist. (Another one is Weiskopf) And if I remember correctly GRRM has mentioned before that his recomendations had not much influence for the hugos.

    No the question were I aggree with GRRM is if Weiskopf and Minz are better editors than Day, yes even if they do nothing. On the other hand not even giving a list of the books she worked on, is a huge disrespect for the worldconvoters so I understand the getting under a no-award 2 times.

  30. @Greg:

    Our main focus is to be useful and we’ve always struggled to see the value to our readers of us reviewing individual issues, years, or magazines as a whole.

    I think RSR is very strongly oriented towards individual stories, and that’s great 🙂

    For me as a reader — and particularly, as a reader who only gets around to very, very little of the field as a whole — I find that for finding great stories and enjoying my reading, I much prefer to simply follow a magazine in its entirety, than picking and choosing among reviews. (I do both, and they complement each other very well! But following a magazine is more of the backbone, for me.)

    And that makes sense — because to a large extent, a magazine is a set of stories recommended to the reader, by the editor. It’s not like a novel, that’s one solid thing — it’s a selection of stories. And while there is value in reviewers to make selections from among the selections, there’s a lot to be said for getting a list of selections in regular, timely, actual-book format. Magazines are awesome, is kind of what I’m saying.

    So, while the question “What are the best short stories of 2017″ may be a very difficult and subjective one, the question “What can I do to enjoy a bunch of short stories?” is a pretty easy one: find a magazine that’s to your taste, and read that, cover to cover.

    The “to your taste” is the tricky bit there, and also the hardest to answer. Obviously there are differences between Uncanny and Tor.com, but it’s very difficult to delineate. Certainly at the moment, you just kind of need to read them for long enough that you get a sense of what each one’s nature is.

    But reviews could help. Not reviews of one story, most stories could be published in many magazines; and their influence on the magazine as a whole is small. But reviews of the magazine as a whole, that can help readers get a sense of which magazine is what, and choose one or two to subscribe to.

    …part of why I’ve been thinking this way is because this past year I’ve been subscribed to Asimov’s, as kind of a trial run. And now that it’s December, boy do I have opinions. Not on this story or that story, but, say, on the incessant torrent of James Gunn tie-in pieces. Or the very recent switch to the bimonthly format, with novellas now a regular feature. Or the frequent alternate-history stories, which I didn’t know to expect and really enjoyed.

    And I can probably make similar assessments of F&SF, even though I practically count it as my baseline by this point. If you want a feel for F&SF as a magazine, you really need to know about Robert Reed and Matthew Hughes; you might want to know about the magazine’s ongoing serials like Laidlaw’s Gorlen and Pollack’s Jack Shade; you might look at other repeat contributors, like Nick Wolven, or R.S. Benedict’s debut with two excellent, excellent stories. You might be able to talk about what style and what changes Finlay’s established as editor, or about the increase in writers of color the magazine has published this year.

    You can talk about an individual story, and that’s great — but (A) you often can’t buy an individual story, and (B) reading one great story doesn’t tell you much about what to read next. I do believe magazines can be discussed as coherent entities, and I think that’s worth doing, somewhere or other 🙂

  31. @PhilRM:

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that it was Baen’s proud claim that they didn’t edit their books at all, because they’d found it had no effect on sales.

    ::jawdrop::
    Did they really say that?

    Who? Where? When?
    Why?

  32. @Standback:
    ::jawdrop::
    Did they really say that?

    Who? Where? When?
    Why?

    My recollection is that someone quoted Jim Baen saying this in one of the threads involving Sad/Rabid Puppy Hugo nominations (specifically, Toni Weisskopf’s Best Editor Long Form nomination). I spent a few minutes trying to locate it, but the past of File 770 is a vast and almost trackless wilderness.

  33. @Standback
    Hmmm. The naive data will only reveal which magazines I like the best. A quick look at the last three-years worth of data says that I’m most likely to recommend Tor novellas, followed by stories from Asimov’s and Strange Horizons. A different way to pick the best three is to find the ones I’m least likely to recommend against. That would be Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Uncanny. (I’m surprised there’s no overlap.) And if you wanted the magazines most likely to take chances, I suppose you could look for the ones with the most stories I’m likely to have a strong opinion about (either way). That would be Clarkesworld, Interzone, and Strange Horizons. But that’s still just me and only useful for people who think like me. (Or who want to argue with me.) 🙂

    To really make that useful, I think we’d need to come up with a test for users to take. Something like “Read the following stories and rate them a) Great–show me more! b) It was Ok. And c) I didn’t like/didn’t finish it.” Based on those scores, we’d predict which magazines they should try. (To get sample stories from the print magazines, we’d use stories that have been reprinted in places like Clarkesworld and Lightspeed.)

    That’s a nontrival AI problem, though. We’d probably need hundreds of volunteers to make it work. (Maybe someday.)

    I do see your point about how there could be a conversation about magazines. I too am puzzled by the James Gunn stories. They don’t seem to be up to Asimov’s usual standards, and there are lots and lots of them. They account for over half of all the 1-star reviews I’ve ever given Asimov’s.

    Maybe something to help readers identify authors they really like (and don’t like) would be more useful . . .

  34. But reviews of the magazine as a whole, that can help readers get a sense of which magazine is what, and choose one or two to subscribe to.

    I have, in the past, reviewed individual issues of magazines, but I am currently woefully behind on this.

  35. @Various, my recollection is that someone at Barn said they don’t bother to copyedit, not that they don’t bother to edit.

  36. my recollection is that someone at Barn said they don’t bother to copyedit, not that they don’t bother to edit.

    Professional publishers not copyediting is a cardinal sin.

  37. StefanB: I aggree with GRRM is if Weiskopf and Minz are better editors than Day, yes even if they do nothing.

    There’s a huge gulf between “better editor than VD” and “Hugo-worthy Editor”. I read several Baen books a year, and with the exception of Bujold (who crowd-sources fans to do her editors’ job because they don’t), the quality of the text ranges from adequate to just plain appalling. I just got done with the latest from Hodgell and Asaro, and even those had numerous egregious errors. (Although I will admit that those authors’ most recent covers are far better than the tits-and-ass abominations of previous volumes, which bore no resemblance to the main character as described by the author.)

    And I’m supposed to be willing to nominate Weisskopf and vote her above No Award, despite that incompetence and extreme disrespect to authors and readers, just because she’s spent years in fandom and prodom? No. Nopers. Not gonna happen.

  38. @Kurt, oh, I agree entirely. I’ve written publishers to complain about bad copyediting. It seems to get worse all the time, and copyeditors I know have trouble paying their bills, because the job is being skipped. Not right.

  39. @Hampus

    I’ve been thinking of buying this. You persuaded me.

    Thanks very much. I appreciate the trust.

    The “hook”, for those that haven’t heard, is that there are “bands”. These bands are treated like rock stars….mostly because in this world, they are as close to rock stars as you get.

    But in this case these are bands of adventurers that go out into the “wyld” and fight monsters. The monsters are always hoarding some sort of treasure, which makes the successful bands pretty successful.

    For this story, a retired band comes out of retirement to reform and head back out into the wyld. It might be to save one of the bandmates’ wayward children. It might be to save the world.

    It runs at turns from dark and nasty to humorous and giggle inducing. It has all of the adventure of “The Legend of Huma” and all of the humor of “The Incarnations of Immortality” series.

    I hope you enjoy it.

    Regards,
    Dann

  40. @John A. Arkansawer–

    I know that Sharon Lee & Steve Miller encourage fans to get the egalley when available, read, and send them all corrections/problems/etc,, and I see no reason to think Bujold doesn’t do something similar, or to doubt what JJ says.

  41. @Lis Carey: I’m sure they do, just as everyone else who has any form of beta-reader system does that. Baen was very smart to find a way to harvest that help systematically.

    What I question is the because, which attributes motivation to Bujold. I’d like to hear JJ explain how she knows that’s why Bujold does it. I think JJ doesn’t know any such thing. Believes it, sure. Knows it? That’s as easy to prove as pointing to Bujold saying so, and impossible to know otherwise without mind reading.

    Thank you for helping me clarify what I’m asking, LIs. I see now it wasn’t as clearly asked as it could have been.

  42. Chip Hitchcock on December 21, 2017 at 8:43 pm said:

    The conversation about taping in the SFWA suite seems to have drifted from video to audio, which AFAIK is not the primary purpose of a “bodycam”. contra @ULTRAGOTHA, it’s unclear to me that the convention rules can be applied in a space that a separate organization rents from a third party (the hotel), even if facilitated by the convention;

    I admit I am not privy to exactly how SFWA and Worldcon interact. But if actions in the SFWA suite violate Worldcon’s Code of Conduct, it seems wrong to me that people in that space would be unable to go to Worldcon for redress in the event SFWA didn’t take action.

    If the concom’s rules extend to hotel rooms, bringing a bodycam could infringe restrictions on taking pictures without permission; that might rule out having several other bodycams active, such that there would be evidence of both sides of an interaction with JDA.

    As far as I’m aware, a person can be kicked out for violating the CoC in their hotel room, and certainly at public parties (which, granted, the SFWA suite is not).

    JJ:

    “Bujold (who crowd-sources fans to do her editors’ job because they don’t)”

    John A Arkansawyer on December 26, 2017 at 6:44 am replied:

    Citation needed.

    Because Baen sells e-ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) on their site as soon as they are formatted, months before the final books come out, Bujold has asked folks on the Bujold e-mail list to send her any errors they find while reading the ARCs, which then get incorporated into her line edits in response to the ARC.

    The ARCs are pretty darned clean, though. I suspect but do not know, that Bujold also has a circle of helpers to get the submitted MS that is turned into an ARC clean, too. Plus she’s rather nit picky on those things just in and of herself.

  43. @ULTRAGOTHA: “The ARCs are pretty darned clean, though. I suspect but do not know, that Bujold also has a circle of helpers to get the submitted MS that is turned into an ARC clean, too. Plus she’s rather nit picky on those things just in and of herself.”

    All that sounds true or likely true. What I don’t understand is why people are so resistant to the idea those clean ARCs also have something to do with the person preparing them.

  44. John A Arkensawyer, If by “the person preparing them” you mean the editor and not the author, perhaps because I’ve seen a Weber ARC or two and they weren’t clean at all?

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