Pixel Scroll 12/31/17 Another Scroll Over, a Pixel Just Begun

(1) WEEPIN’ WESLEY. The ST:TNG Lego-style figure set discussed in yesterday’s Scroll compelled a response from Wil Wheaton “because so many of you asked…”

…In this particular custom set, though, Wesley is depicted as a crying child, and that’s not just disappointing to me, it’s kind of insulting and demeaning to everyone who loved that character when they were kids. The creator of this set is saying that Wesley Crusher is a crybaby, and he doesn’t deserve to stand shoulder to minifig shoulder with the rest of the crew. People who loved Wesley, who were inspired by him to pursue careers in science and engineering, who were thrilled when they were kids to see another kid driving a spaceship? Well, the character they loved was a crybaby so just suck it up I guess.

“Oh, Wil Wheaton, you sweet summer child,” you are saying right now. “You think people actually loved Wesley Crusher. You’re adorable.”

So this is, as you can imagine, something I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with for thirty years….

So back to the minifig: it’s “Shut up, Wesley,” made into what would otherwise be an awesome minifig, in a collection of truly amazing and beautiful minifigs. It’s a huge disappointment to me, because I’d love to have a Wesley in his little rainbow acting-ensign uniform, but I believe that it’s insulting to all the kids who are now adults who loved the character and were inspired by him to go into science and engineering, or who had a character on TV they could relate to, because they were too smart for their own good, a little awkward and weird, and out of place everywhere they went (oh hey I just described myself. I never claimed to be objective here)….

(2) ARTIST AWARENESS. Edmonton’s Hugo Award Book Club blog encourages Hugo voters to consider some unusual choices when nominating works for Best Professional Artist in their blog post “Beyond The Standard Palette”.

Thanks to the Internet, digital print-on-demand services, small-press art books, alternate art posters, the availability of new artistic tools, and the fact that science fiction has gone mainstream, we are in the middle of a boom in science fiction art. Over the past decade, there have likely been more artists making science fiction art than there have ever been before. Some of the work that is flying under the radar of Hugo voters is breathtakingly imaginative, technically accomplished, and worthy of consideration.

Their post includes sample work by their suggested favorites.

(3) SMUGGLERS’ BEST. The Book Smugglers, Ana and Thea, each offer their ten best lists in “The Book Smugglers’ Best Books of 2017”, and several other lists while they’re at it. Ana begins –

Remember how 2016 was a terrible year and we were all “what a trash fire of a year”? Good times. 2017 proved to be even worse in many ways – and yet, somehow through it all, I did manage to read MORE than last year. It was just the ONE book more – 61 as opposed to 2016’s 60 – but hey, I will take my victories where I can.

And just like last year, I had to be extremely careful picking the books I’d read – not only because of time constraints but also because I wanted to read happy, light books. My average rate for 2017 is pretty dam high at 7.9, an all-time high. Predictably, picking a mere top 10 was a super difficult task and at one point, I emailed Thea to ask if my top 10 could be a top 12.

(4) WRONG QUESTIONS’ BEST READS. Likewise, Abigail Nussbaum read over five dozen books last year and explains her top picks in “2017, A Year in Reading: Best Books of the Year” at Asking the Wrong Questions.

As usual, this list is presented in alphabetical order of the author’s surname:

  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Book One by Emil FerrisIt’s amazing to think that this long, dense, expertly-crafted volume was Ferris’s first published work.  It feels like the grand capping-off of an illustrious career, not an introduction of an exciting new artist.  The book itself, however, is very much about the emergence and development of a young talent.  In pen-stroke drawings meant to evoke a child’s sketchbook, Ferris introduces us to Karen Reyes, a ten-year-old girl growing up in a seedy 1968 Chicago neighborhood.  Karen’s life is troubled by her mother’s illness, her father’s absence, her older brother’s emotional problems, and the death of her beloved upstairs neighbor, the Holocaust survivor Anka.  She is also, however, struggling with her own identity–as an artist, as a working class woman of color, as a lesbian, and, as she thinks of it, as a monster, straight out of the schlocky horror movies she loves so much.  Her drawings dash between fantasy and reality, between Chicago in the 60s and Germany in the 30s, as she listens to Anka’s recorded testimony of the things she did to survive, which went on to haunt her and may have gotten her killed.  The result is a mystery story, a coming of age tale, a narrative of artistic growth, and a major art object in itself….

(5) TIME FOR THE STARS: As the year disappears, Jason returns quickly with the “Annual Summation: 2017” which looks back on the last twelve months of Featured Futures and the world of webzines.

This summation has three parts. The first is a list and slideshow of the magazines Featured Futures covered in 2017, with statistics and lists of the stories read and recommended from them. The second is a list of this blog’s popular posts and most-visited stories, with a pitch for some “underclicked” stories. The third is a note about some non-webzine readings I did for Tangent.

(6) OBAMA AND GENRE. Axios’ report “Barack Obama shares his favorite books and songs of 2017” says The Power by Naomi Alderman is on his Facebook list. I checked, and so is Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

(7) BY THE NUMBERS. Dorothy Grant opens the discussion of what is a “Successful Author” at Mad Genius Club.

Dean Wesley Smith, who’s been in this business for a few decades, has said that he knew a crusty old bookstore owner who figured you weren’t a “pro” until you had ten books out, as he’d seen far too many writers quit before they got that far. So the day Dean slapped that tenth published book on the table, the old gent acknowledged that he was “no longer a neo-pro.”

But for actual hard numbers, Author Earnings has pulled back the curtain and let us take a good hard look at actual sales figures, and the amount of money going to the author from those sales. They found about 10,000 authors are making $10,000+ a year from their sales on Amazon.com. (May 2016 Report). Of those, slightly over 4,600 were earning above $25K/yr on Amazon.com (not counting .co.uk, .au, .de, .ca, or kobo/iTunes, etc., so I expect the actual numbers are a little higher.)

(8) A BLAND NEW YEAR. The Traveler at Galactic Journey has reached January 1963 and isn’t finding Analog any more to his taste than it was last year: “[Dec. 31, 1962] So it goes… (January 1963 Analog)”.

This month’s Analog, the last sf digest of the month, complements the news situation.  It’s filled with pages and pages of pages, none of which will likely stick with you long after you set it down.  The stories in this month’s issue don’t even have the virtue of being terrible.  Just redolent in that smug mediocrity that so frequently characterizes this mag, once the flagship of science fiction.

(9) WINDY CITY’S GOH. Doug Ellis & John Gunnison announced F. Paul Wilson will be GoH of the 2018 Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention, April 6-8, 2018 in Lombard, IL.

F. Paul Wilson. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter

Wilson is the author of over 50 books, many of which feature his popular anti-hero, Repairman Jack.  Among his numerous awards are the Bram Stoker Award, the Prometheus Award, the Porgie Award and the Inkpot Award.  His first published story, “The Cleaning Machine,” appeared in the March 1971 issue of Startling Mystery Stories, while his second appeared a month later, in the April 1971 issue of the John Campbell edited Analog.  His newest novel, “The God Gene,” is scheduled to be released by Forge Books on January 2, 2018.  Wilson contributed the Foreword to The Art of the Pulps, published in October 2017, where he shared that “I love the pulps. … I’ve been a fan of the pulps since my teens…”  We’re excited to have him as our GoH, and we know that our attendees will enjoy meeting him at the convention!

(10) HE WENT PSYCHO. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett ends the year by explaining his theory about director Alfred Hitchcock’s decisions for adapting The Birds“Psycho Birds Bloch Hitchcock!”

Having at last seen the film version of The Birds I find I was right to assume that a 1963 Hollywood production, even with Hitchcock at the helm, could not match the power of du Maurier’s original. Overall I thought The Birds was okay, certainly better than I had assumed it would be, but still not great. I can see why Hitchcock made so many changes as I doubt that in 1963 a more faithful translation of the story would sell tickets, but I can also see why Daphne du Maurier hated what he did to her story. I didn’t hate it myself but I did think it was the least impressive Hitchcock film I’ve ever seen.

None the less I was fascinated the way Hitchcock started off the film with a light romance that had nothing to do with du Maurier’s story and didn’t begin to introduce anything by du Maurier until the romance plot was well advanced. Why did he take such an unexpected approach I wondered as I watched this story unfold? Afterwards however it occurred to me that Hitchcock began The Birds the way he did in order to replicate the success of Psycho.

This theory of mine starts with not with Hitchcock but Robert Bloch for it was he who wrote the 1959 novel Hitchcock turned into his famous film….

(11) OF BRONZE. Cat Rambo continues to share the pleasures she finds in the old series in — “Reading Doc Savage: The Czar of Fear”.

…And then we hear a sound from the radio: “a tolling, like the slow note of a big, listless bell. Mixed with the reverberations was an unearthly dirge of moaning and wailing.” The trio react with panic, but Aunt Nora reassures them, “It’s not likely the Green Bell was tolling for us — that time!” We learn that whenever the bell tolls, it means death and insanity….

(12) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 31, 1935 — C. B. Darrow received a patent for his Monopoly game
  • December 31, 1958 — We saw The Crawling Eye which was originally entitled The Trollenberg Terror.
  • December 31, 1958 The Strange World Of Planet X premiered.
  • December 31, 1961 The Phantom Planet premiered.

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRLS

  • Born December 31, 1945 – Connie Willis
  • Born December 31, 1949 – Susan Shwartz
  • Born December 31 – Sharon Sbarsky

(14) COMICS SECTION.

  • It’s not easy to crack a joke about an in memoriam presentation – Mike Kennedy says Brewster Rockit managed to do it.

(15) DC NOT AC. The Hollywood Reporter calls it “2017: The Year Almost Everything Went Wrong for Marvel Comics”.

Nearly every month held a new PR crisis for the company where Iron Man, Thor and Captain America live.

2017 has been a bad year for Marvel Entertainment’s comic book division. It’s not simply that sales have tumbled (the company’s traditional dominance in year-end sales charts is absent this year), but that Marvel’s comic book publishing arm has suffered through a year of PR disasters so unforgiving as to make it appear as if the division has become cursed somehow. Here’s how bad things have been over the last twelve months.

(16) BEST COMICS. According to Erik and Paul from Burbank’s House of Secrets, here are the Best Comic Books of 2017.

(17) DANGEROUS TO WHO? Milo’s lawsuit against Simon & Schuster has made the editor’s complaints about his manuscript part of the public record. Follow the tweet to see two pages of the publisher’s rebuttal submitted to the court.

Ivers considered plaintiff’s first draft to be, at best, a superficial work full of incendiary jokes with no coherent or sophisticated analysis of political issues of free speech… Plainly it was not acceptable to Simon & Schuster for publication.

(18) AND THE BAND PLAYED ON. The Han Solo movie will also receive the master’s touch: “John Williams Set To Compose A Theme For Solo: A Star Wars Story”.

It looks like Solo: A Star Wars Story is getting a theme from the legendary Star Wars music composter John Williams.

According to a report by Variety, Williams is to continue his working relationship with Lucasfilm, working on a new them for the studio’s upcoming standalone film, Solo.  Williams is to work with How to Train Your Dragon composer John Powell, who is set to work on the rest of the music of the film. Powell’s involvement with the project was announced way back in July last year, and in an interview with the publication, Williams explained how he and Powell would collaborate on Solo’s music.

“[Powell’s] assignment is something I’m very happy about. What I will do is offer this to John, and to [director] Ron Howard, and if all parties are happy with it, then I will be happy. … John [Powell] will complete the score. He will write all the rest of the themes and all of the other material, which I’m going to be very anxious to hear.”

(19) SORTING HAT. I agree with the Facebook matchup, so maybe the others are right, too.

(20) CONTINUED NEXT PHAROAH. The BBC explains the value in “Scan technique reveals secret writing in mummy cases”.

[The cases] are made from scraps of papyrus which were used by ancient Egyptians for shopping lists or tax returns.

The hieroglyphics found on the walls of the tombs of the Pharaohs show how the rich and powerful wanted to be portrayed. It was the propaganda of its time.

The new technique gives Egyptologists access to the real story of Ancient Egypt, according to Prof Adam Gibson of University College London, who led the project.

(21) ACQUIRED TASTES. Abbey White revisits some old favorites as she explains “Why Spice Is a Staple of Science Fiction” at Food & Wine.

One of science fiction’s most famous food tropes, spice often exists as something outside its everyday culinary use. Whether a deadly, interstellar travel enhancer in Frank Herbert’s Dune, a magical form of seduction in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Mistress of Spices, a drug in George Lucas’s Star Wars or currency in EA Games sci-fi simulation Spore, across mediums the term has become synonymous with things it ostensibly isn’t. As a result, it’s altered the way we understand food within imagined, futuristic settings. But why are science fiction writers making something so commonplace such a notable element of their universes? The answer lies in the extensive global history of spice.

For many writers, creating new worlds in genre requires first mining through the social and scientific things they’re familiar with and then making them unfamiliar, either by changing their composition or context. Speaking to Food & Wine, Georgia Tech University professor and former president of the Science Fiction Research Association Lisa Yaszek noted that because spice is both a regionally distinctive and internationally mundane aspect of life, it’s a fitting launching board for establishing that familiar/unfamiliar dichotomy in a world of altered technology.

(22) THIS WILL KEEP YOU ON YOUR DIET. Disturbing images accompany Vice’s interview — “Pastry Chef Annabel Lecter [Who] Will Turn Your Nightmares into Cake”. This one is very…vanilla… compared with the others.

Do you get a lot of negative comments on the internet?

It comes with the territory, I get, “Why are you disturbed,” “Why do you do that”, “how can you make this”…and I’m like, “At the end of the day, it’s only a cake.” It’s food. I’m not burying anyone, or digging anyone up, or killing anyone. It’s food. With the baby heads if you google the comments I was called out for “inciting cannibalism,” being a “satanist,” as well as called a racist because they were white chocolate. It was just the best. And with all of that, people were asking if I was upset. No, because I’m none of those. [However], if somebody said they were really badly made I would have cried. If somebody said this tasted like crap then yeah, I’d be upset. The other stuff I just find entertaining. Priorities, you know.

(23) FIXED OPINION. At Yahoo! Lifetyle Murphy Moroney declares, “If the Caretakers Aren’t Your Favorite Characters in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, You Can’t Sit With Us”.

Even a Star Wars franchise novice such as myself picked up on how epic they are right off that bat, and I’ve only seen one-and-a-half of the movies in my 25 years of life. Why should you be as obsessed with them as I am? Because if the Jedi are the head of the universe, then the caretakers are the neck that supports it. And newsflash people: without the neck, there’s no head!

Hey, thanks anyway, but I see some people over there I promised to sit with….

(24) OUT WITH THE OLD. Let Camestros Felapton be the first to wish you…

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, Will R., Jason, Olav Rokne, Cat Rambo, and JJ for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

63 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/31/17 Another Scroll Over, a Pixel Just Begun

  1. Fifth! And a fractionally premature (for my time zone) Happy New Year to all Filers who observe the Gregorian calendar.

  2. I’d like to confirm that I’ve survived 2017, but I’ve got 1:42 to go, and we’re under the flight path for Moffett Field. We shall see if a large propeller comes crashing down through the riff into me.

  3. It’s 2018 and I’m the eighth comment. Got to mean something.

    Happy new year!

    I liked Wesley, have never quite understood the hate for him.

  4. Happy new year, all!

    (1) I loved Wesley as a kid, which may or may not have to do with my being basically his age when I got to TNG. In retrospect I can see the hate too, but it would be silly to say he didn’t have a lot of fans as well.

  5. Although, an interesting observation. Looking at the set, I can think of another reason they might have gone with “Crying Wesley”:

    This set is all about being distinctive and recognizable.

    Almost all the other characters have super distinct facial features, and/or impressively exaggerated hair. Which kind of makes sense: LEGO people all look alike, but what’s the point of recreating the TNG crew in LEGO if they all look alike?

    Amusingly, I think it’s Picard who looks least distinct of them all. I don’t think people would even recognize him out of context. He’s got the least to work with, LEGO-wise.

    Wesley could easily have been pretty much the same. A fairly nondescript face (LEGO-wise); unexceptional hair. He’d look like a “regular” LEGO piece, and he may have fans, but he sure ain’t as popular as Picard.

    So… cry-ifying him may have been a way to make him instantly recognizable.

    Which sucks, of course. It’d be nice if they gave him puppy-eyes and childlike wonder instead, or, really, anything else. But I bet this was a factor, which is… interesting, I think.

  6. I’ve been backfilling some reviews of 2017 print-magazine issues, for those of ye who like those. Asimov’s and F&SF; I’m putting a bit more effort into Asimov’s, because I subscribed to that this year as kind of a trial run.

    F&SF had two really strong issues, which are the two I’ve reviewed; Asimov’s was all over the map and I was pretty disappointed in it. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
    Asimov’s 2017: March/April, May/June, July/August
    F&SF 2017: March/April, November/December

  7. Standback: Almost all the other characters have super distinct facial features, and/or impressively exaggerated hair. Which kind of makes sense: LEGO people all look alike, but what’s the point of recreating the TNG crew in LEGO if they all look alike? … Wesley could easily have been pretty much the same. A fairly nondescript face (LEGO-wise); unexceptional hair. He’d look like a “regular” LEGO piece, and he may have fans, but he sure ain’t as popular as Picard.

    I think that Wesley’s striped jersey and the hairstyle unlike any of the other characters makes that piece quite distinctive on its own, without the utterly unnecessary and mean-spirited infantilization of the character.

  8. Puppy-eyes and childlike wonder would have been far more appropriate for Wesley. And yes, the striped shirt and the hairstyle are distinctive enough. If I had the money to buy the set, what they did to Wesley would be reason enough not to.

  9. Lis Carey: If I had the money to buy the set, what they did to Wesley would be reason enough not to.

    I seriously considered buying it, until I saw that. What a shame they had to ruin it.

  10. Meredith time: Amazon UK has the first five volumes of Marko Kloos’ “Frontlines” series for 99p each in the Monthly Deals. Number six is due out a week tomorrow which may not be a coincidence.

    The second book, “Lines of Departure”, was a puppy pick for best novel in 2015. Marko withdrew letting “Three Body Problem” onto the ballot.

  11. 10) I think it was 30 years ago I read The Birds, so I can’t remember much of it, but I have some vague memory of it ending kind of abrupt. Birds still attacking, family still alive. It felt like the ending was missing.

  12. not-FIfth after all — that’s what I get for commenting and crashing.

    I’m not sure Picard is the least recognizable — that bald pate stands out — but I didn’t really recognize any of them as I’ve seen only fragments of all of the successor shows. (Not really OST-fixation; I got weaned/pushed off TV almost 50 years ago — the only thing I’ve followed even briefly since then was the early Buffy and Angel.)

    Weird coincidence: one of Nussbaum’s also-rans is the only non-SF non-mystery I read last year. (Picked it up due to a rave in the local newspaper.) I don’t read enough historicals to be any sort of judge, but it seemed to me that Golden Hill was a good and plausible story even before the twist ending — but the ending did raise the level.

  13. Swooping by to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Wayne and I toasted last night: “Success to our friends, confusion to our enemies, and above all, joy for everyone in 2018.”

    Now let’s see about making all of that come true. 🙂

  14. 2: It is not clear to me that all the artists featured in the HABC article are eligible for Pro Artist, since the rule says the award is for illustrators whose works appear in professional publications. (It’s generally agreed, of course, that the rules for the art awards don’t make sense, or at least that the titles don’t cohere well with the rules; but that’s what they say, right now.)

  15. I’m with SamJ while it’s disappointing in the official set, it’s LEGO, you just change the head. You fould probably switch it with the boy wonder from LEGO Batman for cartoon awe and wonder

    Alternatively aside from Worf and Data if that expression is unique to this set then he’ll have one of the more valuable heads in the set.

  16. Andrew M: It is not clear to me that all the artists featured in the HABC article are eligible for Pro Artist, since the rule says the award is for illustrators whose works appear in professional publications.

    Yes, and given that a sculptor of absolutely fabulous fantastical bronze sculptures was disqualified this year because of those rules, I am going to be extremely unhappy if a similar artist is suddenly deemed to be eligible under those same rules next year.

    I mean, this is why professional jewellers like Spring Schoenhuth have never been allowed on the final ballot in the Professional Artist category, despite their wonderful-quality professional work. I don’t see how, after all these years, the Hugo Admins can suddenly decide such artists are now eligible, without any changes being done to the rules.

    There is a Hugo Category Study Committee which was appointed during the WSFS Business Meeting this year, but it has as of yet not come back with any recommendations.

  17. Shared my opinion with the company, and here’s what they had to say:

    “Sorry you feel this way. https://minifigs.me/shop/wesley-crusher-star-trek-custom-minifigure/ follow this link, it shows that the Wesley Crusher we sell actually has a double sided head so you can change it as you wish.”

    Hmmm.

    If they were after “distinctive,” they could have included Riker’s trombone.

  18. Matt Y: I’m with SamJ while it’s disappointing in the official set, it’s LEGO, you just change the head.

    It’s not an official LEGO set. It’s made by a small custom minifig firm — who will even create your very own minifig for you.

    Given that, I would imagine that you could request a standard head with your order, and they’d be able to give it to without any additional expense.

  19. Will R.: the Wesley Crusher we sell actually has a double sided head so you can change it as you wish.

    Thanks for checking on that, Will. That’s at least encouraging to hear. I wonder if they did that in response to blowback, or whether (I kind of suspect not) it was there from the beginning.

    They have some other great SF-inspired minifigs, including Ripley and Jones, and TRON and CLU.

  20. JJ (on artists): Yes indeed. These artists would, I think, clearly have been eligible for Fan Artist before ‘non-professional’ was added to the rule, and may still be eligible, given the complete unclarity regarding what ‘non-professional’ means (otherwise the nominations of Spring Schoenhuth and others like her would not have been accepted).

    My own view is that it would make perfect sense to have one award for illustrators and another for those who produce SF-inspired art in other contexts, and that is effectively what the current categories are, so there is nothing wrong with the categories; it’s just the names that are confusing. ‘Fan’ made sense in its original context, where it was meant to mark a difference of milieu, defined in terms of circulation; but the internet having made that distinction obsolete, it’s not clear what it is meant to mean; some people think it should mean ‘unpaid’, and others think it should mean ‘transformative’. It might be better to drop that term, and say ‘Best Independent Artist’ or the like; but some people are heavily invested in there being awards with ‘Fan’ in their name.

  21. JJ – oops! Unofficial, they do a good job. Cool that they’ll have the double face. Seems like the best way to satify both those who want Acting Ensign Crusher and those who want Shut Up, Wesley

  22. Andrew M: but some people are heavily invested in there being awards with ‘Fan’ in their name.

    That’s ironically true, and doesn’t make sense to me either. The awards couldn’t be killed off because they’d been captured by semipro writers and artists, but those weren’t the people stopping the titles from being changed.

  23. I think the Hugos do best when they’re awarding works and they do worst when they’re trying to award people.

    I count six like that:

    Best Editor, Short Form
    Best Editor, Long Form
    Best Professional Artist
    Best Fan Writer
    Best Fan Artist
    The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

    “Best Editor (long form)” is the worst example (no one has any idea how to nominate for this) and “Best Fan Artist” a close second. The Campbell Award seems to work well enough, and maybe Best Fan Writer does as well, but I think the other four really need to be replaced. For example, the following might work:

    Best Professional Magazine
    Best Anthology
    Best Professional Cover Art (Pro or semi-pro Magazine or book cover)
    Best Fan Artwork (appeared in a fanzine)

    Isn’t there supposed to be a Hugo committee thinking about redefining some of the categories? Does anyone know how that’s going?

  24. Isn’t there supposed to be a Hugo committee thinking about redefining some of the categories? Does anyone know how that’s going?

    So far, they have proposed a new category entitled Best Hugo Awards Study Committee

  25. So far, they have proposed a new category entitled Best Hugo Awards Study Committee

    While my suggestion of “Best Snarky Online Comment” has yet to find favour with the committee 🙁

  26. Mike: I take it we don’t want to remove the awards that are currently called fan awards – that was tried, I think, and failed: this kind of work deserves to be honoured. But it would, I think, be possible to change Best Fan Artist to Best Independent Artist, and Best Fan Writer to something like Best Critic or Best Commentator. I’m not sure what could be done about Fanzine, though.

    Greg: There is a live proposal to replace the editors. As I said, I don’t think there is a real problem with the art awards; there just seems to be because they have odd names. An award specifically for artwork in fanzines would have a very small nominating pool, which I don’t object to in principle, but nowadays would be vulnerable to bad actors. And I think there should an award for independent artists; the people mentioned in the HABC article are not eligible for Pro Artist, and I don’t think it would be helpful simply to make them eligible, since it would be hard to compare their work with that of illustrators; but they ought to be eligible for something.

    I had an idea that the Study Committee was going to be soliciting suggestions. Did I just imagine that?

  27. Editors is the category I will only vote in if someone has been gamed onto the ballot. And then only to no award the. Does not feel like the best of reasons to vote, so some alternative would be nice. I liked Kevins proposal.

  28. Ironically, the early days of the Hugos did have Best Professional Magazine, and it was replaced by Best Editor so as to include the editors of original anthologies.

    Best Original Artwork was tried in the first half of the nineties, but people had trouble nominating because it was hard to work out eligibility, so it was eventually dropped.

    I agree that Best Editor (long form) has been rather a failure, and should probably be replaced with Best Publisher. (I think that was part of Kevin Standlee’s proposals, which he tabled because of all the other process changes going on, but which struck me as well thought out.)

  29. Here are what I consider the standout books of 2017 (that I have read thus far), including books with a 2017 U.S. publication date:

    The Power, by Naomi Alderman
    City of Miracles, by Robert Jackson Bennet
    Miranda and Caliban, by Jacqueline Carey
    Cuckoo Song, by Frances Hardinge

    (There are an additional 25 qualifying books I could reasonably put in some place on a “runner up” list, many of which I have mentioned over on the “best books of 2017” thread. And an additional 17 I’ve read that I’d leave off either list, even though a few have appeared on other people’s “best of” lists. Such is taste.)

  30. (#2) The Hugo Admins this year prepared a report detailing their decisions on each category. (Which I really hope future Hugo Admins also do.)

    §3.3.11: Best Professional Artist
    Tomek Radkiewicz and JiHun Lee each received enough votes to appear on the final ballot, but both informed us before the final ballot was announced that their work had not appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during 2016. We therefore determined that both were ineligible and must therefore be excluded from the final ballot.

    If Tomek Radkiewicz was disqualified because he was ineligible due to his sculpture not appearing in a professional publication, then how can these other artists qualify if their art also did not appear in a professional publication? It’s not enough just to be a pro.

    WSFS members have noted this is problematic and empaneled a committee to look at re-writing the eligibility criteria. But any changes are not in play this year.

  31. And, as is to be expected now, people have begun showing up on Wheaton’s blog to be terrible.

  32. Greg Hullender, your suggestion even more explicitly leave out 3d art, which was already cited before your comment as one of the recent problematic cases, and highlighted afterwards by Ultragotha.

    As a more pccasional than I like 3d artist ( not remotely Hugo worthy or ready) this sort of neglect of entire fields of art feels not unlike defining fantasy as only that which occurs in an imaginary realm, or some other condition that similarly excludes swathes of genre. I assume no malice but I do ask… Please don’t.

  33. I’m another one who liked Wesley when I was a teen just the right age for the show.

    Looking back I understand the annoyance but making the crying Wesley seems wrong. And if his head is reversible but a: nobody else’s is and b: the advertising and pictures don’t say so, then it still feels more like malice than acknowledgement of controversy.

  34. ULTRAGOTHA on January 1, 2018 at 3:59 pm said:
    (#2) The Hugo Admins this year prepared a report detailing their decisions on each category. (Which I really hope future Hugo Admins also do.)

    §3.3.11: Best Professional Artist
    Tomek Radkiewicz and JiHun Lee each received enough votes to appear on the final ballot, but both informed us before the final ballot was announced that their work had not appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during 2016. We therefore determined that both were ineligible and must therefore be excluded from the final ballot.

    If Tomek Radkiewicz was disqualified because he was ineligible due to his sculpture not appearing in a professional publication, then how can these other artists qualify if their art also did not appear in a professional publication? It’s not enough just to be a pro.

    WSFS members have noted this is problematic and empaneled a committee to look at re-writing the eligibility criteria. But any changes are not in play this year.

    As I understand it, professional publication is one in which at least one member of the staff earns their primary source of income from that publication. So if someone earns their primary income through the sales of individual art works, that could be interpreted as a professional publication. Tomek Radkiewicz does not, as far as I am aware, earn his primary income from his art, so doesn’t class as a professional.

    Even if you’re insistent on format-based eligibility (I.E., don’t accept sculptural work), of the four artists that my book club friends and I included in our blog post, only one of them works entirely in the sculptural realm (Brendan Tang). The other three do primarily print work of various kinds, including book covers, movie posters, video game art, and album covers in the science fiction realm. All four earn their professional livelihood as artists.

    The Hugo Admins don’t offer rulings about eligibility in advance (to maintain their neutrality and objectivity). But I would be interested to hear any of their thoughts about this line of discussion about what constitutes ‘professional publication.’

  35. Happy New Year fae Scotland, where most of us are still getting over their hangovers. Unlike the rest of the UK the 2nd is also a public holiday.

  36. I’m one of the members of the Hugo Awards Study Committee, and no, it hasn’t started work yet. (This isn’t that unusual.) I expect the committee to start working fairly soon. It’s big, and its remit is broad, so it’s going to be challenging to manage for its Chair, Vincent Docherty. (But if anyone can manage it, it’s likely to be Vince, which is why I put him in charge of this particular multi-ring circus.)

    My proposal to rearrange the Hugo Awards by deleting the Editor and Semiprozine categories and adding categories for Professional Magazine (which would include what are currently called Semiprozines), Anthology, and Publisher, is still out there, and I anticipate putting it before the Committee.

    Inasmuch as I’m not on the WSFS head table this year and currently don’t expect to be on it in 2019 either, I can actually discuss proposals that might come before the meeting more freely than usual.

    With so much material to cover, I expect that we’ll see a series of proposals spread out over several years. Otherwise, what is already a long meeting would get even longer, and we’re running up against the limits of what people can tolerate, even people who are part of Business Meeting Fandom, like me.

  37. First season TNG didn’t do any of the characters any favors; Wesley wasn’t my favorite, but I never turned off an episode just because it focused on him (unlike more than a few Ferengi embarrassments.)

    So I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them all, and crying is not the expression I would pick for a “distinctive” Wesley face. Smug, maybe, but that’s kind of hard on a Lego face.

  38. (1) I’m one of the people who didn’t like Wesley Crusher as a character on TNG. I thought he was out of place, annoying, and detracted from the show.

    Even so, what Minifigs did with the Wesley Lego mini is ridiculous and inexcusable.

  39. Ivan Bromke: As I understand it, professional publication is one in which at least one member of the staff earns their primary source of income from that publication. So if someone earns their primary income through the sales of individual art works, that could be interpreted as a professional publication… But I would be interested to hear any of their thoughts about this line of discussion about what constitutes ‘professional publication.’

    You’re leaving out part of the official definition:
    An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during the previous calendar year.

    That is very different than :
    An illustrator whose work has been professionally published in the field of science fiction or fantasy during the previous calendar year.

    That this excludes 3D artists and self-published artists has been a known problem with the Professional Artist category for decades.

     
    Ivan Bromke: Tomek Radkiewicz does not, as far as I am aware, earn his primary income from his art, so doesn’t class as a professional.

    You’re kidding, right? Tomek Radziewicz is a professional sculptor. It’s what he does for a living.

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