Pixel Scroll 12/27/16 I Want To Read Books Till I’m Out Of My Mind

(1) THE MORE BEST THE MERRIER. Gregory N. Hullender explains, “Now that three of the four big ‘Best of’ SFF anthologies have released their tables of contents, Rocket Stack Rank has produced a combined list, ranked according to which stories were included in the most anthologies or otherwise recommended.

“As usual, the table includes information on how to find/borrow/buy copies of the stories, as well as story descriptions and links to reviews.

“When Neal Clarke publishes the table of contents for his anthology, we’ll update the table to incorporate it.”

(2) NASFiC ’17. If you’re thinking about buying a membership in NorthAmeriCon ‘17, to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, keep in mind that rates are going up on January 22.

(3) ICONIC MOVIE CASTING. Imagine Wil Wheaton as Ralphie in A Christmas Story. It could have happened.

So. For the five of you who don’t know, Peter Billingsley played Ralphie in A Christmas Story. We both auditioned for the role, and even went to final callbacks together. I wrote about it way back in 2001:

I think that A Christmas Story is the greatest Christmas movie ever made. Each year, I watch it, over and over, on TNN or TNT or TBS, or whatever T-channel does that marathon, and I never, ever, get tired of it. Every year, when I watch it, I am reminded of the time, when I was about 10 or so, that I auditioned for it. The auditions were held on a cold, rainy day in late spring, down in some casting office in Venice, I think. I saw the same kids that I always saw on auditions: Sean Astin, Keith Coogan, this kid named “Scooter” who had a weird mom, and Peter Billingsley, who was very well known at the time, because he was “Messy Marvin” in those Hershey’s commercials. I sort of knew Peter, because we’d been on so many auditions together, but I was always a little star struck when I saw him. (One time, I saw Gary Coleman on an audition…now, this was HUGE for all of us kids who were there, because we’re talking 1982 or 83…and he was Arnold freakin’ Jackson, man…wow). [tangent] Whenever I see Sean Astin, I sob at him that he got to be in Goonies, and I didn’t, and he always says, “Hey, man, you got Stand By Me. I’d trade all my movies for that.” I haven’t seen him since he did Lord of the Rings…but something is telling me that he wouldn’t be so keen to trade that.

(4) CARRIE FISHER R.I.P. The actress passed away today. One of the most interesting tributes is this collection — “15 of Carrie Fisher’s Best, Most Honest Feminist Quotes” from NYMag.com.

“Oh! This’ll impress you – I’m actually in the Abnormal Psychology textbook. Obviously my family is so proud. Keep in mind though, I’m a PEZ dispenser and I’m in the abnormal Psychology textbook. Who says you can’t have it all?”

(5) RUBIN OBIT. Vera Rubin, who confirmed the existence of dark matter, has died at the age of 88.

“It was Vera Rubin’s famous work in the 1970s that showed pretty much all spiral galaxies were spinning way too fast to be accounted for by the gravitational pull of the their ‘luminous’ matter (the stuff we see in a telescope). Rubin and others reasoned there had to be a giant sphere of invisible stuff surrounding the stars in these galaxies, tugging on them and speeding up their orbits around the galaxy’s center.”

(6) ADAMS OBIT. Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, died Christmas Eve at the age of 96.

The novel, first published in 1972, became one of the best selling children’s books of all time and was made into an animated film in 1978.

Adams did not begin writing until 1966 when he was 52 and working for the civil service. While on a car trip with his daughters, he began telling them a story about a group of young rabbits escaping from their doomed warren.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • December 27, 1904 Peter Pan, the play, by James Barrie, opens in London.
  • December 27, 1947 — The first Howdy Doody show, under the title Puppet Playhouse, was telecast on NBC.
  • December 27, 1968 — Apollo 8 astronauts — Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders — returned to Earth after orbiting the moon 10 times in a flight that helped open the way for moon-landing missions.

(8) LONG JOURNEY AUTHOR. The Book Smugglers continue their personal holiday season with a guest post from a popular author — “A Happy Smugglivus with Becky Chambers”. Chambers discusses the movie Arrival and the book Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal, among other things.

Smugglivus greetings from California! While most of my home state is badly in need of a drink, winter up here on the Redwood Coast means rain, and lots of it. It’s the sort of weather that lends itself well to hiding away with a good story or some old-fashioned book learnin’. Now, since most of my brainspace is used for writing sci-fi, I tend to reach for other stuff in my free time. I read a lot of non-fiction, I binge-watch with the best of them, and I love video games more than is reasonable. Happily, this year provided me with plenty to sustain me through these dark and soggy days.

2016 was also a gauntlet of suck in a great many ways, and I know I’m not the only one leaving it feeling ill at ease and overwhelmed. To that end, I’ve cherry-picked five of the best things I cozied up with in the past twelve months, things that filled me with curiosity and joy. In these times, we need those qualities more than ever. Whether you’re after some real-world science, mind-bending puzzles, or pure escapism, I’ve got you covered.

(9) SUBSTANTIAL CONVERSATION. Abigail Nussbaum reviews six books in “Recent Reading Roundup 42” at Asking the Wrong Questions (including The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin and Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee.).

Infomocracy by Malka Older – If nothing else, a reader turning the last page of Older’s debut novel has to tip their hat to her for her prescience.  Or perhaps a better way of putting it is that Older, while she was writing this book, had her finger on the pulse of issues and problems that have only recently come to dominate the conversation about how democracy in the 21st century functions, and of how it fails.  Set in a near-future, Infomocracy imagines a world in which the familiar geopolitical rules have been replaced by “micro-democracy”, with the world divided into “centenals”, each containing one hundred thousand residents who are free to vote for any government they wish, be it nationalistic, ideological, or corporate.  Different governments can thus have citizens all over the world, which can mean that neighboring streets can have different laws and government services.  Every ten years, the world holds an election, in which the governments try to win over new centenals in order to cement their power, and hopefully make a bid for the coveted “supermajority”. There are, obvious, some glaring problems with this system that Older never fully address–we don’t, for example, learn what the supermajority actually gives the government that holds it, and more importantly, it’s never made clear how this system supports itself economically.  But the focus of Infomocracy is less on these issues, and more on using its micro-democracy system to reflect on the problems of sustaining democracy in any form….

(10) WEST PACIFIC RIM. Reminds us of a Guillermo del Toro movie — “Giant Avatar-style robot takes first steps in South Korea”.

A giant South Korean-built manned robot that walks like a human but makes the ground shake under its weight has taken its first baby steps.

Designed by a veteran of science fiction blockbusters, the four-metre-tall (13-foot), 1.5 ton Method-2 towers over a room on the outskirts of Seoul.

“Our robot is the world’s first manned bipedal robot and is built to work in extreme hazardous areas where humans cannot go (unprotected),” said company chairman Yang Jin-Ho.

While its enormous size has grabbed media attention, the creators of Method-2 say the project’s core achievement is the technology they developed and enhanced along the way.

“Everything we have been learning so far on this robot can be applied to solve real-world problems,” said designer Vitaly Bulgarov on his Facebook page.

He has previously worked on film series such as Transformers, Robocop and Terminator.

 

(11) A MODEST PODCAST PROPOSAL. Dann has compiled “The Indispensable Podcast Listing” for his blog Liberty At All Costs. He admits —

It isn’t really a list of indispensable podcasts, but what’s life without a little hype.  Given the number of SFF and writing-related podcasts mentioned, I thought it might be of some modest interest to you.

And it was, thanks to Dann’s introductory notes about each one.

(12) YEAR-END MISSES. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler is burning the winter solstice oil to make sure he doesn’t miss a single potential award-winner — of 1961. “[December 27, 1961] Double And Nothing (The Phantom Planet And Assignment: Outer Space)”.

Our effort at the Journey to curate every scrap of science fiction as it is released, in print and on film, leaves us little time for rest.  Even in the normally sleepy month of December (unless you’re battling Christmas shopping crowds, of course), this column’s staff is hard at work, either consuming or writing about said consumption….

The Phantom Planet is a typical first-slot filler movie.  Spaceships launched from the moon keep getting intercepted by a rogue asteroid.  Only one crewmember of the third flight survives, a beefcake of a man who shrinks to just six inches tall when exposed to the asteroid’s atmosphere.  What’s stunning is not the lack of science in this movie, but the assiduous determination to avoid any scientific accuracy in this movie.  However, I the sets are surprisingly nice…and familiar.  They look an awful lot like the sets from the short TV series Men in Space….

(13) THE YEAR 2016. Chuck Tingle captures what some people are feeling about the year gone by.

(14) NUTRITION NATURE’S WAY. Casse-Croute is a very short cartoon about brightly colored animals in the forest and all the shiny bugs they eat!

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Dann, Taral, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Sylvia Sotomayor.]

89 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/27/16 I Want To Read Books Till I’m Out Of My Mind

  1. 14) Cute! But I also looked at the items linked from the end, and promptly ran into a bit of an eyeroll. One of said items is a commercial for Nature’s Path Organic Foods, and it fails Reality 101 with an implication that labor-intensive organic farming would be able to support the world’s needs today. While I agree with the message of making mindful choices about your food, the frame just doesn’t fit.

    Re Carrie Fisher, I just saw (somewhere) a note to the effect that she’d completed filming for the next movie prior to her death. So there will be one more film’s worth of General Organa… and they’d damn well better dedicate it to her.

  2. Greg Hullender: but the bigger problem is that they don’t (to my knowledge) produce their lists of stories in time to help people do reading for the Hugo and Nebula nominations

    Not quite so; the TOC for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, edited by Paula Guran, is already out, and I was surprised that you didn’t include it in your summary.

    And I’m mystified as to why people keep referring to Clarke’s “Year’s Best” as one of the “Big Ones” when he’s only produced one of them so far, and we don’t even know if there’s going to be another one in 2017 yet.

  3. I’m sorry to hear that Guran’s Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas is being discontinued. I was really glad that series had been created. However, now that most novellas are being published as standalone volumes, at least it’s easier to have access to read them than it used to be, when they were only published in magazines or anthologies or collections.

    And there’s still this one:
    The Year’s Top Short SF Novels, edited by Allan Kaster
    This year’s edition includes:
    “The Citadel of Weeping Pearls,” by Aliette de Bodard
    “The New Mother,” by Eugene Fischer
    “Inhuman Garbage,” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    “Gypsy,” by Carter Scholz
    “What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear,” by Bao Shu, translated by Ken Liu

    “Gypsy” was my number one choice for Hugo Novella this year.

  4. I believe Neil has been contracted for a total of four, after the fast success of the first. So there will definitely be three more volumes. Going by sales volume, I would say most definitely that it is now one of the big four within its category, between that and distribution.

    The problem with yb novellas is that while the format is well known to genre insiders, it means absolutely nothing to readers. So that is on me. I should have titled it short novels or something akin to that, which would have made more sense. But the damage was already done, by the second volume. You don’t get many chances, either way. And the material will still show up in the regular series, in any case.

  5. Year’s Bests Anthologies, 2017

    Science Fiction and Fantasy
    The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, ed. Rich Horton (Prime)* (June)
    The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year, ed. Jonathan Strahan (Solaris)* (May)
    Best American SF & Fantasy, ed. JJA (Mariner)* (October)

    Science Fiction
    The Year’s Best Science Fiction, ed. Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s)* (July)
    The Best Science Fiction of the Year, ed. Neil Clarke (Night Shade)* (April)

    Horror
    The Best Horror of the Year, ed. Ellen Datlow (Night Shade)* (June),
    The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, ed. Paula Guran (Prime)* (July)
    Best New Horror, ed. Stephen Jones (PS Publishing)~ (October), limited edition only
    Year’s Best Weird Fiction, series ed. Michael Kelly (Undertow)+ (October)

    Specific Niches

    Hardcore Horror
    Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Jeff Strand (Comet Press)+ (June)

    Military / Space Opera / Adventure
    The Year’s Best Military SF & Adventure, ed. David Afsharirad (Baen)* (June)

    Gay
    Wilde Stories: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction, ed. Steve Berman (Lethe)+ (July)

    Lesbian
    Heiresses of Russ: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, ed. Steve Berman (Lethe)+ (Summer)

    Canadian
    Imaginarium 6: The Best Canadian Speculative Fiction, ed. Sandra Kasturi (ChiZine)~ (October)

    Australian
    The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, eds. Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene (Ticonderoga)~ (Fall)

    Young Adult
    Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction 4, eds Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Twelfth Planet)~ (n/a)

    SFWA
    The Nebula Awards Showcase 2017, Julie E. Czernada (Pyr)* (May)

    Audio
    The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction, ed. Allan Kaster (Infinivox) (June)
    The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 5, ed. Allan Kaster (Infinivox) (December)

    *with national distribution
    +print-on-demand
    ~limited distribution

  6. I hope my list clarifies things. I tend to think of them in marketing categories, especially ones that compete against each other for shelf space. You really can’t compare and contrast volumes from different niches or even subcategories, in that sense, then, at that point, and in terms of influence and sales, that information is stored elsewhere. The numbers might be surprising!

  7. There is also the following, which I have just added to my master list:

    The Best of British SF: 2016, edited by Donna Bond (NewCon Press)+~
    Transcendent, edited by K.M. Szpara (Lethe Press)+
    Best Vegan Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2016, edited by Morris Allen (Metaphorosis Books)+

  8. Thanks for that list, Sean, it’s very helpful!

    Just a note that Kaster’s anthologies come in Kindle as well as Audio versions.

  9. Sean Wallace: Thanks for that list – very informative. I know the main ones, allowing for some horror, but had no idea there were quite that many niche titles.

    Still, if you just combine your SF and SF/F categories and exclude the Best American that’s the “big four” as many have been calling them. When tabulating, it does do a bit of an injustice to most fantasy stories in that they can’t really appear all four times but I still like to think of them as a group, anyway.

  10. I would say the Big Five, myself: Adams, Clarke, Dozois, Horton, and Strahan. I see no reason to exclude Best American, because it is shelved in the sf/fantasy category at Barnes & Noble, and it is outselling everything, rather handily.

  11. In terms of sales it probably is, from top to bottom: Adams, Dozois, Clarke, Horton, and Strahan, though the last two can be closer to a tie.

  12. I wasn’t aware of the NewCon Press Best of British SF coming out, so that’s really interesting to know. There was a Best British Fantasy for a couple of years but it seems to have died off.

  13. Yes, by Salt Publishing. They did a Best British Fantasy and a Best British Horror series. Both died a bit back. Neither did that well. Perhaps too niche.

  14. @JJ

    the TOC for The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, edited by Paula Guran, is already out, and I was surprised that you didn’t include it in your summary.

    We avoid horror in general because our focus is things that are eligible for the Hugo Awards. We might change that eventually (I like horror) but for the moment we avoid it, where possible.

    And I’m mystified as to why people keep referring to Clarke’s “Year’s Best” as one of the “Big Ones” when he’s only produced one of them so far, and we don’t even know if there’s going to be another one in 2017 yet.

    We’re interested in anything by anyone who read at least 500 stories from major SFF sources during the year and who offered recommendations. These are interesting for a variety of reasons. First, it gives us a double-check on the sources we’re reading and lets us know if we’re missing something. (E.g. I’m reading “Starlight Woods” right now because several stories from it ended up in one or more of these anthologies.) Second, it lets us calibrate our ratings. If we’re giving a story two stars but two or more anthologists are recommending it, then that’s something we ought to think about. Third, we want to offer choices to people; we’d be silly to expect everyone to have the same taste in stories that we do. Having another anthologist is just as good as having another reviewer.

  15. Greg Hullender: We avoid horror in general because our focus is things that are eligible for the Hugo Awards.

    Except that anthology is for Fantasy and Horror — and many horror stories are also fantasy or science fiction stories.

    “Obits” by Stephen King
    “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander
    “Totaled” by Kary English
    “Equoid” by Charles Stross
    “San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats” by Mira Grant
    “Fade To White” by Catherynne M. Valente
    “Countdown” by Mira Grant
    “The Things” by Peter Watts
    “Ponies” by Kij Johnson

    Those are just a few of the horror stories which have been Hugo Finalists in the recent past (and I haven’t even included any of the numerous horror novels which have been Hugo Finalists in the past few years, like The Fifth Season). “The Ballad of Black Tom” by Victor LaValle, which you’ve reviewed, is horror. So the “not including Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror” exception makes no sense to me.

  16. @JJ: I don’t see The Fifth Season as horror and never thought it was marketed as such, but that’s an interesting take on it. Genre fight! 😉 ::throwing random genres:: (What, “genre fight” isn’t the same as “food fight”?)

  17. Kendall: I don’t see The Fifth Season as horror and never thought it was marketed as such, but that’s an interesting take on it.

    In my view, there’s no way that apocalyptic fiction can not be considered horror, as well as whatever else it is.

    Pretty much anything that involves mass killings which are not the result of a military war would fall under the horror umbrella, I think, even if they are also fantasy or science fiction (and some military war fiction would fall into horror, as well). For example, the Aliens series is considered science fiction, but I find it to be even more horror than SF — which is one of the reasons I will probably not see Covenant unless it’s being shown somewhere for free, because horror doesn’t have much appeal for me.

    <throws a dystopia cream pie at Kendall>

  18. I see a couple Filers have taken up the argument I thought about making — that one can easily go through Hugo history and find numerous examples of horror that have been nominated for the award. Then I stopped and considered– aren’t many of them appearing in publications Rocket Stack Rank is already covering?

    RSR hasn’t been around very long, but has its failure to prioritize horror resulted in any gaps in coverage of ultimately Hugo-nominated stories?

  19. Mike Glyer: RSR hasn’t been around very long, but has its failure to prioritize horror resulted in any gaps in coverage of ultimately Hugo-nominated stories?

    My point is that if you look at the TOCs of Guran’s Dark Fantasy and Horror anthologies, the vast majority of those stories are not horror-specific SFF outliers — which is why I think it not being considered one of the “Big Ones” is rather mystifying.

  20. @JJ: I definitely see the “Alien” series as horror-SF – horror first, SF second. The difference for me is that it’s trying to scare me, keep me on the edge of my seat, make me jump, gross me out, etc. Nemisin’s books are trying to tell a story that feels very SFF and much more personal. Sure, there’s the large scale and lots of people die, but it’s not trying to freak me out like horror does, and it’s very character driven. (I’m not saying horror isn’t or can’t be character driven, BTW.) I’m not sure I’m explaining this well. Anyway, for me, I doubt I’d see most apocalyptic fiction as horror, even as a secondary genre.

    Granted: Most stories have multiple genres. I simplify things like saying X is fantasy when it’s really fantasy-mystery-with-a-dash-of-romance or whatever. I usually “count” the SFF quality as the primary aspect ‘cuz that’s the kind of geek I am, but total oversimplification, and I definitely see things like “Alien” as horror first, SF second.

    Hmm, we have Dark Fantasy and Horror; maybe we need Dark SF for something like “Alien”?

    ::catches the dystopian cream pie, enjoys the taste of human tears that made it possible:: 😀

    /ramble!

  21. Re: horror vs. SF vs. dark fantasy vs. etc. vs. et al.

    I generally go with Kendall’s rule of thumb in terms of a story’s primary genre, defining it by the story’s major trope or theme. Alien is a horror story with “in space” tacked on, but Aliens is more of a war story with a strong secondary horror element and “in space” for flavor. (I’d flip that in the case of Predator: horror, then war, topped off by “the bad guy’s an alien.”) By contrast, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is horror and I consider Fred Saberhagen’s The Dracula Tape to be dark fantasy – even though both depict the same sequence of events, one is out to scare you and the other isn’t.

  22. I find this latter discussion amusing, if only because the year’s best anthologists generally talk to each other, especially this time of the year, and most contribute to the Locus Recommended Reading List. It reminds me somewhat of the time that I ran science fiction stories in Fantasy Magazine, and some people were horrified, but that didn’t stop Gardner from reprinting them in his volume, later. If you keep treating horror, which is really just a subset of fantasy, as much as science fiction is, as some bastard stepchild of the genre, then, yes, there is inherent bias at work. Guran certainly has run science fiction and fantasy in her series that other anthologists had done so in their own, so I echo JJ’s confusion over why it is ignored here, but not in the industry itself :p

  23. Other odd datapoints: 1) there is no horror section at Barnes & Noble. Most horror is now shelved in science fiction and fantasy or in general fiction, which has been the case for a very long time 2) the top bestselling anthologies in our field, in the last ten years, were all horror / dark fantasy. Nothing comes even close.

  24. @Sean Wallace: horror, which is really just a subset of fantasy: really? Is it fantasy that people can act monstrously without the aid of the supernatural? I’ve avoided Guran’s anthologies because my taste for dark is limited, but I recall stories in Datlow&Windling that I would not call mimetic rather than fantasy — just as The String of Pearls (bka Sweeney Todd) is mimetic.

    “Blueberry, thought Kirk instead of ducking.
    Splat!
    Blueberry it was.”

  25. My stance on most fiction being fantasy, by its strict definition, is probably not accepted by anyone else, but in kind consideration of the cross-genre material that has been showing in magazines, collections, and anthologies, and winning awards, lately, I think shoehorning stories into strict marketing categories designed for bookshelves serves no one any good these days. But I don’t expect anyone to adhere to that line of logic, but as an editor I can easily say, “Well, this Kelly Link story from last year clearly shows sign of being a fantasy, science fiction, and horror, all at the same time.” Who shall claim it? Wars have been waged over less :p

  26. Hell, look at all the science fiction that has been nominated or won a World Fantasy Award . . . :p

  27. Sean Wallace:

    “If you keep treating horror, which is really just a subset of fantasy…”

    Very much incorrect. There are some really good horror stories with no supernatural elements at all.

  28. @Sean Wallace: I wonder where B&N puts non-SFF horror – just under general fiction, I presume? (I don’t remember seeing tons of non-SFF horror on the SFF shelves, but then maybe I don’t look very closely.)

    Using “fantasy” to mean “fiction” doesn’t seem very useful. I’m skeptical most people would call, e.g., To Kill a Mockingbird fantasy. And these terms are not (just) marketing categories. To me, they’re useful descriptors; when I say “this is fantasy,” I’m not saying “…so look for it in B&N in that section” – I’m saying “it has fantastical elements and (probably) not SF ones.”

    I am usually uninterested in stories without SFF elements, and I like to know what I’m looking at, so it’s helpful to know if something’s primarily F, SF, romance, mystery, etc. Not to be confused with a physical bookstore section, which, yeah, things can be shelved in odd places (but rarely or never in multiple places) and that’s not always helpful. Something I like about online bookstores: multiple genres possible! Something I hate about, e.g., Amazon: they go overboard, so many of their “genres” are idiotic!

    I love that the book database I use lets me categorize my books under multiple genres (of my own choosing). I don’t always remember to add categories the main one, though (usually F or SF). One of these days, I should go through and QA my info.

    Wars have been waged over less :p

    I challenge you to a genre duel – en guarde! 🙂

    (Sorry if I’m rambling above, BTW.)

  29. @JJ

    Those are just a few of the horror stories which have been Hugo Finalists in the recent past (and I haven’t even included any of the numerous horror novels which have been Hugo Finalists in the past few years, like The Fifth Season). “The Ballad of Black Tom” by Victor LaValle, which you’ve reviewed, is horror. So the “not including Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror” exception makes no sense to me.

    It’s really just a matter of trying to reduce our workload. At the moment, we avoid anything dedicated to horror or (grim)dark fantasy. We don’t review The Dark or Nightmare either.

    When we do decide to review a magazine or anthology, we try to review all the original stories in it, and, in that case we will read and review horror. That means we’ve got a good chance of seeing horror with broader appeal, which is the sort most likely to get a Hugo.

    We apply the same rules to short-shorts (anything under 2,000 words).

    It’s not perfect, but 11 magazines and 12 anthologies a year is quite a bit of reading and reviewing–especially since we need to leave time for articles and for writing the software. Expanding past that probably means finding a way to involve more people.

  30. Meh, I never said my stance was particularly defensible, just that it seems silly to partition horror off to the side :p

  31. Stephen King (and much else) is usually shelved in general fiction, and that is brought in by a different buyer, entirely, which is separate from the sf/fantasy/horror buyer.

  32. @Sean Wallace

    My stance on most fiction being fantasy, by its strict definition, is probably not accepted by anyone else, but in kind consideration of the cross-genre material that has been showing in magazines, collections, and anthologies, and winning awards, lately, I think shoehorning stories into strict marketing categories designed for bookshelves serves no one any good these days.

    Our focus at RSR is to encourage more people to read short SFF (and nominate it for awards). Toward that end, I do think genre (and subgenre) designations are useful for directing people toward the sort of stories they really like. That means trying to define fairly specific subgenres. For example, some stories have what I’ve dubbed “Alien POV,” in which the focus character is an alien. They’re quite rare, but they’re usually very different, and I think some readers would be attracted to them.

    This is very much a work-in-progress, and I’ve looked at a lot of material from others who’ve tried to define subgenres. However, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be useful. This is a point a lot of people seem to miss. It’s perfectly okay to have hard-to-classify stories, multiple-genre stories, and even dubious categories–just as long as the system works for most stories.

  33. There are some really good horror stories with no supernatural elements at all.

    That was my take-away from Alan Moore’s initial run on Swamp Thing. Despite the presence of supernatural elements, it seemed to me that the biggest horror of all was simply the things that human beings were willing to do to one another.

  34. But the Thing itself was fantastic; I’m remembering stories in Datlow&Windling which had nothing that could be considered non-mimetic.

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