Pixel Scroll 1/5/16 A Fine and Pixeled Place

Note: I’m going to start putting the year in the header, too.

(1) SNODGRASS ON AXANAR. Melinda Snodgrass commented about the suit against Axanar on Facebook.

So far a cease and desist order has only been issued and a lawsuit filed against Axanar, but speaking as a former attorney I see no way for CBS and Paramount to turn a blind eye to the other fan efforts. As it is they have an “unclean hands” issue because they allowed the fan productions to go forward for so many years without reacting. Now that they are taking notice they will have to take notice across the board — no exceptions. That’s my best prediction based on training and education.

Because I am a professional screenwriter and also as a trained attorney I feel I have to step away from any involvement with any Star Trek fan funded project. Out of love for Star Trek, and the chance to write for two wonderful actors from the original series I was excited to write a new Trek script. And at the time I agreed to do this CBS was giving everyone tacit approval, a sort of wink and a nod. That is no longer the case.

Am I disappointed? Of course. Having met Walter I would love to have written for him, but it’s not to be. Look, I don’t blame the network or the studio. Bottom line the intellectual property that is Star Trek belongs to them. They have an obligation and a right to protect their asset.

(2) BIG BUCKS BUT SMALL FOOTPRINT. Forbes writer Scott Mendelson ponders why “Five Years Ago, ‘Avatar’ Grossed $2.7 Billion But Left No Pop Culture Footprint”. Why does the film Avatar have no great fannish following (ala Star Wars)?

Despite a pretty swift case of blockbuster backlash, whereby pundits quickly attributed the film’s box office success entirely to the 3D effects, I still think it’s a pretty fantastic adventure film. The characters are simple but primal, and the storytelling is lean and efficient even while running nearly three hours. Avatar was arguably the right film at the right time, with a potent anti-imperialism message that came about just as America was waking up from its post-9/11 stupor and the rest of the world was more-than-ready to cheer a film where murderous private armies were violently defeated and driven away by impassioned indigenous people.

But it was basically a historical cinematic footnote not a year later, with no real pop culture footprint beyond its record-setting box office and groundbreaking 3D.

(3) ADVISED BY C3PU? Hasbro responded to complaints about not including a Rey figure in Monopoly.

https://twitter.com/HasbroNews/status/684205970248089600/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Few bought the explanation.

(4) GALLIFREY CONUNDRUM. LA’s Doctor Who-themed convention Gallifrey One has posted a “Program & Guest Update: Early Schedule, Fan Panels and More!” Here’s a panel devoted to a question I’ve wondered about myself.

Life and Death in the Moffat Era — These days it doesn’t seem like anybody who’s dead stays dead… it’s merely a setback! From Clara to Rory to Missy to Osgood to Davros and even the Time Lords — and you have to through the increasingly complicated history of River Song in there somewhere — has Steven Moffat’s decision to bring back multiple characters made death in Doctor Who anti-climactic? Or is it just another example of the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey fun that keeps the show fresh?

(5) USED BOOKSTORES. Mad Genius Club’s Amanda S. Green, in “Bookstores: Friend or Enemy”, a commentary on Kristen Lamb’s post about the publishing industry (also linked here the other day), makes an interesting point about used book sales.

When I started this post, I did so figuring I’d be flaying Lamb over how she viewed used bookstores. Why? Because some of the comments I’ve seen around the internet claimed she denounced used bookstores as bad for authors. She doesn’t, not really. She points out something a lot of readers don’t understand. When you buy a book from a used bookstore, the author gets nothing from that sale. Also, she rightly points out that the books you will find in such stores are, by the vast majority, traditionally published books. So, used bookstores aren’t much help for indie authors.

However, for authors whose books are found there, used bookstores do serve a purpose. In fact, it is much akin to the same purpose libraries serve. A person is more likely to pay a percentage of the price of a new book for an author they have never read before than they are to pay full price. So, even though that author doesn’t get a royalty from that particular sale, if the buyer likes the book, there is the possibility of a royalty sale down the road. Even if the reader doesn’t buy a new book later, they will discuss the book with others who might. To me, it is promotion and a good thing. Word of mouth is the best sort of promotion an author can have.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 5, 1889 — The word hamburger first appeared in print in the Walla Walla Union, Walla Walla, Washington.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born January 5, 1914 — George Reeves, of Adventures of Superman fame. (He was also one of Scarlett O’Hara’s suitors in Gone With The Wind.)
  • Born January 5, 1929 — Russ Manning, artist of the comic strip Tarzan, whose credits include Magus Robot Fighter.
  • Born January 5, 1941 Hayao Miyazaki,  Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist.

(8) DIRTY PICTURES. Settle down, they’re only pictures of dirt. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now sending back close-ups of tall, ripple-ridden Martian sand dunes. Lots of photos here.

(9) GOTHAM. Formerly known as Pee Wee Herman — “Gotham: First Look At Paul Reubens As Penguin’s Father”.

Cobblepot is in need of a parental figure on Gotham, after his mother was killed toward the end of the first half of the season, by Theo “Dumas” Galavan. What role daddy dearest will play in that story is unclear, but from this image it looks like Penguin may have gotten his more vengeful side from his paternal parent.

While we don’t know exactly when Penguin’s Papa will show up, Gotham returns February 29, 2016, so we can expect him soon after.

(10) LEAPIN’ LITTERS. Not every dog has his day.

(11) THE CERTAINTY UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE. T. C. McCarthy can’t explain it.

(12) QUIDDITCH PONG. Combining the elements of Harry Potter’s favorite sport with beer pong, the Unofficial Quidditch Pong tabletop game assigns the player representing each house three unique spells. For example —

Slytherin:

Avada Kedavra– Once per game, choose a cup and remove it from the table. (can be used on Resurrection Stone)

Crucio– All of your opponents must make trick shots for one round

Imperio– Dictate which cup your opponents must make for one round

 

Quidditch Pong slide_2

(13) WETFOOT. Past LASFS President, actor Ed Green, plays one of the hundreds of faux lawyers and bankers fording the Rio Grande to illustrate a talking point in this Ted Cruz campaign ad. (If there’s a problem with the embedded video below, it can also be played at the Ted Cruz website Fix Our Border Yeah, like you would do that…)

Ed appears at in all his glory at :14, :25 and :35.

[Thanks to Dave Doering, John King Tarpinian, and David K.M. Klaus for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

540 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/5/16 A Fine and Pixeled Place

  1. Too many Bruces! I certainly thought this was Puppy Bruce, who is only about a 5 on the Puppy Hardness Scale and thus occasionally amenable to questions.

  2. Jim Henley: I only just realized there are two active one-named Bruces who have two different registrations and appear to be different people.

    Bruces: It would help a lot if you would make your next comments under a distinguishing handle (Bruce ____). True, it would become a moderated first comment, but once approved you can carry on as usual.

  3. I never commented on the There Will Be War thread. And I prefer to be considered anti-slate rather than not-Puppy. I read a number of Baen authors even though I disagree with their politics and have nominated a few Baen publications for best novel. I must admit that I had a tough decision whether to buy a month’s webscription when BT was one of the authors for sale in it. That campaign of theirs to equate position on the slates as a form of vilification of the fans runs in both directions.

  4. @Bruce & @ULTRAGOTHA: The following is all IMHO. Calling crowd-sourced typo/error/etc. reporting (and author revisions) “editing” is like calling beta (or developer) testing software “QA” – it’s not the same thing. No matter how diligent, I expect more from an editor or QA professional than from a random-beta-reader/tester. Authors are not always great at seeing their own problems; that’s part of why they’re supposed to have editors.

  5. @Kendall: I agree 100% with you. However many first readers probably act in an editing capacity, especially when the first reader is another author. I could be wrong but when Lois McMaster Bujold talked about her problems getting stuck in the middle of writing Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, it did not sound like she was working with her Baen editor to help her through it.

  6. Kendall –

    Please do not take anything I’ve typed as an endorsement of how Baen apparently handles the editing process for their books. From all the public statements I’ve read I don’t think they’re making very wise decisions.

    I was merely pointing out that Bujold’s books do have editing–for one thing they’re cleaner than many other Baen books I’ve seen. We just have no idea how much of that is done by a Baen editor.

  7. Bruce A on January 9, 2016 at 12:51 pm said:
    @Kendall: I agree 100% with you. However many first readers probably act in an editing capacity, especially when the first reader is another author.

    Agreed. I am not an author but I do a bit of test reading so I have seen more of how the sausage gets made. My understanding is (it may vary with writers & publishers) that test readers help a writer get a manuscript submission-ready, and once submitted the editor from the writer’s publisher takes over.

    So a writer with a good group of test readers can submit a manuscript that needs little publisher editing; the structural & characterization issues, not to mention the most egregious typos & inconsistencies will already have been identified by test readers & fixed by the writer.

    This will not be true for a writer who doesn’t have test readers (unless they are an exceptional writer), in which case, the publishing house’s editor has a much greater workload. But one only has to look at the acknowledgements pages of various books to see how important writers regard their editors & test readers.

    [Shorter me: do not underestimate the importance of test readers, & functions are fluid: test readers can also act as editors.]

  8. @Hampus Eckerman: I just hope the other (puppy) Bruce is not my teammate at work, who is also a Bruce A.

  9. I’ve acted as both beta reader and editor. In the former, I’ve stuck to noting only the most egregious errors in the text and otherwise focused on things like whether all the elements work and make sense. I did beta read one piece that seemingly had been written by a toddler and sent it back with all typos intact and a suggestion to hire a copyeditor, not because I specialize in snark but because even beta reading should be for something that is largely finished.

  10. @Bruce A & @ULTRAGOTHA: Fair enough, and maybe I’m being too picky about the term “editing.” BTW, I’m not trying to denigrate beta readers, if that’s what it sounded like.

    @Cheryl S.: It sounds like someone expected an alpha reader, or maybe . . . hmm, there’s nothing before alpha, is there. 😉

  11. Meredith on January 9, 2016 at 11:54 am said:
    I think there might be a mix-up here – there’s more than one “Bruce”. One of them has been commenting here off and on for some time, and is not pro-Puppy (and is in this thread), and the other has been commenting in the There Will Be War thread and is pro-Puppy. Some of the comments @Bruce in this thread sound like they’re aimed at Puppy-Bruce rather than notPuppy-Bruce.

    Ah, whoops.

    I also thought this Bruce was that Bruce and was going under the assumption that a sometimes-belligerent poster also had a reasonable side. Because people sometimes do and it’s worth trying to encourage.

    My apologies to reasonable-Bruce, now posting as “Bruce A”.

  12. @JJ

    Any chance you that you could throttle back your assumptions just a bit?

    Reading what I have said thus far, I agreed that most of the Puppy nominated stuff was bad.

    I have disagreed with the idea of “no awarding” everything on the slate, but haven’t condemned anyone for that choice. I have pointedly said that I have no issue with anyone that ‘no awarded’ nominees after considering the supplied materials.

    I have suggested that there was a bloc of 2500 no award votes. I used the descriptor “roughly” on purpose as the actual number is unknowable and certainly debatable. There have been several people that acknowledged an anti-slate voting movement/agenda even if other estimates are lower than mine.

    None of that seems to be beyond the pale.

    You know, that’s a pretty insulting thing to say to the people here, many of whom spent days, weeks, or months reading the crap that the Puppies put onto the ballot and gave those works a chance to prove their worth.

    You’ve just accused everyone here of being a voter who would cut off their own nose to spite their own face — who would vote against something they love, simply because you love it.

    Not at all. I’ve lurked about on any number of sites where the sentiment is decidedly against considering anything from anyone that has the least bit of sympathy for anything Puppy related..

    I’m not important at all. But I wouldn’t want to give anyone an excuse to not consider them. While I’m sure that many folks posting here would be open minded, there are probably far more readers than posters. That’s generally how this sort of thing works.

    I might have something to offer later on down the line. Just not right now.

    Regards,
    Dann

  13. Dann: I’ve lurked about on any number of sites where the sentiment is decidedly against considering anything from anyone that has the least bit of sympathy for anything Puppy related.

    Any chance you that you could throttle back your assumptions just a bit?

    This is not one of those sites. It has repeatedly been demonstrated that this is not one of those sites.

    I hope you’ll manage to overcome your inbuilt biases and decide to share the books you love with the people here.

  14. Am still sulking at the witholding of things similar to Goblin Emperor. Hmph. I need a better book after Sorceror to the Crown proved disappointing. (Charmingly written, but not exciting, not absorbing, and my socks are firmly on. I’m not even sure it will make it onto my reread list let alone my nomination ballot. If it were paper rather than pixels it would be off to one of the local second hand bookshops.) *pokes Mount770 gloomily*

  15. I’m finding it frustrating, too. Particularly since it seems these titles are being withheld to make a melodramatic point. There are some very incorrect assumptions at the bottom of “I’m not publicly acknowledging these titles because it will hurt their chances.” Assumptions involving cabals at the very least.

  16. Dann,
    My initiial position was to vote all slated works below No Award, but when the works became available, I changed my stance & decided to give them a fair chance. I found them to be almost uniformly not Hugo-worthy. IIRC two slated works made it above No Award in my ballot. So for me (and for many other voters) there was effectively no difference between voting on merit vs voting against slate works.

    [And before you make any assumptions, I have used No Award in the past for finalists that I didn’t deserve to even be nominated.]

    As far as campaigns go, Sad Puppy has lost any benefit of doubt I had remaining, having read the SP finalist in both SP2 and SP3. If SP4 gets works into the finals this year, I won’t lose any sleep in voting them below No Award.

  17. Kathodus: I’m beginning to think the works in question don’t actually exist. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, of course, not least because I’d like to read them myself, but refusing to share one’s squee about books makes no sense to me.

    The worst that happens is that absolutely nobody agrees with his assessment, in which case it’s not like they’d have made those people’s nomination ballot anyway. But if a few people like one or both, that’s a few more ballots, and a larger likelihood of one or both books making it to the ballot. And if a bunch of people like them, that’s an even better boost for them. And even if they aren’t eligible for the ballot, it still increases the author(s) fan base, which is all to the good, as it makes it more likely they keep writing.

    Seriously, what’s the downside in sharing one’s squee? Lydy recommended a book to me that I really didn’t care for–but others did. Net gain: several more people who liked the book (even though none of them was me). If she’d not said anything, they probably would never have come across it.

    There were approximately two thousand SFF novels published in English last year, or so I’ve heard. The average fan will have read somewhere between maybe 5 and 100 of them. What with getting around to older books for the first time, re-reading, and having a life, probably closer to the 5 than the 100. If people don’t tell others what they loved, what knocked their socks off, across the room, out of town, or into orbit, then it’s that much harder to find the best of the best.

    It’s one of the things that is both wonderful and exasperating about fandom: folks tend to say “oh, you don’t know/haven’t heard about THIS? You’re one of today’s Lucky 10,000! Let me tell you MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW! Enthusiastically! With gestures! And arguments about reading order!” One of fandom’s often-seen fieldmarks is squee-sharing. So it’s weird when someone says they have a squee–and hoards it. It makes me think they’re only pretending. Or that their squee is over something they’re ashamed of; I suppose that’s a possibility, too.

    But it would be very easy to lay those suspicions to rest. All it would take would be to tell us about these marvelous books. Because, after all, some of us might just agree that they are, indeed, great books.

  18. @Meredith, I also was disappointed by Sorcerer to the Crown. It was fine, but I found it far from enchanting and it doesn’t even make my currently very short longlist.

    What sort of things do you love (besides dragons)?

    I’ve read a few things that I will definitely put on my ballot, but they’re not for everyone: Aurora, by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Serpent, by Claire North, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), by Felicia Day, and Wylding Hall, by Elizabeth Hand.

    As far as book recommendations being withheld, I’m trying to understand how that works. If Person A loves a book but doesn’t want to talk about it to avoid unfairly prejudicing Persons B through Z, that’s weird but fine, except that Persons B through Z might not find that book on their own, which leads to their not nominating it due to ignorance of its existence, which ends up looking the same on the outside as ignoring something due to spite for the recommender. My mind is clearly not subtle enough, because I’m not seeing the point.

  19. /god-stalk (also book-squee-stalk; isn’t that half the point of this comment area, for book squee? hehehe)

  20. For what it’s worth, as one more voice: I have never liked a story less because someone I disagree with/dislike/etc. liked it. I am much more likely to say, “Well, so shines a good deed in a naughty world.” 🙂

  21. @JJ

    I hope you’ll manage to overcome your inbuilt biases and decide to share the books you love with the people here.

    I’m sure I will be sharing recommendations in due course.

    @Soon Lee

    My initiial position was to vote all slated works below No Award, but when the works became available, I changed my stance & decided to give them a fair chance. I found them to be almost uniformly not Hugo-worthy. IIRC two slated works made it above No Award in my ballot. So for me (and for many other voters) there was effectively no difference between voting on merit vs voting against slate works.

    I’m glad you found something worthwhile in that steaming pile. I found a couple of worthy items as well, but was sorely disappointed in the categories that I was able to properly survey.

    In case this got missed early on, I put several items in the sub-novel categories below ‘no award’ as well.

    Regards,
    Dann

  22. I’m sure I will be sharing recommendations in due course.

    The longer you wait, the less likely people will have the time to get around to reading them. Indeed, some people have already stopped reading for this years Hugos, and have started reading for next years Hugos.

  23. I think at this point, no matter what Dann pulls out (Uprooted, Son of the Black Sword, Aurora, The Grace of Kings) we’re all going to be going, “Oh. That was all? Yeah, that book {is awesome/sounds awesome/isn’t my cup of tea but glad you like it}, but it didn’t really need all this much lead up just to talk about.”

  24. @Cheryl S.: “As far as book recommendations being withheld, I’m trying to understand how that works. If Person A loves a book but doesn’t want to talk about it to avoid unfairly prejudicing Persons B through Z, that’s weird but fine, except that Persons B through Z might not find that book on their own, which leads to their not nominating it due to ignorance of its existence, which ends up looking the same on the outside as ignoring something due to spite for the recommender. My mind is clearly not subtle enough, because I’m not seeing the point.”

    I think you’re missing two (slightly) hidden assumptions:

    1. B-Z wouldn’t recommend them, regardless of merit, because A likes them and comes from the wrong tribe.
    2. B-Z talk to other people who would also avoid them because of A-tribe cooties, and thus have a multiplier effect.

    Basically, it looks like he expects the reaction to his recommendations to be “oh, X is a Puppy-approved book? No point in reading that, then. I’d best spread the word, too.”

  25. @Rev. Bob

    Kinda sorta right.

    More correctly, the reaction in this thread to a moderately contrarian position suggests that this may not be the best time to tie a book to my name. I do talk about both books in other fora from time to time.

    I’ll certainly talk about books and other properties in the future. (I did recommend a couple of potential fancast nominees.)

    Regards,
    Dann

  26. @Dann:

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this community is not exactly single-minded when it comes to opinions on most books. There was a discussion here just a couple of days ago on Heinlein’s work, as only one example.

  27. Rev. Bob: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this community is not exactly single-minded when it comes to opinions on most books. There was a discussion here just a couple of days ago on Heinlein’s work, as only one example.

    Not to mention fiercely differing views of Seveneves, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Planetfall, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Sorcerer to the Crown, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, The Just City, Dark Orbit, Persona (just to name a few).

    And yet everyone here manages to remain congenial, people agree to disagree on their opinions, and no one is busy campaigning against others’ preferences.

  28. @JJ and Rev. Bob,

    Yup! Noticed!

    Wouldn’t have sprouted in the comments section otherwise.

    Regards,
    Dann

  29. @Rev. Bob – think you’re missing two (slightly) hidden assumptions:

    1. B-Z wouldn’t recommend them, regardless of merit, because A likes them and comes from the wrong tribe.
    2. B-Z talk to other people who would also avoid them because of A-tribe cooties, and thus have a multiplier effect.

    I covered (1), because that was the assumption that made no sense. It first posited a kind of group mind that would be in agreement, which is incorrect (the lurkers hate me in email?), which even if true would result in the same zero increase in readers/potential nominations as not telling.

    It never occurred to me that anyone would believe that (2) was even remotely thinkable. Considering it as if it were a serious possibility, I’m still inclined to dismiss it out of hand. After all, how likely is it? Oh, never mind. It isn’t, but logic seems to not be part of this discussion, so carry on.

  30. @Dann – More correctly, the reaction in this thread to a moderately contrarian position suggests that this may not be the best time to tie a book to my name.

    If your moderately contrarian position is in regards to Butcher and Weisskopf, people were arguing with your contention that somehow the No Award bus hit them unfairly. It has nothing to do with you personally or your stance on other matters or what part of the political pie chart you represent.

    If instead you had said, “I think Jim Butcher’s Skin Game was the finest novel released in 2014,” there might have been some dissenting opinions, but they’d have just been the same sort of discussion that attends to any other book mentioned here.

  31. @Dann

    Ah, I think you might be assuming a bit too much is due to your Puppy sympathies. You should see how het up people get over date formats or the Right Way to Barbecue. Or Neal Stephenson’s back catalogue. 🙂 Lots of passionate people here with strong opinions who don’t always agree on things, and sometimes those disagreements are also passionate.

  32. Cheryl S. If your moderately contrarian position is in regards to Butcher and Weisskopf, people were arguing with your contention that somehow the No Award bus hit them unfairly. It has nothing to do with you personally or your stance on other matters or what part of the political pie chart you represent.

    Well, that’s the whole genesis of the Puppy movement, isn’t it? Insisting that peoples’ choices and opinions stem from political motivations, instead of just accepting that people like what they like, and that often, what they like will be different from what you like.

    If one accepts the latter, then there is no reason for a fight. If one insists on the former, then one has a grand cause for picking a fight. And that’s really what the Puppy movement, at its core, is about (regardless of what they’ve hoodwinked their followers into believing): finding an excuse for a fight so that they can try to take Hugo Awards instead of having to earn them.

  33. More correctly, the reaction in this thread to a moderately contrarian position suggests that this may not be the best time to tie a book to my name

    Moderate contrarianism can draw a reaction, sure, but moderate reaction, I hope. In File 770, talking about books counteracts those reactions – the consensus here is that The Books Are The Things. We mention it a lot because we mean it with an embarrassing sincerity and are proud of it.

  34. @Nigel: Yes, and frequently when there’s a Puppy drive-by, at least one person replies with something like “well anyway, what have you read recently that you liked?” 🙂 Sometimes shared-fiction-love* can be a great deflector-of-controversy.

    ETA: Or fiction-discussion, I should say. Not always shared-love over the titles that come up.

  35. The phrase “contrarian position” implies a commonly held position for it to be contrary to, and therefore a context in which to be contrarian.

    Commonly held position: “There are many valid reasons to vote ‘No Award’ ahead of any number of Hugo candidates. Many voters did so, for a variety of reasons.”

    Contrarian position: “It was inexcusable to vote ‘No Award’ above editor X or author Y.”

    Contrarian position was stated. Several different strands of argument started, as they tend to do when disagreeing points of view meet. And while it may feel overwhelming to find oneself alone on the side of the contrarian position, that’s just a symptom of… holding an opinion that no one else in the room holds? I guess? It doesn’t mean everyone hates you, hates your family, hates your pet puppy, and will hate any book you mention.

    The books you recommend or don’t recommend fall rather outside the context of your contrarian position.

    Besides, the idea that if YOU recommend a book, everyone will hate it, is like VD saying “A-ha, I shall organize my vast hordes to bloc vote a nomination for a book that the SJWs quite like! Then they will be FORCED TO VOTE IT BELOW NO AWARD! Mwahahaha!” It’s saying that your very name has the power to taint a book such that people who would ordinarily love it will be obliged to shun it thereafter. Kind of self-aggrandizing, no?

    Seriously, it’s about books. Books are the thing. Books stand on their own. And while there are some authors I personally will not read more from, that’s because either A) that author’s writing has disappointed me enough times for me not to give them another chance, or B) that author’s behavior has made me loathe to squander my precious reading time on them. It is absolutely never because C) it was recommended to me by someone with whom I disagree on unrelated topics.

    I could possibly see myself turned off from a book if some flagrantly obvious bigot said “I like book X because the author clearly understands and shares my bigotries”. But I also could possibly see myself attracted to a book if some flagrantly obvious bigot recommended it on the strength of something A) unrelated to their bigotry, and B) relevant to my interests. (See also VD’s praise of The Three Body Problem.) The trick would be getting me to read a book review/recommendation written by a flagrantly obvious bigot in the first place. (See factor B in previous paragraph.)

    It’s about the book recommendation itself, not about the person making the recommendation. Honestly, the person making the recommendation isn’t nearly important (or, in many cases, memorable) enough for their very name to taint the book they are recommending.

    At worst, Dann, the fact that you love Skin Game so very much that you think it’s “inexcusable” to have voted it below No Award… means that I know you and I have very different tastes in (some) books. So that means I’d want to hear more opinions than just yours on any given book you recommended. It doesn’t mean I’d immediately shove a book you recommended off my TBR pile with extreme prejudice.

    Well. That was longer than it probably needed to be.

  36. It’s about the book recommendation itself, not about the person making the recommendation. Honestly, the person making the recommendation isn’t nearly important (or, in many cases, memorable) enough for their very name to taint the book they are recommending.

    Pulling this bit out because I think it’s particularly important. The local term for books added to the to be read pile from recommendations here is “Mount770” – because the location is more memorable. A frequent sight is someone coming into a thread saying something roughly along the lines of “I can’t remember who recommended [book or story I just read] but I know it was someone here, [thank you whoever you were I loved it]/[it was interesting but]/[I don’t think it was for me, what did people like about it again]”. Which is great! The books are the thing, and every time that happens we get a new conversation about them.

  37. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Very well said!

    Personally, I’d be astounded if I didn’t share ANY overlapping taste with some random SFF fan, including Puppies and other pro-slate folks. A book, a movie, some random author we both heard at a con, a comic book, etc. I guess it’s possible there’s someone out there with whom I share NO SFF love, but that’s very difficult for me to believe. Maybe I’m wearing rose-colored glasses today. 😉

  38. @JJ – Well, that’s the whole genesis of the Puppy movement, isn’t it? Insisting that peoples’ choices and opinions stem from political motivations, instead of just accepting that people like what they like, and that often, what they like will be different from what you like.

    Maybe? I’m kind of hesitant to assume I know what motivates the members of a group, not least because I’ve never been a member of one so homogenous that shared reasons for anything were ever a given.

    I do think I see a pretty comprehensive sense of injury coming from puppies. It increased post Hugo awards but it was always there, which I can almost understand if I squint a lot. If you think your tastes represent the majority (they don’t have to, you just have to think they do), but the works you love rarely make it to awards ballots, then it almost has to be as the result of a clique, a cabal, logrolling or some other unfair practice. It’s more likely that you’re wrong about representing the majority, but most people won’t pick that as the logical answer.

    Fun fact: the last year in which I’ve read most of the finalists for best novel is 1986. After that, the most is two entries.

    For me, the most frustrating part of the whole kerfuffle is the lost opportunity the puppies had to nominate things they actually thought were superior. Unless that was their superior work, in which case I’m baffled by why anyone would prefer it over pretty much anything, but I don’t think it was.

  39. @Meredith

    A frequent sight is someone coming into a thread saying something roughly along the lines of “I can’t remember who recommended [book or story I just read] but I know it was someone here, [thank you whoever you were I loved it]/[it was interesting but]/[I don’t think it was for me, what did people like about it again]”.

    Yes, it’s happened to me several times here, and I have the satisfaction of having at least contributed to one or two pile-ons of recommendations for a work or two that convinced someone(s) to read said works.

    Making the works explicit that you, Dann, apparently a puppy-sympathizer*, thinks are excellent will have the effect of possibly adding some support from readers here for those works. That you are assuming it will hurt those works is part of the reason people are maybe a little less warm than they might be otherwise. It just isn’t how the community here works. And c’mon, there isn’t a cabal of anti-pups waiting in eager anticipation for you to slip up and betray your literary allies.

    * I empathize with Puppy sympathizers far better than I do actively hostile Puppies, and particularly the Puppy leadership.

  40. That you are assuming it will hurt those works is part of the reason people are maybe a little less warm than they might be otherwise.

    Mm, no-one is going to feel all warm and fuzzy about being told that they might Hurt Innocent Books for political reasons. Especially Filers.

  41. Cheryl S.: the last year in which I’ve read most of the finalists for best novel is 1986. After that, the most is two entries.

    I’ve read all the finalists for the last 10 years. Prior to that, I’ve not read at least 1 or 2 finalists each year. So tallying just in the last 10 years, I would agree that 35 of 51 finalists deserved their place on the ballot (whether I would have nominated them myself is another, different thing). In other words, I felt that 16 of those finalists just had no business being there. And judging finalists in any given year only against each other, in 5 of 11 winners I would say that the best novel was not the one named Best Novel.

    The reason I’m not a Puppy is because I don’t find this sinister. I attribute it to differences of opinion. I don’t think there’s a secret conspiracy to nominate and award trophies to WrongBooks because PoliticalAgenda. I believe that, despite my opinion of those books, the people who made them finalists and winners did so out of genuine appreciation.

    It seems to me that deeply insecure people have a desperate need to convince themselves that they are right, and that everyone else is wrong. Their self-esteem depends on believing that. In contrast, self-secure people have made peace with the fact that they’re not always right, and with the fact that their opinion is not necessarily a universal one.

  42. More correctly, the reaction in this thread to a moderately contrarian position suggests that this may not be the best time to tie a book to my name.

    Speaking for myself, it’s not your contrarianism that I find tedious and insulting. It’s that you think the response to “Dann likes Book X” to be “Book X is liked by a wrongthinker – Shun it. SHUN IT!”. I suspect that some others may also take umbrage to this quite frankly ridiculous sentiment.

    If I was to judge a work purely, or even in any significant way by some “purity test” based on who else liked it, I would almost certainly never read *anything*.

  43. Dann: I’d like to point out that I met with nothing but courteous responses when I did a long comment on why I like Steven Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant stories. Not one person here did any of the stock Donaldson/Covenant-bashing I’ve seen so many other places, even those who referred to some of the obvious problems on several level with the stories. And nobody undertook to tell me that I was engaged in wrongthink, badthink, or anything of the sort.

    The same thing happened when I explained why I had to give up Ancillary Justice partway through. Not one cry of denunciation, just a lot of interested questioning and commentary that respected my judgment throughout.

    It is on the basis of solid experience, therefore, that I say you’re doing yourself no favors, should go ahead and give your recommendations, and stop cultivating this martyr complex. It’s not the substance of your views that’s getting you any trouble, it’s your too-frequent recourse to really annoying mannerisms. Be direct, don’t be defensive, and you’ll go a lot further.

  44. I rather doubt I’m the only person who frankly doesn’t give a flying crap about what Dann likes. Really, he’s not so interesting a commenter that I’m going to spend any brain power teasing out his favorite books when he’s decided to be coy about it. Like what you like! Hate what you hate! It is no skin off my teeth either way. (God! Have we not had enough self-aggrandizing drama for one lifetime?)

    My favorites for 2016 so far are Uprooted, Ancillary Mercy, Interim Errantry (Lifeboats) and Library at Mt. Char. I wanted to like Sorcerer to the Crown more, but while it was fun and interesting, it didn’t impress me enough.

    I make you a gift of them, and nobody has to dig them out, nor do I think anyone will be so appalled by this that they will prejudge them. I am a small player and my opinion is important only to me. But at least I’m aware of it.

  45. (I apologize, all, for my general surliness today, but it’s a poorly-run universe that takes David Bowie when there’s such a collection of raging assholes loose in the world. I should be back to being a facsimile of a decent human being in a day or two.)

  46. And I’ve only ever (mostly) jokingly (ish) menaced people for voting against dragons in the brackets a few times! Hardly counts. Other than that, people discussing, agreeing and disagreeing about books just makes things more interesting. Who would want to live in a world where we were all the same? I’d be bored within a week.

    @Cheryl S.

    Honestly, I should have liked Sorceror to the Crown!

    – Historical fantasy (of manners)
    – with dragons (but not the best dragons, imo, they felt more like generic faeries)
    – addresses the inequalities of the time but doesn’t focus on it
    – interesting and sciencey magical system

    And yet… No spark. Queued up next is Uprooted, which I think ought to suit me better considering I really, really like fairy tales inspired work and also Novik’s Temeraire books.

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