Pixel Scroll 4/16/20 And Faintly Falling, Like The Descent Of Their Last End, Upon All The Scrolling And The Filed

(1) STUCK INSIDE. BBC’s Doctor Who site has posted a new short story by Paul Cornell, “The Shadow Passes”. The setup is —

… She’d been thinking that when Graham had found the sign. It had said, the letters wobbling a little in the way that indicated the TARDIS was translating for them, ‘This way to the shelters’.

‘Am I over-reacting,’ Graham had said, ‘or is that just a tiny bit worrying?’

Which was how they’d ended up in a bare room, one hundred feet underground, sitting in a circle, with the names of famous people stuck to their foreheads….

(2) BOUCHERCON CANCELLED. The annual mystery convention, which was to have been held in Sacramento, CA in October has been cancelled. Provisions will be made for the Anthony Awards and some other components of the con.

We’re terribly sad to tell you this, but out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and safety of our community, we are canceling Bouchercon 2020.

We have no way of knowing what the balance of this year holds for groups of people gathering, nor can we tell what the state of travel will be.

While we are canceling the actual Bouchercon convention, we are working to develop a different format for some of the Bouchercon events and activities such as the Anthony Awards, the short story anthology and the General Membership meeting. Nominations will continue to be open until June 5 for the Anthony Awards. As we work to develop other ways to present a traditional Bouchercon experience, we’ll keep in touch with you.

(3) VINTAGE ROLL. Via Shelf Awareness, a photo from the owners of a Sewickley, PA bookstore: “Toilet Paper Shortage Update: Penguin Bookshop”.

I inherited this 25-year-old roll of penguin toilet paper when I bought the Penguin in 2014. And darn it! Come hell or high water (or no more tp) we aren’t going to use it now.

Jim Freund said online, “I think The Penguin Shop, formerly headquartered in Brooklyn and with a physical store at the South Street Seaport called ‘Next Stop, South Pole’ used to carry that TP.  25 years ago sounds about right, so they may well have gotten it from there.”

(4) PAINT YOUR STARSHIP. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler finds women sff authors in 1965 – but it isn’t easy: “[Apr. 16, 1965] The Second Sex In Sff, Part VIII”. Six are named in this post.

It’s been almost two years since the last edition of our The Second Sex in SFF series came out.  In that time, women have only gotten more underrepresented in our genre.  Nevertheless, new women authors continue to arrive on the scene, and some who produced under gender-ambiguous names have become known to me…

(5) WHY THE FUTURE IS COVERED IN KUDZU. Geoff Manaugh, in “Tax Incentives and the Human Imagination” on Bldgblog, says that the landscape of horror films often depends on which state or country offers the biggest tax deductions, including such obscure ones as the amount of expenses caterers can deduct.

…My point is that an entire generation of people—not just Americans, but film viewers and coronavirus quarantine streamers and TV binge-watchers around the world—might have their imaginative landscapes shaped not by immaterial forces, by symbolic archetypes or universal rules bubbling up from the high-pressure depths of human psychology, but instead by tax breaks offered in particular U.S. states at particular moments in American history.

You grow up thinking about Gothic pine forests, or you fall asleep at night with visions of rain-soaked Georgia parking lots crowding your head, but it’s not just because of the aesthetic or atmospheric appeal of those landscapes; it’s because those landscapes are, in effect, receiving imaginative subsidies from local business bureaus. You’re dreaming of them for a reason….

(6) READ A KIJ JOHNSON STORY. Us in Flux is a new series of short stories and virtual gatherings from the Center for Science and the Imagination that explore themes of community, collaboration, and collective imagination in response to transformative events. The project’s second story launched today: “An Attempt at Exhausting My Deck,” by Kij Johnson.

On Monday, April 20 at 4 p.m. Eastern, they’ll have a virtual event on Zoom with Kij in conversation with Jessie Rack, an ecologist and coordinator for the Supporting Environmental Education and Communities program at the University of Arizona.

Programming Note: They’ll have two more weekly installments (stories by Chinelo Onwualu and Tochi Onyebuchi), then continue publishing on a biweekly schedule.  

(7) DENNEHY OBIT. Actor Brian Dennehy has died at the age of 81. His genre work included the movie Cocoon (1985), the Masters of Science Fiction episode “The Discarded” (2007) – based on a Harlan Ellison story, and voice work in Ratatouille (2007).

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • April 15, 1955 Science Fiction Theatre aired “Time Is Just A Place” as the second episode of the first season.  It’s from Jack Finey’s “Such Interesting Neighbors” (published in Collier’s, 1951) which would later form the basis of the March 20, 1987 adaptation of the story under its original title for Amazing Stories. The story is that neighbors are increasingly suspicious of the inventions of Mr. Heller, who claims to be an inventor, who uses a robotic vacuum cleaner and a flashlight that beams x-rays. It starred Don DeFore, Warren Stevens and Marie Windsor.  You can watch it here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 16, 1913 Lester Tremayne. Between 1953 and 1962, he appeared in these in these genre films: The War of the WorldsForbidden PlanetThe Monolith MonstersThe Angry Red Planet and Kong vs. Godzilla. He’d later appear in Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaMy Favorite MartianMy Living Doll (yes, it’s SF) and Shazam! (Died 2003.)
  • Born April 16, 1918 Spike Milligan. Writer and principal star of The Goon Show which lampooned  a number of genre works such as H. Rider Haggard’s She, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, James Hilton’s Lost Horizon and Quatermass and the Pit. You can find these scripts in The Goon Show Scripts and More Goon Show Scripts. (Died 2002.)
  • Born April 16, 1921 Peter Ustinov. He had a number of genre appearances such as being in Blackbeard’s Ghost as Captain Blackbeard, in the animated Robin Hood by voicing both  Prince John and King Richard, as simply The Old Man In Logan’s Run, Truck Driver In The Great Muppet Caper, and in Alice in Wonderland as The Walrus. He wrote The Old Man and Mr. Smith: A Fable which is clearly genre. (Died 2004.)
  • Born April 16, 1922 Kingsley Amis. So have you read The Green Man? I’m still not convinced that anything actually happened, or that rather everything including the hauntings were really in Maurice Allington’s decayed brain. I’m not seeing that he did much else for genre work other outside of The Alteration but he did write Colonel Sun: a James Bond Adventure under the pseudonym of Robert Markham and his New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction sounds fascinating published in the late Fifties, he shares his views on the genre and makes some predictions as there’ll never be a SF series on the boob tube. (Died 1995.)
  • Born April 16, 1922 John Christopher. Author of The Tripods, an alien invasion series which was adapted into both a radio and television series. He wrote a lot of genre fiction including the Fireball series in which Rome never fell, and The Death of Grass which I mention because it was one of the many YA post-apocalyptic novels that he wrote in the Fifties and Sixties that sold extremely well in the U.K. (Died 2012.)
  • Born April 16, 1962 Kathryn Cramer, 58. Writer, editor, and literary critic. She co-founded The New York Review of Science Fiction in 1988 with David G. Hartwell and others, and was its co-editor until 1991 and again since 1996. She edited with her husband David G. Hartwell Year’s Best Fantasy one through nine and Year’s Best SF seven through seventeen with him as well.  They did a number of anthologies of which I’ll single out The Hard SF Renaissance and The Space Opera Renaissance as particularly superb.
  • Born April 16, 1963 Scott Nicolay, 57. Navajo writer whose “Do You Like to Look At Monsters?“ was honored with the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story. It’s found in his Ana Kai Tangata: Tales of the Outer the Other the Damned and the Doomed collection. He hosts The Outer Dark, a weekly podcast about weird fiction.
  • Born April 16, 1983 Thomas Olde Heuvelt, 37. He won a Novelette Hugo at Sasquan for “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” (translated by Lia Belt). He’s best for HEX, a horror novel, and  “You Know How the Story Goes: A Tor.com Original”  is his other English language story. 

(10) BIRTHDAY QUIZ. And via Lise Andreasen (translated from this tweet):

Who am I?
One of my names is þórhildur.
I appear on stamps from Greenland.
One of my ancestors was Harald Bluetooth.
I illustrated Tolkien under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer.
I turn 80 today. 

Answer: The Danish queen. 

(11) CAN YOU DO THIS? Wil Wheaton publicized an opportunity for 3D makers to help frontline workers: “Gamers vs. COVID-19”. Contact info at the link.

My upcoming eSports competition show, Gamemaster, has been delayed like everything else, but the people involved wanted to use the resources they had already mustered for production to do some good at a moment in time when it’s so desperately needed.

So we’re organizing to 3D print what we can for our frontline healthcare workers!

(12) REFERENCE DIRECTOR! Anna Nemtova, in “Chernobyl Is Burning and a Sci-Fi Cult Is Blamed” on The Daily Beast, says that there are substantial fires in Ukraine near Chenobyl (closed to all visitors because of the coronavirus) and authorities blame “stalkers,” devotees of the Arkady and Boris Strugatsky novel Roadside Picnic, who are living on refuse left behind in the new sealed-off region, just like the “stalkers” in the Strugatsky brothers’ novel were scavengers who lived on refuse left behind by alien visitors.

…The Ukrainian state agency monitoring radiation levels has reported toxic lithium in the air, but the health minister reportedly says radiation levels are normal. Meanwhile, winds have brought the smoke in the direction of Kyiv, making hundreds of thousands of people under COVID-19 quarantine think twice before opening windows.

As often happens with wildfires, the cause of the blaze is not entirely clear. But in a truly strange twist, many in the region blame people who call themselves “stalkers,” inspired by characters in the classic science-fiction novel Roadside Picnic published back in 1972, in the Soviet era, by authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. 

It’s a story of how people on Earth deal with a visit by aliens who seem to have stopped off, paid little attention to the inhabitants, and, like irresponsible picnickers, left a lot of their junk lying around in half a dozen “Zones” on the planet. The aliens’ discarded refuse has enormous potential to change life on the planet, if only humans can figure out what it’s for. 

Most of the present-day stalkers are respectful of the Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl and some have even fixed up abandoned apartments in the abandoned town of Pripyat. But there are also criminals, and there are constant conflicts with what had been booming legal tourism in the area before coronavirus lockdowns began March 16.

“They hate us tourist guides and our tourists,” Olena Gnes from Chernobyl Tour told The Daily Beast. “Now, when no tourists can travel to Chernobyl’s zone, the ghost city and the villages around belong to them.” 

“The fire started right on the paths, where stalkers normally walk,” said Yaroslav Emelianenko, director of the Chernobyl Tour group, who saw the fire and visited burned villages Sunday, then returned to Kyiv to collect generators, respirators, and other aid for firefighters….

(13) SILVER SLATE. To make sure the Dragon Awards continue to enjoy the reputation they have today, Superversive SF signal boosted “Silver Empire’s Slate for the 2020 Dragon Awards”. Silver Empire publisher Russell Newquist’s stable includes all of these authors, plus John C. Wright and more.

Silver Empire’s Slate for the 2020 Dragon Awards

  • Best Sci Fi: Overlook by Jon Mollison
  • Best Fantasy (incl. Paranormal): Victory’s Kiss by Bokerah Brumley
  • Best YA: The Unbearable Heaviness of Remembering by L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright
  • Best Mi-SF: Justified by Jon Del Arroz
  • Best Alt History: This Deadly Engine by (Philip) Matt Ligon
  • Best Horror: Deus Vult by Declan Finn

(14) RHETORIC…ARISTOTLE…SOMETHING. Five years later (!), Chris Nuttall is still trying to reshape what the Sad and Rabid Puppies did into an argument he can win: “The Right to be Wrong”.

…For example, a few years ago, I attended a panel at a convention that touched on the Sad Puppies controversy.  One of the panellists put forward an argument that went a little like this: “Vox Day supports the Sad Puppies, Vox Day is a fascist bastard, therefore the Sad Puppies are evil.”  Quite apart from the sheer number of inaccuracies in the statement, it misses the fundamental point that [whatever] is not rendered right or wrong by whoever says it.  Just because Vox Day said something doesn’t make it automatically wrong.  That argument leads to logical fallacies like “Hitler was a vegetarian and openly promoted the lifestyle, therefore vegetarians are evil.”  I’m pretty sure that every last vegetarian would find that fallacy offensive.

The Sad Puppies affair does show, on a small scale, the problems caused by bad faith arguments.  No one would have objected to a statement that started “the Sad Puppy books are not Hugo-worthy” and gone on to give a calm and reasonable argument.  Even if the arguments were unconvincing, they would not have the corrosive effects of bad faith arguments like the one I mentioned above and many more. …

(15) AT THE CORE. “Astronomers saw a star dancing around a black hole. And it proves Einstein’s theory was right”CNN has the details.

… Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity suggested the orbit would look like an ellipse, but it doesn’t. The rosette shape, however, holds up Einstein’s theory of relativity.

“Einstein’s general relativity predicts that bound orbits of one object around another are not closed, as in Newtonian gravity, but precess forwards in the plane of motion,” said Reinhard Genzel, in a statement. He is the director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany.

…Sagittarius A* is the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. It’s 26,000 light-years from the sun. Our solar system exists on the edge of one of the Milky Way’s massive spiral arms.

Dense stars can be found around the black hole. One of them, the star known as S2 in this observation, passes closest to the black hole within less than 20 billion kilometers.

It’s one of the closest stars to be found orbiting the black hole.

And when it nears the black hole, the star is moving at 3% the speed of light. It takes 16 Earth years for the star to complete an orbit around the black hole.

“After following the star in its orbit for over two and a half decades, our exquisite measurements robustly detect S2’s Schwarzschild precession in its path around Sagittarius A*,” said Stefan Gillessen, who led the analysis of the measurements at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.

(16) PYRAMID IN THE SKY. “Europe’s Cheops telescope begins study of far-off worlds”.

Europe’s newest space telescope has begun ramping up its science operations.

Cheops was launched in December to study and characterise planets outside our Solar System.

And after a period of commissioning and testing, the orbiting observatory is now ready to fulfil its mission.

Early targets for investigation include the so-called “Styrofoam world” Kelt-11b; the “lava planet” 55 Cancri-e; and the “evaporating planet” GJ-436b.

Discovered in previous surveys of the sky, Cheops hopes to add to the knowledge of what these and hundreds of other far-flung objects are really like.

…Kelt-11b has provided a good early demonstration. This is a giant exoplanet some 30% larger than our own Jupiter that orbits very close to a star called HD 93396. Kelt-11b is a seemingly “puffed up” world with a very low density – hence the comparison with expanded foam.

From the way the light from the star dips when Kelt-11b moves in front to make its transit, Cheops’ exquisite photometer instrument is able to determine the planet’s diameter to be 181,600km (plus or minus 4,290km). This measurement is over five times more precise than was possible using a ground-based telescope.

(17) MATTER OF IMPORTANCE. BBC reports “Biggest cosmic mystery ‘step closer’ to solution”.

Stars, galaxies, planets, pretty much everything that makes up our everyday lives owes its existence to a cosmic quirk.

The nature of this quirk, which allowed matter to dominate the Universe at the expense of antimatter, remains a mystery.

Now, results from an experiment in Japan could help researchers solve the puzzle – one of the biggest in science.

It hinges on a difference in the way matter and antimatter particles behave.

…During the first fractions of a second of the Big Bang, the hot, dense Universe was fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs popping in and out of existence. Without some other, unknown mechanism at play, the Universe should contain nothing but leftover energy.

“It would be pretty boring and we wouldn’t be here,” Prof Stefan Söldner-Rembold, head of the particle physics group at the University of Manchester, told BBC News.

So what happened to tip the balance?

That’s where the T2K experiment comes in. T2K is based at the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory, based underground in the Kamioka area of Hida, Japan.

(18) VACCINE RESEARCH. “Global race to a COVID-19 vaccine” — a bit Harvard-centric, but a lot of detail on various approaches.

In Dan Barouch’s lab, many researchers have not taken a day off since early January, and virtually all are working nearly seven days week to develop a vaccine that could help end the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everybody wants to contribute to this global crisis as best they can,” said Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The team hopes their work will be worth it. There is cause for optimism.

The lab developed a vaccine in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos., the drug-making arm of Johnson & Johnson. It plans to launch clinical trials in the fall as part of a joint $1 billion collaboration agreement announced by the U.S. government and Johnson & Johnson on March 30…..

(19) ALGOLRITHIM AND BLUES. “Coronavirus: Facebook alters virus policy after damning misinformation report”.

Facebook is changing how it treats Covid-19 misinformation after a damning report into its handling of the virus.

Users who have read, watched or shared false coronavirus content will receive a pop-up alert urging them to go the World Health Organisation’s website.

A study had indicated Facebook was frequently failing to clamp down on false posts, particularly when they were in languages other than English.

Facebook said the research did not reflect the work it had done recently.

The California tech firm says it will start showing the messages at the top of news feeds “in the coming weeks”.

The messages will direct people to a World Health Organisation webpage where myths are debunked.

The changes have been prompted by a major study of misinformation on the platform across six languages by Avaaz, a crowdfunded activist group.

Researchers say millions of Facebook users continue to be exposed to coronavirus misinformation, without any warning on the platform.

The group found some of the most dangerous falsehoods had received hundreds of thousands of views, including claims like “black people are resistant to coronavirus” and “Coronavirus is destroyed by chlorine dioxide”.

(20) WHAT GOES AROUND. The coronavirus has turned this bus into the “Dave Kyle says you can’t sit here” Express. (Reference explained at the link.)

(21) KEEP THEM DOGIES ROLLIN’. Digital Trends tells how “Stanford’s shape-shifting ‘balloon animal’ robot could one day explore space”.

The cool thing about balloon animals is that, using the same basic inflatable building blocks, a skilled person can create just about anything you could ask for. That same methodology is what’s at the heart of a recent Stanford University and University of California, Santa Barbara, soft robotics project. Described by its creators as a “large-scale isoperimetric soft robot,” it’s a human-scale robot created from a series of identical robot roller modules that are mounted onto inflatable fabric tubes. Just like the balloon animals you remember, this leads to some impressive shape-shifting inventiveness….

[Thanks to Contrarius, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cliff (this is the other half of a suggestion, the first part of which ran last year on June 15).]

85 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/16/20 And Faintly Falling, Like The Descent Of Their Last End, Upon All The Scrolling And The Filed

  1. @JJ

    I have never suggested that the Hugos should be taken away from Worldcon members. I am advocating for there being more Worldcon members. Why is supporting Worldcon a bad thing?

    FWIW, my protest has little to do with “there isn’t enough stuff for Dann on the ballot” and more to do with “this is a much larger genre, the works should reflect the breadth and the depth of the entire genre”. I’m sure people No Awarded those works legitimately as a matter of taste/preference. IMHO, the larger group of people using NA were probably more motivated by voting against slating. I get where that sentiment comes from as well.

    @Andrew

    I would not describe Ninefox Gambit (and the rest of the series) as MilSF. I would describe Old Man’s War (and Ghost Brigades) as MilSF. FWIW, I thought the Imperial Radch series was MilSF or at least contained a lot of MilSF qualities. I had other issues with those books.

    I agree that the Broken Earth series did contain a lot of grimdark elements. It was also well written and engaging on multiple levels. It was towards the top of my ballot in those years. I think there are more works worth consideration from that sub-genre. I’m unfamiliar with Windup Girl, so I can’t comment on whether it is grimdark or not. There are some grimdark elements to The City in the Middle of the Night.

    @PhilRM

    <

    blockquote>Your #4 makes it sound as though there is some kind of organized conspiracy to prevent anyone from joining in via steps 1 through 3 (and as a practical matter, step 2 is the only one required).

    <

    blockquote>

    I’ve been guilty…and mistaken…of making such assertions in the past. I’m not making that assertion now.

    You go to New York, you can expect to meet a lot of Yankees and Mets fans. Regional proximity isn’t exactly a conspiracy. There might be some Red Sox fans, but they are few and generally not too loud about it. I’m a Tigers fan but appreciate talent from across the league. [Apologies to those unfamiliar with American baseball….]

    @Contrarius

    I agree that size isn’t necessarily everything. I think the Goodreads Awards do benefit from a larger voting pool. I think they miss some good things by being pre-filtered by Goodreads based on the number/level of reviews. I’m also the guy that promotes SPFBO and that is clearly a group of authors/books that has a very small fan base. I also wonder if the Goodreads awards suffer from the popularity contest problems that seem to be associated with the Dragon Awards.

    I’m suggesting that casting a wider net will bring in a broader variety of authors and works.

    Regards,
    Dann
    When I was 14, I thought, ‘How wonderful to be a science fiction writer. I’d like to do that.’ I have never lost touch with that ambitious 14-year-old, and I can’t help chuckling and thinking, ‘You did it, and you did it right.’ – Robert Silverberg

  2. @JJ Worldcon Members are what have made the Hugo Awards so prestigious. I don’t see anyone claiming that the GoodReads Awards, which have tens of thousands of voters, are prestigious — because they’re not. There is a difference between quantity and quality.

    Expanding on this point – people have been bemoaning the “fact” that SF convention fandom is “graying” since I got into SF convention fandom — in 1977 or thereabouts. <wry> But the advantage of an older electorate for awards (I’d guess Worldcon members skew toward 45+, because of the cost of travel, hotel, and membership, and because it’s easier to attend if you don’t have young kids) is that many, probably most, Hugo voters have “been there, seen that”; they have a 20+ year history of reading in the field, which gives them a pretty good feel, on average, for what’s genuinely new and interesting, as opposed to reworked old tropes.*

    I’m reminded of something a very young and earnest SF fan said to me back in, oh, probably1978 or 1979. They thought the Sword of Shannara was amazing. And then they read Tolkein and thought it was derivative of Terry Brooks, and didn’t see what all the fuss was about….

    Wide reading gives context. Older readers usually have had the time to do the wide reading that most younger readers simply haven’t, yet. Because Worldcon membership tends to skew, for purely economic reasons, toward older readers… I honestly think that this is why the Hugos have earned the reputation for prestige and Goodreads and the Dragons… haven’t.

    Just my two cents.

    *Which is not to say that old tropes, re-worked by a master storyteller, isn’t Hugo-worthy… but it’s a high bar to clear.

  3. @Cassy B: I think it was TNH, possibly in her how-to-copyedit-for-Tor rules) a copyeditor asking whether democracy in Classical Athens wasn’t an intrusively modern concept…. And then there are the people who think Shakespeare wrote in clichés.

    Spider Robinson’s “Melancholy Elephants” has a counter-argument to some of yours, but I largely disagree with him; I think that at least in fiction it’s possible to respectably rework ploughed ground. The issue with some of the works @JJ discussed is (IMO) a milder form of the renowned mundane author coming into genre with something they think is blindingly original when it’s already been well-discussed.

  4. @Dann:

    I would not describe Ninefox Gambit (and the rest of the series) as MilSF. I would describe Old Man’s War (and Ghost Brigades) as MilSF. FWIW, I thought the Imperial Radch series was MilSF or at least contained a lot of MilSF qualities. I had other issues with those books.

    Fair enough, though I hope you can see how others might consider them to be so. At any rate, we’ve identified a significant amount of MilSF in recent years’ nominations.

    Speaking of MilSF, I’m looking forward to the next Manticore Ascendant book (I’m a little behind in the main line of the series, but fully up-to-date on the prequel series, for some reason) and hoping to get back to Jack Campbell’s series after I’m caught up on Hugo reading.

  5. @Dann: FWIW, my protest has little to do with “there isn’t enough stuff for Dann on the ballot” and more to do with “this is a much larger genre, the works should reflect the breadth and the depth of the entire genre”.

    I’m suggesting that casting a wider net will bring in a broader variety of authors and works.

    So as a practical matter, what precisely are you suggesting? Because I don’t see how your position can be distinguished from “People should read more of the fiction that I like and nominate it for the Hugos.” Which is pretty much indistinguishable from my position, the difference being that I don’t see any reason why Hugo voters should alter their preferences to reflect mine.

  6. I read everything in the 2015 packet and I had to google to figure out which stories you were talking about. And yet there are stories in the Long List Anthology that I remember instantly. (Eugie Foster was robbed!)

    A Hugo winner should, at the very least, be memorable.

  7. @Dann: there’s also an unmarked assumption that runs through your entire argument: that if only Hugo voters would read more MilSF/Grimdark/whatever else you wish there was more of on the ballot, they’d be sure to consider it award-worthy. You’re effectively imputing a form of false consciousness to Hugo voters: they only nominate the works they do because they aren’t reading the really good stuff. The trouble is that (a) you have no idea whether substantial numbers of Hugo voters are reading lots of MilSF etc, and just don’t generally find it Hugo-worthy, and (b) disallow the possibility that Hugo voters aren’t reading the works you want to see on the ballot because their tastes simply don’t agree with yours: they’ve sampled enough Grimdark or whatever to know that they generally don’t care for it or hold it in much regard.

  8. I feel like we are rehashing a previous conversation.

    The Hugo awards are their own thing: yes with a history, yes, tied to a con, yes with a core of regular nominators/voters. What the Hugos are not: the Hugos are not meant to be all things to everyone. That is plainly impossible.

    There have always been criticisms of it, but that is also true of any award you might care to name. (If there is a perfect award, please let me know in a comment). What the Hugos do, they do well. Yes there have been criticisms that it is too insular, too expensive to get involved. But IMO that has been largely addressed with the supporting membership, helped by the availability of the Hugo Reader packet (which to be clear is not ever guaranteed), and greater publicity.

    (The number of nominators/voters were low on the early 2000s but have been trending up since)

  9. Dann665: I have never suggested that the Hugos should be taken away from Worldcon members. I am advocating for there being more Worldcon members. Why is supporting Worldcon a bad thing? … I’m suggesting that casting a wider net will bring in a broader variety of authors and works.

    Okay, and how are you suggesting that be accomplished? Thus far all you’ve offered is vague hand-waving. As others have pointed out, Worldcon membership is open to anyone.

     
    Dann665: this is a much larger genre, the works should reflect the breadth and the depth of the entire genre

    No. This is the same fallacy that the Puppies kept banging on with. The ballot should reflect the preferences of Worldcon members. Period. Full stop. End of. And the reason the Hugo Awards are prestigious is because Worldcon members are extremely well-read and discerning, and they tend to nominate groundbreaking and boundary-pushing works instead of the unobjectionable beach reads which monopolize the bestseller lists and the peoples’ choice-type awards.

  10. @Dann

    2016 – Fancasting category
    Cane and Rinse, The Rageaholic, and HelloGreedo. I thought all three were very entertaining for various reasons. Although TBH, I don’t know that I would want every fancasting nominee to adopt the persona of The Rageaholic. A little of that goes a long way.

    The Rageaholic was some guy yelling his political grievances at the camera. I found it unwatchable and no awarded it. Hello Greedo was slight, but fun and I placed it above no award. I think Cane and Rinse was the roleplaying podcast. No, I’m not a roleplayer and while it was not badly done, I had no way of evaluating it, because I was not familiar with the subject they were talking about, so I left it off my ballot.

    2106 – Novel
    Cinderspires (first place on my ballot).

    Cinderspires was entertaining enough, though it had plenty of worldbuilding issues (IMO Jim Butcher is better when his novels are set in the real world plus magic), technical issues (a windlass is a winch, not a ship. Real world airships don’t work that way) and focussed on the wrong characters. It also was too long and the motivation for the final battle made no sense. It ended up somewhere in the middle of my ballot, but above No Award.

    Additionally, I believe that Sebastien de Castell was done wrong by putting him below No Award

    I forgot to mention Sebastien de Castell in my earlier post, but I fully agree with you. I think I placed him second on my ballot, underneath Alyssa Wong, but well above the eventual winner Andy Weir, whose books just don’t do it for me. And in fact, I told him that I enjoyed his series and that I was sorry he got no awarded because of puppy shenangigans, when I ran into him in the green room in Helsinki.

    2015 – Novella
    Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman

    I didn’t like that one at all. It was better than the JCW stories, but it just didn’t work for me. It also doesn’t help that I haven’t read the BOLO stories. Besides, “Big Boys Don’t Cry” and “Turncoat” were hampered by the fact that there were better stories about sentient war machines published around the same time. “Damages” by David D. Levine comes to mind.

    2015 – Novellete
    Ashes to Ashes…. by Gray Rinehart (I had 3 of 5 below No Award)

    Competently written and Gray Rhinehart seems to be a decent person, but I don’t like religion in my SF.

    2015 – Short Story
    Totaled by Kary English was very good. On a Spiritual Plain and Turncoat also made it above No Award.

    “Totaled” was not exactly new, but competent enough and I placed it above No Award. “Turncoat” suffered, because “Damages” by David D. Levine and the Imperial Radch trilogy handed a similar subject so much better. “On Spiritual Plane” didn’t work for me, because I don’t like religion in my SF.

    2015 – Fancasting
    Dungeon Crawlers Radio made it above No Award on my ballot. It was a good listen.

    I don’t remember that one at all. Was it a roleplaying podcast? In that case, see above. I did place one fancast above No Award – a horror story podcast.

    @Cora Buhlert

    I also don’t see why we need to widen the pool of nominators. The pool is already big enough.

    I respectfully disagree. There are easily thousands of books (tens of thousands??) published each year. There are millions of readers. Less than 2000 people end up nominating for what is supposed to be the premier reader-voted award that covers everything in the SFF genre. The nomination could be an order of magnitude greater and I think the outcome would be improved.

    You cut me off here, since I wrote that the nominator pool is wide enough, because in theory (unless you’re poor or from a country with a very bad exchange rate) anybody can buy a Worldcon supporting membership, nominate and vote. Besides, not even all Worldcon members (who already paid for memberships) nominate and vote. There isn’t much Worldcon can do about this except extensively publicise the Hugos, which they already do.

    A larger pool of nominators might bring in an occasional bit of MilSF, horror, or grimdark. It might also bring in a broader range of authors/editors/creators. IMO, those would be beneficial results.

    Military SF is well represented, e.g. The Light Brigade, the Imperial Radch trilogy, the Machineries of Empire trilogy, “The Secret Life of Bots”, the Old Man’s War books, some of the Vorkosigan books, etc…

    Grimdark is represented, e.g. the Broken Earth trilogy, the Rivers Solomon and Shiv Ramdas stories, R.F. Kuang’s (Astounding finalist) books, etc…

    Horror is represented, e.g. works by Alyssa Wong and Victor LaValle, Nibidita Den’s story, a Fran Wilde short story a few years ago, Rivers Solomon’s two finalists this year.

    Though I agree that some subgenres do better at the Hugos than others. Urban fantasy, for example, gets very rarely nominated, unless written by Seanan McGuire.

    Also, as others have said, Hugo nominators and voters are a self-selected group who read/watch/listen a lot and often have an extensive knowledge of the genre. Therefore, an entertaining but derivative book quite often doesn’t cut it for Hugo voters, no matter how popular it may be elsewhere. And I think that Hugos wouldn’t have the reputation they have, if not for the highly knowledgable electorate.

  11. @Dann —

    I am advocating for there being more Worldcon members.

    So go out and tell everyone they ought to be joining. That’s what many of us have told puppy types for years. Why do you think we on 770 would have any objection to this?

    FWIW, my protest has little to do with “there isn’t enough stuff for Dann on the ballot” and more to do with “this is a much larger genre, the works should reflect the breadth and the depth of the entire genre”.

    Phil has beaten me to it again, and Soon Lee is right. We’ve been over this before — multiple times.

    You keep assuming that book x or subgenre y fails to appear on the ballot because Hugo voters haven’t read it. But there is no evidence your assumption is true. In fact, in many cases we know that Hugo voters HAVE read book x or subgenre y, and they simply didn’t think those books were worthy or suitable for nomination. For example, the Dresden Files. Bazillions of people, including bazillions of Hugo voters, have read — and loved! — those books. Including me. But that doesn’t mean we think they belong on the Hugo novel ballot (note: they are perfect for the series award, now that there is one). We can love both steak and candy at the same time, but we are able to tell the difference.

    I would not describe Ninefox Gambit (and the rest of the series) as MilSF.

    Oh, cmon. They were all about GENERAL Jedao, warships, military outposts, invasions, and space battles galore. You can’t handwave them away as “not Milsf” just because they don’t suit your argument.

  12. @Dann: ISTM that you are complaining that {right,Right}-thinking MilSF is not getting nominated. It used to, occasionally, but ISTM voters got tired of writers beating the same imperialistic drum — and not even beating it very well. And wrt the overall complaint about the Hugos not representing the breadth/depth of the field: consider that this is true because the field obeys Sturgeon’s Law. Most of what the Puppies put in the ballot appears to have been in the 90%; do you really want to be known as the Roman Hruska of the net?

  13. @Bonnie McDaniel: Ah, thanks! I was so happy to be able to remember the shortcut to pull up the emojis on my laptop, darn WordPress . . . but this’ll work! I hope: 😹 Now to bookmark that site. Thanks again.

    ETA: YES! 😌 I just can’t find the confetti ball one. Here we go, doing it manually based on what my computer tells me is the hex code. . . . 🎊

    @Contrarius (especially): Thanks, because I was surprised at @Dann665 not seeing the “Machineries of Empire” series as MilSF. I’ll grant it’s unusual (magical calendar-based “tech”), but it seems very Mil to me and it reads SF to me despite calendrical stuff, thus, MilSF. Maybe I’d want to say MilSFF, but surely it can be rounded to MilSF.

  14. P.S. To clarify, I converted the hex to decimal to insert the confetti ball/celebration one.

    Okay I will stop rambling about my sub-par emoji-ness now. Thanks again, @Bonnie!

  15. @Kendall —

    @Contrarius (especially): Thanks, because I was surprised at @Dann665 not seeing the “Machineries of Empire” series as MilSF.

    I suspect Dann is trying to wiggle out of calling the books MilSF by categorizing them as fantasy instead. To which I say: Honor Harrington has telepathy, so is it fantasy too?

  16. @Andrew

    Fair enough, though I hope you can see how others might consider them to be so.

    Indeed. That would be a sound assumption.

    I’ve not had the opportunity to get into the Manticore books, but hear good things.

    @PhilRM

    Because I don’t see how your position can be distinguished from “People should read more of the fiction that I like and nominate it for the Hugos.”

    I assume that any single nominator is operating on that good faith basis. If one doesn’t believe a given work to be worth broader interest, then why nominate it?

    The source of my criticism is looking at the outcome of the process and seeing a repetition in themes and/or authors while knowing that there are authors/works that never seem to receive much attention despite operating at a (IMHO) comparable level.

    …they’ve sampled enough Grimdark or whatever to know that they generally don’t care for it or hold it in much regard.

    As long as the reverse situation is equally acceptable, I’m not seeing the problem.

    @JJ

    And the reason the Hugo Awards are prestigious is because Worldcon members are extremely well-read and discerning,

    That’s a bit of circular logic.

    @Cora Buhlert

    Competently written and Gray Rhinehart seems to be a decent person, but I don’t like religion in my SF.

    It’s like you are in my head while I’m “noping” right out of anything I’ve read by JCW. [chuckle]

    I forgot to mention Sebastien de Castell in my earlier post, but I fully agree with you. I think I placed him second on my ballot, underneath Alyssa Wong, but well above the eventual winner Andy Weir, whose books just don’t do it for me. And in fact, I told him that I enjoyed his series and that I was sorry he got no awarded because of puppy shenangigans, when I ran into him in the green room in Helsinki.

    Thanks…and well done.

    @Contrarius

    They were all about GENERAL Jedao, warships, military outposts, invasions, and space battles galore.

    Slathering a story with militarium doesn’t make it MilSF, IMHO. Other perspectives are certainly valid, but this mine.

    [Clarifying based on reading the rest of the responses. Good MilSF includes facets of individual service and engagement with one’s comrades. Sometimes that translates into rejecting the state justification for war. But good MilSF includes teamwork, individual choice, and individual initiative. [Parenthetically inside my already parenthetical addition, the first couple of books in Nuttall’s “The Empire Corps” series are very good.]

    The Machines of War series read to me like a kid playing with their toy soldiers in the sandbox. The toys don’t get a choice in what they do and whether or not they get blown up. The aspect of wiping the minds of experienced soldiers also undermined the concept of fielding an effective…and experienced….fighting force.

    And the calendrical rot thing, while interesting in concept, failed in execution for me. While controlling the perception of time might be a useful means of imposing an ideology, time occurs regardless of human perception which would make it hard to use the perception of time in that manner. It certainly wouldn’t be something that could change with the flip of a rhetorical switch.]

    @Chip Hitchcock

    do you really want to be known as the Roman Hruska of the net?

    Bonus points for obscurity.

    Given that Hruska’s quote references a progressive justice that was famed for advocating judicial restraint in the review/control of federal agencies (the courts should exercise less Constitutional control of those agencies) and another justice that extolled his self-proclaimed mediocrity, I’m not sure that is quite as much sting there as you intended.

    In any case, you are presuming that the works that I have nominated are all mediocre. Some might well be, from your perspective. I’ll be glad to hear your thoughts after you’ve read them.

    In any case, Soon Lee is correct. That spot wasn’t even bloody much less equine shaped when we started. I thought Nuttall’s piece was worth reading and I’m glad OGH shared it here.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Fate pulls you in different directions. – Clint Eastwood

  17. @Kendall: telepathy at least used to be a trope of science fiction, although AFAICT the early studies that Campbell pushed have been at best not reproduced and often debunked; I would argue that Julian May’s books are science fiction rather than fantasy. The Machineries of Empire OTOH relies on something akin to astrology. OTGH, the term is “MilSF”, and “SF” is a soft term (e.g., “speculative fabulation”); if what is intended is really military science fiction, they should call it MilSkiffy — but that would probably upset all the Jerry Pournelle lungfishes (see Gonick), and let the rest of us point and laugh.

    This assumes that the debaters are splitters rather than lumpers, which is a ~theological division that can be orthogonal to politics; given the limitations our space program and physics research have run into, I sometimes think almost all “science fiction” is in fact fantasy with new terms taped over the old….

  18. Of course the Machineries of Empire is MilSF. It’s about alien stellar empires engaged in war, with military leaders and troops, sentient warships, and strategic battle descriptions. The calendrical physics are just as “hard SF” as FTL travel is.

    I can see why people whose idea of MilSF is a very narrow one that only includes American colonialist narratives might not be able to recognize any other sort of MilSF, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still MilSF. 🙄

  19. @Chip

    do you really want to be known as the Roman Hruska of the net?

    I understood that reference.

  20. @JJ —

    I can see why people whose idea of MilSF is a very narrow one that only includes American colonialist narratives might not be able to recognize any other sort of MilSF, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is still MilSF. ?

    This. It’s the “No true MilSF” fallacy.

    @Chip —

    @Kendall: telepathy at least used to be a trope of science fiction

    That was actually me.

    As you point out, ftl is also a trope of “sf”. Which just illustrates — as you also mention — that sf classically contains lots of non-science.

    I sometimes think almost all “science fiction” is in fact fantasy with new terms taped over the old….

    This.

  21. @Dann665, The source of my criticism is looking at the outcome of the process and seeing a repetition in themes and/or authors while knowing that there are authors/works that never seem to receive much attention despite operating at a (IMHO) comparable level.

    Well, I, for one, find most of the new books and especially the new authors that I read from sites like this one. If you’ve encountered a great-but-new author, or a great-but-overlooked author, or a simply fantastic book (whether Hugo quality or just “a fun beach read”) I strongly encourage you to post it here. Otherwise, how will the readers of this fanzine learn about them?

    Nobody can nominate them if nobody’s read them, and nobody can read them if they never hear about them.

    Keeping up with SF publishing these days is like drinking from a firehose. Back in the 1970s it was possible to read pretty much every SFF novel that was released; you just had to follow a handful of imprints. Now… it’s simply not possible.

    So, the best way to address your quandary is to recommend what you love. Some people (maybe me) will also love it. Of course, some people (maybe me) will hate it, that’s the way it works. People have different tastes. But I’ll never know if I love it or hate it if nobody tells me about it.

  22. @Dann —

    The source of my criticism is looking at the outcome of the process and seeing a repetition in themes and/or authors while knowing that there are authors/works that never seem to receive much attention despite operating at a (IMHO) comparable level.

    So advertise them, and keep advertising them. If nobody agrees with your choices, too bad, so sad; that’s the way awards work.

    @JJ

    And the reason the Hugo Awards are prestigious is because Worldcon members are extremely well-read and discerning,

    That’s a bit of circular logic.

    No, actually, it isn’t. The Worldcon members are extremely well-read. They award books that they believe to be exceptional. The Rest Of The World reads them, and, over the course of decades, thinks something along the lines of “You know, those Hugo guys have awarded a bunch of great books.” The proximate cause of the awards becoming prestigious is the RESULTS — a long list of books that many people outside of the votership consider to be great books. But the ultimate cause of the awards becoming prestigious is that the voters are extremely well-read and knowledgeable about the field, and thus consistently they choose great books.

    Slathering a story with militarium doesn’t make it MilSF, IMHO. Other perspectives are certainly valid, but this mine.

    You’re playing “No true MilSF”, Dann. Don’t expect people to respect your claim that “the Hugos need more MilSF” when you are using a non-standard definition of the term.

    [Clarifying based on reading the rest of the responses. Good MilSF includes facets of individual service and engagement with one’s comrades.

    Which the Machineries books does in spades.

    The Machines of War series read to me like a kid playing with their toy soldiers in the sandbox.

    Balderdash.

    The toys don’t get a choice in what they do

    Which was a large part of the POINT OF THE SERIES. Jedao’s entire aim was to GIVE THEM CHOICES.

    And the calendrical rot thing, while interesting in concept, failed in execution for me.

    Which has zip to do with whether the books qualified as MilSF or not.

  23. @Dann: I assume that any single nominator is operating on that good faith basis. If one doesn’t believe a given work to be worth broader interest, then why nominate it?

    The source of my criticism is looking at the outcome of the process and seeing a repetition in themes and/or authors while knowing that there are authors/works that never seem to receive much attention despite operating at a (IMHO) comparable level.

    This isn’t an argument, it’s just a restatement of your belief that the works you like are what should be winning awards: you don’t like the outcome of the process, therefore the process needs to be changed.

    …they’ve sampled enough Grimdark or whatever to know that they generally don’t care for it or hold it in much regard.

    As long as the reverse situation is equally acceptable, I’m not seeing the problem.

    Your entire argument is that because you don’t generally care for the Hugo winners, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

  24. Dann665:

    And the reason the Hugo Awards are prestigious is because Worldcon members are extremely well-read and discerning, and they tend to nominate groundbreaking and boundary-pushing works instead of the unobjectionable beach reads which monopolize the bestseller lists and the peoples’ choice-type awards.

    That’s a bit of circular logic.

    No, it’s not. It’s a simple statement of fact — which you have noticeably failed to contradict.

    And I see that you are still studiously avoiding responding to requests by PhilRM, Contrarius, Cora, and me to explain exactly how you are proposing that the Hugo nominating and voting base should be expanded. Why is that?

  25. @John A. Arkansawyer

    Military SF was, on average, a lot better before it became the genre MilSF.

    While doing the Retro Reviews project, I was stunned how much military SF there already was in the 1940s, long before Starship Troopers, let alone The Forever War. I also think that military SF was more varied and interesting before it turned into its own subgenre with tropes and audience expecations.

    @Dann
    Military SF is science fiction (and sometimes fantasy) about military themes, characters and situations. According to this definition, Machineries of Empire is absolutely military SF. It may not be the sort of military SF you like to read, but it is still military SF.

    The source of my criticism is looking at the outcome of the process and seeing a repetition in themes and/or authors while knowing that there are authors/works that never seem to receive much attention despite operating at a (IMHO) comparable level.

    That has never been different, for as long as the Hugos have existed. There have always been themes and authors which were popular with Worldcon members and were nominated a lot. Just as there have always been authors who did excellent work and were completely overlooked by the Hugos. There have always been examples of popular authors being nominated or even winning for weaker works. Much as I like Fritz Leiber, The Wanderer was not the best SFF novel of 1964. Much as I like Asimov, Foundation’s Edge was not the best SFF novel of 1983.

    In general, I’ve been quite happy with the recent years of Hugo finalists and winners. A lot happier than I was e.g. in the late 2000s.

    If you’re not happy with the current Hugo finalists, the only thing you can do is recommend the works you think are being overlooked.

  26. @Dann665: you’re welcome to your opinion, humble or otherwise — but ISTM that most of the rest of us find MilSF-in-your-definition to have limited room for innovation (I hadn’t thought the term was limited to buddy stories — silly me!) even when it wasn’t pounding a discredible point of view.

    You grossly distort both the specific quote and the general choices of Nixon’s cracker strategy. According to Wikipedia, Hruska said

    Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance? We can’t have all Brandeises, Frankfurters and Cardozos.

    — not in any way a support of Carswell’s policies, but an argument in favor of opening some of the country’s most challenging posts to the unqualified on the grounds of “representation”. The fact that the judge himself acknowledged his mediocrity does not reduce the … dimness … of arguing that such a person should elevated, or such a work should be recognized as among the very best. Your characterization of a reactionary, ethically suspect judge as “progressive” is just disgusting.

  27. @Cora Buhlert: “Much as I like Fritz Leiber, The Wanderer was not the best SFF novel of 1964.”

    I haven’t read Davy, but nothing else I see in a quick look sounds credible to me but the Cordwainer Smith, and I think I’d go with The Wanderer.

  28. @Chip Hitchcock: “cracker strategy”

    I object to that characterization of this specific incident. Please don’t associate being a poor white southerner with being a mediocre human being. It’s unkind and untrue.

    I think it dates to the same period as the Southern strategy, and that is the appropriate word for it. A significant number of southern segregationists were not crackers, but people as civilized and cultured as Hermann Goering, much more like you or me than any cracker. They were, on average, the worst and most culpable.

  29. @John A. Arkansawyer

    I haven’t read Davy, but nothing else I see in a quick look sounds credible to me but the Cordwainer Smith, and I think I’d go with The Wanderer.

    I reviewed both Davy and Message from the Eocene by Margaret St. Clair for Galactic Journey last year and both were IMO better than The Wanderer.

    And for the 1964 Galactic Stars, where the Galactic Journey reviewers nominate their favourites, we went with the Cordwainer Smith, Message from the Eocene and The Other Human Race by H. Beam Piper. The Wanderer didn’t even get an honourable mention.

  30. @Cora Buhlert: I may just have first read The Wanderer at the right age to be wowed by it, but I’ve revisited it fairly often since, and I always find it rewarding. It was the first novel with the War-and-Peace form that I’d ever read, too, and I think that made an impression. It’s a great form for a big story.

  31. @John A. Arkansawyer

    Military SF was, on average, a lot better before it became the genre MilSF.

    Years ago, James Nicoll wrote an alt-hist post (at soc.hist.what-if, probably) in which the MilSF subgenre was codified in a different way than actually occurred (I forget all the details). Amusingly one person who responded didn’t realize it was a double-blind what if (an alternate history written from the point of view of someone themselves in an alternate history (as in Churchill’s What if Lee had Not Won at Gettysburg)), and got terribly confused.

  32. @Cassy B

    I agree and I do try pointing things out from time to time. Periodically, being the first to point something out rather than seeing something I can support ends up being a bit frustrating.

    @Cora Buhlert

    To come at this a bit differently, there was a discussion back in January about whether or not Nearl Peart (and Rush) qualified as being “genre”. I’m firmly on the “yes” side of that discussion. Others felt differently. We disagreed, but no one was treated as if their opinion wasn’t within the realm of reality.

    FWIW, along with Rush, I’d add Styx to the list of genre music for their Mr. Roboto and The Mission albums.

    For me, Machinery of Empire reads as something between SF and F. It was pretty good. It might not be at the top of my “here read this” list, but I did enjoy my time with the books I read.

    It just doesn’t read as MilSF…or MilSF/F….to me in the same way that Old Man’s War and Ghost Brigades reads as MilSF.

    Regards,
    Dann
    I don’t think I’ve met anyone with a stronger work ethic than Ray Charles. – Clint Eastwood

  33. @John A. Arkansawyer: a handful of Goerings don’t tip a state’s electoral votes; Nixon was aiming to flip the mass of yellow-doggers, but someone had the slyness to use a term that could be publicly discussed instead of acknowledging that Nixon was trying a localized version of what Trump played nationally.

  34. John Hertz responds by carrier pigeon:

    I respectfully suggest The Wanderer (F. Leiber, 1964) is excellent and may be great.

    It was one of three Classics of SF we discussed at Renovation, the 69th Worldcon. I gave the con this note

    Here are a host of viewpoints, a first contact with aliens story as we learn a third of the way in, a look at some favorite notions like “Rovers are free and good” and “Love conquers all” and a breathtaking exercise in climax and perspective. Leiber’s second Hugo-winning novel

    from which you can deduce I also applaud The Big Time (1958).

    You can see the context I put The Wanderer in here http://file770.com/ah-the-classics/ (Reno added the Wikipedia links; I don’t endorse them) and The Big Time here http://file770.com/denvention-3s-classics-of-science-fiction/.

    My notion of classic then and still is

    A classic is a work that survives its own time. After the currents which might have sustained it have changed, it remains, and is seen to be worthwhile for itself.

    You can get at a dozen book notes by me, each of a thousand words or two, via links on the sidebar.

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