Pixel Scroll 4/2/19 Get Me Pixels! Pixels Of Scroller-Man!

(1) HUGO FOR A WAR YEAR. Cora Buhlert provides a very fine walkthrough of today’s Retro nominees in “Some Thoughts on the Hugo Award Finalists, Part I: The 1944 Retro Hugo Awards”.

The most remarkable thing about the 1944 Retro Hugos is that there is no Heinlein. Not a single Heinlein story was nominated for the Retro Hugos this year, not because fandom has suddenly lost its taste for Heinlein, but because Heinlein was too busy in 1943 testing military equipment at the Navy Yard* to write science fiction. Also notable by his absence (except for one fairly obscure story) is Isaac Asimov, who was also too busy testing military equipment at the Navy Yard to write, though unlike Heinlein, Asimov didn’t have a choice, because he was at danger of being drafted and expected (not without justification) that he’d be killed if he were ever taken prisoner, as Alex Nevala-Lee describes in his (excellent) chronicle of the Golden Age and what followed Astounding.

World War II also took other Golden Age stalwarts such as Lester Del Rey (also busily doing something at the Navy Yard) and L. Ron Hubbard (busily shooting at phantom subs off the Mexican coast) out of the game, leaving the field open for other voices and the 1944 Retro Hugo finalists certainly reflect that. This is a good thing, because it means that writers who are not normally recognised by the Retro Hugo Awards (though some of them have been recognised by the regular Hugos) finally get their dues.

(2) CURRENT EVENTS. Then Buhlert follows with extensive analysis of the 2019 Hugo ballot — “Some Thoughts on the Hugo Award Finalists, Part II: The 2019 Hugo Awards”. These include comments and concerns about the Best Series category. (How’s it working for you?)

Best Series

This is the third year of the Best Series category and personally, I’m getting really frustrated with it, even though I initially supported the idea. But the way I viewed the Best Series Hugo (and the way it was originally sold) was as a way to award the sort of extremely popular SFF series that are beloved by fans and regularly hit bestseller lists, but whose individual volumes are almost never recognised by the Hugos, because the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts (see Wheel of Time, which was obviously misclassified in Best Novel, but would have been a natural for this category). When the category was announced, I assumed we’d see finalists like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (which might have been nominated, except that the series hasn’t had a new book in years, because Jim Butcher is apparently ill), the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (which actually ended in 2018 and really would have deserved a nod), the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, the Honor Harrington series by David Weber (not to my taste, but obviously beloved by many), etc… But that’s not what we’re seeing in this category. Instead, we’re getting the same finalists we’re seeing elsewhere on the ballot. Perhaps the Hugo electorate aren’t really series readers to the degree initially assumed. Or maybe they just have a really weird taste in series.

(3) CLARIFYING TWEET. Archive of Our Own is up for the Best Related Work Hugo. The facility of the site, not the individual works of fanfic. Did someone need that explained, or were they only amusing themselves? Just in case, someone explained it:

(4) MARK YOUR CALENDAR. The dates for the next two LA Vintage Paperback Shows have been set — March 8, 2020 and March 28, 2021.

(5) STRONG WILL. Red Wombat needs to get something done before heading to China:

(6) HEINLEIN BOOK PUBDATE PUSHED BACK. The publisher of the recently recovered Robert A. Heinlein novel titled Six-Six-Six has put out a newsletter with more information about the project:

Work on the new Heinlein work continues, but we are experiencing some production delays and so may have to postpone the release from November, to Spring of 2020…. 

Some questions on the new Heinlein answered:

1. Is Spider Robinson completing an unfinished work by Heinlein? NO. Neither Spider Robinson, nor anyone else has been tasked with completing the book. The book is complete. It did survive in fragments, but the fragments contain the complete book. It is being edited (as is every published book) to eliminate errors, inconsistencies, etc. But the work is 100% Heinlein.

2. Is this the rumored alternate text to The Number of the Beast? Yes. This is the alternate text that Heinlein wrote. There are many reasons that have been suggested as to why this was never published, including certain copyright issues that may have existed at that time (the book uses the characters created by other authors, and the book acts as a homage to a couple of authors Heinlein admired).

3. Is the unpublished version similar to the published version? No, though it largely shares the first one-third of the book, it then becomes a completely different book in every way. In the published version the villains are largely forgotten as the novel evolves into something else completely. The unpublished version is much more of a traditional Heinlein book, with a much more traditional storyline and ending.

4. What is the release date? We are trying to publish it by November, but it appears we may have to delay it till Spring 2020 due to a number of reasons

(7) MCINTYRE TRIBUTE. SFWA grieves for one of sff’s finest people — “In Memoriam – Vonda N. McIntyre”.

SFWA President Cat Rambo noted, “Vonda was one of our best and brightest, and she had three times the heart of most of the people I know. I’m so glad she managed to finish the book she was working on, but her loss hits so many of us who loved her and her words with a hardness that is tough to bear. Be kind to each other today in her honor; I can’t think of any way that would be better to celebrate the goodness and grandeur that she was.”

(8) ON THE FRONT. Joachim Boaz posted an array of McIntyre’s book covers at Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations: “Updates: Vonda N. McIntyre (August 28, 1948 – April 1, 2019)”.

(9) LEARNING TERRIBLE SECRETS. Kat Hooper reviews Aliette de Bodard at Fantasy Literature: In the Vanisher’s Palace: A fascinating world”.

The best part of In the Vanisher’s Palace is de Bodard’s fascinating world. I want to know more about the Vanishers and how they destroyed Yên’s society. I’d gladly read other stories set in this world. I also loved the “non Euclidean” and “escherscape” palace which at first makes Yên nauseated.

(10) IN COUNTRY. Elitist Book Review’s Vanessa got a kick out of No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne.

If you read KILL THE FARM BOY, then NO COUNTRY FOR OLD GNOMES is the same in tone, silliness, puns, wordplay, and corny jokes. Except this time we don’t see much of Gustave, Grinda the Sand Witch, Fia, and the others; no, this is about the gnomes Offi and Kirsi and their new friends whose quest to stop the halflings turns into a journey fraught with danger.

(11) THE FUTURE OF INFIDELITY. Abigail Nussbaum’s first Strange Horizons review of the year discusses Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman”.

Theory of Bastards is set in the near future, and Schulman does an impressive job (especially for a newcomer to the genre) of constructing a plausible and thought-out portrait of life in the coming decades. She casually drops into the narrative such ideas as a future type of internet in which computer-generated avatars present the news, or a combination implant and gene therapy that turns the deaf bonobo keeper’s mouth into another ear, able to perceive vibrations and translate them into sound. But for the most part, the picture she paints is not encouraging.

(12) HAUNTED PAST. Leslie S. Klinger and Lisa Morton trace “The Birth of the Modern Ghost Story” at CrimeReads.

In December of 1847, John D. Fox moved his family to a house in Hydesville, New York. Although the house had an odd reputation (the previous tenant had vacated because of mysterious sounds), it wasn’t until March of the following year that the family’s troubles began. Before long, daughters Kate and Margaret claimed to be communicating with the spirit of a peddler who had been murdered in the house. The communications took the form of rapping noises in answer to questions asked aloud.

The Fox sisters (along with a third sister, Leah, who acted as their manager) soon parlayed their rapping skills into celebrity. The young ladies held public séances, underwent “tests,” and inspired copycat mediums around the world. By the time the Foxes were debunked, they’d helped to inspire a new religion, Spiritualism, which was popular in both America and Great Britain, that held as its central tenet that the spirits of the dead continued to exist on another plane and could be contacted by human mediums. The Spiritualist movement had no less a figure as its international spokesperson than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whose wife Jean was also a medium.

It’s no coincidence that the ghost story experienced a rebirth of popularity at about the same time….

(13) REMAINS OF JANRAE FRANK. The Worcester (MA) Telegraph includes Andrew Porter’s photo of the late author in its coverage: “Daughter claims ashes of mother thought buried in pauper’s grave”.

Janice Frank’s body was often a burden to her, and she likely would be unfazed by the fact that her cremated remains have been lying, unclaimed, in a funeral parlor since her untimely death in 2014 at 59.

But the news that she was there stunned her daughter, Sovay Fox, and her daughter’s partner, Hallie Hauer, who both thought she’d been given a pauper’s burial and had given up on ever having possession of her ashes.

Ms. Frank, born in 1954, contracted polio from the vaccine that was designed to prevent it. She was 8 years old, and the disease left her with a deformed leg. She walked her whole life with a cane.

A journalist and author, she told other writers that the best of their craft would come from tapping into their own pain, and it seemed she had a bottomless well of suffering from which she often wrote.

(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 2, 1914 Alec Guinness. Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars trilogy. (What? There were more movies after them? No!)  That’s it for filmed genre roles but theatre is another matter altogether. He played Osric first in Hamlet in the early Thirties in what was then the New Theatre, Old Thorney in The Witch of Edmonton at The Old Vic and the title role of Macbeth of course at Sheffield. (Died 2000.)
  • Born April 2, 1933 Murray Tinkelman. Illustrator of genre covers during the Seventies. Glyer has a most excellent look at him here in his obituary posting. I’m very fond of his cool, diffuse style of illustration that made it seem as if the subject of the cover was just coming into focus as you looked at them. (Died 2016.)
  • Born April 2, 1939 Elliot K. Shorter. Fan, bookseller, and Locus co-editor once upon a time. He was attending conventions by the early Sixties and was a major figure in Sixties and Seventies fandom, and involved in a number of APAs. And as Glyer notes, he spread his larger than life enthusiasm wide as he ‘belonged to the Tolkien Society of America, Hyborean Legion, the City College of New York SF Club, ESFA, Lunarians, Fanoclasts and NESFA.’ He was involved in the Worldcon bid and helped run Suncon, the 1977 Worldcon which came out of the bid. All of this is particularly remarkable as he was one of the very few African-Americans in Sixties fandom. (Died 2013.)
  • Born April 2, 1975 Adam Rodriguez, 44. His first genre role is on All Souls, the haunted hospital drama, as Patrick Fortado. He’s also in season three of Roswell as Jesse Esteban Ramirez. 
  • Born April 2, 1978 Scott Lynch, 41. Author of Gentleman Bastard series of novels which is to my utter surprise now at seven with the forthcoming one. I know I read The Lies of Locke Lamora  but who here has read the entire series to date?  And I see he was writing Queen of the Iron Sands, an online serial novel for awhile. May I note he’s married to Elizabeth Bear, one of my favorite authors? 

(15) STAND BY FOR SADDLE SORES. Who needs to work, anyway? The Wrap gets fans excited to hear that “AMC to Host 59-Hour, 22-Film Marvel Movie Marathon Ahead of ‘Avengers: Endgame’”. So excited they crashed the site trying to get tickets.

Are you devoted enough to watching “Avengers: Endgame” that you’re willing to sacrifice two-and-a-half days of your life hyping up for it?

AMC is hosting yet another Marvel movie marathon leading up to “Endgame,” a 22-film marathon saga that covers every MCU dating back to 2008’s “Iron Man” and concludes with “Endgame.” And just … why? Does anyone honestly need this?

Those who do brave the experience will get special marathon collectibles, content, concession offers and will get to see “Avengers: Endgame” at 5 p.m. local time on April 26, one hour earlier than regular public show times.

(16) CLASSIC ILLUSTRATIONS. The Society of Illustrators in New York hosts its “Masters of the Fantastic” exhibit through June 8. Includes work by many artists including Winsor McCay, Kinuko Y. Craft, Leo and Diane Dillon, Vincent Di  Fate, Ed Emshwiller, Hannes Bok, Virgil Finlay, and Frank Frazetta.

The art of the fantastic gives vision to our dreaded nightmares and our most fervent hopes. Stories of fantasy and science fiction have risen from the quaint traditions of the tribal storyteller through children’s fables and pulp magazines to dominate today’s cultural mainstream. Through their use on the covers of bestselling books, to their appearance in blockbuster movies, TV shows and videogames, illustrative images play a central role in the appeal and popular acceptance of the fantastic narrative and the Society of Illustrators is pleased to celebrate this rite of passage with an exhibition of more than 100 examples of the genre’s finest artistic works. MASTERS OF THE FANTASIC encompasses a full range of otherworldly images—from dragons, specters and demons, to the far reaches of deep space—in the form of paintings, drawings and sculpture, highlighting the works of the artistic innovators who have given shape and substance to the world’s most imaginative kinds of storytelling.

(17) TO THE MOON. In the March 29 Financial Times, Jan Dalley reviews a virtual reality voyage to the moon by performance artist Laurie Anderson collaborating with Taiwanese artist Hsin-Chien Huang, in an installation currently at Art Basel Hong Kong.

The hateful headset is instantly forgotten as, with gut-lurching suddenness, the ‘floor’ shatters beneath you and you are cast off, a weightless space traveller in the wonder of the galaxy.  And quickly dumped on the surface of the moon, quaking (in my case), to face and explore a series of visions and adventures:  ghost dinosaurs composed of mathematical symbols splinter into nothing as you navigate yourself toward them (one is replaced by a phantom Cadillac); a glittering diamond-shaped mountain sucks you on high among its giant peaks, perilously close; a plethora of swirling, hideous space junk crashes into your visor before you realise you have grown an immensely long pair of arms with which, presumably, to fend off the aggressions of this man-made trash, while behind looms the immense, terrifyingly beautiful sight of Earthrise.  A fathomlessly deep stone rose (remember Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince?), still and lovely, is vast enough to be slowly circled by its own eerie moons.  Later you lose your body completely; suddenly you’re on a donkey ride; an entire galaxy explodes into a vast cosmic firework display.

(18) TWO HEADS ARE BETTER. Bill Nye and Bob Picardo talk all about how advocating for space really works in the February edition of The Planetary Post.

(19) WHAT A JOB. NPR investigates new frontiers in homeowners insurance: “Step 1: Build A House. Step 2: Set It On Fire”.

An hour south of Charlotte, N.C., two forks in the road beyond suburbia, a freshly constructed house sits in a wind tunnel waiting to be set on fire.

To the left of the house is a brick wall with a hole in the middle, made by a 2-by-4 propelled at 70 miles per hour.

In front of the house is a metal staircase five stories tall. At the top are the hail guns.

More than 100 fans begin to turn, slowly at first and then faster. The ember generators flicker on. The fire is about to begin.

The past two years have been particularly costly for insurance companies that are on the hook for billions of dollars in damage done by hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other disasters. As these disasters become more frequent and expensive, in part because of climate change, insurers are investing more in this research facility that studies how to protect homes and businesses from destructive wind, water and embers.

The facility in rural South Carolina is run by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, a nonprofit research organization funded by U.S. insurance companies….

(20) HOW TO FAIL PHYSICS. “NASA: India’s satellite destruction could endanger ISS”. Chip Hitchcock’s summary: “The perfectly safe test wasn’t. Follow-on to links you didn’t use last week; now there’s hard evidence — but somebody should have figured that a blowup in LEO would send debris up, not just down and sideways.”

Nasa has called India’s destruction of a satellite a “terrible thing” that could threaten the International Space Station (ISS).

The space agency’s chief, Jim Bridenstine, said that the risk of debris colliding with the ISS had risen by 44% over 10 days due to the test.

However he said: “The international space station is still safe. If we need to manoeuvre it we will.”

India is the fourth country to have carried out such a test.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the test – Mission Shakti – with great fanfare on 27 March, saying it had established India as a “space power”.

In an address to employees, Mr Bridenstine sharply criticised the testing of such anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.

He said that Nasa had identified 400 pieces of orbital debris and was tracking 60 pieces larger than 10cm in diameter. Twenty-four of those pieces pose a potential risk to the ISS, he said.

…Delhi has insisted it carried out the test in low-earth orbit, at an altitude of 300km (186 miles), to not leave space debris that could collide with the ISS or satellites.

(21) HEAVE AWAY, MR. RICO. As the world of robotics continues to evolve, we’ll soon be seeing more “physically augmented” employees in the workplace: “Exoskeleton Prototypes Sent to U.S. Navy, Special Command”

Sarcos Robotics is responsible for some incredible technology. Last July, we introduced you to the company’s Guardian S, the 4-foot-long inspection robot that uses magnetic tracks to inch along everything from metal walls to oil pipelines.

The Salt Lake City-based company is also responsible for the Guardian GT robot, which allows an operator to remotely control two massive robotic arms on a tracked (or wheeled) robot to perform dangerous inspection and maintenance tasks in the nuclear, oil and gas, and construction industries.

The company also designed a powerful robotic exoskeleton, the Guardian XO, a smooth, battery-powered exoskeleton initially designed to give industrial workers the ability to repeatedly lift 200 pounds without any physical exertion.

As we’ve seen continued industry buy-in, as well as ongoing innovation, Sarcos has started to land some big contracts that could increase the amount of physically augmented workers in the workforce.

In early March, Sarcos partnered with the U.S. Navy to evaluate how workers at naval shipyards could benefit from exoskeletons. Through the deal, shipyard workers could one day use the XO to work with heavy payloads and use power tools. The deal also calls for the Guardian S to potentially inspect confined spaces — for example, in submarines as they are modernized or retired.

(22) WASTE NOT. “NASA Announces Winners of Recycling in Space Challenge”.

Figuring out how to repurpose food packaging, plastic, paper, fabric and other types of waste without gravity to work with is difficult. That’s why NASA, in partnership with NineSigma, created the Recycling in Space Challenge.

The purpose of the challenge is to engage the public to develop methods of processing and feeding trash into a high-temperature reactor. This will help NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems and space technology programs develop trash-to-gas technology that can recycle waste into useful gases.

The NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) crowdsourcing challenge received submissions from participants around the world. A panel of judges evaluated the solutions and selected one first place and two second place winners.

The award recipients are:

·        Aurelian Zapciu, Romania – $10,000 for first place, Waste Pre-Processing Unit

·        Derek McFall, United States – $2,500 for second place, Microgravity Waste Management System

·        Ayman Ragab Ahmed Hamdallah, Egypt – $2,500 for second place, Trash-Gun (T-Gun)

The three winners brought a variety of approaches to the table for the challenge. Zapciu’s submission proposed incorporating space savings features and cam actuated ejectors to move trash through the system, before bringing it to another mechanism to complete the feed into the reactor. McFall’s submission indicated it would use a hopper for solid waste and managed air streams for liquids and gaseous waste. Hamdallah proposed using air jets to compress the trash and cycle it through the system instead of gravity.

 (23) ZOMBIE ALL-STARS. The Dead Don’t Die promises —

— the greatest zombie cast ever disassembled starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, RZA, Selena Gomez, Carol Kane, Austin Butler, Luka Sabbat and Tom Waits. Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. In Theaters June 14th.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]

113 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/2/19 Get Me Pixels! Pixels Of Scroller-Man!

  1. (6) I can’t help myself – I want to read this.

    Dum Scrollimus Scrollimus (while we Scroll, let us Scroll)

  2. Alec Guinness. Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars trilogy. (What? There were more movies after them? No!) That’s it for filmed genre roles but

    The Man in the White Suit

  3. 2) I like the idea of the series category…. but it is sooooo hard to actually prep for. Lots and lots of books to read in order to make an informed choice! I was thinking about that earlier today.

  4. John Lorentz says that of Alec Guinness’ genre roles that I missed The Man in the White Suit and he is absolutely correct. John, it must’ve been the title as I never even gave this movie a glance.

  5. (15) I will admit that I’m currently watching the entire Marvel oeuvre in preparation for Endgame later this month.

    I am, however, watching one film a night, while I get some exercise or some writing in. I’m not insane.

    (Hmm. I wonder if there are any real die-hards out there, who are also binge-watching all of Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil, and so on . . .)

  6. (3) CLARIFYING TWEET.

    io9 has gone to hell since Anders’ departure. One of their writers just published an article claiming that AO3 was nominated for a Hugo for its fan fiction. 🙄

  7. (3)….It’s a joke. Among the Ao3 users of my acquaintance, the favored variant is “Now you can put Nominated For 1/Four-hundred-thousandth of a Hugo Award on your CV/resume/Twitter bio.”

  8. Nate Harada: (3)….It’s a joke.

    Some of the hundreds of people tweeting this are joking. A lot of them are not. A lot of them actually believe that AO3 was nominated for its fan fiction, and articles like that io9 piece are just making it worse.

    I’m not into fan fiction, but even I can understand and respect the importance that AO3 has played in the SFF genre, especially in providing a place to grow for women and LGBTQ who are software developers or fiction writers.

    And all this joking does is just discredit the valuable resource that AO3 is, in the eyes of the public, and in the eyes of Hugo voters who don’t think fan fiction should be awarded a Hugo and will put it under No Award on the ballot.

    I should think that the supporters of AO3 would want to do everything they can to quash this sort of joking, because all it is going to achieve is getting AO3 No Awarded. 🙁

  9. John Lorentz says that of Alec Guinness’ genre roles that I missed The Man in the White Suit and he is absolutely correct. John, it must’ve been the title as I never even gave this movie a glance.

    It’s a shame, because it is an absolutely hilarious film.

  10. John Lorentz says that It’s a shame, because it is an absolutely hilarious film.

    Well a quick check says I can rent it on iTunes so I’ve added it to my queue for future watching. Thanks.

  11. @2: Has Older ever had anything on the ballot? Some of the others have multiple novel nominations (e.g. Yoon Ha Lee), or 1 novel nomination (Chambers), or some nominations for shorter works (de Bodard, or Daye-adjacent several years ago if you track all the side-threads), but there’s nobody with the wins-and-nominations of (e.g.) Bujold on this ballot. ISTM that Buhlert is asking for nominations for collections of second-rank (at best) works, rather than acknowledging that the assembled impact of a group of works that were nominated but didn’t get individual wins may be what the series category should recognize. I’d be a lot less happy if either Mercy Thompson or Honor Harrington got a nomination — the former doesn’t seem to me to collectively rise above its individual okayness and the latter is just awful. (I haven’t read enough Dresden to know whether I would be as unimpressed with the set as I was with the individual pieces.)

    @7: I have been kicking myself for a while for being too tangled to see McIntyre when she was GoH at the last Worldcon I got to. I loved her fiction but hadn’t realized she was so worth knowing personally.

    @14: The Man in the White Suit is one of those films that people with deep knowledge have heard of but many others haven’t; IIRC I hadn’t known about it until a late-1970’s Baird Searles column. I am not a fan of the retro-Hugos, but this film is good enough that I’m almost sorry ConJose 1 decided not to do them; perhaps it will get recognized in 2027.

    @14 ctd: El’s fanac was not limited to this continent, or to genre; he was a TAFF delegate and an early member of the SCA (in which role he once fought a duel as to whether John Norman or Lin Carter was the worse author). He also sang effectively, which got him roped into a couple of the Rivets shows I music-directed; having him available to glare at the next-door disco that was drowning out our dress rehearsal was a useful side-effect.

  12. @JJ ~

    Scrolling down the link you provided…shows me people straight up acknowledging that Ao3 wasn’t nominated for fanfic within the first actual reply.

    Also, let me see if I understand this correctly: a hypothetical Hugo voter would, in theory, No Award Ao3 because…the actual users of that service spent a few giddy hours in the immediate aftermath of an unexpected award nomination cracking jokes and bathing in the contact high rather than behaving with proper Fun Policing rigor and crushing any impulse by anyone to actually enjoy this circumstance?

    You’ll forgive me if I doubt that any such hypothetical voter would condescend to place Ao3 above No Award to begin with. And also: I will absofuckinglutely not tell anyone not to derive joy and laughter from this, no matter how many panties it wads up, especially given the amount of fandom purity policing bullshit supporters of Ao3 have had to put up with over the last few years. You have absolutely no idea how happy this is making people or how much that happiness has been needed.

  13. If all the contributors to File 770 think they deserve credit for its record in the Hugos — they’re right! So if anybody wants to have a little fun with AO3’s nomination, I won’t be the one complaining.

  14. Nate Harada: Scrolling down the link you provided…shows me people straight up acknowledging that Ao3 wasn’t nominated for fanfic within the first actual reply.

    The reply correcting this person’s misunderstanding was posted after I posted that link.

    Nate Harada: let me see if I understand this correctly

    Here’s what I’m saying: if people from here on out make an effort to talk far and wide about why AO3 was nominated, the valuable things that it’s created and provided, there is a possibility that a lot of non-fanfic readers/writers who are Hugo voters might be persuaded to see its value and its validity in the Related Work category.

    Without that? With just hundreds of people crowing about how their fanfic or porn or yaoi or whatever now makes them a Hugo finalist? A lot of Hugo voters are going to see that as devaluing the Hugo Awards.

    I get that a lot of these people have had precious little joy in their lives, and that AO3 getting nominated is really affirming for them. But how much joy and validation do you think it’s going to give them if AO3 gets No Awarded? It will feel like a massive slap in the face to them. I’d really rather not see that happen.

  15. A lot of them actually believe that AO3 was nominated for its fan fiction …

    Who can conclusively tell them otherwise? The only people who can speak for why it was nominated are the nominators.

  16. rcade: Who can conclusively tell them otherwise? The only people who can speak for why it was nominated are the nominators.

    All right, let me re-word that. It was not allowed to remain on the ballot in the Related Work category because of its fictional content; it was allowed to remain there because of its other attributes. If the administrators believed that its fictional content was its main characteristic and the reason why it had been nominated, they would have disqualified it, just as they have disqualified other fictional works in that category in the past.

  17. I am just learning about Archive of Our Own, so I’m admittedly likely to be wrong. But if the homepage describes it this way …

    A fan-created, fan-run, non-profit, non-commercial archive for transformative fanworks, like fanfiction, fanart, fan videos, and podfic

    … that sounds to me like a place where fictional content is its main characteristic.

    In any case, it sounds cool and I’m glad to know it exists. To all the people who contribute to AO3 and feel like they’re part of a Hugo nomination, congratulations! I happily take pride in whatever portion of File 770’s past honors I could justifiably be credited.

  18. I kind of like that Related Work actually appreciates the enormous amount of work people has put into something. And for that, AO3 seems just about perfect. It was a fun nomination.

  19. The AO3 thing strikes me as another edge case where something definitely deserves a nod, but no-one’s entirely sure how to describe it.
    We’ve had similar before – StarShipSofa as a fanzine, websites as fanzines, Escape Pod as a semi-prozine. As the rules are written they fit, and there’s not denying that all three a valid part of the wider genre, though it’s probably not what the original framers had in mind.
    Good on them anyhow. I don’t think there’s a hope of them winning, my guess is that the Le Guin will sweep it (not that I’ve looked at the nominees in any depth).

  20. Alec Guinness played the ghost of Jacob Marley in the 1970 film musical Scrooge. Done mostly as a favour to the director Ronald Neame who had directed him in a number of earlier films, Guinness had to have surgery for a double hernia incurred from the harness used to swing Marley about the set.

  21. 6) Nuts. I do want to read this., especially after reading Farah’s book on Heinlein

    (oh and did you make this the 6th item on purpose?, if so, well played!)

  22. Paul Weimer says of the new 666 novel from Heinlein: Nuts. I do want to read this., especially after reading Farah’s book on Heinlein

    I do too but I’m getting an awful feeeling that’ll never actually be published as I’m beginning to suspect that someone has been told us a whipopping lie about who actually has the rights to the alternative manuscript.

  23. @Cat that would ultimately not surprise me. Dishearten me, but not surprise me.

  24. Paul Weimer says that would ultimately not surprise me. Dishearten me, but not surprise me

    Yeah that would. It’s just that this whole affair and the ‘discovery’ of a lost Heinlein manuscript really are more than a bit suspicious. A manuscript not part of the official Estate apparently.

  25. Mike Glyer on April 2, 2019 at 9:41 pm said:

    If all the contributors to File 770 think they deserve credit for its record in the Hugos — they’re right! So if anybody wants to have a little fun with AO3’s nomination, I won’t be the one complaining.

    When you mused about putting our poetry slam in the Hugo voting packet when File 770 was nominated for 2015, I was being gleeful about getting into the Hugo voting packet! Alas, the poetry slam happened in January of 2016 so I missed my claim to fame.

  26. Cat Eldridge on April 2, 2019 at 8:15 pm said:
    John Lorentz says that of Alec Guinness’ genre roles that I missed The Man in the White Suit and he is absolutely correct. John, it must’ve been the title as I never even gave this movie a glance.

    Depending on your definition of science fiction, Man In the White Suit could be called the first SF movie to be nominated for a major academy award.

    I recently re-watched this because of the role of labour unions in it. And I absolutely loved it, despite how anti-union the script is. It is probably my third-favourite Ealing comedy (after Kind Hearts & Coronets, and The Lavender Hill Mob).

  27. Re: AO3 in the related work category

    Here’s a response I wrote elsewhere to a question about how AO3 fits into the category, where the questioner also expressed a concern that the sheer number of people who are emotionally invested in the site could logroll the results:

    “Related Work” has always been a sort of catch-all category for things that contribute to the SFF community that don’t fit well, neatly, or even at all into any other category. I can easily accept the position that AO3, as a concept/site/curated-space is a significant part of the SFF community, providing value not simply in the individual pieces of content, but in structuring how we engage with content and shaping expectations for that engagement. (For example, AO3 has definitely shaped expectations for fiction content advisories.) And I think we can trust the voters to evaluate whether they consider it to fit that category and whether it’s the best candidate of the year. Is there a potential for the sheer number of AO3 contributors to guarantee a win based on personal favoritism? How is this different from any other category where voters might go for a sentimental favorite regardless of an even-handed comparison of the works actually on the ballot. That possibility is always built into the Hugo system. But also built into the system is a fairly robust structure for requiring broad agreement among the voters for something to win.

    Frankly, I find the concern that fanfiction writers might “take over” the voting process out of favoritism to be a bit odd given that personal emotional connections with nominees have always been A Thing and have affected the results many, many times. That’s neither a bug nor a feature but simply a part of how the Hugo process is structured. No different from, say, a large number of fannishly active participants in an online fanzine site affecting the results out of a sense of personal connection. *cough* Or finalists being voted for out of personal investment rather than for the specific works on the ballot. (For example, in this context, it’s always been my contention that when Julia Ecklar won the Campbell Award, it might make more sense to consider it “the first and only filk Hugo”, since I’m pretty certain that it was her popularity as a songwriter and performer that gave her the visibility to win.)

  28. 1) I really liked Cora’s rundown of the Retro Hugos. And I think I agree with pretty much every word of it (especially her opinion of The Weapon Makers, which is an execrable book.)

  29. @JJ –
    I get that a lot of these people have had precious little joy in their lives, and that AO3 getting nominated is really affirming for them.

    Jeez, dude. Who harshed your mellow? Judgemental much?

    That’s a pretty condescending take on folks who are enjoying their fandom by creating new content. I’ve written 24 fanfictions, none posted to AO3 yet, I use FanFiction dot net. I’ve made friends in RL from the hobby.

    The gamut of creators runs from teenagers exploring topics scary in real life to adults who create stuff better than a lot of dreck that gets “published”.

    So you can take your condescension and … Stuff it.

    I’ll leave WHERE to stuff it to your exceptional creativity. Someplace that brings you joy, hopefully.

  30. Olav Rokne: Depending on your definition of science fiction, Man In the White Suit could be called the first SF movie to be nominated for a major academy award.

    Very true. The Hugos hadn’t started yet when the movie came out in 1951. However, I remember a fannish discussion where someone classified it with Sinclair Lewis’ Arrowsmith — fiction about science, not science fiction. Alec Guinness’ Star Wars fame is sort of a thumb on the balance scale now — makes it harder to exclude from sff.

  31. @rcade —

    “I am just learning about Archive of Our Own, so I’m admittedly likely to be wrong. ”

    AO3 is laudable — not only for its content and community, but also because it serves as a great incubator for baby writers who sometimes end up going pro, in multiple genres.

    And I was very tickled back when I found out that Naomi Novik was one of its founders. 🙂

  32. Maybe it would be better to create a more narrowly defined Hugo category for nonfiction works about the genre, i.e. criticism, biography etc., so they don’t end up competing with something like a fan fiction archive.

  33. @JJ

    I have to say I agree with @Techgrrl1972 here. You’re viewing fanfic writers as outsiders and looking down on them, and that’s not OK.

  34. StephenfromOttawa: The impetus to get new categories on the ballot (as the nonfiction/related once was) is usually that the backers aspire to give Hugos to particular people. So the categories tend to be drafted to create a new basket to include these prospective winners, and the fine tuning is left in the hands of the voters. So really, Best Related Works is still succeeding as an odds-and-ends basket, where this time the voters have dropped in AO3.

    What I would think is a failure of the category is that if people started succeeding in dominating the ballot with stuff I see in some eligibility posts, like individual blog entries (not that we haven’t already seen that happen, but it hasn’t taken over the category.)

  35. re: AO3 —

    I can see AO3 being nominated — but what is unique about its contribution this year in particular?

    I think of BRW as being filled with discrete works that are published in a particular year. What would justify AO3 being a winner one year, but not every year? After all, it has the same basic content and function year after year after year.

    I agree that it seems an odd fit, however fond I am of the site.

  36. @ StephenfromOttowa. But do people want a more narrowly defined category for biography and criticism? Personally, I would like to see the category expand to more genre-related things – Batman Christmas trees, GoT cakes, spaceship homes and all kinds of weird and wonderful things people come up with.

    My personal experience with AO3

  37. 15) Hell no. Kirsten and I did the Extended Lord of the Rings trilogy. That was about nine hours, and we were half-past dead when it was done. I do not want to think about what that theater is going to smell like by Hour 20.

  38. @bookworm1398, I guess that is the question. (“do people want a more narrowly defined category for biography and criticism?”). Imho there’s likely enough good work out there, but most of us probably don’t read much of it. Maybe it does make more sense to leave it in what Mike calls the “odds-and-ends basket” that is the existing Related Work category.

  39. I get that a lot of these people have had precious little joy in their lives, and that AO3 getting nominated is really affirming for them.

    @JJ — in case you’re wondering why your comment is so infuriating, here’s two reasons:

    1) there are thousands of people posting fandom content to AO3. You seem to think that you are entitled to declare that many of them have little joy in their lives, even though you don’t know any of them. Are you suggesting that anyone who spends time in fanac is someone who is lacking in some fashion and is using fanac as a crutch of some sort? If so, does that include you and all the rest of us spending time here on File770?

    2) Unless you have spent time with the fan content on AO3 or other fan sites, how dare you sneer at people being creative and sharing their love of their fandoms! Neil Gaiman slapped down a person for sneering at fanfic by pointing out that he, Neil Gaiman, had written fanfic. Several authors on this year’s Hugo Ballot have also written fanfic.

    Fandom is a way of life, remember? Your sneering is unseemly and exceedingly rude.

  40. there’s likely enough good work out there, but most of us probably don’t read much of it.

    Yeah.

    I was quite sad to see the Iain M. Banks biography by Paul Kincaid lose last year, so part of me does want to argue in favour of a new narrowly-defined category for biography and non-fiction works.

    But with the number of categories that already exist, it’s already difficult for everyone to make informed votes and nominations in some of the categories.

  41. I think it’s reasonable to restrict categories to things that can plausibly compete against one another. I have no idea how to weigh the merits of a fanfiction archive – the concept, not the content – against the work of Le Guin, Walton etc.

    The history of the award may be relevant here. It began as Best Non-Fiction Book. In 1998 it was changed to Best Related Book, to let in a variety of works that the original definition didn’t clearly cover, the ones specifically mentioned being art books. In 2009 it was changed again to Best Related Work, as part of a motion headed Making the Web Eligible – the point was to take account of new formats rather than new kinds of content. The idea that it’s meant to be a catch-all category for anything that fandom wants to honour seems to have crept in later.

    The rule says that the award is for a work appearing for the first time in the relevant year. That can clearly cover many things – a book, a film, a podcast, a web series, even a blog post (undesirable though that may be on other grounds), but I’m not convinced it fits an archive. Indeed a tree or a cake seems to fit it better than an archive.

    Possibly we should keep Best Related Work for books and similar things in other formats, and create a new award for Best Thing that can go to absolutely anything. Though even then ‘how do you compare the candidates?’ would still be a question.

  42. @Andrew M: I recall other cases where it was hard to compare entries (and I’m agreeing that this makes life hard for the voters) – back in 2001 Bob Eggleton’s art book Greetings from Earth: The Art of Bob Eggleton competed against works of criticism, a concordance and a writer’s how-to book.

    @bookworm1398: Your personal experience with AO3 was left out of your comment, I think.

    @Mike: I think Heinlein himself considered Arrowsmith an edge case for definitions of SF

  43. @ Andrew M

    Here’s a riff on your idea: maybe the Hugos could have Best Non-Fiction Book and Best Related Work for sites, et ceteras, and other digital works?

  44. While we’re on the topic of Best Related Work (and while I respect Cora Buhlert’s writing in spite of the Good Place dismissal), can I bristle at documentaries are being deemed as dramatic presentations? Sure, many of them are told in a dramatic fashion, but at the end of the day they’re nonfiction. By definition.

    I’m greatly pleased with the inclusion of Lindsay Ellis’ videos on The Hobbit for this reason, despite not nominating it. It finally breaks the precedent that the nomination of the Apollo 11 moon landing created in 1970. In 2015 Jodorowsky’s Dune got 38 votes for Related Work. Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes vs. Women” series received 77. Hugo voters haven’t considered docs to be dramatic presentations for a while. I understand that the Hugo is primarily a literary award, but I disagree with non-fiction books being the primary attention of the category, especially since non-fiction can also be communicated visually. It’s a grab-bag and that’s its appeal to me. We need more diversity in the awards and Best Related Work is as diverse as it gets.

    I support the AO3 nomination for similar reasons, though I understand how the definition can get a little murky. I’m confused with how easily some folks here are willing to bash writers of fanfiction. It’s clear the “I’m a Hugo nominee!” stuff is just joking around.

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