Pixel Scroll 4/24/19 The Scroll Of The File King From Pixel Gynt

(1) AO3’S HUGO PACKET ENTRY. Archive of Our Own has publicly released its Hugo Voter Packet Submission. The two-page writeup is here [PDF file]. The following intro comes from Firenze to Therum:

AO3 was nominated for a Hugo Award this year for Best Related Work! This is an amazing achievement and we’re overjoyed that Hugo voters have recognised the incredible collaborative work that is the Archive.

Here’s some information about AO3, including its origins, some key features, and the team that makes it all possible. You can also check out the shiny PDF we submitted for the 2019 Hugo packet!

(2) AVENGING ECONOMIST. Behind the Financial Times paywall, economics columnist Tim Harford offers his thoughts on Avengers: Endgame.

Thanos fascinates me not only because he’s the best bad guy since Darth Vader–but because the muscular utilitarian is an economist on steroids.

Thanos’s claim to the economists’ hall of fame lies in his interest in scarce resources, his faith in the power of logical analysis, and a strong commitment to policy action–specifically, to eliminate half of all life in the universe, chosen at random…

…Thanos has convinced himself that he’s seen something nobody else can quite understand.  The truth is that he sorely needs peer review.  Like many powerful people, he regards himself as above his critics, not to mention every sapient being in the universe.  He views humans less as free-willed spirits capable of solving their own problems, and more like overbreeding rabbits, needing a cull for their own good.

(3) ENDGAME REVIEW. NPR’s Glen Weldon tells us “Mourning Has Broken Them: ‘Avengers: Endgame'”.

Going into Avengers: Endgame, one would be well-advised to manage both one’s expectations, and — given its three-hour-plus, intermissionless runtime — one’s fluid intake.

…The Russos’ decision to stick close to the experiences of the remaining Avengers proves a rewarding one, as they’ve expressly constructed the film as an extended victory lap for the Marvel Cinematic Universe writ large. Got a favorite character from any Marvel movie over the past decade, no matter how obscure? Prepare to get serviced, fan. Because the film’s third and final hour contains extended references to every single Marvel film that has led up to this one – yes! even Thor: The Dark World! I’m as surprised as you are! – and part of the delight Endgame provides to the patient audience member is gauging the size of the cheer that greets the entrance of any given hero, locale or – in at least once instance – item of super-hardware.

Make no mistake: There will be cheers. And boos. And gasps. The final, climactic battle (come on, you knew there’d be one) is legitimately thrilling, because every one of its manifold delights is fueled by (a cynic would say coasting on) the warm familiarity that spending a decade with these characters has engendered….

(4) GLEN WELDON HAS COMPANY. BBC does a roundup of the immediate reaction — “Avengers: Endgame ‘satisfying’ and ‘glorious’, say critics”.

Critics have been left dazzled by the latest Avengers film, describing it as “glorious”, “irresistible”, “intensely satisfying” and “masterful”….

(5) DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY. Clarke Award director Tom Hunter, seeing how few award submissions are by writers of color, says “Diversity in science fiction needs action now”.

…Many authors and industry spokespeople have talked more eloquently about the need to address this disparity in publishing than I will ever be able to. But I also suspect more than a few publishers will quietly check their new submissions piles or log into BookScan after reading this, and suggest that in order to affect any real change they need to submit more books by writers of colour.

They may argue, of course, that there needs to be more evidence of sales potential first to get those books past gatekeepers in marketing, finance and other departments. They might (just) have a short-term point, but to me this sounds more like using data to justify a current position – and I think it also misses the bigger publishing opportunity.

Here are four cultural tipping point trends that show what I mean.

  • From the SF&F bookshelves: N.K. Jemisin wins a record-setting third consecutive Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel with the final part of her Broken Earth trilogy (parts one and two having taken the prize in their own respective years).
  • From the ‘respectable’ bookshelves: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad wins the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature.
  • From the Box Office: The Marvel Universe film Black Panther makes over a billion dollars at the box office in record time and gets nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture (it doesn’t win that one though, of course).
  • From an adjacent cultural sector: The Musée d’Orsay in Paris opens their major exhibition Black Models: From Gericault to Matisse, challenging our historic perceptions of French masterpieces by reframing and renaming them to foreground attention on their black subjects, gaining both critical acclaim and a big upswing in first time visits from new audiences (new readers to you and me) along the way.

(6) HOPEPUNK AND HUGOS. Yes! takes a look “Inside Science Fiction’s Compassionate Revolution”.

…In 2018, almost every category of the Hugos were won by women, including N.K. Jemisin, who became the first person ever to win the Hugo for Best Novel three years in a row. Before Jemisin, no Black person of either gender had ever won the top award.

Then came this year’s historic collection of nominees, which are notable not just for the elevation of a more diverse field of storytellers, but for the specific type of story that many of them represent.

Rowland coined the term “hopepunk” on a whim in a 2017 Tumblr post, having no idea that it would catch on so strongly within the community. She defined it initially as “the opposite of grimdark,” referring to a popular dystopian subgenre characterized by nihilism, amorality, and a negative view of human nature. Hopepunk, in contrast, is optimistic about humanity and sees kindness as “an act of rebellion” against a power structure that benefits from people giving up on compassion.

In an essay for the Winter 2019 issue of The Stellar Beacon zine, Rowland expanded on hopepunk, emphasizing the resistance element. Unlike another subgenre dubbed “noblebright”—characterized by the belief that righteous heroes can and will prevail over wicked villains—hopepunk does not deny the inherent injustices of the real world. However, it also recognizes the potential for justice within humanity. Compassion and empathy are weapons in the eternal fight between good and evil within the human heart. Hopepunk acknowledges that that fight will never be won, but insists on fighting anyway, because, as Rowland wrote, “the fight itself is the point.”

(7) BIZARROCON PERSPECTIVE. Brian Keene interviewed Jeff Burk on a recent episode of The Horror Show With Brian Keene (“Jeff Burk Unchained – The Horror Show with Brian Keene – Ep 215”.)  Part of the discussion centered on the events at BizzaroCon where Chandler Morrison performed a section of one of his works; complete with a dead (toy) baby covered in blood (ketchup) — events covered in File 770 posts “A Reckoning for BizarroCon” and “Changes in Store for Bizarrocon”.

Dann listened to the podcast and sent along these notes —

During the interview, Burk categorically denied having anything to do with abusive/predatory behavior that had been an issue at past cons.  He was incensed at the post-con attempts to tie abusive behavior with himself or Morrison.    Burk suggested that the tone/perspective of comments that he received at the con were decidedly different from what was seen on the Internet in the days that followed.  The people complaining most loudly online had appeared to have substantially different perspectives while at the con.  He also denied that Morrison ever exposed himself during his performance.  A prosthetic/prop was used during the performance.

Burk acknowledged that he had made the mistake of thinking that BizarroCon was an appropriate venue for Morrison’s performance.  Similar (and perhaps more gross) performances have been a long tradition at KillerCon.

Brian Keene indicated that he had acted as a consultant/mediator after the BizarroCon performance, but he had no direct input on Deadite Press’ decision to fire Burk.

Burk indicated that he disagreed with the decision by Eraserhead Press’ decision to terminate him.  But he also said that he is still on good terms with the executives in charge and has a positive opinion of them.

He also discussed his new imprint “Section 31 Productions”.  Star Trek fans will recognize the homage in the company’s name.

(8) DRAGON CHOW. Eater’s article “How Much Do the ‘Game of Thrones’ Dragons Actually Need to Eat? An Investigation” kind of reminds me of the Lilliputians trying to feed Gulliver.

In the Season 8 premiere, Winterfell leather goth Sansa Stark questions her brother Jon Snow’s decision to bring his pushy new girlfriend (and aunt!) Daenerys and her two dragons to the north, wondering out loud what precisely the dragons are going to eat. The Mother of Dragons smugly replies, “Whatever they want.” (Which, judging from past episodes, includes a lot of animal herds and the occasional shepherd boy.)

Later in the episode, two of Dany’s Dothraki footmen inform her that her dragons only ate only “18 goats and 11 sheep” for lunch, a sign that they are losing their appetite as a result of the move up north. Considering that Game of Thrones scribes D.B. Weiss and David Benioff love foreshadowing, we couldn’t help but wonder if the dragon’s dietary needs will play some key role in the upcoming Battle of Winterfell. To better understand the dragon hunger situation and how it could impact the impending war with the Night King, Eater got in touch with a bona fide expert on large reptiles and flying animals, and asked her a few questions about how these aerial beasts might act during the epic battle ahead.

(9) CONNOR TRIBUTE. Graham Connor (1957-2018) co-founded SF² Concatenation at the 1987 Eastercon and remained one of its co-editors until his death in December 2018. Jonathan Cowie and other friends have assembled an illustrated profile of his life in SF and space communications in “A life in SF and space”, an advance post ahead of SF² Concatenation’s summer edition.

Graham was born in the Cumbrian, coastal town of Workington, in the shadow of Windscale (now Sellafield).  1957 was the year of the Windscale nuclear disaster.  And so the scene was set for Graham to potentially have been bitten by a radioactive spider and become a superhero. But, alas, that did not happen….

He did make it to several Worldcons — Brighton (1979), Brighton (1987), The Hague (1990) – he subsequently worked a couple of years for ESA nearby, and Glasgow (1995).  Sadly, chronic illness prevented further attendance beyond the mid-2000s.

(10) BARNES OBIT. From BBC: “Dick Barnes, pioneer behind oldest working computer, dies”. The 98-year-old died April 8.

One of the co-designers of a machine later recognised as the world’s oldest working digital computer has died.

Richard “Dick” Barnes helped to create the Harwell Dekatron, which was first put to use in 1951 by Britain’s fledgling nuclear research establishment.

He was also involved in the 2.5-tonne machine’s restoration, which saw it switched back on in 2012.

…He and two colleagues, Ted Cooke-Yarborough and Gurney Thomas, began their work on the Harwell Dekatron in 1949.

It was initially used by the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Oxfordshire, where its tasks involved solving equations used to design the structure supporting the world’s first commercial nuclear reactor at Calder Hall.

…In November 2012 the machine was successfully switched back on after a three-year restoration project.

The revived machine functioned as planned, which is to say, very slowly.

It could take up to 10 seconds to multiply two numbers – but Mr Barnes and his co-designers had wanted a machine that could run continuously, not necessarily quickly, in order to be useful.

Indeed, it was known to calculate continuously for periods of up to 80 hours.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 24, 1930 Richard Donner, 89. Oh, now he’s credited in directing Superman as making the modern superhero film. H’h. Well I’m going to celebrate him instead for ScroogedThe Goonies (really not genre but fun) and Ladyhawke. Not to mention the horror he did — Tales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood. Oh and the first X-Men film which was superb.
  • Born April 24, 1936 Jill Ireland. For her short life, she was in an amazing number of genre shows. She was on Star Trek romancing Spock as Leila Kalomi In “This Side of Paradise”. She had five appearances on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well as being on Night Gallery,  My Favorite Martian, Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaThe Voodoo Factor and the SF film The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything based on the 1962 novel of the same name by John D. MacDonald. (Died 1990.)
  • Born April 24, 1946 Donald D’Ammassa, 73. Considered to be one of the best and fairest long-form reviewers ever. His Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2005) covers some five hundred writers and as can two newer volumes, Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Horror Fiction (2006) and Encyclopedia of Adventure Fiction (2009) are equally exhaustive. I can’t comment on his fiction as I’ve only ever encountered as a reviewer.
  • Born April 24, 1947 Michael Butterworth, 72. Author with Michael Moorcock of, naturally, two Time of the Hawklords novels, Time of the Hawklords and Queens of Deliria. He also wrote a number of Space 1999 Year 2 novels, too numerous to list here. He also edited Corridor magazine from 1971 to 1974. He also wrote a number of short fiction pieces including one whose title amuses me for reasons I’m not sure, “Circularisation of Condensed Conventional Straight-Line Word-Image Structures“. 
  • Born April 24, 1953 Gregory Luce, 66. Editor and publisher of both the Science Fiction Gems and the Horror Gems anthology series, plus such other anthologies as Citadel of the Star Lords / Voyage to Eternity and Old Spacemen Never Die! / Return to Earth. For a delightful look at him and these works, go here. Warning: cute canine involved! 

(12) WILSON FUNDRAISING UPDATE. The “Help Gahan Wilson find his way” GoFundMe is now up to 1300 contributors and just over $60,000 raised. Gahan Wilson is suffering from severe dementia, and the goal is to pay for his memory care.

Gahan and my mother had been residing in an assisted living facility in Arizona. With my mother’s passing, he must move to a memory care unit.

…Gahan will be in our care at the casita, and we will also find him a memory care unit in Santa Fe since he also needs daily medical care.

Memory care is wildly expensive. More so than assisted living. If we could cover the cost ourselves, we would. We can’t, and Gahan and my mother did not save for anything like this. We are asking his fans to help us, help Gahan.

That’s what this is all about. Making the rest of Gahan’s days as wonderful as they can be.

(13) OVERLOOKED. In its review of a new sff collection, The Hugo Award Book Club faults “A People’s Future Without Labour”.

…Any author or editor attempting to claim the mantle of [Howard] Zinn’s work has an unenviable task ahead of them. But when SF luminaries John Joseph Adams and Victor LaValle — both of whom have produced top-quality works — announced a short story collection whose title is an homage to Zinn, we were very excited. 

Given the provocative and timely premise of A People’s Future Of The United States, we approached the collection of stories with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the collection as a whole failed to live up to the grand ideas described by the editors.

…Questions of race, class and gender are important to explore and have all-too-often been ignored in science fiction. 

We would argue that because science fiction is an inherently political genre, it is of paramount importance to create inclusive futures we can believe in. Some of the stories in this volume do indeed ably tackle topics of race, class and gender. But the topic of labour is almost entirely neglected. 

It is disappointing that an anthology that so explicitly aims to address cultural blindspots has reproduced one itself. 

In comparison, the index to Zinn’s classic history book includes a full page of references to organized labour movements. At a rough estimate, 30 per cent of the book deals with the struggles of traditional union movement organizing, and workers rights are integral to much of the rest of the text…. 

(14) ROBOTS LIKE ME. James Wallace Harris reviews Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me in “Why Should Robots Look Like Us?” at Auxiliary Memory.

McEwan’s story often digresses into infodumps and intellectual musings which are common pitfalls of writing science fiction. And the trouble is he goes over the same well-worn territory. The theme of androids is often used to explore: What does it mean to be human? McEwan uses his literary skills to go into psychological details that most science fiction writers don’t, but the results are the same.

I’ve been reading these stories for decades, and they’ve been explored in the movies and television for many years too, from Blade Runner to Ex Machina. Why can’t we go deeper into the theme? Partly I think it’s because we assume AI robots will look identical to us. That’s just nuts. Are we so egocentric that we can’t imagine our replacements looking different? Are we so vain as a species as to believe we’re the ideal form in nature?

…Instead of writing stories about our problems of dealing with facsimiles of ourselves, we should be thinking about a world where glittery metallic creatures build a civilization on top of ours, and we’re the chimpanzees of their world.

(15) POWER VOCABULARY. BBC’s science news “‘Exhilarating’ implant turns thoughts to speech” includes recorded sample.

Scientists have developed a brain implant that can read people’s minds and turn their thoughts to speech.

The team at the University of California, San Francisco says the technology is “exhilarating”.

They add that their findings, published in the journal Nature, could help people when disease robs them of their ability to talk.

Experts said the findings were compelling and offered hope of restoring speech.

The mind-reading technology works in two stages.

First an electrode is implanted in the brain to pick up the electrical signals that manoeuvre the lips, tongue, voice box and jaw.

Then powerful computing is used to simulate how the movements in the mouth and throat would form different sounds.

(16) KRUGMAN’S WORLDCON TALK. At Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman spoke and then took questions. Scott Edelman has posted an audio recording on YouTube.

(17) PROP MAKER. Kenneth Spivey is “The Swordsmith to the Stars”. Great Big Story has a video (just over 3 minutes) about this artist and prop maker who is “working on Hollywood films like the ones he’s always loved—and likely inspiring the next generation.” Chevy trucks are featured prominently since they are the corporate sponsor.

(18) GEMINI MAN. The Hollywood Reporter asks “Can ‘Gemini Man’ Revive the Golden Age of ’90s Sci-Fi?” That is, can it be “an event unto itself?” Will Smith stars opposite a CGI-ed 23-year-old version of himself in Ang Lee’s Gemini Man—a property with a long history of previous stars being attached. The movie opens October 11.

This morning Paramount had us seeing double with the first trailer for the Ang Lee-directed sci-fi/action film Gemini Man, starring not one, but two Will Smiths. The long-gestating film, which began development as a Tony Scott feature in 1997, centers on assassin on the verge of retirement Henry Brogen (Smith), who is forced to combat a younger clone of himself (Smith) in the not-too-distant future. Since the film’s inception in the late ’90s, a number of big names have been attached to star, including Harrison Ford, Nicolas Cage, Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery. When Ang Lee took over the project in 2017, he cast Smith in the lead role, giving the actor the unique opportunity to play both his current 50-year-old self and his 23-year-old self, who, thanks to the film’s revolutionary technology, looks like he just stepped right off the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. If the trailer for the film, which also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong, is any indication, Gemini Man may be just what the science fiction genre needs.

[…] Big-budget original science fiction needs a win, and hopefully Gemini Man can recapture the spirit of the ’90s where a big-name director, producer and actor were an event unto themselves, regardless of preexisting material. Gemini Man looks appealing not simply because of its concept and slick action sequences, but because it looks to simultaneously tap into our nostalgia with a sunglasses-wearing Smith, and also our desire for an original, high-concept property that doesn’t require any prior knowledge. It’s a double threat.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Dann, Carl Slaughter, StephenfromOttawa, Jonathan Cowie, Scott Edelman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

82 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/24/19 The Scroll Of The File King From Pixel Gynt

  1. 13) I really have to buy Zinn’s work sometime. I remember a swedish graphic novel on the history of capitalism in Sweden from when I was a kid (I think it was translated to english) and Zinn seems to have tried to do the same thing in a way.

    I think I ‘ve never read a comprehensive book on american history (it has always been on special subjects) so this might be a place to start.

  2. Hampus, speaking here with my “long ago majored in American history” hat on…I really can’t recommend Zinn for that purpose. He’s excellent when it comes to people and groups he sympathizes with. He’s terrible with people and groups he hates. I almost always agree with his choice of enemies, but not with the way he takes that as license to set aside standards of documentation and justification in blasting them.

    I hear good things about Jill Lepore’s These Truths and David Reynolds’ America: Empire of Liberty, for what it’s worth.

    (Oh, also, from the other day, a belated voice here in favor of the delights of owning two cats rather than one. It’s glorious. 🙂 )

  3. (1) @Mike: it’s not clear to me whether the PDF is the packet submission, or this text (linked in the PDF) is. Or possibly both?

    The interpretation I’m seeing here is that AO3, in its entirety, is what’s nominated as a “related work.” Not “just” the infrastructure, certainly not “just” the programming work or the unique functionality. But rather: the community, the culture, the platform; everything. (This is no surprise, and absolutely consistent with what AO3-affiliated people have been saying 🙂 )

    And wow am I uncomfortable with that. Like, YES, AO3 is amazing and incredible and absolutely deserves recognition. But I think this bends the definition of “Best Related Work” past the breaking point — a “work” that is actually a community; a “2018” work that has no particular association to 2018.

    And this really worries me, because… well, because it’s the kind of thing that has strong potential to simply break the category. Given the strong enthusiasm for the AO3 nomination this year, I can’t imagine that it won’t be nominated next year as well. There’s no reason not to — just like those who nominated AO3 in previous years didn’t consider that a reason not to nominate them this year as well. In a low-nomination category like Best Related Work, I think we’re going to see AO3 as a regular finalist for several years to come.

    And if AO3 qualifies, then a whole bunch of other things qualify as well. Very specifically — organizations, communities and conventions that have lots of enthusiastic members. If AO3 is a regular Hugo nominee, then you can just as easily nominate SFWA; Worldcon; The Society For Creative Anachronism; The Rabid Puppies; or the #amwriting hashtag. I don’t think I’m being alarmist in suggesting that communities of thousands, if offered the opportunity to nominate their community for a Hugo Award, would be pretty darn likely to get things on the ballot.

    So, yeah, I’m not happy with this. Mad respect for AO3, which is unquestionably a stupendous community achievement — but, I don’t see how I can treat it as a “Best Related Work,” and I’m definitely concerned about what this nomination means for the category.

  4. @Andrew That was what I first thought of when I saw the story. I seem to remember enjoying it at the time, but I have no idea if it would hold up today. Probably not. The suck fairy has been strong since then.

  5. @standback.

    Yes. Exactly.

    And I don’t see anything in their list of improvements in 2018 that would, if applied to other types of works, would qualify it for a substantial change exemption.

    They added members…a book getting more readers would not be exempted.
    They added new character sets…printing a book in a different font would not qualify it
    they improved their search engine…adding a TOC to a book…maybe, but very doubtful
    They added content…like magazines and fabzines do. then BR is not the right category.

    If this kind of nomination persists, we should all nominate WSFS, and it should be the first such ‘thing’ to win in the category.

  6. Oh, knock it off, Steve. 🙄

    Archive Of Our Own is perfectly eligible in the Best Related Work category as a project which is the summation of its functionality, just as Jo Walton’s book of Hugo essays posted in years past is eligible, just as Liz Bourke’s book of reviews posted over the years was eligible, just as Ursula K. Le Guin’s book of blog posts made over the years was eligible, just as John Scalzi’s book of columns posted over the years was eligible.

    It’s really sad that you feel so very, very threatened by fandoms which are different from yours — and that you feel you have a right to try to exclude other fans who don’t fit your definition of “fan”. 🙁

  7. I’m with JJ. Related Work, as far as I can see is “We think this contributes to the fan ecology and doesn’t fit into any other category.” If previous business meetings had wanted a Non Fiction award then they surely could have created one.
    This year the award is very broad. This is good.

  8. nickpheas: If previous business meetings had wanted a Non Fiction award then they surely could have created one.

    The category was “Best Non-Fiction Book” from 1980 to 1998. It was changed to “Best Related Book” in 1999, and then very deliberately and specifically changed by WSFS members to “Best Related Work” in 2010.

    The category is the way it is right now because the majority of WSFS members want it that way.

  9. @JJ

    I stand with Standback.

    The award is for a particular year. There must be a strong association with that year.

    You mention Walton, Bourke et al. In those cases there was a strong association with the year – the physical publication of a book.

    Unfortunately AO3 do not seem to be making a strong (or indeed any) association with the current year in the PDF provided.

    Now I have gone and dug through the Release Notes for AO3 – there are only 5 releases in 2018. The only one with any chance of being considered reasonable of a significant change (although not by me) would be issue AO3-4815 – which involved updating the version of Elasticsearch used, and adding exclusions to the search interface. For me that would count as “business as usual” stuff.

  10. I’m not with anyone in this. I think all peoples opinions are logical in their own way and I see no problem with people voting according to them.

    Personally, I’m flexible as a website will always do most of its work on functionality the first years, but most likely not have the content that makes people want to nominate them until the years after it has been created.

    So I compromise and think of this as a one off. Am totally ok with people who are more restrictive in their interpretation of the rules.

  11. @JJ agreed. It is a catch all bucket, but it is one.

    I had had hopes the 2017 DUFF report might get enough nominations to make the category in 2018 since it’s the only category it would fit into; it sadly did not.

  12. JJ, I think “I disagree and you are beating a dead horse” would have been a little nicer way to state how you feel.

    I’m not threatened by other fandoms. This nomination is unverifiable so far as eligibility is concerned (and remember, one of the reasons there is a NO AWARD option is to register the fact that the voter does not believe an entry or entries belongs in the category – not that it is undeserving of an award.

    Further, I also think that it opens the potential for some nominees to become perrennial nominees in a category. Fanzine and Semi-professional were created because Locus had become the perennial winner in Fanzine, and the voters waited too long in that instance to address the issue.

    And further – I’ll solidify my statement – there has not been sufficient change to the website and its operations between 2017 and 2018 to warrant inclusion – that after having read blog posts on the site and the information File 770 provided above; in fact, I found the numbers game in that PDF to be a distraction from the fact that they could not provide sufficient evidence of substantial change, enough to qualify this year.

    Seriously, I can’t think of a single other kind of work – book, movie, song, paper, publication that would get on the ballot with such minimal change to their original presentation. The improvements mentioned in that PDF may not have been made in 2018 – this link is to a blog post on AO3 that includes some of the items mentioned in AO3’s PDF release, is dated 4/6/19 and states that “In the past six months alone…”. Six months that include 3 from this year. The changes are not dated.
    And why is this website not being nominated for Best Fanzine – as SFSignal was (and won) and other websites have been – and where I think it more clearly belongs – and even more so given the statements about fan service and the fact that they publish fan fiction – which used to be the provence of fanzines.

    I don’t think it qualifies on the grounds of not being eligible this year and I think it was punted into Best Related – where it has the potential to set a bad precedent.

    Lets give them a service award for doing a great job at doing what fandom has been doing for decades, fine, but not this.

  13. @nickpheas

    @Andrew That was what I first thought of when I saw the story. I seem to remember enjoying it at the time, but I have no idea if it would hold up today. Probably not. The suck fairy has been strong since then.

    I agree. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t stand up to rewatch (even with nostalgia filters activated). The wikipedia page reminds me that the show was a replacement for a previous series (called “Invisible Man”) that had used more expensive special effects – I vaguely recall the earlier series, too. But for whatever reason, the series name has never left my mind completely.

  14. (3) JUst watched Avengers Endgame yesterday and while there are some notable absences, that just heighten the joy and surprise when some other odd character shows up. But this movie is more than just fan service – its a very packed, full fitting ending to a long running franchise. This will be the level that Star Wars will be measured, and I ill be seriously surprised if they can pull it off anywhere near like this.

  15. @nickpheas A TV movie compilation of Gemini Man was the film in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which isn’t a good sign re: suck fairies….

  16. @JJ:

    The category was “Best Non-Fiction Book” from 1980 to 1998. It was changed to “Best Related Book” in 1999, and then very deliberately and specifically changed by WSFS members to “Best Related Work” in 2010.

    The category is the way it is right now because the majority of WSFS members want it that way.

    The 2010 change certainly introduces scope that wasn’t there previously 🙂

    My understanding (reading up on it today; I wasn’t following in 2010) is that the change was part of a shift to recognize online material in a number of categories — not merely to turn “Best Related Work” into a total grab bag (although that was an acknowledged result).

    In other words, sure, change from “Book” to “Work” because lots of material is on the internet and isnt in book form. But that’s a very different thing than saying “the purpose of the change was to allow anything in, no matter its shape or form.” That’s been, at very best, a side effect. One specifically left to the judgement of Hugo nominators and voters — which is why I think it’s just as important for those who feel it’s outside scope to say so, and vote accordingly, as it is for those who feel it’s in-scope to nominate it (and vote accordingly).

    I do think, though, that the distinction of Hugos being given only for a given year’s releases, is an important one. That’s the one that makes the difference between, “OK, this year we’ll have a nonorthodox finalist”, vs. “Well I guess this is what the category means from now on.” I’m genuinely dismayed to see this point go unaddressed.

  17. (18) sounds a bit like Looper with Bruce Willis. But anything with Will Smith is worth a look.

    Regards,
    Dann
    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

  18. I am part of transformative works fandom and have been an enthusiastic member of Archive of Our Own since 2009, and I’m still extremely unpersuaded by AO3’s packet submission above that it deserves a nomination for Best Related Work this year–because, as multiple people above have discussed, it just hasn’t established that significant changes have occurred in the past year. (I am aware of the changes that have occurred, but as an active user I find them either minor or in some cases deleterious.) I haven’t read all of the Best Related Work nominees yet, but it seems likely I’ll be ranking AO3 beneath No Award. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to reconsidering it in future years, but they’d have to make a much more cogent argument about why they feel it had made a major step in its evolution in that specific year.

  19. @ambyr – thanks for a take from the “inside”

    At the risk of sounding like I’m continuing to flagellate the enervated equine.

    That PDF came across as marketing hype and emphasized some things in a way that struck me as antithetical to their cause.

  20. @Andrew: Gemini Man was the mid-season reboot of The Invisible Man, replacing David McCallum with Ben Murphy, but it wasn’t renewed.

  21. I am most concerned by the fact that there appear to be quite a few authors who do seem to be seriously, not jokingly, claiming that they personally and the works they have written are Hugo Award finalists. Should they win, are they going to all insist that they’re entitled to Hugo Award trophies? And if they are told no, are they going to rise up in an Internet Mob screaming how unfair it is that Dublin didn’t build thousands of trophies for them? In addition, there are people in that “community” who are taking WSFS’s service marks and manipulating them to make their own logos, in a way that disrespects the very award that they claim to be celebrating. Furthermore, when the WSFS MPC, via the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee, has attempted to call out such bad behavior, we’ve been criticized by people who are “WSFS regulars” including past Business Meeting participants (thus not reasonably “fringe” members) for our actions.

    Failing to defend a service mark erodes it. Eroding a service mark sufficiently destroys it. WSFS has been working since before I found Worldcon in 1984 to protect its intellectual property. (So I reject the claims of people that “It’s just this one person who can be safely ignored.” I’m just the current head of the MPC.) The net effect of dismissing efforts to protect our IP is that anyone can call themselves “Hugo Award Finalist” or “Hugo Award Winner,” without any justification at all (much less the small amount that the AO3 authors have) because the words will have lost all of their meaning. That would certainly please those people who actively want to destroy the Hugo Awards, wouldn’t it?

  22. Hampus Eckerman on April 24, 2019 at 11:30 pm said:
    13) I really have to buy Zinn’s work sometime. I remember a swedish graphic novel on the history of capitalism in Sweden from when I was a kid (I think it was translated to english) and Zinn seems to have tried to do the same thing in a way.

    … and Zinn’s work even got a comic book adaptation too 😀

    Bruce Baugh on April 25, 2019 at 12:13 am said:

    Yes. I’d agree with your take on A People’s History. It’s a very good supplement to other readings on American History, but it is incomplete on its own.

    Still, as a union guy through-and-through, I highly recommend it. It’s accessible and covers a lot of important material that gets omitted from most discussions of history. The Pullman Strike, Joe Hill, The Dorr Rebelion … to name a few.

    [As a fun but irrelevant aside, I just found out that there’s only one group of cowboys in North America who have organized and are represented by a labour union. They’re right here in my home province of Alberta, and are AUPE members!]

  23. Olav, I agree a lot that labor history is crucially important. I’ve got Erik Loomis’ A History Of America In Ten Strikes in the summer reading pile and am very much looking forward to it.

    Also, I’m deeply taken with the not in of union cowboys and am delighted to know. 🙂

  24. Bruce Baugh on April 25, 2019 at 8:19 am said:
    Olav, I agree a lot that labor history is crucially important. I’ve got Erik Loomis’ A History Of America In Ten Strikes in the summer reading pile and am very much looking forward to it.

    !!! I need to order a copy of that. I’d not heard of it.

  25. @Kevin Standlee

    I am most concerned by the fact that there appear to be quite a few authors who do seem to be seriously, not jokingly, claiming that they personally and the works they have written are Hugo Award finalists. Should they win, are they going to all insist that they’re entitled to Hugo Award trophies? And if they are told no, are they going to rise up in an Internet Mob screaming how unfair it is that Dublin didn’t build thousands of trophies for them?

    This does not seem like a good faith argument to me. If you genuinely believe that transformative works authors are going to “rise up in an Internet Mob screaming” for a trophy, I’d love to see links to bad behavior supporting this belief.

    As noted above, I don’t think AO3 has done a good job asserting its eligibility this year. But I also find the hostility toward transformative works fandom from old school fandom bewildering. It also often seems to rest on the belief that the two fandoms are two completely separate bodies of people, instead of a heavily overlapping venn diagram. Many of the people I know in transformative works fandom have been attending WorldCons and voting for the Hugos for years or decades. They’re just often quiet about their transformative works interests while in old school fandom spaces. If nothing else, I consider the AO3 nomination a positive sign because it indicates transformative works fans within old school fandom finally feel comfortable coming out of the closet.

  26. JJ on April 25, 2019 at 2:23 am said:
    nickpheas: If previous business meetings had wanted a Non Fiction award then they surely could have created one.

    The category was “Best Non-Fiction Book” from 1980 to 1998. It was changed to “Best Related Book” in 1999, and then very deliberately and specifically changed by WSFS members to “Best Related Work” in 2010.

    The category is the way it is right now because the majority of WSFS members want it that way.

    … The category is that way because the majority of WSFS members *at that time* wanted it that way.

    It is very possible that the AO3 situation may cause some debate about whether or not it should remain this way.

    Personally, I like AO3 getting a nomination in principle, but don’t like trying to compare the site to non-fiction books. It’s like comparing apples and origami – both are great, but for very, very, very different reasons.

    I think AO3 will end up fourth on my personal ballot, but that’s not a reflection of anything other than the category being very, very competitive this year (Astounding would probably be my top pick of any related work on the ballot over the past decade).

    [Side note … I think there’s a real possibility that AOC might get some votes next year :D]

  27. @Ambyr.

    I am not and have tried to make the point that I do not have anything against transformative works. It has long been established – especially within science fiction fandom – that it is one way to practice the art of writing.

    I will also note that Hugo Award voters have, in the past, celebrated transformative works; off the top of my head, an at least transformative work adjacent work in the form of Rachel Bloom’s F Me, Ray Bradbury; although not on the ballot (if I recall), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies received a lot of attention, and that is certainly in the wheelhouse. I know there are other examples, I just can’t remember them anymore.

    I most assuredly am not saying it was your intent, but claiming the “old guard” is uncomfortable with something new as the reason(s) for objection has become a tired old cliche and point of attack almost every single time an issue like this one is raised.

    And it is further negated by that old guards nominations and awards voting over at least the past decade; websites were allowed to qualify, electronic fanzines were allowed to qualify, (yes, despite objections – that’s why we debate things in fanzines, on line and at the business meeting), the overall broadening of the scope of nominations in every category. Related, SFWA opened membership to indie authors (and many, many members of SFWA are old guard).

    Some people may be objecting to a website for fanfic community because it is devoted to fanfic. I know that is not why I am objecting.

  28. ambyr on April 25, 2019 at 8:45 am said:

    I’d love to see links to bad behavior supporting this belief.

    Okay, here you go.

    This person is manipulating WSFS’s Hugo Award logo and continues to do so after having been told they should not be doing so. Furthermore, this person continues to claim to be a Hugo Award finalist even after having it pointed out that doing so is like every author of every story ever published in a Hugo Award-shortlisted magazine is a Hugo Award finalist. It’s as much of a bad-faith argument as claiming that every person who donated money to the Mexicanx Initiative is a Hugo Award finalist, which I do not see anyone doing.

    Personally, I think that AO3 is really more like a magazine, and that this analogy with fanzines and semiprozines is sound, unless it’s an anthology. There simply isn’t a category for fiction anthologies or collections, as the individual works within them are what’s eligible, not the work as a whole. Also, when works of non-fiction consisting of multiple articles (with different authors) with an overall editor have made the shortlist, it’s the editor who gets the nod (the finalist pins/ribbons/certificates and the winner trophy), not the individual authors. I’ve seen the requests for dozens of finalist pins on this very subject, and therefore understand what a slippery slope it is.

    I also find the hostility toward transformative works fandom from old school fandom bewildering.

    If you mean me, I have no hostility toward them. I directed (and performed in) two amateur Doctor Who movies when I was in college, so I guess I’ve done transformative works myself. I just don’t want over-enthusiastic fans undermining, either accidentally or deliberately, the WSFS service marks that they claim to value so much. You can love something to death that way.

  29. nickpheas on April 25, 2019 at 2:02 am said:

    Related Work, as far as I can see is “We think this contributes to the fan ecology and doesn’t fit into any other category.”

    AO3 certainly contributes to the fan ecology in a very major way. They also did extensive changes in 2018.

    I’ve nominated both the Lady Business Hugo Spreadsheet of Doom and the Lesbian Historic Motif Project in Best Related Work in the past. They’re on-going projects that will never have a “published date” but that always add content in any given year (LHMP especially). I think requiring a paper-published date for a compilation is rather old school.

  30. @Steve Green: Thanks.

    @Steve Davidson:

    I know there are other examples, I just can’t remember them anymore.

    One example: “A Study in Emerald” – Neil Gaiman’s Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu crossover deservedly won the Hugo for best short story in 2004.

  31. @Steve Davidson If I’d wanted to object to something you had said earlier in this thread, I would have quoted you as well as Kevin Standlee. I did not. I will, however, object to this:

    I am not and have tried to make the point that I do not have anything against transformative works. It has long been established – especially within science fiction fandom – that it is one way to practice the art of writing.

    Claiming that the purpose of transformative works is “to practice the art of writing” is to me, as a transformative works fan, a statement of hostility toward my genre. It is something people outside transformative works fandom say often, and it comes across as incredibly unwelcoming and dismissive. I write transformative works and read transformative works and revel in transformative works fandom because I believe transformative works are in and of themselves a complete and valid art form worth celebrating. I don’t consider them a method of “practice” any more than I consider science fiction a “practice” form of writing for authors.

  32. Follow on

    It seems to me that at least my objections and possibly Kevin’s can be satisfactorily addressed; Kevin’s by the website’s board issuing a statement to their members stating unequivocally that individual contributors/members are not finalists and requesting that they not make such statements (include links to the relevant Hugo Awards resources),

    and mine by providing dated examples of substantial change(s) that have been made to the site during 2018 (and only 2018).

    I recognize that the website’s identification of something as substantial change might not agree with my or other’s definition of the same, but agreement is not the goal. Having something we can look at and knowing when it was implemented is the goal. Then every individual voter can make a determination based on their own assessment, which is as it should be. PDF hype touting numbers and a short list from a changelog that may or may not have occurred during 2018 does more harm than good at this point. If AO3 were a book or a dramatic presentation, we could all look at both versions (the ineligible and the potentially eligible). We’re being denied that opportunity.

    Right now, the failure to instruct members and the PDF issue, are making me start to think that they are geared towards attempting to avoid discouraging AO3s members from participating and voting. How many will vote if they are told, emphatically, that they personally will not be receiving the award? I’m not necessarily convinced that’s the case – yet – but am edging towards it.

  33. If this kind of nomination persists, we should all nominate WSFS, and it should be the first such ‘thing’ to win in the category.

    This is a terrible argument. You seem invested in dismissing an excellent project because it doesn’t fit in the normal expectations of a related work. That’s a shame. It’s like the old gripe that best fanzine was intended for print publications.

    I think Hugo voters are capable of evaluating AO3 differently as a first-time nominee than they would if it makes the ballot again in a future year. It will likely be viewed in totality this time around and in the future scrutinized more closely for what changed during the award year.

    But if not we have a Business Meeting for a reason. We shouldn’t throw up the exclusionary walls to make AO3’s creators and contributors feel like they’re unworthy of recognition because their project is an unusual nominee.

  34. We shouldn’t throw up the exclusionary walls to make AO3’s creators and contributors feel like they’re unworthy of recognition because their project is an unusual nominee.

    See, part of the problem is this kind of conflation of AO3’s creators with AO3’s contributors. The creators *are* definitely worthy of recognition. But the quality of contributions to AO3 seems quite … hit and miss …

    There’s plenty of works on there that I’d say simply *aren’t* worthy of recognition. And I’d include my own in that statement.

  35. For some reason, I keep wondering what the original Star Trek series would be like with Adam West playing James Kirk.

    “SCROLLWARE WARS:
    You’ll laugh! You’ll cry!
    You’ll tick the box goodbye!”

  36. (11) Superman won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation. (Ladyhawke was also a finalist, but lost to Back to the Future.)

    April 24th is also Shirley MacLaine’s birthday. Given her reputation, you’d think she’d have at least one appropriate movie. One of the closest might be Artists and Models where her character serves as a model for the Bat Lady comic book character.

    Were you at least a bit surprised when pixels scrolled your name?

  37. Olav Rokne on April 25, 2019 at 9:57 am said:
    We shouldn’t throw up the exclusionary walls to make AO3’s creators and contributors feel like they’re unworthy of recognition because their project is an unusual nominee.

    See, part of the problem is this kind of conflation of AO3’s creators with AO3’s contributors. The creators *are* definitely worthy of recognition. But the quality of contributions to AO3 seems quite … hit and miss …

    There’s plenty of works on there that I’d say simply *aren’t* worthy of recognition. And I’d include my own in that statement.

    Sturgeon’s Law. “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That’s because 90% of everything is crud.”

    So why would you expect the ratio to be any different on AO3, or any fan fiction site? I’ve seen stories that are better than a lot of professionally published works, and I’ve also seen works that fall into the other 90%.

    Holding people who do fanac for love to an impossibly high standard is condescending IMHO. Especially in a space that is known to be primarily female.

  38. @Jack Lint: Shirley MacClaine has a (hilariously appropriate) cameo in the genre film “Defending Your Life.”

  39. In response to people who think that arguments that AO3 shouldn’t qualify for Best Related Work amount to arguing that AO3 isn’t any good, I just want to point out that there are lots of excellent things that aren’t likely to ever get Hugo Awards. The Falcon Heavy Rocket was a really cool thing that first flew in 2018 and is at least sort of related to SF, but no one expected it to be nominated. There’s a really great restaurant Eric and I like to eat at, but we don’t expect it to get nominated either. That doesn’t mean they’re not great; it just means they don’t fit any of the Hugo categories.

    Just from what I’ve read here, it sounds to me as though the original intention of the Related-Work category was to expand the old Related-Book category to include things that are online, but they ended up extending it too much. If enough people feel that way, the Business Meeting should consider amending the definition to restrict it to (e.g.) original non-fiction works of at least 50,000 words.

  40. Archive of Our Own qualifies in the category of Best Related Work under the current Hugo rules. Nicholas would not have listed it as a Finalist if he and whomever else was involved in the decision thought it didn’t qualify for the category.

    Vote, or don’t vote on its quality as a complete entity; not its eligibility.

    If you don’t like that Best Related Work includes things like AO3, or you think the rule needs to be clarified to exclude things like AO3, then propose a Constitutional Amendment, get sponsors for it, and bring it to the Business Meeting. But don’t apply rules that aren’t there yet.

    That’s how we dealt with the Administrators’ decision on Lady Astronaut of Mars, and how we will no doubt deal with the Administrators’ decision on Geek Caligraphy’s on-line only art.

  41. @John A Arkansawyer
    Writing is a practice. Period.
    Missing the point by quite a bit, right there.
    AO3 has some excellent works, and, yes, some that are crap. But AO3 is NOT responsible for the quality of the works it hosts, any more than OGH is responsible for the quality of the comments that appear here.

  42. Techgrrl1972 on April 25, 2019 at 11:57 am said:

    There’s so much to unpack in your comment.

    So why would you expect the ratio to be any different on AO3, or any fan fiction site? I’ve seen stories that are better than a lot of professionally published works, and I’ve also seen works that fall into the other 90%.

    Uh. I don’t disagree with you that AO3 has good content. But I’d say the ratio of good-to-bad likely doesn’t approach 90-10. As with most self-published material, there’s no filter.

    But lets talk about the works that are worth nominating. If you think they should be shortlisted, then nominate them. Promote them to other Hugo voters. Participate in the discussion.

    AO3 is shortlisted as a platform (which as I said earlier, I have no issue with. It deserves to be recognized), the individual stories aren’t on the shortlist. That’s just the fact of the matter. The people sending stories to AO3 *aren’t* recognized in this award shortlisting.

    Holding people who do fanac for love to an impossibly high standard is condescending IMHO.

    So you think there should be no standard to which the Hugo shortlist should be held? Eveything and everybody should just be called a “Hugo Finalist” because you want to call it that?

    Look, artistic awards are always based on an adjudication of a standard of excellence. If there are no standards, then the award means nothing.

    Especially in a space that is known to be primarily female.

    Uh. You did look at the shortlist in the other categories, right? These days, the Hugo Awards stage is a space that is known to be primarily female.

  43. P J Evans on April 25, 2019 at 12:53 pm said:
    @John A Arkansawyer
    AO3 has some excellent works, and, yes, some that are crap. But AO3 is NOT responsible for the quality of the works it hosts, any more than OGH is responsible for the quality of the comments that appear here.

    Exactly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.