Pixel Scroll 4/25/18 Why Is A Pixel Like A Writing Desk?

(1) HUGO AUTOPSY. Doctor Strangemind’s Kim Huett, in “They’d Rather Be Right”, promises to explain how in 1955 They’d Rather Be Right, the least popular winner of the Hugo Award for novel ever, managed this surprising feat.

…First though I’d like to point out that while I’ll make what I think are some interesting points, these can only be considered tentative without any input from the fans who voted in 1955. Unfortunately asking those fans is a tad difficult given most of them are no longer alive enough for the likes of me to bother them. What I did instead was the next best thing and examined the historical record. In other words I went and looked through all the fanzines I have in my collection to see what was being written about They’d Rather Be Right back in the 50s.

Unfortunately my collection is not nearly so complete that I can describe the results of this search as being definitive but I do like to think that what I did discover carries some weight. For starters I was only able to find two references to They’d Rather Be Right but interestingly they’re both at odds with the more recent opinions. In Fantasy-Times #214 (January 1955) Thomas Gardener in his annual review of print science fiction describes They’d Rather Be Right as the best novel of 1954 and in Etherline #45 (1955), ‘So far, it’s excellent!’ is the opinion of Tony Santos in regards to the first instalment of the serial in Astounding. Now two positive comments isn’t a lot to go on but it still suggests the novel had a few fans back when it was first published….

(2) RPG. Standback says that this post is “Ostensibly for roleplayers, but it also just picks out awesome tropes from our Beloved Wombat’s works, and I suspect non-roleplayers will enjoy it as well” — “Stealing from T. Kingfisher” at The Overprepared GM.

…Kingfisher has written a set of fantasy short stories whose magic and world-building is rooted somewhere in the deserts of the American Southwest rather than the standard Tolkien/Medieval European fantasy tradition.  You want to start by reading Jackalope Wives and then The Tomato Thief (they’re free online, and short stories, so you have no excuse not to click and start reading).

If you’re a world builder, you can read read them just to get insights on how to communicate an original, immersive sense of place without info dumps.  Keep in mind, these are short stories/novelettes, not epics.  Kingfisher does some serious world building in a very tight format.  I think they’re both Hugo winners.

(3) AVENGERS. “‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Raises The Stakes To Infinity — And Beyond” by NPR’s Glen Weldon contains FAQ-like mini-reviews tailored for many different audiences.

Avengers: Infinity War is — and truly feels like — the culmination of something.

Over the course of many years and many more Marvel Universe films — including some that proved to be hugely successful (Guardians of the Galaxy) and some that proved to be Thor: The Dark World — the proprietors of that universe have been nesting glowy magical gemstones inside their heroes’ stories. We nerdlings familiar with the 1991 Marvel Comics mini-series Infinity Gauntlet (written by Jim Starlin with art by George Perez and Ron Lim) have been waiting patiently for a certain big bald Marvel villain to come along and collect/hoard those sparklies like some kind of purple, cosmically powered space-tyrant/magpie.

Thanos is here at last — an alchemical blend made up of state-of-the-art CGI, an oddly wistful performance from actor Josh Brolin, and Violet Beauregarde’s post-gum skin tone — and he’s fixin’ to cause Trouble. With a capital T, and that rhymes with C, and that stands for cosmic genocide….

The BBC’s overview of critics’ reactions: “Avengers: Infinity War earns five-star reviews”.

Attendees at screenings held in central London on Wednesday were exhorted not to reveal details of the film’s plot that are not already in the public domain.

“Don’t spoil it for others, the same way you wouldn’t want it spoiled for you,” read a message written by the film’s sibling directors, Anthony and Joe Russo.

Critics are largely adhering to this request, though the Daily Mirror‘s Chris Hunneysett gives away a few key details we won’t share here.

“Fans will be dumbfounded by the direction the movie takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” he writes in his five-star review.

(4) THE JOKING LAMP IS LIT. That unexpected direction Hunneysett hints at probably won’t be this one: “Jimmy Kimmel Reimagines ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ as a Marvel Rom-Com (Video)”.

During Tuesday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” the late-night host shared an (obviously fake) promo for the film, which focused less on the punches the Avengers will throw to stop Thanos and more on the sparks that will fly… romantically.

 

(5) LISTEN UP. The SFWA Blog has the whole rundown on a new “Humble Bundle: Classic Sci Fi & Fantasy & Audiobooks”. See the book list at the link.

Check out Humble Bundle’s new bundle of goodness: “Classic Sci Fi & Fantasy & Audiobooks.”  A portion of the proceeds goes to SFWA, which helps it in its mission to inform, support, promote, and defend writers.

The bundle runs from Wednesday, April 25th, 11:00am Pacific to Wednesday, May 9th, 11:00am Pacific.

A GREAT DEAL FOR A GREAT CAUSE

UP  TO $318 WORTH OF DIGITAL BOOKS

“PAY WHAT YOU WANT”

DRM-FREE

MULTI-FORMAT

(6) BOMBS AWAY. Charles Payseur takes a Quick Sip of something a bit stronger than usual in “LIVER BEWARE! You’re in for a Drunk Review of Goosebumps #3: MONSTER BLOOD”.

…(this post originally appeared on my Patreon. For those unaware, the series finds me drunkenly reading and reviewing the children’s book series, Goosebumps. To date, I’m far enough ahead in the series that I’m making all of the older reviews freely available on Quick Sip Reviews. I hope you enjoy!)

Welcome to the third installment of drunken Goosebumps reviews! And check out that new graphic! Thanks to everyone who voted! I’m rather partial to Scaredy-Liver at the Hip Bar myself, so was quite chuffed to see that other people seemed to like that one, too. I’m also quite chuffed that we’ve arrived at #3 in the Goosebumps series, Monster Blood! This was actually what I would tell everyone was my favorite Goosebumps when I was little. Why? Because the cover is blue and green. Seriously, I was a weird kid, because I obviously forgot about 90% of this one before picking it up again. The result? MADNESS! You thought the first two books in the series were weird. Are you ready for a magical, sentient, child-endangering (evil) cat? Or a bullying B plot that culminates in endless nightmares and probably endless counseling? Good, because HERE WE GO!
Oh, I should mention that today’s review comes courtesy of Rampant Imperial IPA from New Belgium Brewing, because why settle for regular IPAs when you can get drunk TWICE AS FAST!

(7) OBERST INTERVIEW. At Without Your Head, Bill Oberst, Jr. returns to talk about At Granny’s House, Ray Bradbury Live (Forever) and Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell.

(8) JAPANESE WEIRD SF. “Sisyphean: An Interview with Weird Scifi Author Dempow Torishima” at Weird Fiction Review.

 

WFR: What kinds of fiction or stories did you read and watch growing up?

Dempow Torishima: As a child, I liked stories with illustrations, like Doctor Doolittle, René Guillot’s Un petit chien va dans la lune, works by Edogawa Rampo, and so on (I was enthralled by the things that rose up between the words and the pictures), and I think that is also related to my present style of writing.

In my teenage years, I got really into strange, unique works of Japanese fiction, such as Kyusaku Yumeno’s Dogra Magra, Mushitaro Oguri’s Murder at Black Death Mansion, Shozo Numa’s Yapoo: the Human Cattle. In particular, I was strongly influenced by the word-plays, images of body modification, and so on in Yapoo: the Human Cattle.

After that, I started reading a variety of novels from a variety of countries (regardless of genre), and as you might expect, I really liked the ones with strong conceits and high levels of the absurd. These days, I like Can Xue, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Seth Fried. I’m also drawn to authors like Yoko Tawada and Yuko Yamao, who are very particular about the words they use. In William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Hisashi Kuroma’s translation style shocked me with its copious use of kanji neologisms and ruby text.

(In Japanese books, ruby text?—?tiny phonetic characters printed next to kanji characters?—?is sometimes used to indicate the pronunciations of difficult kanji. I use it to create wordplays, double-meanings, and so on. Still, from the time I was first published, I’ve been told those effects are impossible to replicate in English. )

(9) SUPPORT INDIE. Power off your phone, shut down your laptop, shop for something in print: Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day.

What is Independent Bookstore Day?

Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country on the last Saturday in April.  Every store is unique and independent, and every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on that day. Not before. Not after. Not online.

To see past exclusives, check out our archives.

Why are we celebrating independent bookstores?

Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.

In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying anachronism.  They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand. In fact, there are more of them this year than there were last year. And they are at your service.

Bookstores: find out how you can participate!

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Chip Hitchcock says we don’t have this technology: Rhymes With Orange.
  • Then, John King Tarpinian enjoyed two kaiju sharing a moment in Off The Mark.

(11) SCALZI’S BOOK TOUR ATTRACTS PEST. Jon Del Arroz encouraged one of his stooges to behave like an ass at John Scalzi’s New York book signing.

Scalzi tweeted:

JDA, always excited when anybody pays him attention, had a pleonasm. He crowed about his role in the incident in “You’ll Be Shocked At How John Scalzi Treats His Fans” [Internet Archive link]

A couple of weeks ago, a fan DMed me on Twitter. He told me he was going to Scalzi’s signing and he wanted me to do something. He asked me to sign one of Scalzi’s books, and he would bring my book to the signing, show him me signing his book, and have Scalzi sign one of my books. I thought this was all in good fun, so I agreed. Here’s what I sent to my fan:

The stooge’s wingman skulked on the perimeter making a shaky video of the meeting.

(12) BACK IN TIME WITH GRRM. Tor.com announces “New George R. R. Martin Book Fire & Blood Arrives November 20th”.

George R. R. Martin’s latest tale of Westeros, Fire and Blood, will be released on November 20, 2018, and is available for pre-order nowFire and Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) will look back at some of the history that led to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, focusing on the intrigue and tragedy of the Targaryen family. The book is a continuation of a much shorter piece in 2014’s illustrated in-world history The World of Ice & Fire, that was written by Martin and collaborators Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson.

F&B promises the “full tapestry” of the Targaryen’s history, and includes the origin of the three dragon eggs that changed the course Daenerys’ life.

(13) FAN CON JOURNALISM. Lots more information on Universal Fan Con — timeline, names, interviews with guests, volunteers and fans, etc. – from Women Write About Comics: “Universal Fan Con: Peeling Back the Layers”. Here are a few excerpts:

Tom Leonard was listed on Universal Fan Con’s website as Vice President of Marketing and Sales. His website claims he has over either eighteen or twenty years of experience in online marketing.

In our investigations of Leonard, we discovered something odd about his Twitter presence. We found multiple “Tom Leonards” on Twitter, each either sharing the same photo shown on the Universal Fan Con website, or a different picture of the same man but bearded, advertising different brands. We combed through all the Twitter profiles threads, and we eventually concluded that VP of Marketing and Sales Tom Leonard might be a bot account that brands can hire, and not actually a real person at all.

… Guests like author Roxane Gay — whose appearance at the Universal Fan Con was announced April 18, 2018, just two days before the cancellation of the con — spoke out online. Gay tweeted out “This statement is bewildering. I cannot believe you would put this up. To tell people who have bought non refundable tickets that the organizers did too… is flippant, at best. And to offer no refunds… wow.”

… After all this research, it’s still not clear where the money was spent. The organizers have not responded to requests for comment. During this investigation, we have spoken to lots of people involved in the con on and off the record, yet no one seems to know where the $56,000 from the Kickstarter went, or where the personal money that Butler claimed was spent went.  Though we attempted to contact the convention center they weren’t accepting calls or questions, which has lead to a guessing game online with people stating numbers from 25,000 to one million as the price of the center, whilst the organizers stay silent.

(14) AUSTRALIAN MILITARY HISTORY. Found on Twitter with an assist from Nicholas Whyte. Jump on the thread here —

(15) OUT FOR LUNCH. In contrast, ancient hunters somehow overcame nature without machine guns. Reuters Science News headline: “Giant sloth vs. ancient man: fossil footprints track prehistoric hunt”.

Scientists have uncovered evidence of ancient humans engaged in a deadly face-off with a giant sloth, showing for the first time how our ancestors might have tackled such a formidable prey.

Standing over 2 meters tall, with forelegs tipped with claws, giant sloths lived until around 11,000 years ago. Most scientists believe over-hunting by humans eventually led to their extinction.
Fossilised footprints in the salt flats of White Sands National Monument, in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico, reveal humans walking in the exact footsteps of a giant sloth and then confronting it, possibly hurling spears.
“The story that we can read from the tracks is that the humans were stalking; following in the footsteps, precisely in the footsteps of the sloth,” said Matthew Bennett, one of a team of scientists behind the discovery.

“While it was being distracted and turning, somebody else would come across and try and deliver the killer blow. It’s an interesting story and it’s all written in the footprints,” said Bennett, a professor of environmental and geographical sciences at Bournemouth University in southern England.

(16) YOU ARE HERE. “Scientists Unveil Precise Map Of More Than A Billion Stars”: NPR has the story.

Wednesday was the day astronomers said goodbye to the old Milky Way they had known and loved and hello to a new view of our home galaxy.

A European Space Agency mission called Gaia just released a long-awaited treasure trove of data: precise measurements of 1.7 billion stars.

It’s unprecedented for scientists to know the exact brightness, distances, motions and colors of more than a billion stars. The information will yield the best three-dimensional map of our galaxy ever.

Here’s the 360-degree video:

(17) LOCK-UN. Notice to [fannish] travelers: “Hotel door locks worldwide were vulnerable to hack”.

Millions of electronic door locks fitted to hotel rooms worldwide have been found to be vulnerable to a hack.

Researchers say flaws they found in the equipment’s software meant they could create “master keys” that opened the rooms without leaving an activity log.

The F-Secure team said it had worked with the locks’ maker over the past year to create a fix.

But the Swedish manufacturer is playing down the risk to those hotels that have yet to install an update.

“Vision Software is a 20-year-old product, which has been compromised after 12 years and thousands of hours of intensive work by two employees at F-Secure,” said a spokeswoman for the company, Assa Abloy.

“These old locks represent only a small fraction [of the those in use] and are being rapidly replaced with new technology.”

She added that hotels had begun deploying the fix two months ago.

(18) TRANSFORMERS. Geek Tyrant introduces the Transformers: Power of the Primes trailer:

This trailer provides a first look at some of the impressive voice-talent who are making their debut in the series including Ron Perlman as Optimus Primal, WWE Superstar Samoa Joe as Predaking, Mikey Way from the rock band My Chemical Romance as Snarl, Jaime King (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as Solus Prime, and Gregg Berger, the original voice of Grimlock, returns to the role! They join returning cast members Mark Hamill, who made his debut as Megatronus in the finale of the second chapter of the trilogy, Transformers: Titans Return, Judd Nelson, who is voicing a character new to the trilogy, Rodimus Cron, Wil Wheaton as Perceptor, DashieGames as Menasor, MatPat as Swoop, and Rob Dyke as Devastator.

 

(19) EARLY WARNING. The arms race continues: “Canada developing quantum radar to detect stealth aircraft”.

Canada has invested $2.7m (£1.93m) into developing quantum radar – a new technology that would greatly improve the detection of stealth aircraft.

The technology is being developed by the University of Waterloo to replace existing Arctic radar stations.

Quantum radar can theoretically detect objects with a greater level of accuracy than conventional radar.

It makes use of quantum illumination – the process of isolating pairs of entangled photons.

So far, the technology has been tested only in laboratories.

(20) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Kut” is a short film by Czech animator Lucija Mrjzlak on Vimeo which plays with space and time.

{Thanks to Robin Reid, Standback, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, ULTRAGOTHA, Andrew Porter, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

167 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/25/18 Why Is A Pixel Like A Writing Desk?

  1. Yes, and it bears a striking similarity to the manifestos of people who have later gone on shooting sprees. He’s completely unhinged.

    I don’t know if MZW’s really unhinged, but I wouldn’t invite him as a guest or to be a participant at a con. Wright on the other hand, I would be happy to have. It’s not about their politics, but their demeanor and how that affects other fans comfort.

  2. I wonder if the “any laws restricting gun ownership or confiscation of guns is treason” is an NRA talking point. I have a friend who is a card-carrying NRA member (yeah, he pulled it out and showed it to me, unasked), who basically made the same claim, and he came pretty close to saying that as someone who took an oath to uphold the Constitution when he joined the Navy, that if I supported such restrictions, he was obligated to kill me for treason. I don’t really think that he’s going to shoot anyone, but IMHO, he’s exactly the type of person who should have their guns confiscated.

  3. They may have taken an oath to uphold the constitution, but apparently he hasn’t taken one to read and understand it:

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    [emphasis added]

    More generally, the more unhinged NRA-types seem to have forgotten that the second amendment is not the whole of the constitution.

  4. Michael Williamson picking a fight with Jim Wright, arguably the last person online that one would want to pick a fight with. (AFAIK Harlan isn’t online 🙂 )

    The carnage is already quite amazing (and fun to read) and Wright hasn’t even unleashed the flying monkeys yet. Far from over, this debacle is.

  5. I just read that MZW letter to Wright.

    I agree that his raging, deranged ranting comes across as the kind of person who’ll eventually take his guns to a public place and murder people.

    Meanwhile, his repetitious obsession with “faggots,” “dicks,” “cocksucking,” etc. suggests to me that he is a deeply-closeted, self-hating gay man who’s unwittingly exposing his anxiety and revulsion about his sexual feelings in this rant.

    But that’s irrelevant speculation compared to the important question about this guy, which is whether he’s a serious danger to others or just someone who likes to talk as if he’s dangerous.

  6. But that’s irrelevant speculation compared to the important question about this guy, which is whether he’s a serious danger to others or just someone who likes to talk as if he’s dangerous.

    I was at a con that MZW attended last year and it wasn’t a Libertycon-type safe space for right-wingers. I saw him in the distance a couple of times, but otherwise I avoided being around him. But I didn’t hear any reports of bad behavior. I think he is a lot milder in real life than his tough-guy internet role-playing. However, I will continue trying to avoid him.

  7. I think he [MZW] is a lot milder in real life than his tough-guy internet role-playing.

    I met him IRL twenty-plus years ago before he started writing and while he was definitely right-wing he was friendly enough in person. But you just don’t write stuff like he’s doing now and expect to get a pass for that because it really is obnoxious behavior.

  8. But you just don’t write stuff like he’s doing now and expect to get a pass for that because it really is obnoxious behavior.

    Oh, yes! Definitely! I did not mean what I wrote to give him a pass at all.

  9. I also should add that MZW’s mean use of homosexual slurs, no matter how he qualifies them, is something that would make gays at cons uneasy. There’s nothing ironic about it even, like in the Dire Straits song “Money For Nothing”. It’s just full-on demeaning.

  10. David W. on April 27, 2018 at 11:13 am said:

    I don’t know if MZW’s really unhinged, but I wouldn’t invite him as a guest or to be a participant at a con. Wright on the other hand, I would be happy to have. It’s not about their politics, but their demeanor and how that affects other fans comfort.

    Mr. “Of course anybody has the urge to clobber homosexuals over the head with a tyre iron”? I wouldn’t.

    ETA: Wrong Wright. My bad.

  11. Read the letter now. That guy is, as they say in Italy, out like a balcony. I am sorry Jim Wright has been led the believe that the science fiction community as a whole is sympathetic to the likes of MZW.

  12. Wow.

    Well, it seems my days of even mildly defending MZW as “a nice enough guy, at least in person” have come to an end.

    As have his days of being able to claim not to be a homophobe. He loves to crow about how he’s Really Very Tolerant Of Teh Gheys and puts positive portrayals of them in his books – but what’s the insult he goes to when he really wants to hurt a man? That that man performs oral sex on other men. Real gay-friendly there, Mikey… 🙄

  13. @Laura: “But that’s irrelevant speculation compared to the important question about [MZW], which is whether he’s a serious danger to others or just someone who likes to talk as if he’s dangerous.”

    Well, I can personally attest that he owns a bunch of guns and a crapton of sharp pointy things. He even sells the latter – see SharpPointyThings dot com; that’s his store. I know this because I helped carry several loads of both into the LibertyCon hotel a few years ago. This was above-board, BTW; the guns were brought for a pre-con shooting range trip and the pointy stuff was stock for sale. AFAIK, he doesn’t normally tote an arsenal of long guns around.

    As to assessing him personally… well, come July 2, you can probably ask your dad what he thinks of the guy. MZW’s a regular at LibertyCon, or at least he was when I still kept tabs on ’em, allowing for the occasional active-duty schedule conflict. (He may have retired since then, but last time I saw MZW, he was still active-duty military and missed one year because he “had to go play in the sandbox.”) If this year’s like the last ones I attended, he’ll have a SPT table in the huckster room, with a corner set aside for book sales. He’ll be the guy wearing the black shirt that says “Infidel” in Arabic… and no, I’m NOT making that up. Average-tall height, dark black hair, fit and trim, with (IIRC) two kids who are probably approaching their early teens now. (I’m fuzzy on their ages, but I do recall seeing a couple of younguns with him a few years back.) Seeing how your dad’s this year’s LGOH at that event, they’re likely to cross paths – at the mass autograph session, if nothing else.

    Come to that, you may want to give your dad a heads-up.

    (BTW, to be clear: I’m NOT judging or snarking about your dad for attending that con. I’m just making the dual assumptions that the two will meet there and that you either trust or can properly interpret your father’s opinions of people.)

  14. For the immediate future, comments made after the point will probably be lost as a byproduct of the site move. Will advise when it’s done.

  15. So now is the time to really let loose with the crazy, confident in the fact that it will disappear forever?

  16. @RevBob– My dad and I mostly talk about family stuff and work. Like most families. The sf/f community, cons, etc. seldom comes up. (Ex. I didn’t know until you wrote this post that he’ll be at LibertyCon. But I do know the code to his garage door and what brand of ketchup to give him at dinner.)

  17. For the immediate future, comments made after the point will probably be lost as a byproduct of the site move.

    All those moments will be lost in time… like files in rain… Time to scroll.

  18. kathodus on April 27, 2018 at 4:49 pm said:

    All those moments will be lost in time… like files in rain… Time to scroll.

    Oh man, now I have to make sure to preserve my email archive of recent posts here, just to make sure this comment isn’t lost! 😀

  19. My name is Pixelmandias, scroll of scrolls:
    Look on my works, ye Filers, and despair!

    ( Good luck and god speed, File 770!)

  20. Waaaaaait a minute… what if all of this doesn’t disappear into the Black Scroll of Calcutta? What then? WHAT THEN??

  21. As always, should you or any of your IM posts be preserved, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. Good luck, Kip. This thread will self-destruct in five seconds…..

  22. The Comment that can be replied to is not the True Comment
    If you meet a Pixel on the Road, Scroll it.

  23. @13: I don’t understand how somebody with more than a touch of sanity can believe a business plan that requires getting 18,000 memberships for a first-year convention; that’s a level of ignorance that suggests none of the management, however clear some of them seem to be of outright fraud, should be believed in any conrunning connection. I don’t care what Marketing claims, that just doesn’t happen in real life.

  24. Kip W on April 27, 2018 at 5:42 pm said:

    Waaaaaait a minute… what if all of this doesn’t disappear into the Black Scroll of Calcutta? What then? WHAT THEN??

    What happens in the Black Scroll of Calcutta stays in the Black Scroll of Calcutta.

  25. @Paul Weimer: the official site at hugoawards.org presents voting breakdowns for the 1965 awards, which definitely used first past the post; then none after that until 1972, in which IRV was definitely used.

    However, more history can be found at the site for the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund! According to TAFF Progress Report #8:

    It had been suggested that TAFF adopt the “Australian ballot” a system of voting which provides automatic runoffs and assures majority winners in each case. This new balloting procedure was discussed and adopted. (Later, at the Convention’s business meeting, the Hugo Study Committee proposed the Australian ballot for future Hugo voting, and it was adopted here too.)

    (The Convention in question being Loncon II, held in London in 1965.) So 1966 may have been the first Hugo Awards selected using IRV.

  26. Chip Hitchcock: I don’t understand how somebody with more than a touch of sanity can believe a business plan that requires getting 18,000 memberships for a first-year convention

    It really does beggar belief. But people without conrunning experience just see the tens of thousands of attendees and all the piles of money which the big media cons rake in, and figure it’s a reasonable plan. The Kickstarter does mention 10,000 attendees, which seems wildly over-optimistic to me.

    I do think that it’s bizarre that no one noticed that the fact that they planned to use the BCC would be a problem in terms of cost. But I don’t remember the Kickstarter being mentioned by anyone here on File 770 (or anywhere else that I saw), and I wonder if it was mainly promoted in places where no participants had conrunning experience.

  27. Rev. Bob: Come to that, you may want to give your dad a heads-up.

    I am sure that MIke Resnick has known MZW for years, is well aware of what he’s like, and has nothing to worry about from him.

    It’s the non-white, non-male, non-famous, and non-adult con attendees who have cause to worry.

  28. @David Goldfarb
    IRV was used in 1971’s Hugo voting. L.A.con used the same program with the (hardcoded) data updated. (The program was in full PL/I. You really don’t want to know.)

  29. 11) I hate to say this, but in a way it’s a good thing that JDA has focused on Scalzi. Imagine what would be going on if he’d chosen to focus on a female writer.

    @ Michael J. Walsh: Interesting. I have 3 4-digit codes that I use for things that require them, and none of them are either of those. It wouldn’t even occur to me to use either of those.

    @ Mark: See my initial comment above.

    @ JJ: “Second-wave” to “second-rate”? I think that could be described as a Freudian slip.

  30. Re MZW: This makes me very sad. I knew him when he was a decent human being. How did he become radicalized?

    @ Rev. Bob: And sooner or later, if pressed, they will always come out with some version of the “Oh, c’mon, it’s not like everybody doesn’t think it from time to time” defense. Um… no. (Not claiming that MZW has done that yet, just an observation about a pattern of behavior I’ve seen over and over again.)

    I view the desire to sightsee by visiting a shooting range with, I imagine, much the same baffled incomprehension that many people would have for my desire to sample the wares at any new bubble-tea place I encounter. 🙂

  31. JJ: If the attack in TO has taught anything, it’s that yes, if someone decides to crack and go on a killing spree due to hatred of a minority, it is not JUST that minority who are in danger.

  32. If MZW did decide to go ballistic, it wouldn’t be at Puppycon, where everyone is, if not on the same page, at least reading from the same chapter.

  33. Ugh. Scalzi’s Stalker has an amazing lack of self-awareness and a very rich fantasy life, based on that blog post. Totes fantasy.

    And our libertarian friend taking on Jim Wright of Stonekettle? Oh, man, that is like the local Cub Scouts taking on the 101st Airborne. Wow. Again, more self delusion. I find the MZ W books fairly readable, if ‘message fiction’ with a capital MESSAGE, nothing that Ayn Rand wouldn’t approve of.

    But like most libertarian fiction, I find it unlikely that such an economic and political system would work in a real world setting larger than a small, clan-sized village. Meh. I shrug and ignore that. OTOH, the rape as weapon of war, while certainly a real-world issue, gets handled in a … mmmm, well, squicky sort of way to me. Not at the level of OHNOJR, but …

  34. @David Thanks. And now I wonder if any of those early FPTP results (besides They’d Rather be Right) would have significantly changed with the current system.

  35. @JJ: I suppose I really shouldn’t be surprised at UFanCon, considering all the people I’ve read of who expect to scribble something (or worse, give someone else an idea to scribble) and get money pouring in from eager publishers. And I suppose it’s too much to hope for that these people will be remembered/widely-known and ignored if they come up with another such scheme. But one can dream…. I’m still not sure the BCC costs were an issue given the revenue expectations — they certainly couldn’t put 10,000++ attendees in hotel spaces, and I haven’t seen clear-enough figures of what BCC would have actually charged (or, just as important, what suppliers would have charged to make the space usable — CC deals tend to be four-walls, with every movable or sevice thing additional).

    @P J Evans: didn’t know LACon 1 had used the N1 program. Did L1 also use punch cards as ballots?

  36. UPDATE: Yet another member of the Swedish Academy has decided to leave. That means that only 10 of the 18 chairs are filled, with 12 members needed to choose new members.

    Most likely, there will be no Nobel Prize in Literature this year.

  37. “Um, we know there’s no Nobel Prize for Mathematics, but we could really use a logician right now….”

  38. @Chip
    I have a copy of the printout for the LACon 1 ballot-counting program; some of the ‘serial numbers’ didn’t get changed. As for what kind of ballots were used – I wasn’t there; I’d have to ask Frisbie, who might remember. (He handed over four 12×18-inch boxes of LACon2 Hugo material, excluding those final ballots. Now I need to find a place for them….)

  39. Having briefly scanned that weird-ass screed…I’ve never read any of the man’s books, but do they read like that? Because that wasn’t even freshman comp level writing.

    I’m not saying my every email is a heartbreakingly composed gem of prose, but I at least do a quick edit for clarity when I hit about the third paragraph.

  40. Say, Ursula… we’ll be discussing Summer In Orcus over the next few weeks on Forumania (successor to Compuserve), starting on May 1. If you are interested in joining in, or even just lurking, the link is HERE.

    And that goes for any other filers, too…

  41. I should add that we’ve previously discussed Bryony & Roses and it was very well received indeed.

    And I should also note that while we’ve had author participation in some discussions, and we love it when it happens, we also recognize that author participation requires spoons that may or may not be available. So no pressure.

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