Pixel Scroll 6/14/18 When The Scroll Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pixel Pie, That’s A-nnoying

(1) PUTTING SOME ENGLISH ON IT. Should the Hugo Awards add a Best Translated works category? Here are Twitter threads by two advocates.

(2) EXPANDING STOKER. The Horror Writers Association will be adding a new Bram Stoker Awards category for Short Non-Fiction in 2019.

HWA President, Lisa Morton welcomes the new addition, stating: “As a writer who has written non-fiction at all lengths, a reader who loves articles and essays, and an admirer of academic study of dark fiction, I am pleased to announce this new awards category.”

(3) WEBER DECLARES VICTORY. David Weber’s Change.org petition, “Ensure Freedom of Speech & Assembly at ConCarolinas”, recorded 3,713 signatures. Weber’s fans were so enthusiastic one of them even signed my name to the petition. Although I asked them to remove it I’m still getting notifications, like this one — “The Vote Is In…”

Our petition in favor of the policy on guest invitations for ConCarolinas enunciated by Jada Hope at the closing ceremonies of the 2018 convention is now closed.

That policy, simply stated, is that ConCarolinas will issue apolitical invitations to genre-appropriate guests and that guests, once invited, will not be DISINVITED because of political hate campaigns waged online after the invitations are announced.

In the week that it was open, it accrued over 3,700 signatures, many of whom left comments explaining why they had signed in support of that policy. We believe this is a fairly resounding statement of the fact that many more members of fandom support a policy in which individuals are not excluded because of the political demands of a vocal minority who assail conventions online. We believe the fact that NONE of the signatures on this petition were anonymous speaks volumes for the willingness of the signers to “put their money where their mouths are” on this issue.

At no time have we suggested that conventions are not fully entitled to make their initial guest selections on whatever basis they like, including how compatible they expect that guest’s apparent politics to be to the con goers they expect to attend. What we have said is that there is no justification for RESCINDING an invitation, once issued and accepted, simply because someone else objects to that guest’s inclusion. Clearly there will be occasional genuinely special circumstances, but unless something becomes part of the public record only after the invitation has been extended, it should not justify rescinding an invitation. That was that thesis of this petition, and that was what all of these individuals signed in support of.

Sharon and I thank you for the way in which you have come out in support of our position on this, and we reiterate that it does not matter to us whether the guest in question is from the left or the right. What matters is that true diversity does not include ex post facto banning of a guest simply because some online mob disapproves of him or her.

Fandom is supposed to be a community open to ideas that challenge us. Creating an echo chamber in which no dissenting voices are heard is the diametric opposite of that concept. Thank you, all of you, for helping to tone down the echo effect.

(4) WHERE STORIES COME FROM. Robert Aickman recalled, in “Strange, Stranger, Strangest” at The Baffler.

Like some of his more famous contemporaries—Evelyn Waugh, say, or Aldous Huxley—Aickman yearned for those pre-industrial times before the democratic rabble began making all their poorly educated and unreasonable demands; and while his political prejudices didn’t yield what some of his contemporaries considered a satisfactory person (one of his closest friends recalled him as being incapable of any “real commitment to anyone”), they inspired him to explore narrative ideas that were always idiosyncratic, funny, disturbing, and unpredictable. No two Aickman stories are alike; and no single story is like any other story written by anybody else.

The most dangerous forces in an Aickman story often emerge from common and unremarkable spaces: tacky carnival tents, rural church-yards, the rough scrim of bushes at the far end of a brick-walled back garden, the human rabble who visit their dead relatives in decaying cemeteries, or remote (and often unnamable) foreign holiday isles. And while supernatural events may often occur in Aickman stories—at other times they only seem to occur, and at still other times they don’t occur at all.

(5) JEMISIN GETS AWARD. The Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council has announced the lineup of initial 150-plus authors for this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival (“Brooklyn Book Festival Announces Stellar Fall Line-Up”), September 15-16. Hugo award-winning author N.K. Jemisin will be the recipient of the annual Best of Brooklyn (BoBi) Award.

Brooklyn author N.K. Jemisin has been named the recipient of the Brooklyn Book Festival’s annual Best of Brooklyn (or BoBi) Award. The annual award is presented at the September Gala Mingle to an author whose work exemplifies or speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn. Past honorees have included Colson Whitehead, Jacqueline Woodson, Jonathan Lethem, James McBride, Lois Lowry and Pete Hamill.

(6) LE GUIN TRIBUTE. John Lorentz, who attended, says the video recording of last night’s tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin is now available online at http://www.literary-arts-tribute.org/.

It was a special night (Ursula was a real treasure here in Portland, and throughout the literary world), and we were very happy that we could be there.

It was a mix of videos of Ursula and live speakers, such as Molly Gloss, David Jose Older and China Mieville.

And a dragon!

(7) AROUND THE BLOCK. Mary Robinette Kowal says NASA astronauts are now doing the spacewalk she saw them rehearse. Get on the Twitter thread here —

(8) SNEYD OBIT. Steve Sneyd, a well-known sff poet who also published fanzines, died June 14. John Hertz, in “The Handle of a Scythe, commemorated Sneyd after the Science Fiction Poetry Association named him a 2015 Grand Master of Fantastic Poetry.

He was poetry editor for Langley Searles’ unsurpassed Fantasy Commentator.  His own Data Dump has been published a quarter-century;

.. On the occasion of the Grand Master award, Andrew Darlington posted a 3,400-word piece “Steve Sneyd from Mars to Marsden” at Darlington’s Weblog Eight Miles Higher,  with photos, images of Sneyd’s various publications including Data Dump, electronic links, and things too fierce to mention

Sneyd’s own website was Steve-Sneyd.com. And there’s an entry for him at the SF Encyclopedia — http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/sneyd_steve.


  • Born June 14  — Lucy Hale, 29. Bionic Woman (2007 TV series) as Becca Sommers, sister of Jaime Sommers, and voiced Periwinkle in TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings.

(10) NOW AUTOMATED. CockyBot™ is on the job.

(11) SWATTERS PLEAD. “Two rival gamers allegedly involved in Kansas ‘swatting’ death plead not guilty in federal court” reports the Washington Post.

…Late last December, Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill, two young men separated by more than 800 miles and a time zone, clashed inside the digital playpen of “Call of Duty: WWII.” The Wichita Eagle would later report that the disagreement was over an online wager of less than $2.

But according to a federal indictment, Viner, from North College Hill, Ohio, became “upset” with Gaskill, a Kansas resident. Plotting a real-world revenge for the alleged slight delivered in the first-person shooter, Viner allegedly tapped a 25-year-old  from Los Angeles named Tyler Barriss to “swat” Gaskill.

“Swatting” — or summoning police to an address under false emergency pretenses — is a particularly dangerous form of Internet harassment. But when Gaskill noticed that Barriss had started following him on Twitter, he realized what the Californian and Viner were plotting. Instead of backing down or running for help, Gaskill taunted the alleged swatter via direct message on Twitter.

“Please try some s–t ,” Gaskill allegedly messaged Barriss on Dec. 28, according to the indictment. “You’re gonna try and swat me its hilarious … I’m waiting buddy.”

The wait was not long. According to authorities, about 40 minutes after the messages on Twitter, police in Wichita swarmed a local house in response to a hostage situation. Twenty-eight-year-old Andrew Finch was shot dead by law enforcement — the result, allegedly, of Barriss’s fake call to police. The deadly hoax, sparked by an online gaming beef, quickly became international news.

Now Viner, Gaskill, and Barriss are all facing federal criminal charges stemming from the shooting. On Wednesday afternoon, Viner and Gaskill — 18 and 19, respectively — were in a Wichita courtroom making their first appearance in the case. The Associated Press reported that both men pleaded not guilty to a host of charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and wire fraud.

(12) WARM SPELL. NPR reckons “Antarctica Has Lost More Than 3 Trillion Tons Of Ice In 25 Years”.

Scientists have completed the most exhaustive assessment of changes in Antarctica’s ice sheet to date. And they found that it’s melting faster than they thought.

Ice losses totaling 3 trillion tonnes (or more than 3.3 trillion tons) since 1992 have caused global sea levels to rise by 7.6 mm, nearly one third of an inch, according to a study published in Nature on Wednesday.

Before 2010, Antarctica was contributing a relatively small proportion of the melting that is causing global sea levels to rise, says study co-leader Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds.

But that has changed. “Since around 2010, 2012, we can see that there’s been a sharp increase in the rate of ice loss from Antarctica. And the ice sheet is now losing three times as much ice,” Shepherd adds.

(13) DUSTY ROADS. The end? “Enormous Dust Storm On Mars Threatens The Opportunity Rover”.

A massive dust storm on Mars is threatening NASA’s Opportunity rover, which has been conducting research on the Red Planet for well over a decade.

Where the rover sits, the dust storm has completely blotted out the sun, depriving Opportunity of solar power and cutting off communications with Earth.

NASA scientists believe the rover has fallen asleep to wait out the storm, and that when the dust storm dies down and sunlight returns, the rover will resume activity.

“We’re concerned, but we’re hopeful that the storm will clear and the rover will begin to communicate with us,” says John Callas, the Opportunity project manager.

The rover has survived dust storms before, but it’s never lost power this thoroughly.

The dust storm on Mars grew from a small, local storm into a massive event over the course of the last two weeks. Opportunity is located near the middle of the storm, while the newer rover Curiosity — which is nuclear-powered, so not threatened by the loss of sunlight — is currently near the storm’s edge.

… There’s no expectation that the rover will be completely buried by dust, but there are risks associated with the lack of temperature control and the extended lack of power.

“The good news there is that the dust storm has warmed temperatures on Mars,” Callas says. “We’re also going into the summer season so the rover will not get as cold as it would normally.”

The rover also has small, plutonium-powered heater units on board that will help keep it from freezing, and NASA scientists believe the rover will be able to ride out the storm until the skies clear. It’s not clear how long that will take.

(14) HOMEBREW DROID. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Patrick Stefanski decided, even before Solo: A Star Wars Story hit the theaters he wanted to build an Alexa-powered version of the droid L3-37. Well, the head anyway. He combined his skills with 3-D printing, model painting, and electronics to have his robot head respond to “Ethree” as a custom wake word and reply with a sassy “What?” when summoned. Those changes required running Amazon Voice Services software—basically the thing that powers Alexa—on a Raspberry Pi microcomputer rather than using stock Amazon hardware. That change also allowed him to set the localization to the UK so “she” could speak with a British accent.

Quoting the io9 article “Talented Hacker Turns Amazon’s Alexa Into Lando’s Sass-Talking L3-37 Droid” —

One of the best parts of Solo: A Star Wars Story is Lando Calrissian’s piloting droid, L3-37, who’s been uniquely pieced together and upgraded from parts of other droids. Patrick Stefanski has essentially done the same thing to turn Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant into a desktop version of L3-37 who answers to your beck and call.

The customizability of Amazon’s Echo speakers, which feature Alexa built-in, are quite limited. So in order to make his L3-37 actually respond to the simple phrase, “Elthree,” Stefanski instead used a software version of Alexa running on a Raspberry Pi3 mini computer. It also allowed Stefanski to alter his location so that his Alexa-powered L3-37 speaks in a British accent, similar to actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s performance of the character in the movie.

The SYFY Wire article has more of an interview with Stefanski, “This dude built a fully-functional and definitively sassy 3D-printed L3-37 Alexa”, including:

“I originally wrote off the idea of doing a 3D printed L3 project when I first saw her in a teaser trailer. Here is a 6- or 7-foot walking humanoid robot with tons of articulation and a ton of personality. What could I possibly do with that? Some builder’s tried to tackle K2-SO, a very similar droid from the Rogue One movie, and ended up with a 6-foot static mannequin.

…]That’s cool and all but, me, I’m all about the motors and the electronics and the motion.

“Then as luck would have it, the first time I heard L3-37 talk (a British female voice), it happened to be on the same day I saw a random YouTube video about someone hacking together an Echo Dot and one of those old ‘Billy the Bass’ novelty fish. […] My daughter is 3, and just starting to really get comfortable with Alexa. ‘ALEXA PLAY FROZEN!!!!’ is something you’ll hear yelled in my house a lot! So, I started thinking of something fun to do with our Echo, and the idea of turning it into this new female robot from Star Wars kind of just fell into place.”

(15) GREEN HELL. Science Alert is enthralled: “Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano Is Literally Raining Gemstones Now, And We Want Some”.

If Hawaii’s K?lauea volcano were to offer an apology for its chaos and destruction, it just might come in the form of a beautiful green mineral called olivine.

Over the past months we’ve reported on devastating lava flows and bone-shattering boulders. Now it’s raining gems – a rare event that has geologists enthralled and the rest of us just plain confused.

But ULTRAGOTHA sent in the link with a demurrer: “I will note that I am not confused as to why an active volcano is producing olivine.  This one does it a lot. There is a green beach on Hawai’i.” She has in mind Papakolea Beach:

Papakolea Beach (also known as Green Sand Beach or Mahana Beach[1]) is a green sand beach located near South Point, in the Ka?? district of the island of Hawaii. One of only four green sand beaches in the world, the others being Talofofo Beach, Guam; Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island in the Galapagos Islands; and Hornindalsvatnet, Norway.[citation needed] It gets its distinctive coloring from olivine sand eroded out of the enclosing volcanic cone (tuff ring).

(16) HIGH PRICED TICKET. This weekend, “Aliencon links the worlds of space travel, UFOlogy and science fiction at the Pasadena Convention Center”. Story from the Pasadena Weekly.

Tully notes that AlienCon moved to Pasadena this year simply because of needing a bigger venue, and that there is no hidden agenda or secret information that ties Pasadena to an impending alien invasion or hidden landing sites from past eras.

“That question of whether we know things we can’t tell came up numerous times at the first AlienCon,” says Tully. “I don’t know anything, hand over heart, but I believe we have a panel that answers everything one could possibly know. They don’t get censored by the government.”

The move to Pasadena has already paid off with one-day passes  for Saturday already sold out, as are the Bronze and Gold level (which includes a private event with the “Ancient Aliens” cast) passes, which cost $124 and $549, respectively. The remaining Silver level passes cost $436 and, according to the website, “passholders receive guaranteed premium seating in the Main Stage, a voucher redeemable for autographs or photographs, a tote bag with exclusive merchandise, and much more!”

The fact that AlienCon doesn’t feature any experts from Caltech or JPL raises the antenna of Dr. Michael Shermer, founder of the Altadena-based Skeptic Society, who has long debunked the prospect of alien life forms as well as the existence of God. While he was somewhat impressed that the chief astronomer of the federal government’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program and “Star Trek: Voyager’s” Picardo (who works with the Pasadena-based Planetary Society) will be panelists, he was more incredulous about the moneymaking aspects of the event.

“It’s a fun topic, like talking about God, where everyone has an opinion, but no one has any proof,” says Shermer. “But with the Gold Pass costing $550, you better be able to meet and greet an actual alien.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Bill, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Chuck Connor, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

136 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/14/18 When The Scroll Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pixel Pie, That’s A-nnoying

  1. It is very nice of Rachel to try to promote the reading of translated SFFF works, but I can’t believe the “Why don’t we?” question is genuine.

    The very obvious reason why a French Award like the “Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire” has a best translated work category, and the Hugo hasn’t, is that the English language market is not dominated by translations the way it is in absolutely every other markets around the world. Enjoy, because it is truely awesome, and don’t get mistaken : the “best translated work” is not the junior partner of the award list, and it takes a very deliberate effort from its founder not to make it “Best english to french translated work currently storming the market”. I like what the GPI jury is doing from this point of view, with recent wins from Estonian and Icelandic authors, and at least one non-anglo finalist every year.

    I also guess reading more translated work leads to take a step back on this question of best translation/best translated award. Of course a translated work is a tricky, impossible to unravel coproduction. Forget about it (which does not mean forget the translators), and enjoy/award the books.

    As to what to do in the english speaking context, I think JJ has ii right with his cart and horse analogy, at least for the Hugo awards. Making it a Hugo award category would require a pre-existing, widespread habit of reading translated works, and I don’t see the anglo readers being there yet, for all the recent celebrations of a short few translated works.

    (On a side note, this is why I also take the short fiction results of the Hugo with more then a pinch of salt : I don’t think the average Hugo voter has the reading reach to be a good judge of what is best in short fiction, and I always find the TOC of the best-of from Horton, Strahan or dearly missed Gardner Dozois much more informative).

    Coming back to translated works, best to rely on a specific juried award, and I find very sad to discover that Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award has been discontinued. I find it telling that the interest of anglo readers for translated works does not go far below the surface and a few acclaimed hits, but that could just be pessimistic me speaking.


    It seems to me that the motivation for the awards listed to have a “best translated” is that translations are a relatively larger part of their market and they want to a) acknowledge that and b) make sure their “best novel” goes to a local book, not a foreign blockbuster, hence split categories.
    If someone (is there a society of translators or something?) want to have awards then go them. To answer the question that Mike is posing (at least, the quoted tweets don’t address the Hugos specifically so I assume this is Mike pondering the question) then I don’t see the Hugos as particularly well suited to judge translators – we have enough difficulty with editors! – but someone is welcome to try and persuade the membership that they can do it. Although, if you wanted to try and persuade an existing award to add it, I’d think that the pros of SFWA would be better suited to making that judgement – are translators eligible for SFWA membership?

    ETA: cross posted with Vivien who makes several of my points better than I did 🙂

  3. Mark-kitteh: It seems to me that the motivation for the awards listed to have a “best translated” is that translations are a relatively larger part of their market and they want to a) acknowledge that and b) make sure their “best novel” goes to a local book, not a foreign blockbuster, hence split categories.

    Two of the three awards she listed are juried awards — which makes it a lot easier for a jury of specialists to come up with a good shortlist. The Geffens are given by the members of Icon (around 4,000).

    Mark-kitteh: the quoted tweets don’t address the Hugos specifically

    A bunch of the tweets in the associated threads do specifically call out the Hugos.

    Mark-kitteh: I don’t see the Hugos as particularly well suited to judge translators

    I think it would almost certainly have to be Best Translated Work; then there is no requirement to have to compare the original and the translated version to see if the translation was well done, it would simply look at the quality of the English-language version.

  4. P.I.X.E.L.

    in Super Scrollimation!

    Tonight’s episode: Planet of the Filers

  5. @JJ

    Thanks re the tweets. Interesting about the examples mainly being juried – I agree that juries/pros are much better suited to technical judgements like the quality of translators than several thousand readers are. That leads to the same conclusion as you – for the Hugos it would have to be Best Translated – and that leads to the point that Vivien made, that these other awards are being given in significantly different markets so they don’t really support the idea that Best Translated would automatically be a good fit as a Hugo award.
    Again, I have no issues with people wanting an award to go to something they’re interested in, but they have to confront the practicalities and then persuade a bunch of other people that it’s doable. If they can do that then good for them.

    ( More generally, are there examples of great translated works being badly ignored by the Hugo voters? 3BP and Folding Beijing are examples of translations that did well recently)

  6. What I’m trying to say is, “It could win Novel” is not, cannot be a valid criticism against having a not-a-Hugo for translated work.

    I disagree. With YA or series its less likely to win novel, than a non-YA or a non-mid-series book.I dont see that with translation works.
    Splutting categories may even do the opposite for translations – they cant win the “main price ” (aka the novel, which is outside of fandom argubly the most visual of the awards) anymore. I would think of that as a loss.

    Isnt it scrollionic? Dont you think?

  7. JJ on June 15, 2018 at 2:34 am said:
    I think it would almost certainly have to be Best Translated Work; then there is no requirement to have to compare the original and the translated version to see if the translation was well done, it would simply look at the quality of the English-language version.

    Probably not work. It’d have to be story with word-count minimums lest we end up with a best anime category.

  8. 1): no direct comment on the awards category but it did get me thinking this (half-formed, unbaked): Worldcons held in countries that are non-Anglo ought to have, by by-law, a parallel set of awards devoted to works published/filmed/recorded in the language native to the country. …?

  9. “More generally, are there examples of great translated works being badly ignored by the Hugo voters? “

    Battle Royale by Koushun Takami comes to mind.

  10. @ Mark

    Thank you for the kind word

    @Steve Davidson

    I acknowledge that this move would be intended to make Worldcon a bit more worldwide then say… the baseball “World Series”, and I commend that ^^.

    However, I don’t think this would work, honestly. The key, I think, is to understand that each market has its own dynamic and it might not work to transpose concepts from one market to another.

    Coming back to the french example, the only one I am qualified to talk about and that could become practical in 2023 if Nice has its chance. We do have our own awards for best F&SF novels, thank you (GPI, Bob Morane, Imaginales to quote the most prestigious). Almost all are juried. There is one award that is exactly transposed from the Hugo Award (mass-based voting for the nomination, winner designated by participants of a convention), it is called the Rosny Ainé award and it does not manage to have the same impact as say, the GPI. I think this is because we, sadly, do not have the base in French speaking countries to recruit what make the Hugo Award prestige and success : a big mass of dedicated and informed reader of french F&SF. There are just not so many readers and they spend a lot of their time reading translations or like me, directly in english.
    So it makes more sense, in the end, to rely on a selected few very informed readers who managed to get what is best from the french speaking scene.

    (And we then all use the finalists as a reading guide, to echo another debate)

    The question is then : would there be a significant population of sufficiently well read (in french) readers among the participants of a Worldcon for their opinion to make sense ? To stand the copareason with the established award we have here ? Even if it was organized in France ? I am not quite sure.

  11. @14, there’s a typo (probably in the original article) that calls L3-37 “Elthere”. (Edit to add; which someone else caught first)

    Also, I just noticed that L3-37 is a ‘leet bot. Didn’t catch that while watching the movie. *sigh*.

    (I thought “Solo” was a perfectly workmanlike caper film. Nothing special, but not a waste of two hours of my life. But since you *know* that the major characters live to make “A New Hope”, there’s little real suspense.) I did like that they explained the “less than twelve parsecs” line. And V ernyyl rawblrq gung Fbyb yvrq nobhg uvf npuvrirzrag; “ebhaqvat qbja.” Gung jnf ragveryl va punenpgre.)

  12. Obituary of some genre interest: the actor Leslie Grantham, best known as “Dirty Den” from EastEnders, has died at the age of 71. He was a bit of an SF fan on the quiet – he not only appeared in Doctor Who (in the Peter Davison era), but also played the main villain in, and was heavily involved in the production of, the four-part alien-subversion thriller The Uninvited.

  13. @Peer: that all sounds very similar to reservations about YA and Series. If the proposal is to create a separate award for translated work I expect the complaints will switch immediately to “but it might win twice!” and then everyone will have psychic whiplash. This is all hypothetical though. As I said from the very beginning it’d be dependent on actual interest. As much as I’d like such an award I don’t think the interest is there (yet).

  14. @Kurt Busiek: Claire Rousseau links to a BBC article about how few works are translated into English as opposed to other languages:

    Some call it the two per cent problem, others the three per cent problem. It depends on which set of statistics you use and, as with most statistics, there’s ample room to quibble. But what they all point to is this: English-language publishers have a lamentable track record when it comes to translating great stories from elsewhere in the world…Compare that Anglophone two or three per cent to figures in France, where 27% of books published are in translation. And if that sounds a lot, you might care to know that in Spain it’s 28%, Turkey 40%, and Slovenia a whopping 70%.

    I’ve seen similar statistics elsewhere and suspect sci-fi isn’t an outlier.

    fwiw while the Kurd Laßwitz Preis has an award for best SF translation into German, it also has an award for best foreign SF work published into German. The other two awards Cordasco links to focus on the work, not the translation (or translator).

    I don’t read enough contemporary sci-fi to know what is being missed by awards (Vladimir Sorokin and Haruki Murakami are the first to pop into my mind). The success of Liu Cixin’s works perhaps shows more non-English work is taken seriously but I’m still miffed that Stanislaw Lem as far as I can tell was never even nominated for a Hugo or any other major English language award (with the exception of a lone Clarke nomination for Fiasco). I would be surprised if there weren’t important non-English sci-fi writers not getting their due and having awards for translated works would do something to balance that, as well as let me and others know what is out there worth reading.

    I’m also not too worried about not enough people currently reading translated stuff since I think if more awards had a category for translated work, more folk would read translated work.

  15. “Pitch Pixel with his pals Scroller and Paddlefile in another exciting adventure, the Case of the Appertaining Explorer!”

  16. Ahem, there are quite a few translators among WorldCon members and Hugo voters who are know a bit more about the problems and pitfalls of translation than the average SFF fan. And if you want to make a Translated work Hugo or not a Hugo a thing, translators who are WorldCon members should get together and draft a proposal.

    Though I agree that the Hugos are probably not the best choice for such an award. Having a juried standalone award or attaching a translation award to the Nebulas (are translators of SFF SFWA eligible beyond translators who are also authors like Ken Liu and John Chu?) would probably work better.

  17. @Cora

    Very true about translators including your good self, but would you want to see your expert opinion overwhelmed by the vast majority of members (including me) who would probably only be able to judge translators on whether they liked the story or not?
    I think some authors and editors get frustrated that they understand Editor but get overwhelmed by the rest of us with little way to judge, and I suspect the same would happen with Best Translator.

  18. (1) Chiming in with Vivien, Mark, et al . I’m Israeli, I follow the Geffen Award, and it’s a pretty awkward misrepresentation to take our “Best Translated Book (From English)” award as an exemplar of recognizing non-English books.

    I’m definitely in favor of greater attention to translated works; each language has pockets and troves of treasures waiting to be introduced to a larger audience. But the reason Israel (and other markets limited by a non-English language) recognizes translated works, is because cherry-picking popular or intriguing works for the massive ocean of English-language literature, is a much easier and more doable task than plucking local successes and tossing them hopefully to do battle in the English ocean.

  19. I’ll also add that I’m definitely leery about the general direction of “let’s add more categories to the Hugos.”

    There are so many categories already. Already, it’s hard to say how much actual participation there is in the less-popular categories; it’s hard to say much about some of them besides “they reward the people who are popular among the people giving this award” — which is no small thing at all, but the more we add categories and try to address individual niches, I think the Hugos do less and less well.

    And at some point, “awards will raise awareness of this group of works/people” suffers from diminishing returns. People will read X shortlists but not 2*X; will read Y categories but not 2*Y. I’m a great believer in this if you can focus on a relevant core audience, e.g. translators or multilingual readers — but not if you’re just going to poll the same people giving all the other awards.

  20. Vivien on June 15, 2018 at 1:58 am said:

    I find very sad to discover that Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award has been discontinued.

    Me, too. I went to a lot of effort doing the legal setup (organizing ARESFFT, the non-profit corporation, through the incorporation and tax-exemption process, getting the grant — from the 2009 Worldcon, BTW — to pay for the set-up costs, etc.) so that the people who were initially prepared to the work to make the award happen could get on with it.

    As it happen, the “ghost” of the SF&FT Awards lives on with Worldcon, which is possibly appropriate given that a Worldcon paid the initial incorporation and application costs of setting them up. When we were winding up the awards due to lack of people points (see below) and returning the remaining money to the donors, WSFS was in need of a legal entity to hold title to the WSFS service marks outside of the USA on account of the EU Intellectual Property Organization doesn’t grok unincorporated associations: you’re either a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietor. As it happens, the ARESSFT articles of incorporation were very easy to re-scope by just changing a couple of words, so the WSFS Mark Protection Committee paid the small amount of money (much less than setting up a new corporation) to make the changes, the old ARESFFT Board voted in the changes and elected the MPC members as the new board, and changed the name of the corporation to Worldcon Intellectual Property. (This is explained in the reports to WSFS published with the WSFS Business Meeting minutes, but nobody ever reads the reports as far as I can tell.)

    I find it telling that the interest of Anglo readers for translated works does not go far below the surface and a few acclaimed hits, but that could just be pessimistic me speaking.

    It wasn’t interest. There was lots of that. What there was not were enough qualified people to judge the awards and to do the rather substantial administrative work. I’m not criticizing the people who had to say, “We can’t do the work anymore.” It was a lot of book-wrangling and judge-organizing. Juried awards are hard in different ways than popularly-voted ones.

  21. Thanks a lot for the elements of context, Kevin.

    I am sorry if my comment read as a blame on the people who ran this award and at some point could not do it anymore : it was definitely not my intention. On the contrary, kudos to them for making this a reality, at least for some time.

    I simply wish this award was some kind of evidence to fandom, so it could not go down without people noticing, and making the extra mile for ressurecting it.

  22. @Michael Kennedy: your description of the amendment process matches my recollections, although I can’t find specific procedures in either the constitution or the standing rules (anywhere in the neighborhood of “amend”). ISTM that this is standard (although not universal); motions (and debate) come from the floor, not from the presiding officers.

    So I finally saw Avengers: Infinity War last night, and thought I saw an error in the sole egg (after the huge list of credits): gur FHI gung fjreirf vagb Sherl&Uvyy’f cngu gheaf bhg gb or rzcgl, cerfhznoyl orpnhfr gur qevire jnf Gunangvmrq — ohg nyy bgure pnfrf bs Gunangbfvf yrnir n cvyr bs cvrprf. Jul ner gur frngf pyrna?

  23. Found some stats for fiction in Sweden (from something called, loosely translated “The Swedish Publishers’ Organisation”):

    2013: 38% of fiction for adults published was translated, 27% for children and YA
    2014: 36%, 23%
    2015: 35%, 26%
    2016: 35%, 28%

    Note that “children and YA” includes fact, whereas adult does not, if you drop the fact, it ends up as 35%, 29%, 33%, and 35%).

    source page

  24. Dang, Niall, why couldn’t I think of that? I sat there trying to do something with that line, and the retrospectively obvious was laughing behind my back.

  25. @ Chip Hitchcock:

    V guvax gur jvaqbjf jrer ebyyrq qbja? Gung jbhyq cebonoyl unir pnhfrq rabhut gheohyrapr gb fuvsg gur nfurf nobhg, V jbhyq’ir gubhtug?


    So have Weber et al considered what a weird, limited, odd “victory” this is? I mean, the sole thing they’re fighting about is that cons can’t change their minds. Isn’t that a really odd thing to rally the troops about, and so obviously counterintuitive (I mean, anyone is entitled to change their minds, let alone a con with unwieldy decision-making) that everyone else is just going to ignore it as obviously wrong?

    (Yes, it’s actually cover for expressing some incoherent “free speech” arguments, but even so – shouldn’t they have found a better test case?)

  27. (I’m on record repeatedly, obnoxiously and stubbornly arguing against the Best Series category but) Both Best Series and YA were designed to give attention to books which were under-represented relative to their market share and audience numbers. In Best Series’ case, the idea was also to give attention to a specific type of story-telling which stood little-to-no chance of winning in the existing fiction categories and only a very small chance of being nominated (Wheel of Time is the only exception that I’m aware of), since those are designed for individual works rather than long-form multi-volume works.

    I’m not sure the same could be said of translated works in the English language market; broadly, my impression is that they do quite well relative to their market share in the current fiction categories, and they don’t suffer Series’ handicap at all.

    There have just been two categories added, one of which is a huge amount of work, at a time when a fair number of new nominators/voters are probably still getting the hang of things post-Puppy; at least, I certainly am.* Maybe hold off for awhile and let it all settle in before looking at adding more.

    * Actually having things I nominated get onto the ballot has been quite illuminating for how I should adjust my criteria for next year.

  28. steve davidson on June 15, 2018 at 2:57 am said:

    1): no direct comment on the awards category but it did get me thinking this (half-formed, unbaked): Worldcons held in countries that are non-Anglo ought to have, by by-law, a parallel set of awards devoted to works published/filmed/recorded in the language native to the country. …?

    Personally, I would not support any language in the Constitution that required any Worldcon Committee to have a parallel set of awards. At best I would carefully consider a proposal that allowed such a thing at the committee’s discretion.

    There’s nothing stopping any Worldcon Committee from creating their own list of any sort of award, as long as they don’t call it a Hugo.

    There’s also nothing stopping any organization out there from creating any sort of award–juried, non juried, at the whim of one person–and asking Worldcon for permission to hold the award ceremony at the convention. The Golden Ducks have done this for years.

    Please note that every Worldcon already has the right in the Constitution to do a special Hugo award.

    3.3.18: Additional Category

    Not more than one special category may be created by the current Worldcon Committee with nomination and voting to be the same as for the permanent

    The Worldcon Committee is not required to create any such category; such action by a Worldcon Committee should be under exceptional circumstances only; and the special category created by one Worldcon Committee shall not be binding on following Committees

    Awards created under this paragraph shall be considered to be Hugo Awards.

    If enough interest is generated in a Hugo for Best Translated Work, perhaps a future Worldcon committee would try it out, as Helsinki did for Best Series.

    Cora Buhlert on June 15, 2018 at 6:06 am said:

    Ahem, there are quite a few translators among WorldCon members and Hugo voters who are know a bit more about the problems and pitfalls of translation than the average SFF fan. And if you want to make a Translated work Hugo or not a Hugo a thing, translators who are WorldCon members should get together and draft a proposal.

    This is one reason why I think that, if any proposal is brought before the Business Meeting in San Jose, it would work better as a proposal to seat a committee–or to add to the current committee that is considering revisions to the Hugo Categories–than as a proposal to add a new Best Translated Work category to the constitution. We need more thought and input from more people than we’re likely to see between now and 2 August. (Which is the date I think agenda items are due to the Business Meeting secretary.)

    Rallying good, solid, involved, interest and support is the best way to eventually get such an award into the WSFS Constitution.

  29. I do not have the figures, but I am pretty sure that the percentage of translated work is superior in F&SF then in general fiction here in France.

    It is certainly based on genre history, but it might be inherent to this type of fiction : when the context is imaginary, it makes it easier to cross borders. Not to say cultural questions don’t matter in F&SF, but it might be less awkward for a french reader to connect with the adventures of Frodo in Middle Earth or Paul Atréides in the Dune universe, then to a story deeply rooted in the American Midwest or New York.

  30. Seeking some help . . .

    I’m looking for the origins of the bumper-sticker adage: “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup”?”

    I usually see it attributed to Suzanne McMinn, but invariably without any further specificity (which work? which page?).

    I know it is likely derived from Tolkien: “Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

    From Usenet, 1989: “Do Not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for you are crunchy and go well with catsup.”

    So, looking for first time in print (or earliest findable), with specific references (author, work, etc.) of the adage and close variants (spelling, phrasing, etc.) containing core elements: “meddle in affairs of dragons”, “cruncy”, “ketchup/catsup”.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  31. Meredith Moment:

    Return To Neveryon: The Complete Series By Samuel R. Delany is on sale at Amazon US (and possibly elsewhere-it was on my Wishlist, which is how I discovered it and The Motion of Light In Water by Delany are on sale).

    Neveryon is at $3.99 and Motion is $1.99

  32. Can any Filers think of a better way for me to set up Twitter threads? I realized today I’ve become so used to jumping into threads by clicking on the datestamp in a Tweet that I forget not everyone comprehends that’s what I hope they’ll do when I put up one- or two-tweet intros, like with this Best Translated Work Hugo discussion.

    While everyone understands what happens when you click on a hyperlink, I don’t want to leave behind fans who might not know how Twitter threads work. (“Click on the X to see the rest of this Twitter discussion” would be an idea, after I decide on the phrase to fill in the X. Or you might have better ideas.)

  33. Bill: A tangent that probably won’t help, here.

    A variant that I saw before this was a mash-up of the wizard quote and a bathroom graffito I saw in high school (“Please do not throw cigarettes in the urinals as this makes them soggy and hard to light,” and attributed to the Vice Principal): “Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for this makes them soggy and hard to light.”

    Of course, the order I saw them in is not necessarily indicative of anything, but you know me—always sharing.

  34. This “fortune” file https://isis.poly.edu/~eitan/files/fortunes from 1987 has

    “Do not meddle in the affairs of troff, for it is subtle and quick to anger.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for you are crunchy and good
    with ketchup.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards,
    for they become soggy and hard to light.

    Do not throw cigarette butts in the urinal,
    for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

  35. Oh, yeah, dates.

    High school graffito would have been circa 1973. The variant version, I think I saw in AZAPA around 1976.

  36. rochrist on June 14, 2018 at 7:40 pm said:
    It seems to me that a best translation would be /very/ difficult to judge well. Unless you can read in the original language as well as the translated one, how are you going to tell just how good the translation is? I suppose there are factors such as how smoothly something reads, etc, but how are you can to identify a missed subtlety or an absence of nuance?

    (Translator cap on) My thoughts exactly. It’s not difficult to spot a bad translation, even without having the original as reference; and for somebody who has worked as a translator it’s not difficult to spot a good one, either – I could tell that Ken Liu’s translation of Three Body Problem was excellent.
    But it’s my experience that a lot of people vote for best translator purely on the basis of how well-known a translator is.

  37. Kurt Busiek on June 14, 2018 at 11:20 pm said:
    various SFF awards around the globe have specific categories for works in translation, so why don’t we?

    My guess: Because the voters don’t read enough SF in translation to have a deep enough well of choices to pick from.

    I would — based on no research whatsoever, mind you — hazard a guess that English-speaking countries publish less translated SF than non-English-speaking countries, or at least less as a proportion of SF published.

    We’re pretty self-interested, at least here in the Big Damn English-Speaking Country…

    Pretty much 90% of published works in Italian are translations. Apart from Cixin Liu, I struggle to think of another translated SF novel in English. So it would be a fairly meaningless award. Of course there are somewhat more short stories.

  38. Cora Buhlert on June 15, 2018 at 6:06 am said:
    Ahem, there are quite a few translators among WorldCon members and Hugo voters who are know a bit more about the problems and pitfalls of translation than the average SFF fan.

    And we had a panel at Helsinki! Which is on Youtube!

  39. “Apart from Cixin Liu, I struggle to think of another translated SF novel in English.”

    You must mean recently, says Lem from my shelf. 🙂

  40. “Apart from Cixin Liu, I struggle to think of another translated SF novel in English.”

    You must mean recently, says Lem from my shelf.

    Jules Verne sniffs disdainfully at your Johnny-come-lately Lem.

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