Pixel Scroll 6/21/20 It Was Pixellation, I Know, Scrolling You All Alone

(1) YOU ARE NUMBER SIX — ACROSS. Robert Sawyer discovered his book is the first clue in today’s Sunday Mirror (UK) “Quizword and Crossword” puzzle.

(2) GENE WOLFE. Thomas Mirus’The Catholic Culture Podcast devoted a recent episode to “Gene Wolfe, Catholic Sci-Fi Legend”. Sandra Miesel (a three-time Hugo nominated fanwriter in the Seventies) and Fr, Brendon Laroche weigh in.

After much popular demand, Thomas pays tribute to legendary Catholic sci-fi writer Gene Wolfe, who passed away last year. Though not known to the general public, Wolfe is a sci-fi author’s sci-fi author—a number of his contemporaries considered him not only the best in the genre, but in American fiction at the time (Ursula Le Guin said “Wolfe is our Melville”). Among today’s writers, one of his biggest fans is Neil Gaiman.

One critic described Wolfe’s magnum opus, The Book of the New Sun, as “a Star Wars–style space opera penned by G. K. Chesterton in the throes of a religious conversion.”

Wolfe also held the patent on the machine that makes Pringles. That’s his face on the can.

In this episode, Fr. Brendon Laroche comments on Wolfe’s works, while Wolfe’s friend, Catholic historian and sci-fi expert Sandra Miesel, shares personal reminiscences.

(3) THE HALL NINE YARDS. Paul Fraser deconstructs the story choices of “The Science Fiction Hall of Fame volume 1, 1970, edited by Robert Silverberg, part one” It’s a long post filled with fascinatingly salty opinions.

… Already we can see the wheels beginning to come off. Are these stories by Sturgeon, Heinlein, Leiber, and Clarke really the best these writers wrote in the pre-1965 period? Do A Martian Odyssey and Twilight really belong in the same list as Flowers for Algernon or Nightfall?

The selection procedure becomes even more muddled as editor Silverberg bodges his way through the rest of the list: Arthur Clarke’s The Star is in the top fifteen but is bumped by The Nine Billion Names of God; one writer (Bradbury, I assume) has four stories on the original ballot but none in the top twenty, so Silverberg includes Mars is Heaven, “the story that the writer himself wished to see included in the book” (this, rather than the more obvious There Will Come Soft Rains or The Sound of Thunder)3; another writer’s stories “made the second fifteen, one vote apart; but the story with the higher number of votes was not the story that the writer himself wished to see included in the book” (presumably that is why the middling Huddling Place is here rather than the slam-dunk Desertion).

Definitive? I think not, and this will become even more apparent when we look at the stories themselves….

This footnote is a masterpiece of subversion:   

2. The SFWA has, at various times in its history, been as dodgy an electorate as any other—as one can see from the high correlation of peculiar winners to individuals holding office in the organisation (who conveniently had access to the mailing list of members)—and that’s before you factor in the tendency for a group of professionals to engage in “Buggins’ Turn” (see the Wikipedia article).

Let us also not forget that roughly the same set of voters made sure that the 1971 Nebula Award short story result was “No Award” so that none of the “New Wave” nominees would win, a partisan act that led to the mortifying scene where Isaac Asimov announced Gene Wolfe’s The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories as the winner at the Nebula Awards before having to correct himself.

(4) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • June 21, 1985  — Cocoon premiered. Directed by Ron Howard, it was produced by David Brown, Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck. The screenplay was written by Tom Benedek off a story by David Saperstein. It starred Don Ameche, Wilford Brimle, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Brian Dennehy, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg, Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Verdon, Herta Ware and Tahnee Welch. Music was by James Horner who did the same for The Wrath of Khan and Avatar. The film was overwhelmingly positively received, did very well at the box office and currently holds a rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes of 67%. 

(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born June 21, 1839 – Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis.  Called the greatest writer of Latin America; the greatest black literary figure.  Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas – i.e. written after the grave – has been translated into Catalan, Czech, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French.  Two dozen shorter stories; recent English collections in 2018, 2019.  (Died 1908) [JH]
  • Born June 21, 1882 – Rockwell Kent. “I don’t want petty self-expression,” he said; “I want to paint the rhythm of eternity.”  Illustrated Moby-Dick.  Here is Peace Oath.  Here is a bookplate.  His jazz-age-humorist side was signed “Hogarth, Jr.” in the original Vanity Fair and Life magazines.  Memoirs, This Is My Own and It’s Me, O Lord.  (Died 1971) [JH]
  • Born June 21, 1938 Mary Wickizer Burgess, 81. I noticed sometime back when searching iBooks for genre fiction that there was something called Megapacks showing up more and more such as The 25th Golden Age of Science Fiction MegapackThe Randall Garrett Megapack and The Occult Detective Megapack. They were big, generally around five hundred pages in length, and cheap, mostly around five dollars, but occasionally as little as ninety cents, in digital form! Starting in 1976, Mary and her husband, the now late Robert Reginald founded Borgo Press which has published hundreds in the past forty years. By the turn of the century, they’d already published three hundred Megapacks. I bought them for the purpose of getting as little as one story I wanted to read. (CE)
  • Born June 21, 1938 Ron Ely, 82. Doc Savage in Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze, a film I saw a long time ago and remember little about. He was also, fittingly enough, Tarzan in that NBC late Sixties series. Somewhere Philip Jose Farmer is linking the two characters…  other notable genre roles included being a retired Superman from an alternate reality in a two-part episode “The Road to Hell” of the Superboy series, and playing five different characters on the original Fantasy Island which may or may not be a record. (CE)
  • Born June 21, 1944 – Hori Akira.  His Solar Wind Node won the 1980 Nihon SF Taisho Award; Babylonian Wave won the 1989 Seiun.  A dozen shorter stories, translated into English, German, Hungarian; “Open Up” is in Speculative Japan 2 (i.e. in English).  Non-fiction, Two People’s Trip on the SF Road (with Musashi Kanbe).  [JH]
  • Born June 21, 1947 Michael Gross, 73. Ok, I’ll admit that I’ve a fondness for the Tremors franchise in which he plays the extremely well-armed graboid hunter Burt Gummer. Other than the Tremors franchise, he hasn’t done a lot of genre work as I see just an episode of The Outer Limits where he was Professor Stan Hurst in “Inconstant Moon” (wasn’t that a Niven story?) and voicing a few Batman Beyond and Batman: The Animated Series characters. (CE)
  • Born June 21, 1948 – Sally Syrjala.  Active particularly in the Nat’l Fantasy Fan Fed’n; edited Tightbeam, Kaymar Award, President 2008-2009.  Elsewhere in fanzines e.g. Lan’s Lantern, LASFAPA (L.A. Scientifiction Fans’ Amateur Press Ass’n), indeed a regular correspondent of Vanamonde.  High school valedictorian.  Chaired the Friends of Cape Cod Museum of Art, trustee of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society.  Her File 770 appreciation is here.  (Died 2010) [JH]
  • Born June 21, 1955 – Sue Burke.  Translator (four books so far of Amadís de Gaula), fan, pro.  Recent novels SemiosisInterference; two dozen shorter stories, poems, in Abyss & ApexAsimov’sBeneath Ceaseless SkiesBroad SpectrumClarkesworldInterzoneSlate.  Alicia Gordon Award.  Milwaukee, Austin, Madrid, Chicago.  Her Website is here.
  • Born June 21, 1957 Berkeley Breathed, 63. ISFDB on the basis of a chapbook called Mars Needs Moms is willing to include him as genre but I’d argue that Bloom County which includes a talking penguin is genre as they are fantastic creatures. And he contributed three cartoons to the ConFederation Program Book. (CE)
  • Born June 21, 1964 David Morrissey, 56. His most well known role is playing The Governor on The Walking Dead (which is a series that I’ve not seen and have no interest of seeing as I don’t do zombies) but I saw his brilliant performance as Jackson Lake, the man who who believed he was The Doctor in “The Next Doctor”, a Tenth Doctor adventure which was an amazing story. He was also Theseus in The Storyteller: Greek Myths, and played Tyador Borlú in the BBC adaption of China Mieville’s The City & The City. I’ll admit that I’m very ambivalent about seeing it as I’ve listened the novel at least a half dozen times and have my own mental image of what it should be. He has also shows up in Good Omens as Captain Vincent. (CE)
  • Born June 21, 1965 Steve Niles, 55. Writer best-known for works such as 30 Days of NightCriminal Macabre, Simon Dark and Batman: Gotham County Line. I’ve read his Criminal Macabre: The Complete Cal McDonald Stories and the the graphic novel — great bit of horror! Sam Raimi adapted 30 Days of Night into a film. (CE)
  • Born June 21, 1984 – Theresa Hannig.  Steffan Lübbe Prize.  Seraph Prize for The Optimizers; next novel The Imperfect.  Just now a panelist at First Virtual Book Fair of the Saar (19-21 June).  Has been a project manager for solar-power plants.  [JH]

(6) DOUBLE HEADER. Galactic Journey reviews a pair of (1965) Ace Doubles. “[June 20, 1965] Ace Quadruple (June Galactoscope #1)”

[Kris Vyas-Myall and Cora Buhlert team up to cover two of the better Ace Doubles to have come out in a while. Enjoy!]

The Ballad of Beta-2, by Samuel R. Delany, and Alpha, Yes! Terra, no!, by Emil Petaja (Ace Double M-121)

I have generally been disappointed by the Ace Doubles so far this year. Those I have read have seemed to me to be quite old fashioned and I had been wondering if they were going to be heading into a more conservative route with them this year. Thankfully, this new Double I have found has been one of their best…

(7) THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY. The Library of America’s “Story of the Week” is Ambrose Bierce’s “Working for an Empress”. The explanation of how this story came to be is rather involved. Part of it is —

…Captured during the Franco-Prussian War, Napoleon III was deposed in September 1870 and lived in exile with the Empress and their entourage at Camden Place, a palatial country house in Kent, until his death in January 1873. James Mortimer, an American who served in France as an imperial private secretary, followed Louis-Napoleon and Eugénie to England and, with their financial support, established the London Figaro, the weekly that hired Bierce to write a column. In the spring of 1874, when Bierce had been in England for two years, Mortimer wrote him with a strange proposal: to edit and write a new publication called The Lantern, which was to be modeled after the seditious French journal published years earlier by Rochefort. Because Mortimer’s patron and friend, the Empress Eugénie, regarded the just-escaped Rochefort as “a menace and a terror,” Bierce was puzzled and discomfited by the offer. But his qualms were mostly overcome when was also told that the new magazine, like its predecessor, should be “irritatingly disrespectful of existing institutions and exalted personages”—a prospect that “delighted” Bierce. Still, the purpose of the new enterprise mystified him.

(8) TODAY’S THING TO WORRY ABOUT. In The Guardian: “Yeast of our worries: Marmite supplies hit by Covid-19 beer brewing slowdown”.

…When asked by a customer why larger 400g squeezy jars were hard to get hold of at the moment, the firm replied: “Due to brewers yeast being in short supply (one of the main ingredients in Marmite) Supplies of Marmite have been affected. As a temporary measure we have stopped production of all sizes apart from our 250g size jar which is available in most major retailers.” 

Brewers slowed and stalled production when pubs were forced to shut in an attempt to slow the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

73 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/21/20 It Was Pixellation, I Know, Scrolling You All Alone

  1. Contemporaneous with his editing tasks for the first SF Hall of Fame volume, Robert Silverberg was preparing the first volumes of his own Alpha anthologies for Ballantine. The stated criteria for inclusion were simply “literary excellence” and “importance to the genre” (plus, unstated but obviously, Silverberg’s personal taste for individual stories and his sense of how to balance the contents of a particular volume). Perhaps Alpha was his own response to the question raised by the Hall of Fame book: What deserves enshrinement? Some of the stories (from the late 1940s forward) were already well-known and anthologized elsewhere; others were obscure. And the supposed New Wave wasn’t neglected. (In any case, of the volumes I have, I think about 60% of the stories are great, eminently rereadable.)

  2. Hm, I think Paul Frasers wording isn’t that much worse than one I found in some other read:

    At the time of writing there are two clear ‘wings’ in science fiction, a group who see themselves as traditionalists, self-named the Sad Puppies, and a group that the Sad Puppies have termed social justice warriors, which some have embraced ironically.

    Also “Puppy-adjacent”?

  3. I read the SFHoFs as a young teen and found them a wonderful curated set of stories – but hardly the only great stories. It sparked a roughly decade-long spree buying runs of very old magazines to find more such. I wonder how much those would be worth if I still had them.

    Is it really true that a) Gene held a Pringles patent, b) that’s his face on the canister, or c) both? I always found it nice to imagine that is so.

    Whatever extent 2015 may have been some sort of foreshadowing or shot across the bow in the culture wars, people should be free believe the quality of the Hugos has been declining without being subject to the potshots oft seen in this space. Fans can do better.

  4. @OlavRokne @JJ

    Disclosure: I know Paul Fraser a little over a shared interest in older SFF and occasionally comment at his blog and he occasionally comments at mine.

    Paul Fraser is a regular Worldcon member as well as Hugo/Retro Hugo voter and nominator. I don’t know if he already was a Worldcon member during the puppy years, though it’s likely.

    However, while he may prefer older to newer SFF and may not be happy with many current Hugo finalists and may believe that the demographics of the SFF field are a lot more white and male than they actually are, I never got the impression that he was a puppy or supported their tactics and appalling behaviour, even if he may share some of their views.

    Regarding the anthology, I do think most of the choices are good, because the stories were important to the history of the genre. I agree with Paul Fraser that “Desertion” is a much better Clifford D. Simak story than “The Huddling Place”, though “The Huddling Place” features people named Webster and Jenkins the robot butler. “Desertion” does not. So “The Huddling Place” is probably a better representative of the City sequence than “Desertion”, even if “Desertion” is the better story.

    I kind of like “Martian Odyssey”, though it is mainly of historical interest these days for the innovations it brought into the genre. Ditto for “Helen O’Loy” (one of the earliest stories about a robot who was not a menace) and “Twilight”. And besides, “Who Goes There?” would have been too long.

    Van Vogt could not be omitted, given his (to me inexplicable) popularity, but the “Weapons Shop” stories really are awful. I would have gone with “Far Centaurus”, which pleasantly surprised me, or one of the Space Beagle stories.

    I also have quibbles with “Arena”. It’s an influential story, true, but it’s not all that good. Fredric Brown has certainly written better stories. And the “genocide is good” solution really grates. Though at least SFWA members in 1965 could not have picked that story, because they remembered the eponymous Star Trek episode, which gets rid of the “genocide is good” ending.

    I would have gone with a different Bradbury story myself, though “Mars Is Heaven” is not a bad choice. I also would have gone with a different Asimov, probably one of the Susan Calvin stories, though again “Nightfall” is not a bad choice and an acknowledged classic. I wouldn’t have gone with “Coming Attraction” for Fritz Leiber either, but then my favourite Leiber stories are either novels or fantasy or both.

    I also really, really dislike “A Rose for Ecclesiastes”. In retrospect, picking a Zelazny story in 1965 did show a lot of foresight, but it’s still a bad story.

    Who’s missing? Leigh Brackett, Edmond Hamilton, Zenna Henderson, H.P. Lovecraft and Poul Anderson definitely. Margaret St. Clair, too, but she would have been an even longer shot than Zenna Henderson. I also feel that Edgar Rice Burroughs and E.E. Smith belong here for their historical importance, though with both of them it would be difficult to find a story that’s short enough. I also would have liked to see “Shambleau” included, but then C.L. Moore is already represented via “Mimsy Were the Borogroves”

  5. @Cora
    SFWA members in 1965 couldn’t have based any decision on Star Trek’s “Arena”, as it first aired in Jan 1967. (The first episode to air was in Sept 1966.)

  6. That’s what I meant to say, that SFWA members in 1965 could not possibly have been influenced by a Star Trek episode that hadn’t yet aired. Meanwhile, I strongly suspect that the Retro Hugo nomination for “Arena” is due to people remembering the Star Trek episode rather than the actual story.

    So apparently, the novelette “Arena” was more fondly remembered in 1965 (21 years after it was first published) than I assumed, considering it’s not all that good and pro-genocide as well.

  7. Cora Bulhert says: I also really, really dislike “A Rose for Ecclesiastes”. In retrospect, picking a Zelazny story in 1965 did show a lot of foresight, but it’s still a bad story.

    Brust who was a great fan of him titled his only solo album after A Rose for Ecclesiastes, but as our reviewer notes, “I wouldn’t advise, however, that you spent any significant amount of time on a close examination of the songs in order to draw a direct link between Zelazny’s story and the content of this collection. As nearly as I can determine, there isn’t one. But then, that’s Steven Brust for you.” It’s jazz folk with trad material as well.

  8. JJ: It was always “Puppies vs. Worldcon members”.

    Olav Rokne: It was my impression that anyone who buys a Worldcon membership was a member of that year’s Worldcon. Maybe I just don’t understand the appropriate way to gatekeep Worldcon membership?

    The vast majority of Puppies were never Worldcon members before they bought memberships in order to “stick it to the SJWs”. They never gave a shit about Worldcon, and their only concern with the Hugo Awards was trying to steal them or trash them. And once EPH was passed, they never bought another membership, because they didn’t actually care about Worldcon or the Hugo Awards.

    It was “Puppies vs. everybody else who was a Worldcon member who actually cared about Worldcon and the Hugo Awards and did not believe that cheating on the Hugo Awards was acceptable”. I don’t know how else you think that should be labelled.

  9. once EPH was passed, they never bought another membership, because they didn’t actually care about Worldcon or the Hugo Awards.

    So someone who still buys memberships in 2019-2020, and who still votes on the awards is “Not A Puppy,” and therefore OK by you? Because that includes Paul Fraser, even if he doesn’t like most of the current crop of winners.

    The Puppy slate, and the attempt to undermine the Hugos was trashy. It made me angry. The whole reason I got involved in volunteering for Hugos was because I didn’t like that tactic.

    But nobody here has suggested that Paul Fraser participated in or abetted that campaign. (I’m sure that if he had, you’d already have posted links to it.)

    And it strikes me that you’re still avoiding the question of whether or not you can find anything racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise bigoted in the blogging of Paul Fraser. So really, the thing you seem to take issue with is his taste in books …

    Even if I don’t share his taste, I’m gonna defend his right to prefer those books and to say so without being labelled as a WrongFan™.

  10. @Cora: I also really, really dislike “A Rose for Ecclesiastes”. In retrospect, picking a Zelazny story in 1965 did show a lot of foresight, but it’s still a bad story.

    Agree to disagree.

  11. Brian Z on June 22, 2020 at 1:44 pm said:

    Is it really true that a) Gene held a Pringles patent, b) that’s his face on the canister, or c) both? I always found it nice to imagine that is so.

    He definitely did work on developing the process for cooking Pringles (https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/sci-fis-difficult-genius ) I hadn’t head the one about him being the model for the face on the can but I suspect it happened as a backward propagation through time and the logo was inspired by a future version of himself. As a child he found a Pringles can bearing that very logo that somehow and arrived in his neighbourhood despite the snack brand not existing until many decades later.

  12. PhilRM says recording the readability of A Rose for Ecclesiastes : Agree to disagree.

    I actually like and if I can find it, I’ve got an interview I read showing Zelazny holding this story in high esteem. I’ve been doing a Zelazny reading dive this past month and I’m amazed how consistently good his craft was.

  13. OlavRokne: And it strikes me that you’re still avoiding the question

    Fraser thinks that “SJWs vs. Puppies” was actually a thing, even though there was no such group as “SJWs” and some of the people who cared about the Hugo Awards and were pissed off about the cheating and were very definitely not Puppies were conservatives and/or traditionalists who aren’t necessarily happy with recent finalists. So why does Fraser think that is a thing that actually existed?

    And note how it’s worded: “SJWs vs. Puppies”, not “Puppies vs. SJWs”, positioning the mythical “SJWs” as the aggressors. The only people who think that the non-Puppies were the aggressors are the Puppies. And if Fraser wasn’t on the side of the Puppies, he wouldn’t be calling the rest of the Worldcon members “SJWs”, because he would be a part of that group — but he’s very clearly not an SJW.

    I’ve already agreed with Meredith that Fraser does not fit the definition of an official Puppy. Maybe he’s just someone who was fooled by the Puppy rhetoric. That’s not exactly a sterling recommendation for him.

  14. @Cora / @ Evans: what do SFWA members of 1965 have to do with the choice of “Arena”? SFHoFv1 came out in 1970; the poll for its contents would certainly have been taken after the OST episode aired. I’m not surprised at the genocide; I’ve read a fair amount of Brown including at least one mundane mystery, and found him prone to conventional absolutes.

    “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” is of its time; it’s colonialist and sexist in ways that read badly today but that probably didn’t strike many of the late-1960’s readers. OTOH, it broke ground in various ways — I’d call it style in the service of story rather than New Wave per se, and the idea of a poet saving the world is actually made vaguely plausible, without the obnoxious anti-science attitude of “The Rose” (Harness).

  15. @JJ

    Still avoided the question about racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise bigoted remarks … 

    And if Fraser wasn’t on the side of the Puppies … he would be a part of that group

    So by that logic, all fans must pick a side. It’s us-vs-them. Right and wrong. Black and white, no grey areas. From my experience, building a worldview around that kind of framework isn’t very productive.

    I’ve already agreed with Meredith that Fraser does not fit the definition of an official Puppy.

    I get that.

    But you still need a derogatory category for people whose taste in SF doesn’t match yours, so you’ve labelled him “Puppy Adjacent.” Which is convenient because the new term has nebulous definitions (he didn’t have to actually support the Puppies to earn that title), and it gives you a pretext to declare his opinion of the SFHoF invalid. Cool rhetorical trick.

    And note how it’s worded: “SJWs vs. Puppies”, not “Puppies vs. SJWs”, positioning the mythical “SJWs” as the aggressors.

    You’re really reaching here.

    Look. Sasquan was five years ago now. People are going to need to talk about that conflict between factions of fandom in terms that are broadly understood. Calling it “Puppies Vs. SJWs” is probably clearer than a lot of other descriptions (like “The Debarkle”) and shorter than more accurate descriptions (like “When a group of mostly right-wing fans tried to hijack the Hugos by creating a slate and trying to turn it into a proxy battle in the culture war”). It’s not the term I’d use, but it’s not in-and-of-itself a reason to slag or slander a blogger.

    Paul Fraser’s a good writer, and has often written some very interesting posts. I don’t know the guy at all, but think it’s a little questionable to go after him on such flimsy pretexts.

    And for the record, I actually have a lot of respect for you personally, JJ. Just find this a bit disappointing.

  16. OlavRokne: So by that logic, all fans must pick a side. It’s us-vs-them.

    Olav, there aren’t two sides. There never were two sides. There’s just Puppies and then there’s everybody else. Fraser referred to everybody else as “SJWs”, even though, if he’s not a Puppy, he would be a part of that everybody else.

    It seems very strange that someone would classify themselves as an SJW, rather than as an “everybody else”.

    I don’t see this as “going after Paul Fraser”. This is me having a very visceral reaction to hearing a lot of the Puppy dogwhistles (nefarious award influencing by SFWA board members, quality of SF genre works totally going downhill, SJWs vs. Puppies) coming from someone who I probably then unfairly called a Puppy — but there they are, those dogwhistles.

  17. @Chip Hitchcock

    @Cora / @ Evans: what do SFWA members of 1965 have to do with the choice of “Arena”? SFHoFv1 came out in 1970; the poll for its contents would certainly have been taken after the OST episode aired. I’m not surprised at the genocide; I’ve read a fair amount of Brown including at least one mundane mystery, and found him prone to conventional absolutes.

    Paul Fraser quotes Robert Silverberg that the selection of stories was based on a poll asking SFWA members to name the best science fiction stories of all time in 1965.

    As for the genocidal ending, in my review of “Arena” I said that I understand why Fredric Brown ended the story the way he did in 1944, but I still prefer the Star Trek version.

  18. @Cora: Paul Fraser quotes Robert Silverberg that the selection of stories was based on a poll asking SFWA members to name the best science fiction stories of all time in 1965.

    That’s not correct: Silverberg’s introduction (I just pulled my copy off the shelf to check) says that the idea for the SFHoF was decided on during his tenure as the second SFWA president in 1967-1968. So the polling took place sometime between then and the book’s publication in 1970. He doesn’t give any further details, but in the introduction to Volume IIa Ben Bova states that the polling took more than a year – it’s not clear if this is just referring to that for Best Novellas or not – but while the voting was for the best stories that appeared prior to 1965, it took place at least two years later.

  19. I’ve been reading “From These Ashes” lately (the complete Fredric Brown SF/F short story collection). “Entity Trap” was of note – the villain of this story is a bigoted and genocidal American given the power to have his ignorant biases control the beliefs of the majority.

    P.S. Regarding “Arena” – I forget whose review pointed out that the form of the alien threat (“red balls of hatred” as Cora’s review puts it), bear a certain similarity to a flag Americans would have been familiar with in 1944.

  20. Possibly @Cora is misreading Fraser’s summary

    The next part of the introduction gives us a potted history of the SFWA and its Nebula Awards, and the decision to produce a volume to collect the notable stories produced before the awards began in 1966 (for 1965 stories).

    This isn’t as rigorous as it could be, but I did not read it as asserting that the poll happened in 1965.

    wrt @Russell Letson’s discussion: I taught SF once, as a summer replacement at a small colleg in 1979; the regular-year syllabus used SFHoF either 2A or 2B, but I wanted to include some of what had happened in the last at-least-15 years and had a small class, so I put a mixture of more-recent and more-radical short material on reserve in the school library. (Samples: a dystopian unit (“Repent, Harlequin!”, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”, “The Women Men Don’t See”), a unit showing a reworked idea (“Semper Fi”, “Baby, You Were Great!”).) I don’t know whether this was followed up at all; the regular-year course had ~20 people where I had ~8, so material-on-reserve could have been more difficult even though the larger class met only 2x/week instead of 4-5x. I also overhauled the novel listing, and hope at least some of that stuck; I kept Frankenstein, The Space Merchants, and Mission of Gravity, but replaced Childhood’s End (IMO grossly-overrated by “Ooh! Transcendence! Shiny!”) with The City and the Stars, 5 IMO–less-distinguished books with Trouble with Lichen (unfortunately the US edition), A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, and Dune with Stand on Zanzibar (which only one student actually showed up to discuss).

    PS: congratulations to I’ll-bet-that-was-Adina “A Adler”, who just smoked me in the local classical station’s trivia quiz. (I took an early lead with a couple of hard questions, then blew some medium-hard ones and ended up 9th to her 3rd.)

  21. Pingback: Top 10 Posts for June 2020 | File 770

  22. Just to help out with a few things:
    (a) not a puppy, didn’t and don’t agree with them or their aims, wasn’t a worldcon member at the time, only joined for the recent Retro Hugo voting (mostly).
    (b) don’t think all the old Hugo winners are good and all new Hugo winners are rubbish, and have never said that. And I know I haven’t because I’ve always thought the Hugo awards are a hit and miss way of identifying the best in the field–what was it Jo Walton said in her book, “they get it right about two-thirds of the time”? That may be optimistic.
    (c) as to the SFWA and (some of the historical) Nebula awards, what @Meredith said.
    (d) my criticism of the SFHOF volume isn’t that they aren’t my personal favourites but that a better choice could have been made—see the alternate list culled from the 1998 Locus Poll in the footnotes. I think that would have been a better volume. YVMV.

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.