Pixel Scroll 7/21/18 Number Five: Where Am I? Other Number Five: In The File.

(1) THE MAN WHO LOST THE MOON. Where do you hide something this big? “Giant moon artwork goes missing in post on way to Austria”.

A giant replica of the moon which is displayed all over the world has gone missing in the post.

The 7m (23ft) orb, covered in detailed imagery of the lunar surface, has been created by Bristol-based Luke Jerram and was en route to a festival in Austria.

Mr Jerram said the disappearance of the structure, titled Museum of the Moon, was “really annoying and upsetting.”

Courier firm TNT said it was looking into the issue.

Mr Jerram said the artwork has been booked for a series of public events across Europe over the summer.

 

(2) FUTURICON. Rijeka, Croatia is going to host Eurocon 2020, which will be called Futuricon. Their bid was accepted this week at Eurocon in Amiens. Their site has been home to Rikon for almost two decades.

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka
October 2-4, 2020

Rijeka, the coastal city in Croatia in which the annual convention Rikon has already been held nineteen times, has won the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture 2020. As part of the ECoC nomination, the SF society 3. zmaj, is announcing Futuricon, our bid for Eurocon 2020, for which we will combine the most important things the city of Rijeka has to offer – centuries of culture, diversity and tolerance, and a fresh glimpse into a positive future created by the people who live and breathe culture. With the support of the City and University of Rijeka, as well as other Croatian SF societies, we are confident that we can create a unique European experience for everyone.

(3) ALWAYS IN STYLE. Debra Doyle, novelist and editor, makes a statement “With Regard to the Recent Email to Nominees for the Hugo Awards”.

Science Fiction’s Hugos would not be what they are without accompanying periodic outbursts of controversy. This year’s topic is the email sent out to nominees for the award, “encouraging” them to dress professionally for the awards ceremony. The backlash from the sf/fantasy community was, shall we say, vociferous and overwhelmingly negative.†

As well it should be. To quote my elder daughter, on an occasion some time ago when I was fretting about the advisability of going out in public with my hair pulled back using a kid’s Snoopy-the-Flying-Ace hair tie:

“Don’t worry, Mamma. You’re a science fiction writer. You can wear anything.”

(4) THE MORE THINGS STAY THE SAME. You may not have thought the question of what Worldcons want people to wear to events was a new controversy. But would you have expected E.E. “Doc” Smith to be the person complaining about it? In 1962? Here’s a letter the author of the Lensman Series wrote to Chicon III chair Earl Kemp before the con.

(5) ONE BIG CHECK. That’s what you’ll be writing if you want any of his stuff — “One giant sale: Neil Armstrong’s collection goes to auction”. ABC News has the story.

Admirers of Neil Armstrong and space exploration have a chance to own artifacts and mementos that belonged to the modest man who became a global hero by becoming the first human to walk on the moon.

The personal collection of Armstrong, who died in his native Ohio in 2012, will be offered for sale in a series of auctions handled by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, beginning Nov. 1-2 and continuing in May and November 2019.
The collection includes a variety of artifacts from Armstrong’s 1969 lunar landing and private mementos that include pieces of a wing and propeller from the 1903 Wright Brothers Flyer that the astronaut took with him to the moon.

The article names several other flown artifacts that will be in the auctions.

(6) ACCLAIMED SHORT FANTASY. Rocket Stack Rank lists 46 outstanding stories of high fantasy from 2016-2017 that were either finalists for major SF/F awards, included in “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, or recommended by prolific reviewers in short fiction (see Q&A). That’s 46 out of 166 high fantasy stories from those two years, and out of 470 outstanding SF/F stories from 2016 and 2017.

For our purposes, we define “high fantasy” as a fantasy story that takes place in a secondary world. That is, something like Lord of the Rings, where Middle Earth is clearly not in the past or future of our world.

(7) ADDRESSEE UNKNOWN. There was just one problem with choosing John Crowley as the winner: “Maine Literary Award withdrawn because of ineligibility; new winner named”….

The winner of a 2018 Maine Literary Award was found ineligible because he is not a resident of Maine, and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, which gives the awards annually, has named a new winner of its speculative fiction prize.

The award, which had gone to Massachusetts resident John Crowley for his book “Ka,” since has been given to Unity College writing instructor Paul Guernsey, who had come in second place for his book “American Ghost.”

“Ka” was nominated by the editorial director of Saga Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, whose marketing manager told the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance that Crowley owned a home in Maine and lived here part time. Crowley, who was born in Maine, was named the winner of the award in a June ceremony.

According Joshua Bodwell, executive director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, Crowley notified the group that he did not live in Maine. While the award can go to seasonal or part-time residents, it is open only to people who live in Maine. Crowley reached out to say that he was unaware that his publisher had nominated him or that his publisher and his editor had said he met the eligibility requirements.

(8) STOPPING FOR ICE. Galactic Journey’s Ashley R. Pollard tells about the latest trend in fiction 55 years ago: “[July 21, 1963] Ice Cold Spies”.

I marvel at how quickly SF concepts have gone mainstream. With so many SF ideas transitioning into mainstream fiction, one of the current trends I see is the fascination with the Cold War and spies. Who as I’ve alluded to earlier, are it seems to be found everywhere.

The result is the creation of a new genre that blend SF with contemporary thriller to create what is being called a “techno-thriller.” A techno-thriller will use many of the ideas that were once purely science fictional, but set them within a conventional world that’s recognizable as our own.

A new novel by Allister MacLean called Ice Station Zebra has caught the public’s imagination. Whether this is as a result of all the stories of spies in the news I don’t know. MacLean is well known as a writer of action-adventure stories, but this new novel sees him move into a new genre.

Maclean is not the first author to do so. Fellow Scottish writer Ian Stuart wrote a similar techno-thriller, which came out last year called, The Satan Bug….

(9) A PAIR TO DRAW TO. SYFY Wire’s SDCC story “Guillermo del Toro confirmed to guest on The Simpsons in season 30” that confirms the celeb writer/producer/director Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, The Hobbit trilogy, the Hellboy movies and games, and many more) will guest star on The Simpsons this coming season. He joins Gal Gadot (the Wonder Woman movies and others in the DC Cinematic Universe) in the “confirmed” column. There was apparently no indication the two would be on the same episode. The season’s first episode of their 30th season will will air September 30.

(10) FRONT ROW TO A SHARKNADO. Syfy Wire reports from SDCC: “Sharknado will return next year… with a live stage show!” Mike Kennedy says, “The article title pretty much says it all. I expect next we’ll have <engage echo effect> Sharks [arks… arks… arks] On [on… on… on] Ice [ice… ice… ice] !!!! <disengage echo effect>.”

You can’t keep a good Sharknado down. On Friday, at San Diego Comic-Con, the cast and crew held a panel on The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time. Yes, as you might imagine, this is the sixth and final in the Sharknado film franchise. But Sharknado will live on…

… with a live stage show.

Indeed, there is going to be a live stage version of Sharknado. No details were offered at the panel, other than it is expected to premiere at a resort/casino in 2019, and will be a sensory overload, if you will. An official announcement is expected later this year.

(11) HELL WARMED OVER. You may recall that Lucifer, canceled by Fox at the end of this past season, was picked up by Netflix for a 10-episode 4th season. At SDCC, star Tom Ellis dropped a few hints about what might be coming up after the major season 3 cliffhanger. SYFY Wire wraps up stories from other sources in “Lucifer’s Tom Ellis Teases Season 4 on Netflix”.

“We get straight back into it,” Ellis told TV Line of the start of Season 4, and teases that Lucifer was unaware that he had the devil face on at the time, so Chloe’s likely shock will come as a surprise. The pair are “apparently” still working together, but Ellis added that “The weird thing this year about coming to Comic-Con is that I can’t talk about the show and what’s going to happen so much, because I don’t know.” The scripts haven’t been written yet, and production begins August 13. Netflix has yet to announce a premiere date….

And he’s in no hurry to have Lucifer and Chloe embrace a romantic relationship. “I think it’s the heartbeat of the show, Chloe and Lucifer’s relationship,” he told [Entertainment Weekly]. “It wouldn’t be very wise to get these two characters together now… When you get the characters together, ultimately that’s kind of resolution. And you don’t want resolution till the very, very end.” But if/when that finally happens, “I am all for it.”

There were hints that Ellis could drop trou on Netflix, something that would have been Right Out on Fox.

(12) SHAZAM! Let’s catch up on our comic history before watching the trailer:  “DC’s ‘Shazam!’ Makes a ‘Big’ First Impression in Comic-Con Trailer”.

And for those of you asking, yes, he really is the first hero called Captain Marvel, debuting 20 years before Marvel Comics existed as a brand. Fawcett Comics was sued by DC in the early 1950s over claims that “Captain Marvel” ripped off “Superman,” and went temporarily out of business after it agreed never to publish the character’s comics again. However, in 1972 DC licensed “Captain Marvel” from Fawcett and brought the character into the DC universe.

But during the intervening decades, Marvel realized the trademark on the name “Captain Marvel” had lapsed, and introduced its own character of the same name. Which is why, to avoid legal problems, DC called its re-launched comic book “Shazam” and eventually changed the character’s name outright.

 

(13) SDCC TRAILERS. Here are several more trailers that got released this weekend.

(14) GRAND BOOK THEFT. These weren’t books he checked out. Now he may be checking into the pokey: “Men accused of stealing $8M in rare books, items from Pittsburgh library”.

Two men are facing charges of stealing or damaging more than $8 million in rare books and materials from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh over more than two decades.

Investigators on Friday charged Greg Priore and John Schulman with the crimes, alleging the two men worked together to remove the items from the Oliver Room.

According to the criminal complaint, Priore worked as the manager and sole archivist of the library’s Oliver Room, which houses rare books and items, for 25 years before being fired in June 2017. Schulman is the co-owner of Caliban Book Shop in Oakland, which specializes in rare books.

The Oliver Room closed more than a year ago once authorities discovered the thefts.

Priore first contacted Schulman about the scheme in the late 1990s, according to the criminal complaint. Priore allegedly told police he made between $500 and $3,000 for items he stole and gave to Schulman to sell.

(15) BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Lou Antonelli, who was slated onto the Hugo ballot in 2015, mourns his “Lost Rockets” [Internet Archive link].

…I decided I’d start wearing my pins this year, and I took them with me when I went to SoonerCon in Oklahoma City June 22. After I checked in and got my badge, I took them out and I was going to stick them on.

I took the first one out, and as I tried to stick it on, I fumbled it. I never saw it land. It disappeared. I never saw it again. I put the second one back in its bag. The next day, I realized I’d lost it also.

After I told this story to one colleague at Libertycon, he said, “Well, you can always ask WorldCon for a replacement.”

I laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding! They didn’t want us to have them in the first place! Do you think they would ever give me a replacement!”

(16) JANELLE MONAÉ. Rolling Stone lets you “Watch Janelle Monae Perform ‘Americans,’ Talk Science Fiction on ‘Colbert’”. Video at the link.

Twice during Monáe’s Late Show appearance, the singer danced atop Colbert’s desk: Once to close out the interview portion – where she and the host talked about first meeting at Barack Obama’s 55th birthday party at the White House – and again to kickstart “Americans.”

During the 10-minute interview, Colbert and Monae also discussed their shared love of science fiction, which heavily influenced the singer’s new LP Dirty Computer.

“I loved being able to see these different worlds that were different from mine, that allowed me to kind of escape from where I was,” Monáe said of the genre. “It just stayed with me. I started to write science fiction as a teenager… It stayed with me throughout my work.”

(17) ONCE MORE WITH FEELING. I ran this link yesterday before seeing Mike Kennedy’s take, which I think Filers will enjoy seeing just the same.

[Item by Mike Kennedy.] Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana

In 2016. the British Antarctic Survey asked the public to pick the name for their new survey vessel. They picked Boaty McBoatface. Well, the BAS was not particularly happy with that, and named the craft the RRS Sir David Attenborough, though they did relent and name an autonomous underwater vehicle Boaty McBoatface (the lead vehicle of its class).

Jump to the present.

The European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency are asking the public for help naming an upcoming Mars rover to be launched in 2020 (and land in 2021).

You get three guesses what the public wants so far (and the first two don’t count). Yep, Time Magazine notes that Rovy McRoverface is already trending on Twitter. Gizmodo throws in Marsy McMarsface and Spacey McSpaceface as their suggestions.

But apparently ESA and UKSA did learn at least a little from the Boaty McBoatface incident, since they say that they’ll be using a panel that they appoint to make the final choice. Or, at least they do if you dig deep enough into their 5-page PDF of Terms and Conditions. With no mention of this on the page where you make your recommendation, it would be easy enough for someone to misunderstand and think this was a straightforward popular vote.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Fired on Mars” on Vimeo, Nick and Nate ask, “What happens if you’re a corporate drone who gets fired–except your bosses are on earth and you’re on Mars?”

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

206 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/21/18 Number Five: Where Am I? Other Number Five: In The File.

  1. @Mike Glyer

    Bearing in mind that I have programmed a Worldcon, chaired a Worldcon — I don’t consider there to be any etiquette that obliges people to keep quiet about things a committee has done that upset them. I would prefer, as a committee member, to have established some level of trust where people might give us a chance to make things right. But I also believe people are entitled to speak out about their experience.

    Fair enough. Then let me just say that I think the honorable thing is for people who have a complaint (with anyone or any organization) to notify them privately and give them a chance to respond before they take their case to the public. Not only does this give the organization a fair chance to fix the problem (and maybe provides an opportunity to educate them) it also avoid wasting the public’s time and energy.

    And, sure, people have the right to go public with their experiences regardless, but if they didn’t make the effort to give their target a chance to fix the problem, then we the public should feel no obligation to help them out. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  2. @Greg Hullender–

    Fair enough. Then let me just say that I think the honorable thing is for people who have a complaint (with anyone or any organization) to notify them privately and give them a chance to respond before they take their case to the public.

    Seriously, Greg? You think Bogi’s behavior in this is not honorable?

    Really?

    Misgendering is a thing that is very serious for the people routinely subjected to it, and something that fandom should be aware of and careful about by now. And that Worldcon committees should be especially aware of and careful of with program participants and Hugo finalists, since everyone is going to see it.

    Maybe the program people could have run the bio they intended to use for Bogi by Bogi, to make sure they’d got it right, before releasing it publicly?

  3. They followed the rules. There was no actual cheating. Everyone sort of knew the rules were extremely vulnerable to slating, hence the tradition that it was unseemly to campaign, but there was never any rule against it.

    The problem with this interpretation is that the rules are not drafted to cover all circumstances. Instead, the WSFS Constitution states that the current Worldcon committee has authority for all matters not explicitly decreed by the constitution and gives that committee the authority to administer that year’s Hugo Awards.

    I believe there’s an implicit assumption nominators and voters will act in good faith which the current Hugo administrator can enforce.

    As a voter for around 10 years prior to the Puppies attack I didn’t “sort of” know bloc voting would be allowed. I “sort of” expected the Hugo administrator would protect the integrity of the awards from obvious and unmistakable evidence of cheating.

    For instance, if a publisher bought 100 supporting memberships to give to employees and freelancers and they were told to nominate that publisher’s works up and down the ballot, I thought the nominations would be thrown out for cheating.

    When 200-plus nominating ballots came in with the same choices on 10 or more categories that were on a small publisher’s publicly announced slate, and many of those choices were affiliated with the publisher and his contributors, that’s an obvious attempt to cheat.

    Because the Hugo administrator that year did not throw out the bloc votes for cheating, the ballot that year will be with us forever. Creators who would have made the ballot because individuals nominated them in good faith will never have that recognition. We permanently enshrined an attack on our awards and our organization. Then we let it happen again the next year!

    Even though we’ve addressed this with rule changes, I think it’s a shame the administrator didn’t treat cheating as cheating.

    He didn’t, and now he thinks the carefully crafted rules changes we approved in response to his decision over a span of two years were a politically motivated bad-faith attempt to exclude others. So we get the shit ballot he allowed *and* the reputation damage caused by his new accusation.

  4. I “sort of” expected the Hugo administrator would protect the integrity of the awards from obvious and unmistakable evidence of cheating.

    The rules aren’t actually written to allow that. Or so I understand. …Didn’t we go over this year before last?

  5. The rules aren’t actually written to allow that. Or so I understand. …Didn’t we go over this year before last?

    There is no rule stopping a rich author from openly telling people he will buy their supporting memberships if they nominate him for best novel and prove they did it (through whatever means he devises). Or a site doing the same to win a site-selection vote.

    Should we wait for those things to happen and do another two-year slow dance to declare them cheating, or can we at some point have a little common sense and decide “hey, Hugo boss, you are allowed to use your best judgment to stop cheating cheaters who cheat.”

    As for whether we went over this before, of course we did and for far too many words.

    I only am blathering on about it today because the words “fair and square” were used to describe what the Puppies did. This makes me cry angry Iron Eyes Cody tears.

  6. @Lis Carey o

    Seriously, Greg? You think Bogi’s behavior in this is not honorable?

    Remember, Bogi and I already have history. Not only did they go public with an attack on me personally without ever making even a token attempt to contact me, they refused to talk to me when I tried to reach out.

    Did WorldCon do something wrong? Of course they did. So did I for that matter. But two wrongs don’t make a right, and the ends don’t justify the means. This business of mounting big social-media attacks on people without even bothering to talk to them first needs to stop, and the best way to stop it is for people to stop rewarding it.

  7. @Greg

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of your previous interactions with Bogi, they have nothing to do with this situation apart from colouring your response. You should take a step back.

  8. Greg Hullender:
    It would be nice if everyone involved could agree that the new system actually represents a solid improvement. Yeah, it’s complicated,but it’s quite elegant once you understand it, and a science-fiction convention ought to have a space-age voting system.

    You’ll never get *everyone* to agree on anything when it comes to the Hugo Awards.

    But in my experience, most people agree that the new system is an improvement. Were you thinking of specific people or groups who don’t think so?

  9. Greg Hullender on July 23, 2018 at 12:49 pm said:
    @Lis Carey o

    Seriously, Greg? You think Bogi’s behavior in this is not honorable?

    Remember, Bogi and I already have history.

    Which is a reason for maybe questioning your own motives and opinion at this point rather than evaluating how honorable other people are.

  10. Greg Hullender on July 23, 2018 at 12:49 pm said:
    @Lis Carey o

    Seriously, Greg? You think Bogi’s behavior in this is not honorable?

    Remember, Bogi and I already have history. Not only did they go public with an attack on me personally without ever making even a token attempt to contact me, they refused to talk to me when I tried to reach out.

    Thirding the suggestion to take a step back NOW.

  11. Meanwhile, things *I* probably shouldn’t do is write a Louis Antonelli themed filk based on Elton John. But…
    1. ‘Rocket pin’ Is stuck in my head now
    2. The extract in the File above almost scans as is

    I decided I would wear my pins this year,
    I took them with me to the con,
    I took them ooououttttt and I was goin’ to stick them on.

    I took the first one and tried to put it on
    I fumbled but never saw it land,
    It disappeaeaeareddddd and was never seen again.

    And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
    ‘Til Worldcon gives me pins or such again
    I’ve not the votes they think I have at home
    Oh, no, no, no
    I’ve lost my Rocket Pin
    Rocket Pin, rolling across a con’s car park

    And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
    ‘Til a Hugo pin comes my way again
    I’ve not the Pups to stack the vote this time
    Oh, no, no, no
    No more Rocket Pin
    Rocket Pin, maybe stuck in a pavement’s crack

  12. @OGH: I don’t consider there to be any etiquette that obliges people to keep quiet about things a committee has done that upset them. True, but I’d say irrelevant in this case (before we started talking about Bogi); no Worldcon did anything offensive, and the only thing it failed to do was notice LA whinging that it wasn’t going to do anything. Note that this is for moderately large but not all-inclusive values of Worldcon, since ISTM that John acted in (part of) his Worldconesque capacity. (I’m always slightly amused and slightly peeved when people use terms like “Worldcon junta”; ISTM that while there are a very small number of people who have modest official roles year after year, the major players tend to burn out (often after just one Worldcon) and need recharging time. One could theorize that these Mx. Smallcogs could somehow cast a controlling shadow over all the disparate concoms; oink flap, oink flap.)

  13. rcade on July 23, 2018 at 11:47 am said:

    Should we wait for those things to happen and do another two-year slow dance to declare them cheating, or can we at some point have a little common sense and decide “hey, Hugo boss, you are allowed to use your best judgment to stop cheating cheaters who cheat.”

    If you really want to give the Administrators the authority to pick and choose whose ballots they should count based on their subjective opinions of the fitness of those people to cast a vote or the contents of their ballots, I’ll help you write that rule for you to submit to the WSFS Business Meeting. Don’t expect it to get much traction, though.

    While there are individuals such as you who think there should be Hugo King (I’m not going to say “Boss” because of trademark reasons, and I’m not kidding; details upon request) who throws out the Bad Persons’ ballots because Reasons, the legislative history shows that the Business Meeting reacts very badly to any proposals that take any of the decision-making authority out of the members’ hands. A very mild version of letting the Administrator make subjective judgements about finalists was soundly rejected (81-36 to postpone indefinitely after a short debate) by the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting. Minutes on the WSFS web site. Video on the YouTube Worldcon Events channel.

    Besides, the people who tried to burn down the Hugo Awards claimed that this was exactly the sort of skullduggery going on all the time. If that were they case, they never would have made it onto the ballot. The very fact that they could do so shows that the Administrators, much as the results might have pained them personally, took their jobs seriously and acted honestly, for which they deserve applause.

  14. Chip Hitchcock: True, but I’d say irrelevant in this case

    It always makes me feel so warm when you rush in to call my contribution to the discussion irrelevant. I wish you’d get over that. You need to learn that what people make a point of saying matters at least to them.

  15. If you really want to give the Administrators the authority to pick and choose whose ballots they should count based on their subjective opinions of the fitness of those people to cast a vote or the contents of their ballots, I’ll help you write that rule for you to submit to the WSFS Business Meeting.

    I disagree with your position that a rule change is necessary. If this year’s Hugo administrator rejected some nominating ballots because they were determined to be an attempt to cheat, there’s nothing in the WSFS Constitution to stop that.

    The Hugo administrator makes subjective decisions every year under the authority they’re given in the Constitution. Last year they let Castalia House Blog remain on the ballot as a fanzine even though I presented them with evidence it has a paid contributor and is thus a semiprozine. I hated the decision but I accept their authority to make it. Every year the administrator decides what a nominator voted for when the wording of their choice is confusing.

    If John Lorentz had announced in 2015 that he was exercising his judgment by throwing out the slate campaign’s bloc votes, it would have been supported by a lot of nominators. Look at how many of us chose No Award on principle to reject the tactic of bloc voting across the board. Don’t you think a lot of us would have preferred that never to have been necessary and for the nominees pushed off by the slate to get their deserved recognition?

    Lorentz could even have held a vote of the membership to decide whether to throw out those nominations. A Worldcon committee has authority to do anything not dictated by the Constitution. There’s nothing in our rules that force obvious attempts to cheat to be accepted as valid votes.

  16. Camestros Felapton: *I* probably shouldn’t do is write a Louis Antonelli themed filk based on Elton John.

    Act without thinking!

  17. rcade: Should we wait for those things to happen and do another two-year slow dance to declare them cheating, or can we at some point have a little common sense and decide “hey, Hugo boss, you are allowed to use your best judgment to stop cheating cheaters who cheat.”

    I argued last time, and still believe, that committee or Hugo administrator has all the authority they need to stop the execution of somebody’s announced purpose to “destroy the Hugos”. The problem is not the rules of the game but the players. There is a short but ugly history of what has been said about Hugo administrators who try to do things that are even provided by the rules, which has helped lock in a mindset among Hugo administrators to (1) not do their work in a transparent way, and (2) minimize their actions to a very conservative and easily defended application of the black-letter rules.

  18. MIke, I’m sure rcade means well, but I’m of a mind to suggest they volunteer to be on the Hugo subcommittee next time Worldcon is in their area, so they can actually find out what it’s like dealing with real live Hugo nominators and voters.

  19. My own comment — “has helped lock in a mindset among Hugo administrators to (1) not do their work in a transparent way…”

    It has since occurred to me that Nicholas Whyte will be wondering WTF I am talking about, after he wrote and released a uniquely thorough report about his whole process last year. Kudos to him.

  20. MIke, I’m sure rcade means well, but I’m of a mind to suggest they volunteer to be on the Hugo subcommittee next time Worldcon is in their area, so they can actually find out what it’s like dealing with real live Hugo nominators and voters.

    I live in Florida and would be happy to volunteer at a Worldcon in the southeastern U.S. The last one was MagiCon in Orlando in 1992.

    I’ve offered my programming help to Hugo committees, since I develop web applications and publish large sites. Worldcon 75 in Finland released the code they used to run the Hugos and other things as open source, which would make it easy for people like me to pitch in, but Worldcon 76’s Committee page indicates that it is using the closed-source software of Ron Oakes. At recent WSFS business meetings Oakes strongly rejected sharing the code with anyone else, so I don’t see an opportunity to help there.

  21. for the record, I didn’t vote ‘no award’ in those categories on principle.

    I voted ‘no award’ because the content was terrible. Even the one story that was genuinely poignant and touching had enormous goatse-sized plot holes.

  22. @OGH: did you even read my full comment before reacting?

    @Niall McAuley: The loophole was not closed before the Puppies used it because no-one in the SF world used it since the Scientologists in 1987 That depends on who you believe about what happened in 1989.

  23. rcade on July 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm said:

    I disagree with your position that a rule change is necessary. If this year’s Hugo administrator rejected some nominating ballots because they were determined to be an attempt to cheat, there’s nothing in the WSFS Constitution to stop that.

    Except you’ve defined “cheating” as “voting for things I don’t like.”

    Votes cast by natural persons with valid memberships are valid, even if they are “slates” defined no matter how you personally want to define them, and no matter who paid for them. If you want to change the definition, you have to come up with a new definition.

    If John Lorentz had announced in 2015 that he was exercising his judgment by throwing out the slate campaign’s bloc votes, it would have been supported by a lot of nominators.

    And it would have been the wrong thing to do. Unless you are somehow claiming that the people who voted were not natural persons with paid memberships. Just because they voted a way you personally don’t like — even if they’re following instructions that someone calls a “slate” — they’re valid voted.

    If you start doing that sort of picking and choosing, you’ll never be able to trust the results ever again, becuase how can you trust the Administrator to not decide that _your_ ballot isn’t valid becuase s/he doesn’t like it?

    There’s nothing in our rules that force obvious attempts to cheat to be accepted as valid votes.

    In other words, you want the Administrator to have the unilateral and unchecked right to pick and choose whose votes are valid based solely upon the Administrator’s personaly opinion as to what should and should not be on the ballot.

    Why bother having an election if that’s what the rules are? The Administrator would actually decide who wins under your system. It would be much tidier that way. No fussing around with anyone actually having to cast a ballot. Why bother voting when the Administrator gets to decide whether your choices are worthy.

    I’m reminded of the “Austrian Ballot” rules that appeared on the old Hogu Award (sic) ballots: Vote as often and as secretly as you like and the Administrator will select the winners without reference to the ballots. (Approximation; it’s been years since I saw one of those Hogu ballots.)

  24. Greg Hullender: As to whether it was fair, it was certainly so in a literal sense. Anyone else could have done the same thing. They had no advantage anyone else didn’t have. What they did was dishonorable, but not unfair or dishonest.

    It was not against the rules. That is the only “positive” thing which can be said about what the Puppies did.

    It was, however, extremely dishonorable, dishonest, unfair, unjust and it was indeed cheating. None of the definitions for those words require that rules actually be broken. Those descriptions only require that the actors have obtained an unfair advantage and violated the spirit of the rules, which is exactly what they did.

  25. Mike Glyer on July 23, 2018 at 4:44 pm said:

    It has since occurred to me that Nicholas Whyte will be wondering WTF I am talking about, after he wrote and released a uniquely thorough report about his whole process last year. Kudos to him.

    I absolutely adore what Mr Whyte did last year and hope that Mr McCarty will seriously consider doing something similar this year, and that Mr Whyte will repeat it next year.

    I think more transparency into how the Hugos work will only strengthen the reputation of the Hugos, and I also think it might interest more people in becoming Hugo Administrator.

    rcade on July 23, 2018 at 4:49 pm said:

    I live in Florida and would be happy to volunteer at a Worldcon in the southeastern U.S. The last one was MagiCon in Orlando in 1992.

    You don’t have to live near the Worldcon site to be on staff. I live in New England and have been on staff for the last four Worldcons and Dublin. I think Dave McCarty, the Hugo Admin for San Jose, lives in Illinois.

  26. rcade: If this year’s Hugo administrator rejected some nominating ballots because they were determined to be an attempt to cheat, there’s nothing in the WSFS Constitution to stop that.

    We already have that. It’s called The Dragon Awards, and it’s exactly the reason that I couldn’t give a shit about those awards, because they are meaningless.

    I grieve for the fact that there will always be absolute shyte on the historic record for the Hugo Awards for several years. I grieve for the time everyone spent reading Puppy shitworks and discussing Puppies rather than reading good works and discussing them.

    But I have confidence that the results have not been “tweaked” by the Hugo Admins arbitrarily deciding which nominations and votes to keep or discard, and that is a thing more precious to me than gold.

  27. Kevin Standlee:

    “Except you’ve defined “cheating” as “voting for things I don’t like.””

    No, he didn’t. He defined “cheating” as using slating tactics, regardless of if he liked the things or not.

  28. Haven’t we had this one before?

    We went to a huge effort to sculpt a fix to the Hugo rules that would close the slating loophole, make it fairer, without having to rely on Hugo Administrators making subjective decisions (which we know from history, they are extremely reluctant to do).

    I for one am very glad we took that path. It was morally & ethically the correct thing to do.

  29. Except you’ve defined “cheating” as “voting for things I don’t like.”

    I said nothing like that. I have trouble believing you genuinely consider that my position.

    Votes cast by natural persons with valid memberships are valid, even if they are “slates” defined no matter how you personally want to define them, and no matter who paid for them.

    There’s nothing in the WSFS Constitution that decrees all votes must be accepted from “natural persons.” What you’re stating here is your opinion. A Hugo administrator and Worldcon committee could take a different approach.

    Your approach would allow someone to openly buy votes. That would make a complete mockery of the awards (again). I would prefer administrators stop that from happening instead of waiting two years to do anything to protect the Hugos.

  30. rcade: There’s nothing in the WSFS Constitution that decrees all votes must be accepted from “natural persons.”

    < puts on fansplaining hat >

    Well, actually, there is.

    Section 6.2: Natural Persons. In all matters arising under this Constitution, only natural persons may introduce business, nominate, or vote, except as specifically provided otherwise in this Constitution. No person may cast more than one vote on any issue or more than one ballot in any election. This shall not be interpreted to prohibit delivery of ballots cast by other eligible voters.

  31. I for one am very glad we took that path.

    We only took that path because Hugo administrators refused to act. We weren’t given a say in that, so we had to wait two years to do anything to protect the awards.

    I am not glad we had to sacrifice two years of the awards; nor that those years are forever honoring self-promotional, unworthy and even libelous material imposed by a white nationalist whose goal was to “burn down the Hugos;” nor that people who had enough legitimate nominations to make the ballot were denied an honor they had earned.

    If we had been asked to vote, I think a majority of the Hugo members who nominated in 2015 would have supported a decision that threw out the votes of the cheaters.

    Could that use of a Hugo administrator’s authority make some people mad? Sure. But does anyone run an important aspect of Worldcon believing they won’t upset anybody?

  32. @JJ:

    Section 6.2 prohibits a person from voting multiple times and prohibits a non-person from voting at all. It does not establish a right for everyone to have their vote counted in entirety in all matters decided by Worldcon.

    There are several examples where a vote is not counted in the Constitution:

    1. A nominating vote that duplicates the same nominee more than once in a category is not counted. Only one vote for that nominee is counted.

    2. A nominating vote that would put a third work by the same author or dramatic presentation series on the ballot is not counted. Only votes for two of those works are counted.

    3. A nominating vote for a work that the Hugo administrator has moved to a new category is not counted if the voter has nominated five works in that category.

    4. A nominating vote for a work is not counted in a category if the same work has more nominations in another category.

    5. A site selection vote for No Preference is not counted.

    Under the current wording of the Constitution, I believe a Hugo administrator has no prohibition from throwing out nominations that they determined to be cheating.

    If the members want to stop an administrator from throwing out the nominations of cheaters, they should undertake the two-year process to amend the Constitution.

  33. JJ: All along I’ve been thinking about the way Abraham Lincoln dealt with some Constitutional issues during the Civil War. And there’s more than one side to that, too. (I mean, even beyond even the opposed sides of the Union and Confederacy.) However, that’s where I look for an example that one is not bound to let rules be used to work your own destruction.

  34. A number of specifically described instances in which a vote should not be counted doesn’t imply that an administrator can make up a new category of votes which should not be counted.

  35. One thing I don’t understand: Some members can accept a shit ballot for two years containing Theodore Beale’s vanity press shlock and Moira Greyland’s hate speech against gays, but they can’t accept a Hugo administrator throwing out 100-200 votes because they took over the entire ballot through a sleazy tactic we completely reject? To me the former seems so much worse than the latter, and it’s FOREVER.

  36. A number of specifically described instances in which a vote should not be counted doesn’t imply that an administrator can make up a new category of votes which should not be counted.

    What is implied or not implied by the Hugo rules is a matter of judgment a Hugo administrator and current Worldcon committee can decide.

    Bloc voting wasn’t subtle. The slate was announced publicly as an attempt to attack the Hugos and nominating votes came in with the exact same nominees filling 4-5 spots in 8 or more categories.

    An open campaign of vote buying wouldn’t be subtle either. I want the current Hugo administrator to be willing to use the authority they’re given to stop sleazy attempts to game the ballot. Before anyone says that or some even more slimy tactic won’t happen, nobody thought bloc voting would either.

    Our weak administrator approach means two years of shit ballots after any successful attempt to cheat.

  37. rcade on July 23, 2018 at 8:39 pm said:
    One thing I don’t understand: Some members can accept a shit ballot for two years containing Theodore Beale’s vanity press shlock and Moira Greyland’s hate speech against gays, but they can’t accept a Hugo administrator throwing out 100-200 votes because they took over the entire ballot through a sleazy tactic we completely reject?

    They can’t accept (and I thing admins don’t want) the kind of sweeping power that they would need to make the judgement to throw at a whole bunch of ballots and I can understand why. It’s not just whether the power might be abused but people feeling under suspicion that they abused their power.

  38. It’s not just whether the power might be abused but people feeling under suspicion that they abused their power.

    I think we already place a lot of trust in the Hugo administrator, so why not trust them to fairly decide what is cheating in the rare years where it occurs?

    As an example of that huge trust, we don’t require open source software to count nominations and votes. The members two years ago rejected a vote to encourage the use of open source software. We are trusting that Ron Oakes’ closed source software does what he says it does.

    We also trust Hugo administrators to be fair in moving a work from one category to another and fair in interpreting what a voter has nominated when they specify it in an unusual way.

  39. You don’t have to live near the Worldcon site to be on staff.

    You do when you haven’t been able to drag yourself onto a plane since Bill Clinton was president.

    Those of you volunteering for Worldcons far from home have my admiration.

  40. What is implied or not implied by the Hugo rules is a matter of judgment a Hugo administrator and current Worldcon committee can decide.

    The problem with judgment (for which the WSFS Constitution allows very little) is that what you perceive as judgment, I perceive as tilting the scales. And vice versa.

    There will be unintended consequences, one of which is certain to be that some votes for non-slated works will be thrown out, and possibly (likely?) in a way that changes rankings. Fans of those works will have legitimate reason to believe that the system was biased against them.

    Remember the 2000 U.S. presidential election. “Selected, not elected”. Count the ballots as cast, and solve the problems further upstream.

  41. rcade: There are several examples where a vote is not counted in the Constitution

    Further from Bill’s point, with which I am in agreement, your examples are not examples of nominations/votes not being counted because the Hugo Admin has used their own judgment to decide not to count them, which is what you are advocating for.

    They are examples of the rules explicitly saying when nominations/votes will not be counted. They are not examples of Hugo Admins using arbitrary judgment to exclude nominations/votes. So you’ve undermined your own argument by pointing out those examples.

  42. And vice versa.

    I’m not seeing the vice versa. I don’t recall anything Hugo administrators have done I would characterize as tilting the scales. Even when I contacted them directly about the ineligibility of a work and I thought the decision they made was wrong. I am comfortable with their use of their authority.

  43. So you’ve undermined your own argument by pointing out those examples.

    My argument was that 6.2 does not establish an absolute right for a vote to be counted in its entirety, which is what you’re saying it does. The examples show it’s far from absolute.

    You should join those of us who want the administrator to protect the Hugos from future attempts to cheat. You have been relentless in your condemnation of the Puppies and what they did. Why let it be so easy to happen again?

    Personally, I won’t go through another two-year process to Robert’s Rules of Order our way out of an attack by sleazeballs like Larry Correia and Beale. I’ll pack up my enthusiasm and move it to the Nebulas and try to get some pro credits so I can vote.

  44. And also, just to be pedantic:

    rcade: 2. A nominating vote that would put a third work by the same author or dramatic presentation series on the ballot is not counted. Only votes for two of those works are counted.

    In 2, the final tally to determine the finalists is created including those nominations, which are very definitely counted. Then the creator responsible for the 3+ works eligible to be finalists in the category is tasked with choosing which 2 works actually stay on the ballot*, or the Hugo Admin will decide which 2 stay on the ballot (which is likely to be the 2 with the most nominations). The 7th place, etc finalist(s) is then moved up onto the ballot, but EPH is not re-run as it would be if those nominations had not actually been counted.

     
    * In GRRM’s case with GoT a couple of years ago, 2 directors were responsible for the 3 episodes, and he chose one episode by each director, eliminating the episode which had been on the Puppy slate: an elegant solution.

  45. rcade: You should join those of us who want the administrator to protect the Hugos from future attempts to cheat. You have been relentless in your condemnation of the Puppies and what they did. Why let it be so easy to happen again?

    I’ve already explained where my priorities lie — which is in not granting Hugo Admins the right to pick-and-choose which ballots they count and which they discard based on 1) who cast the ballots or 2) what they nominated or voted for.

  46. rcade:

    Lou is getting replacement pins and still is angry. Who could have predicted that?

    Rhetorical question, yes?

    One thing I don’t understand:

    Yeah, so you’ve mentioned before. I guess what I don’t understand is why you want to repeat the discussion, as if making the same points all over again would get different answers now, because everyone else secretly changed their minds since the last time you argued for Imperial Administrators.

    Whenever this comes up, people explain why they don’t want the World administrators to have this power, and why Worldcon administrators don’t want it either. It’s clear you neither understand nor agree, but maybe it’s time to accept that you’re not going to understand, rather than have yet another rerun of the same argument.

  47. rcade:

    As an example of that huge trust, we don’t require open source software to count nominations and votes.

    We also don’t require any kind of auditing or verifying against the raw nomination ballots. Paper ballots can be shredded, edited or added. Someone with access to the database with electronic ballots can delete lines, add lines, or add or delete entire ballots – and noone will ever notice.

    People seem to argue as if there’s a huge, fundamental difference between
    – “never toss out votes, but there’s no kind of audit of your work so noone will notice if some ballots goes “missing”“, and
    – “you can toss out votes in rare circumstances of obvious bad-faith voting“.
    And I don’t really see that difference.

    If we really believe that Hugo admins are liable to abuse the power they have today, future Worldcons ought to have two separate teams who duplicate each other’s work – and then cry havoc if their results doesn’t match. We don’t do that – because we trust the admins. I have a hard time understanding why people are so unwilling to acknowledge that, and to benefit more from the fact that we have trustworthy people in charge.

  48. I guess what I don’t understand is why you want to repeat the discussion …

    How we protect the Hugos from abuse and what we did after 2015 are perennial topics around here. I’d prefer to talk about it ahead of the next attempt to game the awards. This is a particularly germane time to bring up these issues since we are 7-10 days before the deadline to submit new business (two weeks before the preliminary business meeting).

    At this point the best way to guard against future abuse without requiring action from administrators is to pass Kevin Standlee’s three-stage voting proposal (3SV). It failed last year in a first vote.

  49. I have a hard time understanding why people are so unwilling to acknowledge that, and to benefit more from the fact that we have trustworthy people in charge.

    I’d say because there’s always the chance the person in charge in some future may not always be trustworthy even if they have been historically.

    That said, we know EPH is flawed. 3SV has its own issues too. Still the ’emergency’ is over as such and I see no urgent appetite to change the status quo absent another outbreak of gaming the rules.

  50. I’d say because there’s always the chance the person in charge in some future may not always be trustworthy even if they have been historically.

    And that’s a fine reply to the single sentence you quoted – but it misses the point I made in the rest of my post.

    The situation today is that if admins decide to quietly tip the scales during counting, there’s no practical way the voters will ever find out. If people are genuinely worried about the integrity of future admins, they ought to be more worried about this de facto power.

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