Pixel Scroll 7/5/19 We Hold These Pixels To Be Self Scrolling, That All Filers Are Created Equal

(1) TUNING IN. The Doctor may use her time traveling skills to visit your TV set even sooner than the beginning of Season 12. Radio Times speculates that “Doctor Who could air an extra episode before the new series”.

RadioTimes.com understands that a plan is in the works to air a standalone Doctor Who special some time before series 12 hits screens, possibly in a festive slot like this year’s New Year’s Day Special or the Christmas specials that were released every year prior (from 2005 onwards).

However, it’s also possible that the proposed episode will bypass the festive period altogether, airing in a less competitive slot to give the Tardis team their best reintroduction this winter, and avoiding the usual holiday themes favoured by previous Doctor Who specials.

(2) ORDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE. Just as French fries are merely a delivery vehicle for ketchup, File 770 exists to publicize where Scott Edelman goes to eat lunch. In Episode 99 of Eating the Fantastic, the meal is served at the Sagebrush Cantina in the company of comics legend Gerry Conway.

Gerry Conway

My first meal of the Nebula Awards weekend was with comics legend Gerry Conway, who I’ve known for at least 48 years, since 1971 — when I was a comics fan of 16, and he was 19, and yet already a comics pro with credits on Phantom StrangerKa-Zar, and Daredevil. Our paths back then crossed in the basement of the Times Square branch of Nathan’s (which, alas, no longer exists) where the late Phil Seuling had organized a standalone dealers room without any convention programming dubbed Nathan’s Con, which was a test run for his future Second Sunday mini-cons.

Gerry and I have a lot of history in those 48 years, including his time as Marvel’s editor-in-chief when I worked in the Bullpen — though his tenure was only six weeks long, two of those weeks my honeymoon — a tenure you’ll hear us talk about during the meal which follows. He’s the creator of The Punisher, Power Girl, and Firestorm, and wrote a lengthy and at one point controversial run on Spider-Man. But he’s also worked on such TV series as MatlockJake and the FatmanHercules: The Legendary JourneysLaw & Order, and many others.

At Gerry’s recommendation, our meal took place at the Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, California, where I invite you to take a seat and eavesdrop on our longest conversation in 40 years.

We discussed how the comics business has always been dying and what keeps saving it, why if he were in charge he’d shut down Marvel Comics for six months, what it’s like (and how it’s different) being both the youngest and oldest writer ever to script Spider-Man, the novel mistake he made during his summer at the Clarion Writers Workshop, why he’s lived a life in comics rather than science fiction, what caused Harlan Ellison to write an offensive letter to his mother, the one bad experience he ever had being edited in comics (it had to do with the Justice League), the convoluted way Superman vs. Spider-Man resulted in him writing for TV’s Father Dowling Mysteries, how exasperation caused him to quit his role as Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief (while I was out of the Bullpen on my honeymoon), how he’d have been treated if he’d killed off Gwen Stacy in today’s social media world, and much, much more.

(3) TALKING ABOUT A GAMES HUGO. Camestros Felapton starts a thoughtful discussion of Ira Alexandre’s motion in “Looking at the Hugo Game/Interactive Experience proposal”.

…I think accessibility to the works remains one of the biggest obstacles to this category working effectively, although the proposal makes substantial efforts to address this.

My other concern is the multiple vectors against which we’d need to judge works in this category. The proposal gives numerous examples of other game awards but I’m struck by the many ways game awards split their own categories….

(4) KOTLER’S PICKS. Paul Weimer hosts “6 Books with Steve Kotler” at Nerds of a Feather. I’m in the middle of reading the author’s latest —

6. And speaking of that, what’s your latest book, and why is it awesome?

My latest book is Last Tango in Cyberspace. It’s a novel that follows a protagonist named Lion Zorn. He’s an empathy tracker or em-tracker, a new kind of human with a much deeper ability to feel empathy than most. His talent lets him track cultural trends into the future, a form of empathetic prognostication, and a useful skill to certain kind of company. But when Arctic Pharmaceuticals hires him to em-track rumors of a new and extremely potent psychedelic—with potential medical uses—he ends up enmeshed in a world of startup religions, environmental terrorists and overlapping global conspiracies. It’s a thriller about the ramifications of accelerating technology, the evolution of empathy, and the hidden costs of consciousness-expansion. And it’s awesome because, well, it’s just a ton of mind-blowing fun.

(5) GROKKING JAPAN. In The Paris Review, Andrei Codrescu resurrects “The Many Lives of Lafcadio Hearn”, once among the best-known literary figures of his day.

…History is a fairy tale true to its telling. Lafcadio Hearn’s lives are a fairy tale true in various tellings, primarily his own, then those of his correspondents, and with greater uncertainty, those of his biographers. Hearn changed, as if magically, from one person into another, from a Greek islander into a British student, from a penniless London street ragamuffin into a respected American newspaper writer, from a journalist into a novelist, and, most astonishingly, from a stateless Western man into a loyal Japanese citizen. His sheer number of guises make him a creature of legend. Yet this life, as recorded both by himself and by others, grows more mysterious the more one examines it, for it is like the Japanese story of the Buddhist monk Kwashin Koji, in “Impressions of Japan,” who owned a painting so detailed it flowed with life. A samurai chieftain saw it and wanted to buy it, but the monk wouldn’t sell it, so the chieftain had him followed and murdered. But when the painting was brought to the chieftain and unrolled, there was nothing on it; it was blank. Hearn reported this story told to him by a Japanese monk to illustrate some aspect of the Buddhist doctrine of karma, but he might as well have been speaking about himself as Koji: the more “literary” the renderings of the original story, the less fresh and vivid it becomes, until it might literally disappear, like that legendary painting.

(6) VISIONARY. CNN discovers Simon Stålenhag — “Simon Stålenhag’s hauntingly beautiful retro sci-fi art”.

Simon Stålenhag’s paintings are a strange, irresistible mix of mundane scenes from the Swedish countryside and haunting scenarios involving abandoned robots, mysterious machinery and even dinosaurs.

They are the product of his childhood memories — growing up in suburban Stockholm and painting landscapes and wildlife — and his adulthood appreciation for sci-fi.

“I try to make art for my 12-year-old self,” he said in a phone interview. “I want to make stuff that would make my younger self see it and go, ‘I’m not supposed to look at this because it’s for adults, but I really want to anyway.'”

(7) UNSURPRISINGLY, THE IRS RECOGNIZES SATAN. The Burbank Leader generated some clicks with its overview: “The IRS gave nonprofit status to a satanic church. Will all hell break loose?”.

Earlier this year the Internal Revenue Service officially recognized the Satanic Temple as a church, meaning it has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

According to the church’s website, the Satanic Temple’s mission is “to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.”

Yet perhaps because the group describes itself as a “nontheistic religious organization” and maintains an openness about taking political stances, the IRS decision has brought some controversy.

According to an article on Rewire.News, a pro-life petition online states, “This egregious decision runs counter to everything America stands for,” and a Catholic commentator argued that without God or a literal Satan, there is no “real religion.”

A letter to the editor from a self-identified atheist began:

I’m fine with the ruling, based on the finding that the Temple’s attributes — unique tenets, regular congregations and religious services — meet the IRS guidelines for a tax-exempt religious organization, i.e., a church. Neither God, gods nor Satan are required to be a “real religion” under these guidelines, contrary to the commentator quoted in this month’s question.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 5, 1904 Milburn Stone. Though you no doubt know him as Doc on Gunsmoke, he did have several genre roles including a German Sargent in The Invisible Agent, Captain Vickery in Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, Mr. Moore in The Spider Woman Strikes Back and Capt. Roth in Invaders from Mars. (Died 1980.)
  • Born July 5, 1929 Katherine Helmond. Among her roles was Mrs Ogre in Time Bandits and Mrs. Ida Lowry in Brazil. Now I’ll bet you can tell her scene in the latter… (Died 2019.)
  • Born July 5, 1941 Garry Kilworth, 78. The Ragthorn, a novella co-authored with Robert Holdstock, won the World Fantasy Award. It’s an excellent read and it makes me wish I’d read other fiction by him. Anyone familiar with his work? 
  • Born July 5, 1948 Nancy Springer, 71. May I recommend her Tales of Rowan Hood series of which her Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest is a most splendid revisionist telling of that legend? And her Enola Holmes Mysteries are a nice riffing off of the Holmsiean mythos.
  • Born July 5, 1957 Jody Lynn Nye, 62. She’s best known for collaborating with Asprin on the MythAdventures series  Since his death, she has continued that series and she is now also writing sequels to his Griffen McCandle series as well. 
  • Born July 5, 1963 Alma Alexander, 56. Author of three SF series including the Changer of Days which is rather good. I’m including her here for her AbductiCon novel which is is set in a Con and involves both what goes on at that Con and the aliens that are involved. 
  • Born July 5, 1964 Ronald Moore, 55. He‘s best known for his work on various Star Trek series, on the Battlestar Galactica reboot and on the Outlander series.  
  • Born July 5, 1972 Nia Roberts, 47. She appeared in two two Doctor Who episodes during the time of the Eleventh Doctor, “The Hungry Earth” and “Cold Blood”. But it’s an earlier role that gets her a Birthday citation just because it sounds so damn cool: Rowan Latimer in the “Curse of the Blood of the Lizard of Doom” episode of the Dr. Terrible’s House of Horrible whichspoofed shows such as Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected.

(9) GET MAD. If you want to see more of Alfred E. Newman’s gap-toothed smile, Doug Gilford’s MAD Cover Site is the place for you.

Look at every regular issue cover from the comic book days of 1952 to the present day! Issue contents included!

(10) COUNTING FANS AT WORLDCONS. The latest round of Hugo statistics led to a discussion on the SMOFs list about other Worldcon stats, where Rene Walling reminded readers about his compilations, published by James Gunn’s Ad Astra earlier in this decade:

Sweeping statements and generalizations are often made about the membership of early World Science Fiction Conventions (WSFC, or Worldcon) such as “only the same people came back every year” or “the attendance was all male.” Yet rarely is more than anecdotal evidence given to support these statements. The goal of this report is to provide some hard data on the membership of early Worldcons so that such statements can be based on more than anecdotal evidence.

…The number of members listed over the entire 1961-1980 time span totals 33,279 for the WSFC sources, which represents 81.66% of the total from the Long List (40,752). The total number of individual members is 17,136.

(11) IS BEST SERIES WORKING? At Nerds of a Feather, Joe Sherry precedes his discussion of the nominees in “Reading the Hugos: Series” with some meta comments about the category.

This is worth mentioning now because 2019 is the third year of the Best Series category and the second appearance of Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series because McGuire has published two additional novels (The Brightest Fell, Night and Silence) as well as some short fiction set in that universe. I wouldn’t be shocked to see McGuire’s InCryptid make a second appearance next year, and I also expect to see The Expanse to have its own second crack at the ballot, though with The Expanse I hope readers wait one more year for the ninth (and final?) volume to be published so that The Expanse can be considered as a completed work.

I’m curious what this says about the long term future and health of the category if we see some of the same series make repeat appearances. Of course, we can (and do) say the same thing about a number of “down the ballot” categories like Fanzine (we do appreciate being on the ballot for the third year in a row!), Semiprozine, and the Editor categories.

(12) IN A BAD PLACE. Steve J. Wright’s review of the finalists has reached “Hugo Category: Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)” – and there’s one he really doesn’t like.

We have two episodes of The Good Place, and I won’t complain about that either, because this is a popular vote and the show clearly has its fans…. I’m still not among them.  It seems to me that The Good Place is still trying to be several things at once, and is failing at all of them, and since the things it’s trying to be include “funny” and “though-provoking”, the result isn’t good. 

(13) HELICON AWARDS. Richard Paolinelli celebrated the Fourth of July by announcing the ten inaugural winners of the Helicon Awards on his YouTube channel. Sad Puppy Declan Finn won the Best Horror Novel category, which is probably more informative about where these awards are coming from than that Brandon Sanderson and Timothy Zahn also won.  

The 2019 Helicon Awards celebrates the best literary works of 2018 in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Military Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Alternate History, Media Tie-In, Horror and Anthology (SF/F/H).

Throughout the presentation Paolinelli keeps using the pronouns “we” and “our” without shedding very much light on who besides himself is behind these awards. The slides for the winners bear the  logo of his Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild, opened last year with the ambition of rivalling SFWA. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild closed group on Facebook is listed as having 275 members – you can’t see the content without joining, but FB displays a stat that it’s had 6 posts in the last 30 days. The SFFCGuild Twitter account hasn’t been active since February 2018.

Paolinelli’s blog claims sponsorship of the awards, but in the video he says not only won’t winners be receiving a trophy, he hasn’t even designed a certificate for them, though he might do that in a few weeks.

In addition to the 10 Helicon Awards, Paolinelli named “three individual honorees for the Mevil Dewey Innovation Award, Laura Ingalls Wilder Best New Author Award and the Frank Herbert Lifetime Achievement Award.”

So far as the first two awards are concerned, it’s likely that what did most to persuade Paolinelli to give them those names was the decision by two organizations this past year to drop the names from existing awards – in Wilder’s case (see Pixel Scroll 6/25/18 item #5), the US Association for Library Service to Children said it was “over racist views and language,” while the American Library Association dropped Dewey (see Pixel Scroll 6/27/19 Item #13) citing “a history of racism, anti-Semitism, and sexual harassment.”

(14) A FANNISH ANIMAL. “My Wild Time Living in a House Full of Wombats” is an article at The Daily Beast, where else?

What is a full night’s sleep?! I haven’t had one of those in a long time. I run Sleepy Burrow Wombat Sanctuary in Australia, which is the largest wombat sanctuary in the world. I’m up every three hours to do round-the-clock feedings for the baby wombats that have recently come into our care. Their first nights with us are always the most critical time where their survival is the most at risk. If being up all night is what it takes to pull them through, I will do it. Don’t feel too bad for me though. I wouldn’t trade the life I have for anything in the world. I have a wonderful family I built with the most supportive husband, who is my partner both in life and rescue. I’m a mother to two perfect daughters, a dog, and a house full of the cutest wombats you can imagine. As a family unit we have rescued over 1,300 wombats.

(15) NIGERIAN SFF. Adri Joy makes the book sound pretty interesting, though rates it only 6/10: “Microreview [book]: David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa” at Nerds of a Feather.

That main character, it will not surprise you to hear, is David Mogo, Godhunter. David lives in a version of Lagos which has been subjected to the Falling: a war which has caused thousands of Orisha to rain down on the city and take up residence. A half-god himself, David was abandoned by his mother and raised by a foster-father who also happens to be a wizard, wielding magical talents which David’s divinity keeps him from using in the same way. Instead, when we meet David he’s trying to throw himself into a bounty hunting existence with as much amoral abandon as possible, taking on a job from far more shady wizard Ajala for “roof money” while trying to suppress the sense that he should be acting with slightly more principle.

(16) SPONGING OFF FANS. That’s the allegation, anyway: “SpongeBob SquarePants fan claims Nickelodeon copied art”.

A fan has claimed Nickelodeon used his SpongeBob SquarePants artwork without his permission.

Matt Salvador, 17, says the art was featured in an advert for the show which was aired in June.

His artwork, uploaded online in 2016, is drawn in the style of a background used in a typical episode.

Various YouTube channels have uploaded the video, which the fan says shows the same artwork, but with his signature in the bottom-right corner removed.

(17) THINKING INSIDE THE BOX. Unlike Facebook or Google — “Why the BBC does not want to store your data”.

BBC audience members could soon be using all the data from their social media and online accounts to fine tune the content they listen to and view.

The BBC is developing a personal data store that analyses information from multiple sources to filter content.

Early prototypes of the BBC Box draw on profiles people have built up on Spotify, Instagram and the BBC iPlayer.

The BBC will not store data for users. Instead, preferences will be kept in the Box so they can be reused.

The project is seen as “disruptive” because individuals will decide what they use their data for themselves.

The Box is part of a larger European project seeking to give people more control over their data.

(18) STILL NOT READY. Let’s face it: “Biased and wrong? Facial recognition tech in the dock”.

Police and security forces around the world are testing out automated facial recognition systems as a way of identifying criminals and terrorists. But how accurate is the technology and how easily could it and the artificial intelligence (AI) it is powered by – become tools of oppression?

Imagine a suspected terrorist setting off on a suicide mission in a densely populated city centre. If he sets off the bomb, hundreds could die or be critically injured.

CCTV scanning faces in the crowd picks him up and automatically compares his features to photos on a database of known terrorists or “persons of interest” to the security services.

The system raises an alarm and rapid deployment anti-terrorist forces are despatched to the scene where they “neutralise” the suspect before he can trigger the explosives. Hundreds of lives are saved. Technology saves the day.

But what if the facial recognition (FR) tech was wrong? It wasn’t a terrorist, just someone unlucky enough to look similar. An innocent life would have been summarily snuffed out because we put too much faith in a fallible system.

What if that innocent person had been you?

This is just one of the ethical dilemmas posed by FR and the artificial intelligence underpinning it.

Training machines to “see” – to recognise and differentiate between objects and faces – is notoriously difficult. Computer vision, as it is sometimes called – not so long ago was struggling to tell the difference between a muffin and a chihuahua – a litmus test of this technology.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, rcade, Michael Toman, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

38 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/5/19 We Hold These Pixels To Be Self Scrolling, That All Filers Are Created Equal

  1. (13) I’m trying really hard not to comment but…two of the winning books are from 2017.
    OathBringer – Brandon Sanderson
    The Dream of the Iron Dragon – Robert Kroese

  2. Just a note to JDA and other Sad Puppies who claim always that Amazon is biased against them. Audible which is owned by Amazon is featuring Larry Correia’s The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional as one of their free Audible Productions for July. I’m not sure it’s my cup of tea but since it’s free, I’m going to give it a listen.

  3. FIFTH

    8) Coincidentally, Nancy Springer’s five-book series Book of Isle is one of my all-time favorites and it features prose that is good as Patricia McKillip. It is well worth reading.

  4. Scroll title and scroll item to my credit!

    15) Adri wound up giving it a final score of 7/10 not a 6/10

  5. 13) What? A Melvil Dewey Innovation Award?
    Looks like the alt DragonCon Awards.

  6. @Red Panda Fraction–Well, Dewey at least will be more welcome among the Puppies than he was in the ALA, over a century ago, even. And he was a great and valuable innovator in librarianship–in the late 19th and early 20th century.

    Seems about right, to me.

  7. 12) Wright’s attitude toward “The Good Place” isn’t surprising considering you need a sense of whimsy about angels,demons and the afterlife if you want to enjoy it.

  8. @Harold Osler: are you confusing Steve Wright with John Wright? Or do you know something about Steve that I don’t?

    (Steve’s “About” page makes it very clear he’s not related to John, and is quite happy about that fact.)

    (10) COUNTING FANS AT WORLDCONS.
    Cool stuff. I knew there were woman at early cons–my mom was one of them–but it’s definitely interesting to see some reasonably hard numbers.

  9. @Xtifr–Dammit–that’s why I should go to bed when my eyes start to glaze instead of just one more webpage visit. I’m abashed at my mistake.
    (But I’ll still bet John Wright doesn’t like ‘The Good Place’)

  10. I like to think I’m not entirely without whimsy… and I liked (for example) Good Omens just fine. But The Good Place just doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid. I don’t have a problem with the concept, it’s the execution which makes my teeth grate…. Put it down to humour being a very individual thing, if you like.

  11. (11)

    though with The Expanse I hope readers wait one more year for the ninth (and final?) volume to be published so that The Expanse can be considered as a completed work

    Hear, hear! I know I’ve beaten the “endings are important” drum before but I would find it really frustrating to have to rank an incomplete Expanse when I’m really looking forward to finding out how it completes.

  12. (5) GROKKING JAPAN. Hearn’s name takes me back! As a kid, when we visited my maternal grandparents, my Mom and I read 5 illustrated Japanese fairy tales/ghost stories “rendered into English” by Lafcadio Hearn that my grandparents had (which probably used to be my Mom’s); or maybe I read them by myself. I seem to recall one was a little scary or at least had spooky illustrations, or at least my Mom thought so, because I don’t believe we read that one. Anyway, I have very fond memories of reading these illustrated Hearn translations/recreations/what-not. I was thrilled when my Mom gave me the stories as part of my parents’ down-sizing. Early SFF reading by yours truly. 🙂

    Each story’s in its own little booklet of unusual folded-over crepe paper. It says they’re printed in color by hand from Japanese wood blocks – presumably they mean the illustrations – but surely not?! I need to sit down and re-read them; it’s been decades. I just put them on a shelf several years ago as a cherished memento when she gave the set to me; I didn’t want to damage them.

    The stories are: The Boy Who Drew Cats; The Old Woman Who Lost Her Dumpling; Chin Chin Kobakama; The Goblin Spider (the scary one or at least the one with the creepiest illustrations); and The Fountain of Youth. Ah! ::warm fuzzy feeling::

    And here’s the set; someone posted great photos and detailed information about it. My wrap-around case is in three pieces and missing the sides, it looks like, but still has some tissue paper that we wrapped around the booklets.

    @Mike Glyer, thanks for posting #5 and providing a space for ramblings in the comments. 🙂

    Sorry to ramble, folks.

  13. @ Lis Carey
    Right as usual. From The Guardian:

    American librarians have voted to remove the name of Melvil Dewey, widely seen as the father of modern librarianship, from one of their top awards, citing his history of antisemitism, racism and sexual harassment.

    The council of the American Library Association (ALA) passed a resolution this week to rename its top professional award, the Melvil Dewey Medal. The resolution explains that Dewey did not permit Jewish people, African Americans or other minorities admittance to the resort he owned, the Lake Placid Club. He also “made numerous inappropriate physical advances toward women he worked with and wielded professional power over” and was ostracised from the ALA after four women accused him of sexual impropriety, the resolution continues, declaring that “the behaviour demonstrated for decades by Dewey does not represent the stated fundamental values of ALA in equity, diversity, and inclusion”.

    Right up Puppy Alley, no?

  14. Paolinelli’s blog claims sponsorship of the awards, but in the video he says not only won’t winners be receiving a trophy, he hasn’t even designed a certificate for them, though he might do that in a few weeks.

    In the future, every Helicon Award winner will come to cherish both the announcement and the second phase of the award — the day that shall be known as The Printing of the Certificates.

    I am awarding the Fourteen Minutes You’ll Never Get Back Award to the File 770 contributor who watched Paolinelli’s video to write that news item.

  15. (12) The Good Place’s nominations have made me consider what works and what doesn’t work in the BDP(SF) category. In many cases we’re nominating individual pieces of an ongoing serial story. For voters who haven’t been following the series, they’ve got to take the episode with no prior context or information. That’s going to privilege works that have stand-alone episodes and ones with more obvious genre pleasures over those that depend on longer character development.

    (This is tangential to Steve’s objections, and isn’t meant to be a rebuttal of any kind, by the way. It’s more me musing over how the Hugo categories work.)

    One of the running themes of The Good Place is what we owe to each other, and how the main characters change and grow in relation to that. The two nominated episodes are book-ends. In one episode, a character rescues another from an existential crisis. In the other, the same two characters are in a similar situation, but with the roles reversed. In both, one of the pleasures is seeing the characters snap, how they handle having the underpinnings of their worldview kicked over, and how they come back from that. But if you don’t know the characters and haven’t built up any interest in them, then why should you care?

    The same thing goes for D’Arcy Carden’s great and good work in the “Janet(s)” episode. Without knowing the characters, you’re left watching someone do a masterful job of capturing the essence of characters you don’t know. It’d be like watching a skilled impressionist do a spot-on impersonation of my grandfather.

    I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a thing. I don’t know of a way to have a category that would both support long-form dramatic storytelling without downplaying brilliant stand-alone presentations. And I don’t think that we should have a “Best Dramatic Series” category, either.

    But as someone who loves The Good Place, it’s like I’ve told someone, “I love the Vorkosigan series! You should try my favorite book. Here, have the last half of Memory.”

  16. (13) Actually I’m happy to see some of the people who complained that the Hugo Awards failed to recognize their kind of stories actually doing something other than complain. We kept telling them, “If you want to reward something different, set up your own awards.” Here’s someone actually doing it. From the description, it seems to be a juried award that takes nominations and votes from the public into account. To me, that’s more work than necessary (given it’s a juried award), but I’m not the one doing the work.

    I have a problem with the way people tried to hype the Dragon Awards as being something big and important when, so far, they seem to be small and struggling, but I don’t see that with this award. Not yet, anyway.

    Neither this nor the Dragon makes any attempt to recognize short fiction. I wonder why that is.

  17. Greg Hullender queries Neither this nor the Dragon makes any attempt to recognize short fiction. I wonder why that is.

    I think short fiction is the most difficult category of literature to judge simply because it’s so damn hard to find in the first place. And I don’t think the Dragon crowd’s going to take the effort to seek it out. Certainly the writers don’t make something they stress as being worth voting for.

    Unless you’re Ellen Datlow or the like, you don’t just see it during the year in any meaningful sense. Y’all that vote get in your packets but how much of it do you see before that?

  18. (8) Either Milburn Stone met an untimely end while time travelling to Second Century Rome (true dedication to genre) or there is a digit missing from his year of death.

  19. Stuart Hall: Since I doubt Stone died in a TARDIS accident, it must be a typo — thanks, and appertain yourself your favorite beverage!

  20. @Stephen Granade: context has been a problem since the beginning of BDP-SF; I remember a group viewing of the Buffy episode “Conversations with Dead People” (which won the first Hugo in this category) and the WTF-was-that remarks of people who had not been following the show religiously. I’m not sympathetic to the claim that an episode up for the short-forrm award should get greater credence because of how it fits into a series; ISTM that if the series is key, the series as a block should be the nominee. (cf the first season of GoT being nominated.) In a world where we had infinite time and perfect judgment there could be separate awards for BDP-SF-freestanding and BDP-SF-contextual, but I’m not suggesting this as I have more contact with reality than King Ludwig the Tree.

  21. rcade: I am awarding the Fourteen Minutes You’ll Never Get Back Award to the File 770 contributor who watched Paolinelli’s video to write that news item.

    Oh, I had to watch it. Just like Stephen King talks about what people do when they see an orange cone at the side of the road — start looking for the dead bodies.

  22. Kendall, thank you for linking to the photos of the Japanese Fairy Tales books you have. They look like real treasures. I am amazed.

  23. @Stephen Granade
    I don’t think the fact that it’s serialised is the main problem why many people, myself included, bounce hard off The Good Place. After all, The Expanse, Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, the new Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, etc… were/are also heavily serialised and still got Hugo nominations and the occasional win.

    The problem with The Good Place is that it’s very much a Marmite show. The people who love it obviously love it very much, enough to nominate two episodes of the bloody thing two years in a row. But a lot of other people, myself included, can’t stand the show. It’s not that I don’t like afterlife stories either, though they’re not my favourite subgenre. However, I loved the bevtvany Yvsr ba Znef naq gur fcva-bss Nfurf gb Nfurf (ROT13 for potential spoilers, even though it’s been more than 10 years), neither of which ever got any recognition from the Hugos at all.

    No, my problem with The Good Place is that I find the characters grating and don’t care what happens to those people and which moral dilemmas they have to deal with. I don’t find it funny either, which is the kiss of death for a sitcom.

    My taste in TV seems to be out of whack with the Hugo electorate anyway (and best dramatic short is the one category where I’ve never gotten a single of my nominees on the ballot), so there usually are a lot of things on the ballot that I personally don’t care about. But with e.g. the new Battlestar Galactica or Orphan Black or Fringe or Buffy (yes, I don’t like Buffy) I could at least see what other people see in it. With The Good Place, I cannot see what other people like about it, cause to me it’s just terrible.

  24. No, my problem with The Good Place is that I find the characters grating and don’t care what happens to those people and which moral dilemmas they have to deal with.

    One of the reasons I love The Good Place is because it subverts the idea of being so invested in a character you’re rooting for an outcome. They’ve been through so many afterlifetimes that if you don’t like an ending, just wait and another will come along soon.

    I find this a refreshing change from my normal serialized enjoyment of shows. I can watch and enjoy it entirely in the moment, like I did when Chidi flipped out and had the sprinkler-assisted God is dead meltdown.

    The show is something that doesn’t sound like I’d like it. That’s one of the reasons I do. I think we’ll never get a sitcom like this again.

  25. @rcade
    Unfortunately, the fact that these characters have been through several afterlives by now does not make them any less grating.

  26. Large fan of The Good Place here. I’ve been on the protagonists’ side for most of the show, and while each is imperfect for reasons they’re well aware of, I’m not about to write them off for that. (Big reveal: I, too, am imperfect. And grating–just ask anybody.) The show keeps surprising me and surpassing my expectations, and I hope I can see it through to whatever end the creators of the show have in mind.

  27. @Lenore Jones: Thanks! I’m surprised; they’re older than I realized. Also, I’m impressed the page I linked to has so many photos. I looked again and it has photos of every page.

    I re-read them last night and today. They’re very short and vary between amusing, moralizing, ending a bit abruptly, sweet, and just a little weird. It turns out I remember “The Goblin Spider” a bit, so I must’ve read it at least once as a kid.

    I have these tissue-like papers that are supposed to go around each one. One’s intact, but that means to use it, I’d have to try to slide a booklet inside without tearing the tissue paper (it’s a continuous sheet all the way around). Not gonna do it. 😉 I just have the tissue papers in a stack with the booklets (they wouldn’t really protect the booklets anyway).

  28. So weave the pixels round us thrice
    And scroll our eyes down comment thread
    For we of SFF have read,
    From a library of paradise…

  29. I guess I’m in between: I like The Good Place, but I definitely don’t love it. But when it comes to DP:SF, my tastes seem to be way out of whack with the majority of Hugo voters, and I’ve long since learned not to worry about it. I’m more interested in the literature in any case, and WSFS picks good books! 🙂

  30. @Kendall—Please, please, please get archival storage materials you can work with comfortably. Gaylord isn’t the only source; it’s just one that was most often an approved vendor when I was a working librarian. You may find others you like better, or that may be less expensive, since I haven’t checked prices in quite a while. But the stuff is out there. One possibility is archival boxes with archival tissue in between the individual booklets.

    But you have what sound like rather precious items there. Keep them safe!

  31. @Cat Eldridge: I subscribe regularly to both Asimov’s and Uncanny. I keep an eye on tor.com. I have two different people on my Dreamwidth reading page who semi-regularly link to good stories they’ve read online. Last but not least, people here on F770 sometimes link to good stories they’ve read online. My own life at least has no dearth of access to short SFF.

  32. @Cat Eldridge

    I think short fiction is the most difficult category of literature to judge simply because it’s so damn hard to find in the first place.

    That was why Eric and I created Rocket Stack Rank after Sasquan. We thought it was just too hard for people to find good short-fiction stories, so we created a site to keep track of what’s published and who liked what.

    Unless you’re Ellen Datlow or the like, you don’t just see it during the year in any meaningful sense. Y’all that vote get in your packets but how much of it do you see before that?

    Well, since you ask, I read and review 700-800 stories a year that are under 50,000 words. It’s equivalent to reading a novel’s worth of text a week and writing a novel’s worth of text a year. Not sure how much Ellen Datlow reads, but she mostly reviews horror.

  33. @Kendall, I told “The Boy Who Drew Cats” at a “Spooky Story” storytelling event a few years ago. It’s a good story.

  34. @Cassy B.: Excellent! 😀

    @Lis Carey: Thanks for the recommendation and link! That site looks helpful for another project, too; I’m storing some old family photos and papers now (recent transition of things, to help my parents). I did a little research on that, but didn’t really think of the books. Another place I found (in re. photos) was Hollinger, though I forget if it was from this very long article I read (with recommendations about preserving photos) or if I got the link somewhere else. Anyway, I’m adding your link to my notes. I’m reminded that the biggest danger mentioned in the article is . . . procrastination. (blush)

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