Pixel Scroll 8/14/21 WandangerousVisions

(1) VOX DAY MOVES AGAIN. Three days after being shut down by Blogger Vox Day has migrated his blog to a second URL — “voxday.net”. The mirror blog he opened at “milosbookclub.com” was temporary and hasn’t been updated since August 12. 

The new site isn’t accepting comments, a deficiency Vox covered with a blustery attack on a critic at Anonymous Conservative [Internet Archive link] — “Comments Gone, Gammas Hardest Hit” [Internet Archive link]. Here are the first two of his four progressively more remarkable justifications:

…First, I have made it perfectly clear since 2003 that I don’t care about the comments. I permitted them as a courtesy, nothing more.

Second, it is a distinct pleasure to no longer have to spend any time moderating the hundreds of spam and troll and wise and insightful comments. I had no idea how much time I was wasting on it until I suddenly didn’t have to think about it anymore…

(2) CONVERGENCE COVID WARNING. The CONvergence 2021 committee announced on Twitter they received a report that someone who attended the con a week ago on Thursday and Friday has tested positive for COVID-19. Thread starts here.

(3) MIDDLE-EARTH FALLOUT. New Zealand is rocked by Amazon’s decision to move Lord of the Rings production to the UK reports Variety: “New Zealand Reacts to Shame of Losing ‘Lord of the Rings’ Mega-Series”.

…“It’s a shame and I feel for everyone who has put their hearts into this production. Season two was expected to begin later in 2022, so our role now is to work hard to keep the Kiwi screen sector employed,” said David Strong, CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission. He said that the series’ departure “opens the door wider to others to come in” and that the NZFC will continue to work closely with government on assisting these productions to shoot in the country.

New Zealand offers one of the most generous location incentive schemes in the world. This includes a 20% rebate scheme and, for especially large productions that deliver an infrastructure or other long-lasting benefit to the country, there is a discretionary additional subsidy known as an “uplift” equivalent to a further 5% of location spending.

According to government documents published in April this year, Amazon was estimated to be spending about NZ$650 million ($455 million) filming the first season of the show. It would have been eligible for a rebate of about NZ$162 million ($114 million), the government said, though it later reduced that figure.

Amazon’s statement makes it clear that it will walk away from the NZ$33 million ($23.1 million) of uplift that was agreed in April, when the company indicated, but did not commit to, shooting the second season in the country….

(4) UK CLUB REUNITES. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] After 17 months the Northumberland Heath SF group had its first meeting. The event, held August 12 at the Heath’s Duchess of Kent in the Beer Garden, took place at the height of the Perseid meteor shower and an observation duly took place.

There was also a free SF/F book giveaway courtesy of a sponsor.

In addition to over a year’s worth of catch-up there was the usual wide-ranging SFnal chat with topics including —

Whether or not regular (the 2nd Thursday of the month) meetings will resume depends on whether CoVID cases reduce. Fingers crossed.

Attached picture of group and the books member’s chose for their free book give-away (courtesy of a group sponsor).

(5) TOON TUNES. SYFY Wire shares the music: “Animaniacs: Watch exclusive lyric videos from Hulu reboot”.

…Both musical numbers come from the reboot premiere and revolve around how much has changed since Animaniacs left the airwaves more than 20 years ago. Presidents and cultural norms may have shifted, but the core creative team behind the iconic property — save for creator Tom Ruegger — has not. Steven Spielberg is still an executive producer, while Yakko, Wakko, and Dot continue to be voiced by the trio of Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, and Tress MacNeille. Maurice LaMarche rounds out the OG crew as the voice of Brain, the megalomaniacal lab mouse who is always trying to take over the world with the dim-witted Pinky (also Paulsen).

(6) STEVE PERRIN (1946-2021). Legendary game designer Steve Perrin died August 13 at the age of 75. Perrin helped create RuneQuest, published in 1978. While working at Chaosium he contributed to Thieves’ World (1981), Worlds of Wonder (1982), and Superworld.

Steve Perrin

George R.R. Martin notified all the Wild Cards writers of Perrin’s death because Superworld was the inspiration for the Wild Cards universe and Perrin just had his first Wild Cards story published in the latest volume, Joker Moon, which came out last month.

Chaosium posted a tribute: “Vale and farewell, Steve Perrin”.

…To sum up all that Steve was to the Chaosium family cannot be typed up in a few sentences. 

He is one of our Great Old Ones. An innovative genius who helped pave the way for us to exist today, delighting gamers while they sit around a table, in person or online, exploring stories and adventures together, weaving new tales of derring-do. RuneQuest and Superworld were his children, and his imprint on so many of our other games is indelibly present.

Many of us grew up playing his games. He was the uncle we admired, envied, and listened to for his wise counsel. In the last few years, as a new edition of RuneQuest was born he was there, his wisdom and experience reminding us of the simple, pure, and wondrous origins of the magic of roleplaying. How can you say thank you for that?…

The other projects he worked on during his career can be seen in his Wikipedia article.

Perrin also was a founding member of the Society for Creative Anachronism in Berkeley in 1966. The SCA is where he met his wife, Luise, who survives him. Unfortunately, Luise is in ill health, and last month Steve opened a GoFundMe to help pay for her care,

(7) MEMORY LANE.

  • 2009 – Twelve years ago, District 9 premiered. It was produced by Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, and directed by Neill Blomkamp in his feature film debut. Written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell. Adapted from Blomkamp’s Alive in Joburg short film. It starred Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Vanessa Haywood, Mandla Gaduka, Kenneth Nkosi and David James. Critics including Ebert loved it, the box office for it was fantastic as it earned over two hundred million against a thirty million budget and the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a most excellent eighty-two percent rating. The screenplay was nominated for a Hugo at Aussiecon 4 but the Moon screenplay won. Why were the screenplays nominated instead of the films? 

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 14, 1910 Herta Herzog. At the Radio Project, she was part of the team of that conducted the groundbreaking research on Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds in the study The Invasion from Mars. The Radio Research Project was founded in 1937 as a social research project and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to look into the effects of mass media on society. (Died 2010.)
  • Born August 14, 1932 Lee Hoffman. In the early Fifties, she edited and published the Quandry fanzine. At the same time, she began publication of Science-Fiction Five-Yearly which appeared regularly until ‘til 2006. It won a Hugo at Nippon 2007 which she shared with Geri Sullivan and Randy Byers. It was awarded after her death. She wrote four novels and a handful of short fiction, none of which are in the usual suspects. (Died 2007.)
  • Born August 14, 1940 Alexei Panshin, 81. He has written multiple critical works along with several novels, including the Nebula Award-winning Rite of Passage and the Hugo Award-winning study of SF, The World Beyond the Hill which he co-wrote with his wife, Cory Panshin. He also wrote the first serious study of Heinlein, Heinlein in Dimension: A Critical Analysis.
  • Born August 14, 1950 Gary Larson, 71. Setting aside long and delightful career in creating the weird for us, ISFDB notes a SF link  that deserve noting. The Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association’s clubzine Warp ran his cartoon “The crew of the Starship Enterprise encounters the floating head of Zsa Zsa Gabor” in the March 1991 issue.
  • Born August 14, 1951 Carl Lumbly, 70. I first encountered him voicing the Martian Manhunter on the Justice League series and he later played M’yrnn J’onzz, the father of the Martian Manhunter on the first Supergirl series.  His first major genre role was in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as John Parker, and he later had a number of voice roles in such films as Justice League: Doom and Justice League: Gods and Monsters. He of course was the lead in the short lived M.A.N.T.I.S. as Miles Hawkins. 
  • Born August 14, 1956 Joan Slonczewski, 65, Their novel A Door into Ocean won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. They won a second John W. Campbell Memorial Award for their Highest Frontier novel. They were nominated for an Otherwise Award for The Children Star novel.
  • Born August 14, 1965 Brannon Braga 56. Writer, producer and creator for the Next GenVoyagerEnterprise, as well as on the Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact films. He has written more episodes in the Trek franchise than anyone else with one hundred nine to date. He was responsible for the Next Gen series finale “All Good Things…” which won him a Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo (1995), along with Ronald D. Moore.
  • Born August 14, 1966 Halle Berry, 55. Her first role genre was not as I thought Miss Stone in The Flintstones but a minor role in a forgotten SF series called They Came from Outer Space. This was followed by being Storm in the X- Men franchiseand Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson in Die Another Day, the twentieth Bond film. She then shows up as Catwoman. She has myriad roles in Cloud Atlas

(9) COMICS SECTION.

(10) RUN. Atlanta Magazine did a feature about Rep. John Lewis’s posthumous graphic novel. “The next chapter of John Lewis’s legacy”.

Back in 2013, the debut of a memoir in comic-book form by civil rights figure and longtime Atlanta congressman John Lewis seemed an unlikely format for a legendary activist with gravitas to spare. But Lewis’s March trilogy—co-authored with aide Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell—proved to be a juggernaut, landing on bestseller lists, securing a place on high-school and college curricula, and ultimately earning a National Book Award.

The March trilogy chronicles Lewis’s early life and involvement in the civil rights movement, ending with the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Lewis had planned to continue the work, and before the congressman’s death in July 2020, he and Aydin had drafted the script for the Run series. The first volume of Runpublished in August by Abrams ComicArts, covers the tumultuous events of 1965-1966, including schisms between established civil rights leaders and Black Power activists, the history-making election of Julian Bond to the Georgia Legislature. Just in March, the book does not shy away from unvarnished accounts of history. It opens with a fearsome scene of Klan intimidation and closes with Lewis’s departure from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Today, with political storms swirling around both the issues of expanding voter access and teaching the country’s racist history, Run feels more timely than ever. “The fight that’s happening today is a direct continuation of the fight that began on August 7, 1965, immediately after the signing of the Voting Rights Act,” Aydin said….

(11) REMEMBERING. JJ admires the Dedication from Matt Wallace’s new book, Savage Bounty, released July 20:

(12) REACHING OUT. And I love this title:

(13) SPEAK, MEMORY. MSN.com tells how “AI recreates actor Val Kilmer’s voice that was lost to throat cancer”.

A British artificial intelligence (AI) company has recreated Hollywood actor Val Kilmer’s voice – with amazingly realistic results. 

London-based firm Sonantic used the actor’s voice recordings from throughout his career, which were fed to their AI to create the lifelike yet artificial mock-up.  

Film producers could potentially use the tool – described as ‘Photoshop for voice’ – for voiceovers if they have a role in mind that would be suited to Kilmer’s tones. 

Kilmer, whose career has spanned nearly four decades, has starred in blockbusters such as Top Gun, Willow, The Doors, Tombstone and Batman Forever. 

But after undergoing a tracheotomy in 2014 as part of his treatment for throat cancer, Kilmer’s voice is now barely recognisable. 

Luckily, Kilmer himself is also able to use the AI tool in his personal life, to help him communicate, rather than relying on a voice box to speak.

Somatic, the company that did it, has its own article about “Helping actor Val Kilmer reclaim his voice”. And there’s a video where you can listen to a demonstration of the result:

(14) TROUBLESHOOTING REQUIRED. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Boeing is having trouble fixing a valve issue on their Starliner space capsule which was due for an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station. They’re now planning to remove the craft from its booster to continue troubleshooting. This will ground the Boeing program for an indefinite time. The Crew Dragon from SpaceX will continue for now to be the only US spacecraft cleared for crewed trips to the ISS. Ars Technica reports: “Boeing to ground Starliner indefinitely until valve issue solved”.

Boeing said Friday that its Starliner spacecraft will be grounded indefinitely while it continues to investigate problems with the valves in the propulsion system.

In the 10 days since Boeing and NASA scrubbed the launch in Florida, technicians and engineers have sought to open 13 valves that control the flow of dinitrogen tetroxide (NTO) oxidizer through the service module of the spacecraft. There are 24 oxidizer valves in the propulsion system, which is critical both for in-space travel as well as launch emergency escapes.

Boeing has been able to open nine of the valves, said John Vollmer, vice president and program manager of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. The other four remain stuck. As a result, the company plans to de-stack the Starliner spacecraft from its Atlas V rocket and move it to the nearby Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility for deeper troubleshooting…

(15) MARS RETURN TO SENDER. Science details the probe that will be “Searching for life on Mars and its moons”.

Sample-return missions will look for extraterrestrial life and biomarkers on Mars and Phobos

The planned Mars Sample-Return (MSR) mission of NASA and the European Space Agency should reveal more about the habitability of Mars by helping to determine the geologic evolution of Jezero crater and its surrounding areas, which are believed to be the site of an ancient lake… The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will attempt to collect samples that will allow scientists to explore the evolution of Jezero crater and its habitability over time, as well as samples that may contain evidence of biosignatures. A high-priority science objective for MSR returned-sample science is to understand the habitability of Mars and look for potential signs of both extinct and extant life.

(16) TRAILER PARK. Doom Patrol Season 3 begins streaming September 23 on HBO Max.

Go through the looking glass with a super-powered gang of outcasts (including Matt Bomer as Negative Man, Joivan Wade as Cyborg, Brendan Fraser as Robotman, and more). Last seen at a decrepit amusement park where Chief (Timothy Dalton) witnessed his metahuman daughter, Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro) engaged in a fiery face-off with “The Candlemaker,” an ancient evil deity who will stop at nothing to fulfill his world-ending destiny, join the #DoomPatrol for an action-packed third season.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, James Davis Nicoll, Lee Gold, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

71 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/14/21 WandangerousVisions

  1. First!

    (1) VOX DAY MOVES AGAIN. Really, Vox doesn’t care about comments? So he has no ego at all? I really find that extremely hard to believe.

  2. Martin Wooster says I don’t know much about Animaniacs but those songs were pretty funny.

    I’m not at all fond of the rebooted episodes but the twenty old episodes are among the most brilliant animated entertainment you’ll ever have the pleasure to experience.

  3. Lis Carey says Poor Vox, getting mostly spam on his blog so that he has to end commenting.

    I actually, poor pitiful me, read the comments on his old site more than once. Imagine what a feline does of an intimate nature that cannot be described here as OGH wouldn’t be at all pleased and that’s how fawning most of his commenters were towards him.

    If he got spam, it never showed up there.

  4. (2) This is very unfortunate and not at all surprising. I’ve posted the twitter link on my FB because I know for sure at least one person who was there and there might be others.

  5. I’ve read a couple of Hoffman’s novels. The Caves of.Karst is a fun planetary romance thriller, with a mystery novel feel, kinda Fredric Brown meets Eric Frank Russell.

    An earlier story, Telepower, is a.gonzo piece of futurism, not.entirely successful, but def memorable, a meeting of Frank Herbert with Ray Bradbury, sorta. Trigger warning for those with rat phobia.

    I haven’t read any of her westerns, but I would check them out based on the strength of her scifi.

  6. (13) The recent documentary Val has Val’s son Jack reading lines as if it were his father actually speaking them. It’s quite easy to let yourself believe you are hearing Val.

  7. @Daniel Dern,

    Great Title!

    (3) MIDDLE-EARTH FALLOUT.
    It’s sad, but seems to me that countries offering tax incentives to attract productions is a race to the bottom. The winners are the production companies who keep demanding ever greater tax breaks..

    New Zealand offers one of the most generous location incentive schemes in the world. This includes a 20% rebate scheme and, for especially large productions that deliver an infrastructure or other long-lasting benefit to the country, there is a discretionary additional subsidy known as an “uplift” equivalent to a further 5% of location spending.

    It’s a shame that Amazon has decided to take its production to the UK, but I certainly don’t think New Zealand feels shame for the production leaving. That distinction should be made clear.

  8. (4) that first link isn’t working properly. Returns a 404 on the File 770 site rather than going over to theirs

  9. Anthony says Meredith time: Amazon UK have the first seven Rivers of London novels at 99p each. As always, other tributaries may not.

    Just checked. They’re still full priced at the usual suspects. Weirdly varying prices too. I’ll never understand how publishers decide how to price books, print or digital.

  10. t’s sad, but seems to me that countries offering tax incentives to attract productions is a race to the bottom. The winners are the production companies who keep demanding ever greater tax breaks..

    In Europe, film grants meant to support local productions are now going increasingly to Hollywood movies shooting in Europe, often movies which belittle and offend the people of the very countries where they’re made. Yes, it does create/preserve jobs, but German or European film grants were never meant for Disney, Amazon, Netflix and their ilk. They can bloody well pay for their own productions.

  11. 3) NZ has gone full in on Tolkienian Tourism…I wonder how that will go, now, going forward.

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  13. @Paul Weimer: I didn’t realise New Zealand was going forward. Under Jacinda Ardern, it appears to be in full reverse.

  14. Paul Weimer says NZ has gone full in on Tolkienian Tourism…I wonder how that will go, now, going forward.

    I think they’ll be fine as that was built off the Jackson franchise. That’s still the driving force for that tourism such as it is.

  15. Meredith Moment Redux: The ebook version of Empire Dreams, a short story collection by Ian McDonald, is available for $1.99 at the Usual Suspects.

  16. Speaking of Ian McDonald, I highly recommend the linked novels Desolation Road and Ares Express which sort of have a Bradbury feel to them. Not quite a Meredith moment at seven ninety nine apiece but an acceptable price none the less.

  17. 3) I’m pretty sure that the second season of LOTR will be moved to the Simi Valley area north of Los Angeles. After all, if it was good enough for The Beastmaster and The Adventures of Robin Hood, surely it can work for Middle Earth.

    Or there’s always Vancouver. There’s a lot of trees in Middle Earth, aren’t there? Maybe they can use some old Stargate sets?

  18. (7) I’m not sure where the idea that only the screenplays of “District 9” or “Moon” were nominated comes from. As usual for the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo awards in recent years, the films as a whole were nominated, with the writers and directors of each film being recognized on the nominations. (See the Aussiecon 4 website.)

    If only the screenplays and not the films had been nominated, then the directors would not have been recognized on the nominations.

  19. (3) They could just move to sound stages, with sets for the royal palace at Numenor, Gil-galad’s dwelling at Lindon, Elrond’s house at Imladris, Sauron’s chambers in Barad-dur, and maybe something of Valmar, matte paintings and stock footage for broader vistas, and ship models for the invasion of Valinor.

    I suppose there are a couple of battles that should be shot on location, if they don’t want to appear too cheap.

  20. @Paul,

    Yes, the Jackson LotR is a draw for international visitors. But New Zealand has more than one arrow in its quiver. I think you’ll find that a vast majority of tourists to New Zealand did not come to do a pilgrimage to LotR shooting locations, breathtakingly beautiful though some of them are.

    I think that international tourism will look very different in the Age of COVID & I expect it will be a long time before long-haul air travel is as cheap as it was. But New Zealand has more drawcards than just LotR.

    @Steve Green,
    Most of us in New Zealand are grateful for the actions Jacinda Ardern’s government took. Turns out the strategy to save as many lives as possible is also the one that minimises economic damage, so it wasn’t a zero sum game between the two.

    USA total COVID deaths: 621, 000
    New Zealand total COVID deaths: 26

    USA population: 300 million
    NZ population: 5 million

    Deaths per million USA: 1890
    Deaths per million NZ: 5.

    The only restriction is if NZers choose (and it is a free choice, unlike Australia where you currently have to get government permission) to leave the country, they’ll have to spend 2 weeks in quarantine on their return. Otherwise life is basically normal except that wearing masks on public transport is mandated. Granted, there is a problem as quarantine hotel spaces are very hard to come by, and the government is rightly being criticised for its management of that.

    New Zealand’s vaccination program was slow to start but is really taking off now, and there is a plan to ease restrictions as enough people are vaccinated. But the current thinking is that vaccines alone won’t be enough given the infectiousness of the Delta variant, so some form anti-COVID measures will still be needed. Just as life did not go back to the same normal after September 11, life after COVID won’t be exactly how it was before. It’ll be a new normal.

  21. Joshua K: I’m not sure where the idea that only the screenplays of “District 9” or “Moon” were nominated comes from.

    I believe we can trace the source of this thinking, however, to begin with, you’re right — it’s not part of the Hugo rules, either in general, which are given to “works”, nor of the specific Best Dramatic Presentation category definitions (which refer to theatrical feature, television program, or “production”).

    First, the Hugo rockets have to be delivered to somebody. It’s simply more pleasant to convey them to a scriptwriter or director — and sometimes they even show up for the ceremony. Nobody likes to envision mailing our award to the winner’s corporate offices — because, corporation, also because, they can’t be counted on to even recognize a Hugo when they open the box.

    Second, there’s some bleedthrough from the Nebula rules which specify “The award will be given to the principal director and writer(s) of the production”. Prioritizing writers — as SFWA naturally does — encourages the feeling that what is being recognized is built on the foundation of someone’s script.

    Sometimes people instinctively make a reverse logical conclusion that these awards are actually given for the scripts.

  22. Most of us in New Zealand are grateful for the actions Jacinda Ardern’s government took.

    Quite a lot of us the the UK look on admiringly and wish we had a competent PM instead of ours.

  23. Just out of curiosity, is there any record of who received each Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo at Worldcon? I can’t find anything after a cursory search and I think it would be interesting to know when an actual representative of the film accepted it.

  24. @Rob Thornton
    I know that Christopher Reeve accepted for Superman in 1979, but other than that, I don’t know. The ones that were filmed would help, and you could check the coverage in Locus – they usually say who accepted.

  25. I’ve enjoyed the Lee Hoffman books I’ve read, but my favorites tend to be her Westerns, particularly the comic westerns like THE LEGEND OF BLACKJACK SAM and THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CANNONBALL KID.

  26. Checking, it looks like the only Lee Hoffman available as an ebook is NOTHING BUT A DRIFTER. And only from Amazon Kindle. (It was apparently reprinted in 2009 as part of the AmazonEncore program.)

    Honestly, this surprises the hell out of me.

  27. @Rob Thornton

    At L.A.Con IV, Morena Baccarin accepted the Hugo for Serenity and read a speech written by Joss Whedon.

  28. (5) Count me as someone who loved about 96% of the new Animaniacs and eagerly looks forward to Season 2. The two songs showcased here are among my favorites. Something about getting to see the Warner Siblings take on a post-Trump pop modernity and post-smartphone tech gives me lots of joy.

    I’d like to also give a nod to the Halloween episode–the IT parody was great (and included Dot’s unambiguous aspiration to be an eccentric cat lady in her old age), the Bride of Frankenstein segment of Pinky and the Brain was pretty OK, and the “things that go bump in the night” short had me howling with laughter.

  29. Rob Thornton: Scriptwriter Robert Gordon and (I think) director Dean Parisot accepted Galaxy Quest’s Hugo at Chicon 2000.

  30. How about a “must have an attending membership to win” rule for the Hugos? It would emphasize that the Hugo awards are a community affair, and encourage more finalists with deep pockets, such as movie studios, to participate.

    It’s not a “must be present to win” rule, because there are good reasons why finalists might not be able to be physically present. But they can have an attending membership and be part of the convention, be part of the community. The rule should clearly allow crowdfunding. The science fiction community goes to great lengths to make conventions affordable, and is always willing to pass the hat to enable deserving fans and pros to attend.

  31. Isn’t Vox’s commentariat the Dread Ilk? Does he want to shut them all up?

    Second, it is a distinct pleasure to no longer have to spend any time moderating the hundreds of spam and troll and wise and insightful comments. I had no idea how much time I was wasting on it until I suddenly didn’t have to think about it anymore…

    Huh.

    I dunno, John Scalzi seems to be able to handle managing his time so that he can moderate comments on his blog while also having a hugely successful writing career.

    But we can’t all be John Scalzi.

  32. @Tom Becker
    So you don’t want people to be unable to win because they can’t afford to go to Worldcon, or can’t fit it into their schedule for whatever reason, or because their health doesn’t permit it?

  33. Owlmirrior says I dunno, John Scalzi seems to be able to handle managing his time so that he can moderate comments on his blog while also having a hugely successful writing career.

    But we can’t all be John Scalzi.

    I comment occasionally over there. He moderates comments after the fact as my comments always go up immediately. And I somehow doubt that he’s watching his blog all the time. I suspect anyone who offends him egregiously just gets banned from commenting. He has some definite boundaries on what’s allowed — they’re not dissimilar to what’s allowed here. It’s understandable why Puppies don’t like him.

    Now listening to Stross’ Empire Games

  34. Cat Eldridge: I comment occasionally over there. He moderates comments after the fact as my comments always go up immediately.

    Whatever is a WordPress blog, like File 770, and like Mike, Scalzi has his blog set to send 1st-time comments into moderation. The reason your comments get automatically posted on his blog is because you passed that first-time test. Should you at some point post something egregious – either on File 770, or on Whatever – depending on the level of egregiousness, the blog owner is likely to either put your comments into moderation, or just lower the banhammer on you entirely.

    Which is what another certain <cough> File 770 commenter who has been previously banned and was allowed back, but who has of late reverted to their usual bad behavior, should be bearing in mind. 😐

  35. JJ says Whatever is a WordPress blog, like File 770, and like Mike, Scalzi has his blog set to send 1st-time comments into moderation. The reason your comments get automatically posted on his blog is because you passed that first-time test. Should you at some point post something egregious – either on File 770, or on Whatever – depending on the level of egregiousness, the blog owner is likely to either put your comments into moderation, or just lower the banhammer on you entirely.

    I realised very early on that pissing off folks was a Bad Idea. So I don’t. And it certainly serves no purpose. Except when it serves a deep and true purpose.

    Which is what another certain File 770 commenter who has been previously banned and was allowed back, but who has of late reverted to their usual bad behavior, should be bearing in mind.

    Yeah I noticed him. But you certainly know that some folks are really bad at realising that?

  36. How about a “must have an attending membership to win” rule for the Hugos? It would emphasize that the Hugo awards are a community affair, and encourage more finalists with deep pockets, such as movie studios, to participate.

    Would all creators (coauthors, writer/director, writer/artist/colorist) have to have memberships, or just one?

    And would this affect the ballot (that is, works must have this new qualification to go on the ballot at all), or not (meaning that a popular work could potentially be disqualified from winning after the final vote)?

    The rule should clearly allow crowdfunding. The science fiction community goes to great lengths to make conventions affordable, and is always willing to pass the hat to enable deserving fans and pros to attend.

    If a creator is unwilling or unable to attend for whatever reason (recluse, curmudgeon, contrarian, indifferent to Worldcon for whatever reason, dealing with health issues in self or close family member, deceased(?)), it seems like a waste, really. The fans could presumably spring for the membership(s), but everyone buying would know in advance that the membership(s) wouldn’t actually be used.

    ?: Has there ever been a posthumous Hugo awarded, I wonder?
    [Answering my own question: 1986 Best Editor, “Judy-Lynn del Rey (Note: Judy-Lynn del Rey died before the convention; her husband, Lester del Rey, declined accepting the Hugo on her behalf.)” ]
    So, offered, but declined, so technically not awarded. I think. Awkward situation.

  37. @Cat & JJ: Scalzi sometimes has posts on contentious subjects where he moderates the thread closely, insisting that certain topics be avoided, off-topic comments are edited or removed, trolls are edited, removed, and/or placed on permanent moderation (comments are never allowed through unless they repent their misdeeds), and the thread will have commenting locked while he’s asleep/unavailable.

    You probably already knew that, but I figured I’d bring it to the fore.

  38. Tom Becker: How about a “must have an attending membership to win” rule for the Hugos? …The rule should clearly allow crowdfunding.

    What an absolutely terrible idea.

    The Hugos are awards given out by Worldcon members to recognize the things that they love. There should be no obligation implied by this onto the recipients.

    If the Dramatic Presentation categories are a problem because of lack of involvement and investment by the finalists, that says to me that WSFS members should reconsider the category, not that they should require finalists to purchase attending memberships. (And I genuinely think the DP categories should be reconsidered; they’re almost exclusively recognizing blockbusters, and not the innovative and groundbreaking works I would expect them to recognize, and I question their existence as a result.)

    The idea that the Hugo Awards should become some sort of quid pro quo award is utterly offensive to me – and, I suspect, to most Hugo voters.

  39. @Owlmirror: We would not be asking the studio to buy memberships for the whole production team. That is unrealistic. The good examples from the past are when the studio sent two (2!) people. One should be enough. We’re trying to avoid zero.

    @JJ: It’s true that giving the award only to people who actually care about it would be a change. It would diminish our self-perceived stature as ultimate arbiters of quality. But maybe if we focus on people who actually care about science fiction and the Hugos enough to participate, we’ll recognize more innovative and groundbreaking works.

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