Pixel Scroll 8/21/19 Soylent SFWA Is Made Of People

(1) BLUE PLAQUE SPECIAL. Once upon a time GRRM lived in Chicago, a fact not to be overlooked by anyone seeking a sweet price for the property. NBC Chicago lets you “See Inside: ‘GoT’ Creator George R.R. Martin’s Former Uptown Home is Up for Sale”.  Video here. Should Chicago ever adopt the British tradition of putting plaques outside the homes of famous people, maybe there will be one here?

It may not be in the Red Keep, but it was once a throne fit for George R.R. Martin.
The “Game of Thrones” creator spent four years living in an apartment in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Now, you can live there too – for $354,900.

The third-floor unit in the 900 block of West Margate Terrace on the North Side, where Martin lived from 1971 to 1975 along with several roommates, has hit the market. The three-bedroom condo is listed on Martin’s website as the home where he lived after getting his master’s degree from Northwestern.

“I say ‘three bedroom,’ but for our purposes there were five, once we put a bed in the dining room and another on the back porch,” he wrote. “The rent was $150 a month, after all. There was no way a bunch of guys just out of college could afford that without cramming.”

(2) WORLDCONS PAST AND FUTURE. Here’s video of the chairs introducing themselves at the 2019 Worldcon Chairs photo session.

(3) PRIZES FOR ALL. Well, what else did you expect The Mary Sue’s headline to be? “Everyone Who Contributed to Fanfiction Site “Archive of Our Own” Is Now a Hugo Award Winner”. Even though that claim isn’t repeated in the body of the article.

… But what set Tumblr, Twitter, Discord, and text chats alight across the world was the news that Archive of Our Own won the Hugo for Best Related Fanwork. This was the Archive’s first time being nominated, news initially treated as somewhat contentious by those who still don’t want to try and understand the vital, ever-growing, incredibly rich and variegated culture of fan-created work.

…Archive of Our Own’s win felt like a real victory for millions of us who write and create fanart, videos, podfic, meta essays, and more. It sure is nice to have that shiny rocket statue and acknowledgment from one of the most prestigious award-giving bodies in genre fiction that we are here and crafting wondrous things.

(4) ADJOURNED SINE DIE. Chris Barkley has posted what seems to be his farewell address to the WSFS business meeting:

…To the members of the Business meeting and the SMOFs mailing list I say this: I thank you for your advice and patience. Your vigilance in protection of the Constitution and the Hugo Awards has been long and admirable. But your seeming officiousness, proof of worthiness, over reliance on years and years of committee studies are your weakness. These things scare and alienate fans from engaging in the process. While it was all good and well to fast track the Best Fancast and Best Series categories, it was done at the expense of the Young Adult Award, which lingered for years before it was decided to give it a trial and only then as something other than a Hugo category. The BM has proven itself to be nimble to act when we were threatened by the Puppies and yet unable to debate the merits of a Best Game or Interactive Experience amendment after a year in committee and a detailed, sixty page report from its proponents. I implore you all to be more intuitive and take more risks and chances, especially with those who come before you for the first time.

To you, the members of this community who contemplating going to the Business Meeting or are loath to spend any amount of your precious Worldcon time attending these long, laborious meeting; if you do not approve of what is happening at the World Science Fiction Convention or with the WSFS Constitution and the Hugo Awards, there is no substitution for GETTING INVOLVED!. There are a lot of things I regret; not learning how to become a switch hitter in softball, learning to play a musical instrument or becoming bilingual. But every moment I spent the Business Meeting has been well spent. So go down to your independent/used bookstore or online and get a Roberts Rules of Order and jump into the action. If you don’t, you haven’t any damned right to bitch about it….

(5) ENTERING THE LISTS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The Hugo long-list has been announced. How does this compare with SF² Concatenation’s beginning-of-year suggestions as to the best SF works of 2019?  You may recall that at the beginning of each year the SF² Conatenation team members have a round-robin suggesting best works of the previous year and multiple citations of work get listed.  it is purely a bit of fun but over the years we have noticed that regularly a few of these go on to be nominated for major SF awards and in turn some of these turn out to be winner. 

All well and good but how did SF² Concatenation’s choice of best novels of 2019 compare with the Hugo long-list of top 16 Hugo titles for ‘best novel’ that made up its long-list? Well, the following of ours are in the Hugo long-list:

          Semiosis by Sue Burke (character-driven, exo-planet first contact)
          Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (futuristic, post climate-apocalyptic world building)
          Before Mars by Emma Newman (off world, mundane-ish, new wave SF)
          Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor – also short-listed

Of those SF² Conatenation listed on the film (best dramatic presentation long-form) front the following were on the Hugo long list:

          Ant-Man and the Wasp (Trailer here)
          Incredibles 2 (Trailer here)
          A Quiet Place – also short-listed (Trailer here)
          Sorry to Bother You – also short-listed (Trailer here)
          Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – the winner (Trailer here)

Not bad for a bit of fun, though certainly not to be taken seriously. (We will have another team selection of our personal ‘bests’ with our spring edition to be posted in January (2020)).  Meanwhile, here are SF² Conatenation’s Best Science Fiction of Past Years.

(6) IN ALL THE PAPERS. Irish Times reporter Frank McNally ended up on a panel at the Dublin Worldcon: “Worldcon mad: a collision between science fiction and Flann O’Brien”

In a parallel universe, I may be an avid reader of science fiction. In this one, the genre has almost entirely eluded me. And yet on Thursday, through some warp in the space-time continuum, I found myself among the speakers on a panel at Worldcon 2019, an extraordinary event that has brought thousands of sci-fi enthusiasts to Ireland from all over the world.  If you see any strange-looking people wandering around Dublin this weekend, it’s them.

The subject of the panel was Flann O’Brien, formerly of this parish, whose work would not normally be described as science fiction, although it appears to have formed a bridge to that community. Crucial to this is his novel The Third Policeman, which revolves around the work of a mad scientist.  Among other things, it inspired part of the cult 2005 TV series, Lost, through which many of the world’s sci-fi enthusiasts first heard of its author.

“If you see any strange-looking people wandering around Dublin” – isn’t it reassuring that some things never seem to change, like the stereotypical view of SF fans among reporters?

However, the Irish Independent listened to George R.R. Martin: “‘Don’t forget history’, warns Games of Thrones author George RR Martin as he accepts Irish book award”.

The American creator of the hugely popular fantasy book and TV series said he appreciated that readers loved his fantasy writing, but urged people not to “neglect real history.”

He made the comments in a public interview at the GPO in Dublin this evening, where he was awarded the 2019 An Post International Recognition Award for his contribution to fantasy and science fiction writing over the past 40 years.

 “I’m glad so much of the world has fallen in love with my books and my TV show. But we’re living in perilous times, folks, in the US and UK and I’m sure it’s affecting every part of the world.

“Nothing is ever truer than those who do not know real history are doomed to repeat it.”

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 21, 1888 Miriam Allen deFord. Almost all of her genre fiction was published at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the editorship of Anthony Boucher. It can be found in two collections, Xenogenesis and Elsewhere, Elsewhen, Elsehow. Her “A Death in the Family” story was adapted in Night Gallery‘s second season. Other a few short stories, nothing’s available digitally by her. (Died 1975.)
  • Born August 21, 1911 Anthony Boucher. I’m currently reading Rocket to the Morgue which the folks at Penzler Publishers sent me for review. Really great read. If you can find a copy, The Compleat Boucher: The Complete Short Science Fiction and Fantasy of Anthony Boucher is a most excellent read. Unfortunately, The Compleat Werewolf and Other Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction is the collection available digitally. (Died 1968.)
  • Born August 21, 1937 Arthur Thomson. Fanzine writer and editor and prolific artist known as ATom. Artist for the well known Hyphen zine, he won the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund in 1964 and visited the States. He was nominated five times for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist, but never won. After Thomson won the 2000 Rotsler Award, it was decided not to present the Rotsler posthumously again. (Died 1990.)
  • Born August 21, 1943 Lucius Shepard. Damn I didn’t know he’d passed on. Life During Wartime is one seriously weird novel. And his World Fantasy Award winning The Jaguar Hunter is freaking amazing as are all his short collections. (Died 2014.)
  • Born August 21, 1956 Kim Cattrall, 63. Gracie Law in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Fantastic film! She also played Justine de Winter in The Return of the Musketeers, Paige Katz in Wild Palms, Lieutenant Valeris inStar Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Linday Isley in Good v. Evil. Series wise, she was one offs in Tales of the Gold Monkey, Logan’s Run, The Incredible Hulk and The Outer Limits.
  • Born August 21, 1957 John Howe, 62.  Canadian book illustrator who’s worked on many a project of which the Peter Jackson Hobbit films is the one we’ll most know and which he did with Alan Lee, but he’s also done a number of endeavors including a limited edition of George R. R. Martin’s novel A Clash of Kings which was released by Meisha Merlin, A Diversity of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey and A Middle-Earth Traveler: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor.
  • Born August 21, 1966 Denise Mina, 53. Genre wise, she’s best known for having written thirteen issues of Hellblazer. Her two runs were “Empathy is the Enemy” and “The Red Right Hand”.  ISFDB lists The Dead Hour as genre but it’s very much not. Excellent novel but think rather in the vein of Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels.
  • Born August 21, 1967 Carrie-Anne Moss, 52. I first saw her as Tara McDonald in the Dark Justice series. Not genre, just her first video I think. Playing Monica Howard in the “Feeding the Beast” episode of Forever Knight was her first genre role. Oddly enough her next role was as Liz Teel in the Canadian series called Matrix which has nothing to do with the Matrix film franchise where she’s Trinity. As of late, she’s been playing Jeryn Hogarth in the Netflix based Marvel Universe. 

(8) WEB COMES UNSTUCK. Two corporations will no longer partner in this superhero franchise: “Spider-Man and Tom Holland: Sony ‘disappointed’ over Disney split”.

Sony says it’s “disappointed” not to be working with Disney on future Spider-Man films.

We might not see actor Tom Holland in new Marvel movies because a fresh deal can’t be reached over the character.

The film rights to the superhero are owned by Sony – but he could appear in movies like Avengers: Endgame due to a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios – owned by Disney.

Sony says it hopes things “might change in future”.

In a series of tweets, Sony thanked Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige for his “help and guidance” with the franchise.

(9) ISFIC WRITERS CONTEST. The 2019 Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago (ISFiC) Writers Contest is accepting submissions until September 1. Don’t miss out!

If you are a writer currently living in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, or Ohio, or were a Windycon 2018 attendee, and if you have not yet been paid to publish your fiction, you’re eligible to submit your work! Please review the complete contest guidelines here.

The ISFiC Writers Contest began in 1986 and has helped many authors begin their careers in publishing. All authors retain the rights to their stories and are free to publish them elsewhere after the contest, with the winning story making its debut in the Windycon 2019 program.

Winners will enjoy a $300 cash award and the opportunity to attend Windycon 2019 with a complimentary membership badge and double room at the convention hotel. Honorable mentions will receive a commemorative 1oz American silver coin.

(10) GRAPHS TO THE RESCUE. Camestros Felapton has been inspired by Nicholas Whyte’s Hugo vote analysis to think about ways to save the whales Best Fanzine Hugo: “More Hugo Graphs, Fanzine & Ramblings”.

Nicholas Whyte has an insightful look at the 2019 Hugo stats here: https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3244665.html

The biggest issue raised is that final votes for Best Fanzine came perilously close to less than 25% of the total votes. [stats are now on the Hugo history pages here http://www.thehugoawards.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/2019-Hugo-Statistics.pdf ] Whyte says:

“We were surprisingly close to not giving a Best Fanzine award in both 2019 Hugos and 1944 Retro Hugos this year. The total first preference votes for Best Fanzine finalists other than No Award in both cases was 26.9% of the total number of votes cast overall (833/3097 and 224/834).”

(11) MR. ANDERSON. Be still my beating heart. “The Matrix: Keanu Reeves to reprise role for fourth chapter” – BBC has the story.

Matrix co-creator Lana Wachowski will write, direct and produce the film, a third sequel to the original 1999 hit.

Ms Wachowski celebrated The Matrix’s return, saying many of the ideas it explores are “even more relevant now”.

(12) FADING AWAY. BBC reports how “Titanic sub dive reveals parts are being lost to sea”.

The first people to dive down to the Titanic in nearly 15 years say some of the wreck is deteriorating rapidly.

Over the course of five submersible dives, an international team of deep-sea explorers surveyed the sunken ship, which lies 3,800m down in the Atlantic.

While parts of the wreck were in surprisingly good condition, other features had been lost to the sea.

The worst decay was seen on the starboard side of the officers’ quarters.

Titanic historian Parks Stephenson said some of what he saw during the dive was “shocking”.

“The captain’s bathtub is a favourite image among Titanic enthusiasts – and that’s now gone,” he said.

“That whole deck house on that side is collapsing, taking with it the state rooms. And that deterioration is going to continue advancing.”

(13) JUST A HUNK OF BURNING LOVE. Days after announcing a solar-panel leasing program, “Tesla sued by Walmart over solar panel fires”.

US supermarket chain Walmart is suing Tesla’s energy division, after solar panels on seven of its stores caught fire.

It alleges that the firm was negligent in how it installed the panels on the roofs of the stores.

Court documents describe a string of fires that occurred between 2012 and 2018 at Walmart locations in Ohio, Maryland and California.

Tesla has not yet responded to the claims.

The lawsuit alleges that the first fire occurred at a Walmart store in Long Beach, California in 2012.

Another in Beavercreek, Ohio, in March 2018 saw customers evacuated and the store closed for eight days.

Walmart is asking Tesla to remove solar panels from all its stores and to pay damages.

It alleged that Tesla deployed individuals to inspect the solar systems who “lacked basic solar training and knowledge”.

(14) AGAINST ODYSSEY TWO. Defying Clarke’s aliens — and real-world challenges — “Nasa confirms ocean moon mission”.

Scientists working on an audacious mission to the ocean world of Europa can proceed with the final design and construction of the spacecraft, Nasa says.

The Europa Clipper mission will target the ice-encrusted moon of Jupiter, which is considered a prime target in the search for life beyond Earth.

Below its icy shell, Europa is thought to hold a 170km-deep body of water.

This could have the right conditions for biology.

Due to launch in 2025, the Europa Clipper mission has now passed a stage called Key Decision Point C, a crucial marker on the road to the launch pad.

(15) BACK TO NO FUTURE. A.V. Club’s Mike Vago points out that ”Plenty of sci-fi futures are now in the past”.

Strangest fact: While most sci-fi hedges its bets and sets the story long after both author and audience have shuffled off this mortal coil, some stories are far more daring, portraying a drastically different near-future, when in fact the near future usually looks mostly like the present but everyone’s phone is thinner and more expensive. Kevin Costner’s infamous bomb The Postman took place only 16 years after its 1997 release, and in that short time the public has forgotten who Shakespeare is (but thankfully not Tom Petty). But the 2013 of the film is still reeling from a long-ago disaster that happened in… 1997, meaning the movie’s premise was already out of date by the time the film hit DVD.

The Postman isn’t the only one that cut it close. 12 Monkeys (1995) predicts a virus that wipes out most of humanity in 1996; Roland Emmerich’s 2012 came out in 2009; 1988’s Alien Nation portrays a 1991 in which aliens have integrated into society after landing on Earth in 1988

(16) FURRIES AT WAR. Blake Montgomery, in the Daily Beast story “How A Cooling Vest Invented by a Furry Made Its Way To The U.S. Military” says that the EZ Cooldown vest was invented by Dutch furry Pepeyn Langedijk in 2014 as a way of keeping cool when wearing furry outfits.  It’s gained ground in the U.S. military, particularly among tank crews, but its rise is in part due to “Milfurs,” soldiers who spend their spare time in furry fandom.

In his green claws, the former armorer for the U.S. Army held a collection of military insignia, including a Combat Action Badge, signifying that he had engaged with enemy fighters in Iraq. He stood before an amused audience of men in tight haircuts and camouflage as his unit came together to honor his service. 

In his fursuit, Travis is better known as “Stolf,” a fantastical big cat blending the features of a snow leopard, tiger, and wolf. He likes the odd motorcycle ride or ski run while dressed up, and enjoys meeting other “furries”—members of an internet subculture centered on dressing up as anthropomorphic animals. 

In his less colorful uniform, Travis was entrusted with the maintenance and repair of small arms like the Mk 19 grenade launcher, both in Iraq and at his duty station, McChord Air Force Base in Washington state. (Travis asked that only his first name be used because of online threats he’s received.) 

(17) PITT STOP. A new trailer for the sf adventure Ad Astra was just released. In theaters September 20.

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.

[Thanks to Steven H Silver, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

63 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/21/19 Soylent SFWA Is Made Of People

  1. @Andrew
    Not to be confused with “As Ghu is my witness, I thought Pixels could Scroll!”

  2. (7) Kim Cattrall also co-starred with Rutger Hauer in the Alien knock-off Split Second from 1992, which is actually quite entertaining in a Rutger Hauer-firing-lots-of-guns kind of way.

    Lucius Shepard’s best work was at short lengths, but Green Eyes and Life During Wartime are amazing, as are his short novels Viator and Tattered Paperback of My Life.

  3. (15) The one that really boggles me is that Stand On Zanzibar is set in the past. The one I actually celebrated, though, was 2002—which is to say, when 2001 became the past. 🙂

  4. 15) One of the stories in Robert W. Chambers’ late 1890s collection The King in Yellow (“The Repairer of Reputations”) takes place in the fabulous future of 1920.

  5. @4: Door….

    @7: Boucher was also a notable editor; he was the cofounder of F&SF, and was responsible for what I suspect is the all-time best-selling genre anthology, the two-volume Treasury of Science Fiction; it’s a little creaky (as are many celebrating their 60th birthday) but was solid enough to be in libraries when many of the authors in it no longer were — I have no idea when I’d have run into Bester or Wyndham (just to point to the best two novels) if I hadn’t found this anthology.

    @11: but the Beeb doesn’t say (because they’re running a say-nothing press release) how the movie will handle the leads being two decades older despite having died in the last movie — the Indiana Jones (and Top Gun) solution isn’t available. Will they just borrow the CGI used to youthify Samuel Jackson, and if so will it be really believable when there’s something to compare it with? (At least they’d be working from the same people, instead of that too-thin imitation Carrie Fisher in Rogue One.)

    @Xtifr: reaching that future is just taking us a little longer than Brunner guess — but not nearly as long as the space-travel dreams that were still common then. In the 1940’s, RAH’s “Methuselah’s Children” called for the 1970’s to be the “ages of chaos”; when he used a bleaker version of that setting in 1970’s I Will Fear No Evil“, it was still ~30 years in the future (based on Smith being not-that-young in the 1930’s).

  6. Things I have read recently that are NOT on my Hugo long-long list for next year:

    The Last Tsar’s Dragons, by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple (novella). Great idea, excellent writing, poor world-building. Dragons should change things!
    The Gordion Protocol, by David Weber & Jacob Holo. I bailed early, at the gratuitous “college students these days are snowflakes!” scene.

    On my long-long list, probably not on my long list:

    Storm of Locusts, Rebecca Roanhorse: quite good, though I have a personal problem with BUGSewwwww so didn’t fully engage with the text. Better than her first book.
    The Red-Stained Wings, Elizabeth Bear: good continuation, characters are even better than in first book of this series, world-building still doesn’t really make sense. But “Ancestral Night” is so clearly Hugo Short-List it’s hard to rate this one all that highly.

    What have you-all read recently?

  7. Question re: Dramatic Presentation. When was the last time before this that DP Long actually had someone present to accept the reward? Was there anyone present who could have accepted for Black Panther, if it had won?

    I see that, like me, other Hugo voters felt that Spiderverse and Black Panther were the only nominees truly in contention for BDPLong.

    I’ve actually been pondering whether we should have 3 Dramatic Presentation categories, for: best short, best movie-sized, best 4 hours-plus. Because there’s so much GREAT sff TV, but it’s not coming in episode-sized chunks, it’s coming in SEASON-sized chunks, very often on a single date.

  8. I was on that panel with Frank McNally. I’m pretty sure I’m the strange-looking person he was thinking of.

  9. Nigel, McNally’s column was written before the panel took place, so: no.

  10. @Doctor Science — I’m also reading (and very much enjoying) Bear’s Red-Stained Wings (although TBH it’s taking me a bit to kind of remember where things had left off at the end of the previous book). Prior to that, I finished Shadow Captain, Alastair Reynolds’ sequel to Revenger, and as with the first book, it was something tuned to my personal interests with almost laser-like precision, and I can’t wait for the expected third book.

  11. The Third Pixelman.

    Actually he wrote it DURING the panel, smoking a cigarette, drinking a pint and wearing a broad-brimmed clergyman’s hat. I tried to keep things going but the crashing of the typewriter keys made everyone block their ears in terror. Then he stuck everything, typewrter, hat, pint, cigarette, hat and one of the microphones into his coat pocket and ran out yelling ‘See yiz, yiz funny-looking loodramawns!’

  12. As much as I wanted Max Gladstone’s Empress of Forever to be on my list of Hugo candidates, it’s just not going to happen. The characters are great, the writing is superb, but the plotting is not there. On the other hand, I agree with Doctor Science that Bear’s Ancestral Night is a definite candidate.

  13. A few Hugo Awards ceremony questions from someone who missed the start:

    Who won the fan awards that typically are announced at the start of the ceremony, like the Big Heart?

    It doesn’t appear that Robert Silverberg was a presenter. Does anyone know the last year he wasn’t part of the ceremony?

  14. Yesterday was going to be my recuperation day… then I decided as long as I had the day off I might as well see if my dentist could look at a tooth that’s felt weird for years and was starting to feel weirder. So I ended up spending an hour having the verymessed up tooth dug out of my skull, then one minute having a titanium post screwed in that will get a crown next year, then five minutes getting a dead person’s bone packed around the screw.

    And I started coming down with the con crud. And I still had jet lag.

    [Glyph of greatly exaggerated suffering]

  15. @Doctor Science

    I just read the capstone to Mark Lawrence’s “Book of the Ancestor” series, “Holy Sister”. The entire series was fantastic and, IMHO, overlooked.

    I’m currently reading the third installment of Damien Black’s “Broken Stone Chronicle”, “Pilgrim’s Storm Brooding”. This is a self-published series. Book 1 was a SPFBO finalist a few years back. Again…overlooked.

    I’m also reading David Drake’s “The Sharp End” out of the “Hammer’s Slammers” series. Gotta love used book stores!

    And I also just read the most recent issue of Cirsova (#1 of 2019). The quality of the stories have improved considerably since the inaugural issue. It remains a bastion of old-school feeling stories (i.e RE Howard, HP Lovecraft, RA Heinlein, etc.) that include some very modern twists/sensibilities. The magazine is a pleasant addition to the genre.

    Others of interest

    -“A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World” by C.A. Fletcher – an adventure turns into a travelogue. Still very good with interesting twists.
    -“Orconomics” by Zachary Pike – SPFBO winner this year. Outstanding!
    -“Fighting to Survive” by Rhiannon Frater (book 2 out of the series off of a Dollar Store rack – pretty good read)

    Regards,
    Dann
    Whatever it is that hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

  16. rcade – the Big Heart Award was made to Alice Lawson at the Opening Ceremony – several other awards were made then too.

    I don’t recall Robert Silverberg having a role at any Hugo ceremony I have attended (2005, 2014, 2017, 2019). He was a finalist in 2017, of course.

  17. Rob Thornton notes As much as I wanted Max Gladstone’s Empress of Forever to be on my list of Hugo candidates, it’s just not going to happen. The characters are great, the writing is superb, but the plotting is not there. On the other hand, I agree with Doctor Science that Bear’s Ancestral Night is a definite candidate.

    Bear’s Ancestral Night Is one of the best pieces of fiction I’ve experienced in a very long time. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next novel in the series which I think is due out around the first of next year.

  18. Nicholas Whyte : I thought Silverberg had been onstage with funny bits from 2015-2018. Looks like I’m mistaken about one or two of those years.

  19. @Goobergunch: ISTM that “sen[ding] some remarks” is pretty minimal; did they send someone to read the remarks? I remember Christopher Reeve being at 1979 (and handling himself very well in front of a hostile crowd), probably because the company had been told Superman was winning; IIRC, Peter Jackson at least sent 2003 a video, apologizing that he couldn’t be there to pick up his second Hugo because he had to finish the third movie, and Craig Miller has been designated recipient at least once.

  20. Nicholas Whyte: rcade – the Big Heart Award was made to Alice Lawson at the Opening Ceremony – several other awards were made then too.

    I have an email out to someone involved with the Big Heart Award asking if there was a citation that goes along with Lawson’s selection so that I can report it more fully. I haven’t got an answer yet. If anyone remembers what they said, that might help.

  21. @Chip Hitchcock: Negative. It was read by Colette Fozard.

    I think somebody accepted the 2016 award for The Martian in person but I don’t have time to check right now. Absent that I’m pretty sure that GRRM accepted the 2012 award for GoT Season One.

    @OGH: There wasn’t any citation read at opening ceremonies, if that’s what you’re asking. (I don’t remember the acceptance speech well enough to remember what details it provided.)

  22. @Doctor Science —

    What have you-all read recently?

    I’ve been on an… ahem… Regency Romance kick over the last week or so, so I’ve put away a few of those. Other than that —

    An execrable UF vella that I listened to for review, which I won’t burden anyone with; the beginning of Holy Sister, which I decided I just wasn’t in the mood for; The Kill Society and Hollywood Dead in the Sandman Slim series, which I continue to have tons of fun with — The Kill Society was a particularly fine installment of the series; Age of Legend, which was a real disappointment to me — the series is getting worse instead of better; The Orphans of Rasphay, which was enjoyable if not exceptional; Glass Houses and A Great Reckoning, two installments in the Inspector Gamache/Three Pines mystery series, another of my favorite series in the entire world; the beginning of The Broken Eye, third novel in the Lightbringer series, which I’ll go back to in another coupla days; and right now, yet another Regency Romance, ’cause I’m just in that kind of mood. 😉

    I’ll definitely put Ancestral Night on Mount TBR!

  23. Recent reading:

    I finished “Wanderers” by Chuck Wendig earlier this week. It was a very good story, but not one I’ll re-read (unusual for me). I wish I’d seen content notes/TWs for it; I may have passed on it if I had, or left it on my TBR for longer (TWs: a rape scene and white supremacist characters).

    I’m currently working my way through the Ordinary Magic series by Devon Monk; enjoying it so far, about halfway through book 3.

  24. @Doctor Science: – Currently reading A Life on Paper, a collection of short stories written by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud. The stories are reminiscent of Poe, with a healthy dash of magic realism. Small Beer Press sent me the book as a lagniappe when I subscribed to Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

  25. Well, my daddy left for Tatooine when I was three
    And he didn’t leave much to my droid and me
    Just some glasses and a book that was an empty hull of a snooze
    Now, I don’t blame him ’cause he wrote it and hid
    But the meanest thing that he ever did
    Was before he left, he wrote about this Mary and named her Sue

  26. @Dann665, Orconomics was fun, and the sequel is already on my to-read list.

    My favorite book published this year is still Arkady Martine’s “A Memory Called Empire”

  27. @Microtherion —

    My favorite book published this year is still Arkady Martine’s “A Memory Called Empire”

    Hmmmmm. Maaaaaybe for me too. I haven’t read too many 2019 books yet, though — I usually only start getting serious after Hugo voting ends.

    Here’s the 2019 sff books I’ve read so far:

    Minimum Wage Magic
    The Winter of the Witch
    The Orphans of Raspay
    The Kingdom of Copper
    Queenslayer
    An Illusion of Thieves
    *Raven Tower
    *A Memory Called Empire
    Storm of Locusts
    Age of Legend

    (I’m putting asterisks on the ones I want to reread when Hugo nomination time gets close.)

  28. @Doctor Science:
    way too much work that was either unimpressive or beyond me. (I’ve seen lots of praise for Miranda in Milan, which I thought was too busy making Points, and for Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was very heavy on violence and IMO inconsistent in characterization (i.e., not just a nice guy pretending to be tough) while not inconsistent enough in dialog (pages of not-really-pidgin that required tracking to be sure who was saying what.)
    Clair O’Dell’s 2nd in the Janet Watson Chronicles, The Hound of Justice, which I found well done and all too plausible.
    Mick Herron’s two latest ~thrillers, which are even more pessimistic but with a leavening of snark. (The series is “Slough House”, where MI5’s who can’t just be canned are sent to be out of the way — which means they wind up acting, however clumsily, while HQ is protecting its ass and others who aren’t worth it.)
    Yolen’s Snow in Summer, which takes almost as much of the book to set up the traditional story as Dean’s Tam Lin — but it’s a much shorter book and the transfer to ~1950 Appalachia works.
    Aaronovitch’s The October Man, which gave us an unbelievably ignorant viewpoint to let the author infodump, but turned into a reasonable story (shorter and not as serious as Rivers of London, but in the same universe, just in the Rhine valley in Germany).
    Kadrey’s The Grand Dark, on the grounds that it sounded very little like Sandman Slim (which wasn’t to my taste); steampunkish Mitteleuropan setting, heavy on the Orwell, and with an unoriginal surprise, but a decent read. An interesting contrast with Amnesty, which I read a couple of weeks ago; here the theater still stands and a couple of the characters are naive enough that you don’t want to kick them around the room for stupidity and bad behavior.
    Emrys’s Deep Roots — a lot of underdetailed reminders of who the large cast are, and a new set of problems caused more by others of Lovecraft’s menagerie (with interesting slants thereon) than by human national-security bigots. Perhaps more of a how-to-solve-this-problem piece than the previous, but still well-done and heartfelt.
    Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway, mentioned here a few weeks ago; declares heroes and stays with them, but a lot of good dish.
    Just started Magic for Liars (Gailey, ~current California noir in a mage school); we’ll see how it goes.

  29. @Chip —

    Kadrey’s The Grand Dark, on the grounds that it sounded very little like Sandman Slim (which wasn’t to my taste); steampunkish Mitteleuropan setting, heavy on the Orwell, and with an unoriginal surprise, but a decent read.

    I’ve been wondering about this one!

  30. I agree that Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire was really good. It’s definitely on my list of Hugo contenders.

  31. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s already started a Hugo longlist for next year! I was really impressed with S.A. Chakraborty’s The Kingdom of Copper. Bradley P. Beaulieu’s Beneath the Twisted Trees was also quite good.

    Doctor Science: Dragons should change things!
    One of my very few worldbuilding quibbles with ASOIAF is that it seems like the ecology of Westeros should have changed drastically when the Targaryens first brought dragons and again later when the dragons died out.

  32. @Contrarius:

    The Raven Tower and A Memory Called Empire definitely join Ancestral Night on my “serious Hugo contenders” list.

    I started Magic for Liars, but it looked to be headed in enough of a true noir direction (happy endings are for suckers) that I tossed it back to the library, I haven’t had the intestinal fortitude for such recently. I also started Kameron Hurley’s The Light Brigade, found it MUCH more interesting & readable than her previous fiction, but again wimped out

    In Lodestar territory I’m about halfway through “The Wise and the Wicked” by Rebecca Podos, and so far so good. There are more interesting adult characters than usual for YA, so I’m not drifting off as I did with Every. Single. One. of the Lodestar nominees this year–seriously, I couldn’t finished ANY of them. Which is all me: Young Science read them all & voted, with Children of Blood & Bone in 1st place so she was very pleased.

  33. @Doctor Science – So far my favorites this year have been Perihelion Summer by Greg Egan, The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie and The Kingdom of Copper by SA Chakraborty.

    Recently I’ve read Westside by WM Akers which was pretty good but I’m not sure it will make my longlist. It’s about a young woman trying to survive/thrive in an alternate 1920s New York where the city is split between the Westside where society has broken down, and the rest of New York which has walled off the Westside.

    Ancestral Night probably won’t make my shortlist as I had logic and consistency problems with it. It was enjoyable but not as great as it was built up to be. I’m also not a fan of Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Several of the characters had strong and vocal anti-woman attitudes which made it hard for me to get into. The characters had backstory reasons for their attitudes, and there were strong women characters in the story but the intensity and violence of some of the opinions were bothersome.

    Next up on my reading list is Cherryh’s Alliance Rising. And I’m really looking forward to Interference by Sue Burke, but it’s not out until October.

  34. (15) Since 12 Monkeys involves using time travel to change history, the disease-ravaged 1996 is clearly just one timeline.

  35. Mike: They fumbled the Big Heart award at opening ceremonies, and, while they did present it, they did not read a citation, unlike every other year I have seen it presented.

  36. @Doctor Science:

    I’ve actually been pondering whether we should have _3_ Dramatic Presentation categories, for: best short, best movie-sized, best 4 hours-plus. Because there’s so much GREAT sff TV, but it’s not coming in episode-sized chunks, it’s coming in SEASON-sized chunks, very often on a single date.

    I’m starting to seriously consider the concept of rotating categories.
    Imagine giving out Best Series (Written) or Best Series (Dramatic Presentation) — but each only every 2-3 years, because that kind of time scope makes more sense to estimate an ongoing series by.

  37. I enjoyed A Memory Called Empire quite a lot!

    But I did have some issues with it — mostly its sprawling length, bless my short-fiction-obsessed soul. I felt like there was a l-o-t of maneuvering that was tense but also just kind of pattern-holding — and there’s a climactic choice that, as far as I understand it, could just as easily have been made right at the start, and really should have (as in: I was constantly asking myself, “but why doesn’t she just [gnxr ure cerqrprffbe’f Vzntb qrivpr urefrys]?” It seems pretty self-evident and things were already plenty desperate.

    Also, I was kind of disappointed by [ubj gur phygher jnf fhccbfrq gb or shyy bs fhogyr fpurzref naq znavchyngbef — ohg gur ureb svaqf ernyyl pbzcyrgryl gehfgjbegul nyyvrf, naq zbfg bs gur cybggvat tbvat ba ernyyl vfa’g fbcuvfgvpngrq. Gurl whfg, l’xabj, jevgr pbqrq cbrgel nobhg vg.]

    None of which is to say I didn’t enjoy — I really did! It’s just the kind of doorstopper SF that I really need a lot of energy to get through; that’s kind of epic for the sake of epic-ness. I wish I’d gotten it in print instead of audio, because then I probably would have zipped through it more quickly — and most particularly in bigger chunks, rather than smaller snippets.

    Wow, this is a pretty amazing year for novels. In a few weeks we have debut novels coming out from Sarah Pinsker, Tamsyn Muir, and Alix E. Harrow, and I think they’re all going to be showstoppers.

    (Did anyone else see the woman in the awesome Gideon The Ninth cosplay at Worldcon? Was it a Masquerade entry? IT WAS SO COOL)

  38. In the “What Are We Reading” category, I’m slowly making my way through Cherryh’s Alliance Rising with an online bookclub; we’re maybe halfway through. Enjoying it, but it’s wordier and less action-ariffic than Cherryh’s earlier work. There’s a LOT of political maneuvering by characters with incomplete information.

    Also reading the last three books of Modesitt’s “Imager Portforlio” series. Again, much politcs. I don’t necessarily care for Modesitt’s habit of putting philosophical or political-science screeds interrupting the story in the form of letters or sermons, however. It seems… preachy, to me. But the story is interesting enough for me to want to know the ending.

    Alliance Rising MAY be on my Hugo list; slow burn but it’s heating up now….I’m not sure whether “Imager Portfolio” will make my Best Series nom list or not. There are SO MANY good series, but this one is wrapping up, so….

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