Pixel Scroll 8/4/20 Authors Pull Flashing Swords From
Story Stones

(1) SHATNER’S NOT SHOCKED. Ross A. Lincoln, “In Case You Were Wondering, William Shatner Knows Exactly What ‘Star Trek’ Slash Fiction Is” in The Wrap, says that someone thought she was blocked from Shat’s Twitter feed for making “Spirk”  (Spock/Kirk) slash fiction references, and Shat explained that he knew what slash fiction was, thought it hilarious, and noted that there are references to slash fiction in the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

(2) FINDING WOMEN HORROR WRITERS. “Weird Women:  The Forgotten Female Horror Writers of the 19th Century And Beyond” on CrimeReads is an excerpt from the introduction to a new anthology by Leslie S. Klinger and Lisa Morton (also called Weird Women, but with a different subtitle) of women who wrote supernatural fiction in the nineteenth century who the editors think are neglected and should be better known today.

…Yet there were women writing early terror tales—in fact, there were a lot of them. During the second half of the nineteenth century, when printing technologies enabled the mass production of cheap newspapers and magazines that needed a steady supply of material, many of the writers supplying that work were women. The middle classes were demanding reading material, and the plethora of magazines, newspapers, and cheap books meant a robust marketplace for authors. Women had limited career opportunities, and writing was probably more appealing than some of the other avenues open to them. Though the publishing world was male-dominated, writing anonymously or using masculine-sounding names (such as “M.E. Braddon”) gave women a chance to break into the market. It was also still a time when writers were freer than today’s writers to write work in a variety of both styles and what we now call genres. A prolific writer might pen adventure stories, romantic tales, domestic stories, mystery or detective fiction, stories of the supernatural—there were really no limits.

(3) INSURANCE FOR WRITERS. SFWA announcement:“Coalition of Eleven Book Industry Associations Launch Official Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership (BIHIP)”. Details at the link.

Today, a coalition of eleven book industry associations, including Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), launched the official Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership (BIHIP), an alliance with Lighthouse Insurance Group (LIG) Solutions designed to provide members from across the associations with a choice of health insurance options.

As of August 2020, official BIHIP coalition members include American Booksellers Association, American Society for Indexing, Authors Guild, Book Industry Study Group, Graphic Artists Guild, Horror Writers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, Novelists Inc., Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Inc., and Western Writers of America Inc….

(4) SECOND BLAST. The Dragon Awards website continues its Q&A with previous winners: “A Blast from the Past (Winners) – Part 2”.

So, your book comes out. At that time, what did you know about the Dragon Awards? Had you heard of them, and if so, how and what had you heard? How did you react when you found you were nominated?

Brian Niemeier: Oh, yes. I was well aware of the Dragon Awards from the day they were announced. The industry was in desperate need of a true readers’ choice award open to anyone, and I applauded the Dragons for meeting that need. Learning that Souldancer had been nominated confirmed that my writing efforts were worthwhile. It was like receiving the mandate of greater science fiction fandom.

Kevin Anderson: I’ve been aware of the Dragon Awards since the beginning, and I was thrilled as a fan and professional to know there was one award big enough to truly exemplify the feelings of a large pool of readers and voters. I had been soured on other awards because of politics and in-fighting, but the Dragon Awards really reflective of what readers like. Sarah and I were very thrilled to find out Uncharted had landed on the ballot.

SM Stirling: I’d heard of them and thought they were a good idea; the other major awards had become dominated by small cliques of the like-minded, and we needed a broad-based fan award. I’ve been going to Dragon Con for many years now — it’s my favorite con, full of youthful energy and like sticking your finger into a light socket, but in a -good- way. I was delighted to be nominated; you’re always in good company at the Dragons. Didn’t expect to win, though.

(5) TECH WRECK. Tim Maughan is interviewed by Brian Merchant in “The Man Whose Science Fiction Keeps Turning Into Our Shitty Cyberpunk Reality” on Medium.

.. Tim Maughan: I talk about surveillance to people who don’t think about surveillance all the time like I do and you do…And you walk in the house and they’ve got an Alexa. And you say, “I don’t like the Alexa because it’s a surveillance machine.” And they say to you, “Well, I haven’t got anything to hide. I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not a problem to me. It doesn’t matter if they’re listening to me. I’ve got nothing to hide.”

And it’s like, actually, the reason I dislike it isn’t the fact that I’m worried they might be listening to me now — it’s monitoring my behavior, and that’s what I’m worried about. I don’t care if it overhears what I say, or an algorithm is listening to it or even someone in an offshore call center. Even if they’re listening to it, that privacy thing isn’t what worries me. The issue that worries me is that they’re modeling my behavior, and they’re making judgments based on that, which might not be the right judgments for everybody. And they’re using that model to make decisions about people who aren’t even their users, too, or they’re using it to make decisions about their users.

It becomes a thing about like, well, okay, what information can we collect from Alexas about a neighborhood or just their Amazon use? What decisions can Amazon make geographically in physical spaces? This neighborhood in South Brooklyn, I used to live in, East Flatbush, it’s gentrified. And I’m sure Amazon can pull up a map of where all the Alexas are, where all their Amazon Prime accounts are and go, “Well, this is a neighborhood which is increasingly likely to be gentrified” — aka, more whites.

Tech workers are moving into the neighborhood. What can we do in that neighborhood for them? And suddenly you’re changing the nature of the neighborhood. …

(6) WOLFE TICKETS. At ReReading Wolfe, “Jack Dann talks about Gene Wolfe’s influence on the genre and his own Renaissance Man career”.

Jack Dann discusses Wolfe’s influence, on the writing process, on the New Wave, and on how he got his start.

(7) SOCIOLOGY OR ARCHEOLOGY? In case you haven’t heard enough about fandom in the Seventies this week… Hey, where did everybody go? James Davis Nicoll forwarded this link to Albert I. Berger’s paper “Science-Fiction Fans in Socio-Economic Perspective: Factors in the Social Consciousness of a Genre” in Science Fiction Studies (Nov. 1977), which analyzes the responses to 3,000 questionnaires distributed at the 1973 Worldcon in Toronto.

Since 1948, several different studies have been made of the demographic characteristics of science-fiction readers, most by the editors of the commercial science-fiction magazines seeking to determine the characteristics of their own readerships. The results of these, along with data collected at two recent science-fiction conventions, have been admirably collected and summarized by Charles Waugh, Carol-Lynn Waugh, and Edwin F. Libby of the University of Maine at Augusta, whose work this paper used throughout for purposes of comparison.2 This study, conducted at the 31st World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto, September, 1973, is offered against the historical perspective of these earlier studies. As the Waughs and Libby discovered, there are difficulties in applying the findings of this survey to the entire science-fiction audience, since it is impossible to know exactly in what ways, if any, people at a convention differ from those who did not attend. Certainly science-fiction fans themselves are divided into groups, with some, notably those primarily interested in film and television SF, and members of the cult following of the series Star Trek, under-represented at this convention (see tables 20 and 21 below). However, the numbers of people responding to the questionnaire, and the diversity of their involvement in science fiction beyond attendance at the convention, suggests that the picture of fans irelatively reliable for readers of science fiction as a whole and, if qualified for the greater affluence of those who could afford to travel to Toronto, is at least as reliable as such commonly accepted-with-qualifications measurements as the Gallup polls….

(8) COPYEDITING, THE GAME. The New Yorker signal boosts “Stet!, the Hot New Language Game”.

… Nitpickers by profession, we ran into a problem right away. The instructions for Stet! suggest that you “play with three or more players” (is that redundant?), and we had been unable, during the pandemic, to scare up a third nerd. The game of Stet! comprises two packs of cards with sentences on them, fifty of them Grammar cards with indisputable errors (dangling modifiers, stinking apostrophes, and homonyms, like horde/hoard and reign/rein) and fifty of them Style cards, on which the sentences are correct but pedestrian, and the object is to improve the sentence without rewriting it. There are trick cards with no mistakes on them. You might suspect that there is something wrong with (spoiler alert) “Jackson Pollock” or “asafetida” or “farmers market,” but these are red herrings. If you believe that the sentence is perfect just as it is, you shout “Stet!,” the proofreading term for “leave it alone” (from the Latin for “let it stand”), which is used by copy editors to protect an author’s prose and by authors to protect their prose from copy editors.

(9) PLAY NICELY. BBC says “Sony’s Spider-Man exclusive sparks backlash”.

The upcoming Marvel Avengers game has sparked a backlash after it was revealed that Spider-Man will only be in the PlayStation version.

Its developer said the web-slinger will be available as downloadable content (DLC) next year on one platform only.

The game will be released on 4 September across several platforms including PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Fans have suggested the move will see many players missing out on the game’s full experience.

Sony has owned the rights to Spider-Man since 1999.

However, the superhero has appeared in games on multiple consoles and PC over the years, including games based on The Amazing Spider-Man film and its 2014 sequel.

But one recent game, simply entitled Spider-Man, was a critically-acclaimed PlayStation 4 exclusive title.

Numerous fans shared their outrage on social media following the surprise announcement on Monday.

(10) MAY SETTLE IN SHIPPING. “Sales Of ‘Settlers Of Catan’ Skyrocket During Coronavirus Crisis”NPR demonstrates, and interviews the creator.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In the pandemic, board games are back. And as NPR’s Rob Schmitz reports, many people are turning to a classic one from Germany.

(SOUNDBITE OF DICE ROLLING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Eight.

ROB SCHMITZ, BYLINE: Eight again. More brick.

Family game night – we’ve done this a lot this year, thanks to the pandemic. And my family has dusted off Monopoly, Scrabble, but we usually settle on “Settlers Of Catan.”

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Two bricks for anything.

SCHMITZ: It’s a game of trade and development. Players compete for resources on an island and trade with each other in order to build settlements, cities and roads. The most successful developer wins.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Why in the world would I need brick?

SCHMITZ: Entrepreneurs love the game. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a fan, as is LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who plays the game in job interviews as a way to size up an applicant. In its 25th year, “Catan” has sold more than 32 million units. It’s one of the bestselling board games of all time.

…SCHMITZ: [Klaus] Teuber spoke with me over an old computer, and his voice sounded distant, so we asked one of our colleagues to read for him. He’s 68 now, and he’s just released his autobiography “My Way To Catan” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the game. Teuber was a dental technician, bored out of his mind by his job when he began creating games in his basement in the 1980s.

…SCHMITZ: And as families shelter in place, sales of “Catan” continue to climb. As the pandemic sent the global economy into a downward spiral, “Catan’s” sales skyrocketed by 144% for the first five months of this year. Teuber, whose two sons work for his company Catan Inc., says he still plays the game with his family, but he admits he’s not very good at it and that he rarely wins. He says what he enjoys most is playing it and being there with his family, something millions of other families are enjoying, too.

(11) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • August 4, 1992  — In the United Kingdom, The Lost World premiered. This is the third film made off the Doyle novel, the first being made in 1925. Another film would be made between these two in 1960, and four radio dramas would be as well. The 1944 one would have John Dickson Carr narrating and playing all parts, and the 1966 one would have Basil Rathbone as Professor Challenger. This film was directed by Timothy Bond and produced by Harry Alan Towers from a screenplay by Marion Fairfax. The primary cast was John Rhys-Davies, Eric McCormack, David Warner and Tamara Gorski whole character replaced that of Lord Roxton. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a twelve percent rating. 

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 4, 1792 – Percy Shelley.  This great poet wrote in our sphere, e.g. AdonaisPrometheus UnboundThe Triumph of Life, the novel St. Irvyne.  What about “Ozymandias”?  David Bratman, what’s this I hear about “The Marriage of King Elessar and Arwen Undómiel” appearing over his name in a Sep 82 issue of The New Tolkien Review?  I can’t get at it or I’d look instead of asking you.  (Died 1822) [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1869 – Evelyn Sharp.  For us a score of short stories, mostly collected in All the Way to Fairyland and The Other Side of the Sun; one novel (a dozen more of those).  At that time there were both suffragettes and suffragists; she was vital.  (Died 1955) [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1924 – Gumarcindo Rocha Dorea, 96.  Brazilian writer, editor, publisher.  His GRD Edições alternated translations with work by local writers, beginning in 1958 with Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet and in 1960 Eles herdarão a Terra (Portuguese, “They shall inherit the Earth”) by Dinah Silveira de Queiroz.  Edited Antologia brasileira de ficção cientifica (1961), first local anthology of only Brazilian authors.  His enterprise continued despite Brazilian politics and what Roberto de Sousa Causo calls a terminal inability to make money.  [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1933 – Thé Tjong-Khing, 87.  There are nine and sixty ways of transliterating Chinese these days, and every single one of them is right.  He’s an Indonesian Chinese from Java living in the Netherlands.  Illustrator.  Likes Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Stan Drake’s Heart of Juliet Jones, Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates.  He’s worked in that style, but see hereherehere – a thumbnailsworth of a long productive career.  Three Golden Brush prizes, Woutertje Pieterse prize, Max Velthuijs prize.  Website here (in Dutch).  [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1937 David Bedford. Composer who worked with Ursula K Le Guin to produce and score her Rigel 9 album which the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says is ‘a work that is musically pleasant although narratively underpowered.’ I’ve not heard it, so cannot say how accurate this opinion is.) (Died 2011.) (CE)
  • Born August 4, 1941 Martin Jarvis, 79. He makes three appearances on Doctor Who over twenty years. Hilio, captain of Menoptra, in “The Web Planet”, a First Doctor story.  He later is the scientist Dr. Butler in “Invasion of the Dinosaurs”, a Third Doctor story, and as the governor of the planet Varos in “Vengeance on Varos”, a Sixth Doctor story. He also voiced Alfred Pennyworth in the animated Batman: Assault on Arkham Adylum which is the real Suicide Squad film. (CE)
  • Born August 4, 1950 Steve Senn, 70. Here because of his Spacebread duology, Spacebread and Born of Flame. Spacebread being a large white cat known throughout the galaxy as an adventuress and a rogue. He’s also written the comic novels, Ralph Fozbek and the Amazing Black Hole Patrol and Loonie Louie Meets the Space Fungus. (CE) 
  • Born August 4 – Taras Wolansky.  Persevering contributor to AboriginalAlexiadFOSFAXThe MT VoidNY Review of SFSF ChronicleScience Fiction & Fantasy Book ReviewSF Review.  Good at asking questions, like “If he had been, would he have done anything differently?” Never mind that I’d leave off the last two letters.  We’ve met in person, which is more than I can say for some people I know.  [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1961 Lauren Tom, 59. Voice actress for our purposes. She shows up on Superman: The Animated Series voicing Angela Chen. From there on, she was Dana Tan in Batman Beyond and several minor roles on Pinky and the BrainFuturama is her biggest series to date where she voices Amy and Inez Wong. (CE)
  • Born August 4, 1969 Fenella Woolgar, 51. Agatha Christie in “The Unicorn and The Wasp” episode of Doctor Who where she more than capably played off against David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. Her only other genre was as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. (CE) 
  • Born August 4, 1961 – Andreas Findig.  It’s possible to be a Perry Rhodan author and an absurdist; he was.  Six PR novels; two short stories and a novella Gödel geht tr. as “Gödel’s Exit” which may be impossible.  (Died 2018)  [JH]
  • Born August 4, 1981 Meghan, the former Duchess of Sussex, 39. Yes, she’s done a genre performance or so. To be precise, she showed up on Fringe in the first two episodes of the second season (“A New Day in the Old Town” and “Night of Desirable Objects” as Junior FBI Agent Amy Jessup. She was also in the  “First Knight” episode of Knight Rider as Annie Ortiz, and Natasha in “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Lose” on Century City, a series you likely never heard of. (CE) 

(13) COMICS SECTION.

  • The Argyle Sweater finds working at home can be inconvenient.
  • Lio helps prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

(14) OH MY GOD, YOU’RE FROM THE SIXTIES. In the new episode of Two Chairs Talking, “Translations, transforms and traumas”, David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss discuss ConNZealand and the 2020 Hugo Awards, then take the Hugo Time Machine back to the very interesting year of 1963, when The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick won Best Novel, and “The Dragon Masters” by Jack Vance won Best Short Fiction.

(15) KEEPING SCORE. Lyndsey Parker, in the Yahoo! Music story “‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ composer Danny Elfman assumed he’d never work in Hollywood again: ‘I thought the score would get thrown out'”, looks at how Danny Elfman began writing film scores 35 years ago with Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and discusses how Elfman got into film music responding to a challenge from his brother and then explains why he is Tim Burton’s preferred choice for writing scores.

…Elfman’s Pee-wee score, with its goofy oompah riffs, Looney Tunes references, and frenetic pacing, was a wild and whimsical ride; created with Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek, it became one of the most instantly recognizable scores in ‘80s cinema. Elfman acknowledges that he quickly became the movie and TV industry’s go-to “quirky comedy guy” — for instance, Matt Groening later enlisted him to compose the Simpsons theme song. It was a label that was tough for Elfman to shed when he was hired by skeptical producers to compose an uncharacteristically darker-sounding score for Burton’s Batman, four years after Pee-wee. But it turns out the most skeptical person in Hollywood was Elfman himself.

(16) TUBULAR, MAN! See “The Roman Empire’s Roads In Transit Map Form”.

Unless you’re a historian or map buff, interpreting a map of the Roman Empire can be a daunting exercise. Place names are unfamiliar and roads meander across the landscape making it difficult to see the connections between specific cities and towns.

Today’s visualization, by Sasha Trubetskoy, has mashed-up two enduring obsessions – transit maps and Ancient Rome – to help us understand the connection between Rome and its sprawling empire.

At the height of the Roman Empire, there were approximately 250,000 miles (400,000 km) of roads, stretching from Northern England to Egypt and beyond. This impressive network is what allowed Rome to exercise control and communicate effectively over such a large territory….

(17) I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Louise McCreesh, in “Game of Thrones’s George RR Martin Accused of Making Racially and Sexually Insensitive Comments At Awards Show” on Digital Spy would only be interesting because she includes the words “in a post on File 770” and links to F770 which is the first time I have ever seen this on a random item in the Yahoo! news feed.

(18) THEY MADE A LITTLE MISTAKE. Meanwhile, Hampus Eckerman emailed to tell me, “You got promoted!” when he saw this passage in io9’s article “George R.R. Martin Responds to Accusations of Hugo Awards Racism, Apologizes for Mispronouncing Names”. (Their link for “the comment section” is to File 770.)

…In response to the criticisms of his hosting—a number of people have described it overall as racist—Martin took to the comment section of the Hugos’ official website to comment rather than his often used personal blog.

Wow. I thought io9 writers were supposed to know fandom better than that.

(19) NOW ON A MOON OF SATURN. Mad Genius Club has revamped its site design. Looks good! Or maybe I’m just a sucker for sky blue at the top of a page….

(20) SPACE CAMP SAVED. With large donations from several companies—as well as many individual donations—the USS&RC has achieved its minimum $1.5 million goal. WAFF 48 reports “New donation pushes US Space & Rocket Center past fundraising goal”.

 A $250,000 donation from Science Applications International Corporation has pushed the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s “Save Space Camp” campaign over its initial goal just one week after the effort launched.

The campaign began July 28 with the hope of raising a minimum of $1.5 million to sustain museum operations and to be able to reopen Space Camp in April 2021.

…The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the Rocket Center, which closed March 13, 2020, in keeping with state health orders intended to combat the surge in coronavirus cases. The museum reopened in late May, but with far fewer than normal visitors. Space Camp did not reopen until June 28, and then with only 20 percent of its usual attendance. With limited admission from international students and school groups this fall and winter, Space Camp will again close for weeklong camp programs in September.

The Space & Rocket Center is continuing to ask for support for the campaign. For more information and to make a donation, visit savespacecamp.com.

(21) EVERYBODY FIGHTS, NOBODY QUIPS! [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Starship Troopers (ft. Casper Van Dien)” on YouTube, the Screen Junkies take on the 1997 film “not at all based in the classic sci-fi novel” featuring soldiers whose bodies pulse “with the repulsive green goo they use to make Monster Energy” drinks.

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

51 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/4/20 Authors Pull Flashing Swords From
Story Stones

  1. I think at one point Shatner provided live commentary at a convention showing of the Closer fanvid by TJonesy and Killa sooo yeah, he knows about The Premise.

    (If you’re curious about the vid, fair warning, NSFW themes and images and lyrics. It’s on Youtube, I think, though not uploaded by the original creators.)

  2. 16) That visualization of the Roman roads is amazingly informative. All roads didn’t lead to Rome, there were other hubs. It immediately jumps out at the viewer that the capital of the eastern empire should have been at Perinthos. Which historians have looked into why Byzantium won out instead?

  3. (4) It sounds so much like “we’re not getting the attention and prizes we want, so we’re glad that this one will see that we can have pretty stuff on our mantels”.

    (16) a working link to Trubetskoy’s Roman road maps is here. (The links in the story don’t work. But it’s fun reading.)

  4. Last I looked, the Dragon Awards voting wasn’t any near as transparent as the Hugos. Have they made any statement about how many people actually vote?

  5. The mention of the Dragons reminded me that I haven’t yet posted my yearly list of Kindle ebook sales rankings, comparing Hugo nominees with books by Larry Correia.

    For those who don’t remember, every year for the past few years I’ve followed Amazon paid-in-Kindle-store sales rankings for Hugo nominees and compared them with Correia books and/or Dragon Award nominees. I do this because we still hear puppy types claiming that puppy books sell better than Hugo books. I use Correia’s books as my comparison group because, first, he is the Ur-Puppy; and second, because we so frequently hear from the puppy types about how popular his books are; and third, because he publishes a lot of books, which conveniently gives me a lot of data points.

    So here’s today’s sales rankings. The last three years of Hugo nominees, and the Correia books published in those same years (2017, 2018, 2019). As happens every time I do this comparison, it’s very easy to see which group of books is actually selling more.

    **A Memory Called Empire — #617
    Gideon the Ninth — #643
    The Ten Thousand Doors of January — #4,538
    **The Stone Sky — #4,849
    Middlegame — #4,851
    The City in the Middle of the Night — #6,520
    **The Calculating Stars — #7,827
    Spinning Silver — #17,834
    The Light Brigade — #18,718
    The Collapsing Empire — #26,796
    Monster Hunter Guardian — #29,600
    Trail of Lightning — #31,275
    Record of a Spaceborn Few — #35,487
    House of Assassins — #40,622
    Monster Hunter Siege — #42,891
    New York 2140 — #61,619
    Target Rich Environment vol 2 — #65,539
    Revenant Gun — #87,948
    Space Opera — #98,828
    Raven Stratagem — #100,042
    Provenance — #101,021
    Monster Hunter Files — #105,457
    Six Wakes — #131,248
    Monster Hunter Memoirs — #205,949
    Target Rich Environment — #240,462
    Invisible Wars — #357,988

  6. David Shallcross on August 4, 2020 at 7:35 pm said:

    Last I looked, the Dragon Awards voting wasn’t any near as transparent as the Hugos. Have they made any statement about how many people actually vote?

    They have confirmed that people vote.

    The official figures are vague:
    “In 2018, more than 10,000 fans cast ballots for Dragon Award winners, selected from 94 properties in 15 categories covering the full range of fiction, comics, television, movies, video gaming, and tabletop gaming.” https://www.dragoncon.org/mediarelations/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/2019-Dragon-Awards-Ballot.pdf

  7. 2) I’m surprised the article didn’t mention Louisa May Alcott’s early pseudonymous work – some of it qualified as horror, IIRC. And from what I’ve read of her bios, she may have enjoyed writing such thrillers more than “Little Women.”

  8. @jayn: Just about the only good part of Jo’s Boys, the final Little Women book, is the chapter where this happens: “Her first book, laboured over for years, and launched full of the high hopes and ambitious dreams of youth, foundered on its voyage, though the wreck continued to float long afterward, to the profit of the publisher at least. The hastily written story, sent away with no thought beyond the few dollars it might bring, sailed with a fair wind and a wise pilot at the helm into public favour, and came home heavily laden with an unexpected cargo of gold and glory.”

    Which is so very, very obviously her commentary on her career trajectory.

  9. @Patrick Morris Miller and (12),

    I really enjoyed Century City: a legal drama that tackles ethical/moral/legal issues in a science fiction setting, and did so reasonably well. I’d love to see something similar.

  10. @Vasha77 Which historians have looked into why Byzantium won out instead?

    Because sea transport was much more important than roads, basically. Byzantium was already a wealthy and important trading port before they moved the capital.

  11. @3: this shouldn’t be necessary — but since it is, cheers for getting it done.

    @4: I wonder whether Stirling really knows so little about the Hugos, or is just [deleted]. I’m amused that the writer who I’d call best of those interviewed either wasn’t notified of the nomination at all or considered the award not significant enough for him to hang on the announcement.

    @12 (Shelley): since you ask: I’d say there’s nothing genre about “Ozymandias” — even then, deserted ruins were known (there’s not even a lost race!) — but the image is so compelling that it’s soaked deep into literature as a whole; it might appear more in SF, and that might be so just because SF deals more with multiple times than mundane literature.

    @Contrarius: [snicker]. But I’m not seeing what the “**” are for — enlighten?

    @Sophie Jane: Because sea transport was much more important than roads, basically. I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense; armies can move themselves (modulo supply train), but for moving goods the wind is free — and goods can be packed tighter than people and still arrive in good condition. I suppose there’s also an issue of force projection: the roads were needed to keep control.

  12. (12) I liked Century City too.

    Oxymandias deals with deep time (time enough for a world-dominating lord to have become near forgotten and all his works buried in sand) – and deep time is a key SF aesthetic.

  13. I’d say there’s nothing genre about “Ozymandias”

    A friend of Shelley, Horace Smith, wrote a competing sonnet on the exact same theme. It’s the inferior poem, but it does take the science fictional leap that Shelley’s Ozymandias points towards.

    Text of both here.

  14. @Chip —

    @Contrarius: [snicker]. But I’m not seeing what the “**” are for — enlighten?

    I forgot to explain that, but it should be pretty obvious — the ** books are the Hugo winners for the last three years, marked just to point out where they fall in the rankings.

  15. Chip Hitchcock: I wonder whether Stirling really knows so little about the Hugos

    He’s a Puppy, or at least a Puppy sympathizer; he’s bashed the Hugos here in comments in the past couple of years, calling recent nominees and winners “a dog’s breakfast”. Which explains why he’s drinking wine made from sour grapes to celebrate his Dragon nominations. 🙄

  16. @Paul – I remember reading a review of Temple Of Apshai and seeing it advertised in various computer magazines. I was so jealous that I couldn’t get hold of it for my brand of computer!

  17. Chip Hitchcock: I’m not seeing what the “**” are for — enlighten?

    Hugo Best Novel winners.

  18. (3) This is an excellent thing. I spent a large chunk of my career as an independent consultant, and my ability to get insurance at a reasonable price from the IEEE (a professional society for engineers) was a major factor in making that possible.

    (16) This is freaking brilliant. I wish I’d had it when I first studied Roman history – and that my prof, the late Professor Chester Starr, could have seen it. He’d have loved it, and would have used it extensively in class.

  19. Because sea transport was much more important than roads, basically.

    I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense; armies can move themselves (modulo supply train), but for moving goods the wind is free

    Possibly more importantly, ships don’t eat. The oxen pulling the wagons need to be kept fed, and it’s not always possible (particularly in hostile territory) to let them forage along the way so part of the load has to be ox fuel. The further the trip, the more has to be supplies for the journey. The crew of a ship still needs to be fed, but there are far fewer of them than the number of drovers required for a given load.

    I’m currently (with breaks for Hugo reading, a diversion into Fenland Archaeology and some fried brain reset books) working my way through The Logistics of the Roman Army at War (264 B.C. – A.D.235) which deals with how the supplies for a Legion or three were gathered and transported to the theatre of operations. Lots of things you never think about until they’re pointed out.

  20. Apropos of two current topics at once, there was a quite good early Robert Silverberg story, “Ozymandias,” published when he was 23.

  21. @James Moar: TFTR — I had no recollection of that poem, which definitely makes the link.

    @JJ: I’d have called Stirling Puppy-adjacent at most — unlike the utter Pups I can think of, he had a tolerable work or two (maybe even a career) before they blew up — but considering remembered bits of a later work or two I shouldn’t be surprised that he slid Pupward.

    @Anthony: I was treating the absence of fuel needs as part of “free” — even in hostile territory (which usually doesn’t have roads — ISTM they’re a post-conquest artifact), money can talk — although I’ve found various figures about how much less fuel sea transport takes even today. (Very loose numbers: trucks do ~100 ton-miles per gallon, trains a few times as much, and large ships about a thousand — and they use the leavings that trucks and trains can’t burn.)

  22. (10) In 2008, I placed fifth at the world championships of Settlers of Catan, having qualified by winning the Canadian championship.

    The experience was so negative that I’ve hardly played the game since.

    Honestly, the amount of cheating going on at that tournament was appalling. It was blatant, it was constant, and it was largely unpunished when it was caught. The only good thing of that entire tournament was the fact that Todd Sweet won.

  23. @Olav Rokne, hello, fellow Master of Catan; I was in the Gencon Catan Tournament in 2011 which (if I recall correctly) was the finals before the World Tournament, but didn’t make it to finals and therefore not to the World event; in the four tournament games I played, I placed 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, and (wait for it) 2nd.

    How were they cheating? Were they not paying full price to the bank for upgrades? (two ore and two grain for a city, for example, rather than three and two?)

  24. @Paul Weimer – Wow, that’s a game I haven’t thought of in a long time.I had Temple of Apshai, Upper Reaches of Apshai, Curse of Ra and Gateway to Apshai for the Commodore 64, and played the heck out of all of them.

    Off to look for an emulated version…

  25. @Contrarius

    I don’t think the data supports the conclusion that you seem to be drawing.

    If that is one author’s accomplishment vs 17 authors, then he seems to be doing pretty well. Particularly given that his works aren’t exactly center stage among some of the more predominant review sites/orgs; i.e. Locus, etc.

    In light of the conversation in the other thread involving self-published grimdark works, dominant cultural filters (i.e. agents, editors, publishers, reviewing sites/orgs) will miss some real gems that will strike a chord with readers that are using different cultural filters (i.e. SPFBO, etc.) to identify authors that produce quality works.

    Those gems might not have sales comparable to works supported by those dominant cultural filters, but that may have more to do with marketing than quality.

    I imagine that most people enthusiastically support a couple of local eateries about which no one outside of their area has heard. But almost everyone knows about McDonald’s, BK, Taco Bell, Ruth’s Chris, Red Lobster, etc. That’s also a function of marketing.

    Regards,
    Dann
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. – Richard Grenier

  26. Re. Byzantium vs Perinthos:
    Both cities had ports and were important for commerce, but Byzantium has a much better position if you are planning your new capital strategically. Byzantium commands the Bosphorus, which means it is a choke point for sea traffic between the Black Sea and Mediterranean, and for land traffic between Europe and Asia Minor. In contrast, Perinthos sits at the widest part of the Sea of Marmara, making it easier to bypass.

  27. Grenier attributed that sentiment to George Orwell, writing this: “As George Orwell pointed out, people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

    Orwell’s original quote was “Those who ‘abjure’ violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.”

  28. @Dann —

    If that is one author’s accomplishment vs 17 authors, then he seems to be doing pretty well.

    Oh, Correia does very well indeed as an author, because he publishes so many books that each tend to sell middling well. But I’m not comparing authors to authors. I’m comparing books to books. I’m simply using “Correia” as one classification of books, in the same way that I use “Hugo nominees” or “Dragon nominees” as classifications. In fact, I’ll do the same thing with Hugo nominees and Dragon nominees as soon as we know what made the Dragon shortlist this year. And guess what? I’ll bet you a fiver that we find the same basic result, because that’s what has happened in previous years.

    In light of the conversation in the other thread involving self-published grimdark works, dominant cultural filters (i.e. agents, editors, publishers, reviewing sites/orgs) will miss some real gems that will strike a chord with readers that are using different cultural filters (i.e. SPFBO, etc.) to identify authors that produce quality works.

    Oh, absolutely. I’m not talking about book quality here — only relative book sales.

    And I do that because puppy types so frequently make silly claims about their preferred books supposedly selling more than Hugo types. You can see the same tendency in the interviews above — that’s what phrases like “a true readers’ choice award” and “truly exemplify the feelings of a large pool of readers and voters” and “really reflective of what readers like” and “a broad-based fan award” are referring to.

    Well, guess what? If puppies and Dragons were really representing “true readers’ choice” and so on, they’d be selling more than the Hugo nominees.

    But they aren’t.

  29. (16) Points to the map creator for properly dating it for being Roman (i.e. using kalends/nones/ides and basing off of AUC instead of AD). Bravo!

  30. “Speak ‘frenemy’ and Enter – or not. I mean I don’t care one way or the other”

  31. @Christian Brunschen: Can’t believe a missed the opportunity for a Simpsons reference

  32. @Contrarius

    But I’m not comparing authors to authors. I’m comparing books to books.

    There’s not as much difference there as one might think. Author income and book sales are at least partly a function of the quality of their writing.

    A great book that is independently published probably will not earn as much as a mediocre book published by a big publishing house with better marketing staff. The decisions of various reviewing groups is another factor. As an example, I don’t believe that Locus has ever reviewed one of Larry’s books.

    I’ve seen this back and forth of this discussion over the years and I’m not impressed with either side of that discussion.

    From my perspective, there are a great many very good books that do not capture the imagination and attention of readers in general and WorldCon members in particular. Mostly, that is good news as it means that there are lots of different books for lots of different people.

    Your list just suggests to me that there are about half a dozen of Larry’s books that I ought to read. Alternatively, it suggests that there are about half a dozen Hugo nominated works that are inferior to Larry’s books and therefore probably should not have been finalists.

    Except for “Six Wakes”! I mostly enjoyed that book.

    Regards,
    Dann
    This Tagline is OFF TOPIC! (as if the rest of the message wasn’t)

  33. @Dann —

    There’s not as much difference there as one might think. Author income and book sales are at least partly a function of the quality of their writing.

    You may well be right — but that’s not a claim that I’m making. If you’d like to make that claim, I’ll be happy to look at your evidence, but the numbers I’ve provided are not intended to engage with that claim.

    A great book that is independently published probably will not earn as much as a mediocre book published by a big publishing house with better marketing staff. The decisions of various reviewing groups is another factor. As an example, I don’t believe that Locus has ever reviewed one of Larry’s books.

    Again: I have no argument with this statement, but it’s not a statement that my numbers are intended to engage.

    I’ve seen this back and forth of this discussion over the years and I’m not impressed with either side of that discussion.

    Since the elements of the discussion as you describe them have nothing to do with my current numbers, I have nothing to say on your subject at this time.

    Yet again: I am not trying to say anything about quality here, only quantity — rates of sale — and how that relates to ongoing puppy claims about supposed “tastes of the masses” (paraphrasing).

  34. @Contrarius

    This still looks like a shifting of goalposts. And it feels like you are just working for an “easy” dunk.

    Let’s see the rest of the list. What genre books are in the top 1000 that are not Hugo nominees? Once we have that, then we’ll have something worth discussing.

    Regards,
    Dann
    The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing. – Isaac Asimov

  35. @Dann —

    This still looks like a shifting of goalposts.

    On the contrary, Dann. You’re the one who keeps trying to drag the goalposts around, not me.

    I have been very clear from the beginning that I’m talking only about quantity, not quality. Please stop setting up straw men.

    What genre books are in the top 1000 that are not Hugo nominees? Once we have that, then we’ll have something worth discussing.

    There you go hoisting those goalposts again. While your question may well form the basis of an interesting discussion, it’s a very different discussion than the one I’m having.

    Here, once again, is the ONLY discussion I’m currently having:

    Puppies and puppy types frequently claim that their preferred literature outsells Hugo-recognized literature, or that their preferred literature is the true representative of “popular taste”. Unfortunately for them, sales rankings consistently show that Hugo-recognized books actually outsell puppy-recognized books such as the Dragons and Correias, and those rankings have shown the same thing for several years in a row.

  36. @Contrarius

    Puppies and puppy types frequently claim that their preferred literature outsells Hugo-recognized literature, or that their preferred literature is the true representative of “popular taste”. Unfortunately for them, sales rankings consistently show that Hugo-recognized books actually outsell puppy-recognized books, and those rankings have shown the same thing for several years in a row.

    The problem is that your post above doesn’t prove that. AFAIK, Larry Correia’s books are not the “be all/end all” of puppy preferred literature. That list is cherry-picked. You would need to survey the puppies and list ALL of their preferred works; not just LC’s.

    I can’t speak for all puppy preferences. I’m not engaged with them on a regular basis.

    I can speak for my own. And I know that your reading preferences seem to align pretty well with mine based on our Goodreads profiles.

    IMO, The Legend of Huma by Richard Knaak was a big miss by those with an interest in awards. It was on the NYTimes bestseller list. I found it to be a satisfying read with both an entertaining tale and engaging subtexts. Yet it didn’t receive any recognition from the various “literary” awards.

    Using your own yardstick, The Legend of Huma fairs pretty well against all of the finalists and almost all of the works listed in the 1989 WorldCon report of nominations.

    #26,458 The Legend of Huma by Richard Knaak

    Not listed in KS – Cyteen, by C.J. Cherryh [winner]**
    #488,544 – Red Prophet, by Orson Scott Card
    #67,218 – Falling Free, by Lois McMaster Bujold
    #106,791 – Islands in the Net, by Bruce Sterling
    #53,799 – Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson

    Not listed in KS – The Guardsman, by P.J. Beese and Todd Cameron Hamilton – [withdrawn]

    #1,851,058 – Orphan of Creation, by Roger MacBride Allen
    #1,326,895 – Deserted Cities of the Heart, by Lewis Shiner
    Not listed in KS – Alternities, by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
    #67,483 – Dragonsdawn, by Anne McCaffrey
    #464,446 – The Gold Coast, by Kim Stanley Robinson
    #487,340 – Ivory, by Mike Resnick
    #12,177 – Prelude to Foundation, by Isaac Asimov
    #175,591 – Hellspark, by Janet Kagan
    #245,495 – The Paladin, by C.J. Cherryh

    ** There was a 3-book collection that seems to represent the nominated work. It was only available in audiobook and paperback. No Kindle edition.

    This is an apples-to-apples comparison in that all of the books are from the same year. But it’s cherry-picking because I picked 1989. Can we use your preferred measuring stick to say anything productive about the nominees from 1989?

    My point remains that there is a wealth of quality works of SFF literature that do not attract the attention of the current collection of Hugo nominators. Nominators that are exposed to a broader range of works should be a good thing.

    The last word is yours.

    Regards,
    Dann
    I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. – Isaac Asimov

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.