Pixel Scroll 8/25 Polldark

(1) David Gerrold has posted the text of his Guest of Honor speech publicly on Facebook. He says later he will have an audio link so people can hear where he went off-script.

Great science fiction is innovative. It defies expectations.

The innovative story breaks rules, demolishes definitions, redefines what’s possible, and reinvents excellence.

The innovative story is unexpected and unpredictable, not only new — but shocking as well. Innovation demands that we rethink what’s possible. Innovation expands the event horizon of the imagination. It transforms our thinking.

And I think that on some level, even though I can’t speak for any other writer but myself, I still think that this is what most of us, maybe even all of us, aspire to — writing that story that startles and amazes and finally goes off like a time-bomb shoved down the reader’s throat. Doing it once establishes that you’re capable of greatness. Doing it consistently explodes the genre. So yes, that’s the real ambition — to be innovative — to transform thinking — to make a profound difference in who we are and what we’re up to. To be a part of the redesign of who we are and what we’re up to.

(2) Nobody had to wake up Thomas Olde Heuvelt to tell him he won a Hugo.

(3) Cixin Liu’s short stories are also getting translated into English.

(4) Here’s the bandwagon for a Best Poetry Hugo category – jump on it.

(5) One of James H. Burns’ U.N.C.L.E. pieces has been posted on Comics Bulletin. This one is about Ian Fleming, and more significantly, Sam Rolfe!

Fleming named the lead “Napoleon Solo.” He wanted Solo to live in New York City, wear bow-ties, and have as his two main research associates a local, elderly, lady librarian, and a newspaper editor. Fleming also wanted Solo to flirt with the secretary of the boss of whatever organization he worked for (a la Bond and Miss Moneypenny). Fleming named her “April Dancer” (which the producers later adopted for THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E.)!

(6) Loren, son of the late Frank Deitz, has scheduled the sale of his father’s book collection on Saturday, October 3 in Tucker, GA. Pass the word. Here is the Facebook event page.

He also has a massive amount of historical SF/Con materials and would like to find people that might be interested in them for archival purposes. Drop me a line if you want to get in contact.

(7) The Hynes Convention Center mentioned in this story is where the 1989 and 2004 Worldcons were held – “Boston Police Arrest Two Pokémon Players After Apparent Gun Threat Against World Championships”.

Two men who drove from Iowa to Boston for the Pokémon World Championships were arrested Friday after seemingly threatening violence over social media against attendees of the event, according to the Boston Police Department.

Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, were arrested on several firearm-related charges. The official Pokémon site lists Kevin Norton and a James Stumbo, both from the U.S., as invitees in the “masters division” of the world championships of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Private security at the Hynes Convention Center, where the Championships were taking place, were also aware of the threats and stopped the two men when they attempted to enter on Thursday. Police detectives seized their car and upon delivery of a search warrant on Friday found within a 12 gauge shotgun, an AR-15 rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. They then arrested Norton and Stumbo that afternoon in Saugus, Massachusetts. The pair will be arraigned in Boston on Monday. The police released the above photo of the weapons confiscated from the car.

(8) Wendy N. Wagner writes to her younger self, “Dear Me at Age 12”

Just one more thing, little Me. I want to thank you for dreaming big. I don’t think there are a lot of kids out there who know what an editor is or want to write gaming tie-in fiction or would sit down and write “I want to win a Hugo award.” You’re kind of big weirdo, and I love that about you. I’m so glad I got to make your dreams come true.

Now I have to get back to work, because I didn’t stop dreaming when I was 12, and dreams don’t keep coming true if you don’t keep fighting for them. And don’t forget: you’re destroying science fiction, and that’s pretty great.

(9) Pay attention probies!

(10) On Facebook, a 1974 photo of A Change of Hobbit, Speculative Fiction Bookstore in Los Angeles.

(11) When I guessed John Scalzi would have no trouble finding an interesting lunch companion in LA, I was right…

(12) This is the Society for Creative Anachronism’s 50th anniversary, and as part of their observances they are developing The Shield Wall.

A project to memorialize people, households, groups and events that are not around any longer but of whom we all have fond memories

As we celebrate our Society completing its 50th year, we look around and see gaps. Dust to dust it is said, but “no one dies who lives within a heart” (Michael Longcor) and we want to share those who are lost to time but living in our hearts at this time. So, whether it is a person or some kind of entity (households, groups and events) that is no longer part of the fabric of our lives, the Shield Wall will be a highlight at the 50th Anniversary Celebration Event to share with the attendees.

Anyone who wishes to may create a standard size paper shield blank in any design that reminds THEM of the person, event, etc. It does not have to just be heraldry. It can be photos, toys, dolls, etc. We will take electronic submissions or you can mail your submission to our minions or you can get them to Indiana for the June 2016 event physically. We would appreciate you fill out the submission form so we can be sure to have room for your submission.

The shields would have a place of honor at 50 Year and be displayed for all to see.

[Thanks to Janice Gelb, John King Tarpinian and Loren Dietz for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

263 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/25 Polldark

  1. no no not possible. You couldn’t possibly enjoy it. It’s just a checklist of social justice issues

    Well, not ONLY [/Star Trek reboot]


    The funny thing about the “SJW checklist” thing is that this is scifi, where you can create a world quite different from our own and explore how that would work (or not!), and this has been done from the start.

    But look, we’re talking about a group whose most coherent leader once seriously claimed that scifi needed to get back to when it was all about fun and space battles and not social justice, you know like Star Trek…

    Brad T should have been laughed right off the internet for that, and the whole thing should’ve been over. But, of course, it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor either… 😉

  2. Chicago is so cute the way they think they have a summer.

    Where was I? Ah. The gender trick in Ancillary Justice. An amusing thing is that it puts Leckie in dialog with some “intersection-whatever critical-theory” stuff in ways that Puppies would probably find congenial if they thought about it for a second. For instance, as I’ve said before:

    The Radch don’t care about gender very much. The Radch also use rape as a tool against occupied populations.

    Well, put that in your kyriarchy and smoke it a minute. The Radch by implication has a military of male and female soldiers raping both male and female members of the occupied population. It’s one of the ways in which Leckie’s vision places the impulse to dominate, exploit and colonize anterior to, and outside of, heteropatriarchy as it were. Even in a perfect world where everyone was equal across gender norms, the Radch would still own the film rights and the sequel would still suck for the folks they set their sights on.

    You can think Leckie is right or wrong about this (is political domination separable from the impulse to male supremacy as we know it). But you can’t think it’s just a regurgitation of trendy left-wing ideas about gender and domination, because the trendy left-wing ideas run the other way.

  3. I am pleased to admit to helping to burn down a few catagories as the Puppies say.

    You know what? I also toasted marshmallows in the flames and heated the milk for my cocoa in the embers. And now as a nominator I am digging the ashes into the soil around next year’s crop. I hope they grow big and strong.

  4. You can think Leckie is right or wrong about this (is political domination separable from the impulse to male supremacy as we know it). But you can’t think it’s just a regurgitation of trendy left-wing ideas about gender and domination, because the trendy left-wing ideas run the other way.

    My response to the idea that gender equality in politics would lead to left-wing utopia/dystopia has always been something like: No. Maggie Thatcher, QED.

  5. Fascinated that not-Puppies are to blame for The Martian and Andy Weir not making the ballot in their respective categories, considering not-Puppies are the ones that voted for them and they would have made the ballot (if in The Martian’s case probably be ruled ineligible) if it weren’t for the Puppy slates. Is that a “You made us do it” I hear from the Puppy above?

    Has anyone tried to tell the Puppies that No Award has actually won categories before and those categories continued to exist afterwards? It isn’t hard to find out; even if you fail to find the Hugo website all the results are on Wikipedia. Nothing has been burned to the ground. I ask because they don’t seem to know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it just hadn’t sunk in.

  6. this just in from BT’s blog ….

    When the early LDS were burned out of and run off their lands in the United States, they left. For years, the early LDS had tried to “fit” with the U.S. climate at that time, and the U.S. raised up torches and pitchforks and drove the Mormons out. And in the 1800s, the climate was this: nobody batted an eyelash. Mormons were not wanted. Mormons were detestable and hated and deserved to be run off.

    So, the LDS took a page from the English Pilgrims and simply went away. To a far place. Built their temples and their civilization anew. It took blood, sweat, effort, and a willingness to not care what the CHORFs said or did or thought.

    I am of a similar mindset at this moment. The Hugo “body” cannot be saved if it doesn’t want to be saved. You cannot heal a patient who does not want to be treated. If the patient celebrates his disease, what is there to be done?

    So, I scan my eyes to the horizon. To the future.

    This year, I marched up a hill for my principles, and went directly into the teeth of the fight. Hundreds (thousands?) of others did likewise. Ultimately, the keepers of the hill conducted a Gunpowder Plot, and blew the whole thing — all of it — to smithereens. To keep the “wrong” people from having a piece of the hill.

    I would leave the conductors of the Gunpowder Plot to their own devices. They can keep their hill. They are not me. I am not them. We are anathema to each other.

    Accolades can be created elsewhere. Enthusiasms can be celebrated elsewhere. Energy — even angry energy — can be used to build. The early LDS did it once, and raised a city and a state. It was the right choice. It was the Christian choice. I don’t think you have to be a Christian to take more joy in creation, than in destruction.

    The people of the Gunpowder Plot cheered destruction. They cheered it.

    I did not.

    I will build in the far land.

    can we even hope?

  7. I hope I never find out what sex Leckie assigned them, it’s much more interesting that way.

    Exactly. I don’t think Leckie’s use of the pronoun is “just” a trick. Nor do I think it has nothing to do with gender politics. It has everything to do with how we find it almost impossible to read a text without assigning characters to one gender or another.

  8. Re: Best Editor

    What about editors whose biggest contribution may be their ability to see an important work when no one else does? After 20+ rejections, Delany sent Dhalgren to Fred Pohl, who recognized it was a masterpiece and bought it. What credit should he get for that?

    I heard Ellen Klages describe how she realized that writing “Wakulla Springs” was a waste of time, because it didn’t fit in any genre and no one would ever buy it. PNH snapped it up. Personally, I thought the story was brilliant, so I give Patrick a huge amount of credit for that. I recognize that opinions of this story vary wildly, so feel free to choose your own example of a story you love that barely made it out to an audience. The real question is whether this is part of being “Best Editor.”

  9. I will build in the far land.

    I have seen too many pretty promises from that crew to believe a word of it. When a decade has passed without them slating the Hugos again, come talk to me

  10. @clif

    Yes, because Torgersen’s spanking at the hands of the Worldcon voters is exactly analogous to the early days of the LDS settlers. I mean, geez, do these guys not realize that comparing this to grim survival struggles of history makes them look like bigger flakes and lunatics?

  11. They don’t understand what the Hugos are and what they actually mean. They don’t understand that the rockets aren’t the important part.

    Or when the game is played. The contest isn’t the outcome of the votes, the votes just tallying up the points scored through the previous year. The Puppies act like, if Worldcon can’t give awards, they’ve taken away the celebration of the work, but celebrating that work starts the year before and that is the game. Those books haven’t gone anywhere. There’s no secret about what they are. No one missed the months of buzz about TBP or Eugie Foster’s story and so on. No one missed the reviews and recommendations of people advocating or defending their favorite work. That’s the process that build’s a book’s reputation, the fans building up its merits and visibility in public for a year, not the award. (And this is also why it changes very little that Pratchett’s never had the award itself, because his books have won that game many times.) That’s all the voting reflects. So if you skip the game that builds a book’s reputation, and jump to the voting process to get in on the medals being handed out, it’s no wonder your book doesn’t have the reputation, and the books that played do. You’re just way too late. And it’s no secret the game is played this way. People have been asking the Puppies to talk about what they love for months.

    The Hugos are just the cherry on top. Basically, Worldcon fans are sitting there with a sundae that missed the cherry off the top, going, “Shame about the cherries, but this is all still pretty tasty,” while the Puppies are talking about things burning to the ground. LARPing against a moving space-book tailgate party just looks silly. Worldcon is literally a social weekend of space books and beer when awards are given, and remains a social weekend of space books and beer when awards are not given.

    I’m sorry Larry and Brad had a bad time when some fans of space books and beer invited them to a party in their honor. Sometimes you don’t get along with the other guests at a party. Sometimes it’s really not your sort of party and you regret going. But let’s drop the LARPing for a moment and be realistic about what happened. This isn’t how you deal with your hosts if you go to a party you don’t like. It’s a wonder to me that they get Christmas party invitations anymore, if SP1, SP2, and SP3 are how they react to cocktail parties where they feel uncomfortable.

  12. The war analogies with these guys…

    I mean, nothing will top the Churchill/FDR/Stalin one (making the “SJWs” Hitler of course), but there have been so many ridiculous analogies. These guys can make mountains out of anthills.

  13. @jcr:

    What about editors whose biggest contribution may be their ability to see an important work when no one else does? After 20+ rejections, Delany sent Dhalgren to Fred Pohl, who recognized it was a masterpiece and bought it. What credit should he get for that?

    Yes. A book editor’s first job is acquisition. And while helping improve the weak parts of a text is a contribution, there’s also considerable value, surely, in not messing with what should not be messed with.

    For this reason, I was content that “If you like the book you like the editor” worked as well for long-form as short-form. The editor greenlighted the book you loved, got it through the pipeline and into your hands, and either got the author to fix the bad parts or refrained from screwing up what was already good about it. By their fruits ye shall know them, if, unlike Toni Weisskopf, they tell you which fruits were theirs.

    But then I read Laura Resnick’s account of succeeding with two books despite her editor’s best effort to ruin them, and then Nick and Malcolm (I think) weighed in, and now I’m back to thinking that this category probably should be “burned down.”

  14. And hey, speaking of reforming Hugo categories along the principle that we should be voting for works rather than workers, like we do with the fiction and drama and zines, why stop with editor? How about, instead of giving awards to best pro and fan artist, we change it to best pro and fan artwork? Nominate and then vote for a single piece, not (theoretically) a body of work in that year.

    Someone should propose this! (Not me, I’m an ideas man.)

  15. The default pronoun being “she” (in the translation) is the primary reason why there is so much hatred from puppies against Leckie’s novel–except for SCALZI! and Dinosaur!!!, Leckie’s pronouns are probably the most complained about.

    As a survivor of the First Pronoun Wars of the late 60s/early 70s (when the overwhelming use of “he” as the generic “human” pronoun in writing was challenged by feminists, with dire predictions of the Fall of Western Civilization due to PRONOUNS, I find the whole thing fascinating (LeGuin was critizied by some feminists for using “he” throughout The Left Hand of Darkness for an androgynous race–and she talked about her decision, including her enjoyment of writing the sentence: “The King was pregnant.”).

    (We’re now in a Second Pronoun wars over the pronoun choices of agender or gender queer people and also pronoun choice, relating to trans people.)

    Nowadays writing textbooks, style guides, and technical writing textbooks all advise strongly against sex-specific language (i.e. assuming X is a man, using only masculine pronouns, etc.)

    A lot has changed in the pronoun front, I thought, and then in sweeps Leckie with one of the most amazing sf novels ever (and I completely agree with those who have pointed out the pronoun is not the major thing, and that there’s a huge amount of fascinating stuff to do with power and language and oppression while also noting that if the simply use of “she” as the default human pronoun so bugs the shit out of people, then that’s pretty telling in itself).

    I also LOVE reading all the comments about the reading experiences people had — I admit to wallowing in thinking of everyone as feminine though not always female-bodied at the start, because, well, WHY NOT? And then it got complicated. Leckie is BRILLIANT.

    I’m teaching a course in the spring on marginalized literatures–it’s gonna be women sff authors. Jemisin’s FIFTH SEASON will be in the reading, and I’m thinking of pairing LEFT HAND with the first ANCILLARY because that would be so cool.

  16. Major thanks to Laura Resnick and others pointing out the specifics of an editor’s job (vs. copyeditor’s job!).

  17. The more I’ve read, the more I think that while it might be possible to judge editors of a collection/anthology, or a magazine, the long form just is impossible.

  18. “Don’t Feed The Trolls” is advice that only works if the troll is basically a bored loner. If the troll is motivated by something other than simple boredom and/or has support from other trolls, just ignoring them doesn’t work because they get positive feedback not from getting a lolz-worthy response from their targets, but from either the pleasure of raging, or the positive feedback from their fellow trolls, or both. They and their fellow trolls provide their own positive feedback and reward system; the reaction of the targets is mostly irrelevant. By that, I mean that while they of course love a good juicy reaction, it’s not what keeps them going. They keep themselves going. They are largely self-sustaining, so refusing to feed them doesn’t stop them. And if people don’t make a reply to their rageful trolling, a “silence implies assent” dynamic takes place as watchers tend to think, “Hm, no one is responding, so maybe these guys have a point.”

    Way back in April when I first started participating here, I advocated a troll-response pattern modeled after something called the “BIFF” technique, and I’m going to do so again. This was developed by a social-worker-turned-family-lawyer for use in high conflict divorce and custody cases, often with emotionally unstable and/or highly agitated participants, which he classified as “High Conflict Personalities.” High Conflict Personalities are characterized by the following: “All-or-nothing thinking, unmanaged emotions, extreme behaviors, and blaming others.” (Sound like any puppies or gators we all know?)

    “BIFF” is an acronym to remind people under attack by a high conflict personality that responses, particularly electronic responses such as emails or social media posts, should be “Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm” to avoid escalating the conflict while also not ceding any ground to the person trying to start a war using misinformation or outright lies propelled by the jet fuel of irrational rage. You can find info and resources on this technique at — I recommend the article list and the blog. There’s also an article here giving an example of using BIFF at work:

  19. Sort of falls into “two sides equally bad” rhetoric…

    Flint seems to have missed the many Puppy manifestos about what kind of fiction they don’t think should win awards, and what they claim they want winning awards, because the article he criticizes actually sums up their position pretty well.

    Whether the Puppy authors have written other kinds of stories, they claimed in their various screeds pushing their slate that what they wanted were old fashioned raygun and rocketship stories. They didn’t deliver that in their slate, so one can doubt the veracity of their claims, but the author of the article Flint is taking to task is merely taking the Pups at their word.

  20. Buck Turgidson:

    Accolades can be created elsewhere. Enthusiasms can be celebrated elsewhere. Energy — even angry energy — can be used to build.

    Yes. People kept trying to tell you this, Buck. If the Hugos aren’t doing it for you, make your own awards. Hell, make your own cons, you’ve got one already and there’s nothing wrong with more.

    If you do it well for decades, you’ll have built something with the prestige you want, rather than trying to hijack some other group’s prestige by telling them they built it all wrong, but they were successful so now you’re going to take it over.

    Plenty of room for all sorts of people, SF and approaches to fandom. Just not so much for the seize-and-conquer approach. Leave to Worldcon what is and has always been Worldcon’s, because they built it.

    Go make you the Canis Major awards. Make them excellent. Make them what you want them to be. The SF community likes awards.

    They just don’t much like people trying to wreck awards if they can’t have them on demand.

  21. From what I can tell, Flint co-writes with conservatives and thus has strong personal and professional pressures that might tip him toward both-sides-doitism. So I’m not really surprised.

  22. Jim Henley: I believe Best Artwork was tried as a special Hugo by one WorldCon, and didn’t get enough nominations. I don’t think enough people remember individual artworks. I agree that in general it should be works not people, but here I doubt whether that’s practical.

    (I do find it odd that a WorldCon committee is seriously contemplating creating another person Hugo – or possibly Non-Hugo, but voted on as such.)

  23. @mede
    Eric Flint has posted on the whole mess

    …and although he doesn’t quite seem to realize it, points out that the stuff the Puppy authors write doesn’t match Brad’s description of “Nutty Nuggets” either.

  24. “Yes, because Torgersen’s spanking at the hands of the Worldcon voters is exactly analogous to the early days of the LDS settlers. I mean, geez, do these guys not realize that comparing this to grim survival struggles of history makes them look like bigger flakes and lunatics?”

    Actually, it does kind of match up. From my understanding, a good portion of the Mormon hierarchy were assholes and when they decided that they’d be better off leaving, a lot of those who went along did so because they’d put their faith in their leaders, not because they themselves were assholes. It worked out for some and not for others. My Mormon ancestors apparently went along as far as southwest Iowa where–according to family legend–a “difference of opinion” over polygamy led to them deciding to stay put and start anew there. Where they did quite well–no burning of temples or anything.

  25. If I see one more Puppy comment about how SAD PUPPIES 3: the 2015 Hugo slate wasn’t a slate and wasn’t even called a slate I’ll scream. Puppies everywhere, please, the word slate is in the title. The word slate is in the URL. Please just stop.

    This comment brought to you by: Scolling down to the comments on Eric Flint’s post.

    As far as Flint’s comments about diversity go, he draws a neat pointy arrow to the problem (and hypocrisy) the Puppies have created for themselves. They might include diversity in their own work, but when anyone who doesn’t meet their arbitrary right-wing criteria includes it they start squalling about affirmative action and message fiction. Actions might speak louder than words, but when you’ve produced so many words in such obnoxious language, complaining that people listened to you is silly.

  26. I think they should name their new awards the Hugonot Awards. Maybe call them the Calvins for short.

    I thought that’s what capitalism was all about. If you think the current players aren’t adequately serving the market, then you move in and through hard work (blood, sweat and tears) you take over. If the Hugo Awards don’t adequately represent the fans of SFF, then there’s an opening a cagey organizer can exploit.

    But as a supposed adherent of Uncle Joe, what do I know of capitalism?

  27. rrede –

    Eric Flint has posted on the whole mess: http://www.ericflint.net/index.php/2015/08/26/do-we-really-have-to-keep-feeding-stupid-and-his-cousin-ignoramus/

    Sort of falls into “two sides equally bad” rhetoric…

    Yeah, I’m still not a fan of someone telling me what side I signed up for when I don’t remember pledging allegiance to anything, not to mention he talks about how it’s a more complex issue while boiling it down to a ‘both sides’ argument.

    But he still makes some good points and considering how respected he is in the field I’d hope some might listen to him that the way to issues they might have is through building up instead of tearing down.

  28. I mean, geez, do these guys not realize that comparing this to grim survival struggles of history makes them look like bigger flakes and lunatics?

    Especially since the early LDS had to leave because, among other things, they were openly violating actual laws. So far, I haven’t seen the various canids doing that.

  29. Wasn’t there Best Original Art Work in the 90s? 1990, skip 1991, then 1992-1996?

  30. Nigel on August 26, 2015 at 12:28 pm said:
    This is a very attractive Pixel Scroll, by the way. It’s Polldark and handsome

    That pun was not just corny but it was also Cornish.

  31. @rrede:

    Are you aware of the short story “Winter’s King”, in which Le Guin uses female pronouns for Gethenians? I found it interesting.

    (And I loved it, because I love Le Guin and Gethen. But I also found it interesting.)

  32. Jack Lint: Ah, OK. I must have confused it with something else. Still, they must have had some reason for dropping it.

  33. Astra : Man, people get bent out of shape by the female pronouns in the Ancillary books. Thing is, it works by demonstrating how often we mentally default to assuming a character is male if not explicitly told otherwise. I’m no fan of gimmicky authorial tricks, but I don’t think this was; it’s quite effective.

    It also goes to show the rise of the loud-mouth reactionaries as a coherent bloc in fandom – anybody who got their knickers in a twist over Leckie’s use of pronouns has obviously never read “Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand” or their underwear would be wrapped around their prostate.

  34. I’ve mentioned it before, but I found the “gender trick” fascinating because I had a lot of trouble picturing any characters as male, even the ones who had been definitively established as such. I’ve never experienced that before while reading a book.

    Totally. And I’m pretty sure this is a primary reason why so many people who you’d logically expect to be fine w/ the book’s political implications (re: Jim Henley’s observations) find it so angering. If you’re committed to rejecting the idea that there’s a default privileged gender, the ‘trick’ contradicts you, and on a kind of disorienting, gut level. For page after page.

    The fact that it’s a pretty darn well crafted example of the sort of story a puppy is ‘supposed’ to like only adds to the insult.

  35. @Andrew M. They only had three nominees in 1994 and 1995. Maybe they weren’t getting a lot of nominations? (But they had five nominees again in 1996.)

  36. @Matt Y

    Eric Flint has been beating the “leftier than thou” drum for some while now. I rather fear that if he keeps hand-waving at the issues with such vigor he may find himself airborne rather than chairborne.

  37. @Rick K

    Brad Torgersen mentioned Ancillary Justice and gender cooties as far back as January, here´s the quote:

    Here’s the thing about Ancillary Justice. For about 18 months prior to the book’s release, SF/F was a-swirl with yammering about gender fluidity, gender “justice,” transgenderism, yadda yadda. Up pops Ancillary Justice and everyone is falling all over themselves about it. Because why? Because the topic du jour of the Concerned Intellectuals Are Concerned set, was gender. And Ancillary Justice’s prime gimmick was how it messed around with gender. And it was written by a female writer. Wowzers! How transgressive! How daring! We’re fighting the cis hetero male patriarchy now, comrades! We’ve anointed Leckie’s book the hottest thing since sliced bread. Not because it’s passionate and sweeping and speaks to the heart across the ages. But because it’s a social-political pot shot at ordinary folk. For whom more and more of the SF/F snobs have nothing but disdain and derision.

    It goes on for a bit about how the activist-writers/fans are trying to destroy western civilization by spreading their gender cooties, but you get the idea.
    Why SAD PUPPIES 3 is going to destroy Science Fiction!

  38. @Kurt Busiek:

    So, Wright’s latest eruption complains that THE MARTIAN didn’t win anything. Of course, it could have won the Campbell — or rather, the author could — if you assholes hadn’t slated him off the ballot.

    tl;dr: It’s not clear that it could have won the Campbell. That would require a ruling.

    Disclaimer: I’m not citing the rules verbatim, here, but rather going on memory and checking with my wife Deirdre the published SFF author, so check if you’re really curious about this. That having been said: Eligibility is based on the year of one’s professional debut. Andy Weir self-published The Martian in 2011 — and, like most self-published works, was initially little-noticed. Then in 2013, he re-released it as an audio book. This is what got noticed and made the work famous.

    Here’s the thing: There are no firm rulings on what does and does not qualify as one’s professional debut, e.g., no ‘We’re not going to call you a pro based on the year half a decade ago when you sold 50 copies of a fanfic novel for US $0.50 each in epub format.’ It’s a totally open question about what the cutoff is and should be about when an author is deemed a professional.

    If initial publication of The Martian in 2011 sufficed to make Weir an SFF professional, then, no, it could not have won the Campbell in 2015. If not, then yes. However, this decision was never adjudicated, because Weir placed sixth, so we’ll never know.

    And, because Weir wasn’t published (to the best of my recollection) in 2014, at least not with anything I’ve heard cited as award-worthy, none of his works would have been eligible for any of the 2015 Hugo Awards, either.

    I’m tempted to make some catty remark about how yr. humble servant, a senior system administrator and not a (fiction) writer of any sort, knows the Campbell and Hugo qualifications cold while JCW, who writes SFF as his profession evidently knows fsck-all about it and lacks the common sense to look it up before bloviating on the subject in public. Well, whoops, I just did, right? Bad me.

  39. I just followed the link to Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s Twitter, and saw this tweet:

    I am, #inallmodesty, one of the finest people who kicked him out of the Novelette category to begin with.— Thomas Olde Heuvelt (@Thomas_Novelist) August 25, 2015

    As one of his followers replied: “Oh snaaaaaaaaap.”

  40. @ascholl:

    Totally. And I’m pretty sure this is a primary reason why so many people who you’d logically expect to be fine w/ the book’s political implications (re: Jim Henley’s observations) find it so angering. If you’re committed to rejecting the idea that there’s a default privileged gender, the ‘trick’ contradicts you, and on a kind of disorienting, gut level. For page after page.

    Damned good point.

    Back in the ’80s, Hofstadter’s famous piece ‘A Person Paper on Purity in Language‘ in his Scientific American column ‘Metamagical Themas’ (and essay collection of the same name) made this point in a intellectual sense, and pounded the point into the ground thoroughly — but (in my experience) failed to make the reader feel the point viscerally and see the rivets in his/her reality walls. It’s understandable works causng people’s mental foundations to wobble would be divisive.

    I’ll bet the late Robert Anton Wilson would have loved Leckie’s novels, in that sense. Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!

  41. [Andy Weir/Campbell]

    Worth noting that The Martian isn’t the first thing he’s released on the web, either – his webcomic Casey and Andy had enough of a following that it has an official GURPS supplement. Which he illustrated, which opens an entirely different can of worms – is this a professional work in terms of the Campbell?


    Copyright date on the supplement is 2005.

    Let me just say that I’m extremely glad I’m not the one who has to make the call on Andy’s Campbell eligibility. (Because he was a really nice guy the one time I met him, and I’d hate to have to rule against him.)

  42. Rick Moen — the Campbell is not given to a particular written work and is not locked in to a single year, it is given to the author, who is eligible for the Campbell award in the two years immediately following their professional debut. If the sale of The Martian to an audio book company in 2013 counts as his first “professional” sale THAT’s when the Campbell clock begins ticking. So he would have been eligible in 2014 and 2015.

  43. I was speaking to at least one former Hugo Administrator at the weekend and they were clear he was eligible for next year under the 2nd year rule. So, it’s been discussed by people who have to make the call.

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