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. @Brad J:

    [Andy Weir’s 2005 GURPS supplement:]

    Which he illustrated, which opens an entirely different can of worms – is this a professional work in terms of the Campbell?

    I would pronounce ex-cathedra, from my highly non-Papal armchair, that it clearly does not, as it is not a prose work of fiction. Although the WSFS Constitution says only that the Campbell is for ‘Best New Writer’, the trend of Hugo Administrators’ rulings over the years has been consistent: Qualifying professional sales are for SFF prose fiction. (If you want an interesting and more debatable edge case, a graphic novel would be one. There’s been no Campbell ‘professional debut’ ruling about the case of a graphic novel so far, either.)

    Some confusion on this subject gets created by existence of a Campbell FAQ Web page at writertopia.com, written/maintained by a guy (Bill Katz) who was once a nominee and was a 2004 Writers of the Future grand prize winner. I vaguely recall that his assertions on the matter ended up being ruled against by a Hugo Admin about seven or so years ago, and the page has no sort of authority whatsoever (though I should stress that I have no doubt of Katz’s helpful intentions) — yet even the volunteers running the WSFS Web site thehugoawards.org link to the FAQ!

    Basically, as I understand it, Dell Magzines delegates all decisions about the Campbell (‘John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer’) to the Hugo administrators, and thus the only definitive source of information is their collection of past rulings.

    There. If I’ve erred, I’m sure at least five or six past Hugo Administrators are just about to rebut me in…three…two…one… go! And I won’t mind. ;->

  2. I really enjoyed Justice and I’m looking forward to reading the other books. As someone mentioned a further back I was also immediately reminded of Player of Games and its note on how gender was being translated from the genderless Marain language.

    Marain is also noted as being both an artificial language and used as moral weapon by the Culture. Parts of the Raadchai language are also hinted as being used to control their society. I was also reminded of the dwarfs of Discworld.

    “Lovers, which one was the…”
    “They were both dwarfs Sam” said Sybil, sharply.
    The Fifth Elephant

    So to me it neither made the book or harmed it, just added to the texture of the world building. While Breq and Sevierien’s sex are most likely established I didn’t put much effort into anyone else, except maybe Awn who I flip flopped on a couple of times before deciding it really didn’t matter.

    The only thing I struggled with initially and caused me to put Justice aside for a bit was the amount of time spent drinking tea before the plot started to pick up. I was sure it would, but at the time felt like something a bit higher paced.

  3. SocialInjusticeWorrier

    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

    I find him reasonable even if ‘both sides’ stuff raises my hackles. Frankly he is leftier than me so I don’t mind that he beats that drum whatsoever

  4. Torgersen:

    I will build in the far land.

    Maybe, as a gesture of reconciliation, we could take up a collection to get him a boxcar to take him wherever he wants to go.

  5. @Rick Moen

    That Hofstadter piece is hilarious & brutal. The white is a treasure.

    Though maybe the joke is ill-advised: it’s a clever and effective conceit, but maybe too delicate to use outside of strictly defined space.

  6. @Rick Moen
    If I’ve erred, I’m sure at least five or six past Hugo Administrators are just about to rebut me in…three…two…one… go!

    Indeed. If you want an answer to something, it’s faster to post the wrong answer and get corrected than to ask the question.

  7. Maybe this is so obvious it seems like it doesn’t need to be said — but — it’s not the alleged “SJW” fandom cabal that is frothingly OBSESSED with whether or not a story has some fun with gendered language expectations or features a cross-racial gay couple at its heart. The problem is not that we (assuming there is a we) require these things. The problem is that they (that is, the puppy cabal) seem to require their absence.

  8. I did like what Pratchett did with the dwarves in The Fifth Element. It is a pity he went and torched it all in later books, making the Grags stereotypical bad guys.

  9. @Lori Coulson:

    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.

    Well, yeah, I will add without objection that this is exactly what I was trying to say. So, his Campbell eligibility would hinge on how that question was adjudicated — but it never was adjudicated, because he was in sixth place on the nomination results.

    So he would have been eligible in 2014 and 2015.

    If the self-published version in 2011 were not ruled to be his professional debut. Which would be the question that was never officially decided, and now never will be.

    @Daveon:

    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.

    If he was aware of the self-published 2011 release, then yes, one person of the sort who would have been called upon to make the ruling if they were still among the 2015 Administrators, said he or she would have. Noted.

    @Nat Lovin:

    Based on this page I believe Weir was eligible this year, and is also eligible next year.

    Believe that if you wish, but FWIW that is the very Bill Katz writertopia.com page I was warning (right around the time you were posting, I wouldn’t doubt) lacks authority and is just one writer’s well-intentioned but totally unofficial effort to FAQ the matter. But, anyway, since even a construing of the facts favourable to Weir’s case would make him eligible in 2014 and 2015 (based on audio-book publication in 2013), I’m unclear on how he would remain eligible in 2016.

  10. If you want an answer to something, it’s faster to post the wrong answer and get corrected than to ask the question.

    That was a Usenet Law, back when the signal-to-noise there didn’t suck.

  11. Microtherion : Maybe, as a gesture of reconciliation, we could take up a collection to get [Torgersen] a boxcar to take him wherever he wants to go.

    As a gesture of goodwill, if everyone else ponies up enough to get him to the coast, I’ll add my bit to get him a mile or two further.

  12. Here’s a question: where are the actual, formal, Campbell award rules?

    Because they’re not in the WSFS constitution.

    Rick – the question is did he self-publish the audiobook or not, because if he did I think there’s a case to be made that it doesn’t qualify (under the writertopia rules)

  13. Rick: he was aware. The view was the professional first publish date was 2014, but under the strict Hugo rules for the novel categoryl they have to take 2011 for that.

    So he should be fine for the Campbell next year.

    Of course as a huge puppy favorite I am sure they’ll be recommending him 🙂

  14. @Jamoche
    Indeed, Usenet was where I first learned that particular lesson. Back in the day, I had a .signature with “‘Correct me if I’m wrong’ is the most redundant statement on Usenet.”

    Of course, due to the obligatory misconfiguration of a new news host, it got added to the post twice the first time I used it, making the signature even more redundant.

  15. @Rick Moen

    I wonder if the audio book counts or if its more of a dramatic presentation and therefore not exactly prose.

  16. The Martian wasn’t eligible, and everyone knew why. The Martian was a Sad Puppy favorite.

    Wait… is he seriously saying that the ELIGIBILITY rules are set up to specifically keep anything the Puppies like off the ballot??

    What does he think this year’s ballot was all about, one wonders!

  17. @Meredith:

    I wonder if the audio book counts or if its more of a dramatic presentation and therefore not exactly prose.

    Yeah, don’t know. These are the sorts of questions that make me think being a Hugo Administrator is about the closest thing possible to being pastor of a religious congregation of seminary students who all think you’re an idiot and want to overrule you on first principles. (/me cheerily waves to @John Lorentz, and hopes he’s enjoying being no longer on the firing line.) Fortunately for them, as with judges in the legal context, the Hugo admins can and do avoid deciding questions that aren’t actually at issue.

    @Daveon: Yeah, I suspect that upthread I probably did a classic Obi-Wan Error (off-by-one error) on the years in question. Anyway, good to know. I have not yet read Weir’s work, and might just be lazy and see how badly Hollywood stuffs up the adaptation first.

  18. So the professional buy was in 2014, and audiobook = dramatic presentation not publishing?

    Hmmm, ok. So he’s eligible for next year…looks like I’ll read The Martian and maybe add him to my potential nominee list.

  19. Well, I guess Brad has come full circle. He had already honored his LDS roots by choosing his slate by sticking his head in a hat and dictating the miraculous revelations of a democratic process only he could see.

  20. @bloodstone75

    Well, I guess Brad has come full circle. He had already honored his LDS roots by choosing his slate by sticking his head in a hat and dictating the miraculous revelations of a democratic process only he could see.

    And the Sorting Hat said:

    “Hush, Puppies!”

  21. Gabriel F. on August 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm said:

    The Martian wasn’t eligible, and everyone knew why. The Martian was a Sad Puppy favorite.

    Wait… is he seriously saying that the ELIGIBILITY rules are set up to specifically keep anything the Puppies like off the ballot??

    If one was of a mind to extend the benefit of the doubt, one might surmise that that person was referring to the interpretation of the eligibility rules. Like, maybe there’s a gray area for which the ruling could have gone either way, but the ruling went against Weir because SAD PUPPY ENDORSEMENT!!1!

    If one was of a mind to extend the benefit of the doubt.

  22. @Daveon:

    Of course as a huge puppy favorite I am sure they’ll be recommending him.

    <mode=’annoying copy editor’>You’re a huge puppy favourite? Who knew?</mode>

    (Misplaced modifiers; your second-best entertainment value, next only to Usenet kooks.)

  23. Well, #inallmodesty, I’m Modesty Blaise!

    More seriously, if Andy is eligible for nomination, I certainly will nominate him this year.

  24. Personally, I didn’t care for The Martian. Although the plot was great I found the writing to be (imho) mediocre at best and full of cutesie internet/Reddit memes which I found became intolerably annoying. Fantastic plot but poor writing in my estimation.

  25. @UncannyValley The Martian needed a serious prose polish especially in the 3’rd person sections. Story-wise it was enjoyable.

  26. Huh. I had completely forgotten about Weir’s GURPS book – and that was back when I was still very involved with SJGames, too. Although I never followed Casey and Andy all that closely, so I suppose there’s an excuse.

  27. UncannyValley –

    Personally, I didn’t care for The Martian. Although the plot was great I found the writing to be (imho) mediocre at best and full of cutesie internet/Reddit memes which I found became intolerably annoying. Fantastic plot but poor writing in my estimation

    I enjoyed the humor, science and pace. I wouldn’t expect everyone to like it but I was hooked. Wouldn’t have made the 1st place for me but easily in my top ten for last year.

    If you thought that was bad for memes avoid Cline’s Armada from this year. It felt like half the dialogue were characters quoting scifi movies.

  28. I haven’t had my morning caffeine injection yet, so this may be an even sillier idea than I think it is: how about if the WSFS just sells the rights to the Hugo to the Puppies? They want it so bad, they can have it, say for a straight million. A straightforward capitalistic deal. Then they can award the Hugo to whoever they want for whatever reasons please their silly little hearts, and the WSFS can have another award, administered according to the rules they had for the Hugos. Call them the Maries, after Mary Shelley, perhaps.

    Wright and Correia and Torgersen and Hoyt and Paulk and Tank Marmot and whoever can have a Hugo each, and Beale can have two because he’s just that awesome, and the rest of us can not give a damn, because the Maries will be the new nucleus around which the WSFS will have its annual party. And everyone will be happy.

  29. I keep seeing the Puppies whine that “No Award deprived good folks of Awards”.

    They just don’t get it. Yes, the Editor categories go to people, but the Fiction categories go to works.

    So why don’t we see the Puppies whining that “No Award deprived good works of Awards”?

    I think we all know the answer to that one.

  30. I never realized that Andy Weir was the guy behind Casey and Andy. I remember it from the great Wikipedia webcomic buildup, followed shortly by the great Wikipedia webcomic purge. Which is why I have approximately 90% more free time now, as I decided that pouring hours each day into improving Wikipedia wasn’t really worth it.

  31. My favourite kinds of stories are those that grab me and pull me into a plot that makes me turn pages and find out what happens next, AND have something chewy in there to think about beyond what the plot involved BUT you don’t have to masticate the chewy bits in order to enjoy the book as a good story. Books that have page-turning plots but nothing chewy are fun and entertaining and escapist. I like them lots and read dozens in a year. Works that are all chewy bits without an interesting plot tend to bore me. But the books I remember and talk about and pass on to others have had the combination. They hit the “you can just enjoy it as an entertainment, but if you want to dig deeper, there are rewards” sweet spot.

    The conversation here reminds me that the Leckie books work in that way. It is perfectly possible to breeze over the gender stuff and the philosophical questions of what Breq is and focus on the pure plot stuff — what’s the weird stuff going on? how did Justice of Toren end up being Breq? Will Breq get hold of that special weapon and get revenge? — and have a good time. Or you can read it as a meditation on humanity and gender assumptions and imperialism if that is your thing, and have a good time. Or you can do some of both. That’s the kind of book that will get a Hugo nomination out of me, every time, and why, as much as I like purely entertaining fiction, something like a Hary Dresden book will not.

    The thing I found most interesting about Leckie’s treatment of sex/gender and society in the Ancillary books is how it acts as a Rorshach test of your own interests in and expectations of gender and sex.

    I’m a woman, in a male dominated field of work, and my emotional/romantic relationships and close friendships are with mainly women. So when I started the book and everyone at first appears to be female, I took it at face value. Okay, a society where equality is established enough that no one is fazed by all the positions of authority are held by women. The revelation that some characters are biologically male was startling, but even more interesting were the discussions here and elsewhere that demonstrated how much that little curveball that isn’t even central to the plot throws people into all different kinds of bemusement.

    There are the people who were made uneasy by the lack of indications of who is “really” male and those who got frustrated because they had a hard time visualising the characters without knowing male or female. There were people who speculated about child rearing without gender norms. There’s the interesting question of whether positing the same society and scenario but with gender pronouns defaulting to “he” and “him” would change the view of the story for many people. The discussions have been fascinating.

    But again, if spaceships and ray guns are your thing, you can skim right past all the gender stuff and just enjoy a good story. That’s what makes both Ancillary books work so well for me.

    Also, I did like Wesley Chu and voted for him enthusiastically, but having read the Martian n the last week, I can say that if Weir had been on the Campbell ballot, I absolutely would have voted for him as my first pick.

  32. Andy Weir also wrote The Egg.

    You can also watch two talks that he gave at Google about The Martianthe most recent one (talk given 17th August, published on Youtube just yesterday) talks about the book and its aftermath including the upcoming movie; the older one from about a year and a half ago (February 2014) was of course squarely about the book itself.

    Both talks are very entertaining to watch!

  33. (… and of course I thought about this part way after the Edit button disappeared.)

    The first Andy Weir talk about The Martian starts with Andy Weir reading the first chapter from the book, and description of the software he wrote to simulate the orbital dynamics & ship acceleration, in order to get things like the travel and communication times accurate – followed by a lengthy Q&A.

  34. One reason the Puppies are sometimes excited about The Martian is that Scalzi’s Old Man’s War was “published” by him on his own website before PNH bought it for Tor and published it professionally, and it got a Hugo nom in 2006 based on the Tor publication. Folks have wondered how this is consistent with Weir self publishing and then being ineligible for a Hugo when Crown published it professionally in 2014.

    I seem to recall Scalzi’s summary being something like “10 years ago, ePublishing was different, and I don’t make the eligibility rulings”.

    Clearly this is evidence of the SJW InnerRing Scalzi-Nielsen-Hayden-Tor Hugo conspiracy.

  35. I am, #inallmodesty, a skilled scroller, one of the finest reading posts today.

    Loved that GOH speech in person and pleased to see that it holds up well in text form, too. Kudos to David Gerrold. It might be going into my list of potential Hugo noms for Related Work.

  36. Hey, we can nominate the Hugo Ceremony at Sasquan for BDP, long form, right? I don’t think I will….but it’s tempting. I hardly ever go to the movies, and I really enjoyed the ceremony.

  37. The Martian wasn’t eligible, and everyone knew why. The Martian was a Sad Puppy favorite.

    Wait… is he seriously saying that the ELIGIBILITY rules are set up to specifically keep anything the Puppies like off the ballot??

    No, I don’t think he is saying that. I read it as ‘The Martian wasn’t eligible, and everyone knew why: [because it wasn’t a new publication. It’s not as if the Puppies were trying to exclude it]: The Martian was a Sad Puppy favourite’.

  38. Hey, we can nominate the Hugo Ceremony at Sasquan for BDP, long form, right?

    Oh, didn’t even consider that. Hmm. Have to think about how it stacks up with my favorite movies so far, like Ex Machina. Not sure if the ceremony would make my shortlist; it might be hovering around The Age of Adaline territory. But it’s always good to have more to choose from when nomination time rolls around.

  39. By the time the next Hugos roll around, perhaps the movie version of The Martian will be eligible. (I have hopes that the movie will be good.)

  40. I get the feeling that the new Star Wars is going to dominate, it comes out in December, Disney knows enough not to repeat the prequels, the old characters will bring in the nostalgic and it’ll be the one the largest percentage of voters would have seen.

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