Pixel Scroll 9/14/19 We Are All In The Pixel, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Scrolls

(1) ONE STOP SHOPPING. [Item by Jonathan Cowie.] SF2 Concatenation’s Autumn 2019 edition is up. Voluminous seasonal news and reviews page of both SF and science which includes the major UK SF/fantasy imprint book releases between now and New Year.  (Many of these will be available as imports in N. America and elsewhere.)

(2) LEM V. DICK. [Editor’s note: I apologize for what amounts to misspelling, but characters that WordPress would display as question marks have been changed to a letter of the alphabet without marks.]

[Item by Jan Vanek Jr.] Yesterday the English-language website of the Polish magazine Przekrój published (and started promoting on Facebook, hence my knowledge) the translation of a 2,700-word excerpt (not a self-contained “chapter” as they claim) from Wojciech Orlinski’s 2017 biography of Stanislaw Lem detailing what led to “the famous Lem-Dick imbroglio” with PKD’s “famous Lem report to the FBI”: “access to previously unpublished letters […] resulted in what is likely the first accurate description of the incident, as well as the ultimate explanation as to how the concept of ‘foreign royalties under communism’ is almost as much of a mess as ‘fine dining under communism’ (but not quite as fine a mess)”:

…It all began with Lem’s depiction of Dick – in the third of his great essay collections, Science Fiction and Futurology as little more than a talentless hack. Lem had a poor opinion of almost all American authors, and never thought much of the literary genre of which he himself was an exponent (think of his equally critical view of Pirx the Pilot, for example, or Return from the Stars)….

I found it a quite informative and interesting read, although “Lem’s unfortunate expulsion from the SFWA” that ensued is mentioned only briefly and I think misleadingly (I have checked the Polish book and there is nothing more about it, but it has been described in American sources, many of them online).

(3) ABOUT AO3’S HUGO AWARD. The Organization for Transformative Works has clarified to Archive of Our Own participants — “Hugo Award – What it Means”.

We’re as excited as you are about the AO3’s Hugo win, and we are shouting it to the rafters! We are grateful to the World Science Fiction Society for recognizing the AO3 with the award, as well as to the many OTW volunteers who build and maintain the site, and all of the amazing fans who post and enjoy works on it.

The World Science Fiction Society has asked us to help them get the word out about what the award represented—specifically, they want to make sure people know that the Hugo was awarded to the AO3, and not to any particular work(s) hosted on it. Therefore, while we can all be proud of the AO3’s Hugo win and we can all be proud of what we contributed to making it possible, the award does not make any individual fanwork or creator “Hugo winners”—the WSFS awarded that distinction to the AO3 as a whole. In particular, the WSFS asked us to convey this reminder so that no one mistakenly describes themselves as having personally won a Hugo Award.

Thanks for sharing our enthusiasm, and consider yourselves reminded! We appreciate every one of your contributions.

So far there are 80 comments, any number by Kevin Standlee making Absolutely Clear Everybody Must Understand Things Exactly The Way He Does. One reply says, “You aren’t doing a particularly good job of reading the room here.”

(4) ARISIA PERSISTED. Arisia 2020 has issued its first online Progress Report. Key points: (1) It’s happening! (2) It’s (back) at the Westin Boston Waterfront. (3) The headliners are Cadwell Turnbull, Author Guest of Honor, Kristina Carroll, Artist Guest of Honor, and Arthur Chu, Fan Guest of Honor.

(5) BOO!  LAist primes fans for Universal Studios’ Halloween mazes: “Halloween Horror Nights: A Photo Tour Of The New ‘Ghostbusters’ & ‘Us’ Mazes At Universal Studios”.

Halloween’s almost here… well, OK, it’s more than a month away, but that means it’s time for Halloween haunts — aka Halloween mazes, aka scary Halloween things at theme parks and the like, to start.

Halloween Horror Nights has been taking over Universal Studios Hollywood for 21 years, and we got the chance to take a behind-the-scenes tour of two of the brand new mazes, Ghostbusters and Us. We were guided through by Creative Director John Murdy, the man in charge of creating the stories and the scares inside all of the mazes.

He works with an art director to design every moment, writing treatments for each attraction than can run up to 100 pages.

“It’s a narrative from the guest’s POV — everything I see, hear, smell, etcetera, as if I’m going through the maze,” Murdy said. “But it also has a very elaborate technical breakdown by scene, by discipline, down to the timecode of the audio cues.”

(6) DUBLIN 2019. Cora Buhlert’s report begins with — “WorldCon 77 in Dublin, Part 1: The Good…”. There’s also a shorter version for the Speculative Fiction Showcase: “Cora’s Adventures at Worldcon 77 in Dublin, Ireland”. Each has lots of photos.

…On Wednesday, the day before WorldCon officially started, I helped with move in and set-up at Point Square. This involved carrying boxes, assembling shelves for the staff lounge and crafting area, taping down table cloths and helping to set up the Raksura Colony Tree model. This was my first time volunteering at a WorldCon and it was a great experience. Not only do you get to help to make a great project like WorldCon happen, no, you also get to meet a lot of lovely people while volunteering. Especially if you’re new to WorldCon and don’t know anybody yet, I recommend volunteering as a way to meet people and make friends. What is more, I also got a handful of groats (which I used to buy a very pretty necklace in the dealers room) and a cool t-shirt.

(7) MEMORIAL. Jim C. Hines tweeted the link to his post about the Memorial held for his wife, Amy, on September 8, a touching and highly personal tribute.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • September 14, 2008The Hunger Games novel hit bookstores. (For some reason, the bookstores did not hit back.)

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 14, 1915 Douglas Kennedy. No major SFF roles that I see but he’s been in a number of films of a genre nature: The Way of All Flesh, The Ghost Breakers, The Mars InvadersThe Land UnknownThe Lone Ranger and the Lost City of GoldThe Alligator People and The Amazing Transparent Man. Series wise, he had one-offs on Alcoa PresentsScience Fiction TheatreAlfred Hitchcock Presents and The Outer Limits. (Died 1973.)
  • Born September 14, 1919 Claire P. Beck. Editor of the Science Fiction Critic, a fanzine which published in four issues Hammer and Tongs, the first work of criticism devoted to American SF. It was written by his brother Clyde F. Beck. Science Fiction Critic was published from 1935 to 1938. (Died 1999.)
  • Born September 14, 1927 Martin Caidin. His best-known novel is Cyborg which was the basis for The Six Million Dollar Man franchise. He wrote two novels in the Indiana Jones franchise and one in the Buck Rogers one as well. He wrote myriad other sf novels as well. (Died 1997.)
  • Born September 14, 1932 Joyce Taylor, 87. She first shows as Princess Antillia in Atlantis, the Lost Continent. Later genre appearances were The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the first English language Beauty and the Beast film, the horror film Twice-Told Tales and the Men into Space SF series. 
  • Born September 14, 1936 Walter Koenig, 83. Best-known for his roles as Pavel Chekov in the original Trek franchise and Alfred Bester on Babylon 5Moontrap, a SF film with him and Bruce Campbell, would garner a 28% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and InAlienable which he executive produced, wrote and acts in has no rating there. 
  • Born September 14, 1941 Bruce Hyde. Patterns emerge in doing these Birthdays. One of these patterns is that original Trek had a lot of secondary performers who had really short acting careers. He certainly did. He portrayed Lt. Kevin Riley in two episodes, “The Naked Time” and “The Conscience of the King” and the rest of his acting career consisted of eight appearances, four of them as Dr. Jeff Brenner.  He acted for less than two years in ‘65 and ‘66, before returning to acting thirty-four years later to be in The Confession of Lee Harvey Oswald which is his final role. (Died 2015.)
  • Born September 14, 1947 Sam Neill, 72. Best known for role of Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park which he reprised in Jurassic Park III. He was also in Omen III: The Final Conflict, Possession, Memoirs of an Invisible ManSnow White: A Tale of TerrorBicentennial ManLegend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’HooleThe Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas BoxThor: Ragnarok and Peter Rabbit. 
  • Born September 14, 1961 Justin Richards, 58. Clute at ESF says “Richards is fast and competent.” Well I can certain say he’s fast as he’s turned out thirty-five Doctor Who novels which Clute thinks are for the YA market between 1994 and 2016. And he has other series going as well! Another nineteen novels written, and then there’s the Doctor Who non-fiction which runs to over a half dozen works.  

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Frank and Ernest ask deep questions about Pokémon.
  • A Tom Gauld cartoon about The Testaments launch in The Guardian.

(11) LUCAS MUSEUM. George Lucas, his wife Mellody Hobson, and the mayor dropped by the site yesterday to see how things are going: “Force Is With Them! Construction Of George Lucas Museum In Full Swing”.

Construction of the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is in full swing.

On Friday, Lucas — along with his wife and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — watched as construction crews helped bring his vision to life.

And he thanked them for the tireless effort.

“You’re doing the impossible — thank you so much,” Lucas said.

“Millions of people will be inspired by this building. We were just in our board meeting for the museum and George said you are the artists so you’re the artists of this art museum,” says Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO of Ariel Investments and the museum’s co-founder.

(12) LISTEN TO LIEN. Henry Lien is the Special Guest Star on this week’s episode of  The Write Process podcast, hosted by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program — “Henry Lien on Worldbuilding, Puzzle Stories, Middle Grade, & Peasprout Chen: Battle of Champions”

Henry Lien teaches law and creative writing at UCLA Extension. A private art dealer, he is the author of the Peasprout Chen middle grade fantasy series, which received New York Times acclaim and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist.

(13) COSPLAY ID’S. SYFY Wire has collected all the tweeted photos — “Detroit high school encourages students to dress as pop culture icons for ID photos”.

High school can be a turbulent time for any budding teenager, but when you’re allowed to dress up as your favorite movie or television character, facing picture day isn’t the daunting challenge it once was. Per a report from The Huffington Post, North Farmington High School in the suburbs of Detroit allowed its senior pupils to assume the persona of their favorite pop culture icon for the sake of ID photographs. What followed was a parade of Woodys (Toy Story), Shuris (Black Panther) Fionas (Shrek), creepy twins (The Shining), and so many more!

(14) GUTS. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna profiles YA graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, whose autobiographical graphic novels have sold 13.5 million copies and  who attracted an audience of 4,000 to her talk at the National Book Festival. “Raina Telgemeier became a hero to millions of readers by showing how uncomfortable growing up can be”.

…Now, because her fans kept asking, she is getting more personal than ever. The Eisner Award-winning author who launched her publishing empire with 2010?s “Smile,” about her years-long dental adventures as a kid, is prepared to bare new parts of her interior world with “Guts,” available Tuesday, which centers on how fear affected her body.

 “This is the reality of my life,” Telgemeier told her fans. She quickly got to the heart and GI tract of the matter: “I was subject to panic attacks and [was] worrying that something was really wrong with me.”…

(15) SIGNAL BOOST. Naomi Kritzer offers an incentive for supporting a cause that needs a cash infusion.

(16) MARATHON SITTINGS. The Hollywood Reporter considers “The Long Game: Super-Sized Movies Are Testing the Patience of Audiences”.

And there may be a financial cost. Over the Sept. 6-8 weekend, New Line and director Andy Muschietti’s It: Chapter Two opened to $91 million domestically, a 26 percent decline from the first It, which debuted to $123.4 million on the same weekend in 2017. The sequel ran a hefty 169 minutes, 34 minutes longer than its predecessor.

“Andy had a lot of story to tell in concluding his adaptation of Stephen King’s book, which is more than 1,100 pages,” says Jeff Goldstein, chief of distribution for Warner Bros., New Line’s parent. “We strategically added more shows and locations to counterbalance losing a show on each screen.”

Adds a rival studio executive regarding It: Chapter Two, “look, $91 million is a great number. But anytime the second film in a hoped-for franchise goes down — and not up — that’s not what you wish for. And I do think the fact that it was so long didn’t help.”

(17) COLBERT. Stephen Colbert’s “Meanwhile…” news roundup includes a furry joke related to the movie Cats, and a bit on “The 5D Porn Cinema No One Asked For.” These items start at 2.02 — here on YouTube.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Cinema verite of author Liz Hand on Vimeo. A 5-minute video of Hand at work and play

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

747 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/14/19 We Are All In The Pixel, But Some Of Us Are Looking At The Scrolls

  1. @ambyr —

    So, yes, I am seeing AO3 coders crowing about the Hugo awarded to their project.

    That seems pretty disingenuous.

    Again, we’re not seeing people shout “Hey! We wrote some really rockin’ code there!”

    Nope, they’re saying “Hey! We wrote Hugo-winning fiction!”

  2. @Contrarius

    And….. if it was awarded the Hugo for “other than fictional text”, then why do the fic writers persist in believing that it’s their fictional text that actually won the award?

    Because they are mistaken, and are unwilling to be corrected.

    That doesn’t mean the initial nomination was a sham.

  3. Again, we’re not seeing people shout “Hey! We wrote some really rockin’ code there!”

    You may not be seeing that, but I just saw one of the former AO3 sys admins say a close paraphrase of that a couple hours ago in my social media feed. I don’t appreciate being called disingenuous for literally reporting what I’m experiencing. I suspect what we see people say depends on where we read and who we follow. I don’t touch Twitter, so I don’t know what’s being said there. I do read regularly on DW, where a lot of the people who built and continue to maintain the AO3’s code hang out, so that’s all I can report on.

  4. @bill —

    That doesn’t mean the initial nomination was a sham.

    If the voters had been serious about the award being given for the search engine and tags, then we’d be seeing a heckuva lot more people saying things like — “Huh? Why are the fiction writers claiming to have won the Hugo? We voted for the code, not the fiction!”

    And we would have seen Novik congratulating the code writers instead of the fiction writers.

    Everyone — well, let’s say the vast majority — who voted knew all along what the award was actually being given for. We’ve seen it repeated here and elsewhere many times — the writing, the community. And I’ll repeat for the bazillionth time: I have no problem with AO3 winning a Hugo. But that’s not the one they should have been awarded.

  5. @ambyr —

    You may not be seeing that, but I just saw one of the former AO3 sys admins say a close paraphrase of that a couple hours ago in my social media feed. I don’t appreciate being called disingenuous for literally reporting what I’m experiencing.

    So go correct those folks in the AO3 thread — because they don’t seem to have a clue about what the award was actually supposed to be for. And go correct those fic writers on Twitter who keep falsely labeling themselves as Hugo Winners. And while you’re at it, you can go ask OTW to correct their statement that started the AO3 thread, because they also seem to think the award was about the fic and the community instead of the code. All of those folks are doing damage to both WSFS and AO3, and apparently it’s all because they don’t understand that yes, those voters were really voting for the code all along and not the fiction at all.

    Right.

  6. Contrarius said:

    And….. if it was awarded the Hugo for “other than fictional text”, then why do the fic writers persist in believing that it’s their fictional text that actually won the award?

    Well, I’m one of “the fic writers”, and I don’t believe that; nor do any of the AO3 users I interact with regularly. (This includes some of the people joking about their Sterek sex pollen fic or whatever winning a Hugo, btw. See: “joking”.)

    And for those who do actually believe it: It’s because in the Venn diagram of AO3 users and Worldcon members, the overlapping portion is relatively small, and your average AO3 user who doesn’t fall into that overlap is highly unlikely to have a detailed knowledge of Hugo categories and their criteria.

  7. So go correct those folks in the AO3 thread — because they don’t seem to have a clue about what the award was actually supposed to be for. And go correct those fic writers on Twitter who keep falsely labeling themselves as Hugo Winners.

    Do you genuinely believe that if I created an account on a platform I’d never before used and went around trying to correct strangers I’d never interacted with before, it would improve the situation in any way? If so, how? I mean, I’ve been reading and commenting on File770 for years–I’m even friends with you on a different social media platform–and I don’t seem to be helping the situation here any by commenting. I can’t see how throwing myself into a totally alien culture would go any better.

  8. @ambyr —

    Do you genuinely believe that if I created an account on a platform I’d never before used and went around trying to correct strangers I’d never interacted with before, it would improve the situation in any way? If so, how?

    Oh, sorry! When you said you hung out around AO3 sysadmins, I thought that meant you were an AO3 user. Bad assumption, I guess! I retract the part of my earlier post aimed specifically at you.

    So — why don’t we see 770 commentators, or other people who are both AO3 members and WSFS voters, over there correcting all those “misunderstandings” about what the award was actually supposed to be for? Why does even OTW appear to misunderstand?

    Answer: because we all know what the award was really being given out for. Someone had to think up a reasonable-sounding justification to slap on it in order to shoehorn it into the category, but everybody and their brother saw right through it.

  9. To say nothing of the many, many SFnal reworks of Sherlock Holmes, with Gaiman being just one. IIRC didn’t one of them have to get recalled because the estate objected? Can anybody help me track that memory down?

    e: Was it Solar Pons?

  10. @CeeV —

    Well, I’m one of “the fic writers”, and I don’t believe that; nor do any of the AO3 users I interact with regularly.

    None of the AO3 commenters on that thread seem to understand it, and some of them have declared themselves to be WSFS members.

    Even the OTW doesn’t seem to understand it, at least going by what’s written in that release.

    And I haven’t seen a single AO3 commenter try to correct all that “misunderstanding”.

  11. Hi all. Just popping in to say that I awakened to several messages from AO3 users saying they would be happy to continue to infringe on the Hugo trademark and that they were winners for real, it wasn’t only “joking”.

    And now I’m skipping out again.

  12. @Contrarius

    None of the AO3 commenters on that thread seem to understand it, and some of them have declared themselves to be WSFS members.

    You’re the one complaining about people you don’t know saying things you think are wrong. You get to go do it.
    Meanwhile, this horse died three days ago.

  13. @PJ —

    You’re the one complaining about people you don’t know saying things you think are wrong. You get to go do it.

    It has been pointed out several times both on 770 and AO3 that the AO3 community doesn’t appreciate any interventions by non-community members. And though I’ve been reading AO3 stories since 2012 and have had an actual membership since 2014, I’ve never participated in the comment threads and would therefore be seen as an outsider.

    But I agree with you about the lack of life in the equine. I think just about everything that can be said has been said.

  14. @Hampus Eckerman:

    Hey, Hampus. You feeling better? I was getting kind of worried about you yesterday.

  15. Better, but not good. When my thoughts start spinning too much, it usually takes a few days to calm down. ADHD-problem.

    So trying to disengage from AO3-discussions.

  16. Contrarius on September 18, 2019 at 1:59 pm said:

    You meant well — and the uproar would have been a bazillion times worse if you had come straight at them with C&D letters.

    Thanks for noticing.

    Incidentally, did you notice that there is still at least one kickstarter up using the “Hugo winner” label?

    Yes. The WSFS Mark Protection Committee is discussing what action to take. I’m no longer the Chair, having stepped down (I’m still a member of the committee) to, I hope, once I finally recover from this stupid cold brought back from Worldcon, to devote more time to planning Westercon 74.

  17. Fayjay: The real reason I ventured over here was because I really do think that there is a fundamental communication failure going on. And I think it’s tied in with how our respective cultures work.

    You’re absolutely right. Unfortunately, your comment is just full of misreadings and misrepresentations… as well as re-igniting a discussion that had mostly calmed down to a somewhat reasonable amity. So well done you, I guess.

     
    Fayjay: I gather that some of you translated her words as “Proper writer graciously pretends icky peasants helped her win a thing”

    If the prospect of a whole community being recognised for a remarkable group achievement really irks you

    now you’re mad that there are human beings who believe that their work was being recognised and celebrated.

    No one has said any of those things.

    You get to say what you think here. You don’t get to make up shit and insist to other people what they are thinking or saying.

    And if your intent is to try to get some sort of understanding and rapprochement going between the two groups, then imputing all sorts of nasty motivations to WSFS members which they do not actually have is the worst way to go about it. If you’re wanting to stir up more anger and resentment, then keep going, you’re doing admirably.

     
    Fayjay: Naomi’s acceptance speech was unambiguous… The AO3 is genuinely a communal work.

    Of course it is. I can’t believe you actually think anyone is disputing this.

     
    Fayjay: we, together, are Hugo Winners.

    No, you, together, are Contributors to a Hugo Award-Winning Project.

     
    Naomi Novik is a great person, and she’s produced an impressive list of absolutely fantastic speculative fiction works. But she doesn’t make the Hugo Award rules. She’s not a Hugo Administrator. Her speech recognizing everyone was wonderful, and it was awesome that she made every AO3 member feel like a part of the Hugo win — as they should. They are.

    But Naomi Novik saying that all of the AO3 members are Hugo Award Winners does not actually make them official Hugo Award Winners, and they don’t get to call themselves that, because “Hugo Award Winner” and “Hugo Award-Winning” are things with very specific meanings controlled by WSFS.

    Once again, the Best Related Work category definition is this:
    Any work related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom, appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year or which has been substantially modified during the previous calendar year, and which is either non-fiction or, if fictional, is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text, and which is not eligible in any other category.

    In other words, fiction is specifically not eligible in this category.

    If the Hugo Administrators had thought that AO3 was noteworthy primarily for its fictional text, they would have disqualified it from the category, just as a fiction anthology which got enough nominations to make the ballot was disqualified from the Related Work category in 2002 because it was noteworthy primarily for its fictional text. The fiction on AO3 is not what is being recognized by this Hugo Award.

    AO3 members are welcome to celebrate their Hugo Award. They should be celebrating it, it’s a wonderful accomplishment. They just need to stop calling themselves Hugo Award Winners. Being able to call yourself a Contributor to a Hugo Award-Winning Project is a huge thing. AO3 members should revel in that and be happy.

  18. I’m not sure whether this will be in any way a helpful comment or simply muddying the waters more, but through a lot of the discussion here it’s struck me that people may be using very different definitions of what makes someone an AO3 user. So to be clear, all it means to me is that someone uses AO3. You don’t have to be a paid-up member of OTW, or have an account, or volunteer, or comment, or hit the kudos button even a single time. All you have to do is use AO3.

    So, everyone here who went to AO3 and read the post? You read something hosted on AO3: I consider you all AO3 users. I may disagree with you (some of you quite strongly), but that doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re an AO3 user, because, I mean… you used AO3, and that’s all “AO3 user” means. It’s an extremely broad category, based on a very, very low bar to clear. It’s not a membership or club you have to sign up for or be accepted into. That means that when I say something about AO3 users in general, I am including you in that statement just as much as I’m including myself. If someone else says it, I take it as referring to you just as much as it does to me. If you’re the one saying it, I also understand it as including you (and you know you’re fully entitled and welcome to use “we” instead of “they,” right? You’re one of us. It’s not stepping on toes to say so, in fact I find it more jarring to write as if you aren’t an AO3 user while talking about reading comments on AO3).

  19. Kiya Nicoll: And “You’re not really part of AO3, you just write fic” is pretty much exactly the same insult

    No one has said this — though I am aware that some members of AO3 are claiming that this was said. It would really help relations between the two groups if the members of AO3 who keep inventing insults and claiming that WSFS members said them would stop doing so.

     
    Kiya Nicoll: this idea that there’s some sort of clean, obvious distinction between AO3-the-entity and the vast membership thereof

    I haven’t seen anyone say this, either. What I have seen is people asking AO3 members to understand that it is AO3 the entity, not AO3 the collection of fan fiction, which was nominated and won in a category which is very specifically not for fiction. And I’ve seen a lot of AO3 members refusing to acknowledge and accept this.

     
    Kiya Nicoll: I feel that if the Hugo award for AO3 means anything, it means recognizing that fans saw a need for community architecture and built the damn thing

    Absolutely. And that is exactly what AO3’s Hugo Award for Best Related Work recognizes.

  20. Rob Thornton: AO3 was nominated for Best Related Work on the basis of its technological updates and that was it.

    Contrarius: The justification given for AO3 fitting into BRW was a sham from the beginning.

    I saw some people claiming this on File 770, and I think that this is absolutely incorrect.

    I am not this year’s Hugo Administrator, nor was I privy to their discussions. I have, however, read a great deal from this Hugo administrator about their thought process on numerous Hugo eligibility questions, and I will tell you that I am absolutely sure that AO3 was allowed to be on the ballot in this category on the basis of its entire platform and user interface, not on whatever changes were made to it in 2018 — just as Jo Walton’s book was allowed to be on the ballot in this category on the basis of its entire contents, not just on the work which was added to it in 2018.

     
    Contrarius: If the voters had been serious about the award being given for the search engine and tags… Everyone — well, let’s say the vast majority — who voted knew all along what the award was actually being given for.

    People speculated on what it was for. They didn’t know. I’m quite sure that a lot of people who nominated and voted for it were doing so for the fiction, and didn’t realize that fiction isn’t eligible in this category. I saw one person on Twitter argue “What could be a more ‘related work’ than fanfiction?”

    The reasons why people nominated and voted for AO3 are ultimately irrelevant; the reason it was allowed to be eligible in the category was for its innovative platform and user interface, and that’s what received the Hugo Award, regardless of peoples’ reasons for nominating and voting for it.

    If people insist on believing that the Hugo Award was for the fanfiction, no one can stop them from believing that, but no, they’re not Hugo Award Winners, and they don’t get to call themselves Hugo Award Winners. They are Contributors to a Hugo Award-Winning Project.

  21. I think the part that I feel most condescended to about all of this is the constant accusations that most people making the joke genuinely believe that we could put Hugo Winner on our resumes or something. It was always tongue-in-cheek, always just a gleeful “can you believe it, this is awesome!”. Any reaction that comes off as spiteful is because anyone doubling down (1) truly doesn’t believe the jokes harm the Hugos brand (for the record, I don’t, either) and (2) believes that sending out C&Ds to everyone making this joke is going to harm the Hugos’ reputation WAY more than the actual jokes themselves.

    AO3 the entity IS the site AND the site’s coding AND the fanfic AND the people who use it to post or read fanfic.

    All this said, it has felt really good to watch real actual Hugo winners defend the AO3ers having fun. One of us! One of us! 😀

  22. @Kevin Standlee

    Has the Mark Protection Committee discussed this situation with a lawyer specializing in trademark law, and if so, would it consider working with such counsel to provide some public clarification about the legal side of this? I’m seeing a lot of different statements from people on all sides about what actually falls under ‘infringement’ and would potentially do the Hugos legal harm if left unaddressed. While all such opinions I’ve seen have included the Etsy case and the Kickstarter pin as clear violations, everything else seems to be intensely debated, or at least not well understood.

    Best of luck to you in getting the Kickstarter violation dealt with swiftly and as painlessly as possible. And good luck with the cold, too.

  23. LectionaryStan: I think the part that I feel most condescended to about all of this is the constant accusations that most people making the joke genuinely believe that we could put Hugo Winner on our resumes or something. It was always tongue-in-cheek, always just a gleeful “can you believe it, this is awesome!”

    I’m guessing that you haven’t read all of the comments in this thread. Because no, not all AO3 members who are calling themselves Hugo Award Winners are joking, some of them are quite serious.

    I don’t know about you, but I was raised to believe that it was not acceptable — that it was extremely unethical — for me to claim credit for something I hadn’t actually earned. The Hugo Awards mean a great deal to some people, and what is “joking” to a lot of AO3 members is blatant disrespect and appropriation to a lot of WSFS members.

    And you need to understand that it doesn’t matter if it is joking. As Lis Carey explained in a previous comment:
    Trademark holders can lose their trademark, and their ability to stop harmful or exploitive uses of the trademark, if they ignore too many “harmless” uses of it. They don’t have to be moneymaking violations. They don’t have to be reputation-damaging violations. They just have to be violations that the trademark holder is aware of – especially if it’s clear that lots of other people, especially in the relevant “market,” are also aware of it.

    A lot of AO3 members believe that this is about WSFS members being wet blankets and not wanting AO3 members to have fun. That’s not what’s going on here, and it would help if those AO3 members would try to understand that.

  24. @JJ:

    Lis Carey’s explanation of what counts trademark violation that may harm the WSFS’ right to the mark if unaddressed is one of several floating around out there, all of which seem to disagree. (Except about the Etsy and Kickstarter things; I haven’t seen anyone disagree about those being violations.) I really wish a lawyer would weigh in. Or if one of the people who has weighed in is a lawyer, I do wish that they’d state that. (Of course, then they’d have to charge somebody for it… sorry, I probably shouldn’t be making lawyer jokes when I’m actually hoping for one to show up!)

  25. Rivine: I consider you all AO3 users.

    Thank you, Rivine. I saw a lot of comments on that AO3 post from AO3 members who were telling people that they didn’t belong on AO3 and were not welcome there. I was really surprised and saddened by that; it’s the exact opposite of the values of welcoming, kindness, nonjudgment, and inclusivity which are supposed to be the core of AO3’s existence. But I guess if you include everyone and don’t judge anyone, then it tends to allow the toxic people free reign.

    I’m also surprised by the number of comments I’ve seen by some AO3 members on Twitter that everyone commenting here is an old white man who hates fanfiction. It’s kind of fascinating, in a sad way, that those people simply can’t comprehend the possibility that someone who is neither male nor old, who has written and read fanfiction, might feel differently than they do.

  26. MRM: I really wish a lawyer would weigh in.

    It would definitely help. Unfortunately, WSFS’ annual legal budget for the Mark Protection Committee is around $2,000, and just having a lawyer read a letter describing the current situation would probably cost at least $500. Having them actually spend time considering the ramifications and writing up recommendations would be way, way more than that. If someone was willing to donate a chunk of money, or offer pro bono services as an experienced IP attorney, it would probably help a lot.

  27. If only there was an organisation out there with multiple IP lawyers volunteering in that capacity. Some sort of … Organisation for Transformative Works. Which created, say, an Archive of Our Own (ours, not theirs).

    If only.

    JJ:

    …it is AO3 the entity, not AO3 the collection of fan fiction, which was nominated and won…

    I’m afraid I don’t see a distinction, but I suspect that is the sort of issue on which lawyers get rich.

  28. I’m guessing that you haven’t read all of the comments in this thread. Because no, not all AO3 members who are calling themselves Hugo Award Winners are joking, some of them are quite serious.

    Hi, JJ. I actually have read through the whole thread from the beginning and I still completely stand by what I said above. I do not believe this is the case whatsoever. In terms of clear-cut actual copyright infringement, especially for monetization, there are apparently two cases being dealt with? Which is fair, that’s something that needs to be stopped.

    I genuinely, deeply believe that you are misunderstanding when people are joking versus being serious; not because you’re a fool, but because this is a cultural divide. I think I have seen what you’re talking about, and I do not think they are making serious claims to it the way you say they are. My read on it hasn’t changed since the beginning. My read is that everyone I’ve seen making that joke has been joyful; feeling happy that the Hugos – THE HUGOS – actually gave our community the honour of an award. Because that’s part of the AO3 entity, is the community. The joy is a matter of knowing exactly how respected the Hugos are.

    I have not seen anybody genuinely, earnestly acted as though they’re owed the respect or title of someone who’s won, say, like Best Novel. Not even the people who are needing to be told to cease the monetization stuff genuinely believe it.(Did they need to be told to stop selling Hugo merch stuff? Yeah. Did they think this was more than just a funny joke? No. People make pins and stickers out of fandom jokes all the time.) At this point, having read the whole conversation, do I expect you to believe me? No. Not really. But just know that everyone who knows the culture is looking at this, scratching their heads, and wondering how people could possibly believe anyone is being serious about it. THAT’S what’s condescending.

    In regards to trademark vs copyright, I think there has been enough confusion on what exactly the WSFS needs to do that I am not taking Lis Carey as an expert. At some point, I expect we’ll hear from legal, on either or both sides, but until then, I’m pretty skeptical. Whether or not that’s something the WSFS can and/or should do is something we’re all waiting to hear, not something that has already been decided. Especially not in post comment sections.

    And finally, whether or not WSFS is in their rights to, I fully believe that sending out C&Ds to people making jokes or being facetious – even in a way you don’t like – will cause enormous reputational harm to both WSFS and the Hugos. I think that would explode. I think that could result in a firestorm of negative attention and publicity that I don’t think anyone would want to be at the center of. I think it WILL result in people thinking the WSFS members are being a bunch of wet blankets, and I think that would be a clear end result of over-punishing this joke no matter how right it feels. This is already a lot of drama, where I heard about this issue to begin with, from Hugo-nominated and Hugo-winning authors who are upset to hear that the jokes are being taken seriously. I didn’t even hear this from OTW itself, I heard it from WSFS members who are upset this is even happening like this.

  29. @JJ
    Will you consider starting to use “we/us” instead of “they/them” to refer to all of us AO3 users, then?

  30. LectionaryStan: I genuinely, deeply believe that you are misunderstanding when people are joking versus being serious

    I don’t think I am. When people point to Naomi Novik’s acceptance speech and say, “See? See? She says we’re Hugo Award Winners, so we’re Hugo Award Winners!”, I think they’re serious. When they get angry on Twitter because someone has pointed out to them that they’re not really a Hugo Award winner, and they come back with picquotes of Novik’s speech or justifications like “what could be a more related work than fanfiction?” and “If a book wins an award, it’s not for the spine and the binding!”, I think they’re serious.

    I can believe that you haven’t actually noticed any of the people who are serious, and I can believe that that’s why you don’t think they exist.

     
    LectionaryStan: And finally, whether or not WSFS is in their rights to, I fully believe that sending out C&Ds to people making jokes or being facetious – even in a way you don’t like – will cause enormous reputational harm to both WSFS and the Hugos.

    Do you maybe think that they’re not as stupid as some AO3 members are saying they are, and that’s exactly why they haven’t done so? Do you maybe think that they’ve been having discussions about this for months now, and asking OTW to post a statement might have been done as a last resort in the hope that they wouldn’t have to do something more dire?

  31. Liz: I’m afraid I don’t see a distinction [between AO3 the entity and AO3 the collection of fan fiction]

    Fiction is not eligible in the Hugo Related Work category. If the Hugo Administrator ruled that the work is eligible in that category, it was for something else. What’s left? The platform, the user interface, and the innovative functionality which enables fannish activities.

    That is what won the Hugo Award.

  32. JJ: … in the hope that they wouldn’t have to do something more dire?

    If the MPC is really discussing sending out C&D notices to people making jokes on Twitter, I could be done with fandom. I’m sure there’s something better I could be doing with my time than writing about the Worldcon at that point.

  33. I don’t think I am. When people point to Naomi Novik’s acceptance speech and say, “See? See? She says we’re Hugo Award Winners, so we’re Hugo Award Winners!”, I think they’re serious. When they get angry on Twitter because someone has pointed out to them that they’re not really a Hugo Award winner, and they come back with picquotes of Novik’s speech or justifications like “what could be a more related work than fanfiction?” and “If a book wins an award, it’s not for the spine and the binding!”, I think they’re serious.

    I can believe that you haven’t actually noticed any of the people who are serious, and I can believe that that’s why you don’t think they exist.

    I’ve seen those people, too, and I’m still saying it. None of those people are actually going to go around outside of their online circle of friends and fellow fans and say they’re a Hugo winner, try to legitimately claim that for job or for work or even to anyone genuinely asking “whoa, you won a Hugo?” – they’re just not. If you think they will, then yes, you have misread the tone. That is just incorrect.

    People going around saying, “yeah, but just so you know, you didn’t REALLY win” are talking to people who already know that, are probably feeling condescended to at that point, and who don’t see a reason to stop the joke. Novik’s acceptance speech is as good a defense as any to just stop the unnecessary criticism and get on with having a good time. I see this exchange all the time, too, and it only gets brought up when people tell the jokesters to stop – why should a party stop? WSFS hasn’t actually given a statement; if it mattered that much, why did they ask OTW to paraphrase it but not say anything themselves? The legal defense for telling people to stop joking is, as we are experiencing all over, evidently debatable.

  34. Mike Glyer: If the MPC is really discussing sending out C&D notices to people making jokes on Twitter

    I very much doubt that they are. But there are other actions they could take, which, for whatever reason, they have not taken yet.

  35. @Contrarius: “Spite. That’s the root of the problem.”

    Or, in a more positive spin, cussedness.

    And speaking of positive spins, you might want to get your “lying” filters looked at. They’re misfiring a tad.

    “…if it was awarded the Hugo for “other than fictional text”, then why do the fic writers persist in believing that it’s their fictional text that actually won the award?”

    Speaking as an AO3 member (though not a very involved one), if I tell you that I fully accept and agree that it won not for fic, but for the platform and the coding and the attendent Everything that JJ describes, will you stop saying everyone on AO3 believes this thing? Because it’s pretty clear that not everyone does, and your … cussedness … is fairly strong, at the moment.

    (Since at one point you were urging people to go crusade in the AO3 comments if they were AO3 members, I hasten to note that I am not wading into the AO3 post, because I’m very much not caught up on it, and grad school is taking up most of my attention at the moment.)

  36. @JJ

    I’m also surprised by the number of comments I’ve seen by some AO3 members on Twitter that everyone commenting here is an old white man who hates fanfiction.

    Well, if they’re reading some of the comments here, they have some reason to feel that way. Several people here have been doing their best to make people at AO3 look like wrongfans having wrongfun, even though only a very small percentage are actual offenders when it comes to the Hugo. (Try going back 40 or 50 years and looking at how convention fans looked at media fans and their work.)

  37. @JJ

    Well, actually fiction is explicitly allowable in the category if it “is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text”. Fanfiction may or may not fit that caveat for you, but it certainly relies a strong non-textual (extra-textual?) element to even exist, which is its relationship to the canon. I can see an argument that fanfiction’s dependence on canon (and how it responds to canon) is strong enough that it would fit the Related Work category.

  38. LectionaryStan: WSFS hasn’t actually given a statement; if it mattered that much, why did they ask OTW to paraphrase it but not say anything themselves?

    I dunno, do you suppose that they thought it might have been kinder and gentler, and more likely to be accepted by AO3 members, coming from the OTW than from a big notice posted on the Hugo Awards website and linked by people all over Twitter and the blogosphere? Isn’t this obvious?

  39. JJ:

    Fiction is not eligible in the Hugo Related Work category. If the Hugo Administrator ruled that the work is eligible in that category, it was for something else. What’s left? The platform, the user interface, and the innovative functionality which enables fannish activities.

    That is what won the Hugo Award.

    Is this a bad time to mention that AO3 also serves as an archive of non-fiction?

    (In seriousness, your definition makes sense, but involves a level of depersonalisation I find troubling. But that’s an emotional reaction on my part, which I’m going to unpack elsewhere.)

  40. Rivine: Will you consider starting to use “we/us” instead of “they/them” to refer to all of us AO3 users, then?

    I’ve been trying very hard to limit my references to “the AO3 members who are doing a particular thing” rather than “all AO3 members”, which is why I’ve been using “they”. I will do my best to try to keep the “they/them” to a minimum. Thank you for your kind correction.

     
    Rivine: Fanfiction may or may not fit that caveat for you, but it certainly relies a strong non-textual (extra-textual?) element to even exist, which is its relationship to the canon. I can see an argument that fanfiction’s dependence on canon (and how it responds to canon) is strong enough that it would fit the Related Work category.

    I can see what you’re saying, but given that the canon it depends on is also fiction, and that the Related Work category definition says
    …and which is not eligible in any other category, I don’t see them being willing to allow it on the ballot in this category for the meta-textual elements of the fiction.

  41. P J Evans: they have some reason to feel that way.

    I would never make assumptions about the age or gender of an AO3 member, and it’s surprising to me that some AO3 members would do that about a member of WSFS.

  42. I dunno, do you suppose that they thought it might have been kinder and gentler, and more likely to be accepted by AO3 members, coming from the OTW than from a big notice posted on the Hugo Awards website and linked by people all over Twitter and the blogosphere? Isn’t this obvious?

    No, it’s not. That’s mostly a supposition because they still haven’t said. And in the blogosphere, it’s not a given that internet sff fandom would even agree to do this for the WSFS/Hugos, given the current reaction I see. In addition, whatever they were hoping would stop (unauthorized merch? twitter bio jokes?) it was undermined by people going into the comments and putting their foot in it with the general AO3 userbase. Was the point that they want us to stop having the jokes? (Which is, I think, pretty misguided, and doesn’t exactly make the WSFS look like fun community to join.) Was the point that the jokes shouldn’t be monetized/merched? (Badly mishandled, as that wasn’t communicated to OTW to be present in the main body of the announcement.) There’s been a lack of clarity, and at this point, if someone asked, I don’t know if I could say that the message to AO3/Kevin’s comments in the AO3 post were even officially sanctioned by the WSFS. What does the WSFS, official communication-wise, even want us to know? I couldn’t tell you. We’re all just guessing, and though a lot of hay has been made about how rude people on AO3 are, it hasn’t felt like the WSFS at large wants to be friends, either.

  43. @JJ

    I don’t understand your point about the canon also being fiction. Wouldn’t that mean that any non-fiction text about a work of fiction would also be disallowed? Previous winners have included meta about fictional works.

    Also, RPF (Real Person Fiction, for those who may not be familiar with that acronym), and anthropomorphic (fic with inanimate objects as characters) fic are fictional themselves, but based on non-fictional subjects.

  44. JJ, regarding your comment at forty-one after:

    The serious assertion is that we, as AO3 users, are meaningful contributors to AO3 as a project and are therefore part of AO3’s win. The joke is that our tentacle porn is what the win is for.

    There is also the related, but distinct, issue that AO3 users say “we won” and (jokingly) “I’m a Hugo-winning author now!” even though we understand (since we assume everyone else also understands) that it was the archive, not every individual contributor, that won. That’s pretty common, I think, and I was startled to learn that the WSFS team believes that it constitutes a trademark violation.

  45. Not making the case for this, particularly, because I haven’t thought it over enough to decide whether or not I like it, so purely theoretically: Could it be argued that one of the noteworthy, non-fictional aspects of the AO3 is the community itself..?

    (“I am a fraction of a Hugo Award winning community/community project”?)

    There’s a lot of various bits and pieces in this thread that I’m highly annoyed about, but I’ve not got the spoons to turn a string of snarky remarks into a coherent post, so everyone will be spared that experience. You’re welcome. 🙂

    (Also, for the record, I have absolutely put Naomi Novik’s fanfiction on my nomination ballot in the past. Obsessively rereading her The Witcher fic pretty much kept me sane during a difficult half a year, figured it was the least I could do. And I stand by its general quality and worthiness.)

  46. Liz: your definition makes sense, but involves a level of depersonalisation I find troubling

    There’s absolutely no question that the AO3 community is an incredibly amazing community, that what they’ve built there is a huge city home to a bunch of interconnecting villages, and residents who spend time in more than one village, interacting with other residents in differing ways.

    It’s a very different manifestation of the same thing which exists here in the File 770 community, where each person has a number of interests (be it filk, comics, science, anime, whatever), and for any given interest, interacts with other members who have that same interest — in addition to interacting with the overall group in general discussion.

    AO3 is much more than just its platform and user interface, just as File 770 is much more than a fanzine. What makes them award-worthy is the way that they facilitate that community-building.

  47. Rivine: I don’t understand your point about the canon also being fiction. Wouldn’t that mean that any non-fiction text about a work of fiction would also be disallowed?

    My point is that the AO3 fanfiction is fiction about fiction, whereas Related Works are non-fiction which is sometimes (but not always) about fiction.

  48. LectionaryStan: it hasn’t felt like the WSFS at large wants to be friends, either

    I’m curious as to how you think this should have been handled from the get-go. Because from my perspective, the only option which would have resulted in WSFS not being painted as the Bad Guy Trying To Kill Our Fun was to say nothing, do nothing, and let AO3 members say and do whatever they wished.

    Any bets on what the reaction will be when they kill that enamel pin Kickstarter which a lot of AO3 members have agreed is infringing? Bueller? Anyone?

  49. @JJ

    Sorry, then I still don’t understand why you said, “but given that the canon it depends on is also fiction” in your earlier post. That part seems to directly contradict what you’re saying now.

    Also, the description does still explicitly say there are circumstances where fictional works may fit the category, so my read is that while historically it may have been for non-fiction only, currently it is not a purely non-fiction only category.

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