Pixel Scroll 4/5/17 We Were Somewhere Around Barstow When The Pixels Began To Take Hold

(1) YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GONNA GET. I appreciate the irony in the first line of Germain Lussier’s io9 post “The New Dune Movie Is Being Written By the Man Who Wrote Forrest Gump”:

But we don’t think that should worry you.

According to Lussier, Eric Roth, who won an Oscar for his adapted screenplay for Forrest Gump, has been hired to adapt the Frank Herbert novel Dune for director Denis Villeneuve.

(2) NEW AFRICAN SF AWARD. Since the Hugo announcement date was only known a few days ahead of time, the African Speculative Future Society may not have known that April 4 was a less-than-optimum date to announce the inaugural 2017 Nommos shortlist.

The categories are:

The Ilube Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel by an African  – 1000 USD prize,

The Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novella by an African – 500 USD

The Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Short Story by an African – 500 USD

The Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Graphic Novel by Africans – 1000 USD to be shared.

The award website says —

We have welcoming and inclusive definition of who is an African that includes children of an African parent. Read more about eligibility here.

The award has been funded for four years, by Mr Tom Ilube.

“Science fiction is important because it looks ahead to African futures.  Fantasy and fiction based on traditional tales are important because they link us back to our forebears.  Both are important for African development.  I wanted to make sure that the explosion of African science fiction gets the recognition it deserves.”  Mr Tom Ilube.

The first award ceremony will be held at Aké Festival in Nigeria, November 2017. After that they hope to alternate the location of the awards ceremony between West and East Africa.

Here are links to the Short List and the rest of the nominees in all 4 categories:

(3) OLD OPERA HAS NEW ACTS. Cora Buhlert couldn’t find what she liked 20 years ago, but there’s enough good stuff now for her to be writing about “The Space Opera Resurgence”.

I didn’t like any of those books. But I was an SF fan and a space opera fan and this was all the space opera there was, with very few exceptions (mostly published by Baen Books, which are notoriously difficult to find in Europe). So I kept trying the highly regarded New Space Opera of the early 2000s, until I found myself standing in the local Thalia store, the latest offering of New British Space Opera subgenre in hand (it was this one – I remember the cover very clearly), when I suddenly dropped the book to the floor and exclaimed, “Why do I keep buying this shit? I don’t even like these books.” So I turned my back on New British Space Opera and on science fiction altogether (I did put the book back on the shelf first) and read other genres for a few years, until I came back in a roundabout way via urban fantasy and science fiction romance and found a whole universe of SFF books that weren’t on the radar of the official genre critics at all.

Now, some ten to fifteen years later, there is a lot more space opera on the shelves than back in the early 2000s. It’s also a lot more diverse the than just pale Banks clones. Nor is it just written by white, overwhelmingly British dudes – indeed, some of the best space opera of today is written by women and writers of colour. And even some of those authors whose novels almost put me off science fiction altogether some ten years ago are writing much more enjoyable works these days. …

(4) MAIL CALL. It’s not easy to get letters from the year 1962 unless you’re The Traveler. Galactic Journey today unveiled – “[April 5, 1962] Pen Pals (Letter Column #1)”. The first missive comes from University of Arizona student Vicki Lucas….

Of course, to pay the tuition and room & board, I also take in ironing, do tutoring, deliver newspapers, etc., and they helped me get a student loan. It’s been a real eye-opener to go to school here. Now I know what “scholarship” means. At the University of Arizona, from which I transferred last year, I did have some great learning experiences, but nothing as rich as this.

Not that I didn’t have some great experiences at UA, meeting an English Professor who is an avante-garde composer (Barney Childs), and since I worked in the Fine Arts College I went to most concerts & saw the harpsichord played for the first time (double keyboard!) & heard Barney’s music played. (I admit, I have a crush on him — see the enclosed photo.) And then I’ve been to San Francisco & seen jazz trumpeter Miles Davis & a lot of other stuff….

(5) CAMESTROS FELAPTON EXPLAINS IT ALL TO YOU. Thank goodness somebody can. In  “Hugo 2017: How to vote for best series” he looks at 8 different approaches to dealing with the vastness of the Hugo nominated series. Sure, 8 is also a lot — just be grateful he didn’t try to match the number of ways Cyrano described his nose.

The issue is that Best Series is not unlike Best Editor Long Form – the normal way of voting in the Hugo Awards doesn’t work (read the relevant stuff and vote). However, unlike Best Editor Long, best series at least has accessible information and works. The problem is that it is way too much volume of stuff to evaluate if you haven’t already been following the series in question. So here are some approaches to choose from.

(6) CHOP CHOP. Shouldn’t Wolverine co-creator Len Wein be getting a cut of this?

A medical clinic in the Philippines is using an unusual mascot to advertise its circumcision service: claw-bearing X-Men super hero Wolverine.

The advertisement for Dionisio M. Cornel Memorial Medical Center in Antipolo features an image of Hugh Jackman as the adamantium-clawed character he played in the X-Men and Wolverine films next to text promoting the clinic’s circumcision service.

 

(7) RED ALERT. At Nerd & Tie Trae Dorn wants to know “What the Heck is Even Happening With AnachroCon Right Now?”

The Atlanta, GA based convention AnachroCon might be more aptly named “AnarchoCon” these days. Earlier this week the convention’s Chair and legal counsel Sarah Avraham stepped down in what sounds like an extremely complicated situation.

In a public Facebook post Avraham detailed the reasons for her departure, and while you should really read that post in its entirety, I’ll do my best to summarize it. It starts when Avraham was approached by William and Cindy MacLeod in the spring of 2016 to take over the event in an attempt to rehabilitate the convention’s image and get it back on track financially.

Because man, this con needed help….

(8) ON HOLD. Nerd & Tie is also reporting that “One Month After Cancellation, Multiple Parties Still Waiting For Refunds From Lebanon MEGA Con:.

This last weekend would have been the second annual Lebanon MEGA Con, if the Missouri based convention hadn’t announced its cancellation just one month before. While organizer Will Peden did say that everyone owed money would be paid, some parties are waiting for those promises to be fulfilled.

(9) TODAY IN FUTURE HISTORY

  • April 5, 2063 — The day the Vulcans landed. According to Memory-Alpha:

First Contact Day was a holiday celebrated to honor both the warp 1 flight of the Phoenix and first open contact between Humans and Vulcans on April 5, 2063 in Bozeman, Montana

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born April 5, 1917 — Robert Bloch

I recognize Bob Tucker on the left. Who is the woman on the right? The photo is from a 1959 party in Chicago.

(11) DELIBERATIONS CONTINUE. The Shadow Clarke Jury carries on a discussion of the books they’d like to see considered for the Clarke award.

It does not seem surprising that reading Don DeLillo’s novel Zero K, in which an estranged son accompanies his tycoon father to the threshold of his journey into eternity, brought those memories of Cold Lazarus especially rushing back. Straddling the millennium, both [Dennis] Potter’s final teleplays and DeLillo’s sixteenth novel have a leached-out, end-times quality that puts human mortality centre stage and refuses to look away. That Potter’s scripts – almost a quarter-century old now and written while SF was still very much a pariah literature – leap naked into the science fictional abyss, while DeLillo’s novel appears to negate, to brush aside the very notion of science fiction altogether, seems just one further irony.

Imagine a table laden with all the food you can think of; things you like and things you don’t like; cuisines from all around the world; the fresh and the fast; three thousand calorie freak-shakes next to organic kale salads; dessert piled on top of nachos sitting on a bed of pears. The table is groaning, under the physical and the metaphorical weight of the feast.  It’s wonderful and disconcerting and a bit horrifying and deliciously tempting at the same time.  This is the gastronomic equivalent of Cathrynne M. Valente’s Radiance, a virtuoso outpouring of language, style, trope and intertext fit to overwhelm any appetite. It took close to a week for me to sit down and start this review after I finished the book; I needed that long to digest it.  If you like your novels spare or clean this one probably isn’t for you.

His claim directly addresses the central conceit of the novel that the networks and routes by which African-American slaves escaped to the free states and the North exists as an actual underground railroad with stations and steam locomotives on rails. However, his mistake lies in imagining that the workings of the railroad can be reduced to information as legible as a map and a timetable. Earlier in the novel, when Cora visits this particular ‘ghost tunnel’ for the first time with the railroad operative, Royal, she reflects that the necessary secret of the railroad is not a bad type of secret but rather an intimate part of the self that is central to personal identity: ‘It would die in the sharing.’ The enigma of the railroad, as Royal observes, is that ‘it goes everywhere, to places we know and those we don’t’. The challenge it presents is not to classify it as a system of knowledge but to figure out both how it connects the different selves who use it and where it might lead to.

The Man Who Spoke Snakish is easily the least traditionally science fictional of my shortlist selections: not only does it feature no rockets, but it’s set firmly in the past (and is more about pasts than futures) and it includes talking snakes and something very much like a dragon. In the sense that science fiction is defined by the presence or absence of received ideas and familiar imagery—that is, using the least science fictional definition of science fiction—it would not be considered science fiction.

(12) A LITTLE SMACK. Fusion says justice has been served – “Black Panther and Ms. Marvel Nominated for Hugo Awards Days After Marvel VP Blamed Them for Sales Slump”.

On Tuesday morning, the finalists for the 2017 Hugo Awards (the Oscars of sci-fi and fantasy writing) were announced by the World Science Fiction. Unsurprisingly, collected volumes of Marvel’s critically acclaimed Black Panther and Ms. Marvel series were both nominated for Best Graphic Story.

These nominations come just days after Marvel’s Vice President of Sales, David Gabriel, went out of his way to blame Marvel’s lagging sales on comics—like Black Panther and Ms. Marvel—starring people of color and women. Suffice it to say that the optics of this whole thing don’t reflect well on the publisher, but the Hugo nominations send a telling message to Marvel about just how the public actually feels about its “diverse books.” 

(13) REACTION POST. Abigail Nussbaum catalogs all the emotions she’s feeling after seeing the 2017 Hugo shortlist, beginning with happiness about her Best Fan Writer nomination, and continuing down the spectrum til she reaches —

Frustration, because the puppies’ ongoing presence on the ballot, even under extremely reduced circumstances, means that it continues to be impossible to talk about the nominees as their own thing, rather than a reaction to an attempted fascist takeover.  There’s a lot to praise about this year’s ballot, including the continued shift towards a more diverse slate of nominees, but in the short fiction categories in particular, the Hugo has once again thrown up a fairly middle-of-the-road selection.  Most of these stories aren’t bad, but quite a few of them are meh, and it would be nice to once again be able to have a proper discussion of that.  Instead, we’re all still in bunker mode, still cheering the fact that publishable fiction was nominated for the genre’s most prestigious award, which increasingly seems like a low bar to clear.

(14) PUPPY ANTENNAE ACTIVATED. Cora Buhlert sets things in context and delivers a thorough set of first impressions about the Hugo ballot.

The best novel category looks excellent. We have the sequels to two previous Hugo winners in the category, Death’s End by Liu Cixin and The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin respectively. We have the long awaited and critically acclaimed debut novels by two accomplished short fiction writers, All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders and Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee respectively. We have a highly acclaimed debut novel with a very unique voice, Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, as well as the sort of sequel to 2014’s highly acclaimed debut novel with a unique voice, A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. A Closed and Common Orbit, Too Like the Lightning and Ninefox Gambit were also on my ballot, and I’m looking forward to reading the remaining three. And those who worry that science fiction is about to die out and be swamped by fantasy, which will inevitably lead to the collapse of the West or something, will be pleased that four of the six nominees in this category are unabashedly science fiction. The Obelisk Gate is an edge case, while the only clear fantasy novel is All the Birds in the Sky and even that one has a mad scientist character. Diversity count: 4 women, 2 men, 3 writers of colour, at least 3 LGBT writers, 1 international writer in translation, 0 puppies.

(15) TUESDAY’S HUGO NEWS. H.P. at Every Day Should Be Tuesday features a picture of a dog in his more Puppy-sympathetic coverage of the 2017 Hugo Awards finalists.

… I am very gratified to see Cixin Liu back where he belongs Death’s End a finalist for Best Novel.  I loved it, as you can probably tell by my overenthusiastic review.  I thought The Dark Forest was robbed, and I voted for The Three-Body Problem as the Best Novel two years ago.  I would have loved to have seen the entire series go up for an award, but oh well.  It perhaps says something about the incestual nature of the Hugo voting that the two books in the series edited by the popular Ken Liu were finalists, and the one that wasn’t didn’t even finish in the top 15 nominations….

The Rageaholic was a finalist last year, but I only saw my first few videos within the last month or so.   And for the most part, I have no interest in watching his videos on video games or movies or politics.  If only for the main reason I don’t watch many YouTube videos or listen to many podcasts.  I ain’t got time for that stuff.  But Razorfist has an encyclopedic knowledge of comics and Elric of Melnibone.  And he’s got a great shtick.  Usually in black-and-white, decked out in mirrored sunglasses and a leather jacket, long hair, wall covered in posters behind him.  Complete with some metal thrown-in to start and finish things off, and a rapid-fire, eloquent, profane delivery.

H.P. also identifies himself as a contributor to the Castalia House blog.

(16) HUGO BY OSMOSIS. The nominations have inspired J.D. Brink’s latest theory.

And John Picacio has been nominated for best professional artist.  I’m pretty darn sure (though not 100%, mind you) that he and I shared a day at Dragon’s Liar comics in San Antonio signing stuff on Free Comic Book Day a few years ago.  We sat right next to each other.

So by sheer proximity, I should be getting a Hugo award, if not this year, than next year

(17) IF I WERE A RICH MAN. Who knew I wouldn’t have to wait til I made a million dollars before seeing my name in Forbes? They published the Hugo nominees.

(18) MOST IMPORTANT CATEGORY. Jude Terror’s account of the nominations for Bleeding Cool is intentionally myopic: “Marvel And Image Split Hugo Awards Comics Category, Shut Out Other Publishers”.

Worldcon has released the finalists for the 2017 Hugo Awards, the science fiction and fantasy awards named after Amazing Stories founder Hugo Gernsback. We’re pretty sure that’s the book Spider-Man first appeared in. In true snooty comics website fashion, we’ll only talk about the things that relate to comic books and ignore everything else.

First, in the most important category, Best Graphic Story (that’s fancy-speak for comics), nominees included Marvel’s Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, and The Vision, two of the most successful and acclaimed books the likes of which Marvel “has heard” people don’t want anymore, and one written by a guy who “rode off into the sunset.” Monstress, Paper Girls, and Saga from Image took the other three slots, shutting out all other publishers. Shockingly, no prominent editors from the superhero comics community earned nominations in any of the editorial categories, though Sana Takeda, a familiar name to comics readers, did move the needle with a spot on Best Professional Artist list.

Dan Slott failed to secure a nomination in Best Fan Writer despite writing some of the most acclaimed Doctor Who fan fiction around in Silver Surfer, though Doctor Who’s Christmas Special, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, was nominated under the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) category, which is a fancy way of saying “TV show.” Yes, we know we’re breaking out “only talk about comics” rule, but what could be more “comics website” than that?! Sir Robert Liefeld’s greatest creation, Deadpool, earned a nomination in the Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) category, which is a fancy way of saying “movie.”

(19) VIRTUAL VISON. “Astronomers just turned on a planet-size telescope to take a picture of a black hole”Vox has the story. (No, not that Vox.)

Every image you’ve seen of a black hole is an illustration. A giant “virtual” telescope may change that….

We’ve never seen a direct image of a black hole. But if an audacious experiment called the Event Horizon Telescope is successful, we’ll see one for the first time.

Why we’ve never seen an image of a black hole

The biggest problem with trying to detect a black hole is that even the supermassive ones in the center of galaxies are relatively tiny.

“The largest one in the sky [is] the black hole in the center of the Milky Way,” Dimitrios Psaltis, an astrophysicist at the University of Arizona, said in 2015. “And taking a picture of it would be equivalent to taking a picture of a DVD on the surface of the moon

(20) THAT REVOLUTIONARY NEW IDEA FOR SELLING BOOKS. The Verge has another Amazon bookstore on its radar screen – it will be the third in New York.

Amazon has confirmed plans to open a brick-and-mortar bookstore across from the Empire State Building, bringing its total number of announced but as-of-yet unopened stores in New York City up to three.

Publisher’s Weekly reports that a sign reading “Amazon Books Coming Soon” has gone up in the 34th Street storefront, adding that an Amazon rep said the store will open this summer. The store has also been added to the Amazon Books website. This would presumably make it Amazon’s second store in New York. A location in Columbus Circle’s Time Warner Center (just off of Central Park) was announced in January, with the intent to open this spring.

Another, in Hudson Yards, the still-under-construction $20 billion shopping and luxury residential complex on Manhattan’s far west side, was widely reported last summer — with plans to launch alongside the rest of the development’s new stores in 2018 or 2019.

(21) CUTTING EDGE. Here’s the King Arthur: Legend of the Sword final trailer. The film will be out May 12.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, and Mark-kitteh for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Pixel Scroll 2/1/17 We Had Scrolls, We Had Fun, We Had Pixels In The Sun

(1) TRUE GRIT. The director of Arrival has signed on make another adaptation of Dune.

Denis Villeneuve, best known for his directorial work on Arrival, Sicario and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel, is set to tackle the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s celebrated sci-fi epic, Dune.

Villeneuve was first rumored to be in the running for the role in December, but it wasn’t until yesterday the confirmation was announced. Brian Herbert, son of Frank Herbert and a celebrated science-fiction author in his own right, made the announcement on Twitter.

(2) PETER WESTON EULOGY. This month, Ansible has an extra issue — #355-1/2 — with Tom Shippey’s funeral tribute to Peter Weston. Shippey illustrates Peter’s personality with anecdotes about his business.

What powered that success was not government assistance but reason number two, Peter’s complete lack of pretence. The success of Weston Body Hardware was not based on cunning marketing or managerial tricks, it was based on Peter’s 150-page catalogue of door locks, and unlike many managers Peter knew everything about his product. He took every picture in his catalogue himself, and in each one you could tell left-hand from right-hand.

He usually had a screwdriver in his pocket as well, for removing interesting locks from derelict vehicles, and he could tell a Hillman Minx lock from a Ford Capri blindfolded. I recall one occasion in Texas, 1988, when his attention was caught by a beautifully-refurbished sports car in a car-park. He stepped smartly over to it, looked down, shook his head and remarked (to himself, not the yuppie owner who was standing proudly by), ‘How very disappointing! An Austin-Healey 3000, and all they’ve found to put on the boot is a left-over lock from a Singer Vogue!’ It sounded absolutely apocalyptic.

(3) STICKY FINGERS. Bleeding Cool has the rundown on “The New York Comic Con Organiser Barred From Attending New York Comic Con” after he looted another dealer’s display.

Frank Patz, organiser of the neighbouring comic con, Eternalcon in Long Island, New York, attending NYCC as part of Michael Carbonaro‘s Vintage Movie Posters booth, was arrested by NYPD Special Forces on charges of grand larceny and possession of stolen goods….

It is common practice at shows for the trash at the end of the shows to be raided by some vendors to find things that other vendors have left behind. However Eaglemoss representatives told me they were still in the process of breaking down their space, and the items in question were still inside the booth, and not considered trash.

Most of the items were returned after the arrest, and the charges are pending dismissal if Patz keeps a clean record for the next six months.

…However NYCC and the Javitz Center do not seem to hold with the “innocent until proven guilty” thesis. And so while Frank Patz will have no marks on his official police record as a result of this, he and all the individuals named, have been barred from entering the Javits Center, and show organisers Reed POP have barred them for life from attending any of their events, including the New York Comic Con, C2E2, ECCC and more.

(4) NEW PRESCRIPTION. Alasdair Stuart contends “It’s Time for Doctor Who to Change Television History for the Better” at Tor.com.

A Doctor who isn’t a white man is not a destination, it’s the start of a conversation. If the character worked—and it would—that would be an unmistakable turning point in how POC and female characters are portrayed on screen. It would also empower a generation of writers and actors, crew and producers to make their own work, with their own voices—work that, in the wake of a successful Doctor Who run with a woman or a POC in the lead role, would almost certainly find itself in a far more open and welcoming production environment.

That conversation is long and complicated and years overdue. It’s one that has to include bringing more and more women and POC into the fold as scriptwriters and showrunners and directors. It’s also one that needs to be years long in order for the changes it would catalyse to take effect. Most of all, it’s simply one that needs to happen, and there is no better time than now, and no better place to start than with Doctor Who.

(5) YOUR INVITATION TO A CONSPIRACY. John Scalzi shows us the way to make lemonade after he discovers an author has fallen for Vox Day’s insinuations about his bestseller status. (I argued in 2014 that Vox’s gambit was dubious because it equally undermined Larry Correia, then his ally).

I was pointed this morning to a blog post by an author not previously of my acquaintance who was making a bit of noise about the UK cover of The Collapsing Empire; the June 2016 cover reveal of the UK cover featured the strapline “The New York Times Bestselling Series”…

A little further digging revealed that this author almost certainly got this idea from one of my usual suspects (i.e., the same poor wee racist lad whose adorable mancrush on me has gone unabated for a dozen years now), who trumpeted the strapline as evidence that Tor is planning to fake a position for me and TCE on the New York Times bestseller list. As apparently they have done with all my work, because as you know I don’t actually sell books; Tor and Tor UK and Audible and a couple dozen publishers across the planet give me lots of money strictly because I am the world’s best virtue signaller, and therefore worth propping up with byzantine schemes to fake my standing on bestseller lists, because who doesn’t like virtue.

…(P.S.: If you would actually like to see me get on the New York Times bestseller list with The Collapsing Empire — or in the UK, the Times bestseller list (that’s the Times in the UK, that is, these newspapers with the same names are confusing) — then be part of the vast conspiracy of people who pre-order the book, either from your local bookseller, or via your favorite online retailer. Sadly, my publishers don’t actually prop me up. I really do have to sell books for a living. Again: Sooooooooo unfair!)

(6) BALANCING THE BOOKS. Tolkien once was a customer of a shop now closed and auctioning off its business archives: “These boots were made for Tolkien: Ledgers from iconic Oxford shoe shop Duckers go under the hammer”.

Famous names feature in the ledgers of shoemakers Ducker & Son which are about to be offered for sale by Oxford auction house Mallams, writes Richard Lofthouse…

They range from little-known Oxford academics and wealthy undergraduates with a taste in bespoke footwear to local luminaries such Tolkien, Brideshead Revisited author Evelyn Waugh and publisher Sir Basil Blackwell (who insisted his shoes were always rubber-soled).

First World War flying ace Baron von Richthofen, European aristocratic families and several maharajahs also shopped at Duckers. More recent patrons have included Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent, comedian Rowan Atkinson, former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and Formula One boss Eddie Jordan.

Tolkien’s first order at the start of Michaelmas term 1913 is for a pair of black rugby boots for 14s 6d, a pair of porpoise laces for 8d, and a pair of ordinary laces for 2d. He was then an undergraduate at Exeter College, just up the street from Duckers’. The year had been a landmark one for Tolkien: he had changed his course from the Classics to English literature and, on the turn of his 21st birthday, had proposed to his childhood sweetheart Edith Bratt. Standing (above) in his pale jersey in the middle of the beefy athletes of Exeter College’s Rugby and Boat Clubs in 1914, Tolkien looks rather small; but he said that what he lacked in weight, he made up by extra ferocity.

A later page shows two orders by Tolkien in the 1950s, when he was Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and shoe prices had risen considerably: he bought three pairs for around £6 apiece. Fortunately his professorial income was supplemented by royalties from The Hobbit and, by the time of the last order, The Lord of the Rings, published in 1954–5.

(7) SNAKES, IT HAD TO BE SNAKES! I am told February 1 is Serpent Day. Not sure why that precedes Groundhog Day, but there you have it.

Serpents deserve a day dedicated to them; its presence is somehow necessary, what with all of the fables and stories abound with snake-inspired situations and wise or evil serpents, that have filled our culture for as long as any of our ancestors could remember.

(8) WHO FATIGUE. Are you tired of watching Doctor Who? I’m not, but if you are, CheatSheet offers four reasons that might explain why. (More likely, you’re tired of clickbait articles like this that drag you through multiple ad-saturated screens to see the complete post.)

  1. The Doctor got meaner

Fans familiar with the progression of the Doctor are familiar with the defining personality traits of each modern doctor. Christopher Eccelston was a stripped-down version of a previously flamboyant character, beginning a walk down a decidedly grimmer path for the Doctor’s personality. David Tennant after him was kind yet stern, with sharp features to match. He always carried with him a certain guilt over the burden of being the last of the Time Lords, leading into the reactively younger and more carefree Matt Smith iteration.

Finally, we were left with Peter Capaldi, the more mature and notably older version of the Doctor. It was more than a little jarring to go from the warm, goofy demeanor of Smith to the crotchety and sometimes mean-spirited Capaldi version. This in turn made it hard to adjust for fans, leading many to jump ship mere episodes in to the latest season.

(9) TAKING FLIGHT. Nerds of a Feather rounds out its Hugo recommendations with two more posts:

Best Graphic Story, Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form, Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form

Editor – Short Form, Editor – Long Form, Professional Artist, Fan Artist, Fan Writer.

(10) FURTHER THOUGHTS. Rich Horton ranges widely in his “Hugo Nomination Thoughts: Long Fiction (and some notes on Dramatic Presentation)”. And he compliments one of JJ’s posts, too.

Best Series

Considering this brand new category reminds me of one novel that I have just read, Impersonations, by Walter Jon Williams, a new pendant to his Praxis (or Dread Empire’s Fall) series. It’s a fun story, and I’m glad I read it, but I don’t think it’s Hugo-worthy by itself. I am strongly considering nominating the entire series for a Hugo, however.

And, indeed, that hints at one of my misgivings about the Hugo for Best Series. The most recent entry in a series may not be particularly representative of the series as a whole, nor as good as the rest of the series. The same comment, obviously, applies to Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, represented in 2016 by the rather pedestrian Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. I would say personally that both Bujold’s Vorkosigan series and Williams’ Praxis book are worthy, over all, of a Best Series Hugo, but that the best time to award them that Hugo has passed. (Which, to be sure, is primarily a function of this being a brand new award.)

At any rate, I was wondering what the possible candidates for Best Series, eligible in 2016, might be, and I was delighted to find that JJ, over at File 770, had done the heavy lifting, producing this page with a good long list of potential eligible series: http://file770.com/?p=30940.

(11) TRUE LOVE. With Valentine’s Day on the calendar this month, Seattle’s MoPOP Museum has sent those on its email list a set of Fictional Flames: A Lovesick List of #MoPOPCULTURE Power Couples.

In honor of cupid’s return, here are our picks for the fictional couples who remind us why we love to fall in love.

Uhura + Spock : Star Trek – This futuristic couple showed the world how to love long and prosper.

Clark Kent + Lois Lane: Superman – The most unique story of journalistic love. Ever.

Hermione + Ron: Harry Potter – These longtime friends fell hard with no love potion required.

Buttercup + Westley: The Princess Bride – True love has never been more adventurous.

Elizabeth + Mr. Darcy: Pride and Prejudice – This enduring duo have been charming readers and viewers since 1813!

Kermit + Miss Piggy: The Muppets –  The most sensational, inspirational, celebrational muppet couple.

Gomez + Morticia: The Addams Family – “Till death do us part” takes on a whole new meaning.

Mitch + CamModern Family – These loving family men are the perfect suburban couple.

Rick + Ilsa: Casablanca – This bittersweet, war-torn romance will have you reaching for the tissues.

Willow + Tara: Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The couple that slays together stays together.

Han + Leia: Star Wars – She loves him. He knows. (He loves her too.)

(12) TRIBBLES AT THE UNIVERSITY. “The Trouble With Tribbles” episode of Star Trek will be screened at UCLA in the Billy Wilder Theater on February 5 as part of the “Family Flicks Film Series.” Details about price and schedule are at the link,

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of a classic television episode from a landmark series! Watch as Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) deal with an infestation of cute, fuzzy tribbles aboard the Enterprise. Soothing to the crew and annoying to the Klingons, the furry nuisances nonetheless hold the key to a mystery on board. Trekkie suits and transporters optional!

(13) BRAND ‘EM. Rawle Nyanzi, in “Fear of a Pulp Planet”, calls it a “Pulp Revolution” —

Bloggers Jeffro Johnson — whose Appendix N book I spotlighted here — and Jon Mollison, both of whom I’m acquainted with online, have made much of the “Pulp Revolution,” a nascent literary movement intended to turn modern sci-fi and fantasy away from a perceived focus on deconstruction and embrace its heritage as a literature of the heroic and wondrous. It also seeks to bring the works of long ignored pulp authors back into the limelight.

I find “Pulp Revolution” a more appealing label than Sad Puppies, if anyone wants to know. (Like that’s going to happen….)

(14) RINGS. I still haven’t forgotten the first film in the series. This is the third.

First you watch it. Then you die. Rings hits theatres Friday!

A new chapter in the beloved RING horror franchise. A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before…

The film is being promoted by a pranks like this —

[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Dave Langford for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Robert Whitaker Sirignano.]

Best Series Hugo: Eligible Series From 2016

By JJ: Worldcon 75, to be held in Helsinki in August 2017, has announced that it will exercise its right under WSFS Constitution to run a special Hugo category for “Best Series.”

To assist Hugo nominators, listed below are the series believed to be eligible as of this writing for the 2017 Best Series Hugo next year*.

Each series name is followed by the main author(s) name and the 2016-published work.

  • 1632 by Eric Flint and a cast of thousands, 1635: A Parcel of Rogues (with Andrew Dennis)
  • 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, The Last Star
  • Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong, Forest of Ruin
  • Alcatraz Smedry by Brandon Sanderson, The Dark Talent
  • The Alchemy Wars by Ian Tregillis, The Liberation
  • Alien Hunter by Whitley Strieber, The White House
  • Alpennia by Heather Rose Jones, Mother of Souls
  • American Faerie Tales by Bishop O’Connell, The Returned
  • Ark Royal by Chris Nuttall, Fear God and Dread Naught
  • Ascendant Kingdoms by Gail Z. Martin, Shadow and Flame
  • Bel Dame Apocrypha by Kameron Hurley, The Heart is Eaten Last (novella on Patreon)
  • Betsy the Vampire Queen / Wyndham Werewolf by MaryJanice Davidson, Undead and Done
  • Black Blade by Jennifer Estep, Bright Blaze of Magic
  • Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, The Beast
  • Blackdog / Marakand by K.V. Johansen, Gods of Nabban
  • Blackthorn & Grim by Juliet Marillier, Den of Wolves
  • Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey, The Bloodsworn
  • Broken Empire / Red Queen’s War by Mark Lawrence, The Wheel of Osheim
  • Bryant & May by Christopher Fowler, Strange Tide
  • Cainsville by Kelley Armstrong, Betrayals
  • Cal Leandros by Rob Thurman, “Impossible Monsters” (short story)
  • Carpathian by Christine Feehan, Dark Promises, Dark Carousel
  • Case Files of Justis Fearsson by David B. Coe, Shadow’s Blade
  • Castle by Steph Swainston, Fair Rebel
  • Celaena / Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Empire of Storms
  • Chaos Station by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen, Inversion Point
  • Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neil, Midnight Marked
  • Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara, Cast in Flight
  • Chronicles of Exile by Marc Turner, Red Tide
  • Chronicles of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor, Lies, Damned Lies, and History
  • Clan Chronicles by Julie E. Czerneda, The Gate To Futures Past
  • Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato, Final Flight (novelette) (possibly not enough total words)
  • Colours of Madeleine by Jaclyn Moriarty, A Tangle of Gold
  • Commonweal by Graydon Saunders, Safely You Deliver
  • Commonwealth by Peter F Hamilton, Night Without Stars
  • Cosmere / Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, Secret History, The Bands of Mourning (novellas)
  • Court of Fives by Kate Elliott, The Poisoned Blade
  • Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone, Four Roads Cross
  • Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham, The Spider’s War
  • Dark Eden by Chris Beckett, Daughter of Eden
  • Dark Hunter by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dragonmark
  • Dark Tower by Stephen King, Charlie the Choo-Choo (graphic novel / scary children’s book)
  • Decline and Fall of the Galactic Empire by Chris Nuttall, The Barbarian Bride
  • Devices by Philip Purser-Hallard, Trojans
  • Diamond City Magic by Diana Pharaoh Francis, Whisper of Shadows
  • Diving Universe by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Falls
  • Dragonships of Vindras by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Doom of the Dragon
  • Dread Empire’s Fall by Walter Jon Williams, Impersonations (novella)
  • Dream Archipelago by Christopher Priest, The Gradual
  • Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, “Cold Case” (short story)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson, Navigators of Dune
  • Elder Races by Thea Harrison, Moonshadow
  • Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep, Bitter Bite, Unraveled
  • Elemental Masters by Mercedes Lackey, A Study in Sable
  • Elfhome / Steel City by Wen Spencer, Project Elfhome (collection including novella)
  • Elves on the Road / SERRAted Edge by Mercedes Lackey, Silence (with Cody Martin)
  • Emberverse by S.M. Stirling, Prince of Outcasts
  • Europe by Dave Hutchinson, Europe in Winter
  • Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines, Ex-Isle
  • Expanse by James S.A. Corey, Babylon’s Ashes
  • Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home
  • Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire by Rod Duncan, The Custodian of Marvels
  • Fever by Karen Marie Moning, Feverborn
  • Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh, Visitor
  • Frontlines by Marko Kloos, Chains of Command
  • Gaia Chronicles by Naomi Foyle, The Blood of the Hoopoe
  • Gallow and Ragged by Lilith Saintcrow, Roadside Magic, Wasteland King
  • GhostWalkers by Christine Feehan, Spider Game
  • Gor by John Norman, Plunder of Gor
  • Greatcoats by Sebastien de Castell, Saint’s Blood
  • Grisha by Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom
  • Guardians by Nora Roberts, Island of Glass
  • Guild Hunter by Nalini Singh, Archangel’s Heart
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, The Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts (scripts)
  • Heartstrikers by Rachel Aaron, No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished
  • Her Instruments by M.C.A. Hogarth, A Rose Point Holiday (online serial novel)
  • Honorverse by David Weber, Shadow of Victory
  • Humanity’s Fire by Michael Cobley, Ancestral Machines
  • In Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts), Brotherhood in Death
  • InCryptid by Seanan McGuire, Chaos Choreography
  • Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, The Burning Page
  • Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, Staked
  • Ixia / Sitia by Maria V. Snyder, Night Study
  • Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter, Shadow Rites, Blood of the Earth
  • Johannes Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard, The Fall of the House of Cabal
  • Kara Gillian by Diana Rowland, Legacy of the Demon
  • Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews (Ilona Gordon and Andrew Gordon), Magic Binds
  • Kitty Katt by Gini Koch, Camp Alien
  • Lady Trent by Marie Brennan, In the Labyrinth of Drakes
  • Laundry Files by Charles Stross, The Nightmare Stacks
  • League by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Born of Legend
  • Learning Experience by Chris Nuttall, The Black Sheep
  • Leopard by Christine Feehan, Leopard’s Fury
  • Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Alliance of Equals
  • Lightbringer by Brent Weeks, The Blood Mirror
  • Long Earth by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett, The Long Cosmos
  • Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell (John G. Hemry), Shattered Spear
  • Magic Ex Libris by Jim C. Hines, Revisionary
  • Malazan / Kharkanas by Steven Erikson, Fall of Light
  • Mancer by Ferrett Steinmetz, Fix
  • Maradaine by Marshall Ryan Maresca, The Alchemy of Chaos
  • Matthew Corbett by Robert McCammon, Freedom of the Mask
  • Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs, Fire Touched
  • Midnight, Texas by Charlaine Harris, Night Shift
  • Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences by Pip (Philippa) Ballantine and Tee (Thomas Earl) Morris, The Ghost Rebellion
  • Monster Hunter by Larry Correia, Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge (with John Ringo)
  • Mutant Files by William C. Dietz, Graveyard
  • Myth Adventures by Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye, Myth-Fits
  • Newsflesh by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire), FeedBack
  • October Daye by Seanan McGuire, Once Broken Faith
  • Old Kingdom / Abhorsen by Garth Nix, Goldenhand
  • Others by Anne Bishop, Marked in Flesh
  • Pantheon by James Lovegrove, Age of Heroes
  • Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger, Romancing the Inventor, Poison or Protect (novellas)
  • Perry Rhodan / Lemuria by a cast of billions, The First Immortal, The Last Days of Lemuria, The Longest Night
  • Polity by Neal Asher, War Factory
  • Poseidon’s Children by Alastair Reynolds, Poseidon’s Wake
  • Psy-Changelings by Nalini Singh, Allegiance of Honor
  • Psycop by Jordan Castillo Price, Psycop Briefs (collection including 4 new stories)
  • Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, Fate of the Tearling
  • Raksura by Martha Wells, The Edge of Worlds
  • Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King
  • RCN by David Drake, Death’s Bright Day
  • Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson, Calamity
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown, Morning Star
  • Rivers of London / Peter Grant by Ben Aaronovitch, The Hanging Tree
  • Riverside by Ellen Kushner, Tremontaine
  • Royal Sorceress by Chris Nuttall, Sons of Liberty
  • Russell’s Attic by S.L. Huang, Plastic Smile
  • Safehold by David Weber, At the Sign of Triumph
  • Saga of Shadows by Kevin J. Anderson, Eternity’s Mind
  • Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey, The Perdition Score
  • Santi / Remembrance of Earth’s Past by Cixin Liu, Death’s End
  • Schooled in Magic by Chris Nuttall, Infinite Regress
  • Sea Haven by Christine Feehan, Fire Bound
  • Secret History by Simon R. Green, Dr. DOA
  • Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest, A Sword of Chance
  • Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler, The Guns of Empire
  • Shadow Police by Paul Cornell, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?
  • Shannara by Terry Brooks, The Sorcerer’s Daughter
  • Simon Canderous by Anton Strout, “Solus” (novelette)
  • Sorcery Ascendant by Mitchell Hogan, A Shattered Empire
  • Spellwright by Blake Charlton, Spellbreaker
  • Split Worlds by Emma Newman, A Little Knowledge
  • Tao by Wesley Chu, The Days of Tao (novella)
  • Temeraire by Naomi Novik, League Of Dragons
  • Thessaly by Jo Walton, Necessity
  • Thrones and Bones by Lou Anders, Skyborn
  • Time and Shadows by Liana Brooks, Decoherence
  • Twenty-Sided Sorceress by Annie Bellet, Magic to the Bone
  • Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey, Closer to the Chest
  • Victory Nelson, Investigator/Henry Fitzroy by Tanya Huff, “If Wishes Were” (novelette)
  • Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
  • Walker Universe by C.E. Murphy, “Slaying the Dragon” (short story on Patreon)
  • Wall of Night by Helen Lowe, The Daughter of Blood
  • War Dogs by Greg Bear, Take Back the Sky
  • Warhammer 40K / The Horus Heresy by a cast of gazillions, Pharos
  • Wild Cards by George R.R. Martin and a cast of thousands, High Stakes
  • Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong, Driven (novella)
  • World of the Five Gods by Lois McMaster Bujold, Penric and the Shaman (novella)
  • World of the Lupi by Eileen Wilks, Dragon Spawn
  • Xanth by Piers Anthony, Isis Orb
  • Xuya Universe by Aliette de Bodard, A Salvaging of Ghosts (23 short fiction works, including 2 novellas, may or may not meet the word count)
  • Young Wizards by Diane Duane, Games Wizards Play

* no warranties are made about series eligibility based on word count (or lack thereof)

no warranties are made about the presumed quality of listed series (or lack thereof)

Please feel free to add comments regarding series which have been missed.

Update 10/01/2016: Added series pointed out in comments. Update 10/8/2016: Made more additions. Update 01/13/17: Added three more series. Update 01/14/17: And three more.

Helsinki To Run Best Series Hugo

Worldcon 75, to be held in Helsinki in August 2017, will exercise its right under WSFS Constitution to run a special Hugo category for “Best Series.”

The committee’s announcement today explains:

Fans voted in August 2016  to trial a new Hugo award for “Best Series”, which could be added in 2018. Each Worldcon Committee has the authority to introduce a special category Hugo award, and Worldcon 75 has decided to test “Best Series” in 2017. This follows the precedent of the 2009 Worldcon, which trialled “Best Graphic Story” before it became a regular Hugo the following year. Fans at Worldcon 75 will be able to decide whether to ratify the “Best Series” for future years and suggest revisions to the award definition at the World Science Fiction Society Business Meeting held in Helsinki during the convention.

The committee says an eligible work for the special Best Series Hugo award is “a multi-volume science fiction or fantasy story, unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation, which has appeared in at least three volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the calendar year 2016, at least one volume of which was published in 2016.”

 

Best Series Hugo Committee Report Online

The motion to add a Best Series Hugo, discussed on File 770 last year by its former title in “New Draft of Best Saga Proposal”, and the follow-up “Final Revision of Best Series Hugo Proposal Now Online”, was sent to committee by the 2015 Sasquan Business Meeting at the drafters’ request.

That committee has returned its report, which is available in the Agenda for the MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting.

Warren Buff, the committee chair, commented:

The report features a substantially revised motion from last year, although the numbers have remained the same.

We put this through the wringer, and believe that this is the best proposal we can assemble in terms of defining a series in a way that’s easily understood and balancing the issues inherent in a work that might never be completed, but is nonetheless meant to be enjoyed as a coherent whole. I won’t hold forth by copying the entire report, but will include the concluding paragraph:

“In our discussions, we have approached the topic from the perspectives of writers, editors, academics, Hugo Administrators, and fans who read series with varying degrees of enjoyment. This proposal does not represent everyone’s ideal take on how to recognize series, but instead the most viable compromise position we could reach, and we recommend its passage.”

The members of the committee are Warren Buff (chair), Jared Dashoff, Todd Dashoff, Eric Flint, Chris Gerrib, Tim Illingworth, Joshua Kronengold, Bill Lawhorn, Michael Lee, Simon Litten, Farah Mendlesohn, Mark Olson, Steve Saffel, Pablo Vazquez, Peter de Weerdt, Clark Wierda.

The full text of the report is here. Included are minority reports from Chris Gerrib and Joshua Kronengold containing their own recommended motions, and from Mark Olson, who thinks the category should not be added at all.

Final Revision of Best Series Hugo Proposal Now Online

Jared Dashoff reports final wording of the proposed rule creating a Best Series Hugo category has been posted on the Sasquan business meeting agenda webpage.

File 770 hosted discussion of the idea under its former title in “New Draft of Best Saga Proposal”.

The latest version reads as follows. (The text that would be added to the WSFS Constitution is underlined.)

B.1.3 – Short Title: Best Series (revised July 13, 2015)

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to change the written fiction Hugo Award categories by creating a Best Series award and correcting related references to the existing Hugo Award categories, by adding words as follows:

1: Insert words in existing Section 3.2.4 as follows:

3.2.4: Works appearing in a series are eligible as individual works, but the series as a whole is not eligible, except under Section 3.3.X. However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.

2: Insert the following section before existing Section 3.3.4:

3.3.X: Best Series. A work of science fiction or fantasy presented as a single series with a unifying plot, characters or setting, appearing in at least three (3) volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the previous calendar year,at least one of which was published in the previous calendar year. If such a work has previously been a finalist, it shall be eligible only if at least two (2) additional volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words have been published since its last appearance on the final ballot by the end of the previous calendar year and provided it has not won under 3.3.X before.

3: Insert the following before existing Section 3.8.3:

3.8.X: For nominations of works under Section 3.3.X, if a work is eligible as both an overarching series and a subset of that series, and if the both the subset and the overarching series receive sufficient nominations to appear on the final ballot, the Worldcon Committee shall determine whether the subset or the overarching series shall appear on the final ballot, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9. If neither the subset of the series nor the overarching series receive sufficient nominations to appear on the final ballot, but the total ballots nominating either of them would place a work on the final ballot, the Worldcon Committee may combine the nominations and, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9, determine how the work should appear on the final ballot.

New Draft of Best Saga Proposal

Editor’s Introduction: the fans behind the Best Saga Hugo category have collated all the discussion and feedback they received on the original draft and have rewritten the proposal. Jared Dashoff asked me to post the latest revision so File 770 readers can make more comments. As he explains below, that may lead to ideas that will go into a final draft.

By Jared Dashoff: Thanks for offer to post the revision. I have attached what we’ve got. You’ll note there are two submissions, one to add Best Saga and one to deal with multiple nominations wherein the same work appears in multiple categories in the same year. This would stop a novel in a series from appearing on the same final ballot as the series, and, if a YA or other segment award ever shows up, a work appearing in that category and the category it fits in by length.

Please note in the post that we are asking for feedback on this, most importantly constructive criticism. We are still trying to find the perfect word count that incorporates a series built on short fiction, but doesn’t get overwhelmed by long novels with extra works tacked on. We are also refining our discussion points to mirror the word count and the final wording of the proposal.

We have submitted an older version of this to Sasquan (in the time it took to get that up, we made enough changes, we thought you should have an updated version) and, based on what we hear back, we’ll likely revise again before the cutoff for New Business.

Short Title: Best Series (revised June 24, 2015)

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to change the written fiction Hugo Award categories by creating a Best Series award and correcting related references to the existing Hugo Award categories by adding words as follows:

  1. Insert words in existing Section 3.2.4 as follows:

3.2.4 Works appearing in a series are eligible as individual works, but the series as a whole is not eligible, except under Section 3.3.X. However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.3.4:

3.3.X Best Series A work of science fiction or fantasy, presented as a single series with a unifying plot, characters, or setting, appearing in at least three (3) volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the previous calendar year, at least one of which was published in the previous calendar year.  If such a work has previously been a finalist, it shall be eligible only if at least two (2) additional volumes consisting of total of at least 240,000 words have been published since its last appearance on the final ballot by the end of the previous calendar year, and provided it has not won under 3.3.X before.

  1. Insert the following before existing Section 3.8.3:

3.8.X For nominations of works under Section 3.3.X, if a work is eligible as both an overarching series and a subset of that series, and if the work receives sufficient nominations, either as the overarching series or as a subset, or  through the sum of the nominations for both, to appear on the final ballot, the Worldcon Committee shall determine how the work shall appear, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9.

Proposed by: Warren Buff, Jared Dashoff, William Lawhorn, Michael Lee, Pablo Vasquez

Discussion:The goal of this amendment is to provide Hugo categories more in line with today’s science fiction and fantasy publishing norms and to further create categories that compare like items. It accomplishes this by creating an award that recognizes works that appear in multi-volume series, a large and growing segment of the publishing sector and one unrecognized by the Hugos to date.  Furthermore, stories told in this format tend to consist mainly of books which are not ideal examples of novels, in part due to the presence of narrative arcs which remain unresolved between their covers.  While this narrative sweep is not to the taste of all readers, it nonetheless represents a stylistically distinct form of storytelling, and its exemplars deserve recognition.

The majority of original novels (somewhere around two thirds) in the genre being published today are part of larger series, if the new releases of Tor/Forge, Baen, Pyr, and DAW are any indication.  Yet for the past decade, the Best Novel category has been dominated by stand-alone works, with nine out of the eleven winners being such (and one of the two series novels is a first book in its series).  The distribution of Best Novel winners is badly out of step with the general shape of the market, even though the nominees run close to the market trend.  This could be a sign that while the Hugo nominators appreciate series work, the general voter pool prefers stand-alone novels when considering which should win Best Novel or that comparing stand-alone works to works in a series is difficult.  While series novels performed better in the past, the expansion of the voter pool has not been a kind era for them.

By setting the minimum for nomination at 240,000 words across multiple volumes, works are required to provide substantial material within the same saga to be nominated and substantial new material to be eligible for a second nomination. The number also reflects typical book contracts for newer SF authors, which often come in around 80,000 to 100,000 words.  Established authors, especially those working in high fantasy, sometimes deliver much longer works.

For reference, The Lord of the Rings was around 473,000 words.  Volumes in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time ranged between 226,000 and 393,000 words, which would have triggered new eligibility every other volume.While George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire has had volumes of over 400,000 words, and would have triggered fresh eligibility as many as three times in its five volumes to date on word count alone, the requirement to publish multiple volumes to gain fresh eligibility would restrict it to twice.  Among series which placed their third or later book onto Locus’s lists in 2013 and 2014, the majority had already crossed 300,000 words, while a few were close to the cut-off. The bulk of the series were in their third or fourth entry, while eight of the 31 were beyond their fifth.  The lowest total, around 150,000, came from Alan Garner’s Weirdstone sequence, consisting of two children’s novels from the 1960s and an adult novella.  The two middle-grade series to place a book on the list, Lois Lowry’s Giver and Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series, came in below the threshold, while most of the young adult series came in above it.  Young adult series varied wildly, with trilogies ranging from about 230,000 words (Holly Black’s Curse Workers) to over 480,000 (Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper).  Several other series, most of which would tend to gain eligibility every two or three volumes, are documented at http://cesspit.net/drupal/node/1869/

The work need not be that of a single author, and collaborative efforts that hang together well enough for the voters and authors to consider them a single work are eligible. For reference, the Wild Cards Series has had numerous contributors over several decades, but each new novel or collection ties into all that has come before. The Ring of Fire Series has multiple intertwining stories that are linked by a common progressive storyline.

And, while the above discussion has focused on novel length works, the works need not be segmented into novel length volumes. Any work, presented in a series of multiple volumes, should be considered as eligible. For example, comics or graphic novels meeting the word count would qualify, assuming they are presented in a series of separate volumes. Novella or even Short Story length volumes summing to the word count would also be eligible.

Lastly, to lessen issues with the triggering work being part of both the overarching series and a subseries, as in the case of Discworld, for example, a clause has been added to give the Worldcon Committee explicit powers, that the sponsors and others believe the Committee already had by implicit tradition, to combine the nominations and place only the overarching series or the subseries on the final ballot, after discussion with the creator, when possible. The sponsors have also separately submitted a proposal entitled ‘Multiple Nominations’ that addresses the matter of a work being simultaneously eligible as part of a Series and in another category.

____________________________________________________________________________

Short Title: Multiple Nominations

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to change the written fiction Hugo Award categories by creating eliminating the possibility of a work appearing on the final ballot in multiple categories by adding words as follows:

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.2.8:

3.2.X: No work shall appear in more than one category on the final Award ballot.

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.8.6:

3.8.Y  If a work is eligible in more than one category, and if the work receives sufficient nominations to appear in more than one category, the Worldcon Committee shall determine in which category the work shall appear, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9.

Proposed by: Warren Buff, Jared Dashoff, William Lawhorn, Michael Lee, Pablo Vasquez

Discussion:The goal of this amendment is to ensure that no work appears on the final ballot in multiple categories. This means that a novel could not appear on the same ballot as a series of which it is a part, and provides for settling the placement of works receiving nominations in Best Related Work and other categories such as Fanzine or Fancast. Additionally, if a YA category were to be added, a novel could not appear in both the YA and Best Novel category. It would be the duty of the Worldcon Committee, via the Hugo Administrator and staff, in consultation with the author/creator, as possible, to determine in which the work would appear.

Novelettes Left Untouched in Revamped Best Saga Proposal

The motion to add a Best Saga category to the Hugos will be stripped of the related proposal to delete the Best Novelette category in response to strong opposition from writers.

One of the movers, Jared Dashoff, provided the update in a comment on Whatever. (And because Whatever comment links never seem to work for me, here is a link to the main post.)

Jared Dashoff: My statement on the Best Saga Hugo proposal:

[Please note that this is my take and only my take on the Saga Hugo proposal. Where I do say we, it was a group action taken by the proposers.]

Over the years, long fiction in the greater speculative fiction category has moved towards publishing works in series, rather than stand-alone works. Stand-alone works are still published and are eligible for Hugos in various categories, but some of us thought that the expansive works, where the individual volumes may or may not stand alone and be worthy of a Hugo themselves, deserved recognition. So we set out to create a Hugo for them. Best Saga became the title mostly because as the work gets longer, the title of the Hugo gets shorter.

Having attended many WSFS Business Meetings between us, and personally having been on the Head Table before and being on it this year, we felt the sense of the Meeting (i.e. how many that generally attend the Meeting feel) was that another professional fiction category would throw off the balance if a category was not removed. Based on long discussions and floating the idea past folks, we settled on the Novelette category. This bumped up the maximum word count for a short story, and dropped down the minimum word count for a Novella. No work that had been eligible was no longer eligible, it was just eligible in a different category.

Before formally submitting the proposal with the addition of the collapse of the Novelette, we floated it informally to the Secret Masters of Fandom (SMOFs) (even though they aren’t secret) email list, the Journeyman of Fandom (JOF) Facebook Group, and via emails to various persons. There was some angst at the inclusion of the Novelette collapse, but not much, and it was overwhelmed by the want to further discuss Saga at the Meeting or outright support for it. We did, in response to the angst over the collapse, structure the proposal so that it was in two distinct and separate clauses, making it very easy, if we were incorrect on the sense of the Meeting, to Divide the Question and debate and vote on each clause separately, meaning both the Novelette could remain and Saga could be added, if that was how those who attended the Meeting voted.

Once the proposal was formally submitted, it saw little publicity. However, once other proposals were submitted, namely “E Pluribus Hugo,” all of the proposals got publicity and the Saga proposal much more than it had seen to-date. The professional community, and many fans, made their opposition to the Novelette collapse known; much more opposition than any of us had sensed from our initial floating of the idea, floating of a draft proposal, or felt the Meeting** had.

**And, by extension the community, as the Meeting is meant to be representative of all WSFS membership and we all are in favor of more people showing up at the Meeting and participating so that it is more representative, even if it was to kill our proposal.

In response to this opposition to the Novelette collapse, we contacted Kevin Standlee, Chair of the Sasquan Business Meeting, to ensure we could amend our proposal so long as it was before the deadline for the submission of New Business. We are now in the process of doing that and amending the discussion text to remove any reference to the Novelette collapse. Some original proposers have decided not to join us in this effort.

Going forward, the proposal will only include the addition of the Saga Hugo and that will need to pass or fail on its own merits. If it fails, we will be sad, but we accept that it was not the Business Meeting’s want to create an award for such works. If others wish to submit a proposal related to the shorter fiction works, that is their prerogative, but I will not be submitting one nor supporting it.