Bonnie McDaniel says, “Here’s a picture of Sweetie next to my WorldCon progress report.”
Photos of other felines resting on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com
Filers proved today there is no such thing as an innocent question….
Bonnie McDaniel http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417321
By the way, since this is National Poetry Month, are we having Scroll titles based on poems?
The other Nigel http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417341
T’was Brillig and the Pixel Scroll did gyre and gimble in the web
Two Pixels diverged in a Scroll, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
Whan that Aprille, with hise pixels soote,
The scroll of March hath perced to the roote . . .
Come file with me and read my scroll
And we shall prove the pixels droll
That Hugos, books, shows, and things,
Fans and working writers brings.
And we will crawl about the Net
And hear of famous folk we’ve met
And if your joy be piqued to stroll
Come file with me and read my scroll.
In the middle of the web in the land of Glyer
Lives a brave little pixel whom we all admire.
I’ll just stop here as I’m not even sure if Glyer and admire rhyme.
Steve Wright http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417452
A Glyer who bore, ‘mid snow and ice
A pixel with the scroll device
Downward to pixels on extended scrolls.
For the Scroll’s more full of pixels
Than you can understand.
The Scroll That Through the Vile Hive Drives the Pixel.
The scroll of pixels isn’t hard to master.
Pixel is Scroll; Scroll, Pixel. That
Is all ye file and all ye need to file.
The apparition of these pixels in the scroll:
Items in a vile, long File.
Before I’d build a pixel
I’d ask what I was scrolling in or out.
I can recognize a rhyme, it’s meter that always gets my goat
Well you know what they say:
Don’t do the rhyme if you can’t do the time….
Oh Pixel, My Pixel (from the Dead Scrollers Society).
I blame @Will R:
O PIXEL! my Pixel! our fearful trip is done;
The scroll has weathered every troll, the talk we sought is won;
The Hugo is near, Worldcon I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady File, the website bright and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where in ‘older posts’ my pixel lies,
Fallen cold, unread.
Greg Hullender http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=2#comment-417489
Pixels, pixels everywhere
And all the scrolls did link.
Pixels, pixels everywhere
Nor any pup to think.
(From “The Rime of the Ancient Filerscum.”
Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
Where there’s a slate…
We want to vote the straight ticket today,
But Space Butt Raptor seems just so… outre’
We’re gonna gambit that gambit all day
Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
(LEFT?!? WHO LET THAT SJW IN HERE! SKIN HIM!!!) *clangs, shouts, singing resumes*
Where there’s a slate, there’s a way
With apologies to Rankin Bass
Peace Is My Middle Name http://file770.com/?p=22527&cpage=5#comment-262347:
This is last year’s, but still …
The Puppies is a slate, ma lads, for the Hugo Prize she’s bound,
And the quay it is aa garnished wi bonnie fanboyz round.
Captain Torgersen he orders tae vote the Puppies high,
He’ll fetch himself a Hugo, lads, or know the reason why.
And it’s cheer up, ma lads, let yer hearts fill wi hate.
When the Sad and Rabid Puppies nab the Hugos for the slate.
Along the quays at Puppyheim the fanboys stand aroond,
Their angst all pulled aboot them and the salt tears rinnin doon.
Oh, don’t you weep, my bonnie Pups, though ye’ll be left behind.
For the Beale will pal wi’ Scalzi, before we change our mind.
Here’s a health tae the Son o’ Torger, likewise the John C. Wright,
Here’s a health tae the Monster Hunter, and the fans who fight the fight.
We wear the trenchcoats o the brown, an fedoras o the gray,
We’ll pack the slate wi Pups me lad, we cannae lose that way.
It’ll be bright baith day and night when the Puppy lads come hame,
Wi a load of Puppy Hugos, boys, and money tae oor name.
Like the ships all crushed in ice, me lads, while fishing for the whale,
We’ll try and try and try again until the Pups prevail.
Meanwhile, roundup content today is provided by Lou Antonelli, Joseph Tomaras, Jonathan Crowe, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, Mark Ciocco, Lis Carey, Len Schiff, and Bonnie McDaniel. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and Brad J. Book cover lifted from Will Reichard’s “Wishlist: Soviet Space Dogs”.)
“Genrecide” – July 5
The dispute that arose when the Sad Puppy selections did so well in the Hugo nominations has probably created a permanent split of science fiction fans – not one created by the literature, but for social reasons.
Both sides have said such horrible things about each other that I doubt the rift will ever be healed. I wouldn’t be surprised if some semantic distinction arises later – such as the Sad Puppies’ type of fiction being called spec fic as opposed to science fiction.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden and her blog Making Light started the civil war when she realized her chums – the usual suspects – were not getting their Hugo nomination notice emails as usual. She blew up and started the vituperation a week before the actual announcement was made – proving the point, as Larry Corriea was pointed out, that there is an insider clique after all.
Mike Glyer, who’s been running his fan site File 770 since dirt was invented, unfortunately has kept the wildfires burning by collecting up Puppy posts and republishing them on his site. The comments threads there have become the clearing house for all Puppy Kicker resentment.
I don’t believe either side of completely right or completely wrong, but it really doesn’t matter anymore, because regardless of how or who started it, and how it ends, thanks to the internet too much has been said attacking too many people by so many people that there will probably be a long-term drop in readership and popular support.
Perhaps in the future people will say they read magic realism, or space opera, or dystopia, or alternate history – but as a result of the Puppy Wars, no one will actually want to admit they read “science fiction” because of all the negative connotations in the wake of the current unpleasantness.
….As more people post their ballots and/or their critical response to the items on the ballot, I have been surprised at how critical judgment on Kary English’s “Totaled” has lined up. People who fault contemporary SF for leaving too little room for ambiguity have criticized it for unclear, unreliable narration in the early sections. (To which I respond: As if a recently revived brain-in-a-jar would be a reliable narrator.) People who have a habit of calling for “good stories” in the whiz-bang mode of military SF have praised the story for its emotional trajectory. It has scrambled the factional lines, and that, I think, suggests a few points in its favor. There is room for dispute over it, and is worth being revisited and debated on aesthetic grounds.
What I think is indisputable, unfortunately, is how thoroughly English herself stumbled over the politics of this year’s hyper-politicized Hugo. She went months after the announcement of the ballots before disavowing both the Sad and Rabid Puppies slates on which she had been placed: Long enough that most of the anti-canine wings of the Hugo electorate had already dismissed her as a fellow traveler, but not long enough to avoid the wrath of the Rabid Majordomo himself. I take this as an object lesson in how the center-right, quasi-depoliticized “common sense” that passes as “moderation” in the U.S. context can succeed, in a global context, only in pissing people off, whether in small matters (e.g. the Hugos) or in big ones (e.g. Guantánamo, drone bombings).
“Best Saga Proposal Revised” – July 5
So the proposal for a Best Saga Hugo Award (see previous entry) has since been revised: they’ve abandoned getting rid of Best Novelette, which was needlessly zero-sum, and have lowered the minimum word count. The proposal now says 300,000 words; the draft posted to File 770 at more or less the same time says 240,000. A series cannot win more than once, but it can certainly be nominated multiple times (so long as two new installments requalifies it) until it wins — I think of this as the “my favourite series better damn well win this time” provision.
I’m still not a fan: it’s going to be a popularity contest for very popular (if not always good) ongoing series. And any minimum word count is going to be exclusionary. A 240,000-word lower limit would have rendered ineligible the original Foundation trilogy — which won a one-off “Best All-Time Series” Hugo in 1966.
And as far as I can tell the amendment would still allow series to appear on the Best Novel ballot when the final installment is published, like The World of Time did last year.
“Hugo Blatherings” – July 5
Still, it means I’m going to be part of Worldcon for at least the next two and a half years. I’ll be voting in two more Hugos after this one. And I’ll be trying to actively look for things to nominate, as well. I’ll be checking out Renay’s Hugo Spreadsheet of Doom and the Hugo Nominees 2016 Wikia regularly once I’ve finished with this year’s packet to look for suggestions to read. I’ve already got a couple of things I plan to nominate, and a few more I haven’t finished reading yet but I think might make my list. I’ll post a few lists of possible nominations as I go, and once the deadline for nominations has passed, I might even post my actual nomination form.
The round-ups at File 770 have slowed down, mostly because there just isn’t that much to talk about the Hugos right now. Everyone is busy going through the packets or have finished voting and are just waiting for the convention. I fully expect another fake outrage to be manufactured soon, but I can’t guess what direction it will come from. I’ve been continuing to read David Gerrold on Facebook… he’s the guy that got me into this whole kerfuffle in the first place. I don’t think I would have cared as much if not for him.
“Hugo Awards: Novella” – July 5
The other shorter-than-a-novel-but-longer-than-a-short-story category, these tend to be longer reads, which is a shame because I didn’t particularly care for any of them. It’s also one of the weirder categories in that three of the five nominees are from the same author. Two of the stories are also significantly expanded versions of much shorter stories (which, given my complaints below, would probably have been much better for me). None of the nominees are particularly terrible, per say, I just failed to connect with them, and it makes me wish there was a little more variety here. I don’t want too dwell on this, so let’s just get to it:…
[Comments on all five nominees.]
For the first time this year, I’m actually thinking about deploying No Award on my ballot, if only to get past the ridiculous notion that one author wrote the three best novellas of the year or something. I mean, I guess such a thing is possible, but not with these three stories. That being said, Wright also wrote my clear favorite of the bunch, so I’m not slotting No Award very high.
This is a Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form nominee for the 2015 Hugos. This is not a movie with any deep thoughts in its head. It’s pure, fun, over-the-top adventure, with colorful space battles and explosions…..
“The Hugo Project: Campbell Award” – July 5
(Note: This is the latest in an ongoing series of posts reviewing as many of the 2015 Hugo nominees as I can before the July 31 deadline, and explaining why I will or will not vote for them.)
The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer advertises itself, famously, as “not-a-Hugo,” celebrating what the Worldcon community decides is the best new science fiction/fantasy writer of the year. Unfortunately, like so much of the rest of the ballot, this category has been tainted by the shenanigans of the Impacted Canines.
(Forgive me for sounding testy. Several weeks of slogging through godawfully bad stories not worth their weight in puppy piss will do that to you. I mean, if you’re going to behave lawfully-but-unethically and game the awards, can’t you at least nominate something halfway decent? Apparently not, as most of the ballot proves.)
Listed from worst to best….
[Comments on all five nominees.]
— ThGalaxyExpress (@ThGalaxyExpress) July 5, 2015
[Nothing to do with Sad Puppies, but an interesting article.]
The Sad Puppies Desaturation Fund To Promote Whiteness In Science Fiction Awards #BadCharitiesToDonateTo
— Len Schiff (@Signs_of_Life) July 5, 2015
aka Spaceships and Solar Sails and Puppy Blog Tales.
In the roundup today: Brad R. Torgersen, George R.R. Martin, MD Laclan, Scott Alexander, Peter Grant, Vox Day, John C. Wright, Sarah A. Hoyt, J. A. Micheline, Ray Blank, Spacefaring Kitten, Mark Ciocco, Lis Carey, Russell Blackford, Rebekah Golden, Bonnie McDaniel and Silly But True. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Bruce Baugh and Jack Lint.)
Which of the Puppies are clueless? Is it me? The readers? Somebody else? From which way does the venom flow? There’s a lady over at TOR who’s in a lot of hot water right now, because she regurgitated venom she’d absorbed (or been spoon-fed) by folks on your “side” of this thing. Her chief mistake was in assuming that she knew who she was calling names, when she did not.
And now the customers are remarkably unhappy with her.
I’ve said it before: I don’t mind people who criticize Sad Puppies 3 for either mode, or method. If you can criticize the method, without impugning the integrity of the man, all well and good. That’s a conversation worth having.
Problem is, some opponents of Sad Puppies 3 have been impugning the man (singularly, collectively) from the get-go, and the invective has been of a type and kind so outlandish, so below the belt, so filled with promises both dire and dreadful, that I’ve struggled to understand why people who claim to tread the high frontiers of the world’s most imaginative form of literature, can be frightened into nasty hysterics by the fact that a democratic process was exercised democratically.
Eric Flint’s a friend of mine, and I trust him on most things. But he’s not immune from getting it wrong. I think his criticism has been better then most, because he’s tried to be fair-minded. But he’s also gotten a few things out of whack.
CHORF came about because the SMOFs who are supporting Sad Puppies didn’t want to be lumped in with the hysterical crowd calling Sad Puppies a lot of terrible stuff.
Puppy-kicker was suggested to me by a female member of the Sad Puppies 3 slate who was tired of seeing anti-Puppy ad hominem attacks. So, I adopted Puppy-kicker as a means of referring to people who are in it for the sake of personal vendetta, or who can’t seem to stop themselves from being nasty churls at a personal level, against everything and everyone Puppy-related.
CHORF and Puppy-kicker may seem offensive to some, but they are attempts to refine the conversation while not letting the bad-spirited, badly-behaving actors off the hook.
And to be blunt about it, George, some of the folks on “your” side have been very, very bad-spirited, and made it their personal business to be fantastically terrible to not just myself, not just Larry Correia, but to all of Puppydom. And as Tom Doherty discovered, Puppydom also includes respected colleagues and authors with decades of investment in this field. As well as a heap-load of readers. You know, those people who pay us money for the crazy shit we make up and pull out of our heads?
I’d love to see things dialed down, but the bulk of the dialing has to come from your “side” and to be honest, I am not really sure the fans (aka: customers!) who’ve been tarred with the anti-Puppy brush, are feeling terribly pleased at the moment. This was never a top-down effort, it was always grass-roots. Larry, myself, Sad Puppies, we gave faces and a name to a sentiment that’s been there for many years. Among the readership. Among people who were tired of being treated like they were second-class citizens, either because of their Fandom pedigrees, or because of their Fandom tastes and interests, or because they were professionals deemed to be “cut-rate” in the back-room conversations amongst other pros.
That kind of thing leaves bruises to the bone, George. And whether you like it or not, it’s some of the people on your side eagerly doing the bruising.
[First of five parts.]
I have spoken out against name-calling from the first, Brad. It is the Puppies and their supporters who started it, and who keep dialing it up. I will concede that you yourself have been mostly civil, but read the comments in your own blog, or Correia’s, or even on FILE 770, and it is all venom and epithets.
>And now the customers are remarkably unhappy with her.
The vast majority of customers have no idea about any of this. The “unhappiness” here is a campaign orchestrated by the odious Mr. Beale, and once again you Sad Puppies have lined up behind the Rabids. Early in this debate, I heard a lot of stuff from your side about careers being threatened and your opponents saying “you will never work in this town again” and similar crap. Not one instance of that was ever substantiated. But now we are seeing a deliberate internet campaign to cost someone their career — and it is coming from VD, with the full howling support of Puppies of all stripes.
No one on “my side” ever threatened anyone’s livelihood or career. Your side is doing just that. In public.
What you doubtless wanted when you sparked up this blog was another comment on The Hugos controversy, where – summing it up – a bunch of right wing idiots have been acting like right wing idiots and annoying the good and sensible folk of the SF&F parish. OK, then.
SF – and the debate seems centred on SF rather than fantasy – shouldn’t be about social issues, they say, it’s rayguns and aliens. (I’m obviously making their argument slightly more complex than it is – it seems to reduce to ‘er, girls, thinking, ugg, sissy, me feel insecure.’)
Particularly annoying seems the inclusion of a diverse cast of protagonists – transgender people, homosexual people, female people and black people. They actually say this, which seems surprising in 2015 as opposed to, say, 1915.
Rightist light sabre rattler Brad Torgensen says on his blog that buying SF with a spaceship on the cover nowadays is like buying one kind of cereal but getting quite another.
“Fearful Symmetry” – June 14
Likewise, when people wanted TV star Phil Robertson fired for saying (on his own time) that homosexuality was unnatural and led to bestiality and adultery, they said it wasn’t about policing his religion, it was about how these were “hateful” comments that would make the people working with him feel unsafe. At the time I said that was poppycock and that people who wanted him fired for having a private opinion were the worst kinds of illiberal witch-hunters.
On the other hand, consider Irene Gallo. I know nothing of her except what the Alas blog post says, but apparently in science fiction’s ongoing conflict between the establishment and the anti-SJW “Sad Puppies”/”Rabid Puppies” groups, she referred to the latter as:
Two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups that are calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy. They are unrepentantly racist, sexist and homophobic.
These are some pretty strong allegations, and range from “false” to “bizarre”; Brad Torgenson, leader of the group she called “extreme right wing neo nazi unrepentant racists”, is happily married to a black woman. And the people she’s talking about are her company’s authors and customers, which hardly seems like good business practice. Some authors have said they feel uncomfortable working for a company whose employees think of them that way, and others have suggested boycotting Tor until they make her apologize or fire her.
Barry says that since she said these on her own private Facebook page, it is a private opinion that it would be pretty censorious to fire her over. Part of me agrees.
On the other hand, if I were a sci-fi author in one of the groups that she was talking about, I’m not sure I’d be able to work with her. Like, really? You want me to sit across a table and smile at the woman who thinks I’m a racist sexist homophobic extremist neo-Nazi just because I disagree with her?
“Do empty vessels make the most sound?” – June 14
I’ve been quietly amused by the number of SJW’s who are trying to dismiss the current brouhaha over Tor as something ‘manufactured by troublemakers’, individuals who don’t have a following and are ‘nobodies’ making a fuss over nothing. They take great care to attack ‘Puppies’ supporters and commenters, often going so far as to attribute emotions and attitudes to them that have no existence whatsoever in reality – but they never address the real issues involved, as I pointed out recently. It’s a very strange, almost surreal attitude to life.
I’m sure many of my readers have seen SJW attacks on Larry Correia, Brad Torgerson, Vox Day and the like. Even humble little me has come in for his share of them – as, for example, in comments to this article at File 770. For your entertainment, here are some of them, with links: ….
“The outrage is not manufactured” – June 14
So, now it is time to demonstrate that we are not bots. Now it is time to let Macmillan know that we truly exist and we do NOT approve of the senior SJWs at Tor Books who have been publicly attacking us for more than a decade. It is time to prove to Macmillan that the senior SJWs at Tor are lying to them by sending ONE email apiece to the following people on MONDAY morning. (Emphasis added as a result of already seeing emails in my inbox.) Send the emails separately, do not CC them or send out one email to the three email addresses at the same time. The point is to make it clear that you are NOT a bot, you are a human being, and therefore the people at Tor Books are lying to their superiors at Macmillan.
The three emails should be short, straightforward, polite, and respectful. It should have I AM A REAL PERSON in the subject, CC voxdayATgmail.com, and address the following points:
- I am a real person and not a bot.
- I do not approve of the behavior of the senior people at Tor Books, specifically Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Moshe Feder, and Irene Gallo.
- I am requesting you to require Irene Gallo to resign from her positions at Tor Books and Tor.com as a consequence of her egregiously unprofessional public attack on science fiction readers and writers.
- I request a response to confirm that my email has been received and read.
Something to that effect, anyway. There is no need to mention any possibility of a boycott, tell them how many books you buy in a year, or anything else. The people at Macmillan are smart, they are professional, and they know what is at stake. What they do not know is something we are going to have to demonstrate to them: SJWs always lie.
“I Am A Real Person” – June 14
I have received more messages, publicly and privately, from fans who enjoy and buy my works but who, deeply offended at at least four, perhaps more, of the ranking officers of my publisher, have told me they can no longer buy my works.
This is unprecedented, or, I should say, at least I have never heard of readers disavowing books based not on the content or author, but the publisher.
Some have likewise written to Tor books to express their displeasure at this high handed and unprofessional treatment.
However, the latest slander issued from the enemy is that these readers do not exist.
They are trying to blank you out of their minds. You are unpersons. The claim is that the emails and letters sent to Tor expressing the displeasure of the customer are said to be faked, counterfeit, written by robots.
This bizarre belief that thousands of pissed off fans are just a “robot army” invoked by the Lord of All Evil is one of the ways of pinching off reality and self-insulating so the faith can stay strong. They know that those who disagree with their progressive view for the future are few, old, and frankly probably too dumb to read for fun. They know also that VD has some mysterious mastery of the dark forces of computing which they don’t fully get. Ergo, presto, the annoying supposed evidence they might not be right is enemy action and fakery.
“On Worldcons and World Cups” – June 14
Torgersen is right about Worldcon and the awards it hands out. It is an event for Americans, by Americans. Everybody else assimilates, or is excluded. Worldcon might promote an American industry to customers overseas, but reveals little appetite for international diversity within that industry. That would imply more competition for American writers and American businessmen, and it would also mean more competition amongst ideas.
I like my science fiction to be challenging, and I find the world to be a challenging place. Not everyone is like me, and not everyone shares my tastes or opinions. It would be unreasonable to expect otherwise. So I must expect that some will prefer to observe the world whilst wearing blinkers or rose-tinted spectacles. They have a right to free speech, even if they only use it to talk amongst themselves. If it makes them happy, they should continue as they are. But nobody should pretend that the members of Worldcon aspire to realize the greatest, most diverse potential of the SF market. They may refer to their event as Worldcon, but this ‘fandom’ retreats from the world at large.
Some of you may be familiar with the Rabid/Sad Puppies Hugo Award Scandal of 2015, which has basically been a study in gatekeeping, sexism, racism, and all the less-than-cute things we have all come to know and hate about…well, fandom. Last month, Tor.com’s Associate Publisher and Tor Books’ Creative Director Irene Gallo made statements on her personal Facebook page that expressed her disgust with the Rabid/Sad Puppy movement. She describes them as “right wing to neo-nazi,” and “unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic.” She also did not clarify that these statements were her own and not reflective of Tor.com/Tor Books as a whole.
You know. Even though they were on her personal Facebook page.
So, naturally, on Monday–coincidentally, mere days before the winners of the Nebula Awards were announced–Tom Doherty, Tor Books President and Publisher took to the Tor.com page to let everyone know that (1) that Sad Puppies is “not all (white) men,” (2) that Tor is about publishing a diverse set of books and has no political agenda, and (3) that Irene Gallo has been tamed and put back in her cage, y’all, so let’s get back to business and forget this ever happened.
I mean, I’m paraphrasing, but you get it.
I’m not going to spend time debunking the “not all (white) men” portion of the post because other people have already made this point about the Rabid/Sad Puppies’ agenda. I’m just going to let it sit there that the odd circumstantial nature of this statement coming out a month after Ms. Gallo’s words but just in time to distract from women basically sweeping the Nebula Awards. I will say that making a list of some of the women and people of color included on their slate to prove that they aren’t racist or sexist is a very, very weird thing to do if your site and/or publisher has no political agenda.
“Sad Puppies” – June 14
Traditional publishing houses are still pretty good at putting physical copies of books on the shelves of physical book stores. It can do that because of its access to commercial credit….the ability to take on debt.
They also retain the ability to promote although most readers find a hundred favorable on-line reviews infinitely more compelling than a frothy blurb written by a shill-for-hire.
And, until this year, traditional publishing houses “owned” the Hugo award process and thus controlled the free publicity the Hugos generated.
But the chickens came home to roost this year. All of those writers that the gate keepers were discarding because their politics were not “good”….they never went away. They self published. They banded together to create pools of alpha and beta readers. They communicated.
And they got mad. These are smart people. They were able to synthesize the Big Picture. And they did not like it. They were filled with the anger of a spurned lover, one who had been ditched for a rich girl.
Here is the joke, the rich girl only looks rich. She is living on debt and past glory. She is about to collapse like a brittle drunk. The traditional publishing industry is doomed unless it has its own Counter Reformation.
4) Mike Resnick is an outlier, Eric. You yourself have always talked about outliers. And the reason Mike is an outlier is because Mike has been in Fandom (caps f) for his entire life, and is known and beloved to many, and he’s never made it his business to broadcast his politics on social media. The great sin of the 21st century Fandom landscape, has been for conservatives and libertarians — like Michael Z. Williamson — to actually display their beliefs in the public square. I know you don’t think much of William F. Buckley, but he was dead right when he said, “Liberals will often tell you that they are open to other opinions; then react with shock and dismay to discover that there are other opinions.” That’s progressive Fandom in a nutshell. Notice that Mike Resnick got his cojones rosted on a spit the second he and Barry Malzberg actually did express themselves, in the pages of the SFWA Bulletin. They were castigated, maligned, and ejected.
“The REAL Hugo Controversy” – June 14
The Sad and/or Rabid Puppies may try to convince you that there’s a bias at work in the Hugo Awards*, and they may be right. However, they’ve overlooked the REAL shameful secret of the Hugo Awards. That secret? No novel written in a language other than English has ever won. Do you really believe that the best sci-fi/fantasy novel of the year was originally written in English… for SIXTY consecutive years? This stretches credulity.
“Grimm: ‘Once We Were Gods’” – June 14
I had never watched an episode of Grimm prior to this year’s Hugos, so it’s a new show for me. I checked out a few of the very first episodes and then skipped to the third season, watching some of the episodes leading up to the 15th one that is up for a Hugo. Grimm seems to be the male version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with fairy tale backstory and some police procedural thrown into the mix. It’s a decent show, with crimes perpetrated by different monster species, all with German names, and a council of unionized monsters to complicate matters here and there.
The idea of a distinction between a true Auteur and a craftsman is what keeps coming to mind when I think of Kevin J. Anderson. I mean, books aren’t collaborative in the way movies are, but the distinction between a craftsman and, let’s say, a master, is what I’m falling back on here. He’s a fine author, his prose gets the job done, and the books I’ve read by him are enjoyable. I still find them a little too diffuse, a little too derivative. So Anderson is a fine craftsman, and honestly, I could see myself revisiting this universe because I had a decent enough time with it. But he’s not a master, and while this represents good old-fashioned SF comfort food, I’m not sure it’s well executed enough to be worth the stretch.
With a bit more restraint, his prose could be lyrical–the opposite of the transparent prose the Puppies say they’re looking for, and certainly not to everyone’s taste, but offering its own kind of enjoyment. Without that restraint, alas, it too often becomes word salad, and at best is tiring and annoying.
“Flight of the Kikayon, by Kary English” – June 14
Kary English is a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
This story is a rare treat in the 2015 Hugo Voters packet.
And the winner is…
well, I don’t know who will win this award. I will not be voting “no award” ahead of any of them. However, the standout is Heuvelt’s surrealistic fantasy story, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”.
My eyes glazed over and I didn’t learn anything new about some awesome corner of the sf/f community. Not my best fan writer.
She writes about fandom and meta issues. Am I being unfairly focused? Is my definition too strict? It’s harder to tell with someone whose politics align with my own. Still, for me, one of my favorite writers will not be best fan writer. She did not improve my understanding or love of works in the sf/f realm. I’m sticking to my definition. And feeling sad.
I opened up Jeffro Johnson’s PDF in the voter’s packet for the Hugo Awards and breathed a sigh of relief. This. This is what I’ve been looking for. Jack Vance and D&D. YES. Each article is full of Johnson’s enthusiasm for the genre, tidbits of collected information, quotes, and references. This is a fan writer! After finishing reading I know more than I did, I appreciate more than I had, and I am (momentarily) interested in exploring more. Well done.
“The Hugo Project: ‘Best Related Work’” – June 14
[After comments on each nominee…]
Mr. Noah Award in a runaway. In fact, Noah is the equivalent of the magnificent Secretariat thundering down the stretch in the Belmont Stakes, straight and true and overpowering, leaving his competitors in the dust.
…Fifty-four rubbed his temples. Voting had been so much easier before the Dog Wars destroyed the world. It was a terrible thing to watch first hand as a civilization died from a lack of civility. And Fifty-four was old enough to have survived the those times — even the worst of the fighting of 2019 when the atomics and bioweapons started being deployed. He checked his Aggregator 9000 and saw he still had some time left to complete his recommendations, if he chose to make any more, which could count on the final ballot, or not, depending on how many people agreed with him, or not.
He thought about how it would be nice to take a morning stroll after being cooped up in his ever so small cubicle. But that was stopped after the Slate Cullings of 2021. The initial recommendation-based society had quickly imploded as people found they could convince others of their recommendations. Soon, what had begun as cliques grew into gangs, and then armies, and then nation states. Finally, after the tactics had become so vile, the last people left alive on earth set about enshrining rules for the recommendations that could never be gamed. One of the side effects is that all human contact with one another was stopped.
So, Fifty-four sat in his box. Alone. Thinking of whether he should maintain the strength of his single vote, or dilute it for a time by adding more.
That was odd. Lights blinked on his Aggregator 9000. That never happened before. But there it was. A series of blinks. Some long. Some short. Suddenly, an epiphany struck Fifty-four. The sequence was Morse code, but for the life of him, Fifty-four could not remember what letters the dits and dahs represented…..
aka The Pup Who Circumnavigated Hugoland In A Slate Of His Own Making
The roundup includes Lela E. Buis, Samantha Noll, David Gerrold, Max Florschutz, Vox Day, Alexandra Erin, Jim McCoy, David Mack, Wei Ming Kam, Lis Carey, Pluviann, Chad Orzel, Bonnie McDaniel, Ursula Vernon, May Tree, Laurie Mann and less identifiable others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley and Alexandra Erin. Update: In case you’re keeping score at home, the subtitle is similar to one previously contributed by Dawn Sabados, but not identical.)
“SJWs in space” – May 30
The Puppies debate has some interesting facets, and it’s also an unusual opportunity to observe a little human behavior. One of the main accusations of the Puppies’ spokesmen Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day), Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia is that SF&F has been taken over by social justice warriors (aka SJW) who are pushing a liberal and literary agenda while forcing out old fashioned, right-leaning SF&F. I’ve just been reading about social justice, as it turns out. According to Professor Michael Reisch the definition of social justice is fairly open to question. This mutability means that different groups tend to co-opt the activist strategy and organize to advance their own definition of what social justice really is. Clearly, the Puppies have taken on the mantle and have now become social justice warriors, the very thing they have been loving to hate.
So why is this important for society in general and for philosophers of science in particular? The answer to this question may become clearer when we reflect on why fringe groups are escalating their campaigns in science-fiction and other genres aimed at disenfranchising and silencing entire groups of people. As Kameron Hurley of The Atlantic argues “the truth is that our wars of words and narrative matter, especially those that tell us what sorts of possible futures we can build—and groups like Gamergate, Sad Puppies, and Rabid Puppies understand this.” During a time where the United States is becoming ever more diverse and citizens’ views ever more liberal, the push to suppress this trend is becoming ever more rabid, to appropriately apply Beale’s terminology. Barring those writing from diverse standpoints from receiving formal recognition helps to limit the exposure of these works and thus silences the authors. This is one of the reasons why it is important for those living in a democratic and multicultural society to ensure that those like Beale and Correia are not successful.
Worldcons, as we know them, have been around since 1939. Hugos have been awarded since 1953
Thousands of people have invested an enormous amount of time and energy into keeping the traditions of the World Science Fiction Convention going. Thousands have invested an enormous amount of time and energy in developing an award system designed to acknowledge excellence in the craft.
No award system is perfect — but it’s hard to argue with a system that has recognized the excellence of Dune, Left Hand Of Darkness, Starship Troopers, Ringworld, The Stars My Destination, Dragonflight, Stand On Zanzibar, Flowers For Algernon, City On The Edge Of Forever, Aye And Gomorrah, Blink, and other works that not only represent the best of the year — they also redefine what’s possible in the genre.
To some extent, there is an element of popularity in the voting. To some extent, there is an element of promotion by publishers and authors. To a larger extent, the problem with the Hugos is that the field has gotten so big and so sprawling that it’s impossible for any fan to be as widely read as in the past. This is why recommended reading lists are a great help.
There’s also a tradition of respect in fandom.
Some people have advocated going to Amazon and Goodreads and other sites to post one-star reviews of works by authors whose views they oppose.
Please, don’t do it.
It’s a failure of integrity.
If you’ve read the work, then post your honest opinion, good or bad. But punishing an author by down-voting his/her work — that’s not fair to the author, to the work, or to readers who are looking for useful reviews.
If you’re claiming to be one of the good guys, you gotta act like it.
I may not be a Science-Fiction and Fantasy fan.
Which is shocking. I always thought I was one. But no, according to a lot of these posts and comments I’m seeing and reading, I am not a “fan.” Or, to use the terms that some of the insulars have started to use, I am not a “trufan,” a term which, quite honestly, reminds me quite a bit of the ridiculous amount of self-inflicted (and mostly declarative) segregation in the gaming community between the “PC Master Race” and the “Console Gaming Peasants.” The console gamers aren’t really gamers, you see. They’re just casuals.
In general, I am disappointed that a small number of people think they have the right to dictate what the genres of sci-fi and fantasy consist of. In particular, people like Vox Day make me physically ill, and I don’t want promising new authors with awesome new ideas to leave the genre because of them. Vox Day in particular deserves to be defended against: this is a guy who doesn’t believe women should be allowed to vote…
You know, we’ve wondered who was going to the new Hitler ever since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proved to be such a washout in that regard. My money was on Putin, so I had absolutely no idea it would turn out to be me. Someone get Hugo Boss on the line, we’re going to need some snappy new outfits for the VFM, stat! Let’s address the issues as Mr. Flint, real deal SJW, puts them forth.
- I don’t share Hitler’s views on race, as I have a basic grasp of human genetics and I am neither a eugenicist nor an Aryan supremacist.
- On the subject of Jews, I am a Zionist who edits and publishes the eminent Israeli military historian Dr. Martin van Creveld.
- I’m not opposed to women learning to read and write. I am opposed to women being encouraged to obtain advanced degrees in the place of husbands and children. Unlike Mr. Flint, I can do the demographic math.
- I don’t support honor killings. I never have.
- I don’t hide what I really believe. Mr. Flint claims to know what I really believe without me ever putting it into words because, and I quote, “peekaboo”. If anyone is “a fucking clown” here, it is observably Mr. Flint.
- I’m not trying to win Hugo Awards. I don’t care about winning awards.
- I have no delusions of grandeur. I’m not the one who keeps running to The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, The New Zealand Herald, NPR, Popular Science, or the Wall Street Journal to talk about me. I haven’t issued a single press release or called a single member of the media about the Hugo Awards or anything else, for that matter.
- Western civilization is in peril. In large part thanks to idiots like Mr. Flint.
- I don’t like to portray myself with a flaming sword. That was the brainchild of the Star Tribune photographer who was taking pictures of me for a story the paper was doing. Apparently he was onto something, as it’s an image many people have remembered….
“How big is the doghouse?” – May 30
So, Kate Paulk has been tapped as the standard-bearer of next year’s Sad Puppies campaign. She has declared that next year’s Hugo ballot-stuffing initiative will be done in a transparent and democratic manner. This does not fill one with confidence, since Brad Torgersen has made the same claims about this year’s ballot-stuffing initiative.
It also needs to be pointed out that it hardly matters who leads the Sad Puppies campaign or what they do or how they do it, as this year’s otherwise failed campaign only managed to achieve accidental relevance through the fact that the successful Rabid Puppies campaign largely copied and pasted their agenda.
With all that in mind, I have to say that I’m interested in Kate Paulk’s post about what she considers to be Hugo-worthy work only as an academic matter. If the list she assembles using it winds up being the ballot, it will likely be only because someone truly nasty as well as small-minded got behind her and started shoving, as happened this year.
“Kate Paulk’s ConVent” – May 30
Before I get too far into the book, I wanted to mention Kate’s involvement with the Sad Puppies. She is next year’s evil, evil, evil ringleader. If you support evil, mean people who evilly think that you should evilly vote for good fiction written by evil people who evilly put story over message (because they’re evil) she’s worth supporting. Oh, and her book also kicks ass, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I just wanted to take a minute to give evil praise to Her Evilness, The Duchess of Snark. Does that make me evil? Probably. I’m OK with that. Now, onto the book.
“The Ones Who Walk Away from Fandom” – May 30
It’s more than a little amusing. And those who walk away are the wise ones, because, as it has been sung:
Never kick a dog
Because it’s just a pup
You’d better run for cover when the pup grows up!
A Rabid Puppy #Hugo nominee put a sample in the awards packet that features direct insults to me & my work. Can I have my SJW badge now?
— David Mack (@DavidAlanMack) May 31, 2015
This year, there is reportedly a massive upsurge in people buying supporting memberships of Sasquan, so basically people want to vote in the awards but have no interest in going to the con. Normally, the number of people who vote in the awards is small, so it’s reasonable to say that the upsurge is a result of the resentful manchildren making this year’s awards political. SADFACE. SAD SASQUATCH SADFACE.
It’s all perfectly competently and clearly written. I’m sure it’s well-received by its intended audience. On the other hand, I don’t see any exceptional excellence.
This one I did not expect to like. I got a surprise. It’s intelligent, thoughtful, does some really interesting things, and Suzie, as an adult, is a librarian, and a well-done librarian is always a win for me, Yes, it’s self-indulgent. So sue me.
Imagine a great caravan of giant aliens travelling across a bleak and open plain, above them the most glorious auroral display fills the sky, and travelling with them is a human chaplain on a segway enclosed by faraday cage. This image comes from Lou Antonelli’s ‘On a Spiritual Plain’ and it deserves fanart. It’s the best part of the short story, and the idea of a faraday segway in particular really tickled me.
“Best Fan Artist” – May 28
Fun fact: I almost voted No Award for this entire category. Now I’m voting for Elizabeth Leggett and No Award for everything else. I went looking at each nominees website to make sure that I was looking at everything that is award eligible. Ninni Aalto, Brad W. Foster and Steve Stiles all have similar styles (to my very untrained eye) that just does not appeal to me. Add in that I didn’t find the subject matter that interesting, and there is no reason for me to vote for any of them. I like that Spring Schoenhuth’s work consists mostly of jewelry. I don’t really recognize most of it though, and again the style doesn’t really appeal to me, so I won’t vote for her.
“Totaled by Kary English” – May 29
There is some science talk in this story, but it was unobtrusive and easy to understand. It was just enough to give the story weight without pulling attention away from the storyline. The writing is beautiful. Descriptive, but concise. It really drew me into the story in a way that I was not expecting.
I liked the writing style. Not overly wordy but descriptive enough to ground the reader. I do also like that the story made me confront the idea that I decided what the story was about when I was halfway through and then got mad when it didn’t follow like I thought it should. While I’m a bear to be around when that happens, I like to be reminded that authors can do whatever they please without catering to my idea of what it should be.
“Hugo Reading: Not-Novels” – May 30
In the short fiction categories, two of the longer nominees were weirdly incomplete. “Flow” by Arlan Andrews and “Championship B’Tok” by Edward Lerner are perfectly fine, but just… stop. I wouldn’t object to reading more in either setting, say if these were the introductory chapters of longer novels, but as self-contained stories, they’re kind of lacking.
“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra is a complete alien-contact story, and good enough in a Heinlein-pastiche sort of vein. It’s maybe a little shaggy, but it’s enjoyable enough. “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is kind of stupid and pointless, featuring a world where gravity literally reverses itself after the narrator gets dumped. I’m not sure it’s all that much more stupid and pointless than last year’s “The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere,” though, and that ended up winning, so…
“A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond is built around the nice image of a samurai climbing up the back of a mountain-sized monster in an attempt to kill it, but doesn’t quite pay off, and the bits where the narrator explains samurai stuff were kind of tedious. “Totaled” by Kary English may have been the best of the lot, a brain-in-a-vat story that had some genuine emotional content.
I don’t think any of these are brilliant, but I didn’t find any of them strikingly awful, either (“The Day The World Turned Upside Down” comes closest, but remained at “sigh heavily but keep reading” rather than “close the file and move on to the next thing”). I suspect there were probably better stories out there, but I say that almost every year that I read the short-fiction nominees, so…
Decades later I would find out that “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers” did not barely lose out to “No Award”, and that “Blows Against the Empire “ by Jefferson Starship had actually come in second place. I know that the Jefferson Starship supergroup that put out “Blows Against the Empire” was not really the same band that “Built This City” in 1985 (“Worst song of the 80s” by a Rolling Stone Reader’s poll), but the fact that they had the same name, and several of the same members, makes me think it was better that “No Award” won in that year. In addition to the dubious distinctions of most “No Award” winners, and for propelling films like “Flesh Gordon” (nominated 1975) to prominence, the Best Dramatic Presentation has been a place where stories too far ahead of their time could be reconsidered in a digested visual format some of the members of fandom could better relate to.
Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme
I picked “Wisdom From My Internet” to review first, mainly to see if all the rumblings I’ve heard about it are true, and it is indeed the worst thing to disgrace the ballot in decades.
May I be perfectly frank for a moment?
Great Cthulhu, kill me now.
What the hell is this shit?
I really don’t want to hurt Michael Z. Williamson’s feelings, but I’m afraid it’s going to be unavoidable.
Ah, sweet internet, where I waste hundreds of hours trying desperately to set people on fire WITH MY MIND.
— Vague Wombat UrsulaV (@UrsulaV) May 29, 2015
Voting for Noms On a Summer Evening
Whose noms these are I think I know.
His blog is quite a silly show;
He will not see me stopping here
His lousy choices to forego.
My Siamese Cat must think it queer
To stop without a Hugo near
But I must set aside this slate
And vote again another year.
These stories, at best second-rate,
Were stuffed by Pups (and GamerGate?!)
The rockets they would try to sweep
Their wounded egos to inflate.
The Puppy Poop is much too deep,
My sanity I’ll have to keep,
And “No Award” before I sleep,
And “No Award” before I sleep.
This is not a joke. This group, Snarky Puppy, is playing in the INB Theater 3 months after the Hugo Awards are presented in the same building. http://www.inbpac.com/event.php?eventID=270
aka Slate Expectations
Today’s lightness comes from Katherine Tomlinson, amalythia, David Gerrold, Brad R. Torgersen, Cat Valente, Voss Foster, Andrew Knighton, Nick Mamatas, William Reichard, P. Llewellyn James, Cheryl Morgan, Bonnie McDaniel, Lisa J. Goldstein, Eemeli Aro, Kate Paulk, Pat Patterson, Tom Knighton, Dan Ammon, John Scalzi and Alexandra Erin. A couple of these are older items that seem to have been missed by earlier roundups. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and Daniel P. Dern.)
“Hullabaloo over the Hugos” – May 3
When I first heard about the gaming of the system, it was disappointing but I spent decades in L.A. where gaming the system at awards time is a fine art. (Remember how many people were shocked, SHOCKED that Pia Zadora got a Golden Globe Award?)
But I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy. I write it now. And the stories I write and the characters I create reflect the world I live in. Complicated. Diverse. And women do more than open hailing frequencies and get rescued from towers.
The idea that there are writers out there who are trying to hijack two entire genres of writing to advance their political agenda is just not tolerable. I’m not a member of the WSFS but even so, I have skin in the game. Because I love these genres. And it is a delight to discover writers whose work inspires me. And entertains me. Call me a “pissypants” if you like (see above Slate article) but what that cabal of writers did will NEVER be okay for me. And it wouldn’t be okay if they’d had a liberal, left-leaning agenda either.
Hugo awards are the work of those who claim to know the truth and painting highly editorialized views as "news."
— Markov Kern (@sealion_ebooks) May 7, 2015
[amalythia has written a story in response to Kameron Hurley’s short story “It’s About Ethics in Revolution”.]
There is a large bell in the center of town that used to ring every morning. But then the Minister’s daughter complained that the noise triggered her, by waking her up from her sleep. It doesn’t ring anymore. Instead we’re awoken by a phone call from our manager. My roommate sleeps right through it. I heard her mumble something about not coming in. Again. Ever since our last manager seemed to disappear overnight, when she threatened to fire her for incompetence, no one dares question her. I wear my tag: 0678. I think I had a name at some point, perhaps the one inscribed on the pendant my mother left for me. They don’t allow names anymore, as certain names might offend some people. I wouldn’t want to offend them.
… Second, after we reaffirm our commitment to inclusiveness, we need to consider whether or not the Hugo nominating rules need to be adjusted. I believe that the administrators of the award should have the power to disqualify slate-ballots, but the mechanisms for this might be controversial. (It should be possible to do a computer analysis of the balloting. If 25 or more ballots come in with identical nominees in every category, and they match a publicized slate…that could be considered compelling evidence.) Other proposals have been offered as well, and I expect there to be some vigorous discussion…..
But the point I’m working toward is a difficult one — it’s a conversation that we tend to shy away from. But any functioning community, does have the right to protect itself from disruptive agencies. Groups can and do disinvite those who spoil the party.
The SFWA expelled Vox Day for his unprofessional behavior. Fandom as a community, and the Worldcon as an institution, should have the same power to invite someone to the egress. Other conventions have taken steps to protect themselves from toxic and disruptive individuals — and based on the back-and-forth conversations I’ve seen, and as unpleasant a discussion as this will be, maybe it’s time to have a discussion about the mechanisms for shutting down someone who has publicly declared his intention to destroy the awards.
That’s the point. We cannot talk about healing while the knife is still being twisted in the wound. I can’t speak for the sad puppies, I can’t tell them what to do — but I would hope that they would recognize that being perceived as standing next to a man who wants to destroy the system is not the best place to stand. Despite what’s being said in their own echo chambers, the larger narrative isn’t a good one for the puppies.
Thing is, no matter how much “daylight” Larry and I put between ourselves and Vox Day, there are people on “your” side, David, who insist that it’s all the same thing. That there is no difference at all.
For five weeks, Larry and myself have had to hear it (from “your” side) about how awful we are.
We invited everyone to the democracy, and we have been awfulized for it. The SP3 voters have been awfulized. Awfulization has been the fad sport of the season. By people who pat themselves on the back for being “inclusive.”
As long as Fandom (caps f) insists on doing “sniff tests” about voters and fans (small f) being the “wrong kind” of people, there won’t be healing. Definitely not. This is the wound Fandom (caps f) has inflicted on itself, after decades of quiet exclusivity. Of telling authors and artists and fans (small f) they’re not the expected, or correct, or sufficiently “fannish” kind of people that Fandom (caps f) deems worthy.
This is why so many fans and professionals *avoid* Worldcon. WSFS. The Hugos. Etc. Because the “sniff test” is very glaring, and if the engineers of “inclusive” exclusivity (they know who they are) succeed in making it so that the poll tax (membership fee) is exorbitant, or that only attending members get to vote on the Hugo, or that the democracy is scuttled altogether (judges “your” side picks, always make sure “your” side gets the answers it wants) then Worldcon gets that much smaller, that much more exclusive, that much less relevant.
Vox Day is a side show. A red herring. Don’t water that weed.
What is Worldcon doing to prove that it is, in fact, WORLDCON? Because any given Comic Con, Dragoncon, et al., beats the pants off Worldcon, in terms of audience youth, audience enthusiasm, and connection to the broader SF/F realm.
To paraphrase a line from one of my favorite films, this isn’t the field you built in your garage anymore.
You can’t arrest Vox Day. You can’t turn off his blog. You can’t touch him. So why fixate on him endlessly?
If Worldcon begins to boast memberships on the order of 30,000 to 55,000 then Vox Day and his influence cease to exist. There is no bloc that can hope to survive those numbers.
So, go big.
Or stay small, and shutter the windows and doors.
One of those choices has a future. The other does not.
Tintinaus: Regardless of what Dave Freer thinks of me–a writer I barely know who misquotes me at every turn and who, when we met, replied monosyllabically to my friendly overtures while looking like he wanted nothing more than for me to leave, only to go online four years later and claim to know a whole lot about my thoughts and feelings–it makes me sad (AS SAD AS A PUPPY) to hear my SF work once again dismissed as “gussied up” fantasy.
Essentially nothing SFnal I write gets classified as SF. It can take place on other planets, concern itself with science and technology, even have ray guns, and it somehow always gets dismissed with a wave of the hand and an assurance that it’s “just” fantasy. I can think of a lot of science fiction authors with much less hard science than I’ve used in my stories who are never questioned as to which side of the genre they write on. I am genuinely curious whether it’s because I use that pretty language, that I’ve written more fantasy than SF–or maybe my science really is that bad. Or maybe it’s that “hard” SF gets written by men, and the whole conversation is incredibly gendered.
Thing is, I’ve never claimed to write hard SF. I didn’t want to write SF at all for a long time because I was convinced the science fiction community did not want me and would not accept me–funny how that’s still kind of true. I can write about programming and physics till I’m blue in the face but it’ll never be SF for some reason.
And what I said, what I have said over and over at conventions, is that you don’t need a background in math and science to write SF. That’s what research is for. I research like a bear and I would think anyone who’s read my books would laugh at the idea that I think everyone should be ignorant and uneducated–I mostly get called a pretentious, elitist asshole, not a champion of dumbing down. I was trying, as I always do, to assure young writers that they are allowed to write SF even if they don’t have a degree in physics, because I don’t know if people realize how intimidating it can be to even attempt science fiction with a lot of people yelling about getting off their lawn if you’ve never interned for NASA. Or are a dude.
I do not have a science background. I research and I research hard because it’s more difficult for me than folklore and myth, which I’ve studied all my life. But I maintain it’s absurd to say SF can only be written by scientists–absurd and elitist and exclusionary. And honestly, show me the diamond-hard science in the Puppy slate. Show me the PhD peeking out from behind the dust jacket. The kind of SF they advocate, with the buxom ray guns and the strapping spaceships, is NOT hard SF. It’s adventure fiction “gussied up” as science fiction. And that’s fine, but it has no more real science than my gussied up fantasy.
“I Will Walk With You” – May 6
Now, I’m not a shodan in Aikido (in 4th grade, I had a white belt in karate…), and I don’t have the same presence as Vonda McIntyre. I also hate wearing those badge ribbons. One or two is my max. But I’m 5’10”, and close to 300 pounds (and dropping, yay me!), and I generally look intimidating. But even if I didn’t, like she said, it’s a presence, it’s someone by your side. And I will do that, and happily so. If you feel like you need someone, whatever side of the issue you fall on, I will walk with you.
I love that the world is changing. I love the variety that brings and the novelty it creates within our culture, even as the dark fingers of uncertainty send tremors of fear through my body.
Unfortunately, fear of change is currently rearing its big, ugly head all over geek culture.
The most prominent and hideous example of this is the treatment of feminists in computer gaming. There are some great designers and critics out there critiquing the domination of gaming by white, straight, male gamers and characters, and the way this excludes others. This has triggered a huge backlash, in which people have been called the vilest names and even had their lives threatened for expressing their opinions on a medium they love.
Then there’s the fuss, for the second year in a row, around science fiction and fantasy’s Hugo awards. I think there are a lot of problems with the Hugos, but they’re certainly high profile within the core of sf+f. This year, a reactionary group have managed to dominate the nominations with a slate of conservative, white, male authors. It’s a shame, but it is at least getting people engaged with the awards, and may favour the pro-diversity arguments in the long run.
Screw real politics, what about the hugo’s? Torgersen write anymore slash or did Correia just cry for like the twentieth time about how life is unfair and everyone was so mean to him at worldcon?
Brad made a mildly homophobic remark regarding Scalzi, which half the planet had to blog about because it was just soooo awful and apparently now the US will fall to ISIS because how can Brad’s soldiers trust him now?
Anyway, under Sharia law, launching politicized slates for the Hugos is barred, so I guess the problem has solved itself!
In which I am called a liar, though perhaps not in a way that’s literally, dialectically true but is actually more true because it lets me see the truth, which is that I am lying. Maybe. Or something.
His Voxness mentions me in what may be some kind of compliment, though it may also translate as “you are fairly amusing…for a slave boy with inherently limited mental capacities and basic worth.” But hey, us Rhetoricals take what we can get, right? I know from long experience that my flame-retardant suit is far too flimsy to sustain me in any battle with the mighty forces arrayed off my port bow and preparing to decloak at any sign of hostile intent, so my only hope is to position myself as a jester, dancing merrily on the sidelines and dodging the occasional peach pit. So, hopefully, everyone’s still laughing. Ergo…where was I again?
There are five books nominated for Best Novel for the 2105 Hugo awards. The winner will be chosen by a few thousand votes from among those who have registered as a member of WorldCon. But what does the wider audience of readers think of the books? Here are some Amazon statistics as of today May 6th. Voting closes on July 31st.
I’m using two measures – the overall sales rank, and my own invented ‘approval rating’, or calculation of positive to negative reviews ((5star + 4star)/(2star + 1star))….
The overwhelming favorite on the basis of its approval rating is Skin Game, which is also the second-best seller in Kindle format.
The best-selling book in Kindle format is Lines of Departure, and it has the second-best approval rating.
“A Little Awards News” – May 7
Also yesterday the Arthur C. Clarke Award continued its journey away from science fiction and towards literary respectability. This year the award went to a beautifully written piece of sentimental twaddle aimed at the sort of pretentious hipsters who think that suffering an apocalypse means being unable to have iPhones, Sunday supplements and skinny flat lattes. It is a very long time since a book without a trans character made me as viscerally angry as Station 11 did. However, I don’t appear to have sent any death threats to the Clarke jury. Nor have I vowed to destroy the award, or even decided that it is “broken”. In fact I rather suspect that the Clarke will do better next year without any help from me. Clearly I am doing this social media thing all wrong.
Then again, I am confident that the winner of this year’s Hugos will be a far better science fiction novel than the winner of the Clarke.
“SNARL: Flow” – May 6
This is a review of “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, November 2014)
Overall this was an engaging novella. This is such a grand departure from the other four nominees that I will have awarded this story five whole stars (out of 10) by the time I have done reviewing it. I am sure it would have not scored as well if the competition was not so utterly dreadful.
“The Hugo project: ‘Totaled’” – April 30
The Hugo Project: “Totaled”
(Note: this is the newest in a series of posts wherein I review as many of the 2015 Hugo nominees as I can, and explain why I will or will not vote for them.) Hot damn. I finally stumbled upon a decent story. Actually, this story is pretty good, even if its premise is downright terrifying.
“On a Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli takes place on a planet where “the living and the spirits of the dead coexist side by side” for the sentient race there, the Ymilans. One day a human, Joe McDonald, dies on Ymilas, and then manifests in spirit form. The human chaplain learns from the Ymilan chief cleric that Joe’s soul has to make a pilgrimage to the north pole so it can “move on,” and so the three of them — the chaplain, the Ymilan, and Joe’s ghost — set off from the Terran base near the equator.
I would have liked more description of the Ymilans — all we’re told about them is that they’re “large.” I would have also liked more description of the trek across half the planet, but we see only electrical storms, and, towards the end, “diminishing hills.” I would have liked some sense of ceremony or ritual when the soul dissipates, but here Antonelli seems to have anticipated readers like me, because he has the Ymilan cleric say, “I’m sorry, I forget your people put a great deal of stock in theater and rituals, which is to be expected in such an immature race.” Okay, then.
[Comments about Worldcon site selection seemed tangential when I started doing these roundups, but after T.C. McCarthy’s tweet and the ensuing discussion here, I am going to link to this so I know where to find the quote in the future.]
Eemeli Aro: This is what I posted about Castalia House on a mailing list earlier today (for context, I’m chairing the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid and somewhat involved in both Finnish and Worldcon fandoms):
I’d like to note that Castalia House has practically no connection with Finnish sf fandom, and they have never had a presence at any Finnish con. The only communication with the proprietor (Markku Koponen) that I’ve been a party to is a post by him to a Finnish sf mailing list last April, where he states (translating), “As must be clear to most, Castalia House is ideologically opposed to the majority of practically all fannish groups in this country.”
So in brief, no, the Finns that are members of Sasquan on account of having participated in the 2015 site selection vote or that have purchased a membership since then to participate in said process this year are unlikely to be aligned with the supporters of works published by Castalia House.
We do, on the other hand, have a thriving small press and short story scene, and a rather unique fanzine tradition, all of which is well integrated with Finnish fandom at large. Of course that’s mostly hidden from American eyes, as it tends to produce content in Finnish. If you’re interested in such, though, we do have a few things coming out this spring and summer that will be in English.
With a mere hour remaining ere her final panel of the day, Kate the Impaler did rest for a time, whereupon a member of that most secret guild of SMOF did approach her and divulge that the campaign to end the sorrow of young canines was indeed sending waves of shock through the grand halls of fandom, and how in response some sought to wrest that jewel of fandom, the Convention of World, from any locale where the friends of sorrowful young canines might gather, and take it to a far distant place that in isolation they might gather in force and thereby bring about changes to the Rules of Hugo, thus condemning the young canines to eternal sorrow. (For those not inclined to translate: read up on the contenders for the 2017 Worldcon, pay your $40 and vote. You’ll be a supporting member for 2017 before the price rise kicks in, and you get to choose where it is. Vote for the best candidate. Ignore that I like Washington, DC as a venue. I only like it because it’s the only one I could drive to).
The warrior maiden did assure the SMOF that voting would indeed be encouraged, and promised that no secrets would be divulged, for yea, as the house of fandom is divided, so too is the secret guild of SMOF.
If you’ve been following any goings on in the world of genre/science fiction literature you’ve surely heard of last month’s controversy surrounding the Hugo Awards, which got hijacked by literal fascists in the name of promoting what amounts to little more than right wing propaganda. And that’s before internet scum collective GamerGate got involved. In any case, writer Philip Sandifer has this excellent roundup of the sorry debacle on his blog, to which I can only add that, at this point, the Hugos can only fixed with the application of a bullet to the head.
“Laura Mixon Gets It Right” – May 4
Again: if you have not read Laura’s report, do so. I do not know whether she will win the Hugo in the “Best Fan Writer” or not; she is competing against four other respected fan writers, three of whom I consider to be personal friends. I plan to vote for Nunaya Bidness, but if I were on the slate against her, I would consider that to be an honor-by-association.
I’m sorry, but you can’t claim on one hand that women are self-censoring from raising their hands, and then say it’s not their fault that they’re not raising their hands. Women aren’t punished for asking questions as adults.
She claims that the moderators don’t notice them, but you know who moderators are far more likely to notice? People raising their damn hands, for one! Yes, I know they skipped over Livingston, and while she wasn’t their target, they really couldn’t know that, but how prevalent is the situation? Honestly, maybe it’s just personal. If these are the same folks, maybe they just don’t like her for some reason?
”Why and How The Hugo Awards Should Be” – April 18
But that doesn’t matter. What matters here are the fact that sci-fi books aren’t being judged on their merit, but their politics. So here’s how I propose to fix that:
A) THE NEUTRAL BENIGN COMMITTEE
What I propose is an apolitical committee that votes on which books, comics, scripts, short stories, etc, should receive nominations to the awards, based on their merit. How would this come into existence? Simply by finding the most apathetic people alive, have the Hugo voters, lefty and righty alike, deliberate and nominate them, then subject these nominees to a lie detector test to make sure they are actually apolitical, and not being paid off by either side.
I LIKE MY COFFEE LIKE I LIKE MY MEN — wait, I don't like men.
(throws out coffee)
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) May 6, 2015
Sadly much like 1984 this book ends with the protagonist giving in before the onslaught. He does love Big Brother. He does like green eggs and ham. He will eat them with the fox. In a perverse mockery of holy communion, he will eat them with the goat (like Pan or Baphomet, or other guises worn by Satan). This is preparing our children to have not just their food supplies controlled but also their minds and very souls.
A child indoctrinated by this book is not only trained to give in to the illegitimate application of government authority but is also primed to use these techniques to convince others. Unless your children are strong-willed and well-trained to recognize these tricks and traps I recommend keeping this book the hell away from them.
If you have raised your children right as I have done with mine then your best bet is to take a hands-on approach. I read this book to my children, taking care to explain the subtle SJW traps that were on every page. I am pleased to report that they showed no interest in it afterwards.