Houndation 6/7

aka “Let’s get Sirius!”

In today’s roundup: Andrew Liptak, Jim C. Hines, Damien G. Walter, Tom Knighton, David Gerrold, Irene Gallo, Brad R. Torgersen, Sarah A. Hoyt, Vox Day, Michael Z. Williamson, Markov Kern, bhalsop, sciphi, Jonathan LaForce, Cedar Sanderson, Amanda S. Green, Jon F. Zeigler, C. E. Petit, Lis Carey, Rebekah Golden, Mark Ciocco, amd George R.R. Martin. (Title credit belongs to Whym and Anna Nimmhaus.)

Andrew Liptak on io9

“Women Dominate The 2015 Nebula Awards” – June 7

Takeaways from this? With the exception of the Best Novel award, women swept the slate in all other categories, notable in light of the Sad/Rabid Puppies controversy with this year’s Hugo Awards.

 

Jim C. Hines

“Puppies in Their Own Words” – June 7

I’ve spent several hours on this, which is ridiculous. I don’t even know why, except that I’m frustrated by all of the “I never said…” “He really said…” “No he didn’t, you’re a lying liar!” “No, you’re the lying liar!” and so on.

An infinite number of monkeys have said an infinite number of things about the Hugos this year. People on all sides have said intelligent and insightful things, and people on all sides have said asinine things. The amount of words spent on this makes the Wheel of Time saga look like flash fiction. File770 has been doing an admirable job of posting links to the ongoing conversation.

I wanted to try to sort through the noise and hone in on what Correia and Torgersen themselves have been saying. As the founder and current leader, respecitvely, of the Sad Puppies, it seems fair to look to them for what the puppy campaign is truly about…..

So are Brad and Larry racist? Sexist? Homophobic? What about their slates?

I don’t see an active or conscious effort to shut out authors who aren’t straight white males.

I do see that the effect of the slates was to drastically reduce the number of women on the final ballots.

Torgersen made a now-infamously homophobic remark about John Scalzi, which he later apologized for. I don’t see this as suggesting Torgersen is a frothing bigot; it does suggest he has some homophobic attitudes or beliefs he should probably reexamine and work on.

More central to the Sad Puppies, when I see Brad railing against “affirmative action” fiction, I see a man who seems utterly incapable of understanding sometimes people write “non-default” characters not because they’re checking off boxes on a quota, but because those are the stories they want to tell, and the characters they want to write about. Dismissing all of those amazing, wonderful, and award-winning stories as nothing but affirmative-action cases? Yeah, that’s sounds pretty bigoted to me.

 

 

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – June 7

Here’s how self-fulfilling paranoia works.

Decide that something has been taken away from you — even if it hasn’t. And even if you were never entitled to it in the first place.

Then, find a group of someones to blame for taking it away from you — even if they had nothing to do with your perceived loss. (Women, LGBTs, People of Color, SJWs, liberals, whatever.) Make sure it’s a big important group with big important members.

Appoint that group — it has to be a group — the enemy. Accuse them of horrible behaviors. This is the important step. You can’t be a victim without a persecutor. So you have to say or do something so egregious that the other guys will have to respond. Their response is the proof that you are being persecuted. Even if their response is, “Huh? Who are you?” — that’s just evidence that they’ve been deliberately ignoring your importance.

As soon as you engage that very big, very important group in a dialog, you achieve credibility — theirs. You are obviously just as important as they are. The more they engage with you, the more they respond to you, the more important you are. Therefore — you must continue to escalate so as to use up more and more of their time, so as to prove just how truly truly truly big and powerful and important you are.

When the other side brings out facts, logic, evidence, rational thought, and methodical deconstruction, you must repeat your original claims, change the subject, make new charges, or point to this as evidence of their continuing persecution. The more you do this, the more followers you will attract. Everybody loves the underdog — it’s your job to be the persecuted underdog.

This tactic works for any political or social position. It worked for extreme-left activist groups in the sixties and seventies — it eventually marginalized them out of the political process. They had to grow up or get out.

 

Irene Gallo on Facebook – May 11

[Here is a direct link. Perhaps it was always public and I just didn’t scroll back far enough when I searched yesterday.]

 

Irene Gallo in a comment on Facebook – June 6

Not friends, rest assured. And ZOMG, teeth! Somehow this got dug up from early last month and pitchforks are out. And since then more people are aware of, and excited about, the upcoming Hurley book. So as long as the thread lasts, we’re spreading the good news.

 

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment on Facebook – June 6

Irene Gallo, I am going to ask a question, and I expect a response other than a cat picture non sequitur. How did you arrive at your conclusion that Sad Puppies is “neo nazi”?

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“Shout it from the rooftops” – June 7

However, let’s be clear: mud sticks. Get something associated with unspeakable sins like “racism, sexism, homophobia” and the idiots will go on repeating it forever, no matter how often it’s disproved. This is how they came up with the notion that Brad Torgersen is in an interracial marriage to disguise his racism, or that Sad Puppies is about pushing women and minorities from the ballot, even though the suggested authors include both women and minorities. And I’m not sure what has been said about me. Echoes have reached back, such as a gay friend emailing me (joking. He’s not stupid, and he was mildly upset on my behalf) saying he’d just found out I wanted to fry all gay people in oil and that he needed a safe room just to email me from. Then there was the German Fraulein who has repeatedly called me a Fascist (you know, those authoritarian libertari—wait, what?) and her friends who declared Kate and I the world’s worst person (we’re one in spirit apparently) as well as calling me in various twitter storms a “white supremacist” (which if you’ve met me is really funny.) A friend told me last week that he defended me on a TOR editor’s thread. I don’t even know what they were saying about me there. I make it a point of not following all the crazy around, so I have some mental space to write from.

However, enough people have told me about attacks, that I know my name as such is tainted with the publishing establishment (not that I care much, mind) and that some of it might leak to the reading public (which is why G-d gave us pennames.)….

This feebleness of mind was in stunning display recently in the Facebook page of one Irene Gallo, Creative Director at TOR. (I hope that’s an art-related thing. Or do they think authors need help being creative?)….

Note that those statements are so wrong they’re not even in the same universe we inhabit. Note also that when she talks about “bad to reprehensible” stories pushed into the ballot by the Sad Puppies, she’s talking about one of her house’s own authors, a multiple bestseller, and also of John C. Wright who works for her house as well.

Note also that when one of my fans jumped in and tried to correct the misconceptions, she responded with daft cat pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

bhalsop

“Tor and Sad/Rabid Puppies” – June 7

There is a war going on in the blogosphere between certain employees of Tor, the once great publisher of scifi/fantasy, and the proponents of alternate slates for the Hugo, the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies. I have watched it with some interest, since I am undoubtedly one of those the Puppies in general would not like, but I have found their position actually has merit.

There was a time, many years ago, when one could buy a book honored with the Hugo award and know that the book would be well written, well edited, and thought provoking. This has not been the case for several years, I am sorry to report. In fact, there was a time, again many years ago, that one could buy a book published by Tor, and have a good read that might be thought provoking but was at minimum a good story well told. This is sadly no longer the case. I used to buy a Tor book even if the blurb wasn’t particularly inviting, because I trusted Tor. This is no longer the case.

Tor employees have attacked the Sad/Rabid Puppies as racist, misogynist, right wing whackos. The fact is that this reviling became much louder after the Sad Puppy slate won most of the Hugo niminations. What? They outvoted you? Doesn’t this sound like the Republicans after our current president was elected? Are you sure you want to go there?

 

sciphi on Superversive SF

“Irene Gallo, #Sadpuppies, #Gamergate and Tor” – June 7

What I find particularly insulting is that I have been following #Gamergate for quite a while, since at least Internet Aristocrats original Quinnspiracy videos, and I am extremely right wing (Nazi’s and Neo-Nazi’s aren’t though, fascists really were/are kissing cousins of socialists), and I can tell you for a fact that the talking heads of #Gamergate like Sargon of Akkad are thorough going leftwing moderates, they just aren’t frothing at the mouth SJW’s (I guess that makes them “far-right” in SJW land). I’m insulted as an arch conservative and reactionary to be regarded as basically the same as such thorough going hippies.

 

Jonathan LaForce on Mad Genius Club

“Dear Tor” – June 7

Tor, let’s face facts: that you repeatedly allow straw man makers like John Scalzi to have a place in your stable, even as he vainly justifies his arrogant idiocy is absurd.  To allow bigots like NK Jemisin bully pulpits without regard for fact or truth is wrong.  To encourage people to put one-star reviews on Amazon, simply because you don’t like an author’s politics, rather than because you didn’t like the story is not only disgusting, it is a willful manipulation of the Amazon rating system.

Whereas I believe in the principles of the free market, I don’t want to see somebody create new laws over this.  We already have government invading our bedrooms, our computers and our bank accounts daily.  No, ladies and gentlemen, instead I ask you this:

Don’t buy anything made by TOR. Not pamphlets. Not novels, not audiobooks.  Not even if it’s free.  Let Tor know that they do not decide what we want as fans of science fiction and fantasy.  Instead, I ask that those of you whom trust my opinion cease to buy their products ever again.  Show them that in the end, the consumer drives the market. Why? Because nobody can make you buy anything.  Not health care, not books, not movies. NOT A SINGLE DAMN THING.

In older times, a bard who couldn’t sing or orate well, much less properly play an instrument (in short, when the bard could not perform well, the crowd kicked him out. And he went hungry until he got better or he died from starvation. Or he found a new profession that he was actually good at.

 

Tom Knighton

“Tor Creative Director bashes Tor authors among others” – June 7

Based on how she phrased this, she’s implying that that both Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies are extreme right wing to neo-Nazis.  Now, I generally don’t defend Rabid Puppies because Vox is a big boy and can fight his own battles, and since I’m not part of that group I really can’t speak for it. Vox has seen this, and I suspect he’ll jump in soon enough.

As a Sad Puppy, I’m freaking pissed.

First, I’m sick of being called “unrepentantly racist, mysogynist, and homophobic” simply because I don’t like their taste in books or because I disagree with them about what the government should spend its money doing.  It’s funny, because these are the same people who bitch about “slut shaming” or “fat shaming” or whatever, but now they’re trying to “thought shame”, like we’re horrid human beings just because we don’t trip over ourselves on identity issues.  No evidence, no examples, nothing except libelous rhetoric.  Nothing….

I’ve read multiple times that Tor isn’t so much a publishing house as a series of editorial fiefdoms, a confederation of miniature publishing houses under a single roof and a shared marketing and art department.  If that’s true, then there probably isn’t a lot of oversight on these kinds of things, so I really don’t think there will be any kind of change.

 

Cedar Sanderson

“Fear and Loathing at TOR” – June 7

Almost since the advent of the internet, there have been warnings about what to say – or not – on it. The internet is a vast and mostly public arena. Imagine, if you can, standing in Grand Central Station and screaming slurs at the top of your lungs, while the sane people standing near you back away slowly. Online, this doesn’t happen. One person starts screaming and frothing at the mouth, and others are drawn like moths to the flame to scream along with them.

This is disturbing and upsetting, but it is easy enough to avoid this kind of behaviour if you want to (and some like to troll-bait. Personally, I find it unkind to taunt the mentally ill and don’t stoop to pillorying their personal lives). On occasion, though, we are not dealing with a lone individual, but one that is tied to a corporate identity. And this situation is why most reputable companies have policies in place about the use of social media. Because when a person using their real name, which can easily be tied to their workplace, starts to cast slurs on their own colleagues, not to mention large sections of the business’s client base, that can reflect very badly on their employer.

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Interrupting my vacation and not happy about it” – June 7

But what galls me is how she calls us “Extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi”. To begin with, if she were to really look at who wound up on the final ballot, especially those backed by the Sad Puppies, she would see that there are conservative, libertarian AND liberals represented. There are women and minorities. If I remember correctly, not everyone on the ballot is straight. (I don’t remember because I don’t care what a person’s sexual preference. It has nothing to do with their ability as a writer.)

Then there is the personal reaction. Ms. Gallo doesn’t know me and I don’t know her. So she doesn’t understand what sort of wound she opened for my family by calling me “extreme right-wing to Neo-Nazi”. My family comes from Germany and the Netherlands. Fortunately, the family was here before Hitler came to power. But they remember what it was like living in parts of this country and having to defend themselves because they had a Germanic last name. Nazism is and always will be a personal anathema to my family and to be called a follower of that hated philosophy/government is beyond acceptable.

Did she commit slander or libel? No. Did she consider the impact her words would have on other people? I don’t know. Part of me wants to believe that she did not but I have my doubts. She used a number of “trigger” words in her response, words meant to create a negative impression. She did not consider or care about how her allegation would impact fans of those authors she was condemning nor did she apparently think or care about how such a hateful allegation could possibly lead to termination of employment.

 

 

C. E. Petit on Scrivener’s Error

“Pre-Road-Kill Link Sausages” – June 6

There’s a proposal to tweak Hugo voting rules somewhat jocularly labelled E Pluribus Hugo that I cannot support, for three reasons. First, it depends upon accepting the proposition that a popular vote among those who pay a poll tax to vote is the best way to determine actual quality. (I’d be probably be more supportive if the Hugos themselves were renamed from “Best” to “Favorite.”) Second, it does nothing whatsoever to deal with the far-more-serious problems of source restrictiveness and the inept calendar (really? for an award issued in late August, we start nominations in January?). Third, at a fundamental level it fails to engage with the dynamics of cliquishness (for both real and imagined cliques, I should note) that are at issue; in fact, it bears a disturbing resemblance to the evolution of voting patterns in Jim Crow country following passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1964, if not with the same obvious discriminatory animus.

I think this proposal has been put forth in good faith, in a highly conservative attempt to retain, and even reify, a particular (and wildly inaccurate) fannish/SMOFish perception of what the Hugos “are” and “mean.” The irony of that characterization is intentional, especially compared to the various canine complaints; it is obvious, disturbing, and all too typical of attempts to tweak selection mechanisms without pondering what is being selected… and whether that requires a farther-reaching change.

 

Rebekah Golden

“Reviewing; Meta Post” – June 7

This goes back to my post about Totaled. It was a good story. Had some interesting ideas. Didn’t do it for me and I think the reason why not has to do with compelling questions. Look at Ancillary Justice and the story is full of compelling questions. Then there’s Mono No Aware.

Cutting for spoilers about Mono No Aware, Totaled, and me….

 

Mark Ciocco on Kaedrin Weblog

“Hugo Awards: Short Stories”  – June 7

My feelings on short stories are decidedly mixed, because most of the short fiction I read is from collections that are, by their very nature, uneven. As with Anthology Films, I generally find myself exhausted by the inconsistency. Also, as someone who tends to gravitate towards actual storytelling rather than character sketches or tone poems (or similar exercises in style), a short story can be quite difficult to execute. A lot must be accomplished in a short time, and a certain economy of language is needed to make it all work. There are some people who are great at this sort of thing, but I find them few and far between, so collections of short stories tend to fall short even if they include stories I love. In my experience, the exceptions tend to be collections from a single author, like Asimov’s I, Robot or Barker’s Books of Blood. That being said, I’ve been reading significantly more short fiction lately, primarily because of my participation in the Hugo Awards. I found myself quite disappointed with last year’s nominated slate, so I actually went the extra mile this year and read a bunch of stuff so that I could participate in the nomination portion of the process. Of course, none of my nominees actually made the final ballot. Such is the way of the short story award (with so many options, the votes tend to be pretty widely spread out, hence all the consternation about the Puppy slates which probably gave their recommendations undue influence this year). But is the ballot any better this year? Only one way to find out, and here are the results, in handy voting order:

  1. Totaled by Kary English – Told from the perspective of a brain that has been separated from its body (courtesy of a car accident) and subsequently preserved in a device that presumably resembles that which was used to preserve Walt Disney’s head or something. In the story, this is new technology, so the process is imperfect and while the brain can be kept alive for a significant amount of time, it still only amounts to around 6 months or so. Fortunately, the disembodied brain in question was the woman leading the project, so she’s able to quickly set up a rudimentary communication scheme with her lab partner. Interfaces for sound and visuals are ginned up and successful, but by that point the brain’s deterioration has begun. This could have been one of those pointless tone poems I mentioned earlier, but English keeps things approachable, taking things step by step. The portrayal of a brain separated from the majority of its inputs (and outputs, for that matter), and slowly regaining some measure of them as time goes on, is well done and seems realistic enough. One could view some of the things portrayed here as pessimistic, but I didn’t really read it that way. When the brain deteriorates, she eventually asks to be disconnected before she loses all sense of lucidity (the end of the story starts to lilt into an Algernon-like devolution of language into simplistic quasi-stream of consciousness prose). I suppose this is a form of suicide, but it was inevitable at that point, and the experimental brain-in-a-jar technology allowed for a closure (both in terms of completing some of her research and even seeing her kids again) that would have otherwise been impossible. I found that touching and effective enough that this was a clear winner in the category.

 

Lis Carey at Lis Carey’s Library

“Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alis, Alex, and Tansy” – June 7

http://galactisuburbia.podbean.com/

Another Best Fancast Hugo nominee.

Speculative fiction, publishing news, and chat. This podcast comes to us from Australia, and as far as I can find, they do not reveal their last names anywhere on their website. That’s a shame, because these are very engaging people, and they mention up coming book launches. (Feel free to enlighten me in comments. Please!)

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Reading” – June 7

I also read LINES OF DEPARTURE by Marko Kloos. This was part of the Hugo ballot as originally announced, one of the books put there by the slates… but Kloos, in an act of singular courage and integrity, withdrew. It was his withdrawal that moved THREE-BODY PROBLEM onto the ballot. This is the second book in a series, and I’ve never read the first. Truth be told, I’d never read anything by Kloos before, but I’m glad I read this. It’s military SF, solidly in the tradition of STARSHIP TROOPERS and THE FOREVER WAR. No, it’s not nearly as good as either of those, but it still hands head and shoulders above most of what passes for military SF today. The enigmatic (and gigantic) alien enemies here are intriguing, but aside from them there’s not a lot of originality here; the similarity to THE FOREVER WAR and its three act structure is striking, but the battle scenes are vivid, and the center section, where the hero returns to Earth and visits his mother, is moving and effective. I have other criticisms, but this is not a formal review, and I don’t have the time or energy to expand on them at this point. Bottom line, this is a good book, but not a great one. It’s way better than most of what the Puppies have put on the Hugo ballot in the other categories, but it’s not nearly as ambitious or original as THREE-BODY PROBLEM. Even so, I read this with pleasure, and I will definitely read the next one. Kloos is talented young writer, and I suspect that his best work is ahead of him. He is also a man of principle. I hope he comes to worldcon; I’d like to meet him.

Spectrum 20 Award Finalists

Spectrum 20 Jury & Directors: Tim Bruckner, Mark A. Nelson,
Irene Gallo, Michael Whelan, Cathy Fenner, Tim Kirk, and Arnie Fenner.

The Spectrum 20 Award jury members Tim Bruckner, Irene Gallo, Tim Kirk, Mark A. Nelson, and Michael R. Whelan evaluated over 6,000 entries before selecting 40 finalists for this year’s edition of the Spectrum Fantastic Art Annual.

Founded in 1993 by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner, Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art is among the most respected art showcases, covering a wide range of disciplines. It is the only “art annual” with categories devoted to comics, concept art, and sculpture.

Judging was completed March 2. Their selection of the year’s best fantastic art will appear in Spectrum 20, scheduled for October release in both hardcover and softcover from Underwood Books. Gold and silver medal winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony during Spectrum Live, a weekend long celebration of fantastic art, in Kansas City, May 17-19. The Spectrum Grand Master Award will also be presented during the ceremony, which will be held in the historic Midland Theater.

The gold and silver finalists are:

Advertising

  • Craig Elliott:ForestAwakening
  • Michael C. Hayes: Procession
  • Android Jones: Ganeshatron
  • Greg Ruth: Three Outlaw Samurai
  • Dan DosSantos: Dragon Empress

Book

  • Brom: Wipi
  • William O’Connor: Wargriffin
  • David Palumbo: Fed
  • Shaun Tan: Never Leave a Red Sock on the Clothesline
  • Charles Vess: Tanglewood: I Didn’t Know She Was a Bottle Witch

Comics

  • Jennifer L. Meyer: Aesop’s Ark,Ch. 2, P2
  • David Petersen: Mouse Guard Black Axe #4, Page 19
  • Paolo Rivera: Daredevil #10
  • Paolo Rivera: Captain America #1
  • João Ruas: Fables #121

Concept Art

  • Daniel Dociu: Guild Wars 2, Norn Lodge
  • Theo Prins: Southsun Cove
  • Paul Sullivan: Franken-animal
  • Justin Sweet: Marauders 2
  • Allen Willams: Tree of Tales

Dimensional

  • Dan Chudzinski: Turbulence
  • David Meng: Sashimi
  • Virginie Ropars: Mothra
  • Virginie Ropars: Acanthopis III
  • Katya Tal: Blanket Fairy

Editorial

  • Sam Bosma: Stability
  • Chris Buzelli: Book Monster
  • Sean Andrew Murray: He’s Gone Full-Bird
  • Victo Ngai: Best of the Best
  • Sam Weber: Cancer Monster

Institutional

  • Ed Binkley: A Cob of Chiseldon-Brimble
  • Lucas Graciano: Dragon Swarm
  • Tyler Jacobson: Ruric Thar, The Unbowed
  • Kekai Kotaki: Stampede
  • David Palumbo: Taken

Unpublished

  • Cory Godbey: The Fish Master
  • Lucas Graciano: Guardianship
  • Kekai Kotaki: Ride
  • Andrew Mar: Tell-Tale Heart
  • Tohru Patrick Awa: Sudden Shower

Second Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Giant dwarves, unlike jumbo shrimp, is not an oxymoron among New York’s advertising painters.

In ”This Is How You Paint 150 Foot Tall Hobbit Dwarves”, Tor Books Art Director Irene Gallo returns to the topic of painting movie ads on a Park Avenue building. It’s a sequel to her interview with Dan Cohen of Art FX Murals about the ad for Batman painted on the same building (see Paint By (Big) Numbers).

Don’t miss it!

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the story.]

Paint-By-(Big)-Numbers

 

While on her way to the office Tor Art Director Irene Gallo often sees painters covering the side of a Park Avenue South building with the latest movie advertising. When she met one of them at the Illustration Master Class she was able to learn “This Is How You Paint a 150 Foot Tall Batman”

The process is clearly physically taxing but there seems to be real joy in being able to work so loosely and so large. At the distance the viewer is seeing the work, the giant brush strokes all tighten up, making the image look crystal clear. Still, Dan says that portraits do require special attention and are reserved for the lead painters on the crew. I asked Dan who he has painted most often and it was, as I had guessed, Johnny Depp. (Did I mention that I have been obsessed with watching this wall over the past two decades? Cripes, Alice in Wonderland looked like a lot of work.)

Large, painted outdoor ads apparently are rare in New York. Out here, Hollywood entertainers and superstar athletes still vie for attention and prestige on immense outdoor advertisements but hardly any buildings have paintable sides. Although billboards on Sunset remain important, they’ve been upstaged by “supergraphics” made of plastic or vinyl that can be stretched across the side of a building.

The Cream Rises

All five nominees for the 2010 Best Professional Artist Hugo are strutting their stuff at Tor.com this week. Art Director Irene Gallo has lined up screensavers from Shaun Tan, Dan Dos Santos, Stephan Martiniere, John Picacio, and Bob Eggleton. She’s posting one each day.

Gallo led off with Shaun Tan on Monday:

To celebrate AussieCon’s (home of this year’s Hugo ceremony) artist Guest of Honor, Shaun Tan, we decided to kick-off the week with this lovely “Eric” drawing from one of my favorite stories in Shaun’s short story picture-book collection, Tales from Outer Suburbia.

This example makes it easy to understand why the sig line reads: “Irene Gallo is in love with every piece of paper Shaun Tan touches.”

She followed with Dan Dos Santos’ contribution on Tuesday, an incredible portrait of an elf painted during the 2009 Illustration Master Class.

I’m looking forward to seeing more breathtaking art at Tor.com as the week progresses.

Logo Logic

Jeremy Kratz Hugo Award logo

Jeremy Kratz' Hugo Award logo

Jeremy Kratz’ new Hugo Award logo design seemed good at first glance and I like it more and more as time goes by.

Kratz’ design was the winner in a contest arranged by the Worldcon’s Hugo Marketing Committee. Out of the hundreds of entries, judges Chip Kidd, Irene Gallo, Geri Sullivan and Neil Gaiman settled on a simple icon, one that will hold its own on a busy paperback cover or on a banner hung in a convention center.

The use of the four-finned rocket in the logo was mandated by the contest rules. That’s what the award looks like, after all. But think how preferring a rocket must have complicated the judges’ task. They not only had to make an artistically sound choice, they also had to avoid selecting a logo that was likely to be confused with others already in use. There are a lot of sf-themed businesses and organizations using logos with rockets in them — Tor.com, the Science Fiction League, and many, many others.

One thing that amused me about the choice – prompted me to joke “We needed a contest for this?” – was its unwitting resemblance to an idea I’d had back when fans first started talking about having a logo.

I’d immediately visualized the Hugo nominee pins we used to get. They were little silver rockets with tiny vanes at bold right angles to the hull. (Mike Resnick has so many he wears them on a bandolier and looks like he’s about to say he doesn’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges.) I always thought the design looked straight off the drafting board, one that easily could be turned into an attractive graphic.

The rounded fins of Kratz’ logo show his inspiration was the rocket trophy rather than the pins. That said, isn’t it subjective reactions like these that drive a blog?

(And lest we forget, “World Science Fiction Society”, “WSFS”, “World Science Fiction Convention”, “Worldcon”, “NASFiC” and “Hugo Award” are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.)

Hugo Award Logo Contest

It’s time the Hugo Award had a signature bit of art to strengthen its identity in all media. That’s why the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee is offering $500 in cash and assorted other prizes to the person who submits the winning logo design between now and May 31.

The selection will be made by Chip Kidd (Graphic Designer/Writer/Editor), Irene Gallo (Art Director at Tor Books and Tor.com), Geri Sullivan (Fan & Graphic Design pro) and Neil Gaiman (Hugo Award winning writer).

The cash prize is being provided by SCIFI, the group which ran the 2006 Worldcon.

The committee hopes to announce the winner at Anticipation, the World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal, in August.

The full press release appears after the jump.

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Tor.com: New Online Community

The opportunity to read a lot of interesting posts by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Beth Meacham, Irene Gallo, Alison Scott, Bruce Baugh, Jim Henley, John Scalzi, Jo Walton and others is reason enough to visit Tor.com’s newly-launched community site, but another of the band of contributors, Consulting Editor Moshe Feder, also wants everyone to know there’s a load of freebies at the site: 

To celebrate the launch of the new Tor.com website (a participatory community website as opposed to our corporate face at Tor-Forge.com), we are offering a whole bunch of our books for free download in your choice of PDF, HTML, or MobiPocket formats. I’m proud to say that the very first book on the list is one of my own acquisitions, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

Moshe adds this caution: Note that these are download links. If you try to visit them, you’ll see gobbledegook. Instead, right-click on them to “download linked file.”

The links and other details appear behind the cut.

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