Pixel Scroll 2/10/16 They Hive

(1) QUINN FEATURES IN MAINSTREAM NEWS. Jameson Quinn is quoted several times in “Your ballot has matrix algebra lurking in the background” at the Concord Monitor.

Mathematically speaking, “one man, one vote” sounds about as exciting as “1 = 1.” Yet it turns out that something so simple can produce a Nobel Prize in economics, not to mention a slew of graduate school statistics homework.

“Our class spent three weeks just on Arrow’s Theorem, looking at it from different angles,” said Jameson Quinn, a Ph.D. candidate in statistics from Harvard who showed up in Concord last week to testify before the House Elections Committee in favor of a bill allowing something called approval voting.

Arrow’s Theorem, key to the aforementioned Nobel prize, is to social choice theory what E=MC2 is to physics. It is usually described as saying that all voting systems are imperfect, a synopsis which misses lots of nuance and isn’t all that helpful to laymen, because most of us don’t even known that other systems exist.

(2) EDELMAN’S NEW PODCAST. Scott Edelman has started an SF-related podcast, Eating the Fantastic.

Are you ready to have lunch with me and writer/musician Sarah Pinsker? Because the first episode of Eating the Fantastic is now live!

 

Scott Edelman and Sarah Pinsker

Scott Edelman and Sarah Pinsker

Food, friends, and clanking dishes in the background reproduce the atmosphere where so many great fan conversations take place. Edelman writes:

I’ve found that while the con which takes place within the walls of a hotel or convention center is always fun, the con away from the con—which takes place when I wander off-site with friends for a meal—can often be more fun. In fact, my love of tracking down good food while traveling the world attending conventions has apparently become so well known that Jamie Todd Rubin once dubbed me “science fiction’s Anthony Bourdain.”

…During each semi-regular episode (I’ve yet to determine a frequency), I’ll share a meal with someone whose opinions I think you’ll want to hear, and we’ll talk about science fiction, fantasy, horror, writing, comics, movies, fandom … whatever happens to come to mind. (There’ll also be food talk, of course.)

One thing to note—this will not be a pristine studio-recorded podcast, but one which will always occur in a restaurant setting, meaning that mixed in with our conversation will be the sounds of eating and drinking and reviewing of menus and slurping and background chatter … in other words … life.

(3) PKD AWARD. The five Philip K. Dick Award judges for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original format in the United States in the 2016 award year are Michael Armstrong, Brenda Clough, Meg Elison, Lee Konstantinou, and Ben Winters.

(4) CASSANDRA CLARE SUED. “Copyright Clash Over Demon-Fighting Stories” at Courthouse News Service has the scoop.

Sherrilyn Kenyon says she started the “Dark-Hunter” series in 1998. The story “follows an immortal cadre of warriors who fight to protect mankind from creatures and demons who prey on humans,” according to court records.

On Friday, Kenyon sued Cassandra Clare aka Judith Rumelt aka Judith Lewis, claiming her “Shadowhunter” series initially used Kenyon’s trademark “darkhunter.”

After Kenyon demanded that Clare remove the word “darkhunter” from her work, Clare used the term “shadowhunter” for her protagonists instead, according to the lawsuit. The word “hunter” was also removed from the book title.

Clare’s book, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” was published in 2007. Since then, Clare has expanded her use of the term “shadowhunter” despite assurances that she would not, according to Kenyon.

Clare’s 2007 book was made into a movie and released in 2013, the lawsuit states. In 2014, it was reportedly announced that “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” would be adapted into a television series called “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments.”

Kenyon says ABC Family picked up Clare’s TV pilot in March 2015. The first episode of the “Shadowhunters” TV show premiered on Jan. 12 of this year, according to IMDB.

The “Dark-Hunter” author also claims Clare has used symbols and merchandise that are confusingly similar to Kenyon’s.

“Comparing the Dark-Hunter series to Clare’s work or works, the literary components are fictional and, in many respects, the elements are virtually identical,” Kenyon’s Feb. 5 lawsuit states. “These substantially similar elements, coupled with defendant’s access to the Dark-Hunter series, which were widely disseminated, leave little doubt that numerous substantive original elements of the Dark-Hunter series have been copied by defendant.”

(5) AB INITIO. Sarah A. Hoyt begins a column for Mad Genius Club about the preceding news story, “There Is Nothing New Under The Sun”, with these words —

So, this morning (yes, I crashed early yesterday) I was sent this article NEWS: Sherrilyn Kenyon sues Cassandra Clare over infringement claims by Amanda S. Green.  It’s amazing.  And by that I mean, I was amazed anyone is giving this so called “plagearism” any credence.

Now, I haven’t read the complaint, so perhaps there is more to it, and the complaint is more substantial. …

We’ll stop here and wait til she reads the complaint…

(6) GRRM’S EDITOR RATIONALE. George R.R. Martin had some feedback for File 770 commenters about the Best Editor (Long Form) category, but he also queried some of the editors he recommended about “What They Edited” in 2015.

My observations about the Best Editor (Long Form) Hugo, which you can read in full several posts down, have drawn some comments here and on FILE 770 from fans who object to my suggestion that this category has become a de facto lifetime achievement award, at least since David G. Hartwell set an example by withdrawing from future consideration after his third win.

The objections seem to take the form of stating emphatically that Best Editor (Long Form) is NOT a lifetime achievement award, it’s not, it’s not, it’s just NOT.

And quite right they are. According to the rules, that is. According to the rules, the award is only supposed to be for the previous year’s editing.

Which is great in theory, and completely wrong in fact. Maybe those who are objecting vote on that basis, but if so, they are a very tiny minority….

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • February 10, 1957 – Roger Corman’s Not Of This Earth premiered.

Not of this Earth poster

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born February 10, 1906 – Lon Chaney, Jr.

(9) A PEEK AT PIXAR. “Pixar and Khan Academy Release Free Online Course for Aspiring Animators”, from Makezine [via Chaos Manor.]

Up there with being an astronaut, comic book artist, or the President, there’s one job that your average kid would probably love to snag: Working at Pixar. Animation and Pixar enthusiasts of all ages, take note! Pixar in A Box (or PIAB) is a collaboration between Khan Academy and Pixar Animation Studios that focuses on real-Pixar-world applications of concepts you might usually encounter in the classroom. The latest batch of Pixar in a Box, released today, gives Makers a rare peek under the hood so that you can get a whiff of the warm engine that keeps those Pixar pistons pumping. There’s no need to register for the course, nor a requirement to watch the lessons in order — just head to their site and start exploring!

(10) BRING HIM HOME. Here’s a review of an app game — “The Martian: Communicate with Astronaut Mark Watney in real time while helping him return to Earth”.

In The Martian, you’ll experience the plight of astronaut Mark Watney, only in this strategy game you’re his only hope for survival. You play one of a NASA communications specialist that is communicating with Mark in real time via text-based messages. You’re his only contact on Earth, and all that stands between him and a return to our world, or certain death.

themartian

(11) MAD TEA. Links to all kinds of interesting Alice In Wonderland-themed merchandise in this post at The Snug.

Bonkers pillow

(12) BEST OF A YEAR LONG AGO. Black Gate’s John ONeill revisits “Thomas M. Disch on the Best Science Fiction of 1979”.

He has particular praise for Connie Willis’s first published story, “Daisy in the Sun,” originally published in issue #15 of Galileo (see right):

My own favorite among the also-rans is Connie Willis’s first published story, “Daisy in the Sun” (in the Wollheim/Saha annual). With lyric ellipses Willis describes a world in the grip of epidemic schizophrenia precipitated by news that the sun is going nova. The heroine is a sexually disturbed adolescent girl in a condition of fugal amnesia. All the way through I thought, “This won’t work,” but it did. What a great way to begin a career.

Of course, you could dismiss all this as sour grapes, as Disch’s own Hugo-nominee, the novel On Wings of Song, came in last in the voting that year.

(13) A CURIOUS ARTIFACT.

(14) RULES OF THE ROAD. After reading a few thousand selected words in the Amazon Web Service’s Service Terms, the account holder arrives here —

57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Will R., and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day J-Grizz.]

MAC II Statement on Data Release for EPH Testing

The Sasquan and MidAmeriCon II committees responded to File 770’s query about the transfer of anonymized raw 2015 Hugo nominating ballot data for use in testing the proposed E Pluribus Hugo vote tallying method.

Linda Deneroff, Sasquan’s WSFS (World Science Fiction Society) Division Head, wrote:

Sasquan passed its nominating data to MidAmeriCon II for analysis in the EPH process. Neither Glenn [Glazer], John [Lorentz], Ruth [Lorentz] nor I were involved in the analysis.

Tammy Coxen. MidAmeriCon II WSFS Division Head, explained what was done with the data:

After EPH passed at Sasquan, the MidAmeriCon II Hugo Administration team publicly committed to testing the system so that real data about its efficacy could be made available to WSFS members before the business meeting where ratification would take place. As part of that testing, MidAmeriCon II was collaborating with two researchers (Bruce Schneier and Jameson Quinn) in evaluating the system. As previously announced, it was determined that the data was unable to be sufficiently anonymized for a general release, so the researchers were provided data under a non-disclosure agreement.

There was to have been a coordinated release of the research findings between MidAmeriCon II and the researchers, which would have made clear the circumstances under which the data had been shared. Planning was already underway regarding that release, but as noted, analysis is still occurring. Our intention is to jointly share the research findings when they are complete, which will be well in advance of the business meeting at MidAmeriCon II.

The previously announced concerns that Coxen refers to were discussed here in a September 2015 post, “Hitch in Sasquan Nominating Data Turnover”.

E Pluribus Hugo Tested With Anonymized 2015 Data

By Jameson Quinn: [Originally left as a comment.] So, Bruce Schneier and I are working on an academic paper about the E Pluribus Hugo (EPH) proposed voting system. We’ve been given a data set of anonymized votes from 2015. I don’t want to give all the results away but here are a few, now that people are actually voting for this year’s Hugos:

  • A typical category had around 300 ballots which voted for more puppies than non-puppies, and about half of those ballots were for puppies exclusively. There were few ballots which voted for half or fewer puppies (typically only a few dozen). The average number of works per ballot per category was around 3.
  • There were some weak correlations among non-puppies, but nothing that remotely rivals the puppies’ coherence. In particular, correlations were low enough that even if voting patterns remained basically dispersed, raising the average works per ballot per category from 3 to 4 (33% more votes total) would probably have been as powerful in terms of promoting diverse finalists (that is, not all puppies) as adding over 25% more voters. In other words: if you want things you vote for to be finalists, vote for more things — vote for all the things you think may be worthy.
  • EPH would have resulted in 10 more non-puppy finalists overall; at least 1 non-puppy in each category (before accounting for eligibility and withdrawals).
  • SDV(*) would have resulted in 13 more non-puppy finalists overall.
  • Most other proportional systems would probably have resulted in 13 or 14 more.
  • The above numbers are based on assuming the same ballot set; that is, that voters would not have reacted to the different voting system by strategizing. If strategizing is not used unless it is likely to be rational, that is a pretty safe assumption with EPH; less so with other proportional systems. Thus, other systems could in theory actually lead to fewer non-puppy nominees / less diversity than EPH.

Feel free to promote this to a front page post if you want. Disclaimer: EPH is not intended to shut the puppies out, but merely to help ensure that the diversity of the nominees better reflects the diversity of taste of the voters.

(*) Editor’s note: I believe SDV refers to Single Divisible Vote.

Update 02/08/2016: Added to end of second bullet missing phrase, supplied by author. Corrected footnote, based on author’s comment.

Tell Us What You Really Think

In a “Hugos/Sad Puppies Guest Post by Jameson Quinn”, “the guy who came up with the basic idea for the E Pluribus Hugo proposal”, does his best to unravel the coalition that passed it on its first reading at Sasquan.

In order to understand this, it’s important to see that the Sads actually did have the germ of a valid grievance: in past years, many Hugo nominators have been from a pretty small and insular group of authors, editors, and hardcore fans, who often know each other personally and whose vote is probably influenced to some extent by factors extraneous to the work itself. Writings from authors who are personally well-liked, or whose overall body of work is stronger than the individual writing, probably have had a bit of an unfair advantage in getting nominated.

Of course, that’s not to endorse the Sad Puppy point of view. Of their three complaints — that the Hugos have been too artsy-fartsy, that they have been too political, and that they have involved logrolling — the first two are sour grapes, the second two are hypocritical, and the relationship between the three exists only in their heads. Only the third could be even slightly legitimate as cause for organized action; but certainly not for the action they took, which was basically to vandalize the awards as a whole, without any hope of actually accomplishing their objectives.

The efficiency of Quinn’s self-sabotage is impressive when you consider that half of the post is wasted concern-trolling the Republican primaries.

The Effect of Puppy Rays on Fan-in-Spokane Rocketships 5/26

aka It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a sad puppy in possession of a published story must be in want of a Hugo

From rules wonk to rap filk, we have it all in today’s roundup courtesy of Adam-Troy Castro, Keith “Kilo” Watt, Jameson Quinn, Ian Mond, Kat Jones, Lis Carey, Joe Sherry, Reinder Dijkhuis, Brian Niemeier, Rebekah Golden, Lou Antonelli and Vox Day. (Title credit goes out to today’s File 770 contributing editors Kurt Busiek and Peace Is My Middle Name.)

Vox Day in e-mail – May 26

[How many GamerGaters were involved during the Hugo nominating phase? Vox Day says people overestimated in today’s comments.]

The GamerGate involvement in RP/SP through the nomination period is limited to two individuals, me and Daddy Warpig. We are both original GG (GG before Baldwin) and we are both Rabid Puppies.

There are a few GGers who have gotten involved post-nomination, but I don’t know how many. The RP are basically the Vile Faceless Minions plus a few Dread Ilk.

You may wish to note that there are more Vile Faceless Minions (366) than Rabid Puppy nominating votes. That’s because the extent of the Rabid Puppies campaign was a single blog post. Every Rabid Puppy is a VP reader. We didn’t need GG and we knew it, as you can confirm from our pre-shortlist discussions. There are some GGers buying supporting memberships. How many, I do not know.

 

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – May 26

Among the revelations in the “Return of Kings” blog post about how women in publishing are keeping true men writers down:

If you are a first-time writer and the acquiring editor decides that you’re an asshole — literally, if she is given reason to believe you’re an asshole who will be a pain to work with — she will likely make the decision to not buy your book.

This is represented as part of the shameful status quo that is keeping men down….

The other option is, of course, to not be an asshole, and is left unconsidered.

 

Keith “Kilo” Watt on Making Light

“E Pluribus Hugo: Out of Many, A Hugo” – May 26

In this thread we will hammer out the formal language of the proposal, any FAQs we wish to include, and strategize for the presentation at the business meeting itself. At this point, we’ll consider the system itself locked in, so we are really only looking at the language.

  1. RME instead of 6th place
  2. (1,1), (1,2), or (1,2,2) for ties in points
  3. Option 2a (if there is a tie for nominations, eliminate the one with fewer points; if there is a tie for both nominations and points, eliminate them both)

There is one more issue that is still up for debate: Should we explicitly empower the Hugo admins to use further tie breakers in the future if they decide it’s necessary? I’ve written the proposal and FAQ explanations assuming that we do, however, a case can be made for not worrying about giving them the power explicitly. We should settle that question here. I think that the way I’ve written the “empowerment” makes it okay to include it, but for myself, I don’t feel a strong need to. I’m definitely not opposed to it, however.

….19. Wasn’t this system just designed by Social Justice Warriors to block the Good Stuff? It is true that much of the discussion for this system occurred on Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s “Making Light” discussion board, and it is also true that groups such as the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies consider TNH and PNH to be The Enemy, and therefore completely biased and not to be trusted. Other than serving as occasional moderators, TNH and PNH had no real input in the discussions of the system, however. Those of us who worked on the system were very clear that our goal was not to keep the Sad/Rabid Puppies off of the Hugo ballot, and that any system which specifically targets any type of work is inherently wrong and unfair. One of the members of the group is a retired US Naval officer, a combat veteran, a certified Navy marksman, a Christian, and considers Robert Heinlein to be the greatest science fiction author who has ever lived. In short, he is exactly the Puppies’ demographic. But any slate, of any sort, be it a Sad Puppy or a Happy Kitten of Social Justice, breaks the Hugo Award because a small percentage of voters can effectively prevent any other work from appearing on the final ballot. This is a major flaw in the Hugo nomination system, and it is a flaw that must be fixed if the integrity of the award is to be maintained. Politics should play no role whatsoever in whether a work is Hugo-worthy or not.

 

Jameson Quinn in a comment on Making Light

Final update on the gofundme:

Fully funded, and beyond!

I’m truly in awe of the generosity this community has shown, both to me personally and to the cause of voting reform. Not only has the main campaign received $1440, beyond the goal of $1400; but I’ve also been offered a Sasquan attending membership, so in effect it’s actually $250 over the goal.

 

Ian Mond on The Hysterical Hamster

“Who Should Win The Hugo Award For Best Novel” – May 27

The Anderson in particular led me to question this whole notion purported by the Sad / Rabid Puppies that good SF has big ideas and entertains.  Having read two examples of this sort of SF, both the KJA and Charles Gannon’s awful Nebula nominee, Trial by Fire (review forthcoming) I can only conclude that my idea of entertainment and big, high concept ideas lives in a very different Universe than what the Sad Puppies are aiming to promote.  This isn’t snobbishness***** on my part, I just struggle to see the appeal of novels that are so poorly written.

But let’s get back to the point of this blog post:

Who Do I Want To See Win – I tossed and turned about this, but I’ve finally landed with The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette)

Who Do I Think Will Win – I might not have been so keen on the novel, but I believe that Ann Leckie will take home her second novel Hugo for Ancillary Sword.

 

Kat Jones on CiaraCat Sci-Fi Review

“Review: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison” – May 26

It’s an interesting slice of life, and I found myself caring about some of the characters. But for me, it wasn’t a compelling STORY.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1, by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Adrian Alphona (artist), Ian Herring (colorist), Sara Pichelli (cover)” – May 26

This is the first pure fun I’ve had reading Hugo nominees this year, barring The Goblin Emperor, which I read prior to the announcement of the ballot.

 

Joe Sherry on Adventures In Reading

“Thoughts on the Hugo Award Nominees: Professional Artist” – May 26

There is a lot of quality art being produced by the 2015 nominees. Julie Dillon, last year’s winner for Professional Artist, continued to produce excellent work. Based on their work included in the Hugo Voter’s Packet, Greenwood, Pollack, and DouPonce have also produced good work. As a point of personal preference, Greenwood is my top choice here, but it was very close between Dillon and Greenwood. While referencing the Voter’s Packet is a touch unfair because unless you’re also a voter, you can’t see that work. Unfortunately, except for Dillon, none of the other nominees have work posted at the Hugo Eligible Artists tumblr (a great reference for both fan and pro work, by the way), but you should be able to browse the various websites I’ve linked above to get a feel for their work.

 

Reinder Dijkhuis on Obsession Du Jour

“Notes/first impressions: 3 Hugo-nominated graphic novels” – May 25

Above, I’ve dwelled on the flaws of the comics discussed a lot, and I would like to mention that I really did enjoy two of them and found things to enjoy in the third. They have flaws but they’re not disastrous ones. As the incompleteness problem is apparently par for the course for this category, I’ve decided to ignore this and give all works the benefit of the doubt on that score as far as award-worthiness is concerned. I have decided to vote all four above No Award for the Hugos, in, as it happens, the exact same order as I read and discussed them. My preliminary vote for the category, then, is

  1. Ms Marvel
  2. Sex Criminals
  3. Rat Queens
  4. Saga
  5. No Award.

 

Reinder Dijkhuis on Obsession Du Jour

“Notes/First Impressions: Zombie Nation by Carter Reid” – May 26

…. Everything about it looks copied from other comics. That includes the writing, which is based on just a small number of stale, sexist jokes and pop culture references that need to be retired. Who in their right minds nominated this?

 

 

Brian Niemeier on Superversive SF

“Transhuman and Subhuman Part VI: Swordplay in Space” – May 26

“Why is the preferred weapon of the Galactic Empire the sword?” John C. Wright tackles that question in the sixth part of his essay collection Transhuman and Subhuman.

Following the premise that a man’s attitude toward war and death reveals his outlook on life, Wright examines a selection of great science fiction books for the answer to why authors attempting to imagine the future so often employ archaic conventions.

Wright posits five basic views on war…

 

Rebekah Golden

“2015 Hugo Awards Best Movie: Reviewing Lego Movie” – May 26

I really liked the Lego Movie. I believe it has a lot more content to it than first glance would give it. It is interesting and has a good emotional punch as well as a significant number of fun moments.

 

Lou Antonelli on Facebook – May 26

On the way to Kansas City for ConQuest 46, I had to drive through Hugo, Oklahoma, so I stopped and took a selfie of me with the city sign, in celebration of my …two Hugo nominations.

Now, I know right now, some of you are thinking, “Hah! That’s as close to a Hugo as you will ever get, Antonelli!”

 

Lou Antonelli poses with sign outside Hugo, Oklahoma.

Lou Antonelli poses with sign outside Hugo, Oklahoma.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“You don’t like the medicine, Doctor?” – May 26

And because Public Enemy is always appropriate:

He book-reviewed, he S.J.W’d
Vile minions viewed his anti-Puppy feud
One-star the rating, listen to him double trouble
He signs in now he’s pushing for the lower level
Like crashing cars he’s out there stealing stars
From books he took without a single look.
Taking a toll ’cause his soul broke with the poll
From the revelation… of a Puppy Nation.
Now this is what I mean an anti-Puppy machine
If Hugo come out at all, he won’t come out clean
But look around here go the sound of the wrecking clown
Boom and pound when he put ’em down

Voting Expert Asks Help To Attend Sasquan

Jameson Quinn has been participating in the Hugo voting reform thread at Making Light and is now seeking $1,400 in donations to a GoFundMe campaign in order to attend the Worldcon business meeting and support a proposed voting system.

I’ve been deeply involved with election theory for over a decade; and currently, I’m on the board of Electology.org (the Center for Election Science) and studying a doctorate in statistics at Harvard in order to further this interest. So when I heard about the problems with the current Hugo nominations, I had just the resources to help. On the guest posts by Bruce Schneier on the Making Light blog, I helped design and simulate a proportional voting system especially for the Hugo process’s needs, and now I’d like to go to Sasquan so that I can help explain it in the business meeting.

Quinn has raised $760 of his $1,400 goal at this writing.