Pixel Scroll 10/15/20 The People All Said Sit Down, You’re Rocking The Fabulous Riverboat

(1) BELTERS AND SUSPENDERS. Amazon Prime dropped The Expanse – Season 5 Official Trailer

The future of The Belt has begun as Marco Inaros wages Armageddon against the Inners for a lifetime of oppression and injustice.

(2) NEW MOON TREATIES. In the Washington Post, Christian Davenport says that the U.S. and seven other countries have signed the Artemis Accords which regulate conduct on the Moon including the role private businesses can play in mining and other enterprises: “Seven nations join the U.S. in signing the Artemis Accords, creating a legal framework for behavior in space”.

NASA announced Tuesday that seven nations have joined the United States in signing the Artemis Accords, a series of bilateral agreements that would establish rules for the peaceful use of outer space and govern behavior on the surface of the moon.

The rules would allow private companies to extract lunar resources, create safety zones to prevent conflict and ensure that countries act transparently about their plans in space and share their scientific discoveries.

… By law, the United States is effectively barred from cooperating with China in space. But NASA officials said that even if Russia and China are not signatories, the accords would be successful because they would create a baseline for the world to follow.

“Precedent is important,” said Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for the office of international and interagency relations. “By embracing our values, along with our partners, we’re creating a track record, a norm of behavior that will influence the entire world to proceed with the transparent, peaceful and safe exploration of space.”

Signatories would agree, for example, to help provide emergency assistance in the case of an injured astronaut. They would also agree to protect historic sites, such as the Apollo 11 landing area. They would also agree to be transparent about their plans for space and share scientific data.

The accords would allow countries or companies to create “safety zones” so they could work to extract resources. NASA and China are both interested in going to the South Pole of the moon, where there is water in the form of ice in the shadows of craters.

Being able to operate there safely, without interference, will be critical if multiple nations are vying for the same resource in the same place, he said.

“The most valuable resource that I think any nation is going to be interested in is the water ice at the South Pole,” he said. “So if we get to a position where there is a competition for that resource that’s an area that we’re going to have to deal with.”

(3) TIME TO CAPITALIZE. DisCon III, the 79th Worldcon, officially began taking applications for the Capitalize! fan fund today — application forms are available here. The fund’s purpose is to “financially support fans, staff, and program participants from marginalized communities in an effort to lift voices across science fiction, fantasy, and fandom who have not been recognized in the past.” (More details in this post: “2021 Worldcon Launches Capitalize! The DisCon III Fan Fund”.)

Donations are requested so they can increase their outreach. Jared Dashoff says, “The Worldcon community can only gain by opening its doors and growing. Diversity benefits us all.”

(4) HEAR CORA’S STORY. Cora Buhlert’s short story, “Patient X-5” is now online in the latest episode of the podcast Simultaneous Times: “Space Cowboy Books Presents: Simultaneous Times Ep.32 – Cora Buhlert & Andy Dibble”. She says, “They did a great job with the production. There’s even incidental music and sound effects.”

(5) WHERE BRITISH TOWNSPEOPLE WANT TO SAVE A DALEK. Atlas Obscura looked on in fascination: “When Town Council and a Sci-fi Museum Went to War Over a Dalek”.

IT WAS A COLD JANUARY morning in 2019 when an unfamiliar car rolled into Allendale, a small village nestled within the North Pennines in Northumberland County, England. This wasn’t unusual; in the prior three months the village had seen a fresh influx of visitors, ever since the grand opening of “Neil Cole’s Adventures in Science Fiction: Museum of Sci-fi.” The family-run business, with a menagerie of pop-culture intergalactic friends and foes in an impressive array of classic movie and television props, costumes, and original artwork, wasn’t so much a museum as it was a loving ode to the genre. As odd a choice as the quiet, historically rich Allendale seemed for such a contemporary collection, locals had whole-heartedly embraced the attraction and welcomed the tourism it brought.

The passengers in the vehicle, however, had not come as tourists. “Three huge guys were banging on our door every 15 minutes,” recalls Neil Cole, the eponymous owner, whose personal collection of memorabilia populates the museum. “There was a car watching from across the street. This was the [Northumberland County] Council; it was the first we’d heard from them.” The men, officers from Highways Enforcement, had been sent by the Council to follow up on a complaint that had been lodged against the museum by a single Allendale resident.

Cole and his wife, Lisa, had been accused of defiling their historically listed property by installing a modern timber shed outside it, along the street, without planning permission. They were given 14 days to remove it. This was no ordinary shed: It was home to a life-size Dalek.

Bureaucratic wrangling countered by popular support have put matters on pause while the next round of drama is prepared.

… “The Council was meant to work with me to come up with a solution and build something else,” Cole says. “But when we contacted them, they just wouldn’t.” In early August 2020, the Coles finally dismantled the shed. The loss comes with a silver lining, as the shed will be donated to the village preschool, where it will live on as a play area for children. A weather-resistant steel Dalek is currently being built to take the place of its predecessor as the new museum sentinel, Council be damned.

(6) HANDLE WITH CARE. When picking up some old volumes, collectors might be taking their lives in their hands: “Poison Book Project”.

The Winterthur Poison Book Project is an ongoing investigation initiated in April 2019 to identify potentially toxic pigments coloring Victorian-era bookcloth.

Analysis of decorated, cloth-case, publisher’s bindings at Winterthur Library revealed starch-coated bookcloth colored with “emerald green,” or copper acetoarsenite, an inorganic pigment known to be extremely toxic. This pigment’s popularity in England and the United States during the Victorian era is well documented. While the colorant was known to be widely used in textiles for home decoration and apparel, wallpaper, and toys, its use specifically in bookcloth has not been formally explored. Successful bookcloths were a closely guarded trade secret during the nineteenth century, limiting our current understanding of their materiality and manufacture. Conservation staff and interns at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library conducted a survey of bookcloth pigments in order to correlate the presence of emerald green and other potentially toxic pigments with specific publishers and date ranges. The project initially focused on the library’s circulating collection, which poses a greater potential risk to patrons, and then expanded to include the rare book collection.

In December 2019, the Winterthur Library data set was further expanded in cooperation with The Library Company of Philadelphia, which has significant holdings of cloth-case publisher’s bindings.

What differentiates this research project from others centered around arsenic-based pigments in library collections is threefold: first, the toxic pigment permeates the outer covering of Victorian-era, cloth-case publisher’s bindings; second, the large quantity of arsenic-based pigment present in bookcloth; and third, such mass-produced bindings may be commonly found in both special and circulating library collections across the United States and the United Kingdom….

(7) YOUTH MOVEMENT. In “Kids And Thrillers And Their Freaky Powers” on CrimeReads, C.J. Tudor recommends novels by Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Justin Cronin if you want to read books about kids with paranormal powers.

A Cosmology of Monsters by Sean Hamill

Noah Turner sees monsters.

So did his dad. In fact, he built a shrine to them, The Wandering Dark, a horror experience that the whole family operates every Halloween.

His mother denies her own glimpses of terror to keep the family from falling apart. But terrible things keep happening, including the death of Noah’s dad, the sudden disappearance of his oldest sister, Sydney, and his sister Eunice’s mental illness, not to mention the missing children from the town.

Then a huge supernatural creature that turns up on Noah’s doorstep one night . . . and Noah lets his monster in. 

(8) GIVE FEEDBACK TO THE WFC BOARD. Cheryl Morgan writes it off as “Another Year, Another World Fantasy Debacle”, however, she hasn’t ruled out participating on the program.  

…As it happens, although I thought I had confirmed my willingness to be on panel, no one from WFC has been in touch to explain about the change of panel description. So now I am not entirely sure whether I am still on panel. In any case, I am considering my position.

But Morgan does advise –

…This is your chance, fandom. You keep complaining that “They” should fix Worldcon, even though you know that there is no “They” with the power to do it, at least not in the short term. “They” should fix World Fantasy too, and in this case They exist. Here they are. They even have a convenient email address for you to write to….

(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • 1966 — Frank Herbert’s Dune shared the Best Novel Hugo with  …And Call Me Conrad by Roger Zelazny. It would also win the Nebula that year as well, and a decade later Locus would pick it as the Best All-Time SF Novel. (Runner-ups for the Hugo were John Brunner‘s The Squares of the City, Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Skylark DuQuesne.) The first appearance of “Dune” in print, began in Analog with “Dune World”, December 1963 – February 1964 and then “The Prophet of Dune”, January – May 1965. 

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born October 15, 1919 E.C. Tubb. A writer of at least 140 novels and 230 short stories and novellas, he’s best remembered I think for the Dumarest Saga. His other long running series was the Cap Kennedy stories. And his short story “Little Girl Lost” which was originally published in New Worlds magazine became a story on Night Gallery. He novelized a number of the Space: 1999 episodes. (Died 2010.) (CE) 
  • Born October 15, 1924 Mark Lenard. Sarek, father of Spock, in the Trek franchise for showing up in that role in “Journey to Babel”.  Surprisingly he also played a Klingon in Star Trek The Motion Picture, and a Romulan in an earlier episode of Star Trek. He also had one-offs on Mission ImpossibleWild Wild West,  Otherworld and Planet of The Apes. (Died 1996.) (CE)
  • Born October 15, 1926 Ed McBain. Huh, I never knew he ventured beyond his mystery novels but he published approximately twenty-four genre stories and six SF novels between 1951 and 1971 under the names S. A. Lombino, Evan Hunter, Richard Marsten, D. A. Addams, and Ted Taine. ISFDB has a list and I can’t say I know any of them. Any of y’all read them? (Died 2005.) (CE) 
  • Born October 15, 1954 Jere Burns, 66. I’m giving him a birthday write-up for being on the so excellent Max Headroom as Breughel the organlegger who seizes the unconscious  Edison Carter after his accident. He also had one-offs on Fantasy IslandThe Outer LimitsSabrina the Teenage WitchFrom Dusk to DawnThe X-Files and Lucifer. (CE) 
  • Born October 15, 1955 Tanya Roberts, 65. Stacey Sutton in the fourteenth Bond film, A View to Kill. Quite the opposite of her role as Kiri in The Beastmaster. And let’s not forget her in the title role of Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. (CE)
  • Born October 15, 1969 Dominic West, 51. Jigsaw in the dreadful Punisher film, Punisher: War Zone. His first SFF role was as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream which is the same year he shows up as Jerus Jannick in The Phantom Menace, and he was Sab Than on the rather excellent John Carter.  One of his recent latest SFF roles was as Lord Richard Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot. (CE) 
  • Born October 15, 1911 – James H. Schmitz.  Eight novels, fifty shorter stories; most and deservedly famous for The Witches of Karres; also Telzey Amberdon and the Hub.  He’s in Anne McCaffrey’s cookbook.  The Best of JHS was the first NESFA’s Choice (New England SF Ass’n) book, hello Mark Olson.  Independent and colorful, he never cared whether he was revolutionary or challenging, so naturally –  (Died 1981) [JH]
  • Born October 15, 1912 – Chester Cuthbert.  Six decades ago organized the Winnipeg SF Society.  Fiction in Gernsback’s February 1934 and July 1934 Wonder Stories.  Gave his collection to Univ. Alberta just before his death, two thousand boxes weighing 45 tons.  Even wrote letters of comment to me.  (Died 2009) [JH]
  • Born October 15, 1938 – Don Simpson, 82.  Building, carving, drawing, singing, marvelously and modestly strange.  Official Artist at Boskone 9.  Proud possessor of a purchase order from the Smithsonian Institution for “One (1) alien artifact”, which he designed for the Air & Space Museum.  Here is “Against the Battlemoon”.  Here is a star probe.  Here are a name badge and a calling  card (which, as you may know, is just the half of it).  Here is a sculpted garden.  Here is his design for three-sided dice.  [JH]
  • Born October 15, 1942 – Beatrice Gormley, 78.  Six novels for us, biography of C.S. Lewis; a score of other fiction and nonfiction books, including biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Laura Bush, Marie Curie and Maria Mitchell.  After BG visited a Massachusetts school, a parent commenting on what impressed children observed “Wow!  A real writer who is paid real money has to rewrite!”  [JH]
  • Born October 15, 1955 – Emma Chichester Clark, 65.  A score of covers, a dozen interiors for us, maybe more depending how you count; what about a blue kangaroo?  ECC’s illustrations for Laura Cecil’s Listen to This won a Mother Goose Award.  Here is her cover for “The Wizard of Oz” as Told by the Dog (who naturally considers the real title is Toto).  Here is an illustration from her Alice in Wonderland.  Here is the cover for her Through the Looking-Glass.  Here she is with her companion Plumdog.  [JH]
  • Born October 15, 1971 – Guy Hasson, 49.  Short stories in English, plays and cinema in Hebrew, mostly.  Two Geffen Awards.  A dozen stories in English available here.  Journal (in English) of his three-actor two-location film The Indestructibles here.  Tickling Butterflies made from 128 fairy tales here.  [JH]

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) SOUL. Disney dropped a new trailer for Soul.

What is it that makes you…YOU? This Christmas only on Disney+, Pixar Animation Studios’ all-new feature film “Soul” introduces Joe Gardner (voice of Jamie Foxx) – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (voice of Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.

(13) CREDENTIAL IN SPACE. “The Newest Star Of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Is A Cat Named Grudge” reports TrekMovie.com.

…Grudge is a pet of Cleveland “Book” Booker, a new character for Discovery season 3 played by David Ajala. During the Star Trek Day Disco panel Ajala gave a description of Book’s cat:

“I can say the Grudge is a queen. She is feisty. She is cynical, cautious, and wary of people. But when she embraces you and it takes you in, she takes you in. It’s tough love! I’ve had to work my way up the ladder.”

Leeu’s handlers say the 2-year-old Maine Coon has taken to his new role, calling him a “one-take wonder.” His new castmates also praised their new feline costar during the Discovery Star Trek Day preview.

The official Star Trek Twitter account made the announcement today along with this very cute behind the scenes video:

(14) SPACE OPERA, BLIP BY BLIP. The serial Only You Will Recognize the Signal begins October 29.

Experience Only You Will Recognize the Signal, a serial space opera from the creators of the world’s first Zoom opera All Decisions Will Be Made By Consensus and the digital surveillance opera Looking at You. The series will release weekly 10-minute episodes as part of #stillHERE:ONLINE, culminating in a final 70-minute viewing experience.

…The travelers aboard the Grand Crew, a very massive luxury emigrant craft, expected to remain in therapeutic hypothermia until arrival at their new home planet. Unfortunately, the technology has been compromised. Isolated in their pods, the unfrozen migrants find themselves entangled in a shared phantasmagoria that smells like sour gummi worms. They are stuck in mid-transition between planet A and planet B, between the end of the old life and the beginning of the new life, between memory and amnesia. They can’t finish the job of erasing the past, and they can’t move into the tenebrous future. Don’t worry: the ship’s computer, Bob, has a plan.

…The team redefines the serial form with weekly 10 minute live revelations over 8 weeks culminating in a 80 minute world premiere increments each Friday October 29 – December 17, culminating in a full live stream showing on December 17 at 7pm as part of our HERE@Home Series. Formally, the eight-episode serial builds on the compositional flexibility, performer autonomy, and unexpected comedy for which the creators have been recognized.

(15) NON-GENRE MOMENT. But you might want to know. “Coffee Mate Is Making An M&M’s Creamer And It’s About To Make Your Coffee Better Than Dessert” claims Delish.

Coffee creamers are having a momentttt right now. We’ve gotten creamers that taste like everything from Funfetti to Cinnamon Toast Crunch to cookies & cocoa to…coffee itself! You can truly try a new one every week and never, ever get bored. But Coffee mate is here to let you know that they’re not done innovating. In fact, they clued us into one of their most exciting drops ever: M&M’s coffee creamer….

(16) HALLOWEEN DONUT. Whereas you might not want to know when “Dunkin’ Spices Up Halloween with New Ghost Pepper Donut” – but it has the word “ghost” in it, so it’s my contractual duty to report it.

…Launching today at participating locations nationwide, Dunkin’s new Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut is billed as “a classic yeast donut ring, topped with a strawberry flavored icing that features a bold blend of cayenne and ghost pepper, and finished with red sanding sugar for a sizzling look.” In case you need the clarification, the ghost pepper is a former record holder for world’s spiciest pepper, and is still insanely hot despite Guinness’s current title going to the Carolina Reaper. And good news for spice lovers: Though the “ghost” tie-in is clearly aimed at Halloween, this limited time only spicy donut is here to heat us up for the rest of the year, sticking around until December.

…But if you’re more about tricks than treats, Dunkin’ is fine with that, too. In fact, the brand is encouraging people to surprise their friends with a Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut and post the reactions on social media using the hashtag #DunkinSpicySide. 

(17) KILLER TOMATO SOUP. AndGood Housekeeping chimes in with a Halloween food report of its own: “Heinz launches Cream of Beanz soup for Halloween and it glows in the dark”.

In a throughly horrifying announcement, Heinz has revealed it has created a hybrid of the brand’s iconic baked beans and its classic tomato soup.

Cream of Beanz Tomato soup is described as: “The rich tomatoey taste of the classic Cream of Tomato Soup, and brimming with delicious Beanz.”

…Calling the hybrid a “Monster Mash-up”, the brand has embraced the scary sound of the combination; not only by releasing in time for Halloween, but also by making the cans glow in the dark.

(18) PAIR OF CHAIRS. In the latest episode of the Two Chairs Talking podcast, Perry Middlemiss and David Grigg have fun talking about BIG objects in science fiction, from flying cities to spheres totally enclosing stars. “Episode 38: Big, bigger, biggest, bigly!”

(19) IF YOU WANT TO KNOW. Larry Correia told his readers today he’s “Back In Facebook Jail” [Archive link].

…Officially, the reason Facebook banned me was for a post on Oct 2 where I said “I try not to comment on violence or crime until all the facts are in… But in this case, whoever sucker punched Rick Moranis should be slowly fed feet first into a wood chipper.” EXCEPT Facebook already banned me for that last week for “inciting violence”, I hit the protest button and Facebook REVERSED the ban a couple hours later. (because it is obviously a stupid joke)

But then yesterday, right after I posted a couple of links to the forbidden New York Post articles about Hunter Biden’s goofy misdeeds (and me being me, the posts were super active, with lots of comments and shares), Facebook banned me for the Rick Moranis post AGAIN. Only this time, I’m not allowed to protest….

(20) THIS AUCTION IS LIT. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Let your childhood Christmas dreams take flight—along with the contents of your bank account. For a quarter mil or so you can give the Rudolph and Santa figures from the stop motion TV classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer a new home. And it’ll be just in time to save Santa from drowning as the last of the Arctic ice melts: “Rudolph and his nose-so-bright into auction will take flight”

Rudolph and his still-shiny nose are getting a new home, and it’s bound to be a lot nicer than the Island of Misfit Toys.

The soaring reindeer and Santa Claus figures who starred in in the perennially beloved stop-motion animation Christmas special “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” are going up for auction.

Auction house Profiles in History announced Thursday that a 6-inch-tall Rudolph and 11-inch-tall Santa used to animate the 1964 TV special are being sold together in the auction that starts Nov. 13 and are expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.

Collector Peter Lutrario of Staten Island, New York, thought they might be the only items he would never sell, but when he recently turned 65 he thought about having something to leave for his children and grandchildren.

“I always said I would die with the dolls,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m just putting the family first.”

The figures were made by Japanese puppet maker Ichiro Komuro and used for the filming of the show at Tadaito Mochinaga’s MOM Productions in Tokyo.

They’re made of wood, wire, cloth and leather. Rudolph’s nose, after some minimal maintenance through the years, still lights up. The realistic bristles of Santa’s beard are made from yak hair.

(21) ANIMANIACS. John King Tarpinian says this is why people will want to subscribe to Hulu – all new episodes of Animaniacs starting November 20. They’re also bringing back Pinky and the Brain.

(22) HOLIDAY SPECIAL MULLIGAN. Yahoo! News promises a full pantheon of iconic Star Wars voices will be heard in this holiday special: “Kelly Marie Tran, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels to Reprise ‘Star Wars’ Roles for Disney Plus Lego Holiday Special”.

Kelly Marie Tran, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels are venturing back to a galaxy far, far away for “The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special.” The animated adventure will debut on Disney Plus on Nov. 17.

Tran (Rose Tico), Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Daniels (C-3PO) have joined the voice cast of “The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special” and will reprise their roles from the venerable film franchise. “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” actors Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker), Tom Kane (Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), and Dee Bradley Baker (clone troopers) are also lending their voices for the special.

“The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special” sees Rey, Finn, Poe, Chewie, Rose and the droids as they celebrate Life Day, a joyous celebration on Chewie’s home planet of Kashyyyk that was first introduced in the 1978 “Star Wars Holiday Special.” Set after the events of 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the new 45-minute special follows Rey as she journeys with BB-8 to gain a deeper understanding of the Force. Along the way, she encounters characters from all nine Skywalker saga films, including Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Yoda and Obi-Wan. It’s unclear if Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe) or Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) are returning.

The upcoming Lego-fied version is loosely inspired by the universally panned special that aired on CBS over 40 years ago.

(23) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Game Trailers: Hades” on YouTube, Fandom Games calls the game “a retelling of Greek mythology that’s as awesome as it is totally unlike Greek mythology.”  Among the additions: machine guns!

[Thanks to Chris Rose, Kevin Standlee, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, N., Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Danny Sichel, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Updated MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting Agenda

Jared Dashoff, MidAmeriCon II business meeting chair, has released a new version of the agenda, including Lisa Hayes’ motion, 3SV and its various parts, and EPH+. Download the PDF file from the MACII website.

There’s Business Passed on to MidAmeriCon II by Chicon 7 and Sasquan

The following item was ratified at Chicon 7 in 2012 and must be re-ratified by MidAmeriCon II in 2016 in order to remain part of the Worldcon Constitution.

  • A.1 Short Title: Best Fancast

The following Constitutional Amendments were approved at Sasquan in 2015 and passed on to MidAmeriCon II for ratification. If ratified, they will become part of the Constitution at the conclusion of MidAmeriCon II.

  • A.2 Short Title: The Five Percent Solution
  • A.3 Short Title: Multiple Nominations
  • A.4 Short Title: Nominee Diversity
  • A.5 Short Title: Electronic Signatures
  • A.7 Short Title: E Pluribus Hugo
  • A.6 Short Title: 4 and 6

And there’s the submission text of newly proposed WSFS Consitution rules changes, drafts of which have been posted on File 770 over the past few weeks.

Best Series (page 8)

  • Proposed by: Series Hugo Committee

December Is Good Enough (page 9)

  • Proposed by: Colette Fozard, Warren Buff, Nicholas Whyte

Two Years Are Enough (page 9)

  • Proposed by: Warren Buff, Colin Harris

Three Stage Voting (3SV), Or “The Only Winning Move Is Not to Play” (page 10)

  • Proposed by: Colin Harris, Kevin Standlee, Nicholas Whyte, Colette Fozard, Warr en Buff

Additional Finalists (page 13)

  • Moved by: Lisa Hayes, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan, David Wallace

EPH+ (page 14)

  • Proposed by: Jameson Quinn, Claudia Beach, Bonnie Warford, Catherine Faber, Andrew Hickey, Rogers Cadenhead, David Goldfarb, Lee Egger, Tasha Turner Lennhoff, Steven Halter, David Wallace, Oskari Rantala.

MidAmeriCon II Posts Weapons Policy

The 2016 Worldcon, MidAmeriCon II, today posted its weapons policy on the convention website.

Convention weapons policies commonly are of most interest to cosplayers, however, the news stories about open carry and comments on a few sf blogs have combined to raise questions whether real weapons could be worn by members within the convention spaces. The answer is: no.

Weapons Policy

  1. No real or dangerous weapon, or any item that can be mistaken for one, may be carried at any time in the Kansas City Convention Center or within other hotel areas under the control of MidAmeriCon II. A “dangerous weapon” is defined as “any weapon that is readily capable of lethal use.”
  2. The Convention Center will have a security station in the main lobby to inspect prop weapons for compliance with the center’s policy. A prop weapon that is realistic in appearance must be inspected and tagged by the Convention Center’s inspection check station in the main lobby. Any prop weapon that is carried in the Convention Center must be submitted for inspection; any person carrying a prop weapon that has not been inspected will be directed to the lobby or asked to remove the prop weapon from the center.
  3. All realistic weapons must be brought to Convention Headquarters (ConHQ) located in the exhibit hall (there will be signs) to be peace-bonded. If you are unsure whether your weapon might be considered realistic, you must present it to ConHQ, which is the final arbiter of which weapons require peace-bonding.
  4. No functional projectile weapons, props, or toys are permitted anywhere in the Convention Center or other MidAmeriCon II convention space, regardless of whether they are peace bonded.
  5. Any prop or realistic weapon purchased in the Dealers’ Room, or any item purchased that could be mistaken for one, must be wrapped and immediately transported out of the Convention Center, and may not be carried in the center unless it is first inspected as specified in items 2 and 3.
  6. If you are competing in the Masquerade and you have concerns about whether a prop or realistic weapon that you intend to use as part of your presentation will be permitted into the Convention Center, you must contact the Masquerade director as early as possible.
  7. Any person who displays or brandishes a prop, real, or realistic weapon, or any item that can be mistaken for one, in a threatening or harmful manner may have their MidAmeriCon II membership revoked without refund, be expelled from the Convention Center, and could be subject to arrest.

MidAmeriCon II believes that if you follow the above rules, you should not have a problem with the Convention Center policy. However, if you are told that your weapon is not allowed, by the Convention Center or MidAmeriCon II staff, you will need to immediately return it to your hotel room or car.

Any item which is prohibited by governing law is prohibited under this policy.

[Thanks to Jared Dashoff for the story.]

Where To Find Current World Science Fiction Society Documents

MidAmeriCon II’s “What Is WSFS?” webpage is the primary place to find the latest governance documents for the World Science Fiction Society.

Ordinarily the WSFS.org site also hosts this information, but as Kevin Standlee explained in a comment the other day, WSFS.org is slowly being migrated (as the volunteer’s time permits).

Jared Dashoff, MAC II’s Business Meeting chair, encourages those discussing potential Hugo Award proposals or seeking information about the Business Meeting to look for the guidance they need at the MidAmeriCon II WSFS page.

The available information also includes the date, time, and location of the various sessions (as much as they know now); and how to submit new business.

Dashoff also has a reminder for those drafting motions —

For the last part, you must have at least 2 sponsors (both of whom must be at least supporting members of MAC2) and email your proposal to businessmeeting@midamericon2.org. The Business Meeting Staff will assist you in formatting your proposal if you need assistance. We can also answer questions (ABOUT THE BUSINESS MEETING AND WSFS), should you have them.

Business Passed on From Sasquan, and the current versions of the WSFS Constitution, Standing Rules and the Resolutions of Continuing Effect available on MAC II’s webpage.

Reports to last year’s Business Meeting, held at Sasquan, are available at http://sasquan.org/reports-to-the-business-meeting/ should you like to view them.

[Thanks to Jared Dashoff for the story.]

Final Revision of Best Series Hugo Proposal Now Online

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

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

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

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

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

1: Insert words in existing Section 3.2.4 as follows:

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

2: Insert the following section before existing Section 3.3.4:

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

3: Insert the following before existing Section 3.8.3:

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

New Draft of Best Saga Proposal

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Insert words in existing Section 3.2.4 as follows:

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

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.3.4:

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

  1. Insert the following before existing Section 3.8.3:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

____________________________________________________________________________

Short Title: Multiple Nominations

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

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.2.8:

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

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.8.6:

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

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

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

The Hound and the Fury 6/22

aka Destination: Loon

Today’s roundup features Brad R. Torgersen, Paul Weimer, Vox Day, Edward Trimnell,John C. Wright, Barry Deutsch, N. K. Jemisin, Adam-Troy Castro, Jared Dashoff,  Jason Sanford, Rebecca Luella Miller, Spacefaring Kitten,  Melina D, Lis Carey, John Seavey, Rick Novy, Helena Bell and cryptic others. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and Rev. Bob.)

Brad R. Torgersen on Mad Genius Club

“So you want to write an award-winning Hard Science Fiction story?” – June 21

[Begins with a series of insights about writing sf professionally.]

Now, for a few personal caveats. These are just my prejudices and biases speaking, so take ’em or leave ’em.

Endless polishing is death on productivity, and death on learning. I never learned anything from spending months or years tinkering with the same piece of work. Give yourself a personal rule, for when you’re going to stop on a specific work, and move on to something new. Either how many revisions you’ll do, or how much time you’ll devote to finishing touches once you’ve put THE END on the tail, etc. Just don’t get locked into thinking you can make any story perfect. I can speak from experience: good enough really is good enough.

Downbeat endings suck. They are ‘literary’ and some critics and aesthetes love them. But they suck. If you’re going to roast your characters in hell, at least give them a little silver lining at the end? Some kind of hope for a more positive outcome? Your readers will thank you.

Stories that demote humanity to being puny and insignificant, also suck. We may be small and/or not as advanced as other intelligent life in the universe, but we didn’t get to where we are now by being meaningless dullards. Humans are crafty and stubborn. Never say die. We should be reflected as such.

Some of the best HSF I’ve ever read, inspired in me the notion: Wow, this is how it could really happen! Be it space colonization, or warp drive, or first contact with another intelligent species from somewhere else in the galaxy. When you play by the rules — keeping the universe as we know it relatively intact, accessible, and consistent — you’re shining a light on a possible path. Not predicting the future per se, but illuminating a way that things might develop. That’s the kind of story that may inspire some teenager somewhere to become a rocket scientist.

Speaking of which, leave the “playground equipment” around for your readers to mess with. That’s a Niven-ism. If the reader gets to the end of your story and can imagine events continuing on — populated by your characters, the reader in character form, or both — then you’ve really won. Because you’ve made your world and your story so engrossing, the reader doesn’t want to leave! That’s a reader who will want to come back for more. That’s a reader who will be loyal, and tell others about your work.

 

Paul Weimer on Blog, Jvstin Style

“Campbell vs the New Wave, and Brad Torgersen” – June 22

I do think that Torgersen is missing a large bet on a lot of stories. And I am not sure that Literary=downbeat=suck is an equation that works. HEA and HFA are fine and dandy, but those aren’t the only stories. Hell, look at Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee stories as an excellent counter example. I’m sure Baxter would be surprised to be called literary. And he definitely does not suck.

What strikes me from this article is how it fights the whole Campbell vs the New Wave argument that I’ve opined was at the heart of the Sad Puppies.. One of the File 770 group called him Neo-Campbell. So there you have it.

Torgersen post shows that SF fandom and authors are STILL fighting the New Wave conflict, decades later. The past isn’t dead, its not even past.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“A necessary endorsement” – June 22

Refusing to take a side and trying to remain above it all will no more bring an end to the tactics he dislikes than the League of Nations prevented World War II. Misbehaving bullies can only be stopped with superior force. To stop the lynch mobs, Mr. Trimnell should help us bring them to an end by multiplying our force. We will abandon the tactic as soon as the SJWs do… like Ronald Reagan with the Evil Empire, we will trust, but verify. But until the SJWs give up their rhetorical tactics of name-calling, marginalization, and disqualification, we will continue play by the Chicago Rules and exploit every mistake they make and every opening they give us. The TOR boycott is nothing more than holding TOR Books accountable for the wholly unprofessional behavior of its SJW employees, behavior that would have gotten a minimum-wage Walmart greeter fired on the spot.

Furthermore, there is no symbiosis. The SJWs are not dependent upon anyone’s outlandish statements; if an opponent has not said something objectionable, they will simply lie and claim he did, then run their usual insult-isolate-disqualify routine. We, on the other hand, have a rich and continuously replenished pool of outlandish statements from which to choose to use against them.

 

Edward Trimnell

“Debating the Tor boycott” – June 22

I expressed my disagreement with Vox’s position on the Tor Books boycott…and Vox expressed his disagreement with my disagreement.

My dislike of boycotts remains.

I remember the mindless campaign orchestrated against Orson Scott Card a few years ago. Card’s sin was basically to express a view of marriage that was all but universal (including among liberals and Democrats) until ten years ago. Yet the SJW mobs did their best to silence Card, urging a nationwide boycott of the movie adaptation of Ender’s Game, and barraging the offices of DC Comics until Card was dropped from the company’s Superman project.

Ah, but that is exactly the point….say the forces behind the anti-Tor boycott. The SJWs do it.

I believe it is important to remember what separates the freethinkers from the SJWs. The freethinkers seek to outthink their opponents with a more persuasive argument in the marketplace of ideas.

The SJWs seek to silence their opponents through harassment and intimidation. (This should surprise no one, since the SJWs are almost all anti-market and anti-free speech.)

 

John C. Wright

“The Three Laws of Morlocktics” – June 22

[Quotes a long string of comments from File 770 but purports not to know the source, then says –]

The fear seems to be based on the grounds that her calling me and you neo-Nazi homophobic bigoted misogynist racists was cricket, but my accepting her lame apology like a gentleman (so she and I could get back to work) means that secretly I, and the other fine people called Sad Puppies who would like to reform the Hugo Awards, and return the award to be granted for merit of the work, rather than for the political correctness of the work, now have or may soon concoct an cunning yet dastardly plan!

The women who sound indistinguishable from phobia-afflicted delusional neurotic believe I and mine intend to send Daddy Warpig (the one Gamergater who expressed support for the Sad Puppies slate) to New York to blow up public monuments there with Vatican-made explosive rosaries, and dox and vox and vaporize Miss Gallo.

Because my expressions of neutrality and your letters to Tor asking for professional courtesy are so appallingly frightening that is creates an atmosphere of unsaferiffickness. Or something.

I would say that if women are that easily frightened, it is up to us men to make sure that no cad and no blackguard is ever allowed to speak to them. And if political argument over a pathetic space-yarn award gets the ladies this scared this quickly, it seemed that the Victorian standards for male and female roles were entirely correct. The poor, fainting, delicate damsels in distress must be keep safe from all the bumps and jars of the real world.

Either that, or these nags and termagants are a scandal and an embarrassment to their sex, because they are pretending to be frightened, when they are not, to arouse the very feelings of Victorian protective gentlemanliness that they at other times despise.

Which is it to be, ladies? Equality of the sexes in political matters? Or ultra-damsel-gushing, shriekingly school-girlish, play-pretend hysterical so beloved of the Left? The two are mutually exclusive.

Leftism or Equality?

Pick one.

 

 

N. K. Jemisin

“An open letter to the WSFS about unintended consequences”  – June 22

Whoa. Did you guys think this through? No, seriously. Beyond whether “The Wheel of Time” could get a Hugo, or whether you, personally, like short fiction or not. Did you consider how proposal B.1.3 looks, both within and outside SFFdom? What message it sends about WSFS priorities? Consider the context. In a year when there’s been intense mainstream-media coverage of an attempt to ideologically tarnish the Hugo Awards, effectively making them less representative of the genre’s current dynamism and way more representative of racist white guys’ vanity publishing, this proposal compounds that problem. Let me break down how this looks to people outside of the WSFS process….

So let’s review. In a year when misogynists, white supremacists, and homophobes have already managed to use the Hugos to advance their own interests, along comes this proposal making it easier for privileged white men to gain recognition, at the direct expense of the marginalized. I’m going to assume it’s an unintended consequence that this proposal effectively reinforces the Puppies’ efforts; there’s been no reason to think that anyone on the WSFS is anything other than professionally neutral on the matter. Until now. So, c’mon ya’ll. Did you really think this through? Is this the best time for B.1.3? Are you really willing to throw short fiction under the bus just to give bestsellers another accolade? Do you mean to throw a level playing field under the bus, to give more affirmative action to successful white men?

 

Adam-Troy Castro

“Spaying the Hugos” – June 22

The proposal to simplify the Hugos by eliminating the Best Novelette category and replacing it with a Best Saga category is an excellent start, in large part because it will completely eliminate any interference with those fresh young talents who nobody is ever interested in and who just complicate things.

But it doesn’t go far enough. A few more appropriate changes would certainly help usher the awards into the twenty-first century.

First, eliminate the short story and novelette awards as well. As everybody keeps pointing out, the short fiction markets are dying and the annual competition for an award not supported by the free market is unseemly. Short fiction has never produced anything of worth, anyway. Name just one time it has. I bet you can’t.

Make the contest all about novels, the big awards that really mean something, and make the smallest award the one for best stand-alone novel, because everybody also knows that stand-alone novels are for writers with no staying power…..

 

Jared Dashoff in a comment on Whatever – June 22

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

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

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

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

 

https://twitter.com/jasonsanford/status/612748644379267072

 

Rebecca Luella Miller on Speculative Faith

“Awards And The Problems Behind Them” – June 22

The irony of the brouhaha is that the Puppies seem to be arguing against the politicizing of science fiction and it’s preeminent award by politicizing the method used to select the award winners.

Having been behind the scenes for the Clive Staples Award in the past, I know a good deal about the ways people try to game the rules in order to help those they hope will win. One reason CSA instituted judging the short list—the finalists—by a panel of qualified judges was to avoid this kind of deck-stacking which would reduce the award intended to honor good writing and storytelling to a popularity contest (or a philosophical statement).

Yes, there are diversities among Christian writers, and some would push the point by “gaming” an award if they could.

Other awards have bypassed readers altogether in order to steer away from the popularity contest approach (come vote for my book even though you haven’t read it, just because you know me, sort of). But those are susceptible to other problems—unqualified first round judges, high entry fees, sponsoring organization promotion requirements, poorly conceived judging sheets, and the like.

In short, no award is likely to be perfect, but one that combines readers’ choice with qualified judging evaluations seems as if it has a better chance of honoring the year’s best book.

The Hugos? Seems to me they have gone the way of the Oscars and in the process have opened the door to a horrible mess. This long-running award is in the process of making itself irrelevant to readers.

The Clive Staples Award, on the other hand, is a tool which can help readers learn about the books that other readers value.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“Kitten/Puppy Dialogues (on Pizza)” – June 22

In the comments to the last Wednesday’s post titled Answering Peter Grant, a Puppy supporter called Xephon has been vocally criticizing me for several things I’ve said. The arguments in his/her first few short comments made little sense to me, so I thought the discussion was going nowhere, but then this lengthy account landed on the comment section.

I’m still unconvinced, but Xephon brings up some points I want to respond to, and because this is going to take up some space, I’ll rather do it in a new post.

The sickening truth is that the anti-Puppies need Beale more than the Puppies do. He’s done nothing for my side except stir an increasingly rancid pot. Those of us who have distanced ourselves have learned that we are wasting our time, because all we hear from the other side is, “because Vox Day”. You need him to be your bogeyman, the focal point for your opposition. If he didn’t exist, someone would have invented him.

One of the funnies recent developments in the discussion around Hugos is that the second you mention Theodore Beale/Vox Day, somebody charges in and accuses you of “because Vox Day” fallacy. It sure is an interesting variant of “playing the ‘Playing the Hitler Card’ card”. Let me state once again that Beale’s Rabid Puppies slate swept the Hugo ballot. Your demand that everything related to him should be removed from the Hugo discussions does feel a bit odd — especially when we’re talking about his boycotts and other schemes.

 

Anony-Mouse on Cedar Writes

“Get out and Vote!” – June 22

Do NOT vote NO AWARD for anything. Yes, I know the temptation to make a statement by putting something below No Award at the bottom, but in the unlikely case of close races NA can have an adverse affect on outcomes because it’s a weighted ballot. And frankly, it’s a pet peeve of mine. NO AWARD is a political statement, and this isn’t supposed to be about naked politics.

Do NOT vote at all for anything you do not think is worthy, regardless of why you do not find it worthy. See previous.

DO try to vote for at least one good thing in each category rather than leaving the category blank. For example, some of the fanzine/semiprozine entries have been nothing but contemptuous of dissidents against the establishment. I will not vote for them. Others have been accepting of everyone, I will rank them.

 

World of Pancakes

“Retraction regarding the Sad Puppy John C. Wright” – June 22

I don’t do this sort of thing very often, but I’m retracting my last post. Let me explain why. In repose to charges of homophobia, Wright said the charges were a lie and responded in a fashion which could be described as equally “homophobic” and “bizarre.” I wrote a long-ish piece taking him to task for this. It’s a solid bit of work, but I’d like to disavow it as of now. Since posting this piece, I’ve read a good deal more of what Wright has written outside of his novels. I’ve come to the conclusion that Mr. Wright has enough going on his life that piling on like this is neither fair nor necessary. I stand by the content of what I wrote, but, given Mr. Wright’s situation, it was needlessly mean of me to write it.

 

Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Best Graphic Story” – June 22

[Reviews 4 of 5 nominees.]

It was so wonderful to read a category and understand why all the nominees (that I could access) were nominees. These had quality story telling, good art (and art telling stories which I appreciate so much), interesting plots and characters, character development, humour, and in some cases, extreme ‘feelings’. These are the things I want in all my fiction (except the art, of course) and they’re never restricted to one ‘type’ or ‘style’ of fiction – romance fiction can deliver these things as well as epic fantasy, historical fiction as well as apocalyptic fantasy.

When you hold the quality of this category – just the writing and story telling to start with – up against the others, you really see how bad most of the work in the short fiction and related fiction categories are. And you have to ask why? Why didn’t the slate people put forward work that is well written and engaging? (Or more of that work?) Is there a lack of well written and engaging work which is action oriented/classic age/milSF? Is there a publicity issue for works that are well written and action oriented/reminiscent of older stuff and? Or did this slate become a cynical/destructive force designed to reward certain writers/publishers while ‘punishing’ others?

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews” – June 22

This is a 2015 Best Semiprozine Hugo nominee. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is an online magazine of literary adventure fantasy. It’s visually attractive, and it offers some impressive fantasy fiction. I was pleased to find an archive that allowed me to check out the 2014 issues, the relevant issues for this year’s Hugos. An extra delight is that it offers audio fiction as well as print. This is an altogether fine magazine, and I’m very impressed.

 

Reading SFF

“2015 Hugo Awards Reading: Cixin Liu – The Three-Body Problem (2008/2014)” – June 22

I liked that the novel posed lot’s of mysterious questions and even answered them in a way that made sense, at least most of the times. While there are a lot of things in this novel that I liked a lot, there are a few things that I did not like as much. Mainly, this is not a character driven novel. This novel is about the science, not the characters. It’s very hard SF (which is fine), but it’s so hard, that at times whole passages read as if they were taken from a popular science text-book on futuristic physics. I guess it’s difficult to have everything: an imaginative and engaging story, cool science and great characters. The Three-Body Problem scores 2 out of 3 of these, which is a very good score.

 

John Seavey on Fraggmented

“Review: Ancillary Justice” – June 22

I think that’s why, despite appreciating ‘Ancillary Justice’, I didn’t really enjoy it all that much. There is a plot, and it’s actually a very clever one. But Leckie takes a lot of time in getting to it; she’s got a lot to say about the Radch, the empire that controls vast segments of the galaxy, and she wants you to really get a handle on the reality of living in the empire they’ve created. Vast chunks of the novel are taken up explaining customs, linguistics (yes, including the bit the book is famous for, that the default gender is “she”) and politics of the Radch, long before the plot ever kicks into gear.

 

Rick Novy on Entropy Central

“Lampooning the Hugo Awards – Free Short Story” – June 22

aka…The Bluegills, the Bream, and the Shiny Stones

Every once in a while, a writer will produce a piece of fiction with a short shelf-life. Such it is with a story i wrote a couple of months ago. The intention was to make a statement about the 2015 Hugo Awards, so I lampooned it. I shopped the story to three pro markets that I thought might be able to handle the expiration date. One market called it amusing but not right for the magazine. I happen to agree it’s amusing, and the editor is probably right about it not being a good fit.

I decided the shelf life of the story is now way too short to try to sell the story again, so I’m posting it here for free. I hope you enjoy it.

Without further ado…

 

Novelettes Left Untouched in Revamped Best Saga Proposal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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