Let’s begin with Peter S. Beagle here and post the rest of Daniel Dern’s gallery after the jump —
Peter S. BeagleContinue reading
Let’s begin with Peter S. Beagle here and post the rest of Daniel Dern’s gallery after the jump —
Peter S. BeagleContinue reading
(1) READING SERIES CROWDFUNDING. Less than two days to go in the Fantastic Fiction Kickstarter at KGB and Matthew Kressel says they’re still about $1500 shy of what they need to run for six years.
Here are a few of the clever Facebook appeals made by the Kindling Kris Dikeman to encourage people to squeeze out a few more bucks for the series.
- Sick of how things are going? Hoping the singularity hits soon? You can make things better right now by supporting the Fantastic Fiction Reading Series Kickstarter. The Fantastic Fiction series helps writers promote their work and creates a community for genre artists. Pay tribute to our future robot overlords and receive cool stuff at http://kck.st/2rq5KFA
- Has the state of our world got you wishing the zombie apocalypse would just start already? You can make the world a better place without the rotting undead’s help by supporting the Fantastic Fiction Reading Series Kickstarter. The Fantastic Fiction series helps writers promote their work and creates a community for genre artists. Plus, you’re going to need stuff to read while you’re cowering in the dark. Check it out: http://kck.st/2rq5KFA
- Considering a move to the Shire to escape the current state of the world? Put down that second breakfast and shuffle your hairy little feet on over to the Fantastic Fiction Reading Series Kickstarter. The Fantastic Fiction reading series helps writers promote their work and creates a community for genre artists. Galadriel sez: do it for me, hafling: http://kck.st/2rq5KFA
(2) DISAPPOINTMENT. Mari Ness sent a series of tweets discussing why she isn’t on Worldcon 75 programming.
There's a reason: the deadline for volunteering on panels was March 30.
As of March 30, I did not have a confirmed accessible room.
— Mari Ness (@mari_ness) June 12, 2017
(3) WILD CARDS. In “Something Old, Something New…” George R.R. Martin refutes an old complaint, then explains why readers will have no grounds for it in the Wild Cards book coming out tomorrow.
I’ve had some readers complain about my name being featured on the covers of the Wild Cards books because I “didn’t write them.” That’s a bullshit complaint, IMSHO. No, I am not the sole author of the Wild Cards stories, I am only one of… ah, lemme see, I believe it was forty-one writers at last count.
I am, however, the editor of every single one of the twenty-three volumes published to date, and the new ones in the pipeline as well… the guy who recruits all those writers, determines the ‘overplots’ of the triads, solicits proposals, accepts and rejects, and gives extensive notes on rewrites. (And there’s a LOT of rewriting in Wild Cards, to make all the bits fit together so the whole will be more than the sum of its parts). It’s a lot more work than any other sort of anthology, believe me… though I love it, so I don’t complain… too much. I earn those credits, and to suggest that my name is just being ‘slapped on’ the covers while someone else does the work is as ignorant as it is offensive.
(4) BIRD IS THE WORD. At Tor.com, Aidan Moher makes Yoon Ha Lee’s Raven Stratagem sound irresistible.
Unlike its predecessor, Raven Stratagem requires no warming up period. Very little of the narrative in Raven Stratagem is bogged-down by incomprehensible infodumps about “calendrical rot.” In comparison, it feels open and airy. Through Cheris and Jedao, Lee proved his ability to create complex and interesting characters, and this time around he throws the doors open by introducing several new point-of-view characters, all of whom are engaging in their own way. From the crashhawk Brezan, who’s on a mission to take Jedao down, to General Kel Khiruev, who is reluctantly beholden to the undead general after he commandeers her swarm, to Shuos Mikodez, leader of a faction of assassins, each of the major players has their own well-defined and compelling part to play in Raven Stratagem’s overall narrative. They’re all damaged and dangerous, full of regrets, but they are also vulnerable and likeable in a way that allows readers to connect with them on the right emotional level.
(5) FOOLPROOF WISDOM. Timothy the Talking Cat continues to dispense advice to writers in “More Mentoring from Tim” on Camestros Felapton’s site. It’s all one graphic, so we’ll have to do without an excerpt. But I’m sure knowing Timothy’s track record you have already clicked through before reaching the end of this paragraph.
(6) AUSTIN OBIT. UK comics fan Alan Austin died May 9.
Alan Austin, pioneer of UK comics fandom and a long-time friend of 30th Century Comics, passed away yesterday morning after a long struggle with cancer.
Beginning in the 1970’s, Alan published the long-running fanzine Fantasy Unlimited (later Comics Unlimited), which drew together comics enthusiasts from all over the UK, and indeed, all over the world. He also published Whiz Kids, Golden Age Fanzine, and the Marvel Super-Hero Index, as well as being a co-publisher of the very first Comics Price Guide for Great Britain. For many years, he ran the shop Heroes, in Islington, London, and in later years was a regular feature at UK comic marts.
Neil Gaiman purchased his first Spirit comic book from Austin’s shop in 1975.
(7) VERDUGO OBIT. Actress Elena Verdugo died May 30. Her radio, movie and TV career spanned six decades. Although she was best known for her TV role in Marcus Welby, M.D., her genre work included horror movies like The Frozen Ghost (1945). Here’s an excerpt from her New York Times obituary,
… Because she had a Hispanic surname, Hollywood mostly typecast her in horror movies and comedies as Gypsy girls, Indian maidens, Mexican peasants, harem handmaidens and South Sea islanders. “With that name, they don’t call you up to do little American parts,” she was quoted as saying in “Women in Horror Films, 1940s” (1999) by Gregory William Mank. “They think you’re a black-eyed, dark-haired señorita” and I’m blond. So I put on my wig and tried to live up to what they thought ‘Spanish’ to be or ‘Gypsy,’ or ‘native,’ or something.”
She later played opposite Lon Chaney Jr. and Boris Karloff in Universal’s “House of Frankenstein” (1944), in which a trio of movie monsters collaborate against their makers’ enemies, and in “The Frozen Ghost” (1945), also opposite Chaney.
(8) TODAY’S DAY
What’s that?! There in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s the Man of Tomorrow! Superman has gone by many names over the years, but one thing has remained the same. He has always stood for what’s best about humanity, all of our potential for terrible destructive acts, but also our choice to not act on the level of destruction we could wreak. Superman was first created in 1933 by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, the writer and artist respectively. His first appearance was in Action Comics #1, and that was the beginning of a long and illustrious career for the Man of Steel. In his unmistakable blue suit with red cape, and the stylized red S on his chest, the figure of Superman has become one of the most recognizable in the world.
Mark Seifert at Bleeding Cool News has more:
In 2013, DC Entertainment declared June 12 as Man of Steel day “in celebration of the summer’s most eagerly anticipated film”. The date seems to have stuck, with a name change to “Superman Day” because I’ve seen a whole lot of #supermanday hashtags in my twitter feed this morning. I know that Metropolis, IL just held their Superman Celebration over the past 4 days€¦
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
(10) PAST TENSE. ComicsBeat tees up an unusual WW2-era critique, “Bennett and Savuage take on Japanese Internment in new BOMBSHELLS UNITED series”.
It was important to Bennett to make her takes on DC’s greatest heroines less inherently perfect and to provide them with the opportunity for improvement and redemption. “I’m very into fallible heroines,” Bennett explained. “I understand why so many inspirational characters are given to girls, whether it’s to make up for the years that their weren’t any or that there were so many damsels in distress, but there’s a degree at which when we only give children– but little girls especially– aspirational heroines, we’re denying them the ability to screw up. To have a complete human experience. Being a child and seeing these role models, I knew that I could never possibly compete or live up, so when I screwed up it was horrible. These characters weren’t afforded the opportunity to fail and come back from it.”
Indeed, the first arc of Bombshells United is all about failure– in particular, America’s failure to protect the rights of up to 120,000 Japanese Americans when the national government imprisoned them in internment camps for the duration of World War II. In Bennett’s exploration of Japanese American internment, she casts Cassie Sandsmark and Donna Troy, two characters who have carried the Wonder Girl moniker, as second generation Japanese Americans whose friends and family are being held against their will. While Cassie and Donna are not Japanese in the mainstream DC Universe, according to Bennett, these are her universe’s “definitive versions” of the characters.
(11) POSTSCRIPT. Abigail Nussbaum has more to say — “Five (Additional) Comments on Wonder Woman”.
My problem, however, with talking about Wonder Woman as a feminist work is that most of that feminism is external to the film. That is, Wonder Woman is feminist because of what it is, not because of what it does. To be clear, I absolutely agree with the statement that being the first movie about a female superhero in the current, mega-successful iteration of superhero movies (and one of only a small number before that) is a feminist act in its own right. But there’s only so much that you can say about that, and that’s a problem that is exacerbated by Wonder Woman herself. More than almost any other character in pop culture, Diana exists outside of patriarchy. And while it’s powerful to see a woman who brushes aside the assumption that she’s not as good as a man because the very idea that this might be true is completely foreign to her heritage and upbringing, what this also means is that a lot of the central questions of feminism are equally foreign to her. I’m not as down on Wonder Woman as Jill Lepore, writing in The New Yorker, but she’s not wrong when she says that “Gadot’s Wonder Woman doesn’t fight for rights because she transcends that fight; she is unfettered by it and insensible to it, an implausible post-feminist hero.” Diana’s journey over the course of the movie involves learning to see humanity–or, as she puts it, “men”–for what it is, with all its strengths and flaws. But left completely unacknowledged is the degree to which the cruelty of men is often visited upon women. How does Diana’s bemusement at the concept of marriage face up to the discovery that almost all of the people she meets in 1918 would consider it acceptable for a man to beat his wife? How does her decision to engage in heterosexual intercourse change in light of the fact that she is moving through a rape culture? How does her joy at seeing a baby withstand the knowledge that most women in that period have no choice in when or whether to have children, and that many of them die in childbirth?
(12) WONDER WHY. Meanwhile, Stephanie Abraham clearly feels there’s no pop culture victory that can’t be pictured as a defeat with a little effort — “When Will Wonder Woman Be a Fat, Femme Woman of Color?”
Why couldn’t Wonder Woman be a woman of color? When it was announced that Gadot would play Wonder Woman, audiences went wild body shaming her for not having large enough breasts. One can only imagine the white supremacy that would have emerged had the announcement said instead that she would be played by a Black woman. On Paradise Island, there are Black warriors in addition to white ones, which is a good start, but other women of color are missing. Also, while the female warriors are strong and ass-kicking, they all have tall, thin body types and they all could be models on a runway. In fact, in a pivotal battle scene, Wonder Woman struts across the battlefield as if on a catwalk. As a result, their physical strength plays second fiddle to their beauty, upholding the notion that in order to access power women must be beautiful in a traditional way. Especially with the body positivity movement gaining steam, the film could have spotlighted female warriors with fat, thick and short body types. While people have said that warriors can’t be fat, some of our best paid male athletes are, particularly linebackers on the football field, and no one doubts their physical strength.
Another problem is that the story’s overt queerness gets sublimated by heteronormativity. Diana comes from a separatist commune of women who have intentionally chosen to live without men. In one of the first scenes between Diana and Steve, she explains that she read 12 volumes of a series on sex that concluded that while men are required for reproduction, when it comes to female pleasure, they’re unnecessary. While a love story develops between them, a requirement in superhero stories, Diana thankfully doesn’t compromise her integrity for him.
(13) GENRE MOVIE POSTERS. Bill recommends Posteritati —
Hundreds of SF movie posters: https://posteritati.com/genre/sci-fi?page=1
Hundreds more Fantasy movie posters: https://posteritati.com/genre/fantasy?page=1
Note: click “In Stock Only” to “off” to maximize browsing.
(14) BIONIC HANDS. Click on “3D printed bionic hands trial begins in Bristol” to see the video report.
The world’s first clinical trial of 3D printed bionic hands for child amputees starts this week in Bristol.
They are made by a South Gloucestershire company which only launched four years ago.
If the trial is successful the hands will become available on the NHS, bringing life-changing improvements for patients.
(15) PROSPECTIVE ASTRONAUTS. NPR’s story “Meet Your Lucky Stars: NASA Announces A New Class Of Astronaut Candidates” comes with pictures and short interviews.
Jasmin Moghbeli, one of the dozen candidates, spoke with NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro from Houston’s Johnson Space Center, where she’ll undertake the training program starting in August.
Moghbeli, who says she’s wanted to be an astronaut since the sixth grade, talked about what kind of candidate it takes to earn the coveted spot.
“Start looking into science, technology, engineering, math, those kinds of fields,” the German-born, New York native says. But whatever you do, she says, love it.
“There were many other applicants that applied who were extremely qualified for this position that aren’t lucky enough to be sitting up here like I am,” she adds. “So make sure you’re doing what you love. If I did not get the call saying, ‘Hey can you join us here at NASA?’ I still would’ve been extremely happy in the career that I was in.”
The seven men and five women of the class bring an impressive resume to NASA: The astronaut candidates are an athletic crew and include former SpaceX employees, a marine biologist and half of them are military officers.
(16) CAPED CLAPTRAP. Glen Weldon claims “Adam West Saved Batman. And Me.” If only by reaction — the author argues that the show was so silly it revived interest in the One True Dark Knight.
In my book, The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture, I attempt to unpack how the show, and West’s performance in particular, are the reason anyone’s talking about the character of Batman today.
Batman comics had languished near the bottom of the sales charts — the publisher even made (likely disingenuous) threats to cancel them outright — before West took the hero into the mainstream. The mainstream embraced him, and — after a brief Batmania fad gripped the country in 1966 — swiftly tired of all things Bat. Batman comics sales plummeted again.
Comics creators and fans resented the clownish version of their hero who’d spent time in the cultural spotlight, and reacted against it by engineering a version of the character who was — specifically and intentionally — everything West’s Batman wasn’t: dark, haunted, gothic, brooding. Obsessed.
A new generation of comics readers — who knew a little something about obsession — saw themselves in this new, grim, self-serious Batman. For better or worse, he’s been DC Comics’ top-selling hero ever since.
(17) NOT FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON. Whenever Larry Correia blows his stack at me, once he finally runs out of obscene things to say, which takes awhile, the next thing he does (like today) is tell people I keep linking to his blog to get pingbacks that will lure traffic from his popular site. Which is not only a lie – I link whenever I have an interest in an item – but is absurd on its face. Below are the Alexa rankings for our two sites. And the fact is that although Correia has repeated this claim several times since 2014, at no time then or now was his site ranked above mine, or anywhere close to it.
(Bear in mind that 1 would be the highest ranking, so the site with the most traffic has the lower rank numbers.)
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, Bill, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]
The 2016 World Fantasy Convention, which will be held October 27-30 in Columbus, Ohio, announced three of its Guests of Honor today.
The committee also responded to criticism for failing to post a Code of Conduct or an accessibility policy before the February 1 rate hike by publishing both today.
Today World Fantasy Convention 2016 posted both harassment and accessibility policies on their registration page at https://t.co/6a4f6W8d28
— Jason Sanford (@jasonsanford) February 2, 2016
These statements are on the registration page.
Code of Conduct:
We do not tolerate harassment of the people at our convention in any form.
In order to take action, we need to know about any incident during the convention.
Everyone is entitled to a harassment-free convention experience, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, or physical appearance.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, offensive verbal comments, deliberate intimidation, stalking or following someone, making harassing photography or recordings, and disrupting talks or other events. Anyone asked to stop any unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.
A request to “stop” or “go away” means exactly that. If anyone engages in harassing behavior, the convention committee may warn the offender, remove the offender from the room, or expel the offender from the convention with no refund at the Chairs’ discretion.
If you feel that you are being harassed, or if you notice someone violating hotel or convention policies, we respectfully suggest the following:
- If you feel comfortable doing so, point out the inappropriate behavior to the persons involved. Often this will solve the problem immediately.
- If you do not feel comfortable talking with the persons involved or if talking to them does not resolve the issue, please report the situation, in person, immediately to the Operations Staff, or a Convention Committee member. Try to provide a name (found on all badges) and/or a physical description of the person or persons involved.
- In order to take action, we need to know about any incident during the convention.
The Code of Conduct they’ve adopted is nearly identical to the 2014 WFC’s anti-harassment policy, which was reviewed as a successful model at the time.
And the committee’s statement about accessibility says:
The philosophy of our Accessibility Policy is about giving equal access to everyone.
The Hyatt Regency Columbus is an ADA compliant hotel. They have a limited number of ADA hotel rooms for different needs, these are available on a first come first serve basis. The hotel also has public “facilities” that are ADA compliant.
We have made arrangements for signing to be available (upon request) for GOH panels and the Sunday Banquet.
We have reserved the ADA ramp for the Sunday Banquet.
We will have a local phone number on the website for members to make their own arrangements, at their own expense, for mobile wheelchairs (scooters / mobies). We are doing some pre-pricing and will put the number on the website once we have it.
Mari Ness, who earlier opined that four out of the last five World Fantasy Cons have had accessibility issues, made this response:
— Mari Ness (@mari_ness) February 1, 2016
Earlier today, before the policies were posted, she explained her reasons for making an issue about WFC’s delay in providing an accessibility policy, and for not assuming the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will avoid all problems:
I haven’t registered yet for World Fantasy Con because I use a wheelchair and I don’t know if the convention will be accessible. “Held in an ADA facility” isn’t enough; I’ve had accessibility issues in ADA facilities.
What I HAVE asked for, repeatedly, is some form of public statement from World Fantasy Con about their accessibility policy. And I have done this because of repeatedly running into accessibility concerns at previous World Fantasy Cons.
And because last year, I paid the same price as other members, and didn’t get the same access to the convention. I had to stay on ground level while my fellow panelists got to go up on the stage.
That’s the moral wrong: I’m paying the same, but I’m not getting the same access.
The 2016 World Fantasy Con committee has been criticized by Jason Sanford because as of February 1 they still had not posted their antiharassment policy or accessibility policy.
As of February 1st, WFC2016 has yet to post either of these policies. Today’s date matters because on January 31 at 11:59 pm the price to register jumped from $150 to $225. I wanted to register at that lower price but without the policies I wouldn’t do so…
In his blog post “World Fantasy Con 2016 doesn’t care about your harassment and accessibility concerns”, Sanford explains that, even more than the price hike, what really made him lose patience is the dialog between committee leadership and others in a closed World Fantasy Con 2016 Facebook group.
Until today I was trying to be understanding. After all, managing a convention is difficult and relies extensively on volunteer assistance. Maybe no one had pointed out to the people running WFC 2016 how important these policies were to people. Maybe they were having trouble devising these policies.
But then I receive the following screengrabs and many others, which come from the private Facebook group of the people running WFC 2016. The screengrabs show that the people behind WFC 2016 were told repeatedly that they needed these policies, and that it is unfair to not have the policies up before the lower registration fee deadline passed.
But instead of listening to these concerns, which were raised with WFC 2016 since early December, the people agitating for these policies — along with the very need for such policies — were ignored and belittled.
The screencaps are posted at his blog.
Other writers and editors shared his concerns on Twitter.
Hey, World Fantasy Con 2016 — what the hell are you even thinking, refusing to accept help in writing accessibility policies?
— Sigrid Ellis (@sigridellis) February 1, 2016
Is it pride, entrenched inertia, or lack of any comprehension of the matter, World Fantasy Con?
— Sigrid Ellis (@sigridellis) February 1, 2016
Given your track record, World Fantasy Con, I'm belive you prefer to foster discrimination and harassment.
— Sigrid Ellis (@sigridellis) February 1, 2016
Michael Damien Thomas
I hope that the World Fantasy Convention board will put these things right for their future events & hold a con with modern standards.
— MichaelDamianThomas (@michaeldthomas) February 1, 2016
I said I wouldn't attend a con w/o access policy. Starting to think I should say, must have policy WELL IN ADVANCE. https://t.co/RTOKxaBNKA
— Marie Brennan (@swan_tower) February 1, 2016
#WFC2016 is a perfect example of how I assess con attendance vs. accessibility. Without accessibility, I'm not spending $200+ to attend.
— T. Frohock (@T_Frohock) February 1, 2016
— Steven Saus (@uriel1998) February 1, 2016
Plus: If a concom doesn't attend to a task AND refuses to delegate, they are saying it doesn't need to get done. https://t.co/CoOD6rOYSa
— Andrea Phillips (@andrhia) February 1, 2016
For that matter, even World Fantasy HAS had an accessible con: the 2014 convention in Washington, DC. #Accessiblecons
— Mari Ness (@mari_ness) February 1, 2016
It really pisses me off that the World Fantasy Convention isn't self-aware enough to take this stuff seriously. https://t.co/Kj94FMM1Ui
— Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer) February 1, 2016
However, the WFC committee was not without support.
It's great that #WFC2016 won't kowtow to SJWs. They should reserve the ability to deal with things case by case. That's true justice.
— Mori (@moritheil) February 1, 2016
And Morgan Feldstein wrote this comment on Sanford’s post:
You signed a pledge that prevents you from registering for conventions until certain policies are posted and those policies are deemed adequate by the organizers of the pledges you signed onto. You chose to sign the pledges and adhere to their terms. The organizers of the World Fantasy Convention did not require you sign the pledges. Nor did the World Fantasy Convention make related pricing commitments to the pledge organizers. If you choose to register late for the World Fantasy Convention in order to keep a promise to the pledge organizers, any associated financial burdens are yours to bear and yours alone. The World Fantasy Convention is under no obligation to financially accommodate you in this matter.
I’ve was at the World Fantasy Convention in 2014. I’ve never seen a more polite and well-mannered bunch of conventioneers in my life. If you feel you can’t attend in good conscience because they haven’t properly bent the knee to the pledge organizers, by all means stay home. I have the feeling the conference will manage perfectly well without the collection of Mrs. Grundys who are presently harassing the World Fantasy Convention for an anti-harrassment policy.
In contrast, Marie Brennan called it “World Fantasy’s Safety Surcharge” in a February 1 post.
Today the registration fee for the 2016 World Fantasy Convention went up by seventy-five dollars, from $150 to $225.
I registered during the previous WFC, as has been my habit for years. Unfortunately, now I realize that I need to rethink this policy. Because despite being prodded on these matters, WFC 2016 still has not posted either a harassment or an accessibility policy. The con-runner, going by her comments posted there, seems to think that “be nice to one another” and “the hotel is ADA compliant” are sufficient measures in that regard — and maybe there will be policies posted by the time the con begins, but apparently it’s totally unreasonable to ask for those things before the price of attendance gets jacked up.
This is not okay. It amounts to a safety surcharge, because if you want to attend WFC, you have two choices:
1) Buy your registration early, in the blind faith that the con will do its duty and put together an acceptable set of policies before you arrive.
2) Wait for the policies, and pay more money in exchange: seventy-five dollars more now, another fifty if they aren’t posted by mid-April, literally twice the membership price if you pick your membership up in the fall (y’know, around the time the harassment policy got posted last year). To say nothing of the difficulty in getting a hotel room if the block has sold out, which it often does — a situation that might put you in a different hotel entirely, and yeah, like that won’t cause you problems if your mobility is limited.
Oh, and let’s not forget: this is a con with a membership cap. Waiting to register might mean you can’t attend at all, because they’re sold out. So really it’s heads they win, tails you lose, because if these things matter to you, then you wind up paying more money to the con, or not showing up at all.
(1) MOVIE MEME. Mari Ness’ contribution brought the #ExplainAFilmPlotBadly meme to my attention…
Construction workers find themselves caught in the middle of an explosive war they never asked for. #ExplainAFilmPlotBadly
— Mari Ness (@mari_ness) December 13, 2015
Some others –
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) December 13, 2015
— Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint) December 13, 2015
— Mark McDonald (@markmcdsnp) December 13, 2015
— Kraker (@kraker2k) December 13, 2015
— Sean Cisterna (@seancisterna) December 13, 2015
(2) THINGS TO DO. Mary Robinette Kowal, who uses Habitica as a productivity tool, invites others get the benefit by participating in her guild, “Ink Slingers” –
For science-fiction and fantasy writers and editors who are actively working in the field and trying to improve craft. But who also need peer pressure to be productive.
We have some challenges with habits and dailies that you might find helpful.
The way Habitica works is that you break the things you ought to be doing into three types of things.
- Habits: which are things you ought to do, but not necessarily on a regular basis. Like “3 minute stretch break.”
- Dailies: which you do regularly. Like “Write three sentences.”
- To-Dos: which are one time things. Like “Complete revisions for episode 2.”
(3) WENDIG. Locus Online has an excerpt of its interview with Chuck Wendig.
“We’re either moving toward evolution or the ruination of humanity. There’s an angel and a devil. Both of those are manifest in every single technical jump we make. Which one of these do we bet on? Are we going to destroy ourselves with technology, with a nuclear bomb? Or are we going to get nuclear energy? Even a knife can be used to feed my family, or to kill you and take your food. Even the simplest, tiniest technology has a massive polarizing effect on humanity.”
(4) MAXAM PASSES AWAY. SF Site News reports Bay Area fan Felice Maxam died December 1. Maxam, then Felice Rolfe, participated in the Society for Creative Anachronism from the beginning. She was present at its first Tournament in 1966. She also belonged to the Peninsula SF Association in those days. Co-editor of Niekas with Ed Meskys, she was nominated for two Hugo Awards, and won the Best Fanzine Hugo in 1967.
(5) FUTURE OF EASTERCON. Caroline Mullan is publicizing the Future of Eastercon questionnaire one more time. By Novacon, 207 responses had come in. Another 40 have been submitted since. “We’re mailing round to see if there is anyone else out there who would still like to fill it in before we have another go over the responses,” she says.
The Eastercon Options website has been busy over the last month — here are some of the most interesting posts.
A questionnaire was open on the website during October 2015. We had 207 responses, about half from people who do not usually attend Eastercon bidding sessions…. https://eastercon.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/novacon-presentation.pdf
At the Novacon presentation, someone in the audience asked for a general restatement of what problems we’re trying to solve here. We have a number of problems, some more significant than others, some are not problems at the moment but may well become so. It’s fairly obvious from the results of the questionnaire, that we also have a whole bunch of problems that we didn’t really consider to be problems at all, until we started asking questions….
Fans are often bad about communication. We tend to be rubbish about talking to other people, and even worse about understanding them when they talk back. That’s a bit strange for a subculture that is largely based around forms of communication, from letters to fanzines to films to blogs to conversations and panels at conventions. Historically though, the record of fans communicating, misunderstanding each other, followed by “all Fandom plunged into war” is pretty consistent. So it’s no surprise that here we are in 2015 and the results from our questionnaire show that we’re still doing a lousy job. I’d like to understand why, though the folly of doing this through the act of communicating via yet another written medium has not escaped me….
(6) Today’s Birthday Boy
Fans help Dick Van Dyke kick-off his birthday weekend celebration with a flash mob at The Grove in Los Angeles on December 12, 2015.
(7) SITH STATUARY. The BBC profile “The Man Who Turned Lenin Into Darth Vader” tells about Ukranian sculptor Alexander Milov, who got the Odessa city council to allow him to turn a Lenin statue they were threatening to melt down into a Darth Vader statue. It even has free Wi-Fi!
To create his new sculpture, Milov strengthened the original structure and added a helmet and cape made out of titanium alloy – he also inserted a Wi-Fi router in Vader’s head. Despite the statue’s apparent glibness, it serves as a reminder that we can’t control which memories last and which don’t. “I wanted to make a symbol of American pop culture which appears to be more durable than the Soviet ideal.”
(8) COOKING FOR WHO. Chris-Rachael Oseland, author of Dining with the Doctor (recipes inspired by Doctor Who), is interviewed by Salon in “Geek food for the geek soul: ‘As society gets increasingly secular, we need to fill the social void’”.
Oseland will bring out a second edition of her Dr. Who book next year, as well as “Geek Breads,” which includes the “Dune” recipe. If you’ve seen the image of a “Dune” sandworm made of bread that went viral last week, that’s her work….
So it came out of your interest in history, more than fiction or something?
Yes – and I think that’s reflected in most of my cookbooks. “An Unexpected Cookbook,” my hobbit one, is a straight-up history cookbook: It’s all recipes from Tolkien’s childhood in the 1890s.
I’m doing the same thing with my Dr. Who cookbook – anytime where they go back in history, it’s an excuse for me to tuck in a few historical facts… I feel this obligation to make sure I’m historically accurate with these things.
(9) SENSE OF HISTORY. Adam-Troy Castro read Castalia House’s first two blog posts about pedophilia in sf and he challenges the relevance of its entry about David Asimov.
(10) SOUND FOOTING. Star Wars socks from Stance.
(11) OUT OF THE BOX. This Saturday Night Live faux commercial spoofs toy collecting nerds.
(12) RUCKER RECOMMENDS. Rudy Rucker’s book picks for 2015 ends with four books from this year (the others date earlier). His enthusiasm is contagious, so brace your TBR pile for incoming….!
(10) Paul Di Filippo, A Palazzo in Space. 2015. Paul Di Filippo writes SF stories, a lot of them, and he’s had a zillion collections come out. I collaborate with him on stories sometimes, so I’m very sensitive to the pleasures of his style. He has this jovial voice and an extreme love of words, with a real knack for SF neologisms. Like one of his stories communication devices is said to be “uebertoothed.” And there’s a gang of reality hackers called Los Braceros Ultimos. In one of his stories, “Pocketful of Faces,” he gets into an insane riff about people switching their faces, storylet after storylet, topping himself over and over—its’ like watching some mad juggler. And in the denouement, someone is wearing a fake face on top of a fake face on top of their real face, and who even knows why, but it just has to happen. And the doubly buried faces is like a pale grubworm inside a rotten log. Great stuff. Write on, celestial scribe!
(11) ONE LORD A-LEAPING. Legend of Tarzan official teaser trailer.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and Steven H Silver for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]
(1) Randall Munroe has a piece on The New Yorker blog called “The Space Doctor’s Big Idea”. He’s explaining Einstein and relativity, but doing it with his cartoons and quirky humor.
The first idea is called the special idea, because it covers only a few special parts of space and time. The other one—the big idea—covers all the stuff that is left out by the special idea. The big idea is a lot harder to understand than the special one. People who are good at numbers can use the special idea to answer questions pretty easily, but you have to know a lot about numbers to do anything with the big idea. To understand the big idea—the hard one—it helps to understand the special idea first.
(2) Steven Barnes’ new book Star Wars Saved My Life: Be the Hero in the Adventure of Your Own Lifetime has been released. Amazon Prime members can borrow it free, all others pay cash!
It’s finally here! The book I’ve been hinting about for months, STAR WARS SAVED MY LIFE is the first self-help book ever written for science fiction fans, the LIFEWRITING system applied to healing finances, career, health, and the wounded heart. A pure work of love, available FREE to anyone with an Amazon Prime membership, it is my way of saying “thank you” to all of you who helped me find my way, gave me friendship, support, and love.
(3) Downthe tubes.net reports that Star Trek comic strips published in various UK comics and annuals back in the 1970s (and never in the US) will be republished in a collection next year.
In all, the British Star Trek ran for 257 weekly magazines spanning five years and 37 storylines and in addition to its weekly appearances, more original material drawn by Ron Turner, Jack Sutter, Jim Baikie and John Canning appeared in the 1969 Joe 90 Top Secret annual, the Valiant 1972 Summer Special, the 1971-1973 TV21 hardcover annuals and the 1978-1979 TV Comic annuals.
An original Frank Bellamy Star Trek strip also appeared in the June 27, 1970 issue of Radio Times to promote the show’s return to BBC1.
These strips have never been published in the United States and were not written with strict adherence to Star Trek‘s core concepts. The U.S.S. Enterprise frequently traveled outside our galaxy, and the crew committed many violations of the never-mentioned Prime Directive along the way. Spock shouted most of his lines and often urged Kirk (or “Kurt,” as his name was misspelled in early issues) to shoot first and ask questions later.
(4) Nancy Hightower’s picks for the “Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2015” at the Washington Post include one that hasn’t been heavily discussed here.
By Carola Dibbell (Two Dollar Radio)
This fascinating first novel details the emotional journey of Inez Fardo, a 19-year-old who has survived terrible trauma and yet still manages to find life sometimes wondrous. In a time when most of the population has been wiped out by a series of superviruses, she makes a meager living cleaning up contaminated sites. But when it’s discovered that she is resistant to the viruses that continue to threaten the world, an amateur scientist and his team offer to harvest her DNA to make healthy babies for others. Inez goes along with the plan, but soon a series of events forces her to raise the one child produced by the experiment. What follows is a heart-piercing tale of love, desire and acceptance as Inez tries to give her daughter a different life from the one she’s experienced.
(5) Larry Correia turns off the game long enough to offer “Fallout 4, Initial Thoughts”.
The atmosphere is great. Unlike many post apocalyptic things, Fallout doesn’t take itself too seriously. So everything has that retro cool, 50s but blown up vibe.
It gets really buggy at times, but better than the last one. This engine is dated, and it shows. Sometimes you kill stuff and it flies up into the air and spins around for a while. Other times a body will get stuck in the wall and vibrate forever. I’ve had a few crashes, freezes, and once I had to unplug and replug in the Xbox to get it to launch. But still better than the last one, and less buggy than Skyrim.
I had to turn on subtitles, because the music has a tendency to get annoyingly loud when people are trying to tell you important things. Then I learned that the subtitles only show up about half the time. So I turned the music way down and the voice volume way up, and even then I miss lots of things my companions are telling me. Damn it, Piper. Speak up. My character has been in like 400 gun fights without hearing protection, so maybe this is just added realism.
(6) John DeNardo has a fun discussion of “Why I Love Retro Science Fiction” at Kirkus Reviews.
Simply put, retro-futurism is what people of the past thought their future might look like. It’s our great-grandparents’ depiction of today. Or, the future that could-have-been.
Retro futures can be observed in many mediums: books, television, film, even sculpture. When you see an “old school” ray gun, you’re looking at a retro future. When you see the people wearing shiny white uniforms on Moonbase Alpha in Space: 1999, that’s the show’s creators’ view of how people in their future might dress. When you see Captain Kirk pull out his cellphone—er, personal communicator—you’re seeing someone from the past predict what cool gadgets the future might bring.
(7) Jason Sanford calls for writers to “Stop Duotrope’s attempt to own authors’ personal submission data”. The service authors use to track submissions and research markets is now trying to restrict users’ rights to their data.
According to Duotrope’s terms of service, “Any data downloaded from this website, including but not limited to submission histories, is strictly for personal use and may not be shared with any third parties or used for commercial purposes.”
What does this mean? It means that if you upload your submission information to Duotrope, you no longer have the right to use your own data as you see fit. You can’t use the data to write an article about submissions for a magazine or upload your data to another online submission system such as the site run by Writer’s Market. Basically, once you use Duotrope you can’t leave and take your data elsewhere.
Duotrope also attempts to make a blatant copyright grab, with their terms stating “The website and its database are also protected as a collective work or compilation under U.S. copyright and other laws and treaties. All individual articles, pages and other elements making up the website are also copyrighted works. Use of any of these original works without written permission of Duotrope LLC is expressly forbidden.”
(8) Annie Bellet asks people not to nominate her for awards in 2016.
I don’t wish to have my work considered for awards this year. I’d like to just have 2016 to get stuff done, worry about my readers and my career, and (hopefully!) not be involved in any award business. I’m not attending Worldcon 2016 either (I’ll be there for 2017 though, yay excuse to go to Finland!).
So please… if you read and enjoyed something of mine that was published this year (and there were a few things I think are some of my best work), thank you. But don’t vote for my stories. I’ve got cool work coming out next year, and maybe by 2017 I’ll have healed the stress of this last award season, but for now… please, I want a year of not having to even worry about it, slim as my chances might be.
(9) Fantasy Literature has launched its “Second annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest”. Leave your entries in the comments. Can you improve on this entry from last year? I knew you could…
a meddlesome god
sows nightmares in childhood dreams
meesa jar jar binks
(10) Sarah Avery writes the kind of immersive conreport I like. Now at Black Gate — “World Fantasy 2015: It’s the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead of Convention Reports”.
Lots of interesting stuff about trying to line up an agent is woven around accounts of WFC’s panels and conversations in the bar. I’m picking this passage for the excerpt, because Avery was actually on one of Mari Ness’ panels that made news here:
After reminding myself a couple of times that panels were not, overall, my mission, I prepared for the one panel I was on.
That panel turned out to be newsworthy not for its content, but because of accessibility issues. Author Mari Ness, who uses a wheelchair, was unable to get onto the stage because there was no ramp. This issue has been covered elsewhere, with all its ramifications for policy, conrunning logistics, and ethics. All I can add to the accessibility discussion is that the other panelists (David Hartwell, Darrell Schweitzer, Stephen R. Donaldson) and I were nearly as uncomfortable with the situation as Ness was. The hotel staff said they’d have to take the stage entirely apart to put their ramp on it, and we were late already, so Ness decided to do the fastest thing. She positioned her wheelchair close enough that we could pass her a microphone. Donaldson was an excellent moderator, and Hartwell and Schweitzer (who on occasion have been known to hold forth) kept themselves uncharacteristically concise to make space in the discussion for Mari. The physical space might not have been inclusive, but we were all determined that the discussion would be.
As it turned out, Mari was the only one whose remarks drew spontaneous applause. We were talking about the ancient epics, contemporary fantasy epics, and what kinds of lineages do or don’t connect them. What, Donaldson asked, were our personal favorites among the modern epics? And though the rest of us got more and more obscure with our picks, Mari’s was Star Wars. And that felt more personally foundational than any other epic we’d discussed.
(11) And as often as I’ve been invoking her name lately, I should also publicize Sarah Avery’s Kickstarter appeal to fund publication of her fantasy novel The Imlen Bastard, which has raised $6,695 to date, achieving its initial $4,500 goal, then a stretch goal that will pay for the audiobook, and finally aspires to raise $9,600 which will allow Avery to commission more Kate Baylay art.
(12) Movie footage was shot at the first Worldcon. We may see it someday, if it hasn’t been tossed, and if anyone can ever find it. Doug Ellis has been searching for years, as he explains in “The Elusive Film Footage of the Very First Worldcon” at Black Gate.
I have a carbon copy of a letter dated August 16, 1939 that Darrow wrote to his friend, Walt Dennis, concerning the first Worldcon. In part, it reads as follows.
The following day was the big day of the convention. [NOTE – DARROW IS REFERRING TO SUNDAY, JULY 2, 1939, THE FIRST DAY OF THE CON.] Otto [BINDER] picked up Bill, Jack [JACK WILLIAMSON], Ed Hamilton and myself and we took a bus to the convention hall. Bill and I had had no breakfast and it was almost noon, so we deserted the gang long enuf to invade an Automat. Arriving back at the hall we found a mob gathered at the door. Somebody shoved an autograph book in my face. [PERHAPS THIS IS WHAT’S CAPTURED IN THIS PHOTO] They way they worked this was to ask every stranger they saw for their autograph and then look to see who they got. I took several snaps (enclosed) and Bill took snaps and movies. There seemed to be a lot of excitement when Forrest J. Ackerman and I met for the first time. Bill took movies of the handshake. Forrie was quite a surprise to me. Tall, handsome and quiet. A very pleasant fellow. He was dressed in an outfit out of Wells’ pic Things to Come.
(13) Gregory N. Hullender has posted Rocket Stack Rank’s evaluation of “Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft”, and adds this incentive to click the link – “The fact that I not only worked at Microsoft for a long time but actually worked on some of these technologies might make this a bit more interesting.”
(14) Yes, I can imagine.
Sometimes I *don't* retweet people because I know some really shitty people will respond to them because of it, and I don't want that.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) November 19, 2015
(15) This just in from 2009! “Moon landing tapes got erased, NASA admits”. We now join our conspiracy theories already in progress.
The original recordings of the first humans landing on the moon 40 years ago were erased and re-used, but newly restored copies of the original broadcast look even better, NASA officials said on Thursday.
NASA released the first glimpses of a complete digital make-over of the original landing footage that clarifies the blurry and grainy images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon.
The full set of recordings, being cleaned up by Burbank, California-based Lowry Digital, will be released in September. The preview is available at www.nasa.gov.
NASA admitted in 2006 that no one could find the original video recordings of the July 20, 1969, landing.
Since then, Richard Nafzger, an engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who oversaw television processing at the ground-tracking sites during the Apollo 11 mission, has been looking for them.
The good news is he found where they went. The bad news is they were part of a batch of 200,000 tapes that were degaussed — magnetically erased — and re-used to save money.
(16) Jeremiah Moss at Vanishing New York asks friends to help Jerry Ohlinger
A couple of years ago, I visited Jerry Ohlinger’s amazing movie material store in the Garment District. In business since 1976, it was the last store in New York City dedicated to movie photos.
Struggling with the rent, Jerry closed his shop and moved most of his “one million and one hundred thousand” photos to a warehouse in New Jersey as he downsized to a much smaller shop on West 30th, with limited hours.
Now Jerry needs help. The items in the warehouse need to be moved again, and there’s no money to do it. Visit <https://www.gofundme.com/996j7zvc> and consider giving him a hand.
Jeremiah wrote about the old store for The New Yorker a few years ago in “The Last Picture Shop”.
Jerry Ohlinger’s Movie Material Store has been in business since 1978. It started on West Third Street, moved to West Fourteenth, and eventually ended up on West Thirty-fifth, in the Garment District. With the Internet stealing customers, business isn’t what it used to be, and the nine-thousand-dollar-a-month rent is more than movie photos can pay. Jerry will be closing his shop and selling just online in the next three to six months.
This is unfortunate, because a computer screen will never provide the physical, sensory experience you get when you step into Ohlinger’s. An obsessively organized clutter of movie posters and postcards, stacks of DVDs, and boxes full of eight-by-seventeen poster reproductions, the small front of the store is walled by towering shelves packed with shopworn three-ring binders, all strapped with duct tape and hand-labelled in Magic Marker with the names of the movie stars contained within. The space smells of Jerry’s cigar and the musty vanilla aroma of old paper slowly decaying.
“We’ve got about two hundred and fifty thousand to three hundred thousand photos in all these books,” Jerry says, waving his gummy, unlit cigar in the air.
(17) NPR is impressed — “Amazon’s ‘High Castle’ Offers A Chilling Alternate History Of Nazi Triumph”.
Many of the goose-bump-inducing moments in this new drama are visual and are startling. Picture this: In Times Square, a giant neon swastika emblazons a building. Or an American flag with the familiar colors — but instead of stars and stripes, there’s a swastika where the stars used to be. Even the map of the former United States of America is disturbing to witness — much more so than those wind-up maps of opposing territories opening each episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
The alternate-history American map in The Man in the High Castle is made even more jarring, and creepy, by the sound, and the song, that accompanies it in the opening of each episode. It’s the sound of a film projector whirring into action — underscoring the importance of those illicit films — followed by the old familiar song “Edelweiss” being sung in a much more haunting performance than you’re used to from The Sound of Music.
(18) Rachel Swirsky collected writing advice from novelists about how to start your second book – quotes from Steven Gould, N. K. Jemisin, Ken Liu, and Helene Wecker.
Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni:
First, celebrate. Turning in your novel is a huge hairy deal. Go out for a fancy dinner with a significant other or something. Give yourself permission to relax for a few days. You’ve probably been holed up for a while, so go talk to some humans. Send a few emails to friends, accept an invitation to coffee. Go for a walk outside.
Ok, now back to work. It’s a good idea to focus on marketing during the pre-pub months, and to that end you’ll want to prep a master Q&A about the book. My publisher sent me one with about a dozen questions (“How did the idea come to you?” “Who were your favorite characters to write?” “Describe your research process,” etc). It took forever to fill out, but it meant I didn’t have to think on the fly during interviews or readings. If your publisher doesn’t do it for you, make one yourself, with what you’d guess are the most likely questions that a reader or interviewer would ask. It might feel tedious, but you won’t regret it.
(19) Songwriter P. F. Sloan died November 13 at the age of 70. Though best known for his hit “Eve of Destruction”, Sloan also wrote the theme song for Secret Agent Man, which became a hit for Johnny Rivers. The Wikipedia entry for “Secret Agent Man” sets the song in context of genre history:
The lyric “They’ve given you a number and taken away your name” referred to the numerical code names given to secret agents, as in “007” for James Bond, although it also acts as the setup to the “continuation” of Danger Man, the cult classic The Prisoner.”
(20) Wonder if the rest of the book lives up to this line?
— Michael G. Munz (@TheWriteMunz) November 19, 2015
[Thanks to Janice Gelb, Michael J. Walsh, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Mark-kitteh, Tasha Turner, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]
In “World Fantasy Convention 2015 – Disability and Accessibility”, author and Tor.com blogger Mari Ness tells in narrative form the frustrations she shared with her Twitter audience last weekend while trying to participate in WFC as a wheelchair user.
[Unfortunately] this is not the first disability/accessibility problem I have had with conventions, or the first time a convention has asked/agreed to have me on programming and then failed to have a ramp that allows me to access the stage. At least in this case it wasn’t a Disability in Science Fiction panel that, incredibly enough, lacked a ramp, but against that, in this case, the conrunners were aware I was coming, were aware that I use a wheelchair, had spoken to me prior to the convention and had assured me that the convention would be fully accessible, and put me on panels with stages but no ramp.
Ness says that in the future her policy will be to attend only conventions that satisfy two conditions:
Ness concludes: “I am, granted, only a very small voice in fandom, but I’m a very small voice that can no longer use my money and time to support conventions that cannot take the time to ensure that I can fully participate in the con.”
People have tweeted support for her announcement.
— Marie Brennan (@swan_tower) November 10, 2015
I also will no longer be attending conventions that do not treat my colleagues with disabilities as equals. https://t.co/z5R4HGDM6y
— Razorblade Snowflake (@Keffy) November 10, 2015
This has been my policy by necessity; I stand with Mari to make accessibility a visible priority for SFF cons. https://t.co/JKBSKrSv9r
— Lev Mirov (@thelionmachine) November 10, 2015
(1) Mari Ness tweeted from World Fantasy Con that when she was unable to get her wheelchair on the dais, her co-panelists moved their seats to the floor. Crystal Huff shared a photo of the scene —
— Crystal Huff (@crystalvisits) November 7, 2015
(2) Galactic Journey, whose blogger is a time traveler living 55 years in the past, reports that Kennedy defeated Nixon in today’s U.S. presidential election.
And so the 1960 election ends with the country divided sharply, not just demographically, but physically. Nixon swept the West and Appalachia. Kennedy won the Northeast and South. Yet, it is a testament to how far we’ve come since the election just a century ago that the losing half of the populace will not riot or secede. In two months, they will give their respect and reverence (though perhaps with a modicum of grumbling) to the new President.
The burgeoning Space Race, decolonization, Communist expansionism, and desegregation are going to be the volatile issues of the 1960s. Let’s all hope that President Kennedy, whether he’s in the White House for four or eight years, will be up to tackling them.
(3) Suggestions are pouring in about what image should replace Lovecraft on the World Fantasy Award. Kurt Busiek’s idea is one of the most peculiar expensive ambitious.
Preliminary design for the new World Fantasy Award. pic.twitter.com/RSVr3otFuM
— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) November 8, 2015
(4) “Warner Brothers Is Reportedly Negotiating With The BBC To Include ‘Doctor Who’ In ‘The LEGO Movie 2’” reports ScienceFiction.com.
Now comes word that ‘Doctor Who’ the ultra successful BBC sci fi series, may crossover into the cinematic sequel to ‘The LEGO Movie’! Director Rob Schrab appeared on the Harmontown Podcast and teased that Warner Brothers was in negotiations with the BBC to work The Doctor into the highly anticipated sequel, which sadly won’t be out until 2018. (‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ will arrive first, in 2017.
(5) I missed a golden opportunity to follow yesterday’s Marcus Aurelius reference with this tweet by Paul Weimer, who is touring Italy this week.
— Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) November 6, 2015
(6) Does Brad R. Torgersen need to “get” Marcus Aurelius references? I don’t know whether he does or not, and if he still gets paid, does it matter? I pondered this question while reading Torgersen’s take on the recent topic of science fiction classics in “Classics: A Third Way” at Mad Genius Club. And don’t assume I’m hostile to his points – while I’ve read lots of classic sf, I haven’t read most Burroughs or A. Merritt, etc. Their devotees are probably as disappointed as Le Guin readers will be about Torgersen’s lack of interest in her work.
I have occasionally seen good-hearted appeals to community. “Let’s patch this crazy field back together again!”
But a community requires common touchstones, and at least some degree of shared values. It ought to now be obvious (in the year 2015) that there are no more shared touchstones, nor any single set of shared values spanning the total spectrum of fans and professionals. There are simply disparate circles of interest, some overlapping with others, but none overlapping with all. They each have their own touchstones, and they each esteem different things.…
Thus, the third way acknowledges the men and women who built the field, without saddling new fans and authors with the unpleasant chore of having to push up-hill through thousands of books and thousands of stories, all the while never even catching up to what’s current.
Like any culture argument, this one won’t ever be settled. Nor am I trying to have a last word. I am merely thinking about my own experience — as someone who came in very “late” and who can’t mass-consume every single piece of the field, dating back to the 1920s or beyond, much less everything generated in 2015 alone. It’s too much.
But with some curiosity and a little research, I was able to make myself aware of the field’s major literary players. At least up through 1994. New players have since emerged. Some of them probably are (*ahem*) for lack of a better term, overhyped. But many are not. I think Andy Weir’s book is liable to go down as having been a very significant landmark in the SF/F of the new century — just like Hugh Howey’s Wool universe, and of course J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Past a certain point, audience penetration becomes self-sustaining and self-expanding. “Viral” is the term most people under thirty would use today.
Knowing the new landmarks, as well as the old, is (in my opinion) a happy chore that shouldn’t consume a lot of time. Just pay attention to what’s going on. Read the things that look genuinely interesting to you. And don’t feel bad if you can’t get to everything. Nobody can. Nobody has, for many decades. And nobody will. Let it not be your fault, as long as you’ve seen the forest for the trees.
(7) Jeff VanderMeer said on Facebook:
People on twitter seem upset/incensed/incredulous that I voluntarily smelled rotted whale mixed with the mud it rotted in. In a bottle. Like, if I’d had no choice, no problem. But that I actually said to the incredulous biodiversity museum volunteer, “Yeah, uncork that and give me a whiff,” somehow makes me dubious. Well, I’m a fiction writer. I’d smell a bear’s ass if it gave me a sensory advantage I needed in a story.
(8) I have never sniffed rotted whale and I’ve never played Fallout, however, I’m not so opposed to doing the latter after enjoying Adam Whitehead’s “Fallout Franchise Familiariser” at The Wertzone.
On Tuesday, Bethesda Softworks will release the computer roleplaying game Fallout 4. The previous games in the series have sold tens of millions of copies, and Fallout 4 will likely be battling with Star Wars: Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops III for the title of biggest-selling game of the year. A lot of people are going to be talking about it, but what if you have no idea what the hell the thing is about? Time for a Franchise Familiariser course.
(9) Mari Ness also sent a wistfully humorous tweet from WFC:
When the bar closes just after midnight, hopeful writers will stay nearby, in the lobby, hoping their words can reopen the bar.
— Mari Ness (@mari_ness) November 7, 2015
(10) Let everyone on the road know where you stand with the Godzilla Attack Family Car Sticker Set —
No more boring stick figures! With these customizable stickers, show off your love for fun and imagination. All sets start with a large, Godzilla decal, over 6.5 inches in height. Being chased by Godzilla, is a family. The default family is a Dad, Mom, Girl and Boy. In total, the set comes with a Large Godzilla chasing a family of 4, made up of a dad, mom, girl and boy stick figure.
(11) Today In History
(12) Today’s Birthday Boys
When he printed and sold an image of the little-known Republican presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln, Bradley initially met with great success. But a customer demanded his money back because the picture was not an accurate representation—Lincoln had decided to grow his distinctive beard after Bradley’s print was published. Suddenly, the prints were worthless, and Bradley burned those remaining in his possession…
His drama reviews brought him to the attention of Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905), a tall, dark and well-regarded actor of the Victorian era who was said to have served as an influence for Stoker’s Count Dracula. Stoker eventually became Irving’s manager and also worked as a manager for the Lyceum Theater in London. He published several horror novels in the 1890s before the debut of his most famous work, “Dracula,” in 1897.
(13) Today’s Internet Winner
This is my new go-to brag from now on, by the way. "Yes, yes, but *I* was quoted in a condom advertisement. Your argument is invalid."
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) November 8, 2015
The advertisement that quoted John is here….
(14) A recent art exhibition in Turin was inspired by Theodore Sturgeon’s “The Dreaming Jewels” — “So Much More Than the Sum of Its Tropes” at Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin. The exhibition title even references a Jo Walton review of Sturgeon.
The exhibition in which the works act as “figurative places” of the scenes from Sturgeon’s book, asks the spectator to move around inside the space in the way in which you move in a narrative text, with the suspension of disbelief typical of fiction and the analytic and personal participation that characterizes the fruition of art: painting after painting, sculpture after sculpture, intervention after intervention. All the way to the point of imitating the act of immersive reading in the trans human movement inside the gallery.
Curated by Gianluigi Ricuperati with the collaboration of Elisa Troiano. Works by Antonia Carrara, Raphael Danke, Fabian Marti, Nucleo, Elisa Sighicelli, Michael E. Smith.
The exhibition closed October 28.
[Thanks to Matthew Davis, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]
Fantasy writer and Tor blogger Mari Ness uses a wheelchair, which cons often fail to accommodate when they invite her to participate in panels set on a dais or stage. Ness made these criticisms of World Fantasy Con 2015, taking place this weekend in Saratoga:
— Mari Ness (@mari_ness) November 6, 2015
— Mari Ness (@mari_ness) November 6, 2015
— Mari Ness (@mari_ness) November 7, 2015
Quite a few voices were raised in support.
— Lynne M. Thomas (@lynnemthomas) November 6, 2015
WorldFantasyCon, fyi didn't have a ramp for panel participant. Americans With Disabilities Act. ComCon screwed up. https://t.co/Sey4H67hGu
— terri jones (@_terri_jones) November 7, 2015
Every event must comply with the requirements of the ADA. However, due to the way WFC 2015 handled its anti-harassment policy a certain amount of internet tinder awaited a spark, and ignited in this pair of tweets by Mary Robinette Kowal:
I am struggling to understand why a con that worried about legal action from potentiallly misusing "harassment" would then violate ADA. 1/2
— Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) November 7, 2015
It's never intentional, but it seems as if the concern is less about being sued and more about prioritizing who to accommodate. 2/2
— Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) November 7, 2015
Kowal went on to make more general comments about the issue in a blog post, “Thoughts on accessibility at conventions”.
Flash backwards to NerdCon: Stories. This convention was amazing. Truly. I will go again, and again. One of the things that I noticed, right away, was that they had a sign language interpreter. In hindsight, again, I’m realizing that there’s a reason that I saw more than one group of fans conversing in ASL. Not because there are more in Minneapolis, but because this is what fandom looks like when it is accessible.
Most of the conventions I go to are fan run. They start as a big party and then grow. So, it’s understandable why a first year con might not think about being ADA compliant. But after the first year… there’s no reason why a panelist should have to address a room from the floor, while the other panelists are elevated on a platform. Simple things like, don’t registration in a space that’s not accessible by wheelchair users. Have websites that are accessible for the blind.
Mari Ness, who often shares insights and her experiences with wheelchair accessibility while traveling and at conventions, said last year’s World Fantasy Con in DC scored much better:
Apart from two minor issues with my hotel room, both promptly addressed by Hyatt, I did not have any disability issues at this con.
(I did have issues outside the con while attempting to navigate Alexandria and DC, but that’s on those two cities, not World Fantasy Con. I also did get sick more than once anyway, but…well, I think that’s more or less my status quo now.)
As long time readers know, this is not something typical of World Fantasy, which for the last several years have featured Disability Fail after Disability Fail after Disability Fail. So it’s a major relief to find that yes, this convention can get it right, and I want to thank the 2014 World Fantasy Committee for getting it right this time.
In contrast, she had a stressful adventure just trying to board a train while in London for the 2014 Worldcon —
We had five minutes to reach coach C (way way way way way down) on the other platform, and no access people in sight.
I offered to take the next train. I had underestimated the helpfulness of other Brits; the other wheelchair user was in an electric, so he offered to take my suitcase (it’s wheeled) and we rushed. I never ever want to push my manual that quickly, that distance, again. At the station end of the platform we explained the situation and were allowed through Secret Inaccessible doors and then sped down that way. At that point I started having breathing problems. My suitcase went on ahead of me; a porter saw me and started running with me down the platform. The ramp was set up and the train left while we were still getting ourselves into place.
That took awhile because I was still having breathing issues and palpitations. After that, I got my head down and pretty much stayed there until Swindon, which is to say if you are looking for a lovely description of a train ride from London to Bath you need to look elsewhere.
Also, she made this observation about Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon —
1. Once again, apparently the only way to reach the Hugo stage? Stairs. No ramp.
2. On a much happier note, SASQUAN did provide a sign language interpreter throughout the ceremony, something I hope future Hugo Award ceremonies will continue to do. My understanding is that a sign language interpreter was also at the business meetings, so yay.
aka Puppy on a Hot Tin Roof
Today’s roundup brings you Spacefaring Kitten, Gary Farber, Peter Grant, Tom Knighton, Sgt. Mom, Martin Wisse, David Nickle, Edward Trimnell, John Scalzi, N. K. Jemisin, Neil Clarke, David Gerrold, Ferrett Steinmetz, Jonathan Crowe, Andrew Hickey, Jason Cordova, Nicholas Whyte, Tim Hall, Mari Ness, Kevin Standlee, Mark Ciocco, Lis Carey, Vivienne Raper, and Jonathan Edelstein. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Daniel Dern and James H. Burns.)
As I said before, Day is following the Tea Party/Breitbart Culture Wars playbook. Gin up outrage, energise your base, focus their attention on the designated enemy, then fleece the suckers. Vox knows how the game is played because he’d been working for Worldnet Daily one of the low rent rightwing clearing houses his daddy had set up until he became too loony even for them. What are the odds on the next instructions of Day, as “leader of the Rabid Puppies”, will next issue instructions that the only proper way to boycott Tor is to instead buy books by goodthink publishers like Baen or his own vanity press?
The key is not to win, the key is to keep the fight going and make some money doing so. That’s been the career path for whole generations of roghtwing bloviators: fart out articles and blogposts and books about the evil of libruls and blag your way onto wingnut welfare. But to do so you need that red meat to keep the suckers in line. Without the month late fauxrage at Gallo’s comments the Puppies wouldn’t have anything to talk about. But this? This they can spin out until long after this year’s Hugo results are revealed.
It’s hard to deal with this. Just ignoring it is one option, not giving the oxygen of publicity to these people, but can obviously backfire. You can’t deal with this thinking these are normal fans, and that just ignoring it will starve this “controversy” of the fuel it needs. People like Day (and Larry and Brad) are perfectly capable of keeping the fire stoked indefinitely. Not responding just cedes ground and helps them keep up the pretence that they’re speaking for some imagined silent majority.
“Kittens Will Prevail” – June 21
The culture war in science fiction and fantasy fandom is practically over before it even began — and it sure was the lamest war ever. The thing that has been clear for everybody except the Sad Kennelkeepers is that an overwhelming majority of SFF fans, authors and editors are and have always been liberal, in the broad sense of the word.
Yes, a huge part of fandom consists of unpolitical SFF enthusiasts who may from time to time sneer at pro-diversity people who suggest things they find a bit hardline, such as not reading books by straight white males for a year or something, but they’re still open-minded and tolerant. And sure, there are political conservatives in SFF too, but very few of them are interested in really taking any part in the culture war project lead by Larry Correia, Brad R. Torgersen and Vox Day/Theodore Beale, because they’re aficionados first and political activists second or third (and they, too, are mostly open-minded and tolerant). Importing the culture war dynamic somewhere where the other side is missing is not going to end well.
I can barely skim the Puppy summaries at FILE 770 any more because I literally start to feel physically ill. These people and their utter lack of interest in facts, their lunatic paranoia, their rationales for justifying every kind of tactic and practice on the grounds of imagining and alleging that their enemies do it, their crazy tropes (the Nazis were really left-wing!; Planned Parenthood is genocidal!; Emanuel A.M.E. Church isn’t a black church!; Tor Books is an leftist ideological publisher!”), literally make me sick. John C. Wright: “The other side consists of people at Tor who regard Tor as an instrument of social engineering, an arm of the Democrat Party’s press department, or a weapon in the war for social justice.” That would be why they publish … John C. Wright. Thirteen of his books so far.
Speaking of Vox, he’s taken note of speculation from SJW’s and their ilk that the individuals at Tor who’ve been named in connection with the boycott may be at risk of violence. Since I’ve seen not a single reference to that – even the vaguest hint – from our side of the fence, I, like him, can only put it down to paranoia, or an utterly warped, twisted sense of reality (or the lack thereof), or deliberate lying. It’s absolutely insane . . . yet they’re hyping it up. (Edited to add: James Sullivan absolutely nailed the process in a comment at Vox’s place.)
I'm so confused again
— T.L. Knighton (@Tomcat1066) June 21, 2015
“Making Blight at Tor” – June 21
And what ought to be the response of those who feel deeply and personally insulted by employees of Tor, such as MS Gallo, and those who clearly stand in agreement with her ill-considered remarks? And what ought Tor to do, over what they already have done? Clean house seems to be the basic consensus; leaving the precise details up to Tor. And to effect that? Some of the offended recommend and are participating in an outright boycott. Some of them – like me – have tastes that run to other and non-Tor published authors, and haven’t bought anything from Tor in years. Others favor purchasing their favorite Tor authors second-hand, and hitting the authorial tip-jar with a donation. I still have the sense that for many of us – after having weathered numerous comments along the same line as MS Gallo’s without much complaint – this was just the final straw.
“Art Lessons” – June 21
It seems to me that the life of my father Lawrence is a good example to bring up right now, in this very political culture war about what is at its root, an art form. The point of doing art, to paraphrase Neil Gaiman, is to make good art. It is not to chase awards, or other sorts of validation; it is not to look enviously at those who do receive those awards, who bask in that validation, and try to supplant them through forces democratic or otherwise.
It would be naive to say that such things don’t happen in communities of proper artists. They do, again and again, and are happening now in this science fiction and fantasy community of proper artists.
But I think my father would have said that the behaviour of the Puppies whether sad or angry, is the one sure sign of not being a proper artist. He would take it as a vulgar sign of weakness. It would earn his quiet but certain contempt.
“Boycott Tor Books, you ask?” – June 21
A few readers have recently emailed me to ask if I plan to join the boycott of Tor Books, or if I publicly support the boycott.
The short answer is: No. But let me give you the longer answer—because this covers some important issues.
First of all: I am on record as disagreeing with the positions of Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi. (I’ve taken Mr. Scalzi to task on this blog many times.) I’m not as familiar with Moshe Feder and Irene Gallo. But what I have seen of them so far, I don’t evaluate favorably.
That said, I think the boycott is a bad idea. And here’s why:
I dislike the Internet mob—whether it is a rightwing mob, or a leftwing mob. I dislike the Internet’s hive mindset, which says:
“If you say something we don’t like, we’re going to whip up all of our minions into a frenzy, and then destroy your livelihood, or harass you into silence at the very least. Oh—and we’re going to do all of this anonymously, hiding behind bogus screen names, avatars, and IP addresses! And aren’t we courageous!”
That is, of course, exactly what the SJW crowd does. But I’m not one of them—and I’m not a joiner, either. Just because I disagree with John Scalzi & Co. doesn’t mean that I’m eager to flock to the banner of Vox Day and others on the far right.
[Excerpts two of five points.]
- It is unnecessary to get rid of the Best Novelette category in order to “make room” for the Best Saga category. I’m unaware of the need in the WSFS constitution to limit the number of Hugo Awards given out; it’s not a zero sum game. Speaking as someone who has both emceed the Hugos and sat in its audience, I understand the desirability of not having an infinite proliferation of Hugo categories, because the ceremony can be long enough as it is. But that’s not a good enough reason to give one fiction category the axe at the expense of another, nor can I think of another good reason why the inclusion of the “saga” category requires the doom of another fiction category. It is, literally, a false dichotomy.
This false dichotomy is bad in itself, but also offers knock-on badness down the road. For example:
- It privileges novel writing over short fiction writing. Bud Sparhawk, a writer and human I admire rather a bit, complained to me once (in the context of the Nebulas) that calling the Best Novel award “the big one,” as many people often do, is an implicit disrespect of the art of short fiction writing, and of the skills of those who write to those lengths.
Now, if the Best Saga Hugo proposal hadn’t had tried to unnecessarily murder the Best Novelette category, is it something I could see my way toward voting for?
My current thought about it is “no, not really.” Here’s why: …
[Makes a four-point argument.]
It's increasingly looking like the new Hugo awards proposal replaces a category that's favored "diverse" winners w/one favoring white guys.
— N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) June 22, 2015
Wow, seriously? You want to eliminated the Hugo Award for Best Novelette so you can make best Saga? Shame on you.
— clarkesworld (@clarkesworld) June 21, 2015
You can have my Best Novelette Hugo when you pry it out of my cold dead hands.
For "Best Dramatic Presentation" in 2016, can we just nominate the 2015 Hugo awards?
— Ferrett Steinmetz (@ferretthimself) June 21, 2015
The [Best Saga] amendment points out that most sf/fantasy comes out in series nowadays — around two-thirds, they claim — whereas Hugo voters tend to vote for standalone books. According to the proposal,
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.
I’d argue that a decade doesn’t give us nearly enough data points. Over the past quarter century, the split between standalone books and series books among Hugo winners is about fifty-fifty — and I’m including the first books of eventual trilogies, such as Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice (2014), Robert J. Sawyer’s Hominids (2003) and Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin (2006). Sequels to have won Hugos include Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paladin of Souls (2004), Vernor Vinge’s Deepness in the Sky (2000), and Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead (1987). Books two and three of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars series won Hugos, as did the fourth installments of the Harry Potter and Foundation series. And that doesn’t get into the number of Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan books that have won Hugos as well.
So I’m not sure that the proposal’s premise holds up.
“Hugo Blogging: Sagas” – June 21
Were the “best saga” award to be brought in *and all books in series to be removed from the “best novel” category*, I would be ecstatic, because that would give more exposure to the standalone novels the field should be producing. As it is, though, it seems likely that it will encourage even further the decline of the field into a niche of thirty-book series called The Chronicles Of The Saga Of Dullworld. When the playing field is already tilted in one direction, tilting it further seems a bad idea.
— Jason Cordova (@WarpCordova) June 21, 2015
My conclusions on the various proposals: So with a slightly heavy heart – I regret that small-minded slate-mongers have killed off a large part of the wisdom-of-crowds aspect of the Hugo nominations process – I endorse E Pluribus Hugo as the best fix to prevent slates from dominating the process in future without irreparable damage to the credibility of the awards. Edited to add: I no longer think that a “large” part of the wisdom-of-crowds aspect has been killed off.
Three other proposals for reforming the Hugo process have been submitted to Sasquan. One is to abolish the 5% threshold; as I mentioned above, I agree with this faute de mieux, but E Pluribus Hugo removes the threshold requirement anyway, so I would only support it if E Pluribus Hugo is rejected.
I don’t support the proposal to merge two of the short fiction categories and create a “Best Saga” category. The multiple short fiction awards at present reward writers who express their ideas succinctly rather than at big commercial length, and I’m in favour of that. The “Best Saga” proposal doesn’t fix any existing problem but does create new ones – not least of which, who is going to have time to read all the finalists between close of nominations and close of voting?
I do support the “4 and 6” proposal, to restrict voters to a maximum of four nominations rather than five as at present, but to extend the final ballot to include six rather than five finalists. If E Pluribus Hugo is not adopted, the “4 and 6” proposal is a lesser safeguard against slates, in that it becomes much more difficult to marshall your minions to support six slated works if they have only four votes each. And if E Pluribus Hugo is adopted, voters who nominate five candidates will get less value for their nomination than those who nominate four, and so on; the first part of the “4 and 6” proposal seems to me a decent indication to voters that a slightly different nominating strategy is now necessary (even though it’s not actually part of E Pluribus Hugo). As for the second part, I do feel that good work is left off the Hugo ballot every year, and while Mike Scott’s proposal from April (1, 2, 3) would have designed a certain responsiveness in the system specifically in reaction to the slates, I’d prefer a broader, simpler and less slate-dependent change, and I think that expanding the final ballot to six rather than five does that.
“E Pluribus Hugo” – June 21
Out of Many, A Hugo, the proposal from Making Light for changing the Hugo Awards voting system in an attempt to fix the problems that came to a head this year.
It uses a Single Divisible Vote, which is a form of proportional system rather than the first-past-the-post system used up to now, and is designed to prevent any well-organised minority from dominating the nominations out of all proportion to their numbers.
I like the system a lot, although the complexity of the counting system means the count must be computerised. It has many of the same advantages as the widely-used Single Transferrable Vote system, though a notable difference is that you don’t need to rank your nominations in any kind of order.
“Proposed changes to Hugo Awards” – June 21
Moving onto the “KILL THE NOVELETTE CATEGORY ALREADY!” question, well, I’m a short fiction writer, so I’m an interested party here.
First, I’ll note that there’s some precedence for this, with the World Fantasy Award which does not offer a separate category for novelettes. Second, I am deeply sympathetic with the complaints of voters who do not want to check the word count for the short fiction they’ve read, and that the dividing line between novelette and short story has issues because of where it lands (at 7500 words) and that really, novelettes are just long short stories and should be treated like that. Not to mention the complaints that the Hugo ballot is waaaaayyyyyyyy too long as it is. I’ve made that last complaint myself. My understanding is that the novelette category has historically gotten fewer nominations than other categories, so even as a short fiction writer, I fully get the keeeeellll it! keeellllllll it dead! feeling here.
The first problem is the number of eligible short fiction works versus the number of eligible works in most of the other categories. Novels possibly come close, and, with blog posts eligible for the catch-all category of Best Related Work (which this year includes a nominee that isn’t even particularly “related”), that category does as well. Novellas are currently experiencing a resurrection, so those numbers might creep up.
Otherwise – the number of eligible podcasts is in the double digits. The number of semi-prozines and fanzines is also in the double digits; the same names keep popping up in those categories for a reason. The number of eligible graphic novels probably in the triple digits. Films are in the double, maybe triple digits. Television episodes, including cartoons, might pop up to a little over 1000. The number of eligible short stories, in that category alone, is conservatively around 6000. Expanding that category to include works up to 10,000 words will just expand that number.
“New Business Is New Business” – June 21
The deadline for submitting proposals to the Business Meeting this year is August 6, 2015. The procedure for submitting proposals is listed on the Business Meeting page on the Sasquan web site under “New Business Submissions.” The WSFS Rules are published online and are distributed to the members in the progress reports. None of this is secret. And if you have questions about the process, you can write to me or to the entire WSFS business meeting staff through the wsfs-business address @sasquan.org.
I’ve written a Guide to the Business Meeting that tries to explain this. I’m available to answer questions. I just beg of people to not assume the worst of everything. It’s very frustrating to work this hard and to hear people assuming that it’s all rigged in some way. Well, it’s set up to allow the members who choose to participate in the process to come to a decision in a way that balances the rights of the members as a whole, of the members who attend, of majorities and minorities, of individuals, and of absentees, in a fair manner. However, “fair” and “I got what I personally wanted” are not always the same thing, and it would be wise to keep that in mind when approaching any form of deliberative assembly.
“Hugo Awards: Novelettes” – June 21
[Reviews all five nominees]
Novelettes! Good old novelettes! What do you call something that’s longer than a short story, but shorter than a novel? A novella, of course, but that’s too easy. Let’s invent something between a short story and a novella, and call it a novelette! On the one hand, it is a bit odd that SF/F seems to be the only genre in literature that makes this distinction (something about a legacy of SF’s pulpy magazine roots, where different sized works had different pay scales) and it seems rather pointless and confusing for no real reason. On the other hand, it just means we get to read more fiction, which is actually a pretty cool thing. Once again, none of my nominees made the final ballot, but such is the way of short fiction awards. Last year’s Novelettes were pretty darn good (with one obvious and notable exception), and it looks like this years will rival that:…
“Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine” – June 21
Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine is a 2015 Hugo nominee for Best Semiprozine.
Visually, I found this a lot more appealing than Abyss & Apex, the only other nominated semiprozine I’ve looked at so far. On the other hand, I was not as impressed by the accessible fiction. Also, there seemed to be no means to access the relevant material, i.e, what was actually published during 2014.
“Reading the Rockets – Best Short Story” – June 21
[Reviews all five nominees.]
First up, Best Short Story. The nominees are:
- “On A Spiritual Plain”, Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, 11-2014)
- “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”, John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
- “A Single Samurai”, Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen Books)
- “Totaled”, Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, 07-2014)
- “Turncoat”, Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
These range between dire and good. And only one of them, in my view, is even remotely worthy of being considered for a Hugo Award (if I’m being charitable). And that, surprisingly, is the military SF story Turncoat.
Dear kindly Sergeant Pupke You gotta understand It’s just that we’re fed up-ke About our losing hand; The lefties run the ballot And us they underrate: Golly Moses, that’s why we’re a slate!
CORREIA AND PUPPIES:
Officer Pupke, we’re really upset Our writing never got the love that it ought to get. We’re not really rabid, we’re misunderstood – Deep down, our books are pretty good.
There’s some good!
There is good, there is good There is unread good! In the worst of us, there is some good.
[Parody of ”Guys and Dolls”]
…When you see a guy froth without knowing why You can bet that he’s angry about some CHORF. When you spot a dude sounding like he’s von Krupp Chances are he’s a Pup whose full-measured cup of outrage is up.
When you see Vox Day swear he’ll make Gallo pay And direct all his minions to cut Tor off Call it dumb, call it cloying But the thing that is most annoying Is that he’s only angry about some CHORF….
Tor & File770 insiders declared #SadPuppies refused to put their left foot in…
— Problematic Puppies (@sadrbtpuppies) June 21, 2015