(1) As noted by Patrick on Making Light, the Guardian has an editorial about the sudden turnaround in British public opinion regarding the need to help Syrian refugees, “a shift clearly caused by the heartrending photographs of young Aylan Kurdi’s drowned body washed up on a Turkish beach.” More commentary about the main topic in his post, but here’s the reason someone sent me the link —
Likewise, I’m as small-minded and focused on the local as anybody else. Normally the displacement of millions of innocent Syrians tends to weigh on me as merely one of a seemingly endless series of humanitarian crises for which there is never enough attention or care. But put one particular namecheck into a Guardian editorial and you have my undivided attention:
[I]t is also an astonishingly vivid demonstration of the inadequacy of statistics to move our moral sentiments compared with the power of pictures, and still more of pictures that bring to life stories, to affect us in ways that reasoning never could. As the critic Teresa Nielsen Hayden observed, “Story is a force of nature.” One single death and a refugee family have moved a nation to whom 200,000 deaths and 11 million refugees had remained for years merely a statistic, and not a very interesting one at that.
(2) The impression I get from Larry Correia’s “MHI Challenge Coin Update” is that today – the 5th – is the last day to order Monster Hunter International challenge coins. Unlike another famous Puppy, he probably has only one 5th in his deck.
(3) Steve Davidson ends his new opinion piece about SP4 on Amazing Stories on a satirical note:
But until the event is scheduled, we’ve still got Sad Puppies IV to deal with, because the problem is, as spokesperson for that effort, Kate Paulk’s words do not match her stated intent.
I’ll shortly be announcing the creation of the One True SF/F Award Run by Real Fans for Real Reasons, which will be presented at a soon-to-be-announced convention, the One True SF/F Genre Convention Run by Real Fans for Real Reasons. Which no doubt will be quickly shortened to SFFGCRBRFFRRCon, just as the awards themselves (a silver flying saucer base, above which will be mounted a symbol for science fiction, fantasy or horror that will be crowd-sourced and unique every year) will soon be known as the SFFGCRBRFFRRies.
Everyone attending the convention will receive a ribbon to attach to their ID badge. That ribbon will state that the wearer is a REAL FAN for REAL REASONS. Additional ribbons, containing short, pithy summations of REASONS can be appended to the RFRR ribbons for those who wish greater specificity. Summations such as: “I’m clueless about fandom but it must be doing something wrong because I am not the center of attention”, “Money is the root of all evil, I earn so much I must be Evil”, “The message in my message fiction is that message fiction sucks” and “Someone on the internet told me that someone on the internet is doing it wrong”. For a fee, personal REASON ribbons will be made on site.
(4) Patrick May – “Sad Puppies 4: A Slate By Any Other Name”
Recommendations will be collected on the Sadpuppies 4 website, where one page will be dedicated to each category. In February or March, Paulk’s stated goal is to post “a list of the ten or so most popular recommendations in each Hugo category, and a link to the full list in all its glory.” Paulk goes on to say “If you want to see your favorite author receive a nomination and an award, your best bet will be to cast your nomination ballot for one of the works in the top ten or thereabouts of The List.”
And therein lies the problem. Even though SP4 is not positioning their list as a slate and even though the organizers plan to provide a recommendation list with more entries than allowed nominees, the approach of ranking the recommendations and suggesting that people vote for more popular works gives the appearance of attempting to game the Hugo nomination process. As we saw at Sasquan, this raises the ire of a significant percentage of Hugo voters. Yes, some people voted against the works themselves and, yes, some people voted against the Sad Puppies personally, but many voted No Award because slates violate what they see as the spirit of the process. Skewing the voting patterns from anything other than purely individual choices will be interpreted similarly.
Puppies: DO YOU SEE THIS ANTI-RURITANIAN SCREED!? IT WON THE HUGE AWARD!
Commenter D: No, it was only nominated—
Puppies: THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE HUGE AWARD!
Troll B: You’re all so racist against Ruritanians.
Commenter B: You’re the one who brought them up in the first place! No one was saying anything about Ruritanians!
Troll B: As an outsider, it’s obvious to me that’s what you were talking about. You should just admit that you all think they’re tax cheats.
Commenters J-Q: …we don’t. No one thinks that. That would be racist.
Troll B: JUST LIKE THAT RACIST PLATYPUS WHO HATES RURITANIANS
FFA: *makes popcorn*
(6) A post on Hackaday admires Sasquan’s Hugo base, made by Matthew Dockery (aka gfish):
A lot of hackers like science fiction. If you aren’t one of them, you might not know that the Hugo is a prestigious science fiction award handed out at the World Science Fiction Convention every year. The statue looks like a rocket ship, but every year the base the rocket ship rests on is different. Kinetic sculptor [gfish] realized the convention would be in Spokane (his hometown and near his current residence) and decided to enter the competition to create the bases. He won, so the 2015 Hugos all have [gfish’s] bases on them and it’s pretty neat that he’s shared the process he used to make them.
And base maker “gfish” takes you step-by-step through the design and manufcaturing process:
The image I had in mind was a kind of spiky, tessellated… something. Rocket blast, maybe, or the central plateau of Washington state, surrounded by mountains. I wanted to leave it ambiguous…
Once I was happy with the design, I needed to find a way to “unfold” it into individual polygons. I had heard of the Japanese papercraft program Pepakura being used by costumers to make armor, so I tried that. It worked — and it even let me test my design in paper first! I’m glad it did, because this let me refine the design in a very fast and cheap way. Things always look different in real life.
I’ve wondered whether people have been shanking themselves on the edges while carrying these Hugos. Flashback: In 1989 Deb Geiser says she cut herself working on a Hugo (mine, as it turned out) and those weren’t sharp at all.
Gfish/Dockery continued a tradition started by Hugo-maker Jack McKnight — missing part of the con to finish working on the awards —
There was a slight panic at the last minute because I sized the holes wrong on one of the nameplates before sending the file to the laser etching service, but that was easily solved with my dad’s drill press. And I missed the masquerade because I was stuck in a hotel room bolting on rockets. But you know what? That was absolutely okay. This is probably the closest I will ever come to winning a Hugo myself, and I loved every minute of it.
(7) Cracked delivers another round of honest movie posters.
(8) Thomas Olde Heuvelt comments on John C. Wright’s “Hugo Controversy Quiz Questions”
What struck me is your answer to question 6. You state: “Do you remember how science fiction began? We write stories about space princesses being rescued by space heroes from space monsters, pirates, and evil robots. Those who attempt to find a deeper meaning or a social crusade in that are ill informed illwishers whose ulterior motives are unfriendly to our genre.” This much boils down to something I’ve read was part of the main argument for Sad Puppies 3 (I believe it was Brad Torgersen who said it, but I may be mistaken): that they wanted stories about tentacles, not social issues. A pledge for more ‘adventure’, to generalize. Which is a fair argument, I think.
Except… your story that got replaced by mine, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause,” is not a story about space monsters or tentacles, it’s a story about a Christmas miracle imposed by God, and fairly evangelical as interpreted by many. (Whether it can be taken as an ‘adventure’ story, is an argument I won’t go into here). I immediately take your word that your intent is not to “indoctrinate the readers into a particular [in this case Christian] worldview” and even “reject that premise with scorn and umbrage”. But I do know that for many who are not Christian (like me), the story *may* read as evangelical and indoctrinating. So, if you didn’t have any agenda and just wanted to tell a good story, the interpretation of indoctrination is purely based on a difference between what is close to you and what is close to non-religious readers. And that, I think, is exactly the same the other way around. I am fairly sure that John Chu didn’t have any political agenda when he wrote a story with gay characters (“The Water That Falls On You From Nowhere”), and I’m a 100% sure that I didn’t have a political agenda when I wrote my first Hugo-nominated story, “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow” (which also happened to feature a gay character). I’ve read many misassumptions that stories like these are always part of some bigger conspiracy to push a social agenda. But that’s nonsense. I don’t have an agenda, except to write what I think are good stories. They may differ from what you think are good stories, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s the real diversity in sciencefiction and fantasy.
Let me state this: people who write different stories than what you know or like, not necessarily have “sad and narrow lives”. You glorify what you know. I glorify what I know. Stephen King glorifies what he knows. Whether it’s God, or a gay tentacle, or an evil clown – as long as they are good stories, who cares?
I am, #inallmodesty, one of the finest people who kicked him out of the Novelette category to begin with.
— Thomas Olde Heuvelt (@Thomas_Novelist) August 25, 2015
(9) Otherwise, a typical day at the office for John C. Wright – “More of the Same”
I note that Mr George RR Martin calls for a return to civility in the Sad Puppies debate (http://grrm.livejournal.com/440444.html). I welcome the idea and would not be displeased if the Puppykickers were men of such character as to be able to carry through with it. But I applaud the gesture….
They addicts of Social Justice seek forever to be outraged at some nonexistent injustice, so that they can paint themselves as martyrs and crusaders in a righteous cause, but without the inconvenience of suffering martyrdom or the travail of crusade which would accompany any fight against a real injustice.
One sign of Morlockery is to pen a missive asking one’s foes to abandon their arms and surrender in the name of compromise or civility or somesuch hogwash, while offering nothing, nothing whatsoever, in return, not even basic honesty.
Nor is Mr. Martin in a position to offer anything. Like the Sad Puppies, his side is a loose coalition of likeminded but independent members.
If he refrains from incivility, but his allies do not, I gain nothing by forswearing the use of such colorful terms as ‘Morlocks’ or accurate terms as ‘Christ-haters.’ If I wanted to be bland and inaccurate, I would adopt the flaccid language of political correctness.
And, by an entirely expected coincidence, during the same fortnight as Mr. Martin’s call for civility, we find other members of the SocJus movement busily not being civil or honest:
The surrealistic sensation of finding oneself subject to the two-minute hate for things one did not say by eager Witch-hunters (leveling silly, false and negligent accusations apparently in hopes of gaining a reputation for zealotry) is not one I would wish on any unstoical soul. In this week’s episode, we find that I call men bad names not because they betray my trust, ruin my favorite show, and seek to worm their sick doctrines into the minds of impressionable children, but because I do not like women befriending women. Who knew?
(10) Philip Sandifer – “Weird Kitties: Best Novel Open Thread”
So far, for my part, I’ve gotten through Seveneves, which I thought a good but not great Neal Stephenson novel, and am about a third of the way through The Vorrh, which is very much the sort of novel you’d expect Alan Moore to call “the current century’s first landmark work of fantasy and ranking amongst the best pieces ever written in that genre.” The latter will almost certainly make my ballot; the former could be knocked off without too much trouble. I’ll probably not get to The Shepherd’s Crown, since I’ve not read a Discworld novel in decades, but may well nominate it just because a Hugo ballot without it would just feel wrong somehow.
(11) The argument against reblogging entire posts:
Famous economist quotes 100 percent of my blog post. That's capitalism, right? http://t.co/o3p2cqRR2P
— Nick Mamatas (@NMamatas) September 5, 2015
[Thanks to Shao Ping, Mark, Steve Davidson and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]