Pixel Scroll 11/4/19 Sandworms On A Plane!

(1) SPINRAD KEEPS ON DIGGING THAT HOLE. Norman Spinrad seems to have decided the solution is to start making up his own facts, judging by his latest Facebook post “Blackballed? Or Worse Still, Not? Revisited and Even Worse”. For one thing — of course people read his review — at Asimov’s website.

…Somehow, fans in the audience, most of whom who could never have even read my review, likewise foaming at the mouth, got it into their ignorant peabrain heads that STATE OF THE ART was defending this evil racist facisist who had polluted the vital bodily fluids of science fiction before I was even born. After all, it is well known that Norman Spinrad is an old white male, needing only to be dead to complete their social fascist hat trick.

It got picked up on Twitter, which is really fake news, as even Donald Trump knows, I got trolled, or rather the magazine did. And it just so happened that Penny Press, which publishes both Analog and Asimov’,s also financially supported the Campbell award, which is now going to be called something else, ala the other Campbell award, and academic award for the year’s best novel.

As William Burroughs put it, enough to make an ambulance attendant puke.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there were enough people who understood the freedom of the press to get STATE OF THE ART back on the Asimov’s website. And I’m not dead yet, sorry about that, stay tuned, motherfuckers.

Then, in a comment, Spinrad lit into Jeannette Ng and jumped onto the Campbell-couldn’t-have-been-a-fascist train.

(2) THEORY AND PRACTICE. Ann Leckie commented on the recurring effort to place sf and fantasy in opposition. Thread starts here.

Before that, Leckie shared another theory:

(3) A WORD IN THE RIGHT PLACE. In “Africanfuturism Defined”, Nnedi Okorafor advocates for an alternative to Afrofuturism.

I started using the term Africanfuturism (a term I coined) because I felt… 

1. The term Afrofuturism had several definitions and some of the most prominent ones didn’t describe what I was doing.  

2. I was being called this word [an Afrofuturist] whether I agreed or not (no matter how much I publicly resisted it) and because most definitions were off, my work was therefore being read wrongly.  

3. I needed to regain control of how I was being defined…. 

(4) BACK TO WORK. 2019 Hugo-winning editor Navah Wolfe wasn’t on the sidelines for very long – Subterranean Press has hired her.

Subterranean Press announced that Hugo Award-winning editor Navah Wolfe will be acquiring and editing a number of novellas for the publisher to be released in 2021 and beyond.

“I’ve admired the work Subterranean Press has been doing for years, so it’s an honor to get to work with them to publish original fiction,” said Wolfe. “I’m really looking forward to publishing great novellas in Subterranean’s famously gorgeous editions.”

Managing editor and Chief Operating Officer Yanni Kuznia expressed excitement about this new editorial partnership. “Navah is one of the most exciting editors currently active in genre fiction, and I’m thrilled Subterranean has the opportunity to work directly with her.”

Wolfe parted ways with Saga Press a few weeks ago when they eliminated her position.

(5) IN OP-EDS TO COME. “We Shouldn’t Bother the Feral Scooters of Central Park” is the latest in the New York Times Op-Eds From the Future series. Author Janelle Shaneis an optics research scientist and the author of You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place. Contributors to this series Op-Eds that they imagine might be read 10, 50 or even 200 years from now.

We’ve been safely coexisting with the feral self-driving scooters for over a decade. They’re part of the cityscape now, the last remnants of the scooter craze of 2021, sky-blue scooters that cruise the streets in solitude or cluster around their charging stations on the edge of Central Park, rippling their rainbow LEDs and beeping occasionally.

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation recently announced a plan to lease the scooter charging spaces to vendors and is calling the feral scooters a menace. It’s true that the scooters have developed survival strategies that may not always prioritize the safety of their riders. But as a behavioral ecologist, I’m convinced that humans and scooters can adapt to each other and that removing the feral scooters from Central Park would be a mistake.

The feral scooters don’t want to harm humans — they’re not nearly intelligent enough to have such a goal (based on the specs I could find, their raw computing power is somewhere around the level of an earthworm’s). They are just another form of life trying to survive, and yet they aren’t life as we know it — they’re something much weirder and less understood. It would be a shame to let a brand-new form of life go extinct.

(6) STACKPOLE CLASS. Cat Rambo posted highlights of an online class: “21 Days To a Novel with Michael Stackpole”.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • November 4, 1977 — The Incredible Hulk series premiered on CBS. Starring starred Bill Bixby as Dr. David Bruce Banner and  Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk, it would run for five seasons and an additional five tv films. It was followed by The Incredible Hulk Returns filmwhich was intended to lead to a new series but that never happened.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born November 4, 1912 Wendayne Ackerman. Wife of Forrest J Ackerman in the Forties. After eight years of marriage, she and FJA divorced but remained friends and companions. Later she translated the German language Perry Rhodan books he acquired. In addition, he says that she coined the “sci-fi” term that he’s credited with being responsible for. (Died 1990.)
  • Born November 4, 1918 Art Carney. Yet another performer on The Star Wars Holiday Special, he playedTrader Saun Dann. Genre wise, he’s otherwise fairly light, showing in Ravagers, a post-nuclear holocaust film, Firestarter, The Muppets Take ManhattanThe Night They Saved Christmas and Last Action Hero. (Died 2003.)
  • Born November 4, 1930 Kate Reid. Dr. Ruth Leavitt on The Andromeda Strain.  Several years later, she’d be sort of typecast as Dr. Jessica Morgan, Director McNaughton Labs in Plague. Death Ship in which she plays Sylvia Morgan only sounds like typecasting. And I think her last genre appearance was on Friday the 13th: The Series as Lila Lita in the “Femme Fatale” episode. (Died 1993.)
  • Born November 4, 1950 Markie Post, 69. Her main genre role was voicing June Darby in the Transformers Prime series but she’s had a decent number of genre one-offs including The Incredible HulkBuck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Greatest American Hero, Fantasy Island, VR.5 and Ghost Whisperer
  • Born November 4, 1953 Kara Dalkey, 66. Writer of YA fiction and historical fantasy. She is a member of the Pre-Joycean Fellowship (which if memory serves me right includes both Emma Bull and Stephen Brust) and the Scribblies. Her works include The Sword of SagamoreSteel RoseLittle Sister and The Nightingale. And her Water trilogy blends together Atlantean and Arthurian mythologies. She’s been nominated for the Mythopoeic and Tiptree Awards.
  • Born November 4, 1953 Stephen Jones, 66. Editor, and that is putting quite mildly, as he went well over the century mark in edited anthologies quoted sometime ago. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror accounts for seventeen volumes by itself and The Mammoth Book of (Pick A Title) runs for at least another for another dozen. He also, no surprise, to me, has authored a number of horror reference works such as The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated HistoryBasil Copper: A Life in Books and H. P. Lovecraft in Britain. He also done hundreds of essays, con reports, obituaries and such showing up, well, just about everywhere.
  • Born November 4, 1955 Lani Tupu, 64. He’d be here just for being Crais and the voice of the Pilot on the Farscape series but he’s actually been in several other genre undertakings including the 1989 Punisher as Laccone, and  Gordon Standish in Robotropolis. He also roles in Tales of the South SeasTime Trax and The Lost World. All of which we can guess were filmed in Australia. Lastly, he appears in the Australian remake of the Mission: Impossible series which if you haven’t seen it is quite excellent. I just found it in DVD format sometime in the past year. 
  • Born November 4, 1960 John Vickery, 59. In Babylon 5, he played Neroon which is where I remember him from as he was a Right Bastard there.  His major Trek universe role was as Rusot, a member of Damar’s Cardassian resistance group, appearing in the DS9 episodes “The Changing Face of Evil”, “When It Rains…” and “Tacking Into the Wind”.  He also played a Betazoid in Next Gen’s “Night Terrors” and a Klingon in Enterprise‘s “Judgment” episode. 

(9) MARKED UP. Pirated Thoughts scores the rounds as “DC Comics Battles with Celebrity Chef Over “Super Hero Chefs” Restaurants”.

Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson finds himself is a trademark cook-off with DC Comics over the name of his new restaurants chain, “Superhero Chefs”.

Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson is known for winning the “Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge” hosted  on The Food Network and has also appeared on The “TODAY” Show, “The Rachael Ray Show,” and a whole bunch of other shows. Ferguson opened up three restaurants in Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky called “Superhero Chefs” and using the above logo. Ferguson filed the trademark in his own name and not a company that owns the restaurants, not a smart move because Superman and company came a knockin’….

(10) WHAT ABOUT THE MIDLIST. Publishers Weekly considers the focus on megasellers in “Is Publishing Too Top-Heavy?”

…Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy, during a discussion of the company’s second-quarter results, pointed to generating interest in midlist books as one of the biggest challenges facing all publishers.

Though the hits-driven nature of publishing has not changed in recent years, the nature of those hits has. Due to a number of coalescing factors—including a shrinking physical retail market and an increase in competing entertainment driven by the proliferation of streaming TV platforms—book publishing has watched as a handful of megaselling titles have begun to command an ever-larger share of its sales.

According to NPD BookScan, which tracks an estimated 80% of unit sales of print books, sales of the 100 bestselling adult titles increased 23% in 2018 compared to 2017. All other titles ranked below that top tier either fell or remained flat. On a 52-week rolling basis through Oct. 5, 2019, the sales of the top 100 books rose another 6% over the comparable 52-week period ending in 2018, while, again, all other sales levels either fared worse or stayed flat. Taken together, sales of the 100 bestselling print books rose nearly 30% over a period of about two years, while books that ranked between 101 and 10,000 saw their total print unit sales fall 16%. Books that ranked below 10,000 remained flat in the period.

(11) LOSS LEADER. The Hollywood Reporter says the latest Terminator movie is hemorrhaging red ink: “‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Puts Franchise on Ice, Faces $120M-Plus Loss”.

A storied Hollywood film franchise has been terminated — at least for the foreseeable future.

Terminator: Dark Fate bombed in its global box office debut over the weekend, grossing just $29 million in the U.S., well behind expectations.

Nor was its performance much better overseas, where it has earned $94.6 million to date, including a lackluster China launch of $28 million, for a global total of $123.6 million.

 (12) GIFS THEY LOVE. Entertainment Weekly calls these “The 25 best Star Wars GIFs in the galaxy”. (I won’t run a sample here because I’ve been told GIFs in the Scroll drive people to distraction.)

From Yoda to lightsabers to Force ghosts, the Star Wars films have given us so much pop culture goodness over the years.

The dialogue, the drama, and the unforgettable characters lend themselves quite well to Internet infamy, particularly in the form of GIFs.

(13) ADDING TO MT. TBR. Andrew Liptak’s November book list is now live on Polygon: “17 new science fiction and fantasy books to check out this November”. It includes —

Made Things by Adrian Tchaikovsky

I fell in love with Adrian Tchaikovsky’s space opera novel Children of Time, a phenomenal story about uplifted spiders deep in space. His next is a novella that’s a return to usual territory for him: fantasy. Made Things is set in Fountains Parish, a rough neighborhood where crime is rampant. Coppelia is a thief who has some extra help: some puppet-like “friends” that she’s made. They don’t entirely trust her, but they have a relationship that works. But a new discovery changes her entire world, and they all must reexamine how they understood the world, and save their city from disaster. Civilian Reader says that it’s an “excellent short fantasy novella, one that introduces us to a new world, with interesting magic and politics.”

(14) LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT STUN. Vanity Fair’s Mark Seal offers his version of an Icelandic saga: “The Big Bitcoin Heist” – a crime where you can’t “follow the money.”

…While he was sleeping, someone had broken into the data center and stolen 550 Bitcoin computers, along with motherboards, graphics cards, and power accessories—a haul worth $500,000 for the hardware alone. It was the fifth cryptocurrency data center in Iceland to be hit in two months. The total take: $2 million in tech gear.

But the true value of the computers was far greater. If the thieves knew how to operate them, the machines could be used to mine Bitcoins—an operation that would churn out a continuous stream of virtual money for the burglars, all of it encrypted and completely untraceable. The criminals weren’t robbing banks, or even Fort Knox. They were stealing the digital presses used to print money in the age of cryptocurrency.

(15) CRISP SALUTE. “Walkers bags Mariah Carey for full-throated Christmas ad” and The Drum listens in.

In the spot by AMV BBDO, Carey is seen belting out the timeless classic amid a stereotypical Christmas setting but things go off script when the star becomes embroiled in a tug of war with a hungry elf for the last bag of Walkers Pigs in Blankets on set.

(16) GALAXY QUEST MEMORIES. Nerdist interviews actor “Rainn Wilson on GALAXY QUEST’s 20th Anniversary”.

What was it like for a young actor in his first movie to be on the set with big stars?

RW: There’s a deleted scene with me and Tony Shalhoub in the engine room, and I knew the lines coming in, but it was my first movie. I had done a couple little things on camera before, but seeing all of those stars—Sigourney Weaver from Alien; Tim Allen, who was huge at the time; Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell, all of them—they were all standing behind me and I was so intimidated I couldn’t remember my lines. Maybe the first and last time I would do that.

And a really complex line like, “The iron capacitor and the valence protector don’t synchronize when rerouting the surveillance monitors,” or whatever I’m saying, I just couldn’t for the life of me get my lines out. It was humiliating. I kept fumbling. And I really was a theater actor, so I prided myself on knowing my lines and being able to come in and deliver. But I was sweating I was so nervous. And if you see it, if you watch the scene, you can kind of see on my face that I’m pretty intimidated and overwhelmed there. Watch it for the sheer terror on my face. Probably it fit the character.

[Thanks to Xtifr, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Liptak, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Puppies To The Right of Them, Puppies To the Left of Them 4/14

Today leaders of the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies react to a ruling by the Hugo administrator that one work from each of their slates is ineligible and has been dropped from the Hugo final ballot.

David Gerrold and Connie Willis say it will not be business as usual at the Hugo ceremony.  Larry Correia, John C. Wright and George R.R. Martin parry and riposte. Laura Mixon says send a message by voting her a Hugo.

Then, while “you missed the point” is a phrase oft resorted to in these arguments, Michael Stackpole eloquently describes the point he says Sad Puppies have missed.

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“John C. Wright work disqualified” – April 14

I think this is a serious mistake by Sasquan. Just as Dune and Ender’s Game served as precedents for a shorter work reworked and published as a longer one, which was the case with both “One Bright Star to Guide Them” and “Big Boys Don’t Cry”, John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War serves as precedent for a work that appeared on the web prior to being professionally published and subsequently declared eligible in the latter year.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Two Hugo final ballot changes, and a question” – April 14

I would like to take this opportunity (as the coordinator of the Sad Puppies 3 effort in 2015) to note that John C. Wright’s piece, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was not on the Sad Puppies 3 list. It appears this story was on the copycat Rabid Puppies alter-ego slate, being put forth by Vox Day.

Many people have been conflating the two slates (Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies) for the past ten days, and I think it’s important to make clear the fact that the two slates are different, while still being similar. I congratulate Thomas Olde Heuvelt, whose story “The Day The World Turned Upside Down” (from Lightspeed magazine) now takes a place on the 2015 Hugo final ballot. Good work, Thomas! And good luck!

One person who was on the Sad Puppies 3 ballot — Jon Eno [http://www.joneno.com/] — has been disqualified. I am sorry about that, Jon! I tried as best as I could to do my due diligence in researching the Hugo qualification rules, when I put you forward in that category. I think you’ve been doing a lot of very beautiful spec fic art, and I hope you continue to share your illustrations with all of us who follow you on Facebook.

Taking Jon’s place on the ballot is Kirk DouPonce, from the Rabid Puppies slate. Kirk’s been doing a bang-up excellent job with cover design, many examples of which can be seen at his site. Congratulations, Kirk! Terrific stuff, sir.

My question for the masses is: the year-to-year interpretations of the rules seem to occasionally be inconsistent. For example, John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War was indie published (to Scalzi’s web site) long before it was licensed by TOR for traditional publication, yet Old Man’s War was on the short list for Best Novel in 2006. Did anyone (at that time) ask for clarification? Seems to me if John C. Wright’s story can be bumped for prior web publication, this would have applied in Scalzi’s case too; unless the specific rules have changed since 2006.

 

 

David Gerrold post on Facebook – April 14

I had asked Connie Willis to present the Campbell award — she declined. Because she cannot pretend that this year’s awards are business as usual.

In fact, none of us can. And as the host of the award ceremony, I can’t either.

So, Brad, Larry, Vox — congratulations. You’ve spoiled the party. Not just mine, but everyone’s.

I waited nearly a half century to get here, and when I do get here, there’s ashes.

It hurts.

Not just me. Everyone.

And I don’t care how you dodge and weasel, how you rend your garments and play the victim game, how you pretend it’s everyone else’s fault — that’s bullshit. You’ve made it impossible to have a Hugo ceremony that is a joyous celebration of the best in our genre.

I haven’t figured out how we’ll manage the Hugo ceremony yet. I’m still soliciting advice from the smartest people I know — people with experience, regardless of their politics. Right now, mostly what I’m hearing back is, “I’m so sorry this has happened to you, you deserve better, but I know you’ll figure it out.” (Plus a few suggestions on what to do if this or that or the other happens.)

I do have some ideas. (One of which is, “You won’t like me when I’m angry.” But you don’t like me already, so why should I give in to anger?)

There is another way to go. It’s something I learned watching Harlan Ellison. Did I mention he’s one of my role models?

So I have a choice. I can pretend it’s business as usual —

It isn’t.

Or, I can recognize that I’ve been trusted with the microphone for a reason — that the committee thinks I know what I’m doing — and use that responsibility in a way that serves the Hugos, the Worldcon, and most of all the generations of fans, thousands and thousands and thousands, from all over the world, who still respect our traditions and our awards.

 

Connie Willis

“Why I Won’t Be A Presenter at the Hugo Awards This Year” – April 14

And finally, to Vox Day, Brad Torgeson, and their followers, I have this to say:

“You may have been able to cheat your way onto the ballot. (And don’t talk to me about how this isn’t against the rules–doing anything except nominating the works you personally liked best is cheating in my book.) You may even be able to bully and intimidate people into voting for you. But you can’t make me hand you the Hugo and say “Congratulations,” just as if you’d actually won it. And you can’t make me appear onstage and tell jokes and act like this year’s Hugo ceremony is business as usual and what you’ve done is okay. I’m not going to help you get away with this. I love the Hugo Awards too much.”

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“George R. R. Martin responds” – April 14

[Larry Correia] Okay. Then don’t accept our version. Go read reporter Damien Walter’s account in the Guardian about my sexist homophobic campaign to steal the Hugos last year. (by the way, how did he know about my nomination before it was announced?) Or go read his account in the Guardian where he libeled Toni Weisskopf. Or go read Entertainment Weekly, the Telegraph, Salon, Slate or the many other places where I’m a racist white guy from earlier this week.

Of course we tweak their words around to mock them, because bullies hate that.  You have to have fun with this stuff, or it’ll drive you nuts.

[GRR Martin] Take this “Wrongfan” moniker I now see popping up on Puppy sites. Neither I nor any of the other SMOFs or trufans or worldconners that I know have ever called you or your friends “wrongfans.” You guys made that up and applied it to yourself.

Damn right we did. I’m pretty sure I invented the word Wrongfun to describe how the perpetually outraged crowd on Twitter was perpetually offended that somebody somewhere was having fun wrong.

Let me give you an example of wrongfun. After my last letter to you went public I had three or four people concern trolling me on Twitter because I used the term “Twitter Lynch Mob” to describe a well-known type of behavior. They’re perched like falcons, waiting for somebody to transgress, so that they can swoop in and feel superior. If you use the wrong words, play the wrong games, read the wrong books, wear the wrong shirt, they’ll be there. These people are always looking for an excuse to shake their fingers at you for having fun wrong, hence the term, Wrongfun.

So when Teresa Nielsen Hayden (who somehow knew that SP3 had 3/5 of the best novel nominations before they were announced) started going off about us, and how we were outsiders, my people took Wrongfun and turned it into Wrongfan. I don’t recall who did that, but it was funny, and it made my people laugh, so it stuck.

Words are awesome like that. I do find it ironic that you don’t approve of my people making up words to describe the world as they see it, in the same sentence that you speak of SMOFs, Trufans, and Worldconners.

 

Kalimac on Kalimac’s Journal

“Hugonian Politics” – April 14

I think there are two courses of action here.

1) You can try to rewrite the rules to ban slates. I don’t think you will succeed. Slate advocates will find a way around the rules. Maginot line. The fathers of the U.S. Constitution thought they had eliminated political parties, and they were pretty smart guys, but in that respect they failed.

2) Or you can form a counter-slate. Many people are doing so, even among those who claim to oppose a counter-slate. They’re launching a campaign to vote for No Award. That doesn’t help them with next year’s nominations, but for the current election, No Award is their counter-slate candidate, whether they think of it as one or not.

 

Naomi Kritzer on Will Tell Stories For Food

“Vox Day’s involvement in the Sad Puppies Slate”  – April 13

So, hey. Obviously, whatever else the ELoE is, it’s an informal organization; it’s partly an in-joke and an amusing self-chosen nickname for a clique of friends. But here’s what I feel pretty confident about:

  1. This particular Evil League of Evil is Larry Correia, John C. Wright, Sarah Hoyt, and Vox Day. When Larry Correia talks about the ELoE, he doesn’t use the term like it’s a joke; he uses it as a straightforward shorthand for his clique. Vox Day is a member of the clique. In fact, the origination of the name for the clique came out of an indignant rejection of the idea that Wright might consider distancing himself from VD.
  2. Larry Correia said that the ELoE discussed and “came up with” the names and works on the SP slate.
  3. Larry Correia said that that VD “isn’t even on the slate” but I did not see anywhere that he said that VD had nothing to do with choosing the slate, and if he made that claim at this point, I guess I’d like him to unpack his previous statements about the ELoE’s involvement.

 

Michael Stackpole on Stormwolf.com

“Why Puppies Are Sad and Always Will Be” – April 14

To me, the oddest part about the Rabid Puppies and their lamenting that they don’t get awards is that they’re pointing to the wrong reason why they’re left out in the cold. It’s not because they’re an oppressed minority. It’s because they don’t write the kind of work that gets awards. The Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy awards have traditionally been handed out to new voices addressing new ways of telling stories, addressing new issues and new technology. When geographical bias is factored out of the awards, over and over again they go to works which are imaginative, well-written and, more often than not, of diminished popularity. After the fact they might become classics, but their more-likely fate is to go out of print despite having won an award.

I’ve been working in this field since 1988 (when my first two novels came out). I’ve never been short-listed for an award of any sort in the field. Why? Because I write series fiction. Because I write fantasy. Because I write military SF. Because I write franchise fiction. I’ve been just as solidly frozen out by the literary establishment as any of the puppies, but it doesn’t bother me.

Why not?

1) Awards don’t move the needle on sales.

2) I can’t eat awards.

3) Awards are not a referendum on quality of writing.

4) Awards reflect notoriety during a mote of time, neither conferring immortality nor success upon the recipients.

5) Readers who only read or respect award-winning authors and their work are outside my target demographic: that being people who want to read a rousing good tale that, maybe, will allow them to reflect on an issue or conundrum now and again.

 

Laura Mixon

“Standing in the Borderlands of Discourse” – April 13

I’ve spoken to an expert in the matter who has studied our case, who tells me that RH’s abuses (like Vox Day’s) are highly unlikely to stop by themselves, if she follows the trajectory of other people who act as she has. Over and over, for more than a decade, she has blown up communities by positioning herself as a victim and finding people to cover for her, who either feel they don’t have a right to criticize her, or are willing to overlook her behavior for the sake of other concerns.

That’s why I accepted the nomination, and why I continue to speak. The community is still at risk. A vote for me sends a clear signal that the community stands firm on this basic principle: that our politics can’t outweigh our humanity. That everyone has a fundamental right to be here, to engage in online and in-person discourse without being threatened with annihilation. We have to find a way—not to deny our own beliefs and experiences—but to talk across the divides.

I don’t have good answers for how we can help the center hold, but I do believe we need to rally as a community around a set of norms. A covenant of sorts. An agreement that, whatever the fractures in our community—whatever our disagreements—whatever personal circumstances brought us to this genre in the first place—at its heart, SFF has room for all of us.

 

John C. Wright in a comment on George R.R. Martin’s Not A Blog

Sir, you commented “John C. Wright SIX TIMES!!! John C. Wright, a writer famed far and wide for having no opinions on politics, race, religion, or sexual orientation, and would never dream of injecting such messages into his Damned Good Stories.”

I assume here you are being ironic, and stating that I do indeed put messages into my fiction.

However, we have worked together in the past. You edited the anthology SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH in which my short story, ‘Guyal the Curator’ appeared.

Were there or were there not pro-conservative messages in that story? You may not recall it, but I know you read it.

If, since you are an honest man, you will say that story had no overt political message in it, on what grounds do you assume I put overt political messages in my other stories?

In other words, you are accusing me of hypocrisy, I, who have never said a bad word about you in public or private to anyone, and who have always hitherto held you in the highest esteem. What is the factual basis for the accusation please?

If there is no factual basis, why make the accusation?

 

George R.R. Martin replying to John C. Wright’s comment on Not A Blog – April 14

Actually, I don’t recall “accusing” you of anything. I was pointing out that the Sad Puppy stance against “message fiction” rang kind of false when they nominate someone (six times) who has lots of “message” in his fiction. It would have been more honest for the Pups to say they don’t want liberal/ feminist/ “SJW” / socialist/ atheist/ etc messages in their stories, but they think conservative, libertarian, and Christian messages are just dandy.

Truth be told, I think there are messages in every story, whether the author intended to put them in there or not. The things we write are invariably colored by the ways we see the world.

At this date, I don’t recall the details of your story in SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH. I would need to review it. Yes, of course I read it. I bought it. I liked it. You knew your Vance, and captured the Dying Earth quite well.

Jack Vance himself was quite conservative, as you may or may not know, and grew even more so in the last years of his life. You can see it in some of his stories, though it requires careful reading; he never stopped a story for a lecture. Vance is only one of many conservative SF authors that I hold in high esteem. Actually, Vance is probably my favorite SF writer, and as a fantasist I rank him up there with Howard, Leiber, and Tolkien.

I also like Heinlein, Kipling, Niven & Pournelle, Lovecraft, Blish… I love Poul Anderson. That does not mean I believe there were no messages in their fiction. That also does not mean I agree with those messages. They wrote great stories.

What annoys me is the Sad Puppy stance that liberal writers are producing “message fiction” while guys on their ticket are just writing Ripping Good Yarns untroubled by politics or opinions.

 

Brad Templeton on Brad Ideas

“Second musings on the Hugo Awards and the fix”  – April 13

To deal with the current cheating and the promised cheating in 2016, the following are recommended.

  1. Downplay the 2015 Hugo Award, perhaps with sufficient fans supporting this that all categories (including untainted ones) have no award given.
  2. Conduct a parallel award under a new system, and fête it like the Hugos, though they would not use that name.
  3. Pass new proposed rules including a special rule for 2016
  4. If 2016’s award is also compromised, do the same. However, at the 2016 business meeting, ratify a short-term amendment proposed in 2015 declaring the alternate awards to be the Hugo awards if run under the new rules, and discarding the uncounted results of the 2016 Hugos conducted under the old system. Another amendment would permit winners of the 2015 alternate award to say they are Hugo winners.
  5. If the attackers gave up, and 2016’s awards run normally, do not ratify the emergency plan, and instead ratify the new system that is robust against attack for use in 2017.

 

Noah Ward on Sad Puppies

“Enemies of the Revolution Resort to Underhanded Tactics” – April 14

Some may believe that with the nominations announced, the hardest part of our campaign has already been accomplished and all that remains is to coast to victory, but recent events prove the need for continuing vigilance. The eligibility committee at Sasquan has today disqualified two of our works from the final ballot based upon minor technicalities! They did this even though last year they permitted the entirety of the Wheel of Time, the first volume of which was published when the Soviet Union was still a going concern, to be nominated, with free copies of the entire series distributed to voters. In so doing they severely undermined Larry Correia’s Warbound by admitting an entire series that attracted votes away from the Sad Puppies base of adventure-loving readers.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – April 14

Once again, I have to remind people that I have the name “Noah Ward” as a legally registered pseudonym with the WGAW.

People using that name are doing so without my authorization.

I’m not saying this to spoil anyone’s fun, but to protect my legal rights as well as to make sure that no one thinks I am behind the various “Noah Ward” pages and sites.

 

Heraldic Arms of the Hugo Justice Workers (c) 2015 by Moshe Feder

Heraldic Arms of the Hugo Justice Workers (c) 2015 by Moshe Feder

Heraldic Arms of the Hugo Justice Workers © 2015 Moshe Feder All Rights Reserved

Permission for reuse is granted to anyone fighting to restore and preserve the traditional fair play of the Hugo Awards and to send the Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy vandals back to their noisome kennels.

“I will fear no puppies.”

Night Shade Books’ Exit Plan

Night Shade Books, which has struggled for years, now proposes to sell its assets to Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing if its authors will sign off on a deal that might pay amounts currently due authors but dramatically reduces their prospective income from books under existing NSB contracts. SFWA has recommended acceptance.

Michael Stackpole has analyzed the offer in detail and is not inclined to agree:

NSB recently sent a letter to all of their authors announcing that they were in negotiations with Skyhorse Publishing to complete an “acquisition of assets.” In essence, Skyhorse would pick up all their assets, assume none of their liabilities, but would pay NSB a sum of money which, according to the letter, would pay off outstanding debts to authors. If such a sale cannot be completed, NSB states clearly that they’re broke, and that who knows what a Bankruptcy Court will do with author property in any settlement.

***

I understand that SFWA may be in favor of this settlement because it means that authors will get money. And the vision of books and rights languishing while a bankruptcy court is deciding what to do is horrifying. The reality there is that the books, as assets, could be scooped up by Skyhorse or anyone else at fire sale prices, with the authors getting none of the money they’re owed. At least, in that case, the new owner would be bound by the original terms of the contract, which are decidedly better than these.

The literary agent who writes as The Brillig Blogger thinks the offer lacks credibility:

So the first thing to notice is that the letter starts with a sentence that, um, nightshades the truth: “Night Shade Books has had a difficult time after the demise of Borders.”

Let’s be clear. For all the artistic contributions Night Shade has made to sf literature, it’s had problems paying royalties that go back five years. For those five years, they have repeatedly promised better things, adding new staff or new systems. I can’t call this opening sentence a lie, because Night Shade has certainly had a difficult time after the demise of Borders. But since Night Shade’s authors have have problems with royalties that long predate the final days of Borders, it is disingenuous.

Brilig also recommends a post at Staffers Book Review detailing “what went wrong” with Night Shade’s business practices.

[Thanks to James Bacon for the story.]