Pixel Scroll 9/23/19 But That Was Very Long Ago, And Oh, So Far Away

(1) A MATTER OF RESPECT. Edmund Schluessel has returned from Fantasticon 2019, in Copenhagen, Denmark with a burden: “I attended as a Special Guest this weekend in Copenhagen. There has been discussion within the Nordic countries’ fan community about the event’s poster and some other issues of insensitivity and I discuss those here.” — “Saints and people who do not think like us (Fantasticon 2019)”.

…Nisi [Shawl] was talking about altruism. They talked about being a saint. They talked about sacrifice, even putting yourself in harm’s way to protect someone who would do harm to you. 

The Chair gave an impromptu speech just afterward. The poster was excellent, he told us all, and complaints about it all came from “people who do not think like us.”

Then started the filk sing-a-long. Only quick action by an observant program participant kept the projector screen from telling the whole banquet room that we’d be singing along to the tune of “The Darkies’ Sunday School.” That quick action did not prevent the flippant reference to rape in the lyrics. “It was like something from the ’70s,” that quick intervenor said later.

Why am I amped up to 11 about all this? At a fundamental level, fandom is about storytelling. And something I’ve seen in every single fan community I’ve interacted with, going back something like 25 years now, is that the story fandom always tells best is when it’s telling itself “we are tolerant, we are open, we accept everyone.” Too often that story is a myth.

The Afrofuturist authors whose work and ideas this convention we’re supposed to be celebrating — if we won’t listen to their message, are they “people who do not think like us”? The convention members who saw something wrong with the poster, whether or not they could clearly articulate it — are they not part of “us”? Am I not part of “us”? You put my name on the damned poster!

(2) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Where do you go for a Javanese dinner? For Lisa Tuttle and interviewer Scott Edelman the answer was: Dublin. Join them in Episode 105 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Lisa Tuttle

My guest this time around is the award-winning writer Lisa Tuttle, who I caught up with one night after she was done with a 7:30 p.m. reading, which meant that by the time we began our meal it was a later than usual dinner (for me, at least). We hopped in a cab and took off for at Chameleon, an Indonesian restaurant I’d found via Eater’s list of 38 essential Dublin restaurants. The restaurant offers set menus from various regions, including Sumatra and Bali. We decided to go with Java, but added to that some pork bell bao, and the 10-hour Javanese anise short rib of beef, a signature dish of theirs which turned out to be my favorite thing eaten all weekend.

Lisa and I both had wonderful experiences 45 years ago at the 1974 Worldcon in Washington, D.C., me because it was my first Worldcon, she because of winning the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She’s accomplished a lot in the 4-1/2 decades since, including being awarded the 1982 Nebula for Best Short Story for “The Bone Flute.” She’s published seven short story collections, starting with A Nest of Nightmares in 1986 and most recently Objects in Dream in 2012, plus more than a dozen novels, the first of which was Windhaven (1981), written in collaboration with George R. R. Martin, who was my guest back in Episode 43. She was nominated for an Arthur C. Clarke award for her novel Lost Futures. She edited the pivotal anthology Skin of the Soul: New Horror Stories by Women (1990) as well as Crossing the Border: Tales of Erotic Ambiguity (1998).

We discussed the amusing series of mishaps which prevented her from learning she’d won the 1974 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best New Writer as early as she should have, the first thing Harlan Ellison ever said to her, how the all-male table of contents for a major horror anthology inspired her to edit her classic female horror anthology Skin of the Soul, the way emigrating from the U.S. to the UK affected her writing, why an editor said of one of her submitted novels, “I love this book, but I could no more publish it than I could jump out the window and fly,” how she and George R. R. Martin were able to collaborate early in their careers without killing each other, what she’d do if she were just starting out now as a writer, the reasons contemporary acknowledgements sections of novels should be shortened — and so much more.

(3) SPEED IS OF THE ESSENCE. He likes to get paid, too — “Chuck Yeager sues Airbus for writing ‘Yeager broke the sound barrier’” at Ars Technica.

In 2017, Airbus published a promotional article promoting an Airbus helicopter.

“Seventy years ago, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “We’re trying to break the cost barrier. It cannot be ‘speed at any cost.'”

The 96-year-old Yeager wasn’t happy. Last week, he filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that Airbus had infringed his rights by using his name without permission.

“By using Yeager’s name, identity, and likeness and federal registered trademarks in the infringing material, Airbus impaired the ability of General Yeager to receive his established earning potential,” Yeager’s lawyers wrote.

Yeager says that he visited Airbus in 2008 and told Airbus it would cost at least $1 million to use his name and likeness in promotional materials. Airbus refused his offer.

(4) VISUAL CONREPORT. Roberto Quaglia shares some great views in his video “Glimpses of an Irish Worldcon – Dublin 2019.”

(5) HARD SF. Here’s Rocket Stack Rank’s annual “Outstanding Hard Science Fiction of 2018” with 27 stories that were that were finalists for major SF/F awards, included in “year’s best” SF/F anthologies, or recommended by prolific reviewers in short fiction.

Included are some observations obtained from highlighting specific recommenders and pivoting the table by publication, author, awards, year’s best anthologies, and reviewers.

(6) NOT ALL TROLLS. “Neil Gaiman On The Good Kind of Trolls”  at Literary Hub is his introduction to The Complete and Original Norwegian Folk Tales of Asbjørnsen and Moe in which Gaiman discusses his love of Norway and Norwegian folklore.

You will meet youngest sons and foolish farmers, clever women and lost princesses, adventurers and fools, just as in any collection of folk stories from anywhere in Northern Europe. But the Norwegian Folktales come with trolls, and if Asbjørnsen and Moe did not see them, as Kittelsen did, then they got their stories from people who had, people who had seen the trolls walking in the mist at dawn.

(7) EMMY REMEMBRANCES. The 2019 Primetime Emmys included an Memoriam segment. Some of the names of genre interest: Jan-Michael Vincent, James Frawley, Ron Miller, Cameron Boyce, Rutger Hauer, Stan Lee, and Rip Torn.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • September 23, 1846 — Planet Neptune was discovered.
  • September 23, 1962 The Jetsons debuted its very first episode, “Rosey the Robot”. The series which was produced by Hanna-Barbera would run for three seasons.
  • September 23, 1968 Charly was released, starring Cliff Robertson and Claire Bloom. Based on “Flowers for Algernon” which is a sf short story and a novel by Daniel Keyes. The short story, written in 1958 and first published in the April 1959 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1960. The novel was published in 1966 and was joint winner of that year’s Nebula Award for Best Novel with Samuel R. Delany’s Babel-17

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 23, 1897 Walter Pidgeon. He’s mostly remembered for his role in the classic Forbidden Planet as Dr. Morbius, but he’s done some other genre work being in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea as Adm. Harriman Nelson, and in The Neptune Factor as Dr. Samuel Andrews. (Died 1984.)
  • Born September 23, 1908 Wilmar House Shiras. Her story “In Hiding” was submitted in 1948 to Astounding Science Fiction, where it was published. She published two sequels in the magazine: “Opening Doors”, and “New Foundations”. The three stories would become the first three chapters in the novel, Children of the Atom. Other than a handful of short fiction, I think it’s her only work. Neither iBooks or Kindle carry anything by her. (Died 1990.)
  • Born September 23, 1920 Richard Wilson. Not a writer of much genre fiction at all. His really major contribution to fandom and to Syracuse University where he worked as the director of the Syracuse University News Bureau was in successfully recruiting the donation of papers from many prominent science fiction writers to the Syracuse University’s George Arents Research Library.  The list of those writers includes Piers Anthony, Hal Clement, Keith Laumer, Larry Niven and Frederik Pohl. And, of course, himself. It has been called the “most important collection of science fiction manuscripts and papers in the world.” (Died 1987.)
  • Born September 23, 1944 Anne Randall, 75. She was Daphne, a servant girl in the original Westworld which if memory serves me correctly also had Yul Brynner in it. She’ll show also in Night Gallery  in the “Tell David” episode as Julie. 
  • Born September 23, 1956 Peter David, 63. Did you know that his first assignment for the Philadelphia Bulletin was covering Discon II? I’m reasonably sure the first thing I read by him was Legions of Fire, Book 1—The Long Night of Centauri Prime but he’s also done a number of comics I’ve read including runs of Captain Marvel , Wolverine and Young Justice.
  • Born September 23, 1959 Frank Cottrell-Boyce, 60. Definitely not here for his sequels to Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. (Horrors!) He is here for such writing endeavors as Goodbye Christopher Robin, his Doctor Who stories, “In the Forest of the Night” and “Smile”, both Twelfth Doctor affairs, and the animated Captain Star series in which he voiced Captain Jim Star. The series sounds like the absolute antithesis of classic Trek
  • Born September 23, 1963 Alexander Proyas, 56. Australian director, screenwriter, and producer. He’s best known for directing The Crow (which is superb), Dark City, I, Robot  (nor so superb) and Gods of Egypt. His first, shot in Australia of course, was Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds. It’s genre. Has anyone seen it? 
  • Born September 23, 1957 Rosalind Chao, 61. She was the recurring character of Keiko O’Brien with a total of twenty-seven appearances on Next Generation and  Deep Space Nine. In 2010, a preliminary casting memo for Next Gen from 1987 was published, revealing that Chao was originally considered for the part of Enterprise security chief Tasha Yar.

(10) BURNING COLD. The second official trailer for Frozen 2 dropped today.

(11) FLASH GORDON. Film School Rejects thinks this movie has lessons to teach today’s creators despite its reputation: “What Today’s Sci-Fi Should Learn from ‘Flash Gordon'”.

Take, for example, the 2017 flop Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Luc Besson’s film, which is itself based on comics originating in the 1960s, spends way too much time explaining stuff that never becomes relevant. The eponymous City of a Thousand Planets is a space station broken down into multiple districts, as the exposition explains, but the action of the film barely takes place in any of them.

Flash Gordon, meanwhile, understands that drama is built between characters and then focuses on them. Everyone in the movie, from Flash to Ming to Flash’s larger-than-life ally Prince Vultan, has their own distinct wants, and the story emerges from these characters interacting and trying to reconcile these wants. This movie gets at the humanity behind these characters, even if they happen to be aliens

(12) ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. Pursuing a thought experiment inspired by a list of 21st Century books, Peace Is My Middle Name started a hypothetical list of “100 best books of the Twentieth Century” as if it had been compiled in 1919. Their titles are in a comment and ought to have been mentioned yesterday, except the comment landed in the spam and wasn’t spotted for hours. Well worth your time.

(13) FOR YOUR EARS. Several episodes of a reading of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments are available for listening at the BBC.

In this brilliant and long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalised readers for decades. In The Testaments, set fifteen years after the events of her dystopian masterpiece, the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. Now the testimonies of three different women bring the story to a dramatic conclusion. Today we hear from the infamous Aunt Lydia, and Agnes, a young girl who has only known life in Gilead.

(14) NOT ARISTOTLE. “Euclid space telescope to study ‘dark Universe’ makes progress” – BBC has the story.

Europe’s space mission to uncover the secrets of the “dark Universe” has reached a key milestone.

The test model of the Euclid telescope has just emerged from a chamber where it was subjected to the kind of conditions experienced in orbit.

It was a critical moment for engineers because the successful trial confirms the observatory’s design is on track.

Euclid, due for launch in 2022, will map the cosmos for clues to the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

These phenomena appear to control the shape and expansion of the Universe but virtually nothing is known about them.

The €800m venture, led by the European Space Agency (Esa), will be one of a group of new experiments to come online in the next few years.

Scientists are hopeful these next-generation technologies will provide the insights that have so far eluded them.

(15) ATARI 2600. BBC fathoms “The mysterious origins of an uncrackable video game”.

With the digital equivalent of trowels and shovels, archaeologists are digging into the code of early video games to uncover long forgotten secrets that could have relevance today.

“You and your team of archaeologists have fallen into the ‘catacombs of the zombies’.” A miserable situation, to be sure. But this was the chilling trial that faced players of Entombed, an Atari 2600 game, according to the instruction manual.

The catacombs were an unforgiving place. A downward-scrolling, two-dimensional maze that players had to navigate expertly in order to evade the “clammy, deadly grip” of their zombie foes. An archaeologist’s nightmare.

Released in 1982, Entombed was far from a best-seller and today it’s largely forgotten. But recently, a computer scientist and a digital archaeologist decided to pull apart the game’s source code to investigate how it was made.

…Like intrepid explorers of catacombs, Aycock and Copplestone sought curious relics inside Entombed. But they got more than they bargained for: they found a mystery bit of code they couldn’t explain. It seems the logic behind it has been lost forever.

Into the labyrinth

Maze-navigating games were very common back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but the method used to generate a maze varied, depending on the programmer. In the age of Atari, games had to be designed with incredible skill because the computer systems that ran them were so limited. (Read more about the mind of a maze-builder.)

Although the blocky, two dimensional mazes from entombed might look simple by the standards of today’s computer graphics, in 1982 you couldn’t just design a set of mazes, store them in the game and later display them on-screen – there wasn’t enough memory on the game cartridges for something like that. In many cases, mazes were generated “procedurally” – in other words, the game created them randomly on the fly, so players never actually traversed the same maze twice.

But how do you do get a computer program to avoid churning out a useless maze with too many walls, or an otherwise impenetrable floorplan?

(16) SNOWPIERCER BACKSTORY. On September 24, Titan Comics will release Snowpiercer The Prequel: Part 1: Extinction, a brand-new prequel graphic novel set before the extinction incident that led to the events of the original Snowpiercer graphic novel trilogy. It’s written by Matz (Triggerman, The Assignment), with art by the original Snowpiercer graphic novel artist Jean-Marc Rochette, shown in this promotional video creating an iconic scene from the book.

[Thanks to bill, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Edmund Schluessel , Eric Wong, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH.]

Filers Destroy Pixel Scroll

Filers proved today there is no such thing as an innocent question….

Bonnie McDaniel http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417321

By the way, since this is National Poetry Month, are we having Scroll titles based on poems?

The other Nigel http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417341

T’was Brillig and the Pixel Scroll did gyre and gimble in the web

Soon Lee http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417342

Two Pixels diverged in a Scroll, and I
I took the one less traveled by,

rea http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417454

Whan that Aprille, with hise pixels soote,
The scroll of March hath perced to the roote . . .

Jack Lint http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417441

Scroll Season!
Pixel Season!

Kip W. http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417443

Come file with me and read my scroll
And we shall prove the pixels droll
That Hugos, books, shows, and things,
Fans and working writers brings.

And we will crawl about the Net
And hear of famous folk we’ve met
And if your joy be piqued to stroll
Come file with me and read my scroll.

Jack Lint http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417448

In the middle of the web in the land of Glyer
Lives a brave little pixel whom we all admire.

I’ll just stop here as I’m not even sure if Glyer and admire rhyme.

Steve Wright http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417452

A Glyer who bore, ‘mid snow and ice
A pixel with the scroll device
Excelsior!

Jim Henley http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417464

Downward to pixels on extended scrolls.
For the Scroll’s more full of pixels
Than you can understand.

The Scroll That Through the Vile Hive Drives the Pixel.
The scroll of pixels isn’t hard to master.
Pixel is Scroll; Scroll, Pixel. That
Is all ye file and all ye need to file.

The apparition of these pixels in the scroll:
Items in a vile, long File.
Before I’d build a pixel
I’d ask what I was scrolling in or out.

Stoic Cynic http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417470

@Mike Glyer
I can recognize a rhyme, it’s meter that always gets my goat

Well you know what they say:

Don’t do the rhyme if you can’t do the time….

Will R. http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417476

Oh Pixel, My Pixel (from the Dead Scrollers Society).

Stoic Cynic http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=1#comment-417481

I blame @Will R:

O PIXEL! my Pixel! our fearful trip is done;
The scroll has weathered every troll, the talk we sought is won;
The Hugo is near, Worldcon I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady File, the website bright and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where in ‘older posts’ my pixel lies,
Fallen cold, unread.

Greg Hullender http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=2#comment-417489

Pixels, pixels everywhere
And all the scrolls did link.
Pixels, pixels everywhere
Nor any pup to think.
(From “The Rime of the Ancient Filerscum.”

Stoic Cynic http://file770.com/?p=28284&cpage=2#comment-417508

Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
Where there’s a slate…

We want to vote the straight ticket today,
But Space Butt Raptor seems just so… outre’
We’re gonna gambit that gambit all day

Where there’s a slate, there’s a way!
Left, Right.
(LEFT?!? WHO LET THAT SJW IN HERE! SKIN HIM!!!) *clangs, shouts, singing resumes*
Where there’s a slate, there’s a way

Right, right.
Right, right.
Right, right.

With apologies to Rankin Bass

 

Peace Is My Middle Name http://file770.com/?p=22527&cpage=5#comment-262347:

This is last year’s, but still …

The Puppies is a slate, ma lads, for the Hugo Prize she’s bound,
And the quay it is aa garnished wi bonnie fanboyz round.
Captain Torgersen he orders tae vote the Puppies high,
He’ll fetch himself a Hugo, lads, or know the reason why.

Chorus

And it’s cheer up, ma lads, let yer hearts fill wi hate.
When the Sad and Rabid Puppies nab the Hugos for the slate.

Along the quays at Puppyheim the fanboys stand aroond,
Their angst all pulled aboot them and the salt tears rinnin doon.

Oh, don’t you weep, my bonnie Pups, though ye’ll be left behind.
For the Beale will pal wi’ Scalzi, before we change our mind.

Here’s a health tae the Son o’ Torger, likewise the John C. Wright,
Here’s a health tae the Monster Hunter, and the fans who fight the fight.

We wear the trenchcoats o the brown, an fedoras o the gray,
We’ll pack the slate wi Pups me lad, we cannae lose that way.

It’ll be bright baith day and night when the Puppy lads come hame,
Wi a load of Puppy Hugos, boys, and money tae oor name.

Like the ships all crushed in ice, me lads, while fishing for the whale,
We’ll try and try and try again until the Pups prevail.

Will the Last Puppy to Leave the Planet Please Shut Off the Sun? 5/14

aka The Puppy Who Sold the Moon

The field for today’s royal rumble includes John C. Wright, Eric Flint, Vox Day, Tom Knighton, Spacefaring Kitten, Wayne Borean, Lis Carey, Lisa J. Goldstein, T.C. McCarthy, Kevin Standlee, Alexandra Erin, Thomas A. Mays, Brandon Kempner, Rick Moen, Peace Is My Middle Name, Bruce Baugh and Damien G. Walter. (Title credit to File 770 contributing editors of the day Whym and Rev. Bob.)

John C. Wright

”Suggested Reading for Sad Puppy Backstory” – May 14

Some of you came in to this theater late, and did not catch the first act.

For those of you puzzled or dazed or disgusted with the goings-on, allow me to provide a partial (and admittedly partial) list of the backstory on Puppy Related Sadness.

From Larry Correia you can get links to his original announcements of Sad Puppies 1,2,and 3. Allow me, at the risk of seeming egomaniacal, of listing only my own contributions to the movement and the columns leading up to it.

[Post includes around a dozen selected links.]

 

Eric Flint

“And Again On The Hugo Awards” – May 14

[Again, just a small excerpt of a long and wide-ranging post.]

I think one side in this dispute is wrong—that’s the side championed by Brad and Larry. I think that, not because I think the Hugo awards don’t have a lot of problems—I do, and I explained those at length in my first essay—but because their analysis of the problem is so wrong as to be downright wrong-headed. But I don’t think they pose a mortal threat to social justice, western civilization, science fiction or even the Hugo awards themselves.

 Why did they launch this brawl and keep pursuing it? Well, I’ve always been a devotee of Napoleon’s dictum: “Never ascribe to malevolence what can be adequately explained by incompetence.” I don’t think there was anything involved except that, driven by the modern American right’s culture of victimization—they are always being persecuted; there’s a war on white men, a war on Christmas (no, worse! a war on Christians themselves!), blah blah blah—they jumped to the conclusion that the reason authors they like weren’t getting Hugo awards or even nominations was because of the Great Leftwing Conspiracy against the righteous led by unnamed Social Justice Warriors—presumably being shuttled around the country in their nefarious plots in black helicopters—and off they went.

If they’d simply said: “We think the Hugos have gotten too skewed against popular authors in favor of literary authors,” there’d have still been a pretty ferocious argument but it never would have reached this level of vituperation.

 But simply stating a problem wasn’t good enough for them. No, following the standard modern right-wing playbook, SOMEBODY MUST BE TO BLAME.

 Enter… the wicked SJWs! (Whoever the hell they are. They’re to blame, dammit.)

 

Vox Day at Vox Popoli

“Islands in a sea of rhetoric” – May 14

I stopped commenting at File 770 as it proved to be another exercise in demonstrating the truth of Aristotle’s dictum about those who cannot be instructed. Give them dialectic and they shamelessly attempt to pick it apart, some honestly, most dishonestly, while constantly declaring that any errors or falsehoods on their part are irrelevant. Give them rhetoric to meet them at their level and they either cry about it or concoct pseudo-dialectic to explain why it’s not valid.

VD: SJWs always lie. SJW: I told the truth once back in 2007. See, you’re totally wrong. Your whole argument is disproved. You are a bad person. DISQUALIFIED!

But the ongoing Hugo coverage still makes for interesting reading, particularly as the few remaining commenters possessing intellectual integrity one-by-one throw up their hands and stop trying to force the relevant facts through the SJW’s cast-iron skulls. A pair of neutrals recounted typical experiences, as one of them juxstaposed his treatment at various Puppy sites versus SF-SJW Central:

 

Tom Knighton

“One problem with the Hugos that will never be solved?” – May 14

I’m sorry, but less than 50 votes got nominations on the ballot?  With such low numbers getting a work nominated, you can tell that there just aren’t that many people nominating.  This puts the fate of the Hugos in the hands of a few, which makes it possible for small groups to have a disproportional impact on the overall Hugos.  Let’s be honest, it’s why Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies were so effective.  Put those exact same groups into a pool of millions, and you’d never notice their impact.

However, back to the subject at hand, you have a handful of people who are essentially deciding who gets nominated for the Hugos, and if they don’t read something, it’s not getting nominated.  What if that handful hasn’t read the Best Book Ever Written yet?  Well, guess who isn’t getting a Hugo nomination?

That’s what almost happened with Three Body Problem this year.  The Puppies just hadn’t read it yet, so it didn’t make either slate.  It’s probably happened a dozen times previously, it’s just that this time there’s far more scrutiny being paid to the process.

 

Spacefaring Kitten on Spacefaring, Extradimensional Happy Kittens

“Disagreeing With Brad” – May 14

Because I so thoroughly disagree with Sad Puppy advocates, I’ve been thinking about doing a fisking of some essential Puppy advocate post. Fisking is a thing Larry Correia does sometimes in his blog, and as far as I’ve been able to decipher, what it means is a mean-spirited rebuttal of everything somebody else has written elseweb, line by line. Generally, it seems to involve a great deal of calling other people morons and idiots, but I’ll try to do it without the nasty parts, because I have no desire to be nasty.

An opportunity presented itself when Brad R. Torgersen published a blog post earlier today. In it, he says a lot of things that I don’t agree on. That let’s us, well, disagree.

 

Wayne Borean on Zauberspiegel International

“Hugo Gernsback Still Causing Controversy” – May 15

The Hugo Awards have lost their relevance. You might argue with me about the date I picked (1985), or my view of the Hugos, but you cannot argue with me about the demographics of fandom. We are a bunch of grey haired old folks, and the younger generation isn’t rushing to sit at our feet in awe for some reason.

To fix the problem we have to expand the Hugo Awards, and encourage younger people to get involved.

Yes, I am aware that I’m probably going to really annoy a lot of people by saying this, but we brought this on ourselves. We’ve been too self centered, for far too long.

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“The Day the World Turned Upside Down, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (author), Lia Velt (translator)” – May 14

The story is competently written, but it’s the worst sort of “literary” fictions: Nothing needs to make any sense, and the protagonist is not someone I’m inclined to care about at all, for good or ill. I don’t care what happens to him.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Totaled” – May 14

I liked this story. I am not using “liked” as a euphemism for “reading this did not make me sick”. This story is a worthy Hugo nominee; the first story that has earned that description from amongst what I have so far read of this year nominees. Before I get into what is right with this story I should point out the a couple issues. This story is told through the juxtaposition of communications, but is recalled in near real time to the reader who does not exist in the story. The reader must carefully examine the types of communication; where it originates, how it is read, how the information is stored, even what type of images are implied by the mechanism of communication. However, when it comes to the story itself the reader is expected to unquestioningly act as an omnipotent recording device.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 9: Novelettes” – May 14

[“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart] is so slight, in fact, it could have been about half its size.  The first section, where Keller asks a Peshari artist to make him a tombstone and the artist refuses, might have been cut, and there are other unnecessary parts as well.  (The section gives us some important information about Keller and the Peshari, but that information could be presented in other ways.)  I actually like the idea of studying an enemy’s myths in order to defeat them, but I don’t think the story manages to use it to full advantage.

 

 

Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way of Life

“Fandom Is A Pot-Luck Dinner” – May 13

My metaphor is that Fandom is a Pot-Luck Dinner. We have lots of acquaintances, we all like to eat, and we decide to hold a big pot-luck dinner where we can share our favorite dishes and socialize. We have so many friends and friends-of-friends that none of us owns a barn big enough to hold everyone, so we have to rent the community center. None of us is wealthy enough to do that on our own, so we ask everyone coming to not only bring a dish, but also to kick in part of the cost of renting the hall, plus the tables, chairs, etc. We’re not running a restaurant, and we’re not making a profit, just covering the cost of putting on the event. Some of us volunteer to schlep tables and chairs, others volunteer to wash dishes, and so forth. Everyone brings something. That means some of the food is stuff I personally like, and other stuff I hate. But that’s okay: I eat what I like, and leave the rest for those who like green bean casserole.

Somewhere along the way, we got the idea of voting among ourselves for what the best dishes were. (“Best Appetizer,” “Best Main Course,” “Best Dessert”) And we started holding this big pot-luck in different places so as to share the fun with our far-away friends who couldn’t necessarily make the trip to Our Fair City.

Well, now we’ve got people who started coming to the pot-luck, paying the share of the hall rental, and are angry that we’ve been choosing things they personally hate to eat, and have decided that they want to knock over all of the tables with food they dislike and insist that the rest of us eat that stuff that they personally like, because they say so. It should not be a surprise to them that the rest of us start saying, “I don’t think we want to invite you anymore; you’re making the rest of us very uncomfortable by your anti-social behavior.” They respond with variations of, “I paid my cover charge to your restaurant, and you’re responsible for feeding me things that I like, and to not serve food I don’t like!” and they don’t understand why that response alternately baffles or infuriates the rest of us.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“The Barker and the Big Tent” – May 14

A pair of burly roustabouts flanked each of the gates. As Jake watched, a couple of people were roughly turned away from one. The bouncers’ faces were murderous, while the people they sent packing just looked scared. All the lines got shorter as people saw this and left in apparent disgust or, in some cases, fear.

“Well, lad, that’s where we let everyone in,” the barker said, then repeated, “Everyone is welcome in the Big Tent.” He cupped his hands over his mouth and shouted, “Come one, come all, to the Big Tent! If you believe that any show is a good show as long as it’s entertaining, this is the place for you!”

“So, who were those people, then?” Jake asked.

“Gatekeepers,” the barker said.

“No, I mean the people your gatekeepers turned away.”

Our gatekeepers?” the barker said. He let out a loud, raucous laugh, slapping his knee. “We don’t have gatekeepers, son! This is the Big Tent you’re talking about, and everyone’s welcome in the Big Tent! No, those nice gentlemen are there to keep the gatekeepers out.

 

Thomas A. Mays in a comment on File 770 – May 14

Just a point of order here. I am not “one of the gentlemen on the other side” as Chris Gerrib put it. I have no dog in this hunt. Chris has admitted that he originally had me confused with James May when he called me one of the louder voices on Brad Torgerson’s blog, but it brought him to my book, A Sword Into Darkness. Yeah, a sale!. I’m glad he enjoyed it somewhat, and as it was intended as an homage to some of the mil and hard SF I grew up with, I do understand his charge that it may seem “recycled” or “trope-ish” (though I and my fans don’t necessarily agree). What I don’t understand is why he keeps copying, spreading, or reposting this review around with the misleading intro. It’s a free ‘Net, so he can do as he pleases, but it seems to suggest he has more ideological axes to grind than I do. For the record, I’m a middle of the road guy and a newbie to this industry. I can see and appreciate both perspectives, but believe the rhetoric and vitriol folks keep injecting into the “discussion” may be actively preventing a fair resolution to the issues at hand rather than expediting that resolution. I myself would have loved to have gotten the recognition of being selected for a non-ideological Puppy slate before it all blew up. Now? I get how the anti-puppies feel about the recommendation slate perhaps skewing results, though I’m reserving judgment on whether or not it was bloc voting until after the ballots are revealed. I will not have any part of the No Award movement though, and I’m about halfway through my reading list. I’m looking forward to the Hugos, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Sad Puppies 4 responds to the criticisms of SP3. For all those who wanna check out my non-nominated, but much referred to novel A Sword Into Darkness, it’s for sale now on Amazon and Smashwords. Take care, Tom Mays

 

Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Hugo Award Nomination Ranges, 2006-2015, Part 4” – May 13

Maybe we don’t want to know how the sausage is made. The community is currently placing an enormous amount of weight on the Hugo ballot, but does it deserve such weight? One obvious “fix” is to bring far more voters into the process—lower the supporting membership cost, invite other cons to participate in the Hugo (if you invited some international cons, it could actually be a “World” process every year), add a long-list stage (first round selects 15 works, the next round reduces those 5, then the winner), etc. All of these are difficult to implement, and they would change the nature of the award (more voters = more mainstream/populist choices). Alternatively, you can restrict voting at the nominating stage to make it harder to “game,” either by limiting the number of nominees per ballot or through a more complex voting proposals.

 

Rick Moen in a comment on File 770 – May 13

Con Chair: What happen?
SMOF: Somebody set up us the tail.
Operator: We get spoor.
Con Chair: What!
SMOFr: Main piddle turn on.
Con Chair: It’s You!!
Dogs: How are you, fandom!! All your Hugo are belong to us. You are on the way to SJWdom.
Con Chair: What you say!!
Dogs: You have no chance to nominate make your time. Ha Ha Ha Ha ….
SMOF: Con Chair!!
Con Chair: Take off every “Noah”!! You know what you doing. Move “Noah”. For great justice.

 

Peace Is My Middle Name in a comment on File 770 – May 13

It was a dark and stormy mutt; the rage fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of whinge which swept up the streets (for it is in Spokane that our scene lies), rattling along the hotel-ballrooms, and fiercely agitating the skiffy flames of the fans that struggled against the darkness.

 

Bruce Baugh in a comment on File 770 – May 13

Toward the end of a stormy summer afternoon, with the sun finally breaking out under ragged black rain clouds, Castle Worldcon was overwhelmed and its population destroyed.

Until almost the last moment the factions among the fans were squabbling as to how Destiny properly should be met. The SMOFs of most prestige and account elected to ignore the en­tire undignified circumstance and went about their normal pursuits, with neither more nor less punctilio than usual. A few CHORFs, des­perate to the point of hysteria, took up weapons and prepared to resist the final assault. Others still, perhaps a quarter of the total population, waited passively, ready—almost happy—to expiate the sins of fandom.

In the end death came uniformly to all; and all extracted as much satisfaction in their dying as this essentially graceless process could afford. The letter hacks sat turning the pages of their beautiful zines, or discussing the qualities of a century-old essence, or fondling a fa­vorite Powers cover. They died without deigning to heed the fact. The hot-heads raced up the muddy slope which, outraging all normal rationality, loomed above the parapets of Worldcon. Most were buried under sliding rubble, but a few gained the ridge to blog, hack, tweet, until they themselves were shot, crushed by the half-alive power-wagons, hacked or stabbed. The contrite waited in the classic pos­ture of gafiation, on their knees, heads bowed, and perished, so they believed, by a process in which the Puppies were symbols and fannish sin the reality. In the end all were dead: letterhacks, actifen, faans in the lounges; dealers in the dealer rooms. Of all those who had inhabited Worldcon, only the media fans survived, creatures awkward, gauche and raucous, oblivious to pride and faith, more concerned with the wholeness of their hides than the dignity of their con.

 

Rick Moen in a comment on File 770 – May 13

No one would have believed in the first years of the twenty-first century that the SFF world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences stranger than fen’s and yet as demented as his own; that as fen busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a fan with a mimeograph machine might Letter of Comment about the transient mundanes that swarm and wander in a convention hotel lobby. With infinite complacency fen went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over genre. It is possible that the mundanes in the convention hotel do the same … Yet, across the gulf of the Internet, minds that are like unto our canines, intellects energetic and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this fandom with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. — Not Entirely H.G. Wells, Either