This is the guy who kept me in fandom 33 years ago
… but that’s another story. (Kees Van Toorn)
More pictures by Rich Lynch after the jump.Continue reading
This is the guy who kept me in fandom 33 years ago
… but that’s another story. (Kees Van Toorn)
More pictures by Rich Lynch after the jump.Continue reading
(1) DRAGON AWARDS FINALISTS NOTIFIED. This year the Dragon Awards administrators are asking for acceptances. Finalist K.C. Seville confirmed on Facebook, “They’re still notifying and letting people accept or decline.” Last year they started out refusing to let authors withdraw, then reversed that policy.
Finalists are not being asked to hold back the news until the release of the final ballot. Here are links to some of the announcements:
(2) KOWAL’S W76 PROGRAM UPDATE. Mary Robinette Kowal shared news about progress and the process in her “Worldcon 2018 Programming Update”.
With the challenges surrounding WorldCon 2018’s programming, I offered to bring in a small team to help reimagine the schedule. That team was chosen to address a range of identities, marginalizations, and key stakeholders. Together, we’ve spent the past 48 hours diving into this huge, complicated beast.
One note we would like to add here is that there was an enormous amount of good work done by the existing programming team. We are not diminishing or dismissing the errors that were made or the harm that was caused and we are focused on building a stronger program that addresses those concerns.
We have evaluated the existing programming into three categories: Keep, Repair, Replace.
- Keep is self-explanatory. We like them. Good job!
- Repair – The core idea was good, but the panel description, staffing, or title needed attention. Most of our effort was here.
- Replace – These are getting swapped out for another panel for a variety of reasons.
We have finished Repairing and Replacing.
Our next task is to contact the finalists and Guests of Honor to offer them first dibs on panels. We recognize that, while efforts were made by the committee to reach out to the finalists, communication was a major issue. We are working within the time constraints to make this as seamless a process as possible while ensuring we don’t accidentally miss anyone who should be included.
Team members who have chosen to be public are: John Picacio, Sarah Gailey, Jason Stevan Hill, Nibedita Sen, Alexandra Rowland, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Merc Rustad, Stacey Berg, Julia Rios, Ace Ratcliff, Derek Künsken, Jennifer Mace, Nilah Magruder, Alyshondra Meacham, K Tempest Bradford, Steven H Silver.
Kowal’s post emphasizes –
At 2:45 Central today, I have emailed the finalists. We’ve received a number of bouncebacks. We are working on getting in touch with these individuals but given the extreme time pressure we are operating under, we ask you to please get in touch with us. If you are part of a group nomination and think that one of your co-nominees may not have received this e-mail, please feel free to forward it to that nominee and let us know the nominee’s name and e-mail if you can.
If you are a finalist and did not receive an email with the subject line “[WorldCon76] Hugo finalist programming query”, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(3) RETURNED FROM THE FRONT. Rosemary Kirstein makes observations about the panelist purge at Readercon, and compares that controversy to the latest one about Worldcon 76 programming in “Two kerfuffles for the price of one”.
Well, the kerfuffle surrounding Readercon’s disinvitation sweep (AKA “geezer purge”) — as, um, interesting as it was — has now paled in comparison to the new kerfuffle surrounding WorldCon’s programming.
The interesting thing about them is that they seem to be flip-sides of the same general issue:
The geezer purge, while claiming to be about making room for more diversity, had the effect of targeting a specific group (elders), and thus apparently actively discriminating — going against Readercon’s explicit, written policy of inclusion.
While the Worldcon newbie snub favored the established writers over unknowns even when those new writers are among this year’s Hugo finalists. Yeah, that’s just nuts. They are Hugo finalists! People will want to see them, don’t ya think? And how exactly do you think people become established writers?
One seemed to say: You’re old, get out of the way! The other seemed to say: Never heard of you, don’t waste our time.
Well. Mistakes were made, as the saying goes.
(4) ACTION, REACTION, OVERREACTION. David Gerrold analyzes reactions to Worldcon 76 program and life problems in general:
…Examples: The conventions in the sixties had numerous panels about “the new wave.” In the seventies, there were numerous panels about “women in science fiction.” In the 90s, cons had panels about LGBT+ characters in SF. More recently, conventions have felt it necessary to have panels on diversity. These panels were usually well-intentioned efforts to expand the awareness of the audience that SF could do more than just nuts-and-bolts engineering — that the technology of consciousness is a science as well.
So where I sit — right now at my desk, staring into a giant glowing lightbulb with text on it — it seems to me that a) a well-intentioned convention committee will make a sincere effort to address the needs of as many attendees as possible, and b) kerfuffles are inevitable, because that’s what human beings (especially fans) are good at.
Because, bottom-line, we go to the con to have fun. If we want to be self-righteous, angry, and bitter, we stay home and fume about fannish injustices, real and imagined.
Now … before I sign off, let me repeat the disclaimer I began with. None of the above (with the exception of Milo Yiannopoulos and the Rabid Puppies) is meant to demean, diminish, or discredit any individual or group in the science fiction community. I believe that the issues raised about this year’s con-programming are legitimate and worthwhile. And the con-committee is making a sincere effort to address those issues.
I also believe that some people might have overreacted. Don’t take that personally. I think that almost every Worldcon squabble is tainted by overreaction. (Especially those I was personally involved in.) People make mistakes. Never ascribe to malice what can just as easily be explained by stupidity or ignorance.
Perhaps this is a fatal flaw in my character, but I like to believe that serious issues can be resolved without a firestorm of outrage — and in fact, it’s my experience that firestorms of outrage tend to get in the way of resolution, sometimes delaying all possibility of resolution until all the emotional fires have been exhausted. Rationality dies in fire, it’s found only in the ashes…..
(5) WHAT SHOULD WE TALK ABOUT? Hey, here’s four hours worth of programming ideas in this tweet alone –
There are three kinds of commas: required, used as the spirit moves you, and randomly laid down by writers with no ear for punctuation.
Ellipses: inherently evil?
Intrusive capitalization in epic fantasy novels.
Can you leave in an error if it's funny enough?
— tnielsenhayden (@tnielsenhayden) July 27, 2018
(6) UDOFF OBIT. It may have been his idea that resulted in the Adam West Batman series says The Hollywood Reporter: “Yale Udoff, ‘Bad Timing’ Screenwriter and ‘Batman’ TV Booster, Dies at 83”.
Udoff began his career at ABC in New York working with producers/executives Douglas Cramer, Edgar Scherick and Roone Arledge, and he is credited by some for coming up with the idea to transform the Batman comic books into a TV series in the 1960s.
“Udoff came in and said we ought to do Batman,” Scherick told author Bob Garcia in the 2016 book Batman: A Celebration of the Classic TV Series. “We threw him out of the office, but he persisted and we decided to look into it.”
Udoff wrote up a formal proposal for Scherick, who then took it to higher-ups at the network. “Suddenly, all these executives were flying back to New York from L.A. reading Batman comic books hidden in their Fortune magazines so that they could get an idea of what was happening,” Udoff says in the book. “Eventually it got on the air.”
Udoff also co-wrote the 1991 feature Eve of Destruction, a sci-fi thriller starring Gregory Hines, and penned episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (in 1967) and Tales From the Crypt (in 1992) and a 1974 ABC movie of the week, Hitchhike!, starring Cloris Leachman.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
(8) COMICS SECTION.
— Tom Gauld (@tomgauld) July 27, 2018
(9) MARTHA WELLS INTERVIEW. Amazing Stories scored an “Interview with Martha Wells, author of The Murderbot Diaries”. conducted by Veronica Scott.
Veronica for Amazing Stories: What were your major influences when writing the series?
Martha: Even though most of my work up to this point has been fantasy, I’ve always really loved reading SF too, particularly far-future space opera. One recent influence was Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice trilogy, which I think has been a big influence on stories and books about AI in the last few years.
Another influence was the SF I read while I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. Like Tanith Lee’s The Silver Metal Lover and Don’t Bite the Sun, and John Varley’s early stories. Also, though their books didn’t usually deal with AI or robots, the SF of Phyllis Gotlieb, like A Judgement of Dragons, about far future aliens coping with human technology, and F.M. Busby’s SF series with Zelde M’tanna and Rissa Kerguelen, which are about a massive rebellion against an oppressive corporate-controlled oligarchy that has taken over Earth and its colony planets and enslaved most of the population.
I’d also read/seen a lot of stories with AI who want to become human, like Data in ‘Star Trek: Next Generation’. I wanted to write about an AI that wasn’t interested in becoming human at all, and who wasn’t particularly interested in revenge against humans, either. An AI that just wanted to be left alone.
(10) HUGO AWARD BOOK CLUB. According to Olav Rokne, “After a fair amount of debate and argument, it seems Edmonton’s Hugo Award Book Club came to an impasse about which book they preferred for the Hugo this year. As a result, they’ve published two competing blog posts, one arguing that New York 2140 deserves to win, the other in favour of The Stone Sky.”
The Stone Sky is presented as “the most artful” of the shortlisted works: “The Stone Sky is the most artful book, and that’s why it deserves to win”
… the most ambitious of this year’s Hugo shortlisted novels, succeeds admirably. As such, it is the work that deserves to be recognized with the award….
While New York 2140 is argued as the most relevant book to today: “New York 2140 is the book that people need to read, and that is why it deserves to win”.
… not only the most worthy work on this year’s Hugo shortlist, but possibly the most important novel published last year: It forces us to ponder questions that humanity will have to — and is starting to — grapple with…
Says Rokne, “It might be noted that these are not entirely contradictory opinions …”
(11) WHO’S IN EPISODE IX? It’s official: “Star Wars: Episode IX Cast Announced”. Also, J.J. Abrams will direct, and John Williams will score.
Star Wars: Episode IX will begin filming at London’s Pinewood Studios on August 1, 2018….
Returning cast members include Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd. Joining the cast of Episode IX are Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell, who will be joined by veteran Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, and Billy Dee Williams, who will reprise his role as Lando Calrissian.
The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”
(12) THIEVES LIKE THEM. Gobsmacked or outraged, YOU decide!
Sweet Christ, what is even the point?! You can buy my ebooks for two bucks cheaper legitimately! WHY IS THIS A THING I DO NOT UNDERSTAND
— The Wombat Resists (@UrsulaV) July 27, 2018
(13) TEEN TITANS REVIEW. NPR’s Glen Weldon on “‘Teen Titans GO! To The Movies’: Joke! Gag! DC Films Aren’t Just For Mopes Anymore!”
Call it the Anti-Snyder Cut.
Let’s be clear: One silly animated film aimed squarely at kids won’t be enough to admit light and joy into the dour, dolorous and dun-colored DC Cinematic Universe.
(We’re not supposed to call it that anymore, by the way. The company announced last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con that we are to refer to it exclusively as [checks notes] the “Worlds of DC.”)
(You know: Like it’s a theme park.)
(Where it always rains.)
(And if you want to ride the rides, one or both of your parents must be named Martha, and they must be at least this dead.)
The animated film in question, Teen Titans GO! To The Movies, is, well … worlds apart from the bleak portentousness of Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League. It’s smaller in scope and brighter in tone. Also, it’s simply a feature-length version of a popular Cartoon Network series, albeit one boasting a bigger line-item for name voice-talent.
(14) CRUISE MISSION. NPR’s Chris Klimek says: “Spectacular Real-World Stunts Make Mission: Impossible – Fallout A Blast”.
In the opening moments of the 2.5-hour Mission: Impossible — Fallout, producer/stuntman/star Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt shares a tender moment with Julia Meade-Hunt (Michelle Monaghan), the woman for whom he tried to retire from the impossible mission business 12 years and three movies ago, and who’s rated only a silent cameo since. Our Man Hunt’s reverie is swiftly ended with the arrival of yet another soon-to-self-destruct assignment. This one comes in a hollowed-out book concealing an antique reel-to-reel tape recorder.
With those two elements, the the most enrapturing plainclothes action flick since the previous Mission: Impossible three years ago is calling its shot. They promise that Fallout shall 1) attend to the continuity of the six-film series in a way its predecessors seldom have, and 2) honor the longstanding Mission tradition of achieving its stunts and giving us our kicks the hard way. The analog way. The more dangerous and exponentially more exciting way.
(15) A DIFFERENT BREED OF KILLER SHARK. The BBC discovered “Sean Connery co-wrote a Bond film that was never made”.
James Bond has done some memorable things in his time, from dodging laser blasts on a space station to driving an invisible car across a glacier. One thing he hasn’t done, however, is deactivate a robot shark which is carrying an atom bomb through a Manhattan sewer. But he very nearly did. In 1976, a Bond screenplay revolved around a shoal of remote-controlled, nuclear-weaponised robo-sharks. Its title was Warhead. And one of its three screenwriters was none other than the original big-screen 007, Sean Connery.
(16) EARL GREY’S BICENTENNIAL MOMENT. James Artimus Owen admits everything about how he got his friends to believe they were drinking 200-year-old tea out of Boston harbor.
A confession: once while in Boston, I convinced some friends that SO MUCH tea had been dumped into the harbor during the infamous Tea Party that in certain places, at certain times of the year, you could scoop up water in a cup and it would taste like tea….
(17) POOH. Ads and featurettes from Disney promoting Christopher Robin.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Eric Franklin, Lise Andreasen, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]
(1) NEW DOCTOR WHO LOGO. Merchandise with the Thirteenth Doctor’s new logo is on sale starting today.
— BBC America (@BBCAMERICA) February 20, 2018
(2) MEDICAL MARVEL. Pat Cadigan reports some good news in her latest update: “I Have Cancer But Cancer Doesn’t Have Me”.
The level of cancer in my body has fallen again. The hormones I’m taking are still killing off cancer cells.
Today I saw a new members of my oncologist’s team. It was all I could do not to start dancing around her office. Although who knows—she might have danced with me. She looked amazed when she checked the results of my blood test.
On our way out, Chris and I ran into a few fellow-travellers who said they liked my lucky short—i.e., the one that says, I’m Making Cancer My Bitch. I love my lucky shirt.
(3) HEDGEHOG DAY. Daniel P. Dern has been keeping an eye on superhero TV and provided this update for the Scroll:
In last night’s Legends of Tomorrow (B-lister superheroes travelling through time and space to fix history hiccups usually using the Dr “House” method of first making things much much worse…) Season 3 Episode 11, ”Here I Go Again” — “Zari [not from our time period] finds her place on the team when she gets caught in a time loop that results in the Waverider blowing up over and over again.”
The fun part is that when she realizes what’s happening, she tries describing it, one of the from-our-time heroes says “OK, on the next cycle, find me and say, ‘Groundhog Day.'” (which, of course, on the first try, she instead says ‘Hedgehog Day.’)
(And another of the from-our-time heroes counters with a Star Trek time loop citation…)
Fun episode, marred only IMHO by (SPOILER ROT13ed) znxvat vg ghea bhg gb or n pbzchgre-vaqhprq plorefcnpr rkcrevrapr engure guna npghny Tebhaqubt Qnl ybbcvat. Cuhv.
(Just like bar bs gur yngre Beivyyr rcvfbqrf univat ~3/4 bs gur rcvfbqr erirnyrq gb or orra n “Jr’ir unq lbh va n ubybqrpx fpranevb sbe cflpubgurencl” znthssva, sru.)
Like one of the recent episodes of The Magicians (scrolled recently), it’s gratifying to see characters from our time period exhibit familiarity with sf pop culture enough to use them as information shortcuts.
(4) A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED. Robin Reid says, “I just finished John Kessel’s latest, Pride and Prometheus (Mary Bennett from Pride and Prejudice meets Victor Frankenstein and his Creature)” and recommends Liz Bourke’s review “Literary Fusion: Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel” at Tor.com.
There are three main points of view in Pride and Prometheus. The most interesting, by my lights, is Mary Bennett, younger sister of Elizabeth Bennett. Several years have passed since the end of Pride and Prejudice, and Mary has passed thirty years of age and is entering into spinsterhood. She has an interest in natural philosophy, especially fossils, and feels as though she should find a man to marry, but does not feel as though there is a man who will marry her. When she encounters Victor Frankenstein, a young man haunted by some secret of his past, she finds herself oddly compelled by his presence. Mary’s part of the narrative is told in the third person, unlike the other two narrators, who recount their parts of the story in the first person. This matches the approach of the original narratives.
(5) KEEP ON TRUCKING. Time to celebrate: “NASA’s Opportunity rover sees its 5,000th day on Mars”.
This weekend, NASA’s Opportunity rover spent its 5,000th day on Mars. While that is a feat in and of itself, it’s even more impressive when you consider that it was only planned to last 90 Martian days, or sols. Both Opportunity and its companion rover Spirit were launched towards Mars in 2003, landing on two different parts of the planet in January 2004. Neither were expected to make it through Mars’ harsh winter though, which lasts about twice as long as ours and is severely lacking in light, but NASA’s team discovered that pointing the rovers towards the north and towards the sun was enough to keep them powered through the winter. Further, making sure the rovers were on north-facing slopes each winter helped to keep them going for years longer than they were ever intended to function.
(6) HEROIC EFFORT. The Nielsen Haydens’ Making Light suffered a server problem and at the moment the latest post displayed is dated 2008. I wish them the best of luck and a complete return to the internet of all their text and comments.
FWIW, there appears to be a problem with the server that hosts @makinglight. Efforts to solve it are underway.
— P Nielsen Hayden (@pnh) February 18, 2018
(7) MORE GENRE FROM THE TOY FAIRE. See photos of toys hyped at the NYC Toy Fair at the link.
With new installments of Star Wars, Jurassic World, and the Avengers headed our way this summer, movie fans have plenty to cheer about. The same goes for toy lovers, who can look forward to action figures, play sets, board games, and other playthings based on 2018’s biggest blockbusters and hottest television shows. Yahoo Entertainment spent the past weekend at New York City’s annual festival for toys, Toy Fair, where we got to see both the new and retro movie- and TV-related toys that everyone will be talking about this year. Scroll through the gallery and start getting your holiday wish lists ready now.
They include —
Lego ‘Star Wars’ Kessel Run Millennium Falcon
It took Han Solo only 12 parsecs to make his famous run through the Kessel Mines. See if you can lap that record as you assemble this 1,414-piece Lego Millennium Falcon, which comes complete with laser turrets and a Dejarik board
Ultimate Co-Pilot Chewie
It’s the Star Wars answer to Teddy Ruxpin: an interactive Chewbacca doll who talks, uh, growls on command and can also be rocked to sleep or tickled into a laughing fit. Warning: Kids might have to compete with their parents for cuddle time with this adorable Wookiee.
(8) APES AT 50. Mark Kermode talks about the 50th anniversary of Planet of the Apes release and wonders if Star Wars will look as good at the same age.
“Of course,” says IanP, “Star Wars isn’t growing old as gracefully with all its repeated facelifts …”
(9) ALMOST ERASED. Vulture interviews “The Man Who Made Black Panther Cool”:
Christopher Priest broke the color barrier at Marvel and reinvented a classic character. Why was he nearly written out of comics history?
“I’m an asshole. I’m abrasive. I am so sure that I’m right about virtually everything. I can sing you an aria of reasons to not like me,” says comics writer Christopher Priest, his bass voice rising to the brink of anger but never quite tipping over. “Not liking me because I’m black is so juvenile and immature, because there’s many reasons to not like me.” He’s speaking, as he often does, about the racism — both overt and structural — that he’s faced in the comics industry over his 40-year career. But that set of attributes, seen from another angle, can apply to the reasons to like him, or at least admire him — he’s unwaveringly outspoken, endearingly opinionated, as well as a pioneer in the comics industry. He’s also likely the only comics writer to have taken breaks from his career at various times to toil as a musician, pastor, and bus driver.
(10) NEBULA TOOL. Now that the Nebula finalists are out, Rocket Stack Rank has prepared an annotated version with links to the stories (where possible), synopses, reviews, etc. — “2017 Annotated Nebula Award Finalists”
Greg Hullender explains, “By sorting the list according to how many different sources of recommendation each one got, we make it easier to see where the Nebulas are acknowledging broadly popular stories and where the SFWA members have a unique perspective.”
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
(13) COMICS SECTION.
(14) A LITTLE MISTAKE. If either of us had actually gone to a copyediting school, I’d wonder if RedWombat and I graduated from the same one:
Oh my god, that was a typo for the ages. My heroine's name is Slate and I somehow wrote "Stoats" which meant that at a critical moment at the climax of the book, weasels came out of nowhere.
— The Wombat Resists (@UrsulaV) February 18, 2018
(15) INTERNET VISUALIZED. Looking back: “The Father Of The Internet Sees His Invention Reflected Back Through A ‘Black Mirror'” contrasts idealistic inventor Vint Cerf with William Gibson’s what-will-really-happen.
While Cerf and his colleagues were busy inventing, the young aspiring science fiction writer William Gibson was looking for a place to set his first novel. Gibson was living in Seattle, and he had friends who worked in the budding tech industry. They told him about computers and the Internet, “and I was sitting with a yellow legal pad trying to come up with trippy names for a new arena in which science fiction could be staged.”
The name Gibson came up with: cyberspace. And for a guy who had never seen it, he did a great job describing it in that 1984 book, Neuromancer: “A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding.”
(16) GOODLIFE. The scum of the Earth has been around longer than they thought: “Origins of land plants pushed back in time”.
A seminal event in the Earth’s history – when plants appeared on land – may have happened 100 million years earlier than previously thought.
Land plants evolved from “pond scum” about 500 million years ago, according to new research.
These early moss-like plants greened the continents, creating habitats for land animals.
The study, based on analysing the genes of living plants, overturns theories based purely on fossil plant evidence.
“Land plants emerged on land half a billion years ago, tens of millions of years older than the fossil record alone suggests,” said study author, Dr Philip Donoghue of the department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.
(17) AFROFUTURISM. The Washington Post’s Sonia Rao, in the wake of Black Panther, gives an overview of Afrofuturism and discusses forthcoming Afrofuturist projects, including Janelle Monae’s new album Dirty Computer and a forthcoming TV production of Octavia Butler’s Dawn directed by Ava DuVernay.“The resurgence of Afrofuturism goes beyond ‘Black Panther,’ to Janelle Monáe, Jay-Z and more “.
Monáe released a trailer on Friday for “Dirty Computer,” a new album with an accompanying narrative film. The 30-second teaser, set to air ahead of some “Black Panther” showings, presents clips of a dystopian world set to guitar feedback and snapping fingers. Monáe’s co-star Tessa Thompson is abducted by a man dressed in military gear. We cut to the two embracing on a beach. Seconds later, Monáe lies on an examination table while someone strokes a mysterious tattoo on her arm.
“They drained us of our dirt, and all the things that made us special,” she narrates. “And then you were lost. Sleeping. And you didn’t remember anything at all.”
Monáe’s work has exhibited Afrofuturist influences for years — the Quietus, an online British magazine, proclaimed back in 2010 that she “brandishes the acetylene torch for radical Afrofuturism.” In her multi-album “Metropolis” saga, the singer’s alter ego, Cindi Mayweather, is a messianic android who was sent back in time to lead a protest movement against an oppressive regime.
(18) CORRECTING AN OMISSION. Yesterday’s Scroll quoted K. Tempest Bradford’s tweet contrasting her own fundraiser to JDA’s, but she didn’t get all the benefit from that she might have because the tweet didn’t link to her YouCaring page — “Send K. T. Bradford To Egypt! (For Research)”. She had reached $3,135 of her $5,000 goal, but earlier today a couple of large donations put her over the top. Congratulations!
For those of you coming over from File770: https://t.co/5qqi8e8Rgc
— K Tempest "#WakandaForever" Bradford (@tinytempest) February 20, 2018
(19) THE FRANCHISE. With six you get Sharknado – Bloody Disguting has the details:
Not surprisingly, Sharknado 6 is coming this Summer, and the first plot details, along with an early piece of poster art, have come to us out of EFM today.
In the sixth installment…
“All is lost, or is it? Fin unlocks the time-traveling power of the SHARKNADOS in order to save the world and resurrect his family. In his quest, Fin fights Nazis, dinosaurs, knights, and even takes a ride on Noah’s Ark. This time, it’s not how to stop the sharknados, it’s when.”
Tara Reid, Ian Ziering and Cassie Scerbo return.
Sharknado 6 will premiere on July 25, 2018.
(20) BIG BANG’S BILLIONAIRE GUEST. Supposedly Sheldon has already met him: “Bill Gates to Guest Star on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ — But Remember When He Punched Sheldon in the Face?!”
Bill Gates is headed to The Big Bang Theory!
ET has learned that Gates will be guest starring as himself in an upcoming March episode of the hit CBS comedy. The famed Microsoft founder will be stopping by Penny’s work and when this news reaches Sheldon, Leonard and the rest of our geektastic gang, the guys do everything in their power for a chance to meet him.
But here’s a Big Bang fun fact for you: Sheldon has actually already met the infamous tech billionaire on the CBS comedy and let’s just say their first interaction did not go very well. In fact, Gates punched Sheldon in the face!
(21) SUGGESTION BOX. Here’s a fan video proposing the way to begin Jodie Whittaker’s first episode as Doctor Who.
There are many great stories, but none as great as this. This is the story of the girl who fell from the stars. And this is how it begins… Without the Tardis and without hope, the Doctor is sent plummeting towards the planet below. The Doctor must come to terms with her new body quickly and escape her incoming demise. Here is a concept scene I’ve created for the upcoming debut episode for the Thirteenth Doctor! Just a bit of fun really but actually turned relatively believable. I have this theory in my mind that the Tardis would materialise underneath the Doctor as she’s falling and catches her. I’ve tried to imagine this as best as possible in this video!
[Thanks to Dave Langford, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, IanP, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Daniel P. Dern, Alan Baumler, Robin A. Reid, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]
(1) ANOTHER MASTERPIECE OF CONRUNNING. Mothership says Akiba Town, held this weekend in Singapore and which markets itself as a “Japanese culture event bringing in official anime merchandise along with fan artists and guest cosplayers” — was a mess: “S’pore-organised cosplay event riddled with multiple problems, slammed by cosplay community”. It changed venues a week before the event, allowed stolen artwork to be sold as official merchandise, oversold vendor space, and the list goes on….
If you guys are coming to AkibaTown, please use the Hall B entrance! We're straight ahead to the end from there ? pic.twitter.com/wIGAkci5MV
— Ana ? /recovering/ (@cattnib) August 4, 2017
(2) A STELLAR GATHERING IN SCANDINAVIA. Sff authors and editors outside The English Bookshop, Uppsala, Sweden:
— The English Bookshop (@bookshop_se) August 5, 2017
Front: Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Amal el-Mohtar, Likhain, Ann Leckie, Jo Walton, Fran Wilde, Vivian Shaw, Arkady Martine (Dr. AnnaLinden Weller), Patrick Nielsen Hayden.
Back: Amanda Downum, Max Gladstone, Ada Palmer, Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch.
(3) CANADA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY BUGS SOME PEOPLE. It’s one thing to have bats in your belfry – quite another to have a giant spider: “Ottawa archbishop surprised by negative reaction to robotic spider on cathedral”.
The spider, named Kumo, is one of two giant robots created by a street theater company of artists, technicians and performers based in Nantes, France. The company, La Machine, was in Ottawa July 27-30 as part of celebrations marking Canada’s 150th birthday.
The spectacle of robots, music and other special effects drew tens of thousands to Ottawa’s downtown.
The show opened July 27 in the evening, with Kumo “waking up” to organ music from inside the cathedral. As the spider, suspended from cranes, climbed off its perch between the towers, “snow” fell from above as part of the event’s special effects.
“I don’t understand how allowing a mechanical spider to stand on the cathedral is anything but disturbing, disappointing and even shameful,” wrote Diane Bartlett on the archbishop’s Facebook wall.
…Archbishop Terrence Prendergast said he was surprised by the negative reaction to an artistic initiative after critics called the spider’s placement “sacrilegious,” “demonic,” and “disrespectful” of a sacred space.
“My cathedral staff and I anticipated that some … might object, but thought it would be minimal, as nothing demeaning was intended in the spider being near the church,” said the archbishop in an email interview with Canadian Catholic News.
“I regret that we had not sufficiently understood that others would see this event so differently. I say to those who were shocked that I understand that this would have been upsetting for them and that I regret that a well-intentioned effort to cooperate in a celebration was anything but that for them.”
— Catholic News Svc (@CatholicNewsSvc) August 1, 2017
I came out to have a good time and I'm honestly feeling so attacked right now.
— Kumo the RoboSpider (@CathRoboSpider) August 2, 2017
(4) MY NAME IS…JACK. A nine-year-old “guardian of the galaxy” has applied to NASA for the Planetary Protection Officer job which was discussed here the other day.
— NASA (@NASA) August 4, 2017
(5) SUMMERTIME. At Galactic Journey, The Traveler says a Fritz Leiber story is the saving grace in a stinker issue of IF — “[August 6, 1962] Bookkends (September 1962 IF Worlds of Science Fiction)”.
So in this languorous time, about the only consistent pasttime I can enjoy, aside from my records, is the ever-growing pile of stf (scientifiction, natch) magazines. One of the ones I look forward to is IF, which, if it is not always stellar, usually has a few items of interest. This month, the September 1962 issue has a lot of lousy stories, and editor Pohl cunningly placed the best one in front so as to dull the impact of the sub-par stuff that follows. But the last tale is a fine reprise of the first, quality-wise. See if you agree:
A famous author and actor, Leiber’s works often approach sublimity. This is one of them, combining both beautiful prose and cutting edge science fiction….
(6) A TO Z. When yesterday’s Scroll said a website had picked an sf author for every letter of the alphabet – all male — Karl-Johan Norén immediately set about balancing the books with his own alphabetical list of 26 influential sf authors – all women:
A Eleanor Arnason
B Leigh Brackett
C C. J. Cherryh
D Pamela Dean
E Carol Emshwiller
F C.S. Friedman
G Mary Gentle
H Nalo Hopkinson
I Jean Ingelow
J Shirley Jackson
K Katharine Kerr
L Megan Lindholm
M Judith Merrill
N Andre Norton
O Octavia Butler
P Meredith Ann Pierce
Q Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
R Joanna Russ
S Mary Shelley
T James Tiptree, jr.
U Ursula K Le Guin
V Joan Vinge
W Kate Wilhelm
X Xia Jia
Y Jane Yolen
Z Marion Zimmer Bradley
(7) DISABLED HAVE GRIEVANCE WITH A LONDON COMICON. The Guardian reports “Young adult literature convention under fire over disabled facilities”.
Authors who appeared at the YALC young adult literature convention over the weekend, including Alex Wheatle and Joanne Harris, have spoken out about what they feel was a lack of disabled facilities at the event. Their complaints centre on the sequestering of one of two disabled toilets for the use of celebrities attending the associated Comicon festival on a lower floor.
Organisers of the event, tied to the London Film and Comic Convention (Comicon) at Olympia in London, were accused by one visitor of “ablism” after wheelchair users ended up squeezing into busy lifts and negotiating crowds to reach accessible toilets on the Comicon floor.
Actor and playwright Athena Stevens, who has cerebral palsy, described organiser Showmasters’ decision to rope off one of the facilities for famous figures attending Comicon – including Benedict Cumberbatch – as “ablist”….
Disabled charity Scope said that defining “reasonable” provision of toilet facilities was a grey area under the Disability Discrimination Act, but it did seem that Showmasters had shown a disregard for their disabled attendees over access to them.
Showmasters, however, denied claims that accessible facilities were unavailable on the same floor as the literary festival, which attracted 40,000 visitors, but acknowledged problems on Saturday. “There were two disabled toilets on that floor, and one was behind the green room wall,” he said. Overcrowding at lunchtime on Saturday had meant that wheelchair users were forced to use facilities on another floor, a spokesman conceded, but not for the whole weekend. Showrunners will consult disabled people to ensure there was no repetition of the problem, he added.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
(10) OH, SWEET SUMMER CHILD. Where’s the prestige in writing cheap books? The Guardian listens as “Philip Pullman leads writers condemning ‘pernicious’ book discounts”.
With more than two months to go before Philip Pullman’s long-awaited new novel from the world of His Dark Materials is published, pre-orders have sent La Belle Sauvage flying up bestseller lists. But with booksellers already slashing the cover price in half, the award-winning author has spoken out about how cheap books devalue the experience of reading, and called for an end to the “pernicious” doctrine of “market fundamentalism” if literary culture is to survive.
Pullman is president of the Society of Authors, which is launching a campaign for publishers to stop damaging authors’ earnings by discounting bulk sales to book clubs and supermarkets, and has slammed the cut-price culture in his trade.
“I don’t like it when I see my books sold cheaply,” Pullman said. “But I’d like to think I’m speaking on behalf of all authors who are caught in this trap. It’s easy to think that readers gain a great deal by being able to buy books cheaply. But if a price is unrealistically cheap, it can damage the author’s reputation (or brand, as we say now), and lead to the impression that books are a cheap commodity and reading is an experience that’s not worth very much.”
(11) A MISS IS AS GOOD AS A MILE. “That’s one small step for Tallinn…”: driverless bus service gets through first three days with “no major incidents”: “‘No major incidents’ as driverless buses launch in Estonia”
A pair of vehicles are operating on a route through the city as part of the Baltic state’s presidency of the European Union, and have so far managed not to collide with any other road users, national broadcaster ERR reports.
But there have been a number of near misses since the launch on Saturday, ERR says. An eyewitness reports that one of the buses failed to give way to a police car with its lights flashing on Monday; while an ERR photographer saw a bus ignore a red light at a pedestrian crossing, ploughing on regardless of the “surprise” it had provoked.
Despite no-one driving, local traffic law means that there still has to be a responsible person on board, meaning that all passengers are greeted by a host. They’ve been tasked with explaining the technology to passengers new to the world of autonomous vehicles, ERR says.
(12) AVOID BEING A STARVING ARTIST. Brad R. Torgersen’s seven items of writing advice in “Random crumbly bits of author stuff” end with —
7) So don’t quit your damned day job. Seriously. Do. Not. Quit. Your. Day. Job. It sucks trying to write full-time and work full-time. It sucks more not paying bills and being forced out of your house or your apartment. It sucks even more depending on the good will of your relatives, or your church, or government programs. If I had $10 for every embarrassed pauper author who proudly proclaimed, “I am a full-time writer, so fuck you,” and then (s)he went back to begging for lunch money, I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Starving artistry is not a holy calling. Really, it’s not. I know I am gonna get burned at the stake for saying it. But seriously, do not check out of the “mundane” work force. Not unless you’ve got a metric ton of dough in the bank, or you’ve got a spouse who eagerly volunteers to carry the mundane load — while you labor at the desk in the attic. But if you’ve got responsibilities to meet, and mouths to feed, please, meet them and feed them. As Steven Barnes said at Norwescon ’07, suffering for your art may be noble, but making your family suffer for your art, just means you’re an asshole.
(13) INHUMANS. In this“Marvel’s Inhumans” clip, Maximus and Medusa face off.
(14) YOUTUBE ARCHEOLOGY. Today I discovered there’s a whole subgenre of YouTube videos which take the musical intros to famous TV series and swap in visuals from Star Trek. I admire the effort, although they’re rarely funny. I found this one from 2008 to be somewhat amusing — it starts with the advantage that the original A-Team intro included a lot of self-referential humor.
[Thanks to Hampus Eckerman. John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
(1) EARTH ][. Or maybe Seveneves for Seven Brothers. “NASA Telescope Reveal Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star”
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.
The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.
“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”
(2) COMMON SENSES. Mary Robinette Kowal did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” today where someone asked her opinion of this writing advice —
“Include all five senses on every single page of your manuscript. That’s every 250 words.”
This is stupid. Yes, you should include all five senses, but at that pace, it becomes muddy. Plus your main character probably isn’t running around licking the walls.
When you’re there, check the schedule of upcoming AMA’s on the right-hand side of the page. An almost-relentless list of heavy hitters, including Yoon Ha Lee on March 30, Aliette de Bodard on April 25, and Gregory Benford on May 16.
(3) SF HALL OF FAME IS BACK. “Prepare to party like it’s 3001” may not scan very closely with Prince’s lyrics, but that’s how MoPOP is inviting people to attend the new Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame which opens March 4 in Seattle.
Join MoPOP for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Celebration honoring the Hall of Fame’s 20th anniversary.
- Featuring guests of honor: Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency); Wende Doohan, wife of the late James Doohan (Star Trek); Robyn Miller (Myst co-creator); and more
- Live performances by Roladex, DJ Kate (False Prophet), and the all-female Wonder Woman-loving marching band, Filthy FemCorps
- Trek Talk panel exploring Star Trek’s 50-year impact on pop culture, fandom, and geekery
- Hall of Fame spotlights on the mammoth Sky Church screen
- Costume parade, MovieCat trivia, gaming, and activities
- Stellar photo ops, themed food and drink specials, and beyond
Tickets include admission into MoPOP’s Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy: Worlds of Myth & Magic, Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds, and the new Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame gallery.
(4) TECHNOLOGY SHOULD NOT BE MUSHED UP. The future is not yet: UPS drone has glitches.
The delivery firm UPS has unveiled a drone-launching truck – but the event did not go completely to plan.
One aircraft failed to launch properly and was then nearly destroyed….
The Horsefly octacopter involved was made by Ohio-based Workhorse Group.
The initial test went well, with the aircraft launching from a platform built into the truck’s slide-open roof.
But a second attempt was more problematic.
The drone tipped over when it tried to take off, rocked back and was then nearly crushed when the truck’s roof began to close over the launch pad where the machine was still sitting.
(5) BUGS MR. RICO! This Saturday is the annual Insect Fear Film Festival at the University of Illinois here in Champaign-Urbanana (typo intentional). Jim Meadows explains:
The festival is put on by the university’s entomology department, using cheesy insect sf movies with bad science, to educate the public through reverse example.
This weekend, their guest is University of Illinois alumnus Paul Hertzberg, executive producer of the two movies being shown: “Caved In” (2006) (with nasty beetles, I think) and 2016’s “2 Lava 2 Lantua” (nasty tarantulas — a sequel to “Lavalantula” which was shown at the festival last year).
The SyFy cable channel and its commissioning of cheap TV movies, often involving bugs, has been a godsend to the Insect Fear Film Festival, giving it a fresh supply of insect sf movies to draw from.
(6) BRYANT’S WILD CARDS INTERVIEW. George R.R. Martin has online the video recorded at MidAmeriCon II of Ed Bryant talking about the Wild Cards series.
After we heard about Ed’s death, I contacted Tor to ask them if Ed had been one of the writers they had talked with in Kansas City. I am pleased to say he was, and we can now present his interview to you complete and uninterrupted.
All those who knew and loved him will, I hope, appreciate the opportunity to see and hear from Ed one last time… but I should warn you, there is a bittersweet quality to this tape, in light of what was coming. Sad to say, Ed never did finish that last Wild Cards story he was working on, nor any of the other tales that he hoped to write.
Sooner or later, all of us have to see The Jolson Story. Be that as it may, for one last time, I am honored to present my friend Edward Bryant…
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
(8) SPAM OF THE DAY. Daniel Dern tells the story —
I got this PR email (not unreasonably, since I’m a tech journo):
Subject: Feb. 2017: Marketing Tech Secrets Powering Unicorns
To which I replied: Why do I feel this is a Peter S Beagle / Cory Doctorow mashup novel?
(9) EXTRA CREDIT READING. Yes, I should mention The Escapist Bundle again.
You see, the eleven fantastic books in this bundle come from authors tied together by, among other accolades, their inclusion in a single volume of Fiction River, in this case a volume called Recycled Pulp. For those of you unfamiliar with Fiction River, it’s an original anthology series that Adventures Fantastic calls “one of the best and most exciting publications in the field today.”
With 22 volumes published so far, Recycled Pulp proves one of the most creative volumes. Inspired by the fantastic, escapist pulp fiction of the last century, the amazing authors in this volume were tasked with creating modern escapist fiction from nothing but a pulp-inspired title. The results were fantastic, indeed.
The initial titles in the Escapist Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
- Waking the Witch by Dayle A. Dermatis
- Hot Waters by Erica Lyon
- Recycled Pulp by Fiction River
- The Pale Waters by Kelly Washington
- Isabel’s Tears by Lisa Silverthorne
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of the regular titles, plus SIX more!
- A Death in Cumberland by Annie Reed
- Neither Here Nor There by Cat Rambo
- The Slots of Saturn by Dean Wesley Smith
- The War and After by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- Revolutionary Magic by Thomas K. Carpenter
- Tales of Possibilities by Rebecca M. Senese
This bundle is available for the next 22 days only.
(10) VIRGIN FIELD EPIDEMIC. Steven Brust thinks con crud has been around for awhile.
I godda code in my doze ad Bozkone. I may die ov zniffles.
— tnielsenhayden (@tnielsenhayden) February 22, 2017
Pfft. You think Boston is bad? How many people who attended the 1st Worldcon are still alive? Well? Well? @tnielsenhayden
— Steven Brust (@StevenBrust) February 22, 2017
Yes – that’s practically the Curse of King Tut’s Tomb.
(11) OH THE HUMANITY. “Two Huge Sci-Fi Novels Were Snubbed by the Nebula Awards” and Inverse contributor Ryan Britt is overwrought:
On Tuesday, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America released its nominees for the 2016 Nebula Awards and there were two glaring omissions in the category for Best Novel. Cixin Liu’s Death’s End and Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey. Does the nominating committee of the Nebulas have something against science fiction that everyone loves?
(12) STICK YOUR FINGERS IN YOUR EARS AND GO ‘LA LA LA’. Can Arrival win? Inverse skeptically takes “A Historical Look at Why Science Fiction Always Gets Screwed at the Oscars”.
1969’s 41st Academy Awards is a kind of patient zero for how respectable science fiction movies would be treated at the Oscars for the rest of time. The Academy had to acknowledge some good special effects and makeup, and at least give a shout-out to original writing. Science fiction received a pat on the head in 1969, but 2001: A Space Odyssey — maybe the best sci-fi movie ever made — didn’t even get nominated for Best Picture. And, like 1969, 2017’s intelligent sci-fi movie, Arrival, is pitted against an Oscar-bait favorite: the musical La La Land. In 1969, the musical Oliver! won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Score, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Art Direction. Clearly, the Academy prefers singing and dancing to thoughtful reflection on the meaning of existence.
Although when you put it in those terms, who doesn’t?
(13) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD SPACEMEN. Woody Harrelson has had a pretty good career, and will soon add to his resume an appearance in a spinoff from Star Wars. The first picture of the Han Solo film team was released the other day. (Westworld star Thandie Newton will also have a role in the film, though she is not in the photo.)
(14) BRUNCH. Not to be outdone, Twentieth Century Fox issued a photo of the Alien: Covenant cast. Unfortunately, they didn’t furnish a handy key telling who’s who. Maybe that’s less important because so many of these characters will probably get killed before the end of the movie? That’s what we expect to happen in an Alien movie, anyway.
— 20th Century Fox (@20thcenturyfox) February 21, 2017
(15) STAR CLICKIN’. ScreenRant found it easy to remember “17 WTF Things Captain Kirk Did”. Here are some of the subheads from the middle of the list. How many of them can you associate with the right episode or movie even before you look?
- Threatened To Spank a Planetary Leader
- Took Scotty To A Bordello To Cure His “Total Resentment Towards Women”
- Created the Khan Problem in the First Place
- Didn’t Tell Anyone Else He Knew They Weren’t Really “Marooned For All Eternity”
- Cheated on a Test — And Made It Really Obvious
- Pissed Off “God”
(16) PROPOSED WORLDCON 75 PANEL. It isn’t the joke, it’s how you tell it.
— Seanan McGuire (@seananmcguire) February 21, 2017
— Z???????a?????????n????????d??????????e????????r?? (@mmsword) February 21, 2017
The tale is stored here for posterity: https://t.co/t2oLIZdOHM
— Z???????a?????????n????????d??????????e????????r?? (@mmsword) February 22, 2017
The Rosetta Stone for deciphering this cryptic exchange is Ursula Vernon’s 2012 blog post “In Which I Win A Hugo And Fight Neil Gaiman For Free Nachos”.
…Pretty much the minute I handed the Hugo to Kevin and sat down, the fact that I was running on a mango smoothie and crabcakes hit me, and I wanted a cheeseburger or a steak or something RIGHT NOW. The Loser’s party had a small free nacho bar. It was very tight quarters, and I had to squeeze past a curly-haired man in a dark suit who was….ah.
“I shall dine out for years,” I said, “on the story of how I shoved Neil Gaiman aside to get to the free nachos.”
He grinned. “When you tell the story, in two or three years, as you’ve added to it, please have me on the floor weeping, covered in guacamole.”
“I think I can promise that,” I said.
(17) MEANWHILE, BACK IN 1992. Tom Hanks frames a clip of Ray Harryhausen receiving the Gordon E. Sawyer Award from Ray Bradbury at the Academy’s Scientific & Technical Awards.
[Thanks to Jim Meadows, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
Tor Books announced two new Associate Publishers, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Devi Pillai.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden is a 28-year veteran of Tor, a three-time Hugo winning editor, whose authors include John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow and Charlie Jane Anders.
Devi Pillai is credited with leading the US division of Orbit to its position as Tor’s fastest-growing competitor.
Tor Books publisher Tom Doherty commented in a press release:
I’ve watched Devi’s work with admiration for a long time now; her qualifications are outstanding, and she’ll be a great addition to our team. As we continue our 35-year commitment to adult SF and fantasy, Devi and Patrick will work alongside each other to oversee our numerous editors who work primarily in these twin genres.
In addition, Doherty has named Linda Quinton Publisher of Forge Books. Previously she was Associate Publisher and Vice President of marketing for Tor/Forge. Forge publishes many popular and bestselling authors, including William R. Forstchen, Eric Lustbader, Douglas Preston, Patrick Taylor and Bruce Cameron.
Doherty also said:
At a time when so many of our competitors are cutting back, consolidating imprints, and reducing staff, it’s wonderful to know that Macmillan enthusiastically supports our plan for growth.
We will shortly be announcing further additions and promotions within our editorial staff. Here’s to an amazing team that it’s my privilege to lead into a great future.
John Scalzi responded enthusiastically:
I am first hugely thrilled for Patrick, with whom I have worked for the entire length of my novel-writing career. Hugely thrilled but not in the least surprised. He’s been at Tor for nearly three decades and has had a very large role in making it the success it has been to date. He’s a natural hire here.
I’m also hugely thrilled for Devi Pillai, and for Tor that they have managed to convince her to join the team. She’s generally considered to be one of the smartest people in the field and she’s done fantastic work at Orbit, hands down. They couldn’t have picked better.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden confirmed his new title does not preclude continuing to work as an editor.
To answer a question from several people: Title aside, I’m not going to stop acquiring and editing books. Nor is @DeviPillai.
— P Nielsen Hayden (@pnh) July 26, 2016
And Teresa Nielsen Hayden elaborated in a comment on Scalzi’s post:
…“Publisher” is a standard job title in the industry. Tom Doherty is the publisher of Tor, Forge, Orbit and other lines, which is why they all say “TDA” somewhere on the cover — it stands for “Tom Doherty Associates.”
If a publishing company is a one-person operation, that person is the publisher.
Patrick is still an editor. He still acquires and edits books. Being an associate publisher means he also oversees other editors and operations, and has more executive/management responsibilities and more headaches.
In synch with the announcement, Charles Stross chimed in with news of his own —
— Charlie Stross (@cstross) July 26, 2016
[Thanks to snowcrash and ULTRAGOTHA for the story.]
(1) The Register is running a poll for the worst Doctor Who of all.
Was Colin Baker, dressed in his multi-coloured dreamcoat, simply taking a wrong turn on his way to a rehearsal for an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical – falling instead into some weird space-time continuum from which no audience member could escape?
Or maybe, just maybe, it was William Hartnell who ruined it for everyone with his curmudgeonly adventures on the TARDIS.
Although Peter Capaldi is not leading, he should be worried about his job security.
(2) I don’t think anyone is genuinely confused, however, Andrew Porter has worked out a scenario to show why people ought to be confused by the reappearance of a well-known pen name.
At Drop Dead Perfect we read,
“Idris Seabright is one demented dame. A 1950’s Florida gargoyle with a penchant for painting still lifes, no matter how her subjects must be stilled, she’s as handy with a hachet as a brush and as rich as she is ruthless. ‘Drop Dead Perfect,’ written by Erasmus Fenn and directed by Joe Brancato, finds Idris torn between her ingenuous ward who has artistic aspirations, a well-endowed Cuban ex-con who may be her nephew, and her pill-pushing lawyer. Idris and ‘Drop Dead Perfect’ are back after last year’s sold-out run for a strictly limited eight week engagement.”
Also, at Vanishing New York,
“Everett Quinton, former lead actor and artistic director of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, is famous for his cross-dressing performances, and he’s currently starring in one of the juiciest of his career with Drop Dead Perfect at the Theatre of St. Clements in Hell’s Kitchen. As Idris Seabright, a 1950s Key West housewife with artistic aspirations…”
“Drop Dead Perfect” is playing now through October 11 at Theater at St. Clements, 423 West 46th Street, NYC. Porter continues —
Except we know that “Iris Seabright” was a pseudonym used by science fiction author Margaret St. Clair, who died in 1995. Is it coincidence that St. Clair was from Maine, and this character is from the opposite place on the East Coast? I called the theater, and they were totally unaware of the previous use of the name.
For more about Margaret St. Clair see her Wikipedia entry.
(3) George R.R. Martin will make an appearance on Zombie Nation reports Entertainment Weekly.
Nothing is going to stop George R.R. Martin from finishing his Game of Thrones novels!
The bestselling author will have a cameo during the second season of Syfy’s post-apocalyptic thriller Z Nation playing himself as a zombie, EW has exclusively learned.
And as you can see from the photo above and the two others below, Martin is quite undead while signing his own books (and even tries to munch on one brainy copy). The title of Zombie Martin’s book is a fun tease — “A Promise of Spring,” which plays off A Dream of Spring — the expected title of his eventual seventh (and presumably conclusive) novel in his epic A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Currently Martin is working on Book 6, The Winds of Winter.
Declared Martin: “I just want to prove to my fans that even in the Zombie Apocalypse, the Song of Ice and Fire books will still come out!”
Martin will appear in the eighth epsiode of this year’s Z Nation, which returns to Syfy on Friday at 10 p.m. In the show, Martin has been imprisoned by a character called the Collector, who captures celebrity zombies and keeps George chained to a desk for his own nefarious purposes.
(4) DB in a comment on “One Alfie, Two Hugos” at Not A Blog —
I have a theory, or maybe a hypothesis, as to why there was no Best Novel Hugo in 1957. The International Fantasy Award, which was a juried award that was also shaped like a rocketship, was being presented at a banquet elsewhere in London the day after the Worldcon. It was an invitational event, not officially part of the Worldcon, but many Worldcon members attended.
My theory is that the Worldcon committee, knowing this, didn’t feel that a Best Novel Hugo was necessary. That would be an odd decision today, but remember that at that time the Hugos were not firmly established, they had much less prestige than the IFA, and awards were few and the overlap and duplication we’re used to today were unknown.
The book that received the IFA that year? Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
(5) Pip R. Lagenta invites you to come see a snippet of LASFS history on his website while you still can. He says Comcast is getting rid of personal webpages (like his) in October.
De Profundis is the club newsletter of The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. Around about May of 1988 the De Profundis newsletter contained its first, last and only Photo Supplement. This four page supplement is now, here, being republished for the first time (in any form) since the May, 1988, newsletter distribution.
I’m in there a couple of times. Which is either an incentive or a warning.
(6) Cedar Sanderson in “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.
(And to those complaining that it's in present tense ha ha ha I don't care and I can't fix it now, suckaz.)
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) July 17, 2015
When you confront your reader with, in the first paragraphs, sentences that don’t make sense, you are doing the worst thing to readers an author can do. Mislectorism. Betrayal. You’re showing your readers you hate them, and they will respond to it. “This particular ship has seen action: plasma scarring across the wings and tail fins; a crumpled dent in the front end as if it was kicked by an Imperial walker.” Look at that sentence. Consider that it is not alone. I don’t think I have ever seen as many colons in one passage in all the thirty-some years I have been reading. Nor have I seen this many sentence fragments in once place. I shudder to think of how many dashes and hyphens met their ends here. If I had to name this style I’d call it post-Modern chop suey, because everything is minced and mixed together until it resembles a dog’s breakfast.
Snowcrash in a comment on “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.
I think the issue may be somewhat overstated – the Amazon reviews broadly break down into 4 areas – people unhappy that an ebook is priced at so high (USD 17?); people sad to have lost the Expanded Universe; people taking umbrage at the existence of a gay protagonist; and people who take issue with the writing. Down-rating the book for the first 3 seems a bit immature to me, but hey, whatever they want in the cut-throat world of Amazon…
Personally, given it’s sales figures, it seems to be doing fine so far. Let’s see if it has legs though.
Amanda S. Green in a comment on “A Dog’s Breakfast” at Mad Genius Club.
Very broadly break down into that. I’ve taken the time to read the reviews not only on Amazon but on B&N as well. Let’s look at the B&N reviews to start. There are 17 reviews there for a 3.5 star cumulative review. 6 of those 17 reviews are 5 stars. However, and this is a big however, of those 6 reviews 4 are one line back and forth comments between reviewers that have nothing to do with the book. Another has no comment at all. So let’s toss them out. The final five star review is a true review by someone who liked the book. The rest of the reviews deal with the plot or writing style. One review, one of the more supportive ones, does say that the inclusion of a gay character felt forced. Over all, the complaint, even among those giving good reviews, was that the writing was not at the level it should be and that Wendig did not appear to love the universe he was writing in.
If you look closely at the Amazon reviews, you see much the same thing. Yes, there are those upset with the fact the EU was tossed out. But most of the reviews concern the writing style or the story structure. Sure, there are a few who object to having a gay lead character, there always will be someone who doesn’t approve of something. But the overall message is that the book is poorly written.
The key thing here is to look at the author’s behavior and how he is alienating a fan base. He has basically called all those who don’t like his work homophobes simply because they don’t like his work. That is not a way to win friends or influence people, at least not in a good way.
As for the sales figures, eh. We haven’t seen the returns yet and we probably never will. As for his Amazon rankings, those don’t always equate into huge sales. The best sellers lists such as the NYT one are based on pre-orders and then continued orders. As you said, we will have to see if it has legs and, judging from the reviews, I’m not sure it will.
(7) Teresa Nielsen Hayden now denies the episode happened. Brust says that’s not what he was asking about, but that’s irrelevant for purposes of this history.
— tnielsenhayden (@tnielsenhayden) September 12, 2015
— tnielsenhayden (@tnielsenhayden) September 12, 2015
(8) He said it, not me…
OH THANK GOD, ANOTHER REASON TO KEEP TALKING ABOUT THE HUGOS.
— Jared (@straycarnivore) September 11, 2015
(9) Oops. Somebody poked a hibernating bear. Part of “Today’s Twitter Rant, 9/12/15” which goes on at length on Whatever.
I don't need a fucking "Web of Trust" to be a science fiction and fantasy fan. I don't need a fucking gatekeeper. I'm a fan because I am.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) September 12, 2015
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Pip R. Lagenta, both Marks, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]
(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.]
(2) Eric Flint – “Do We Really Have To Keep Feeding Stupid And His Cousin Ignoramus?”
So. Let me establish some Basic Facts:
Fact One. There is no grandiose, over-arching SJW conspiracy to deny right-thinking conservative authors their just due when it comes to awards. It does not exist. It has never existed. It is nothing but the fevered dreams which afflict some puppies in their sleep.
It is preposterous—there is no other word for it—to claim that there is some sort of systematic bias against conservatives in F&SF in the same year (2015) that the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America bestowed the title of Grand Master on Larry Niven and the liberal literary magazine the New Yorker ran a very laudatory article on the author Gene Wolfe.
Fact Two. There is no reflexive reactionary movement to drag F&SF kicking and screaming back into the Dark Ages when all protagonists had to be white and male (and preferably either engineers or military chaps). The very same people who piss and moan about diversity-for-the-sake-of-it litter their own novels with exactly the same kind of diversity they deplore when their opponents do it.
Yeah, I know they’ll deny it. “The story always comes first!” But the fact is that there is no compelling plot function to Ringo’s inclusion of the gay couple in Under a Graveyard Sky. So why did he put them in the novel? The answer is that, like any good writer—and whatever my (many) political disagreements with John, he’s a damn good writer—he tries to embed his stories into the world he created for them. The world of Black Tide Rising is the modern world, and his novels reflect that—as they should.
And I defy anyone with a single honest bone in their body—just one; even a pinkie bone—to read his depiction of that gay couple and tell the world afterward that he’s a homophobe. Which is not to say, mind you, that John and I would agree on any number of issues that come up around the question of LGBT rights. But that’s a separate matter.
There are real disagreements and divisions lying at the heart of the Recent Unpleasantness. But I wish to hell people would dump the stupid stereotypes so we could get on with a serious discussion and debate.
Fact Three. Yes, there is a problem with the Hugo awards, but that problem can be depicted in purely objective terms without requiring anyone to impute any malign motives to anyone else. In a nutshell, the awards have been slowly drifting away from the opinions and tastes of the mass audience, to the point where there is today almost a complete separation between the two. This stands in sharp contrast to the situation several decades ago, when the two overlapped to a great extent. For any number of reasons, this poses problems for the awards themselves. The Hugos are becoming increasingly self-referential, by which I mean they affect and influence no one except the people who participate directly in the process.
That said, however, as I spent a lot of time in my first essay analyzing—see “Some comments on the Hugos and other SF awards”—the causes of the problem are complex and mostly objective in nature. There is no easy fix to the problem. There is certainly no quick fix. Most of all, there is no one to blame—and trying to find culprits and thwart the rascals does nothing except make the problem worse.
(3) More backstory on the Lamplighter/Nielsen Hayden encounter.
@avram Lamplighter had been sending Patrick emails that he'd been prudently ignoring. She was trying to talk about their contents.
— tnielsenhayden (@tnielsenhayden) August 24, 2015
(4) John ONeill in a comment to Jeffro Johnson on Black Gate
> Please tell me more about this cost to peoples’ careers and reputations.
> I can see in the context that you think it should be glaringly obvious, but it isn’t clear to me.
There are multiple aspects to it, obviously, but let me dwell on those that seemed instantly obvious back in April.
First, don’t piss off your audience. As I’ve said many times, the Hugo electorate don’t like to be dictated to. Their response to the Puppy ballot was entirely predictable — they were going to (fairly or unfairly) reject the whole thing out of hand. It didn’t take any great insight to see that, even back in April.
When it happened to us, the temptation was strong to accept the nomination anyway, and then spend the next four months lobbying for a fair shake. But that’s a fool’s game, because almost no one is paying attention… and anyway, most voters made up their mind the instant they heard about the slate. There was just no way we were going to be able to reach the bulk of voters.
Accepting the nomination, and becoming part of the Puppy slate, meant we were going to get spanked, and hard. The Hugo electorate was pissed off, and there was nothing we could say to them that would mitigate that.
Now, plenty of Puppies tried — and tried hard — to make their case in the intervening four months. I paid attention, and I thought several did a great job. So much so that, just as I said in my Sunday article, I began to doubt my initial prediction, and believed that a compelling majority of Hugo voters would give the Puppies a fair shake, and vote on the merits.
Nope. In the end, nothing we nominees said made any difference. The Hugo electorate spanked the Puppies, and hard, for the crime of being a slate, and threatening the integrity of the awards.
So, now that it’s over, how has being a losing Puppy nominee damaged reputations and careers?
The answer is twofold. One, you’re a loser. You lost out to “No Award.” That’s only happened 10 times in Hugo history… and half of them were on Sunday.
Second, rightly or wrongly, the nominees are branded as Puppies, and right now that’s a losing brand. It may not be a losing brand forever, but from the looks of the Hugo voting, it sure ain’t a brand that the majority of Hugo voters look kindly on.
There are things the nominees can do, of course — continue to produce good work. continue to network, and continue to make their case.
But I think the evidence of the past four months is pretty compelling: no one is listening. You were part of a slate that was loudly and very successfully repudiated by fandom, and that’s all they need to know to form a negative opinion.
(5) Vox Day on Vox Popoli
[Warning about insults of GRRM in post title and content]
It’s amusing how the SJWs in science fiction are claiming five awardless categories as a win while simultaneously trying to figure out how to prevent it from happening again next year. And, Martin demonstrates the truth of the observation SJWs Always Lie, as he tells a whopper about Toni Weisskopf when he claims she would “almost certainly have been nominated anyway, even if there had been no slates”. The fact is Toni Weisskopf never even came CLOSE to being nominated prior to Sad Puppies 1. In 2012, she finished in 14th place. In 2011, 10th. In 2010, 11th. She wasn’t even trending in the right direction! Without the Puppies, she would never, ever, have received a nomination and the data shows that the 2015 Long Form nominees would have been virtually identical to the pre-Puppy years, including the aforementioned Liz Gorinsky, Beth Meacham, to say nothing of the Torlock who lobbied for the creation the award so he and his fellow Tor editors could finally win something, Patrick Nielsen Hayden.
(6) Tasha Robinson on NPR – “How The Sad Puppies Won – By Losing”
As The Guardian put it in a triumphant post-awards headline, “Diversity wins as the Sad Puppies lose at the Hugo awards.”
Unfortunately, that isn’t true. The Puppy bloc — estimated as about 19 percent of the overall voters, according to a Chaos Horizon vote analysis — didn’t win any Hugos. But it did win the day. The group successfully prevented a wide variety of other content from making it to the finalist list. Sites like io9 have examined the initial Hugo nominees voting and assembled an alternate ballot, showing the top vote recipients, which would have been finalists in a Puppy-free year. They include strong Short Story candidates like Ursula Vernon’s “Jackalope Wives” and Amal El-Mohtar’s “The Truth About Owls.” A year where No Award beat out eligible, worthy material is hard to count as a victory.
And the Puppies didn’t just dominate the finalist slate, they dominated the conversation for the entire convention. They forced everyone at WorldCon to acknowledge them and their agenda, and to take sides in the conflict or work around them. They turned the 2015 Hugos into an openly cynical referendum not about which works were best, but about whose politics and tactics were best. Any vote-based system can be seen as a popularity contest and a tactical war, but the Puppies made this year’s Hugos about those things and nothing else.
They got their noses rapped at the awards ceremony. But losing an awards statue isn’t the same as losing the conversation.And they did so in the most openly derisive manner possible. Puppy defenders have often made the offensive, judgmental and depressingly self-absorbed argument that voters couldn’t possibly actually like works by or about women, trans people, gay people, writers of color and so forth. Clearly, the argument claims, people could only vote for those works out of a misguided social-justice agenda. Until this year, the best argument that Hugo voters really were voting for their favorite works (and not to push an agenda) was the range of material nominated on the first ballot, reflecting the variety of tastes that creates such a wide and scattered speculative-fiction field.
Now that voters have seen that following their hearts will just get their candidates shut out of consideration, they’re more likely to want to build slates and promote agendas, to prevent another ballot filled with finalists they can’t stomach. Over the weekend, WorldCon organizers approved a series of changes to the Hugo nominee rules to help prevent bloc domination of the ballot. But those changes won’t go into effect until 2017, assuming they’re ratified at the 2016 WorldCon.
Still, the Puppies lost in some ways, beyond the straight question of who got the awards. Their tactics rallied voters who haven’t paid attention to the process in years, and guaranteed their interest and involvement in 2016 and for the immediate future. And by creating a straight-up duel between politically aligned poles, then losing it by a wide margin, they disproved their claims that they were the silent majority, the populists being unfairly ruled by a minority of elitists. They got their noses rapped at the awards ceremony. But losing an awards statue isn’t the same as losing the conversation. And the conversation certainly isn’t over. It — and the Puppies — are just getting started
(7) Abigail Nussbaum on Asking The Wrong Questions – “The 2015 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Results”
If the puppies had truly represented “real” fandom, then “real” fandom would have turned up to vote for the nominees they put on the ballot. Instead, the people who voted were, overwhelmingly, thoroughly pissed off and eager to kick some puppy ass. The Hugo is a popular vote award, and what that means is that while it can be manipulated, it can’t be stolen. It belongs to whoever turns up to vote, and in 2015 the people who turned up to vote wanted nothing to do with the puppies’ politics and tactics. Despite the puppies’ loudest claims to the contrary, 3,000 voters are not a cabal or a clique. They are the fandom. I’d like to believe that there are enough people among the puppy voters who are capable of seeing this. There’s been some debate today about what percentage of the Hugo voters actually represent puppies. This analysis by Chaos Horizon suggests that there were 500 Rabid Puppy voters, and 500 Sad Puppy voters. That’s a big enough number to suggest that we could be looking at a repeat of this dance next year–another puppy-dominated ballot, another fannish outrage, another puppy shutout at the voting phase. But to my mind, the real question is: how many of those thousand voters are willing to do that? How many of them would rather destroy the Hugo than see it go to someone they disapprove of? How many of them are able to ignore the undeniable proof that they’ve maxed out their support within the community, and that there simply aren’t enough Gamergate trolls to make up the difference?
I’d like to believe that those people are not the majority. That there are among puppy voters people who can grasp that if you want to win a Hugo, the simplest and easiest way to do it is to play by the same rules as everyone else: write and publicize good, worthwhile work, and do so with a genuine love for the award, not the contempt and resentfulness that characterized the puppies’ behavior this year.
The truth is–and this is something that we’ve all lost sight of this year–no matter how much the puppies like to pretend otherwise, the Hugo is not a progressive, literary, elitist award. It’s a sentimental, middle-of-the-road, populist one. I rarely like the shortlists it throws up, and am often frustrated by the excellent work that it ignores. In fact, looking at this year’s would-have-been nominees, I see some work that I loved–Aliette de Bodard’s “The Breath of War,” Carmen Maria Machado in the Campbell Award category–but on the whole it feels like a very safe, unexciting ballot that I would probably have complained about quite a bit if it had actually come to pass. And for all the crowing about this year’s winners being a victory for those who love the Hugos, some of them–particularly in the Best Novelette and Best Fan Writer categories–send as message that is, to my mind, far from progressive. (Full disclosure: this year’s nominating breakdowns reveal that, if it hadn’t been for the puppies, I would have been nominated in the Best Fan Writer category. I don’t think I would have won, and all things considered I’m glad that I was out of that mess this year, but it’s worth acknowledging.) It’s not that I’ve never felt the desire to burn the whole edifice down, the way the puppies say they do. The difference is that I never thought that exasperation could be used to justify actually doing it.
(8) Gregory G. Hullender offers his translation of a French news article about the Puppies on Greg’s Reflections: My Adventures Reading in a Foreign Language.
Part of the fun of reading a foreign language is getting a very different perspective on issues. As a science-fiction fan, I’ve been curious what the Europeans would make of this year’s “Sad Puppy” affair. Sure enough, I found an article about it in Le Monde, the French “newspaper of record.”
(9) Allan Davis on LewRockwell.com – “We Had To Burn The Hugos To Save Them”
Over 1200 people voted for Toni Weisskopf. 750 more voted for Sheila Gilbert, and 200 for Anne Sowards, all in the Best Long Form Editor category. Over two thousand people voted in good faith for the people that they thought deserved that award. And 2500 members of the High Church of Science Fiction–the ruling faction that believes it gets to determine who is, and who is not, a “true fan” of the genre–declared that those two thousand opinions were not welcome and their votes do not count. The SJW ruling faction of science fiction fandom, who pride themselves on their diversity, tolerance, and inclusiveness, won this year’s battle against the Puppies using their preferred weapons of intolerance and exclusion.
(10) Sharrukin’s Palace
Seriously. What did they expect was going to happen?
I’m not going to pretend that everyone has been behaving well in opposing the Puppies. There’s no denying that two of the prominent Puppies are extremely toxic figures, but the worst thing I can say about most of them is that they’re rather clueless. Folks like Lou Antonelli, Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, and Brad Torgersen are due some pretty strong criticism for their actions, but they don’t deserve some of the outright slander that they’ve been getting.
That having been said, did any of these folks really think that a community in which they’ve spent months or years violating long-established social norms, and loudly insulting pretty much everyone, was going to react with praise, respect, and silver rockets?
(11) embrodski on Death Is Bad – “Puppies – All Bark, No Bite”
The fact remains that the puppy supporters were excited to vote a slate so they could hijack the Hugos for their self-aggrandizement. And as I predicted in “Why Vandals?” none of them bothered to show up for the actual party. If the party was left just to them, they’d have a nearly empty convention hall and no one to run it. They do not care about the con, or the people who attend it. They didn’t attend the business meeting to try to make things better. They didn’t put forward any bids to host the 2018 WorldCon. That they didn’t try to further mar the convention by ruining things in person isn’t a mark of civility, it’s simply the modus operandi for internet cowards.
It really dawned on me just how worthless the Puppies are when I went to the business meeting, and during the watching of the fan-recognition part of the award ceremony. These are people, later on in their years, who have been SF/F fans for significantly longer than I’ve even been alive. They’ve spent *decades* of work putting together these conventions. They are dedicated, and in love. They aren’t the authors, they don’t get the accolades themselves. They’re just passionate about SF. I really came to realize how much WorldCon is by and for the fans. I was very disappointed that more puppies didn’t come to the con in person. I was very disappointed that ALL the puppies didn’t come to the con in person! They would have seen that joy and passion for themselves. Maybe that is part of the reason why the puppy supporters who did come didn’t boo or shout or try to disrupt anything. They saw the love and the passion for themselves, and couldn’t bring themselves to be assholes any more. The ones who stayed home, safe behind their keyboards – they are the ones who will continue to be dicks. Because they were cowards, and wouldn’t come to see what they were vandalizing in person. Assholery feeds on cowardice, which leads to further assholery, in a neat little circle. It’s fitting.
(12) Aaron Pound on Dreaming of Other Worlds – “Biased Opinion: 2015 Hugo Awards Post-Mortem”
In the Long Form Editor category, Beale instructed his minions to vote for Toni Weisskopf first, and placed himself further down his instructional list. Despite this, 166 voters placed Beale first on their ballots, putting him ahead of Jim Minz, who only got 58 first place nods.
(13) Howard Tayler on Schlock Mercenary – “Sasquan Report”
My heart goes out to those who did not win awards this year, especially those whose work missed being on the ballot because of the hijacked slate. Their work will stand independently of this, however, and needs neither my pity nor the validation of the short-list. As a former Hugo loser, I know that it stings, but I also know that you’ve got to keep making stuff regardless of what happens with awards. I kept making Schlock Mercenary for five years after it started not winning Hugo awards. It still hasn’t won, and I’m still making it today.
Just as awards shouldn’t validate your decision to create art, they shouldn’t have any bearing on how you feel about the art you consume. Reading in particular is a deeply personal, intimate act. An award on a book is like a sticker on a banana: it might help you pick the banana, but if you eat the sticker you’re doing it wrong.
(14) Jennifer Brozek – “About the Hugo Awards in Interview Form”
Q: Now that the Hugos are over, how do you feel?
A: I feel fine.
A: Yes, really. Yes, of course I’m sad I didn’t win—it was a beautiful award and I worked really hard. I wanted to win, but as I said on twitter, I’m happy people voted the way they felt they needed to. There are other nominations and other Hugos. All voices need to be heard. I don’t want to dwell on anything else. It’s done for me.
Q: What about the numbers?
A: The numbers came out exactly as I thought they would. Without “No Award,” Mike Resnick would’ve won.
Q: What about the nomination numbers, discounting the slates?
A: I saw that I probably would’ve been 6th or 7th nomination place in Best Editor, Short Form. Respectable. More importantly, I saw that CHICKS DIG GAMING got 92 nomination votes in the Best Related Work category—second only to Jo Walton’s WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO GREAT. Which meant, incidentally, I lost a second time on Hugo night. I lost an Alfie to Jo. Still, that means I probably would’ve been nominated for a Hugo whether there was a slate or not. So, I’m feeling pretty good about things.
(15) David Gerrold on Facebook
First, the offer to buy him [Lou Antonelli] a beer was made before he wrote his letter to the Spokane police chief. After he wrote that letter, that promise was not one I wanted to keep at Worldcon.
Second, my exact words were: “Lou, I might have forgiven you. That doesn’t mean I want to talk to you.” I am quite certain about what I said. I have forgiven him. I just didn’t know then and don’t know now what I want to say to him.
Which is why I said what I said — not to be rude, but to avoid a situation for which I was unprepared, a situation where I might say something inappropriate, something that might exacerbate an already unfortunate situation.
I did recognize that Lou’s intentions were peaceful, but that moment was neither the time nor the place. There were too many people watching both of us, many of them still upset or concerned. There were too many possibilities for Russian telephone.
It is possible that at some time in the future, Lou and I will be able to sit down and talk together, but it cannot happen while so many people are still feeling raw.
I do ask that everyone drop the subject. I do not want Lou to be the target of anyone’s internet jihad. He made a mistake. He apologized. I accepted his apology. I just didn’t want to get into that situation then. I do not want to rehash it endlessly.
My experience talking about social issues in geeky fandom online is one of constant attacks and sniping and arguing and “controversy”. If you clicked on the #HugoAwards hashtag Saturday night you could see a steady stream of 4chan-style obscenities, slurs and assorted nastiness from people not present.
But in person? To paraphrase the great Bill Hicks, I saw a lot of division among convention attendees about the Sad Puppies “movement”; people who viewed the movement with frustrated rage and people who viewed the movement with bemused pity.
There were, to be sure, plenty of personal beefs and political differences. I met many people I’d argued with online about various topics. Plenty of people had negative things to say about the response to the Sad Puppies, saying that other people had been too harsh or too hostile or too unhelpful in tone.
But defending the Puppies’ actions? Not a single person I met took that stance. The “controversy” didn’t exist outside the Internet. Everyone across the spectrum was united by sheer astonishment at how assholish the move to game the nominations was.
[Thanks to Andrew Trembley, John King Tarpinian and Greg Hullender for some of these links.]
aka The Puppy Sculptors of Coral D
Apart from “An Account of Juliette Wade’s Withdrawal from Sad Puppies 3” hosted on this blog, the highlights of the day come from Tom Knighton, Lisa J. Goldstein, Spacefaring Kitten, George R.R. Martin, John C. Wright, severian, Vox Day, M.C. Hana, Daddy Warpig, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Paul Cornell and Abi Sutherland. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Laura Resnick, plus yours truly.)
Go to any CHORF or SJB science fiction site, and someone is likely to joke about conspiracies. They think it’s funny, using the term to paint Sad Puppies as right-wing nut jobs prattling on endlessly about the New World Order and chem trails. “No,” they say, “there’s no ‘conspiracy involving Hugo nominations.”
Of course, they’re full of it too.
I have lots of time — except for proofreading my novel, and coming up with something for an anthology I promised to be in, and, you know, actually writing something … okay, I’m not sure why this seemed like a good idea, but I thought I’d read the ballot and comment on it. A few ground rules, then. First, I don’t like military sf, and that’s what a lot of the ballot seems to consist of. This isn’t even an ideological stance — I just can’t get into it, the same way I can’t get into vampire novels and mysteries where the cat solves the murder. I will try to get past this and make my reviews as objective as I can, though I can’t promise anything. Second, I reserve the right to quit reading a nominee at any time. I’m not going to read an entire novel if the first few chapters leave me cold. Oh, and spoilers. I’m going to start with short stories, because they’re, well, short, and with the last story on the ballot and then work my way up. So the first story is “Turncoat,” by Steve Rzasa…..
…What I’m doing here is reading the Sad Puppies’ slate and commenting on it. This is something the Puppies said no SJW (Short Juggling Wombat?) would do, that instead we would vote a blanket No Award, and I would think the Puppies themselves would welcome my efforts. Commenting on the media is beyond the scope of this project, and not something I’d want to do anyway
“’Turncoat’ by Steve Rzasa” – May 3
I’ve begun my Hugo reading with the short story and graphic story categories. Most of the short stories are available online, so maybe I’ll start with them.
I plan to keep track of what I’ve read and what I think about the stuff I’ve read here on this blog. Feel free to comment, whether you agree or disagree.
The first one I read was “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa.
“Reading for Hugos” – May 3
Just finished THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM, by Cixin Liu, originally written in Chinese and translated by Ken Liu. This was the novel that just missed in the original round of nominations, only to secure a place on the ballot when Marko Kloos withdrew. In a half-century of Hugo Awards, there have been very few non-English originals ever nominated, and certainly never one from China, so THREE-BODY is a breakthrough book in that respect, and a sign that “worldcon” is (very slowly) becoming more global.
This is a very unusual book, a unique blend of scientific and philosophical speculation, politics and history, conspiracy theory and cosmology, where kings and emperors from both western and Chinese history mingle in a dreamlike game world, while cops and physicists deal with global conspiracies, murders, and alien invasions in the real world.
It’s a worthy nominee.
It was a great pleasure to opt for No Award (with a couple of exceptions) rather than anything on the Puppies slate. #hugoawards
— Paul_Cornell (@Paul_Cornell) May 3, 2015
I voted No Award under the three real contenders for Best Novel, and said no to Butcher and Anderson. #hugoawards
— Paul_Cornell (@Paul_Cornell) May 3, 2015
I'd like a standing ovation on the night for all the nominees in Best Fan Artist. They all got there properly. #hugoawards
— Paul_Cornell (@Paul_Cornell) May 3, 2015
A reviewer is disappointed in my efforts:
In Wright’s hands Queequeeg remains firmly a noble savage with no depth of characterization at all. One person of color in the story and that’s what Wright goes for. That’s how the Pathetic puppies increase diversity.
ADDENDUM: a reader brings to my attention links to a review site whose disappointment is markedly less. He asked whether both sites read the material, or only one?
“Perestroika and Puppies” – April 30
Admit one lie, you see, and you’ve tacitly admitted to all the other lies. And when your whole system is built on lies….
And that’s the best case scenario, mind you. If the Hugo Award TrueFans (or whatever the acronym is) are smart, they’ll go Gorbachev — grudgingly hold their noses while loudly proclaiming that they’re voting for the “”””””best”””””” of a very, very sorry lot…. and then the Puppies go away, because there’s no more shit to be stirred — all the drama queen antics cease. That means there will forever be a year with a “wrong” Hugo, and the Hugo will never again be the Unsullied Pure SJW Award for Excellence in SJW Propaganda, but so what? There’s always the Nebulas or the Galactic Vagina Trophy or whatever. (If there’s one thing liberals are great at, it’s singing their own praises; they’ll come up with something).
But I’m betting they won’t, because again, Gorbachev’s the best case scenario. Ol’ Mikhail himself would do it again in a heartbeat — he’s still alive and kicking, not buried two feet under the Siberian permafrost — but many of his kommissars got what was coming to them…. and, of course, the shining beacon of world socialism guttered and went out. SJWs have no identity of their own; if they’re not shrieking about something, they wink out of existence like quarks. So they’ll burn it down, No Award everything, because at least that way they can play the martyr role for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever….
“Patience is a strategic virtue” – May 3
Now let’s look at how fighting strategically applies to the Hugo 2015 situation. We know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the SJWs are going to vote No Award on most of the Puppy-recommended works. Some will claim to have read them all, some will proudly proclaim that they have read none, others will pretend to genuinely believe that there is not a single award-worthy work in the lot, and a few particularly foolish ones will even convince themselves they believe as much. That’s fine, we all know what their opinions are worth as the list of past winners are well-documented. The only relevant point is that they are going to do it.
So why shouldn’t we join them? Why not pour on the gasoline as they run around shrieking and lighting matches? After all, getting things nominated that the other side would No Award, then turning around and joining them to ensure no awards were given out was my original idea, which I set aside in favor of SP3 and Brad Torgersen’s ultimately futile attempt to save the Hugos from the SJWs. The reason to abandon this original objective now that it is firmly in our grasp is that the situation has developed in ways that I did not fully anticipate, thereby indicating a strategic adjustment. Why settle for burning Munich when Berlin may be within reach, especially if the munchkins are promising to burn Munich for us as we advance? Jeff Duntemann’s summary to which Mike Glyer directed our attention yesterday is informative in this regard….
The best possible outcome is not to see them nuke themselves, as amusing as that would be, but to see them try to nuke themselves and fail, thereby demonstrating that they don’t even possess the nukes they think they have. And even if Option 4 turns out to have been beyond our reach this year, its failure is still within the range of our victory conditions. This is what it means to successfully execute a Xanatos Gambit. If we fail, we win. If we succeed, we win even bigger. Why settle for victory when we can vanquish? Now that the science fiction SJWs have publicly declared No Award, the best possible outcome for us is for them to try to burn down the awards and fail. And that is why we should not help them do it. I very much understand the temptation to cry havoc, run amok, and gleefully set fires, but keep this in mind: while strategic arson is good, strategic occupation is glorious.
Translation: stow the flamethrowers. For now.
I’ve witnessed some extraordinary discussions over the past month, as the Hugo Awards controversy continues in the science-fiction and fantasy community. Eventually, I’ll provide links (cribbed and cited from a couple of diligent AW sources) to the best explanations of what happened and why.
Part of the fallout? Free stories listed online by authors, editors, and publishers who have refused Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy nominations this year.
The latest is a collection of science-fiction and fantasy from Orson Scott Card’s ‘Intergalactic Medicine Show’, offered by its editor Edmund R. Schubert. Schubert recently gave a passionate defense of his magazine, pointing out that it does not share all of Card’s politics, and seeks diversity from all authors and stories.
Disclosure: I am one of the authors who recently avoided IGMS because of its perceived association. Schubert’s essay convinced me to take another look. I’m several stories in, and I’m pleasantly surprised. It takes me back to my teen years, and my mom’s subscription to the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.
PNH's hysterical claims turned my failure into a massive success.
— Daddy Warpig (@Daddy_Warpig) May 3, 2015
— tnielsenhayden (@tnielsenhayden) May 3, 2015
Day is right, of course. We have not left him alone. You see, although we call the periodic threads we start “Open Threads”, that’s just to get the correct initials: OT.
OT really stands for OPERATION THEODORE, and the OTs are the coordinating place for the subtle campaign of intimidation we have spent years implementing.
To decrypt the plans, you must acquire the cryptographic key based on the distributions of the letters “V, X, D, and Y”* in the first thirty-three comments of each thread. Although those comments may appear to be posted by various members of the community and the general public, they are in point of fact all posted by Patrick, Teresa, and me‡, using our talents** as skilled textual mimics to produce the thin and unconvincing effect of conversation††.
Once you have the key, you too can join the carefully coordinated assault on the forces arrayed against us, carried out by means of no one from our community bothering to join his coterie even as a mole, a complete failure to discuss him unless he’s done something particularly dickish, and a total lack of interest in him until he damages an institution we care about‡‡.
Fluourospherians Form Up! This war of being bored to tears with Vox Day won’t fight itself!