The Hugo Award finalists were the biggest story of the month, and that was good news, especially for Filers Chris Barkley and Cora Buhlert. However, there was some sad news on the other side of the ledger, with Chicon 8 GoH Charles de Lint needing to step down, and centenarian actor Nehemiah Persoff dying, which brought a lot of readers to Steve Vertlieb’s article about his 102nd birthday last August.
Here are the 10 most-read posts of April 2022 according to Google Analytics.
For years the “special characters” that are common to some European languages have been rendered as question marks by my WordPress. And many times commenters have suggested what seemed like obvious solutions. Like, enter the HTML code for the character directly in the post (which would always look perfect in draft, then upon publication would become a question mark.) Or use a plugin — written by a Filer! — to insert the special character in the post. Followed by my looking none-too-bright as I explained I hadn’t been able to get these technically reasonable ideas to work. I have routinely had to use either of my two workarounds, substituting a Latin character and apologizing in an endnote, or creating a graphic of the name or title to be wedged into place that never looked like it belonged.
Adam Szedlak, a couple of months ago, planted the idea that it was a database problem. The database is not part of the WordPress program I can see, it’s not something I have dashboard controls to modify. I would have to enlist the help of my ISP’s customer support. So I procrastinated.
Then the Ignyte Awards finalists came out last week. Camestros Felapton got the news posted on his WordPress blog ahead of me, and I noticed one of the nominated magazines had multiple special characters in its title. His WordPress rendered the name correctly, whereas in my post with the same list that title was riddled with question marks. Even though we all know Camestros is a genius, I suspected he hadn’t had to do anything extra to produce the right result, the explanation was that his WordPress was set up correctly and something was wrong with mine. I finally set aside time to work with customer support.
At first, the biggest problem was convincing them I had a problem. I use workarounds, I don’t put up posts and let the question marks fall where they may. I needed to create an example for them to diagnose, which I did.
Then, while my ISP was casting about for a solution, they twice changed something and caused most of the apostrophes, quote marks, and hyphens to appear as black diamonds with a question mark in the middle. Bruce Arthurs commented when he saw that the other night.
But as of this morning they have fixed the problem by making the right modifications to a WordPress table and charset.
So let’s celebrate! Here are examples of names and titles that I have had to work around this year which will now display correctly. Pour yourself your favorite beverage!
By JJ: This thread is for posts about 2022-published works, which people have read and recommend to other Filers.
There will be no tallying of recommendations done in this thread; its purpose is to provide a source of recommendations for people who want to find something to read which will be eligible for the Hugos or other awards (Nebula, Locus, Asimov’s, etc.) next year.
If you’re recommending for an award other than / in addition to the Hugo Awards which has different categories than the Hugos (such as Locus Awards’ First Novel), then be sure to specify the award and category.
You don’t have to stop recommending works in Pixel Scrolls, please don’t! But it would be nice if you also post here, to capture the information for other readers.
The Suggested Format for posts is:
Title, Author, Published by / Published in (Anthology, Collection, Website, or Magazine + Issue)
Hugo or other Award Category: (Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Related Work, Graphic Novel, Lodestar, Astounding, etc)
link (if available to read/view online)
optional “Brief, spoiler-free description of story premise:”
Two different groups of sff writers have banded together in separate public letters to lead readers in directions they think they should go. One wants to oust China as host of the 2023 Worldcon. Another encouraged the Russian army to “denazify and demilitarize the state of Ukraine.” Posts reporting on those two letters were the two most widely-read here in the month of March. And in a disturbing coincidence, the leading signer of the anti-Ukraine letter is a Chengdu Worldcon guest of honor, Sergey Lukianenko.
File 770 also hosted a letter from an unnamed fan in Moscow, now disillusioned, who asked, “please don’t leave us on our own; fight with us for freedoms.”
And Ukranian fan Borys Sydiuk shared that SFWA rejected a call to boycott Russia. However, two weeks after the Authors Guild and Horror Writers Association had already done so, they did announce “SFWA Stands with Ukraine”.
Here are the 10 most-read posts of March 2022 according to Google Analytics.
The BSFA Awards Shortlist announcement needed only the last few hours of February 28th to become the month’s most-read post. This was also a rare month where the majority of items in the Top 10 are news articles and opinion pieces, outshowing the daily Pixel Scrolls 6-4.
Here are the 10 most-read posts of February 2022 according to Google Analytics.
Have File 770’s top three stories of the month ever all been good news before? It happened in January.
David Gerrold’s good news about winning the 2022 Robert A. Heinlein Award was widely celebrated – by thousands of fans who read it here, and many more around the world.
Don Blyly’s announcement that he’s found a new home for Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore – the previous one lost to vandalism in 2020 – has been universally cheered.
And what else can I say but congratulations again to Nehemiah Persoff, who celebrated another birthday last August, his 103rd. Did the Baltimore Jewish Times profile that appeared in December send people Googling for more, and lead another large audience to Steve Vertlieb’s 2021 tribute written for his previous birthday? Don’t know. Something did!
Here are the 10 most-read posts of January 2022 according to Google Analytics.
Given the choice, DisCon III would have liked to make only half as much news as it did last year. Between the resignations of two chairs, two Hugo administrators, and the events surrounding the disinvitation of a guest of honor, plus the positive stories about the Hugo Awards finalists and winners, twelve of the 20 most-read posts of 2021 related to the Worldcon.
Entirely unrelated to the Worldcon, the second post on the list, from January 2020, got a new lease on life in June when it was linked by a Vox magazine article about Twitter and Isabel Fall. Then, when Lindsay Ellis linked to the Vox article on Patreon this week, the post received another surge of readers.
Here, then, are last year’s twenty most-read posts according to Google Analytics.
Was the year too heavy, deep, and real? Yes, but it was also rich in creativity, humor, and shared adventures. It’s a gift and privilege for me to be continually allowed to publish so many entertaining posts. Thanks to all of you who contributed!
… Like many fans, I had tried my hand with writing, especially as a teenager. I wrote notes, drew weird aliens, and even wrote a novel which will never see the light of day. But during all this I did noodle, consistently, with several recurring characters and a story line. It shifted and changed, of course, as I matured and different interests came into my life, and eventually they just settled in the back of my mind.
… Once when [Tim] Powers was being interviewed at an SF convention someone asked “Do you actually believe in this stuff?” He said “No. But my characters do.” As Gordon Bennett wrote, and Frank Sinatra sang, “This is all I ask, this is all I need.”
… I’m a huge reader of novels, but not that big on short fiction. But the last few years, I’ve done a personal project to read and review as many Novellas as I could (presuming that the story Synopsis had some appeal for me). …
… The mission of SAFF is to keep the factual progress of space exploration out there for our community and to help individual Worldcons and other conventions in dealing with the arrangements and funding of space experts as special guests.
… Another solved mystery was that of the vanishing pancake. A friend of mine, by profession police officer, was standing at his stove, frying pancakes. As we both did with pancakes, we flipped them around in the air. So did my friend on this day.
His mystery was that the pancake never came back down. It vanished. There was no trace of it….
Eli Grober’s “Opening Lines Rewritten for a Pandemic” in The New Yorker humorously changes the beginnings of famous books to suit life as we knew it in the plague year of 2020…. Filers answered the challenge to add to the list. Here is a collection from yesterday’s comments….
The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed, being careful to maintain a distance of at least six feet.
… It was the Jeopardy! gameshow display screen one saw all the time on television, in real life, just yards away, here inside the cool Sony studios. Six rows across with the categories, columns of five numbers under each. To the right of the large display was Alex Trebek’s podium, and nearby were the three contestant stations.
There were sixteen of us here, and before the end of the day, all of us but one would have our thirty minutes of fame — or infamy — in this very special place.
… The model took off and rose straight up for maybe 100 feet or so before the second stage kicked in, but then there was trouble. Instead of continuing its upward flight, the thing veered to the right and zoomed away horizontally, slightly descending all the while. It went directly over a house across the street and continued on, neatly bisecting the span between two tall trees behind the house. And then it was gone from sight. I remember that my uncle gave me a quizzical look and asked, “Was it supposed to do that?”…
On the evening of Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the Fantastic Fiction at KGB Reading Series, hosted by Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel, presented authors Seanan McGuire and Nadia Bulkin in livestreamed readings on YouTube. (Neither reader is running for Mayor of New York.)
This is the 16th month of virtual readings, in place of in-person reading at the eponymous bar in the East Village in Manhattan, noted Kressel. New York City may be “open,” added Datlow, but they don’t yet feel comfortable “going into the crowd” at the Bar for at least a few more months….
Is there a science fiction movie character you want to smell like? Forget Swamp Thing, c’mon, he’s not in Fragrance X’s catalog. Otherwise, there’s no end of superhero and genre branded colognes you can buy.
There was a post a while ago on twitter that asked, “So what motivates y’all to continue entering bids to host Worldcons? Genuinely curious.”
And I responded with, ”I think there are some great bids out there like Glasgow 2024 that you can genuinely tell they are enthusiastic and want to put on a good show. Working on Dublin was like that for me as well. I am not saying they are perfect but the excitement is really important.”
But that is just the tip of the iceberg of what I wanted to say…
… Now back to Connery. The film would leave him with such a bad experience that claimed he the production of the film and the film’s final quality was what he caused his decision to permanently retire from filmmaking, saying in an interview with The Times that, “It was a nightmare. The experience had a great influence on me, it made me think about showbiz. I get fed up dealing with idiots.”
… I began to wonder whatever became of this marvelous actor and so, before retiring for the evening, I started to research Mr. Persoff’s whereabouts on my computer. As luck would have it, I found him and wrote him a rather hasty letter of personal and lifelong admiration. To my shock and utter astonishment, he responded within five minutes….
Stormm began her humorous series about the misdirected emails she gets from Writer X in August and has done 17 regular and two bonus installments. It swirls together comedy, horror, and the pitfalls of being a writer.
The purpose of this presentation is to place Tolkien’s theory of mythopoeic fiction in dialogue with fantasy series by T. Kingfisher in order to argue that her work is feminist and mythopoeic. While there are a number of elements of Kingfisher’s fiction that are relevant to my purpose, I’ll be focusing on two: her version of Faërie and system of magic, and her portrayal of female characters whose relationships are with failed warrior heroes….
The talk of time capsules and 1000-year M-discs in the Pixel Scroll 8/12/21 discussion of item (16), the Louis XIII Cognac 100-year sci-fi film vault, got me thinking that Worldcon should do Hugos for Best Genre-related Work Created 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000 years ago….
… Considered to be a genius by many, not only was Hergé skilled at drawing, he was also good at fascinating his readers with mysteries, and intriguing situations. For example, why was Prof. Calculus going into the heart of a volcano, following the agitated movements of his pendulum, instead of running away, like all the others? Perhaps he was so oblivious to his real surroundings, and was so desperate to find the cause of the wild swinging of his pendulum for the sake of science, that inadvertently, he was willing to risk his very life. Or was he running away from mundane reality? And why did Tintin rush back to save his friend from going deeper in the maze of the mountain? Possibly because that was Tintin’s nature, to rescue not just the innocent people of the world, but it also showed his deep friendship with the absent-minded professor….
…After watching [John Wick: Chapter 3], my friends and I got some drinks at a nearby bar. There, I found myself repeating a single word from the movie: “Consequences.” Wick utters this word whenever one of the characters points out that his past may have finally caught up with him. Since I like to drive jokes into the ground, I began to say “Consequences” in response to everything that night, in a poor imitation of Wick’s scratchy voice. Why did we need to buy another round? “Consequences.” Why should someone else pick up the tab? “Consequences.” And maybe I should call out sick tomorrow? “Consequences.”…
Right after the Fourth of July might not be when I shop for Christmas ornaments, but somebody does, because that’s when Hallmark runs its Keepsake Ornament Premiere.
If the timing is for the convenience of retailers, there is also a certain logic in picking a spot on the calendar that is as far away as you can get from a date associated with Christmas trees. It’s plain some of these ornaments are intended for a Halloween or Thanksgiving tree, while others probably are destined never to decorate a tree at all but to remain pristine in their original wrapping on collectors’ shelves….
… I couldn’t help thinking of the passage from The Lord of the Rings, where the Crebain go searching for the Fellowship. In fact, there are many birds as spies in fantasy fiction, such as the Three-Eyed Raven, the, One-eyed Crow, or Varamyr Sixskins warging into an eagle in A Song of Ice and Fire, to mention a few….
The Best Series Hugo category was added to the WSFS Constitution in 2017 with a sunset clause requiring a future re-ratification vote to remain part of the Worldcon Constitution. That vote happens next week at the DisCon III Business Meeting. If you were there, would you vote yes or no on keeping the category?
Then down the long hall there arose so much chat, that I sprang from my chair to see what was that? Through archways, past plant pots, I slipped through the throng as the loud murmuration came strolling along.
… In reality, China is a huge country with a vast population and an expanding middle class; an enormous SF field and well established fandom. Chengdu is an established international convention site as well as a centre for science and technology.
I rather suspect that from the Chengdu bid’s viewpoint, the US-centric history of Worldcon is at odds with the very name of the event and its claim to be the leading global celebration of the genre. I do not need to believe there is anything suspicious about the bid, because it only needs a tiny percentage of Chinese fans to get behind it to make it a success….
Though Tolkien’s novels were very successful in the last century, after the Peter Jackson trilogy in the early 2000s, their reach increased to encompass the globe. Irrespective of geographical or linguistic differences, they spoke to us in different ways. In an informal Discussion Group at Oxonmoot 2021, (held online), participants were welcome to share their thoughts/reactions/ take on various aspects of Tolkien’s works, mainly his Legendarium….
… Based on reading 20% of Team File 770’s assigned books, I found there are actually 12 I’d say yes to – so I am going to need to cut two more before I finalize this list….
The saga of Sheriff Trigger Snowflake, the lovely Coraline, and the shenanigans of the Solarian Poets Society added several chapters this year that were not so much ripped-from-the-headlines as amused by the news.
A few days later, down at the Coffee Emporium, Trigger was having breakfast. A nice cup of Bean of the Day and a grilled synthecheese. As he finished the last bite of the synthecheese, Barbara Dimatis walked up to his table.
“Sheriff Snowflake, may I sit?”
“Why, sure, Ms Dimatis. What troubles you?”
“You’ve heard of Bistro Futuristo? Well, turns out that the editor and owner of Futuristo Magazine has made an announcement.”…
… Needless to say, I have witnessed or participated in a number of remarkable, bizarre and historic incidents during my tenure working at Worldcons. I not only know how the sausage was made, I helped make it as well….
Locus Online thieved this story straight off my site, like I am their damned intern. Did they spend the last two years contacting people at the Gunn Center trying to find out what was going to happen to the Campbell Award? I did. That’s how I was able to learn the Center has a new Director, who sent me that quote.
Steve Vertlieb’s tribute to actor Nehemiah Persoff is still finding new audiences on Facebook – enough to make his August birthday post File 770’s most-read item of November. And Steve’s item about the music used in an episode of the Fifties Superman TV series was also a hit last month.
Here are the 10 most-read posts of November 2021 according to Google Analytics.