Pixel Scroll 10/5/16 That’s Appertainment!

(1) BEST SERIES HUGO FLAW? Sami Sundell is dissatisfied with the 2017 Hugo test category, judging by his title: “Best Series is a popularity contest”.

Last year, Eric Flint wrote about the discrepancy between popularity in bookstores and winning (Hugo) awards. I then pointed out, that the big time bookstore magnets tend to write series. So, on the face of it, adding a new category could bring the awards closer to general populace…..

Re-eligibility of a nominee

The actual series proposal suggests a non-winning nominee for Best Series could become re-eligible after at least two additional tomes and 240 000 words. If the series is long enough and the writer prolific enough, you might see the same series popping up every few years, adding at least quarter of a million words to the reading effort every time.

You see, that’s another thing about the popular series: they hook their readers. Even if the quality wanes, it’s hard to let go of a series you’ve started – and some of those series have gone on for 40 years.

There’s nothing wrong with the same author and series being nominated multiple times; that happens regularly with other categories. In this case, however, it’s not just the latest installation that should be considered. It’s the whole body of work, which may span multiple authors, media, and decades.

More than any other written fiction category, Best Series has makings of a popularity contest in it: people will vote for whatever they are familiar with and attached to. That’s fine for selecting what to read next, but it shouldn’t be grounds for a Hugo.

(2) AUDIBLE INKLINGS. Oxford fellow Michael Ward (Planet Narnia) narrates Diana Pavlac Glyer’s Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings in the Audible Audio Edition, released September 26.

Bandersnatch cover

(3) MYTH BUSTED OR INTACT? Aaron Pound looks at the “2007 Hugo Longlist” and commences to bust what he feels is a Hugo voting “myth.”

Whenever a Worldcon is held outside of the United States, people suggest that genre fiction works produced by local authors and editors are going to receive a boost in the Hugo nomination process and subsequent voting. Nippon 2007, the Worldcon held in 2007, was located in Yokohama, and given that Japan has an active science fiction and fantasy scene, one would think that the ballot would have been filled with Japanese books, stories, movies, and television shows. At the very least, one would think the Hugo longlist would be filled with such works. With the exception of Yoshitaka Amano’s appearance on the Best Professional Artist category, the 2007 Hugo longlist appears to be entirely devoid of any influence from Japanese voters.

Based upon the evidence of the statistics from 2007, it seems that the “bump” for local writers and artists is negligible at best….

This question really requires a more nuanced investigation of ALL Worldcons held outside North America, not just the one in Japan (inexplicable as the result was).

Looking at the final ballots from UK and Australian Worldcons, you can see a number of nominees (especially in the fan categories) who don’t get that support when the con is in North America.

However, the membership of most Worldcons is predominantly US fans, which gives things a certain consistency, wanted or not.

(4) KNOW YOUR GENRE. Sarah A. Hoyt explains the traits of a long list of genres and subgenres in a breezy column for Mad Genius Club.

If I had a dime for every time someone approaches me and says “My erotica/romance/science fiction/fantasy isn’t selling and I can’t tell why.”  And/or “I keep getting these really weird comments, like they’re angry at me for not being what I say it is.” I’d be buying a castle somewhere in England, as we speak.

And almost everytime I look into the matter, my answer is something like “But that’s not an erotica/romance/science fiction/fantasy.”

I will say right here that most of the time the problem is that people don’t read the genres they’re identifying their books as.  They just heard of them, and think that must be what they are.  This also explains all the people who assure me I write romance (rolls eyes) and that’s why they won’t read Darkship Thieves, or Witchfinder, or…

Because there is a romance in the book, somewhere, and they think that’s what the romance genre is.

It’s time to get this figured out, okay?…

(5) LUKE CAGE’S SHORTCOMINGS. Abigail Nussbaum finds a new Marvel superhero series wanting — “Tales of the City: Thoughts on Luke Cage” .

“For black lives to matter, black history has to matter.”  A character says this shortly into the first episode of Luke Cage, Netflix’s third MCU series, and the fourth season of television it has produced in collaboration with Marvel as it ramps up for its Defenders mega- event.  It’s easy to read this line as a thesis statement on the nature of the show we’re about to watch, but it’s not until some way into Luke Cage‘s first season that we realize the full import of what creator Cheo Hodari Coker is saying with it, and how challenging its implications will end up being.  As has been widely reported and discussed, Luke Cage is the first black MCU headliner–not just on TV or on Netflix, but at all.  And, unlike the forthcoming Black Panther, whose story is set in a fictional African superpower, Luke Cage is explicitly a story about African-Americans in the more-or-less real world, at a moment when the problems and indignities suffered by that community are at the forefront of public discussion.  It is, therefore, a show that comes loaded with tremendous expectations, not just of introducing a compelling character and telling a good superhero story, but of addressing increasingly fraught issues of race, in both the real world and the superhero genre.  It’s perhaps unsurprising that Luke Cage falls short of these expectations, but what is surprising is how often it doesn’t even seem to be trying to reach them.  Or, perhaps, not surprising at all–as the first episode spells out, Luke Cage is less interested in black lives than it is in black stories.

(6) FINAL INSTALLMENT. Renay from Lady Business has produced her last column for Strange Horizons:

When I started this column back in 2013, I didn’t know a lot of things. I didn’t know a lot about the depth and breadth of the science fiction and fantasy community. I didn’t know what it felt like to have a wider audience. I didn’t know yet how many people would be kind to me and also didn’t know (thankfully, because I might have run the other way) that people would be cruel. I hadn’t done any of the things that would change my perspective as a fan: write a fan column, be paid for writing, be included in a fan anthology, edit a fan anthology, become a Barnes & Noble reviewer, start a podcast with another big name fan, be a Hugo nominee, or go to Worldcon. But I’ve done all those things now and here’s what I’ve learned….

(7) CHARACTER (ACTING) COUNTS. Edward L. Green’s website for his acting career is now online.

(8) SUPPORTING HOMER HICKAM. San Diego fan Gerry Williams is encouraging a boycott of the musical October Sky at the Old Globe Theaters in his hometown. He explains:

ROCKET BOYS author Homer Hickam is in a very serious dispute and lawsuit with the corporate establishment at Universal Studios and with The Old Globe Theaters. He has tried to have his name removed from the Old Globe’s production (to no avail) for their Rocket Boy’s version of his story. You can read about all the problems on his blog here: http://homerhickamblog.blogspot.com/2016/09/my-struggle.html Personally I’m urging our local Southern California space community to stand with Homer Hickam and BOYCOTT The Old Globe’s production.

Hickam’s many frustrations about the rights struggle include the effect it’s having on the musical adaptation he himself has written Rocket Boys, the Musical.

Meantime, if you’re curious about the version being produced at the Old Globe —

October Sky

Book by Brian Hill and Aaron Thielen Music and Lyrics by Michael Mahler Directed by Rachel Rockwell Inspired by the Universal Pictures film and Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam,  Jr.

“A sumptuous production of an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser. October Sky feels good all over!” —Talkin’ Broadway

The beloved film is now a triumphant new American musical that will send your heart soaring and inspire your whole family to reach for the stars! In the small town of Coalwood, West Virginia, every young man’s future is in the coal mines, but after the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the world’s race to space inspires local highschooler Homer Hickam to dream of a different life. Against the wishes of his practical-minded father, he sets out on an unlikely quest to build his own rockets and light up the night sky. October Sky is an uplifting musical portrait of small-town Americana packed with youthful exuberance, and a sweeping, unforgettable new score.


October 5, 1969  — Monty Python’s Flying Circus first appeared on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC-1

(10) TERRY JONES RECEIVES BAFTA CYMRU AWARD. The Guardian has video of this touching acceptance:

Monty Python star Terry Jones collects his award for outstanding contribution to television and film at the Bafta Cymru awards on Sunday. Jones announced last month he has a severe type of dementia which affects his speech. He was accompanied on stage by his son Bill who told the audience it was a “great honour”


  • Born October 5 – Paul Weimer
  • Born October 5, 1958 — Neil DeGrasse Tyson

(12) WAYWARD FACULTY ADDITIONS. Who they are and what they’ll teach – the new faculty joining Cat Rambo’s Academy.

Now the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers (classes.catrambo.com) adds three new teachers to its roster: Ann Leckie, Rachel Swirsky, and Juliette Wade. Each presents both a live version of the class, limited to eight students and taught via Google Hangouts, as well as an on-demand version.

Swirsky’s class, Old Stories Into New (http://catrambo.teachable.com/p/old-stories-into-new/), discusses existing forms and how genre writers draw on the stories that have preceded them–particularly folklore, mythology, and fables, but also beloved literature and media. The class presents the best methods for approaching such material while warning students of the possible pitfalls.  Readings, written lectures, and writing exercises from Hugo and Nebula award winning writer Rachel Swirsky teach the student how to keep work original and interesting when playing with familiar stories.  A live version will be offered on October 29, 2016; the on-demand version is available here.

Wade’s class, The Power of Words (http://catrambo.teachable.com/courses/the-power-of-words-linguistics-for-speculative-fiction-writers), focuses on the study of linguistics and its relevance to genre writing. Wade shows how linguistics differs from the study of foreign languages, and gives a survey of eight different subfields of linguistics. The class examines principles of language at levels of complexity from the most basic articulation of speech sounds to the way that language is used to participate in public forms of discourse. Wade looks at how each subfield can be used to enhance a writer’s portrayal of characters and societies in a fictional world. Then she takes the discussion to the level of text to consider how principles of linguistics can hone point of view and narrative language in storytelling. A live version will be offered on December 17, 2016.

Leckie’s class, To Space Opera and Beyond, will centers on space opera: its roots as well as its current manifestations as well as how to write it.  Topics covered include creating and tracking multiple worlds, characters, and plots,  interlocking and interweaving plots, writing storylines stretching across multiple books, and developing engaging and distinct politics, languages, and other cultural institutions. Both live sessions of the class are sold out. The on-demand version will be available in November.

Live classes are co-taught with Cat Rambo; registration details can be found at: http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/upcoming-online-classes/.

(13) THIS WASN’T A TEST WHERE I WANTED TO SCORE WELL. “10 Habits of extremely boring people”. Send help — it’s alarming how many of these I checked off…

(14) BUCKAROO BANZAI CAN’T GET ACROSS THE AMAZON. Joseph T. Major in concerned. He looked at this article and said, “It looks like the World Crime League is making a score.” — “Rights Issues Stymie BUCKAROO BANZAI Amazon Series”.

Buckaroo Banzai may be in trouble and this time it is not from the machinations of evil Lectroids from Planet Ten or the World Crime League, but from something far more vexing – rights issues.

In an interview, W. D. Richter, director of the 1984 cult classic The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The Eight Dimension, revealed that it is possible that the rights to the actual character of Buckaroo Banzai actually lie with screen writer Earl Mac Rauch. And that could impact the television version of the film that writer/director Kevin Smith is currently developing with MGM for Amazon Studios.

(15) WHERE DID YOU GET MY NUMBER? I don’t make a lot of phone calls, but when I do the person on the other end seems more surprised to be getting a call than that it’s from me, and that may be part of  trend – Slate explains: “The Death of the Telephone Call, 1876-2007”.

The phone call died, according to Nielsen, in the autumn of 2007. During the final three months of that year the average monthly number of texts sent on mobile phones (218) exceeded, for the first time in recorded history, the average monthly number of phone calls (213). A frontier had been crossed. The primary purpose of most people’s primary telephones was no longer to engage in audible speech….

Calling somebody on the phone used to be a perfectly ordinary thing to do. You called people you knew well, not so well, or not at all, and never gave it a second thought. But after the Great Texting Shift of 2007, a phone call became a claim of intimacy. Today if I want to phone someone just to chat, I first have to consider whether the call will be viewed as intrusive. My method is to ask myself, “Have I ever seen this person in the nude?” The sighting doesn’t have to be (indeed, seldom is) recent. Nor is it necessary that I remember it. I need only deduce that, sometime or other, I must have seen this person naked. That clears phone calls to a wife or girlfriend, to children, to parents, to siblings, to old flames, to former roommates from college, and very few others.

(16) TREKKIE STONELORE. UPI tells us Redditor Haoleopteryx posted a photo of the business cards he had specially printed to deal with constant jokes about the name of the profession.”

I’m a volcanologist and I really don’t know how it took me so long to actually get around to making these


View post on imgur.com

[Thanks to Cat Rambo, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day — Heather Rose Jones because I noticed her post it, and Kip W. because he actually suggested it first eight hours earlier. The bar is open — everybody appertain your favorite beverage!]

98 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/5/16 That’s Appertainment!

  1. Yes! You get it! Everything in life has a related Simpsons reference! (Looks askew at the “copper cylinder awards” thread.)

  2. Heather Rose Jones
    I not only understand, but I committed my own stupid gaffe, commenting to Soon Lee like I thought I was speaking to you (screen inches from your name) just to make you feel better! Yes. That is the ticket. Oh, and I did something very similar over on Twitter around the same time, to, uh, make it look… consistent?
    I’ll be glad when yesterday’s over.

  3. “But it hasn’t stopped … various Puppies gloating about that this will be Beale’s golden chance.”

    I find myself to be entirely comfortable with a bit of groundless gloating from Puppies. If it makes them happy, it may keep them out of mischief for a while.

  4. Hopefully when it comes to the Hugo packet for the Series award they’ll include some guidance on good places to start on the nominees if not the relevant works themselves.

    As mentioned elsewhere this is rarely the most recent work. In really sprawling milieu there are often shorts and standalones that can give a good flavour of the whole.

  5. I have my doubts about best series being practical / desireable because it almost requires that you vote on things you haven’t read–unless the only series that get nominated are things everyone has read (does that even exist in SFF anymore?) or very short.

    And I’m not sure what strategy would be good to fairly evaluate a 15 book series if you start the final reading period not having read any of it. You could start with the first book and see if you like it, I suppose. But what if you really like the first book, which was published 15 years ago? How do you evaluate whether the series has gone seriously downhill over the next 14 books? Especially if you really like it and don’t want to just go and read the most recent book with all its spoilers for what happens in the 13 books in the middle?

    We will see how it plays out in next year’s Hugos.

  6. I’ve never been too fond of phone calls (after I got past about 8th grade). However, I’d much rather have a phone call than an email, if it isn’t work-related. If it is work-related, I never want a phone call, I always want an email or just stop by my office.

    I tend to call and have phone conversations with friends and family…moreso family. Friends I tend to text.

    I am definitely not one for this whole “video call” business. The ones that absolutely confound me are people who video call when they are out in public and then hold their phone a foot away from their face as they go about their business and having a conversation. Seen this multiple times in bookstores, for example. Just use a regular phonecall if you are out and about and want to talk. Videocalling is for things like showing off new babies (ugh, and I hate that), seeing older relatives and friends, etc. And then, I still avoid it.

  7. JJ:

    All of the current Hugo award categories are “popularity contests”, and the works which make the final ballot do so because they’re popular with Hugo voters. The new category was created specifically because Worldcon members want to be able to recognize the series they love, a.k.a. based on “popularity”.

    That’s not what ‘popularity contest’ means in this context. When people complain that the Hugos are a popularity contest, they mean that nominators aren’t actually surveying the field and seeing what is best, but just nominating authors etc. that they are already fans of. This is clearly true up to a point – there are authors who keep reappearing because they have a bunch of loyal fans – but not wholly true: there are people who read widely, or follow recommendations, and hope to find the best work of the year. If this were not so, the Hugos would not be able to identify new and interesting things, which in fact they can do (though they don’t do it consistently), and which many people find the most valuable thing about them. The worry is that with Best Series there is no chance of this happening: what we nominate is going to depend entirely on what we are already fans of. (Well, obviously, just in virtue of the rules this award can’t go to something new: but practical constraints mean it also can’t go to something not already widely recognised.)

    And again, there’s this strange insistence that people must read the entirety of all nominated series in order to be able to make some kind of legitimate judgement.

    I’d have thought that was obviously true if it’s a series which has a degree of coherence, which tells a story. If it’s a looser ‘same world’ series, it’s not, but the books in that kind of series can in any case compete fairly well in Best Novel. Part of the motivation for this award was that some series fiction is handicapped in Best Novel by the fact that one needs to have read previous books to appreciate it; but in that case series will only be able to do well in this category if people have read all the previous books.

  8. My wife and I watched the first 2 episodes of Luke Cage. We also watched all of Jessica Jones. She liked Jessica Jones more than I (the shrieking of Jesssssicaaaaa got on my nerves eventually). I’ve liked Luke Cage more so far. Both have been worth the time to view.

  9. I’ll skip the ‘tl;dr’ part and just say: what Cat and Andrew M said.

    @IanP: Hopefully when it comes to the Hugo packet for the Series award they’ll include some guidance on good places to start on the nominees if not the relevant works themselves.
    As mentioned elsewhere this is rarely the most recent work. In really sprawling milieu there are often shorts and standalones that can give a good flavour of the whole.

    How is this going to be anything but a recipe for “Vote for stuff you haven’t read”? That’s not meant to be snarky, but the award is supposed to be Best Series, not Best Series the One Bit of Which I Read Was Really Good.

  10. How is this going to be anything but a recipe for “Vote for stuff you haven’t read”? That’s not meant to be snarky, but the award is supposed to be Best Series, not Best Series the One Bit of Which I Read Was Really Good.

    I think it’s meant to be something like Best Artist or Best Semiprozine, where one won’t have read the whole semiprozine or seen the whole of the artist’s work; if some things stand out as good, that’s fine. Except, of course, that a series is supposed to have a degree of coherence unlike an artist or a semiprozine.

    By the way, if each of us is limited in voting by what we have read, this is going to advantage those people who are OK with voting for stuff without reading it. (And something similar is true at the nomination stage.)

  11. In the interests of “let’s be careful about demonizing people into ‘sides’ and attributing opinions to them that they haven’t expressed…”

    Remember how after Worldcon there was a series of con report blogs from a first-time con-goer guy who clearly identified as a puppy but who mentioned how welcome I’d made him feel when he bumped into me at the beginning of the con? Well evidently that warm feeling extended to tracking down and reading my books and evidently he’s really enjoying Alpennia. (I’m not linking on purpose because I try to avoid making readers aware of quite how much anxious monitoring I do of such things.) So keep that in mind if you’re tempted to make broad sweeping statements about what puppies do and don’t read or do and don’t like.

    Open minds matter. On all sides.

  12. Story Hospital is a new advice blog about the craft of writing (mostly sf, but questions about all types accepted) which says it grew out of a Readercon panel:

    At Readercon in 2016, I ran a program item called “Story Hospital” where writers got to have three 10-minute one-on-one conversations with story nurses (professional editors, teachers, longtime writers, critics, etc.) and fellow writers about their struggles with their current work in progress. It was a fantastic success. The writers found that condensing the explanation and discussion of their particular difficulties into just 10 minutes brought an amazing degree of clarity. I realized that an advice column would have the same advantages, with the bonus that other people could learn from each brief exchange of problem and solution. (And it wouldn’t be as noisy as 40 people having 20 conversations at once.) So I’m bringing Story Hospital to you through the magic of Patreon.

  13. If I were nominating today, I’d nominate the following five series;

    Miles Vorkosigan
    The Expanse
    Three Body Problem
    Poseidon’s Children
    The Laundry Files

    I’ve read all of three of these series and most of the other two. I think Bujold should be a clear winner for the quality and volume of the Miles Vorkosigan stories. If Bujold wins and the other four are eliminated, I probably have nothing to vote for next year. By the third or fouth year, we would be left with some weak nominees.

  14. So Tor.com is reopening their novellas next week to a new set of criteria, and I perk up. (the last set was heavily SF). The new criteria are:

    the epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, high fantasy, or quest fantasy genres, whether set on Earth or on an original fantasy world.

    Hurrah! My lesbian high fantasy adventure novella might find a home! I haven’t been able to yet – the length is a rare sell inboth Fantasy and LGBT markets, plus the LGBT places I’ve looked seem to always be romance-focused (this contains not even a token romance; both PoV characters are widows).

    However, we will only be considering novellas that inhabit worlds that are not modeled on European cultures. …To qualify, novellas should center the experiences of characters from non-European-inspired cultures.

    … no she won’t. Alas, while I have non-quasi-European settings, this one isn’t.

    For the record, I think this is an excellent move on their part. I heartily approve of the guidelines on every axis that isn’t purely selfish. I’m just a little sad for Teo.

  15. Milt Stevens: I’ve read all of three of these [five] series and most of the other two. I think Bujold should be a clear winner for the quality and volume of the Miles Vorkosigan stories. If Bujold wins and the other four are eliminated, I probably have nothing to vote for next year. By the third or fouth year, we would be left with some weak nominees.

    No, we wouldn’t. We’d be left with good series you hadn’t read. At which point, you could either read some of series you haven’t read, or you could choose not to nominate or vote in the Best Series category.

    I’ve read about 30 of the 160 or so series mentioned in the post and the comments here, and at least 10 of them are, in my estimation, worthy of winning Best Series. And I’ve only read less than 20% of the series which have actually had an entry published in 2016; there are numerous other series which don’t have a book out this year, but will have a book out next year. Plus fairly-new series which will hit the 3rd book and become eligible as time goes on.

  16. Lenora Rose on October 6, 2016 at 11:53 am said:

    For the record, I think this is an excellent move on their part. I heartily approve of the guidelines on every axis that isn’t purely selfish.

    Agreed. As a reader, I am often less than impressed with worldbuilding where the fantasy culture is less interesting than the real world non-European culture I live in.

  17. @Milt Stevens

    You wouldn’t consider voting for any of?
    Game of Thrones
    Name of the Wind
    Foreigner Series (Cherryh)
    Locke Lamora Chronicles
    Malazan Empire
    Ancillary Series (Leckie has said she will write more in this world)
    Craft Sequence
    Liaden Universe
    Vlad Taltos series
    Revelation Space

    There are a lot series out there, I doubt running out of things to nominate will be a problem.

  18. Didn’t Cherryh say she was working on a new Alliance/Union too? So there’s another big series right there.

  19. By the third or fouth year, we would be left with some weak nominees.

    But some of them could be back on the ballot after more books is my understanding


    No I wouldn’t nominate or vote for Game of Thrones or Name of the Wind because they are one continuous story which is still unfinished. That’s some thorny ground it will be fun to see where it all falls out.

  20. @Andrew M: I think it’s meant to be something like Best Artist or Best Semiprozine, where one won’t have read the whole semiprozine or seen the whole of the artist’s work; if some things stand out as good, that’s fine. Except, of course, that a series is supposed to have a degree of coherence unlike an artist or a semiprozine.
    But I think that caveat (Except, of course…) is a major sticking point for a Best Series Hugo; without it, you’ve essentially changed it to a Best Author award.

  21. With apologies to Paul Weller

    A pixeled car and a screaming siren
    A shuggoth trail and ripped up books
    A walrus wailing and stray pup howling
    The place of fifths and tea drinking

    That’s appertainment, that’s appertainment

    A file of scrolls and a rumble of boots
    A wretched hive and a bracket ‘head cloth
    Ink splattered walls and the award of a rocket
    Time machine appears and spews out pizza

    That’s appertainment, that’s appertainment.

  22. Why doesn’t Stirling’s “Emberverse” series get more love? I’ve really enjoyed all of the books, and now that he is into the story of the second generation, it’s getting more interesting. With two female protagonists, no less. He’s always written strong female characters, and they rescued the men as often as vice versa. Not to mention gay characters. And it’s all organic, which is to say, it’s all secondary to the plot and action of the story.

    I really really loved the “Island in the Sea of Time” books, and I kind of wish he’s revisit that branch of the multiverse he’s created.

  23. @Cally

    I’ve read the entire Malazan series and I like them a lot. Great worldbuilding, good characters, and interesting plotting. Main problem is that it might be too dense. Also, the first book Gardens Of The Moon is one of the most extreme cases of in medias res that I’ve seen–it tosses you in without nary a clue. Only Ninefox Gambit comes close in my book.

  24. I read Gardens of the Moon. Didn’t like it. All the things I don’t want a fantasy novel to be. I think that’s a mismatch of book and reader, though, not actually a weakness of the book, though.

    But nothing will induce me to read more of them.

  25. Just my 2 cents: The Malazan books are fantastic, and are the best example of Military Fantasy that comes to mind (mind you, the only other thing that comes to mind to me is The Black Company). It’s also one of my favourite recent works.

    Given that, I’ve got to say that Gardens of the Moon is also probably one of the most difficult starting-novels-to-a-series that I’ve read, as so much of it makes sense only after around the 3rd book. So, a greater level of forgiveness would be needed to get over that hurdle.

    Worth it tho

  26. @snowcrash I agree. GOTM drops readers into the deep end. Those who are willing to go to the second book are well prepared and can get into the series like a rocket, but the first book was a tough slog to manage.

    I had gotten GOTM by accident because a used bookstore in downtown Minneapolis had remainder copies from the UK of the first three novels (this was a couple of years before the US editions hit). I picked them up, read Gardens, and felt like I had drunk a pan galactic gargle blaster. But Deadhouse Gates, I grokked.

  27. Gardens of The Moon? Nope. Managed to read 100 pages or so and I still find it to be one of the worst books I’ve ever tried to read.

    Another book that drops you in the middle of the story was Tom Lloyd’s The Stormcaller. A lot of history that has taken place before that you try to puzzle together during the books. I liked that series, but it was confusing sometimes.

  28. 5) Having run into a particularly annoying Facebook thread, I went looking for a Black Superheroes Racism Bingo card to post in it. Apparently there is not one… yet. Here’s what I collected toward creating one out of that single thread (all from one person, yet!); looking for more squares:

    1. If it’s not racist to say that [traditionally black character] should be black, then it’s also not racist to say that [traditionally white character] should be white.
    2. The decision of the original creator should be final for all time.
    3. If you want heroes who aren’t white, make up new ones!
    4. PANDERING! (or “They only did it for the money.”)
    5. Okay, as long as you balance the percentage of black supervillains TOO.
    6. Because GENETICS! (for re-imagined black heroes with families)
    7. BLAXPLOITATION! (said by a white person)

    15) I still make phone calls regularly, but with a limited set of contacts — either close friends, or business relationships. And even with the former, unless it’s a time-critical thing I’m more likely to send a text, e-mail, or FB message. Incoming calls have a remarkable tendency to arrive when I’m in the middle of doing something else, and I don’t like to inflict that on other people. In fact, when I’m calling someone just to chat, I’m likely to send a text first asking if they’re available; I consider this to be an extension of the old-fashioned courtesy of calling someone before you drop by their house, to see if it’s a convenient time.

    @ Vicki: Not at a con, but at several SCA events and one contradance after-party.

  29. @ bookworm1398:
    Changed World
    Toby Daye (or any of Seanan’s other series)
    Young Wizards, if/when another one comes out
    … and for that matter, if she ever finishes The Door Into Starlight, I will vote for that series SO FAST

  30. Lee:

    “I can say this, because I have a black friend / co-worker, and they’re fine with/ not offended by it.”

  31. re the element-of-series issue: note that there’s already been a possible subsetting problem: the Daenerys parts of A Game of Thrones were published separately as “Blood of the Dragon”, which won the 1997 Novella Hugo. Unfortunately, the relevant page doesn’t list nominees that didn’t make the cut, so I can’t tell whether aGoT was excluded (or volunteered off), or missed the cut.

    @Hampus: I get an invitation to those once every month. Nudity does not say much about how well I know someone. As we’ve said before: Sweden is not the U.S.

    @Karl-Johan Norén: the issue with Helsinki hotels isn’t that they’re different, it’s that they’re bloody inconvenient compared to many US sites. (I get the impression they might not be worse than Spokane, but Spokane was the worst US site I can think of for hotel scatter.)

  32. @Chip: European cities and hotels are simply built on different principles than US cities and hotels. The con and the city also went above and beyond in helping to deal with the hotels being mostly in other places than the Messukeskus.

    I agree that Worldcon 75 could have been better at informing about the hotel situation, but then I know exactly how hard it is to communicate something, especially when that runs counter to the ingrained expectations.

  33. I phone my mother (and vice versa) on a regular basis and my text-allergic brother a fair amount, though he does e-mail and I’m arguing with him on Facebook. My husband and I call as often as text for such things as “By the way, while you’re grocery shopping, pick up…”

  34. My issue with the Helsinki hotels was that the “accessible” one still looked like a nightmare for people in wheelchairs and scooters. And just how disabled do you have to be to get one of the coveted rooms? You can’t ask for proof, which means anyone could book there. And, yes, inconvenience for the others, which wasn’t explained before the vote at all.

    @Lee: Young Wizards had a new story published this year, and is thus eligible for next year! It’s on my list.

  35. lurkertype:

    “My issue with the Helsinki hotels was that the “accessible” one still looked like a nightmare for people in wheelchairs and scooters. “

    That sounds strange. Regulations in Finland with regards to accessibility should be among the worlds most advanced. As far as I know the problems should at most be distance from the convention center.

  36. @Darren Garrison: Of course. We’re at a point now where The Simpsons no longer imitates life; life imitates it.

  37. @Heather Rose Jones good point (about Puppies reading and liking things individually rather than as a monolith *and* about Puppies reading and liking a greater variety of things than one might think.)

    Thank you for doing your bit to help keep us aware of that.

  38. Sorry for the late replies:

    @JJ: Ah, if you’re right about the “Game of Thrones” thing, then yes, barring something special in the rules, which I don’t have time to browse right now. I have no logical reason the fact that they feel differently to me, though they do

    @Standback: I, uh, what? I can return an audiobook? A digital goods return policy? How unexpectedly user-friendly! I mean, I’ve been very happy with Audible.com customer service, mind you – I just wouldn’t expect this. Thanks for the heads up! I can’t believe I didn’t know this. I still would rather they simply had longer samples, but something I’m really on the fence about, your suggestion’s a great work-around. 🙂

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