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. My last phone call was to someone who I haven’t seen naked, though she may have seen me naked; that non-reflexive relationship is common with older relatives.

    There are also a nontrivial number of friends and acquaintances I have seen naked but wouldn’t call and don’t consider myself on intimate terms with, then or now. What? You mean not everyone has been to clothing-optional swimming parties? Who else here remembers Hexacon?


    Who is Edward L. Green, and why is he in the scroll? (hint, hint)

  3. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Alas that all the links in Renay’s SH essay are 404s! *(firing up Google)*

    They’ve all got an extra year in the URL, just remove the 2016/ :


  4. Vicki Rosenzweig: You mean not everyone has been to clothing-optional swimming parties? Who else here remembers Hexacon?

    I was too late coming to fandom, and missed out on the rampant-nudity-and-wanton-sex era.

    I’m still trying to figure out whether I feel bad about that.

  5. 15) I don’t text, and I do a lot of email to coordinate convention running because cc’ing a phone call doesn’t work — but I’ve made plenty of phone calls for specific convention (or other fannish) items. (My biggest issue is the people who don’t even do email, as I don’t have the time for social media.) I think Noah thinks he’s discovered the next “bowling alone” — and he’s at least as inaccurate as that author was. I don’t know how accurate his assessment of work is right now, but I called plenty of people through the beginning of 2013 (when I retired); a lot of them I would \never/ see across a lunch table because they were several time zones away (which was another reason to use emails whenever the lack of bandwidth wasn’t fatal), but even the local ones weren’t subject to that constraint. Is it possible he’s in too solitary a profession, and mistaking himself for the norm?

  6. JJ on October 5, 2016 at 6:30 pm said:

    I was too late coming to fandom, and missed out on the rampant-nudity-and-wanton-sex era.

    Wait. It’s over? So that’s why I keep getting kicked out of consuites.


    I find the rationale expressed in this piece puzzling.

    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”.

    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 judgment.

    I do agree that Best Series and Best Novel Hugos shouldn’t go to the same work in any given year. But it’s not clear to me whether Article 3.8.7 applies, given that a “work” in the series sense is the entire series, and not just the latest installment published in the eligibility year:

    3.8.7: If a work is eligible in more than one category, and if the work receives sufficient nominations to appear in more than one category, the Worldcon Committee shall determine in which category the work shall appear, based on the category in which it receives the most nominations.

    And the 3.3.X Best Series clause says “previously been a finalist”, but does not clarify whether that refers only to the Best Series category, or to any Hugo category.

    3.3.X Best Series. A multi-volume science fiction or fantasy story, unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation, appearing in at least three (3) volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the previous calendar year, at least one of which was published in the previous calendar year. If such a work has previously been a finalist,
    it shall be eligible only upon the publication, since it qualified for its last appearance on the final ballot and by the end of the previous calendar year, of at least two (2) additional volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words, and further provided it has not won under 3.3.X before.

    It seems to me that we were remiss in the Business Meeting in not specifying whether that “previously” refers to just the Best Series category, or to the other fiction categories as well.

  8. I trained my editor not to call me, but to use email. My agent and my mother still call, but I’m slowly getting them over to text. My dad just reads my blog.

    The only person I talk to on the phone willingly is my publicist, usually at two in the morning, going “No, they don’t have the card on file again…yes, I’ll put them on…”

  9. 1) For the first few years, I expect any series popular enough to be nominated will be something I already have an opinion on, positive or negative. Later, there might be an issue with having to read a lot, but I am not going to worry about that now.

  10. I tend to assume phone calls are Not Good. Not an assumption I could have imagined fifteen years ago.

    Boring is often underrated. It means nothing bad is happening.

    If you haven’t read Bandersnatch yet, fmgrab this chance to listen to it.

    Fourth fifth!

  11. @Catfish

    Of course awards are a popularity contest! That’s the whole frelling point!

    Well, sort of…although books can be popular and still be mind-bogglingly badFifty Shades of Grey, anyone? Twilight? The Hugos’ own perpetual embarrassment, They’d Rather Be Right? (In my case, referring back to the Lady Business 60 books link, I hated hated hated Franny Billingsley’s Chime. Couldn’t finish it and damn near buried it in the wall. And yet it turns up on that list. I guess everyone is allowed a stinker.)

  12. Catfish: Of course awards are a popularity contest! That’s the whole frelling point!

    Bonnie McDaniel: Well, sort of…although books can be popular and still be mind-bogglingly bad…

    Yes, but Hugos don’t go to the books which are the most popular with the general population, they go to the books which are the most popular with the Hugo voters (although there is sometimes some overlap).

    Now, granted, the criteria that Hugo nominators use (is it innovative? does it do something in a new way? does it have a powerful effect on the reader?) tend to involve a bit higher expectations than those of people who buy bestsellers… but the whole point of the Hugo Awards is that they are Worldcon’s popularity contest.

    The fact that there are people, such as the person in 1), who say “it will be a Hugos popularity contest”, as if that’s a bad thing, is what mystifies me.

    What, did he think we created the award category so that we could all nominate and vote for book series that we don’t actually like??? Does he think that’s what we should do instead?

  13. @Bonnie McDaniel: I read “popularity” as meaning “popular with the voters.” My other half has complained that the Hugos are “just a popularity contest,” which never made any sense to me. We’re hardly going to vote for things we don’t like.

    On the other paw, many voters reading and liking something doesn’t mean they all feel it’s award-worthy. So maybe “popularity” with a couple of unsurprising footnotes?

    ETA: Ninja’d by @JJ. So totally ninja’d!

  14. Kendall: Ninja’d by @JJ. So totally ninja’d!

    Great minds… uh… something something. 😉

    ETA: Or, as Mal Reynolds would say:
    “Great minds think alike. Guess I’ve just got a good mind. Ah, well, my mind’s all right.”

  15. Kvetch of the day: Since audiobooks usually range, let’s say, 6 to 20 hours or something, it would be nice if Audible had samples longer than 3-5 minutes.

    For example, anyone listened to the audiobook of Waypoint Kangeroo by Curtis C. Chen, read by P.J. Ochlan? Already on my list based on the description, plus the “My Favorite Bit” piece at MRK’s blog amused me. I’m just not 100% sure about the narration. :-/ His accent’s different from when he did “The Last Witness” by K.J. Parker, which I enjoyed (“as I said: I’m no angel”), but I’m not sure I like his sound as much on “Waypoint.” But it’s a short sample! (Oddly, the iTunes audio sample is from a different spot.) On the other paw: present tense (ugh) which I’m thinking maybe works better in audio.

    Grumble. For a 12 hour book, couldn’t they give a solid 15-minute chunk? That’d only be 2% of the book.

    ETA: LOL @JJ.

  16. To borrow from JJ: Today’s Meredith Moment

    Barnes & Noble is offering a collectible edition of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys in one volume, a high-quality leather bound hardback, for a surprisingly reasonable price. (At least I thought so; I pre-ordered that sucker right away.)

  17. I’m caught up after being away for a couple weeks. Hi all.

    We don’t have an award people complain. We look into adding one and people complain. We tease drive one complaints. Good to see fandom behaving normally.

    I do think rule needs to be modified “finalist in best series” as from all I’ve read over the last couple years I believe that was the intent.

    It’s been fascinating the difference in many of my black friends reaction vs white friends to Luke Cage. Mostly in higher enthusiasm and awesome levels by my black friends. The frustration of not being able to watch TV due to brain damage is high right now.

  18. @Bonnie McDaniel: I really liked the cover, and I’m not frequently one for designs like that. It looks very nice.

    @Tasha Turner: I was wondering about you; welcome back!

  19. Tasha Turner: I do think rule needs to be modified “finalist in best series” as from all I’ve read over the last couple years I believe that was the intent.

    I’m fine with that, as long as 3.8.7 is modified/ clarified to say that a series/entry can either be nominated for Best Series, or for Best [Fiction Category], but not both.

  20. “You mean not everyone has been to clothing-optional swimming parties?”

    I get an invitation to those once every month. Nudity does not say much about how well I know someone.

  21. @JJ

    I thought that was covered by the general rules already – something can’t be in 2 categories as series is a Hugo. I might be misremembering something from 2016 business meeting. I’m not up to reading all of the rules and meeting minutes which Jared Dashoff kindly linked to in the Best Series post to confirm. Too much still going on IRL currently.

  22. Tasha Turner: I thought that was covered by the general rules already – something can’t be in 2 categories as series is a Hugo.

    It’s not.

    A series, and one book in that series, are technically two different works — unless the rules specifically say that they’re not. Which means that it’s left to Hugo Admins to decide.

    So what we’ve got right now is the potential for Hugo Admins in 2017 to say that both Gentleman Jole and the Vorkosigan Saga can be finalists in their respective categories, because they are not the same “work” — and then the Hugo Admins in 2018 to say that both Ancillary Translator and the Imperial Radch can not both be finalists in their respective categories, because they are the same “work”.

    I don’t think we want to leave that kind of loophole in the rules.



    From Renays text:

    “Fandom is community at its best and worst. Fandom is humanity at its best and worst. However insurmountable the future feels as we drag our fandoms, especially the science fiction and fantasy fandom, into a more inclusive world, it’s never hopeless. We’ll do it, together, in all the myriad forms together will take.”

    I kind of think Fandom as a bit more of the best than of the worst. Because it is people working together often for free for things they love. I think I will volunteer a bit more at next WorldCon.

  24. @JJ: Re. 3.8.7, but they’re not the same work; one is a subset of the other, sure, but in Best Series, one nominates the series, not the novel. So on the surface, I don’t feel like they’re in conflict. Also this could lead to some weird stuff like many different parts of a series (say, a short, novella, and novel) nominated = okay, but if it’s also in Best Series = either the series or all the rest have be booted. Hmm.

    This feels especially weird for short fiction not being allowed on the ballot at the same time as a series, if it goes that route. (I realize you don’t like short stories as a qualifying part of a series, if I understood you right in the other thread.)

    Anyway, we do need a built-in rule either way, not (as you point out) a ruling that could be inconsistently done over the years. I’m still not sure what I think – just thinking out loud (that’s the smoke, don’t worry).

  25. I’ve got Bandersnatch in audio sitting here right now, and am really looking forward to it. Got a few things that need reading first, though.

  26. (1) Yes, the Best Series as proposed isn’t perfect. The same is true for every other Hugo Category. It will likely work out in the end

    (3) I believe US fandom (or possibly North American fandom) has a somewhat weird relation with rest-of-world-fandom(s). It seems they both love to go to exotic places and are afraid going there, as evidenced by the frequent meltdowns on things not being as at home (recent case being the hotel situation for Worldcon 75). The fear that I’ve seen expressed due to Castalia House being situated in Finland, or the non-English awards will dominate the Hugos seems to be another angles to this coin.

    (I can think of several reasons why Hugo finalists continues to be dominated by US-published works even for Worldcons outside the US, starting with that Hugo voting and nominating to a large degree is a matter of habit.)

    (4) Not wrong, but kind of bland and superficial as well. Though Ben Yallow’s comments on “Conjure Wife” is worth it.

    (16) What, I thought a volcanologist was someone who studied Donald A. Wollheim?!?

  27. Kendall:

    Am I correct in remembering that GRRM was made to choose between having GoT in BDPLF and BDPSF, or was that something he merely did of his own volition?

    If it’s the former, then that would set a precedent for Series and the other fiction categories.

    If it’s the latter, it’s open season, and I think that the rules need to be defined as to whether an episode of a show qualifies as being the same “work” as the season which contained that episode, and whether a novel from a series qualifies as being the same “work” as the series itself.

    I’m not terribly comfortable with the idea of a series, and a novel from that series, both getting to win Hugos in the same year.


    I think the key to part of his argument comes just before the quoted part. He says

    In an ideal world, nominators nominate the best they’ve read, and when the finalists are announced, all the eligible voters scramble to get their hands on the candidates.

    Would people read all 31 books of Terry Brooks’ Shannara series?

    How does that work for series? Would people really read four books of The Gentleman Bastard? Six books of A Song of Ice and Fire? Sixteen books of The Dresden Files? 31 books of The Riftwar Cycle?

    I agree with his first para there – the key to getting a credible result in the Hugos is that having nominated your favourites, you then read other peoples favourites and judge fairly.

    So when he then says

    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.

    in the “familiar with” part he’s essentially worrying that the ability of the voters to read fully and judge fairly is going to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material*, and I think it’s a legitimate concern. I’m not as convinced by his “attached to” argument though.

    *(not to mention the cost – the minimum result is 5 trilogies, and given that it seems to be about 50-50 whether we get a complete novel in the packet or an extended excerpt, and I doubt many publishers will go full WoT, that’s a lot of books to buy….)


    I finished Luke Cage earlier in the week (and will avoid spoilers). I’d put it below Jessica Jones but above or on a par with Daredevil S1. I was interested when Nussbaum references The Wire, as midway through my watch I realised that was what it was reminding me of, but she primarily references it as a crime story. For me, the essential ingredient of The Wire that LC manages to bring in is that it is a story about a community and the place it lives. All of the Netflix MCU shows have been trying to do this, but by determinedly following different strands of characters in the community LC is the first to really succeed.
    (Although Nussbaum is right to question the results of that portrayal)

  29. “The fear that I’ve seen expressed due to Castalia House being situated in Finland, or the non-English awards will dominate the Hugos seems to be another angles to this coin.”

    What I’ve heard, Castalia House’s presence in Finland is one person in total and that person has no contact with fandom whatsoever.

  30. @Mark, thanks! That’s exactly what I was going for.

    It’s not that other categories aren’t popularity contests – in some sense, of course they are. But I’m assuming if you haven’t read the nominated work, you’ll get familiar with it, and with series, that’s a lot of work (and yes, there’s cost involved).

    My assumption was “the work” is different, since people specifically nominate the series as a whole and the novel as an individual part. If the series was complete and it was nominated for Best Novel, then 3.8.7 would apply. Similarly, the re-nomination would apply only to the series and not take into account nominations for individual parts in other categories.

    I noticed there was also discussion about sub-series, which was nice. I guess it’s not clear how those would apply when it comes to re-nomination? Could separate subseries of a larger whole win multiple Best Series awards?

    And yeah, I do assume people will read at least a reasonable portion of the nominated work before voting, and I worry that people won’t be able to do that with series they don’t know – and this leads to them leaning towards what they are familiar with rather than what’s “best” – hence the (admittedly in this context derogative) popularity contest.

    On that vein, I’ll be happy if something I’ve read and loved ends up winning Best Series in 2017 or later. At the same time, it’ll probably end up being one of the categories I won’t be voting on, since I don’t see myself actually being able to get to know the nominees. And, of course, I’m perfectly fine with that.

  31. Ack! Mike noticed my birthday (which was yesterday)! 🙂

    Re phone calls. For work purposes I get a lot of calls at work, but as a personal thing, I prefer to use texts and Instant Messages and email for communication for non-intimates.

  32. @Kendall:

    Kvetch of the day: Since audiobooks usually range, let’s say, 6 to 20 hours or something, it would be nice if Audible had samples longer than 3-5 minutes.

    This took me a little while to get used to, but: Audible has a no-questions-asked return policy on audiobooks, and yes, it is really as smooth as they claim.

    So the basic answer is: Buy the book, listen to an hour, return if you don’t like it.

    (My kvetch regarding Audible samples is that, both in the Android application and when accessing the website on mobile, the sample stops if your screen goes off or if you move away from the window. Listening to samples before I buy is really frustrating.)

  33. @Hampus: Yes, and anyone familiar with Finnish fandom will know that the chances of various Puppies taking over the Hugos next year due to Worldcon being in Finland WILL know that those fears are utterly ungrounded.

    But it hasn’t stopped fen not familiar with Finnish fandom from expressing worries, or various Puppies gloating about that this will be Beale’s golden chance.

  34. Filers might remember Judith Tarr’s precarious financial situation signal boosted in Pixel Scroll 5/4/16 (Take Another) Piece Of My Artificial Heart. No updates since then but the background situation is likely to cause things to continue to be tight even if she got a dig-out then.
    She has a new book out, and people might like to support her by buying her work. (I’d be buying it anyway since I’m a big fan.) Details and sample at Book View Café.

  35. (15) Do video calls count? I know plenty of people who video call for work and personal reasons. When I had a normal job, I would take plenty of regular voice-only phone calls from students (and prospective students), and from other teams and departments. I’d also make a lot of phone calls internally as it was often a much faster way of getting things done than by email, if you can reach the right person. The heads of department and directors and other generally important people would also often conference call as it was frequently the only way they could all get together to discuss things in their busy schedules.

  36. @Karl-Johan Norén, Hampus: And looking past fandom, Castalia House doesn’t have much of a foothold there either.

    According to their web site, one of Vox Day’s books should be translated into Finnish, but at least bookstore web sites don’t list it. Some English versions are available on some stores, but not, for example, in supermarkets.

    It also looks like they haven’t bothered to provide the books to National Library, which is mandated by law. I don’t know if the public database is comperehensive, though.

  37. @Sami

    But I’m assuming if you haven’t read the nominated work, you’ll get familiar with it, and with series, that’s a lot of work (and yes, there’s cost involved).

    Ah, I apologize, I think I missed the point of your argument the first read-through.

    As someone who frequently struggles to read the Campbell novels and the unread main novels in the ~4 months provided I think having to potentially add, say, 15 new novels (if they are all completed trilogies) would certainly give me the shivers. So I can totally see how that could be too much homework for some. But I would hope people do the responsible thing and not vote if they haven’t read everything but you are correct that “popular” series people may have read already will get the nod— but I think this already happens too to some extent in the other categories. Anyone brave enough to confirm?

  38. (14) BUCKAROO BANZAI CAN’T GET ACROSS THE AMAZON.: Just tweak the character a bit, such as renaming him Kangaroo Kansai and making him of mixed Australian/Japanese heritage. “You call that a knife? This is a knife… well, technically, it’s a katana, but the same general principle of ‘bladed weaponry’ applies!”

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