Pixel Scroll 11/8 Five If By Scroll

(1) Mari Ness tweeted from World Fantasy Con that when she was unable to get her wheelchair on the dais, her co-panelists moved their seats to the floor. Crystal Huff shared a photo of the scene —

(2) Galactic Journey, whose blogger is a time traveler living 55 years in the past, reports that Kennedy defeated Nixon in today’s U.S. presidential election.

And so the 1960 election ends with the country divided sharply, not just demographically, but physically.  Nixon swept the West and Appalachia.  Kennedy won the Northeast and South.  Yet, it is a testament to how far we’ve come since the election just a century ago that the losing half of the populace will not riot or secede.  In two months, they will give their respect and reverence (though perhaps with a modicum of grumbling) to the new President.

The burgeoning Space Race, decolonization, Communist expansionism, and desegregation are going to be the volatile issues of the 1960s.  Let’s all hope that President Kennedy, whether he’s in the White House for four or eight years, will be up to tackling them.

(3) Suggestions are pouring in about what image should replace Lovecraft on the World Fantasy Award. Kurt Busiek’s idea is one of the most peculiar expensive ambitious.

(4) “Warner Brothers Is Reportedly Negotiating With The BBC To Include ‘Doctor Who’ In ‘The LEGO Movie 2’” reports ScienceFiction.com.

Now comes word that ‘Doctor Who’ the ultra successful BBC sci fi series, may crossover into the cinematic sequel to ‘The LEGO Movie’!  Director Rob Schrab appeared on the Harmontown Podcast and teased that Warner Brothers was in negotiations with the BBC to work The Doctor into the highly anticipated sequel, which sadly won’t be out until 2018.  (‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ will arrive first, in 2017.

(5) I missed a golden opportunity to follow yesterday’s Marcus Aurelius reference with this tweet by Paul Weimer, who is touring Italy this week.

(6) Does Brad R. Torgersen need to “get” Marcus Aurelius references? I don’t know whether he does or not, and if he still gets paid, does it matter? I pondered this question while reading Torgersen’s take on the recent topic of science fiction classics in “Classics: A Third Way” at Mad Genius Club. And don’t assume I’m hostile to his points – while I’ve read lots of classic sf, I haven’t read most Burroughs or A. Merritt, etc. Their devotees are probably as disappointed as Le Guin readers will be about Torgersen’s lack of interest in her work.

I have occasionally seen good-hearted appeals to community. “Let’s patch this crazy field back together again!”

But a community requires common touchstones, and at least some degree of shared values. It ought to now be obvious (in the year 2015) that there are no more shared touchstones, nor any single set of shared values spanning the total spectrum of fans and professionals. There are simply disparate circles of interest, some overlapping with others, but none overlapping with all. They each have their own touchstones, and they each esteem different things.…

Thus, the third way acknowledges the men and women who built the field, without saddling new fans and authors with the unpleasant chore of having to push up-hill through thousands of books and thousands of stories, all the while never even catching up to what’s current.

Like any culture argument, this one won’t ever be settled. Nor am I trying to have a last word. I am merely thinking about my own experience — as someone who came in very “late” and who can’t mass-consume every single piece of the field, dating back to the 1920s or beyond, much less everything generated in 2015 alone. It’s too much.

But with some curiosity and a little research, I was able to make myself aware of the field’s major literary players. At least up through 1994. New players have since emerged. Some of them probably are (*ahem*) for lack of a better term, overhyped. But many are not. I think Andy Weir’s book is liable to go down as having been a very significant landmark in the SF/F of the new century — just like Hugh Howey’s Wool universe, and of course J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Past a certain point, audience penetration becomes self-sustaining and self-expanding. “Viral” is the term most people under thirty would use today.

Knowing the new landmarks, as well as the old, is (in my opinion) a happy chore that shouldn’t consume a lot of time. Just pay attention to what’s going on. Read the things that look genuinely interesting to you. And don’t feel bad if you can’t get to everything. Nobody can. Nobody has, for many decades. And nobody will. Let it not be your fault, as long as you’ve seen the forest for the trees.

(7) Jeff VanderMeer said on Facebook:

People on twitter seem upset/incensed/incredulous that I voluntarily smelled rotted whale mixed with the mud it rotted in. In a bottle. Like, if I’d had no choice, no problem. But that I actually said to the incredulous biodiversity museum volunteer, “Yeah, uncork that and give me a whiff,” somehow makes me dubious. Well, I’m a fiction writer. I’d smell a bear’s ass if it gave me a sensory advantage I needed in a story.

(8) I have never sniffed rotted whale and I’ve never played Fallout, however, I’m not so opposed to doing the latter after enjoying Adam Whitehead’s “Fallout Franchise Familiariser” at The Wertzone.

On Tuesday, Bethesda Softworks will release the computer roleplaying game Fallout 4. The previous games in the series have sold tens of millions of copies, and Fallout 4 will likely be battling with Star Wars: Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops III for the title of biggest-selling game of the year. A lot of people are going to be talking about it, but what if you have no idea what the hell the thing is about? Time for a Franchise Familiariser course.

(9) Mari Ness also sent a wistfully humorous tweet from WFC:

(10) Let everyone on the road know where you stand with the Godzilla Attack Family Car Sticker Set

Godzilla Attack Family Car Sticker

No more boring stick figures! With these customizable stickers, show off your love for fun and imagination. All sets start with a large, Godzilla decal, over 6.5 inches in height. Being chased by Godzilla, is a family. The default family is a Dad, Mom, Girl and Boy. In total, the set comes with a Large Godzilla chasing a family of 4, made up of a dad, mom, girl and boy stick figure.

The same business will also sell you the Family of Silly Walks car sticker, a Doctor Who-themed family car sticker, the Cthulhu Family car sticker, and others…

(11) Today In History

  • November 8, 1895William Conrad Röntgen discovers x-rays; Superman was given one of this abilities beyond those of mortal men, and 50s sci-fi movies were never the same…. (How is it you know what I mean, when this sentence makes no grammatical sense?)

(12) Today’s Birthday Boys

  • November 8, 1836Milton Bradley began to amass his fortune by selling The Checkered Game of Life only after suffering a business setback —

When he printed and sold an image of the little-known Republican presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln, Bradley initially met with great success. But a customer demanded his money back because the picture was not an accurate representation—Lincoln had decided to grow his distinctive beard after Bradley’s print was published. Suddenly, the prints were worthless, and Bradley burned those remaining in his possession…

His drama reviews brought him to the attention of Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905), a tall, dark and well-regarded actor of the Victorian era who was said to have served as an influence for Stoker’s Count Dracula. Stoker eventually became Irving’s manager and also worked as a manager for the Lyceum Theater in London. He published several horror novels in the 1890s before the debut of his most famous work, “Dracula,” in 1897.

  • November 8, 1932 – Ben Bova

(13) Today’s Internet Winner

The advertisement that quoted John is here….

(14) A recent art exhibition in Turin was inspired by Theodore Sturgeon’s “The Dreaming Jewels” — “So Much More Than the Sum of Its Tropes” at Norma Mangione Gallery, Turin. The exhibition title even references a Jo Walton review of Sturgeon.

The exhibition in which the works act as “figurative places” of the scenes from Sturgeon’s book, asks the spectator to move around inside the space in the way in which you move in a narrative text, with the suspension of disbelief typical of fiction and the analytic and personal participation that characterizes the fruition of art: painting after painting, sculpture after sculpture, intervention after intervention. All the way to the point of imitating the act of immersive reading in the trans human movement inside the gallery.

Curated by Gianluigi Ricuperati with the collaboration of Elisa Troiano. Works by Antonia Carrara, Raphael Danke, Fabian Marti, Nucleo, Elisa Sighicelli, Michael E. Smith.

The exhibition closed October 28.

[Thanks to Matthew Davis, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]


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276 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/8 Five If By Scroll

  1. To have classics you must have a canon.

    Turn it around, and if you think there are classics you think there’s a canon. Then you care about what’s canonical. You want the stuff you like to have that canonical status.

    If you’ve noticed that there can’t be a canon — too much being written, and no-one with the ability to enforce a canon (reading SF is not like the Confucian Civil Service exams…) — and are OK with that, you’re not going to understand the concern to designate classical status.

    You might react badly to an attempt to not talk about “classic” and instead talk about “formative”, too. (Formative needs a context; formative to what? My personal taste? the field? Generational writing aspirations?)

  2. I was ten when Star Wars came out and I despised it deeply. Mind you – I still managed to see it ten times in the theaters, so I was perfectly willing to admit it was great fun, but it was not Important and Significant and I was a little pompous shite.

    On the other hand my tastes are an outlier: I loved Start Trek The Motion Picture (which was my first exposure to Trek which was not shown in Italy then), hated The Wrath Of Khan.

    I still think that the Return Of The Jedi is an appalling mess, as are number 2 and to a lesser degree 3 of the prequels, but I loved The Phantom Menace. Maybe I am overcompensating for my earlier dislike of SW? Whatever.

  3. In sweden, a canon consists of works that have been highly influential on others, being part of shaping the culture around it. A classic is a book that has remained popular in itself, regardless of influence on others.

    Canon is something decided on by some kind of authority. The rest of us just makes lists of classics. There was highly politicized discussion about creating a swedish canon around 2006, but I think it didn’t get support enough.

  4. No, his knowledge came from reading the SF encyclipedia he spoke of. …

    That’s not really any better.

    Oh I don’t know. Didn’t Master Li say in The Story of the Stone:

    A fool will study for twenty or thirty years and learn how to do something, but a wise man will study for twenty or thirty minutes and become an expert

  5. In 1977 I was 20 when I bought a paperback by a new author, Star Wars by George Lucas. I seemed like it was the kind of space opera I liked. A blurb on the back cover said “Soon to be a spectacular motion picture!” I remember saying to my future wife “We will have to see this movie.” A few months later it was all the rage and we waited in line to see it. I think I might be one of the few who read the book first.

  6. Searching the L.A. library catalog for author = Heinlein get a 17-page list, not all of whom are the SF Heinlein, and not all of which are in English.

  7. Wow, I would have figured that all the puppies would have read and memorized Starship Troopers, and (of course) absolutely nothing else by RAH. Just judging by the way they fetishize both Mr. Heinlein and MilSF, since it’s just about the only thing by Heinlein that really deals with the military (as opposed to, say, a rag-tag band of misfit revolutionaries), I’d guessed it was required reading for all pups.

    (Of course, I assume they’d all skip the end, which has elements they probably wouldn’t care for, but the rest of it seems right up their alley. Except for the minor detail they’d probably happily overlook, that it’s totally message fic. Like so much of Heinlein’s work.)

    That said, I’m curious about Brad’s claim that Starship Troopers is Heinlein’s best-known novel. Did the crappy movie really boost its popularity that much? Growing up, I always heard people talk about Stranger in a Strange Land more than just about anything else. Of course, given that novel’s strong association with hippies, I’d assume the puppies would be perfectly happy to pretend it doesn’t exist. 🙂

  8. nanowrimo: 9 days, 22314 words, and my story just manifested a supernatural octopus secret agent guy. Was not expecting that. But it’s less boring than yet another magical humanoid type.
    The progression was something like
    OK this guy is not what he seems, someone used to seeing not quite humans notices that his movements are just slightly wrong.
    He’s a supernatural shapeshifter/camouflage-artist with Glamor (in the magical sense)
    And when the Glamor flickers his skin tone is way wrong
    because there is no red behind it because his blood… is not … red
    At that point I realized he was a tall octopus stuffed into human clothes and squishing himself into being human shaped.
    Fortunately, having octopus people with illusion skillz cranked up to 11 works for some stuff that was going to be happening on the seacoast eventually.
    The story takes itself seriously. But I’m having LOTS of fun.

  9. I love the car stickers; there are some other gems in their collection, too.

    I can’t bring myself to care what Torgersen says about almost anything, even if he’s having a “not-so-crazy Brad” day.

    @Meredith: I know generic recs aren’t very useful, but my other half enjoys the “Phryne Fisher” books. 🙂 I’m not usually into mysteries, so I can’t say much beyond that, except despite being short, there are usually two mysteries in the slender volumes, IIRC.

  10. I was in college when Star Wars came out, an a bunch of us went on opening night. When the Star Destroyer just kept coming on and on and ON, I was hooked: it gave me a shot of pure Sense of Wonder, straight to the id.

    I don’t remember us talking about it as a Nixon allegory, but I *do* remember that one of my friends come up with this theory, in the 3 years between “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back”, that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. “Because it’s a myth!” she said, “They’re always like that!”

    Seeing Empire raw and unspoiled for the first time, it was a true Conceptual Breakthrough moment.

    On the other hand, when Darth and Obi-Wan were lining up for their duel, it was like a scrim dropped down in front of my eyes, with BRIDGE OF KHAZAD-DUM written on it. So I was *completely* unsurprised and vindicated when astral!Obi-Wan showed up later.

  11. emgrasso: I love the idea of an octopus in people clothes.

    Xtifr: For once, I think Brad’s right; “Starship Troopers” is Heinlein’s best-known work. There were (crappy) movies, it’s short, there’s no sex or cussing, so more people have read it. Particularly when young — it’s often in school libraries because it’s technically Heinlein’s last juvenile, it appeals to boys, and it’s patriotic. Which makes it even more surprising that Brad hasn’t.* ISTR some portions of the Marines have ST as required reading, so I kinda thought all the right-wing military guys had absorbed it.

    * (he’s not allowed to curse, look at porn, watch R-rated movies, or drink alcohol or caffeine; seems to me he’d have LOTS more time to read than most guys!)

  12. Starship Troopers was the Heinlein book we never had at home and when I read it 10 years after the others I thought it was kind of meh. In sweden, its popularity would easily have been exceeded by The Moon is A Harsh Mistress, Double Star, Door into Summer and Stranger in a Strange Land.

  13. @ Vasha

    That brutal logic is part of what makes it a brilliant story. The author didn’t try to sanitize the format/message.

    Bone Swans may only get our 2 nominations, but I certainly think it’s Hugo quality.

    Thanks again for deconstructing some of the background tales and tropes. I’m probably going to reread it at some point, in part to try and spot those influences.

  14. @Vasha

    Thanks for your post on Bone Swans of Amandale, I really liked hearing about the allusions I’d not recognised. Re: “Vg vf bayl ol erpbtavmvat uvf hajbeguvarff gung ur cebirf jbegul.” V’q nyfb nqq gung ur’f whfg orra guebhtu n frys-fnpevsvpr naq erovegu plpyr; creuncf uvf erpbtavgvba bs hajbeguvarff fgnegrq n ovg rneyvre va gur fgbel? V’q unir gb er-ernq gb or fher.

    @Junego

    I suspect I’ll be making no. 3, at least. It’s joint top of my current novella longlist, which is actually a stronger list than I was expecting, as I’d predicted novella would be a tricky category for me to find candidates.

  15. Tintinaus on November 9, 2015 at 9:17 pm said:
    Oh I don’t know. Didn’t Master Li say in The Story of the Stone:

    A fool will study for twenty or thirty years and learn how to do something, but a wise man will study for twenty or thirty minutes and become an expert

    Master Li, as is well known, had a slight flaw in his character.

  16. BGrandrath on November 9, 2015 at 9:23 pm said:
    In 1977 I was 20 when I bought a paperback by a new author, Star Wars by George Lucas. I seemed like it was the kind of space opera I liked. A blurb on the back cover said “Soon to be a spectacular motion picture!” I remember saying to my future wife “We will have to see this movie.” A few months later it was all the rage and we waited in line to see it. I think I might be one of the few who read the book first.

    I read the book first. And the “MAD” magazine parody and the “Cracked” magazine parody. And did the same for “The Empire Strikes Back”.

  17. Rev. Bob on November 10, 2015 at 12:46 am said:
    An octopus in people clothes… Didn’t John Malkovich do that bit relatively recently?

    The young people around me have been talking about the popular 2010 video game “Octodad” for a few years now.

  18. I read the book first.

    I certainly looked at my father’s copy of the book first, and admired all the pictures of the white robot bad guys. I can’t remember if I read it before seeing the film. I’d certainly read it before I saw the film a second time the following week.

  19. I also figured Darth Vader was probably Luke’s father, partly because of his name, which seemed an obvious clue.

  20. Oh I don’t know. Didn’t Master Li say in The Story of the Stone:

    A fool will study for twenty or thirty years and learn how to do something, but a wise man will study for twenty or thirty minutes and become an expert.

    I thought it was Moist von Lipwig that said it myself. But knowing the man he probably stole it.

  21. @StephenfromOttawa:
    What bugs me about Brad’s confident future forecast of Le Guin as surviving only by the grace of literary academics (which he’s despised in other contexts) instead of by popularity among people who read and loved it is that he’s not arguing as an expert in the people who read SF, love it, and pass the love intact to future generations, making it a classic. He’s arguing as a reader who bounced off a single work of hers. That’s fine for writing a critical review of one book, but Brad feels confident to forecast her entire future as a writer from that one abortive attempt. He argues from ignorance like it’s strength. Why should his prophesy of her future lack of popular love be taken seriously? He gives no reason for it (despite the deep knowledge you attribute to him). Without any convincing reasoning given, what. we have is one man’s arbitrary opinion. And to paraphrase the late great Molly Ivins, Brad is not the universe.

  22. @jayn i certainly didn’t mean to attribute “deep knowledge” to Brad Torgersen. I said he “presumably knows what he’s doing” as a writer, since he’s had considerable success. So when he says he doesn’t need to read broadly in (and presumably out of) the science fiction field in order to practise as a successful writer of his kind of fiction, I’ll take him at his word. I won’t be reading his work any time soon anyway, because I’ve been seriously put off by his behaviour and rhetoric as a Sad Puppy. His attitude toward science fiction “classics” and his discussion of his influences makes me even less likely to look at his writing, because in fact it all seems pretty shallow.

  23. @Doctor Science:

    When the Star Destroyer just kept coming on and on and ON, I was hooked: it gave me a shot of pure Sense of Wonder, straight to the id.

    Ah yes, that scene so memorably parodied by Mel Brooks:

  24. I note Brad’s repeated dissing of Le Guin as being for ‘academic’ types. Clearly she is not meant for good, honest, blue collar fans.

    I was reading Le Guin when I was a teenager growing up on a hillfarm in the North of England, but perhaps I was enjoying my reading incorrectly.

  25. i certainly didn’t mean to attribute “deep knowledge” to Brad Torgersen. I said he “presumably knows what he’s doing” as a writer, since he’s had considerable success.

    I’m not sure if I would call it considerable success. It is definitely some success, but he’s a guy who sells short fiction and has a single novel out. I can think of dozens of people that I have met who meet that standard.

  26. By the way, just so I saw it: Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith have quite a good portrayal of a master villain plying his craft really, really well. They chronicle the death of the Republic by simple steps, and Palpatine shows what “covering all contingencies” really means. They also have some truly amazing set pieces, maybe particularly the space battle at the start of Revenge of the Sith. They don’t transcend their pulp roots…but they show how far pulp can go with some solid ideas as well as a love of action.

    It’s certainly unfortunate that the doomed lovers get by far the worst dialogue and least actor-respecting direction. But honestly, they are worth seeing for the other elements, at least the once.

  27. I’d vaguely heard of the Know-Nothing movement in US politics for years. I was disappointed when I found out how they got their name, because my theory had been that they were a party for the belligerently ignorant.

  28. I’ve seen positive comments on Torgersen’s work from various quarters, and I believe he’s had award nominations. But I may have overstated his level of success.

  29. I said he “presumably knows what he’s doing” as a writer, since he’s had considerable success.

    Chaplain’s War: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,124 in Books
    A Wizard of Earthsea: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,347 in Books

    Yes, I realise that’s not an entirely fair comparison, but still.

  30. Another thought on noisy space battles:
    In The Return of the Jedi, we get the wonderful contrast between another standard space battle, complete with explosions, and the showdown between Luke and the Emperor with that same battle playing out in total silence as backdrop. For me, that was one of the most memorable parts of the whole trilogy.

  31. In sweden, a canon consists of works that have been highly influential on others, being part of shaping the culture around it. A classic is a book that has remained popular in itself, regardless of influence on others.

    I may have found my confusion in this discussion – I think like a Swede! Although I’d need to know more about how long a book has to remain popular. I lean towards 100+ years/4+ generations which is overly strict I know. Yes I know for SFF this limits the number of classics greatly. I really need to get around to reading the few which fit in my category as most of my complaints with Golden Age aren’t relevant to books written 100+ years ago which are still popular today.

  32. Kendall on November 9, 2015 at 10:08 pm said:

    I know generic recs aren’t very useful, but my other half enjoys the “Phryne Fisher” books. 🙂 I’m not usually into mysteries, so I can’t say much beyond that

    FYI, BTW and FWIW, there’s 3 seasons of video adaptations, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. (We’ve been watching them on one of our local PBS stations, they’re also available as disks and for all I know via them streaming services.) Cleanly done, bright color palette.

    IMDB summary:

    “Our female sleuth sashays through the back lanes and jazz clubs of late 1920s Melbourne, fighting injustice with her pearl-handled pistol and her dagger-sharp wit.”

  33. lurkertype on November 9, 2015 at 8:05 pm said:

    They showed the 3 [original Star Wars movies] back-to-back [for the first time ever] starting at midnight at L.A. Worldcon 1984, and people got in line that afternoon (missing part of the con, and the Hugos)

    I was there! That was my first-ever SF convention; I’d turned 19 years old that weekend, and rode a Greyhound bus the length of California (not a short distance) to attend it. But alas, while I was in the room, I fell asleep during the showing. I did get the button, however. I think I put it in my Fan GOH exhibit at the 2005 NASFiC in Seattle.

    One of the things I remember from that huge queue (Having attended the Hugo Awards ceremony, I joined late and thus ended up sitting at the very back of the room) was Domino’s Pizza deliveries to people in the queue, something a hayseed from rural Northern California had never even considered. And other people seeing those deliveries and getting the same idea and going to a nearby phone booth (no cell phones back in Ye Darke Ages) to make more pizza orders.

    I was primarily there in Anaheim because of the Elfquest “End of the Quest” events (release of the final issue of the original 20-issue run); that’s what prompted me to attend. But I also attended the WSFS Business Meeting. I made one motion: the adjournment of the Preliminary Business Meeting. From such humble beginnings….

  34. StephenfromOttowa wrote (regarding Brad Torgersen’s previous nominations):

    Hugo (un-gamed), Nebula, and Campbell. The SF Awards Database seems to be down right now, but this SF Signal interview from happier times has most of the details.

    From Larry Correia’s website, February 23 2012 I include this link

    The last paragraph of Larry’s post is:

    For the Campbell for best new author, I’d like to suggest Brad Torgersen. Brad is known for his short fiction, and was just nominated for the Nebula award for best novelette for Ray of Light. Brad was also the Analog people’s choice (or whatever that is called) winner for last year. The dude is GOOD. And most importantly, I’d vote for him mostly because since Brad is also a Warrant Officer in the US Army, he’d accept the award in his uniform, which means that he’d refuse to wear that stupid Campbell tiara.

    So “Hugo, ungamed” for certain values of “ungamed” that do not include a full-on Sad Puppy push, perhaps.

    FWIW I believe his Nebula nomination was ungamed.

  35. StephenfromOttowa wrote (regarding Brad Torgersen’s previous nominations):

    That was me, actually.

    So “Hugo, ungamed” for certain values of “ungamed” that do not include a full-on Sad Puppy push, perhaps.

    I don’t see anything in that particular Correia post that’s substantially different from the zillion other “hey, remember this work of mine is eligible, and here’s some other stuff I like, and here’s how to vote” posts that have happened every year since sf professionals discovered blogging.

  36. And most importantly, I’d vote for him mostly because since Brad is also a Warrant Officer in the US Army, he’d accept the award in his uniform, which means that he’d refuse to wear that stupid Campbell tiara.

    This always serves as a reminder that the Puppies were founded by a man entirely lacking in a sense of humor and completely insecure in his own masculinity.

  37. And he was strongly influenced by Akiro Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress.

    Coincidentally, I rewatched The Hidden Fortress earlier this week (I’m on a project to watch the 30 or so Kurosawa movies I have, many of which I’ve never gotten around to watching before–watching After the Rain for the first time now, rewatching Seven Samurai and Dreams (which are on the same DVD-R) next.) I was keeping an eye out for Star Wars similarities, and I have to say, it wouldn’t have much crossed my mind that Lucas was inspired by it if I hadn’t been told that was the case. Yes, there are similarities in the plot, but they are very, very broad similarities (princess last surviving member of royal family, must be transported to safe area under the care of a general.) I don’t think I would have ever thought to my self “hey, these two arguing peasants must be the inspiration for R2-D2 and C-3PO!” However, there is one scene that I’m pretty sure would have leapt out at me—the scene where the bad guys stumble across the good guys in the forest, make a run for home base on their horses, and the general has to chase them down, cutting each down with his sword and grappling with one while both are on horseback? It was as obvious an inspiration for the biker scouts scene in ROtJ as the Death Star run in ANH having been inspired by The Dam Busters.

    The original SW trilogy is pure childhood nostalgia for me, but at risk of my SF-cred, I think The Hidden Fortress is a superior movie to Star Wars in most every way possible. It has better writing, better acting, and better directing. (Although I have some serious nitpicks about the details of the “hidden gold” macguffin.)

    For that matter, I saw it with a bunch of electrical engineers – – who were rolling in the aisles when Lucas used a Grass Valley video switcher as the “Planet Destruct” control panel

    Soewhere, I still have one of these lying around. And then of course there is Ice-Cream Maker Guy

    An octopus in people clothes… Didn’t John Malkovich do that bit relatively recently?

    How about this Japanese classic?

  38. @Petréa Mitchell

    I apologize for misattributing the quote. I thought I had looked carefully but obviously not carefully enough.

    What I see in that Correia post that separates it from here’s some other stuff I like is that in just the quoted paragraph “he’s a warrant officer” and “he’ll refuse to wear the stupid tiara” are presented as good reasons to nominate someone for a Hugo.

    If we move on to parts I didn’t quote before, we find “You too can tell stuffy literati types to go screw themselves.” (second sentence)

    And “Every day, over a thousand writers of explody, action-adventure, gun-nut, monster-killin’, novels are maligned on the internet by stuffy literati critics for not being “real” novelists who write ham-fisted, navel gazing, message-fic about starving polar bears or some crap.”

    This kind of whipping up of class resentments combined with open self-pity is not a feature of most here’s what I wrote that is eligible or I thought these were also good posts.

    And we have “Make a critic’s head explode by nominating something awesome today.” Generally here’s what I wrote that is eligible and I thought these were good posts steer clear of claiming that awesome material is so rarely nominated that people’s heads will explode.

    So what I see that reminds me of Sad Puppies while simultaneously separating this pre-Puppy post from normal eligibility posts and promotion are:

    Persuading people to nominate a work for reasons that have nothing to do with its quality.
    Class hatred
    Self-pity
    Contempt for the Hugos.

    There is room to disagree on this; perhaps you are familiar with pre-2013 Hugo promotion / eligibility posts that feature this mix, or perhaps you don’t consider this mix to be a feature of Puppy posts, and that’s fine. What I see there is someone using Puppy rhetoric to promote a Puppy favorite in what is not *quite* yet an organized block-voting campaign.

    Hence my statement about for certain values of “ungamed.”

  39. @Kevin: From humble beginnings, indeed! I’d driven 24 hours straight from Colorado, and was one of the pizza-ordering masses. I got in line early enough to end up sitting in the fourth row. I think I dozed off during some of the Ewok bits, and I know I had to pee during TESB. Still have my button too. I found it amusing when, during the first one, the picture went fuzzy, the whole room yelled FOCUS! and George Lucas himself adjusted it. I also made sure to look up to the booth when Obi-Wan does that awkward pause (the audience laughed during it) and then says “Vader killed your father” and Lucas was turned to whoever else was there and shrugged with his hands up like the emoji we see now. Oh, and the producers walked down the whole line after the Hugos to show the award to everyone, which was nice. But I was an old hand by then; it was my 4th Worldcon in a row…. since I’m 3 years older than you.

    (They were grumbling about the graying of fandom even then, on that night when 19 year old Kevin and 22 year old Lurkertype were there, at the most-attended Worldcon to that date and maybe still.)

    @Aaron: Word, as the kids used to say.

  40. @Kevin: From humble beginnings, indeed! I’d driven 24 hours straight from Colorado, and was one of the pizza-ordering masses. I got in line early enough to end up sitting in the fourth row. I think I dozed off during some of the Ewok bits, and I know I had to pee during TESB. Still have my button too. I found it amusing when, during the first one, the picture went fuzzy, the whole room yelled FOCUS! and George Lucas himself adjusted it. I also made sure to look up to the booth when Obi-Wan does that awkward pause (the audience laughed during it) and then says “Vader killed your father” and Lucas was turned to whoever else was there and shrugged with his hands up like the emoji we see now. Oh, and the producers walked down the whole line after the Hugos to show the award to everyone, which was nice. But I was an old hand by then; it was my 4th Worldcon in a row…. since I’m 3 years older than you.

    (They were grumbling about the graying of fandom even then, on that night when 19 year old Kevin and 22 year old Lurkertype were there, at the most-attended Worldcon to that date and maybe still.)

    @Aaron: Word, as the kids used to say at that time.

  41. Whoa… we have a glitch in the Matrix. Please ignore first comment.

    Cat: Yes. It’s all there, fully-formed, in all its toxicity. And it kind of succeeded in one goal, if you count people moaning in agony at terrible writing as “head exploding”. But that’s more temple-clutching.

  42. @StephenfromOttawa
    I’m okay with granting that Brad has some writing talent based on the fact that he’s been nominated for some awards, even though I haven’t read him. I’m also okay with conceding that this could give his critiques added weight, if their reasoning is sound. I have trouble with the idea that his writing talent makes his sweeping oracular pronouncement that a writer has no popular future convincing, when he has no other reason than that he read one book of her extensive work and didn’t like it. When that writer is Le Guin – well, that’s where I freely admit I get irrational. Being told that the writer whose work I fell in love with as a teen (freely, without mediation of ‘academics’) is likely only to survive if force-fed by academics because people couldn’t possibly love it for its own sake makes me twtchy.

  43. Brad T., Hugo nomination, ungamed: 2012 nomination (published 2011), Novelette, “Ray of Light,” from Analog. This is one awards cycle before the (formal?) origins of Pupdom.

  44. Ken Josenhans on November 10, 2015 at 11:46 am said:
    Brad T., Hugo nomination, ungamed: 2012 nomination (published 2011), Novelette, “Ray of Light,” from Analog. Unless my timelines are confused, this is before any emanation from Puppyville.

    Ah, back in the days when those snooty elitists at Worldcon were refusing to recognise good ol’ honest SF.

  45. @jayn My point was to acknowledge that Brad Torgersen is apparently capable of being a fairly successful, award-nominated writer of his particular flavour of military sf while not bothering to read most of the best science fiction of the past. Evidently this attitude works for him and his readers. I suspect I wouldn’t like his stuff but I won’t be finding out in the near future. I agree that he’s dead wrong about Le Guin, who is of course accessible and powerful and deservedly popular.

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