Pixel Scroll 12/6 From the Mixed-Up Pixels of Mrs. Basil E. Frankscroller

(1) WITNESS FOR GOLLUM. Well-known Tolkien scholar Michael D.C. Drout is quoted in the New York Times’ “Is Gollum Good or Evil? Jail Term in Turkey Hinges on Answer”.

Michael D. C. Drout, an English professor at Wheaton College who edits an annual review of Tolkien’s works, is observing the situation from America. He said that those experts will be assessing the most complicated character in the English writer’s already complex world.

“I don’t think there’s any consensus that Gollum is evil,” Mr. Drout said in an interview. “He is the most tragic character in ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ ”

Middle Earth, the place where Gollum began his life as a creature named Sméagol, is full of complex characters and allegiances. But a single gold ring, forged with a dark lord’s evil powers, has the power to rule them all. Sméagol catches a glimpse of the ring, murders for it, and possesses it for centuries until it is mislaid and found by another hobbit. Sméagol struggles to redeem himself, but his obsessive bloodthirst for the ring wins out. He accidentally destroys himself and the ring, but also saves Middle Earth in the process. (It is the hobbit hero Frodo who gets most of the credit.)

“The context is this: Gollum accidentally, not intentionally, saves the entire world,” Mr. Drout said.

Mr. Drout said that no one would’ve appreciated the existential debate over Gollum more than the author who created him. Painfully and pitifully, Sméagol almost succeeds in overcoming his evil side, but fails. It is a scene that is said to have upset Mr. Tolkien to the point of tears as he wrote it, Mr. Drout said.

“He didn’t see him as irredeemably evil,” he said of Mr. Tolkien. “He saw him as someone who had been destroyed by this evil ring.”

(2) COMIC CON IN INDIA. The fifth Delhi Comic Con drew an estimated 40,000 people last weekend.

Thousands of fans cheered and clicked pictures with their favorite comic characters Saturday at India’s annual comic book fest at a sprawling fairground in southeast New Delhi.

The fifth Delhi Comic Con had something for everyone who attended on this mild, wintry day. Die-hard fans came dressed as their favorite comic characters. Others crowded the more than 200 stalls selling comic books, graphic novels and merchandise on cartoon characters.

There was real live entertainment, as well.

Crowds of college students and young people cheered and roared as Kristian Nairn, best known for his role as Hodor in “Game of Thrones,” ascended a stage and addressed them. Nairn was mobbed as eager fans pushed to get themselves clicked with the star of the popular television series….

Indian mythological heroes, dressed in gaudy costumes with bejeweled crowns and sparkly clothes, added to the carnival atmosphere, ready to oblige fans with an autograph, a selfie or a photograph.

Indian comics have seen a revival in the last decade thanks to new funding and technologies for printing, animation, digitizing and distribution.

(3) STAR WARS REWATCH. A new installment of Michael J. Martinez’ Star Wars rewatch has been posted: ”Star Wars wayback machine: Star Wars (or A New Hope if you prefer)”.

I know this movie by heart. In fact, while in my 20s and firmly in my barfly life-stage, several friends and I recreated the entire movie over pints at the pub. We didn’t miss a line. There are few cultural touchstones so firmly rooted in our global community as this one.

But I’m now looking at it with fresh eyes, and asking myself…is it really any good? Does it stand up to the test of time and the grey clouds of cynicism accumulated with age?

Largely, yes. Enthusiastically, yes. Are there things that I’ve noticed now, years later, both good and bad? Absolutely. Is it dated? Sure, but not as bad as you think. But ultimately, I think it works. The resonance it has in our culture is well deserved.

(4) STANDLEE ON SMOFCON. Kevin Standlee is running short notes on his LiveJournal about this year’s SMOFcon.

At 4 PM, I went to the panel about administering the Hugo Awards. A year ago, a panel on this subject would have been lucky to draw more audience than panelists. This year, it was standing-room-only. Had we two hours rather than one to discuss how the Hugo Awards are administered, we could have filled it.

 

After breakfast with Linda Deneroff, Mo Starkey, and John Sapienza, I went to the first panel of the morning, presented by Andrew Adams based on work that René Walling has done to accumulate available demographic information about Worldcon members. The slide above shows the memberships over time, attending and supporting, both in absolute numbers (line) and percentage (colored bars) for the 2015 Worldcon, showing how the numbers changed over time. (The upper line and the upper colored section are supporting members; the lower are attending.) Sasquan really was different. There were many more very interesting charts in this presentation, and you can see some of them if you click through the photo above, but Andrew said he’d publish the entire slide deck later and asked us not to keep taking photos.

 

How to Call Out Other Conventions. This was a discussion about how and whether you should point out other groups’ mistakes, particularly the most egregious ones that could poison your convention’s relationship with hotel facilities. I found it very interesting listening to the stories behind the panel title, but I was so sleepy that I couldn’t concentrate that well.

(5) ASTRONAUTS SEND MESSAGE ON CLIMATE CHANGE. Sasquan GoH Kjell Lindgren is one of the astronauts in the video “Call to Earth: Astronauts Send a Message from Space to Global Leaders at #COP21 Urging Action on Climate Change”.

In less than three days, an outpouring of messages streamed in from astronauts around the world – eyewitnesses to profound changes to our planet they’ve seen first hand while in orbit. The messages were produced by members of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), the professional association of flown astronauts, cosmonauts and taikonauts. ASE assists members to communicate their unique perspective of Earth to help stimulate humanity’s sense of responsibility for our home planet.

Also in the video was Wubbo Ockels, Ph.D. Space Shuttle, the first Dutch citizen in space, who said “Our Earth has Cancer and I have cancer too.” He was filmed the day before he died.

(6) BUCKELL. Tobias Buckell offers 28 solid ideas for finding focus in the task of writing.

There are two places to lose focus. One: yourself sitting down to do the work. Two: inside the work as the work itself loses focus. I’ll tackle number one, as I think that was what was being asked.

Caveat: I believe most writing advice is only as valuable to someone as it works. In other words, I believe all writing advice is a hack to get you to a finished draft and help you find tricks to get there. You try something. If it works, it goes in your toolbox. If it doesn’t, you mark it as not currently effective and move on….

11) Don’t tell anyone about what you’re writing about before sitting down to do it

12) Tell someone how cool what you’re writing about is right before sitting down to do it

I really like this pair. Obviously the answer is to use the alternative that helps you. Larry Niven always perfected his story ideas by explaining them to select people before putting them on paper. In contrast, if I tell somebody an idea, then I never feel the need to actually do the writing…

(7) WRIGHT. Someone showed John C. Wright Liu Cixin’s remarks about the Sad Puppies in Global Times, which triggered Wright into writing a post headlined “Liu Cixin to Sci Fi: Drop Dead”.

Within the same fortnight that David Hartwell announced that the World Fantasy Award trophy would no longer be a bust of Lovecraft, but instead be the head of someone whose sole qualification to represent all of fantasy literature is her skin color, Liu Cixin, the first chinaman ever to win a Hugo Award has publicly spit in the face of those of us who voted for him….

That means that this man is gullible enough to believe either what his translator, or Tor Books, or the mainstream news told him, namely, that we who voted for him were motivated by race-hatred against non-Whites. So we voted for a non-White because his book was good, not because his skin color was correct. Because we treated the award as if it were for the merit of science fiction story telling, not as if it were a political award granted to whatever most helped the far Left. We ignored race. By Morlock logic, that makes us racist.

I realize, my dear readers, that if you read THREE BODY PROBLEM, and weighed its merits, and in your honest judgment you thought it was the best SF novel of the year, and your judgment does not matter because you are not the correct sort of people to have opinions.

Even though your opinion in this one case agreed with our Leftist insect Overlords, the mere fact that the opinion was your taints it.

You are wrongfans.

(8) COLLECTING HEINLEIN. Black Gate’s John ONeill compares the collectible paperback market for science fiction’s Big Three – Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein – and comes away surprised by the demand for Heinlein.

Whatever your opinion on their relative merits, it’s hard to argue against the fact that Heinlein has endured longer than Asimov and Clarke… and virtually any other Twentieth Century genre writer except H.P. Lovecraft, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Philip K. Dick. Much of his work is still in print in mass market paperback today.

Even more impressively, Heinlein has stayed popular and in print with virtually no help from the film industry. With the notable exception of 1997’s Starship Troopers (and the much lesser-known films The Puppet Masters, from 1994, and Predestination, 2014), Heinlein has endured chiefly on his own steam.

(9) MORLEY REMEMBERED. Available online now and for the next few weeks is the BBC 4 radio production 1977, about the creation of the soundtrack for Watership Down.

In 1977 the bestselling children’s novel Watership Down was made into an animated film. Malcolm Williamson, Master of the Queens music, had been hired as the film’s composer. But all was not well. Williamson, a notoriously difficult and complicated man, was under extreme pressure; it was the Queens jubilee year and he was over commissioned. When the film’s conductor, Marcus Dods, arrived looking for the film’s score he found to his horror that all that existed were two small sketches of music which amounted to no more than seven minutes of screen time. With an expensive orchestra and recording studio booked for the following week, the film’s future looked to be in jeopardy. In desperation he turned to the one person he knew could help; composer and arranger Angela Morley. But she, for her own reasons, was going to need some persuading…

Morley needed persuading because this would be her first high-profile composing job after transitioning to female. Morley later worked on other genre music projects, too, scoring for TV’s Wonder Woman, and assisting John Williams on several films including E.T.

(10) BULK SALES. Hey, John King Tarpinian saw rafts of these at his local CostCo and shot a photo.

GRRM at Costco by JKT COMP

Let Suvudu’s Shawn Speakman fill you in on the details —  “Gifts For the Geek – Day 6: George R. R. Martin leather Box Set”.

I’m always on the hunt for leather books!

George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones Leather-Cloth Boxed Set fits that bill. It is a gorgeous representation of the bestselling series, perfect for that Game of Thrones fan in your life.

The books are not full-sized but instead of a traveling variety, easy to take with as well as looking beautiful on the shelf.

(11) EMPIRE PERIOD ARCHITECTURE. “Alamo Drafthouse Unveils ‘Star Wars’ Themed Movie Theater” at ScienceFiction.com.

If you happen to be curious about what it would be like to see a movie on the Death Star, you don’t need to travel to a galaxy far, far away. You can just head to Omaha, Nebraska. The Alamo Drafthouse just opened a Star Wars-themed cineplex that’s absolutely astounding.

There’s a 10-foot replica of the Death Star in the front lobby, and from the looks if it, you can purchase tickets at an Imperial Command center.

(12) SISTERS. The new Tina Fey/Amy Poehler movie Sisters will be released on the same day as The Force Awakens. How will they fight for their audience share? With a Star Wars trailer of their own called “Sisters – The Farce Awakens.”

(13) ALIENS DIG SECONDHAND SMOKE. Saturday Night Lives presents the Pentagon debriefing of three subjects of the first verified alien abduction.

An establishing shot of the Pentagon took us to a room where National Security Agency dudes Aidy Bryant and Bobby Moynihan are interviewing the three participants in “the first verified alien abduction.” Cecily Strong and Gosling are all lah-dee-dah groovin’ on the cosmic beauty of the mind-expanding, I’ve-seen-God-and-all-the-colors-of-the-rainbow Kenny-G-type experience. Then there’s McKinnon, slumped in her chair in a K-Mart blouse and jeans, her hair a rat’s nest, cigarette in hand, relating a series of experiences that were much more, let’s say tactile, than teleological.

 

[Thanks to Petrea Mitchell, JJ, Brian Z., Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

374 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/6 From the Mixed-Up Pixels of Mrs. Basil E. Frankscroller

  1. There must be some logical point at which you say, “OK, Voting Bloc X outweighs everybody else by so very much that we are going to accept their chosen preferences.” Say, one hundred Bloc X voters to every non-Block voter. If you don’t have that point, it’s no longer a popular vote.

    Well, of course. No actual change to the voting system can stop slates entirely. But EPH is much weaker than that at stopping slates. In principle, it allows a slate to take over the whole ballot with an arbitrarily small percentage of support; say 1%. That’s not going to happen, of course, but a slate taking over the ballot with 25% might, in some categories. I don’t think it’s impossible that someone might come up with a voting system that’s more effective than that. And if they can’t, we may have to look at other solutions – expanding the voting body, restricting it, splitting the Hugos and doing both, etc.

  2. @Andrew M:

    But EPH is much weaker than that at stopping slates. In principle, it allows a slate to take over the whole ballot with an arbitrarily small percentage of support; say 1%.

    Could you explain that, please?

    For a voting bloc to take the whole ballot with EPH, with 1% support, that would require no other individual nominee to have any more than 0.2% of the vote (correct me if I’m wrong). You need support for non-block nominees even smaller than your arbitrarily small percentage of support for the block.

    If 10,000 people nominate, and 100 of them are bloc-voters, and not a single non-bloc nominee has more than 20 votes —
    Are those 20 votes really any more representative of the 10,000 voters than the 100 are?

  3. Wow Brian’s really outdoing himself today isn’t he.

    Liu Cixin doesn’t need “defending”; he obviously has a pretty good grasp of exactly what has been going on. Liu was kept off the ballot (by accident, I admit, because the Puppies were just that ignorant about the state of the field, but nevertheless kept off the ballot) by the Puppies, who subsequently endorsed him when their attempt failed. Now had the Puppies been acting honestly, choosing their favorite works to celebrate them, they wouldn’t feel that anyone owed them anything for that subsequent endorsement. “Don’t thank me; I voted for you because you were the best!”

    Instead, you will note that the Puppies are furious that Liu doesn’t thank them. They wanted the people who won Hugos to owe them, and they didn’t get that, and boy are they mad.

  4. @Andrew M,
    EPH is no Silver Bullet. But then nothing is. Because according to people who are a lot more knowledgeable, no system is ungameable.

    What EPH does is help provide part of the solution by making it harder for bloc-voting groups to shut-out other works. It is also a minimal modification; it doesn’t require any change to the process of nominating, it’s (merely) a change to the way nominations are tallied.

    Other things that help (and that are already happening) include:
    A. The opprobrium of fans toward those who would participate in bloc-voting efforts (but that’s not going to stop the likes of Beale)
    2. The repudiation of slates by creators whose works might end up on slates (that’s not going to stop the likes of Beale either)
    Fifth. Increasing the nominating pool to dilute the effect of bloc-votes (though if the new nominators have tastes that are diverse enough, it would not necessarily work as advertised).

    There are those (e.g. GRRM) who say that no change is needed, and that EPH is an over-reaction. I disagree. EPH passed at the Business Meeting, so it had sufficient support among Sasquan members & provided it is ratified next year, we get to see how effective it is. There is no real way of knowing until then.

    If you think EPH is the wrong measure to adopt, what do you think is the right way to fix the problem? Because most (if not all) of the other measures discussed (and there was much discussion) were found to be lacking in some way.

  5. For a voting bloc to take the whole ballot with EPH, with 1% support, that would require no other individual nominee to have any more than 0.2% of the vote (correct me if I’m wrong). You need support for non-block nominees even smaller than your arbitrarily small percentage of support for the block.

    Yes, that’s right. I only said it was possible in principle. Of course it’s not going to happen, and if it did, there’s no real answer to the question what would be a representative result.

    But a slate getting 25% in a short fiction category, where no non-slate nominee gets more than 5%, is certainly possible. And it might be the case that the other 75% of voters were all in agreement that hundreds of things were better than anything on the slate, and just be unable to agree on what was best. Is it right in that case that the 25% should take the whole ballot? And even if it is right from a point of view of fairness, does it still allow the Hugos to operate as an effective system for finding good SF?

  6. Andrew M: But a slate getting 25% in a short fiction category, where no non-slate nominee gets more than 5%, is certainly possible. And it might be the case that the other 75% of voters were all in agreement that hundreds of things were better than anything on the slate, and just be unable to agree on what was best. Is it right in that case that the 25% should take the whole ballot? And even if it is right from a point of view of fairness, does it still allow the Hugos to operate as an effective system for finding good SF?

    These are certainly valid concerns. But the question is, can you propose something other than EPH which will
    1) not make the nominating process substantially more difficult for nominators
    2) be more effective than EPH

    Many people — some of them extremely knowledgeable about voting systems — spent months discussing this, and could not find that Silver Bullet. I’d be thrilled if someone could.

  7. I’m confused. John Scalzi asking his fans to post an unrestricted list of suggestions of Hugo Worthy stuff is bad, because it’s slate like. But Sad Puppies 4, which takes a list like that, curates it, and assembles it in order of popularity, and strongly suggests voting strategically for the top names only, is good, because….

  8. @Andrew M, I feel your pain. I’ve got the same precise concerns you do; the short fiction categories are the ones I love most, and they’re certainly the most gameable.

    Even if 1000 people nominate 5 works each for short fiction, 5% is a grand total of 50 nominations. In fact, everybody gets 5, so if the most popular non-bloc vote got 50 nominations, that’s 50 out of a possible 5000. You can say a lot of things about those 50 nominations, but they’re not “representative” in any significant meaning of the world.

    We have a serious issue with the short fiction field being (A) immense, and (B) diffuse. Even if the Puppies were out of the picture entirely, we’ve already got short fiction categories edging near the cutoff for minimum support. We already have a problem. Using a “popular vote” to scour thousands of stories, in a niche hobby, many of which are difficult to get or just have the simple obstacles of obscurity and payment, is probably not actually a very good method to identify the best stories of the year. A judged award is probably much better for that purpose.
    (What a popular award can be capable of, IMHO, that a judged award isn’t, is sparking community discussion of the pieces and the field at large.)

    Point being: you’re saying we shouldn’t commit to EPH being “fair,” but the fact us, unless we intend to drastically change the nature of the award, EPH achieves the following, desirable goal: if there’s a dominant preference in the nominations, EPH recognizes it. That’s a Good Thing ™.

    There’s no way to set a nomination system up to reward nominations that aren’t popular and widespread. If there’s no popular, widespread nominations, then there’s no “good” result for the system to reach – and also, psstt, your award might be floundering a little.

  9. @Lenora : On the face of the matter, their claim is “You guys already established the trend and made it so internet vote-mongering is the only way to get on the ballot; so that’s what we’re doing.”

  10. These are certainly valid concerns. But the question is, can you propose something other than EPH.

    I’m not opposing EPH. It’s clearly an improvement on what we have now, and if we can’t think of anything better, we should adopt it. What I’m opposing is the idea that EPH is a solution. I’ve seen any number of people saying ‘After 2016 EPH will be in place, and so we won’t have to worry about the Puppies any more’. This may not be what the proposers of the reform intend, but it’s a widespread impression. I don’t agree; we will still have to worry about the Puppies. They may still be around ten years from now, and if they are they may still be taking a significant number of spaces on the ballot.

    This has wide-ranging implications. It means we have to abandon the idea that a nomination is valuable in itself. It constrains possible Hugo categories. It means we can’t have a category where the number of knowledgeable people is too small (which in happier days I think would have been fine; nominations could be a way of introducing work to a wider audience). It means we can’t have a category where the likely nominees are too diverse.

    Of course it’s quite likely that this won’t happen, because the Puppies will have given up and gone away, tired of a constant stream of No Awards. But changing the system doesn’t ensure that in itself.

  11. @ Andrew M.
    As for the idea of tweaking the system if it doesn’t defeat slates effectively enough, I think there may be a problem with this, because EPH has been widely advertised as a fair system. (The EPH FAQ – very unwisely in my view – says that if slates continue to get on the ballot under EPH, this is a fair and valid result.) So if slates do continue to do well under EPH, their supporters can say ‘Look, you adopted what you said was a fair system, and we are continuing to succeed under it. This shows that we deserve to win, because the books we like are indeed more popular than the books you SJWs like. And now you are trying to change the rules again to stop us. This is manifestly unfair.’.

    EPH is a fair system in the sense that it doesn’t favor any individual or group while preserving an open, democratic process, and reducing the power of slates. The majority of members aren’t now (and are unlikely to be in the future) fooled by the Puppy propaganda about slates.

    If slates continue to disenfranchise the majority, I don’t think it’ll be a hard sell that further changes may be required. As long as any change is open, explained well, and is still obviously fair, I have confidence Hugo voters will understand and support it, especially if the alternative is to run counter-slates or accept minority domination in some categories.

    If the slates impact low number down-ballot categories like Editor, an alternative solution may be to redefine the categories so more people nominate. There are already rumblings that some of the categories don’t work that well anymore.

    But mostly I’m not going to mentally spin my wheels about it until I get some data…a couple of years after EPH is implemented.(Unless we can get the nomination data released before then.) :-/

  12. @Camestros Felapton:

    Brian can be a bore but he also has a sense of humor and can sometimes be insightful.

    Brian’s also been a decent citizen lately about a number of topics in a number of threads. I had to bail on about a hundred messages in this one for time reasons, so I infer that the eternal recurrence of Puppy-Related Sadness brought out the worst in him again. A shame.

  13. I think it’s worth noting, btw, that there were two Puppy nominees ahead of Liu in Best Novel. It didn’t only take Kloos withdrawing to get him on the shortlist, it also took Correia refusing his nomination.

  14. If 10,000 people nominate, and 100 of them are bloc-voters, and not a single non-bloc nominee has more than 20 votes —
    Are those 20 votes really any more representative of the 10,000 voters than the 100 are?

    If the 100 are voting the way someone told them to, rather than for what they read and liked themselves, then 20 independent votes are more representative than 100 votes for one guy’s list.

    It’s hard to know what they read, but since you’re asking. 20 actual opinions are more representative than one opinion cloned 100 times. That’s the problem with slates in a nutshell.

  15. @David Goldfarb
    LOL on Correia refusing his nomination. Getting yourself nominated so you can take credit for refusing it might be a new Hugo strategy but I’m not sure it’s one you get extra credit for. But sure technically 2 finalists stepped down which let TBP on.

    We really have no way to know what would the top 5 would have looked like without SP3. Given that it’s hard to know what would have won. All the theorizing in the world won’t change these facts. Some of SP3 followers might have nominated and voted differently if SP3 hadn’t existed.

  16. I don’t claim to know Larry Correia’s motivations for refusing the Hugo nomination this past year. Good for him for doing it.

  17. Peace Is My Middle Name: I don’t claim to know Larry Correia’s motivations for refusing the Hugo nomination this past year. Good for him for doing it.

    I don’t think one needs to claim to know Correia’s motivations for turning down the nomination to recognize that, as one of the ringleaders of the Puppy movement to rig the Hugos by slating, he doesn’t win any medals for behaving honorably by doing so.

  18. It seems to me the only way forward out of this mess is to keep a clear eye on what is happening and be honest about it.

    Recognizing and noting when someone does something good seems a good policy, even when dealing with someone who has done a great deal of wrong.

    If we hold eveything against someone no matter what they do, what reason do they have to ever improve, to ever find common ground with us?

  19. Everyone who grudgingly defended me even though I’m such a duplicitous dweeb: thanks!

    Camestros:

    Using the numbers provided, it is possible to run a hypothetical version of the 1st place race with those 453 ‘Rabid’ votes missing

    Liu Cixin’s comment would make more sense if one didn’t know that the final voting is Australian rules and so many puppies ranked TPB first. BTW I noticed a Chinese drive-by commenter on Wright’s blog said: All they know about puppies in China is that they’re supposed to be evil! Cut Liu Cixin some slack!

    The point is obviously that the puppy goal was not to make sure women and minorities didn’t win. It was to select the best nominee. Otherwise, they would have all ranked Skin Game first.

    While we are doing thought experiments: Suppose the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies had organized nothing more than a successful voter registration drive. They did not promote slates.

    The resultant shortlist would have looked something like this:
    – Monster Hunter Nemesis
    – Ancillary Sword
    – The Goblin Emperor
    – The Three Body Problem
    – Lock In

    In the final voting, most puppies would put MHN first and TPB second or vice versa. TGE might win the first round despite having votes siphoned off by Lock In. MHN would drop off, since many non puppies ranked it low. But thanks to puppy support, TPB could probably overtake TGE for the win.

    Result: A probable win for “quality science fiction” over “boring message fiction”.

    Lesson: it is in the puppies’ interest to refrain from creating a slate. Instead, when a puppy-friendly work that also has non-puppy support makes it to the final ballot, their numbers allow them to play kingmaker.

  20. Brian Z on December 9, 2015 at 3:46 am said:

    Lesson: it is in the puppies’ interest to refrain from creating a slate. Instead, when a puppy-friendly work that also has non-puppy support makes it to the final ballot, their numbers allow them to play kingmaker.

    Except, when this happened in the final voting this year:

    It didn’t make SJW heads explode – PUPPY OBJECTIVE FAILED
    It didn’t reward an author from the Puppy clique – PUPPY OBJECTIVE FAILED
    The winning author didn’t bow and scrape in gratitude – PUPPY OBJECTIVE FAILED

  21. It depends what we mean by Puppies.

    Strictly speaking, there are no Puppies. That is, there are no people to whom the name ‘Puppies’ properly applies. ‘Sad Puppies’ and ‘Rabid Puppies’ are the names of campaigns. I believe there are four Sad Puppies, called Bob, Isaac, Ray and Frank. I don’t know what the Rabid Puppies are called. But when we say ‘the Puppies’, we sometimes mean the organisers of the campaigns, sometimes their supporters, occasionally their beneficiaries.

    Presumably a lot of Puppy voters do indeed want things they like to get awards. Their best bet for doing so is what Brian suggests; sign up, and vote for things they like. The organisers, on the other hand, want to make SJW heads explode, and that wouldn’t be a good strategy for this. (BT probably would also like to get some awards. VD seems to have given up on this; he’s just in it for the explosions.)

  22. Brian Z on December 9, 2015 at 4:54 am said:
    Pretty sure they can safely cross that first one off the list!

    Pretty sure that on the night of the awards no SJW heads were exploding – in fact they were apparently cheering the results, according to the Puppies – while the Puppies all erupted in a massive huff.

  23. while the Puppies all erupted in a massive huff.

    Correia’s tantrum was pretty epic. Was that a head exploding? I liked the way he said that now he hadn’t got his way, the full horror of the Beale would be unleashed.

  24. Recognizing and noting when someone does something good seems a good policy, even when dealing with someone who has done a great deal of wrong.

    Starting and running a campaign to, among other things, get yourself nominated, then declining the nomination, strikes me not as “doing something good,” but as theater. If Correia didn’t want to be nominated, he had the ability to not be on the slate.

  25. Peace,

    One reason I am disinclined to credit Corria is the BS spin he put on his withdrawal.

    He said he never wanted to be included on the slate because this year he didn’t want it to be about him, but his fans were so enthusiastic that he grudging allowed his name to be put forward, always intending to decline if nominated.

    The much more likely truth is that the Puppies two slates were much more successful than he thought they would be, and being just a little insightful, he decided to decline to minimise fallout.

  26. Rob_matic pointed out: while the Puppies all erupted in a massive huff.

    Nigel added:
    Correia’s tantrum was pretty epic. Was that a head exploding? I liked the way he said that now he hadn’t got his way, the full horror of the Beale would be unleashed.

    And don’t forget Torgersen’s meltdown, complete with changing people’s comments to make it look like the poor poor Puppies were being trolled. If that’s not a head exploding we have to acknowledge that the phrase is meaningless even as a metaphor.

    Peace, you are fully justified in interpreting Correia’s actions kindly if that seems reasonable to you. I myself don’t believe for one second that he always intended to withdraw; it just doesn’t seem to me to fit with his observable pattern of behavior. But I agree there is no way to open the box and check.

  27. @Nigel

    the full horror of the Beale would be unleashed.

    Ha. That reminds me of this snippet of dialogue from The Trouble With Tribbles:

    Cyrano: Is that an offer or a joke?

    Trader: That’s my offer.

    Cyrano: That’s a joke.

  28. Forget the awards weekend: the heads already exploded on finalists announcement weekend.

  29. Forget the awards weekend: the heads already exploded on finalists announcement weekend.

    Oh? Which heads exploded? Who had a head-exploding meltdown? Be specific, and provide citations.

  30. I suppose part of the problem is that “heads exploded” is an undefined term.

  31. I remember that Brian Z had a head explosion over EPH. It was done in slow motion over several threads. Since then there haven’t been much head left.

  32. Forget the awards weekend: the heads already exploded on finalists announcement weekend.

    Now this is the kind of diplomatic approach to substantive issues that makes you such a good bridge-builder.

  33. “Forget the awards weekend: the heads already exploded on finalists announcement weekend.”

    Has anyone else noticed that Puppies have this rhetoric thing going where they’re the only ones who are allowed to get upset? Correia can lose his composure, including venting all kinds of personal insults, at people who never did anything to him and that’s a grownup thing to do. But let fans be annoyed that the Hugo nominations have been diddled and oooh that’s heads exploding; how immature; let’s point and laugh ha ha.

    Sort of “Ha! I set out to hurt you and I succeeded! That makes *me* the mature one!”

    Not only that, but they then feel sorry for themselves about it. “I set out to hurt you and I succeeded! Which proves you are prejudiced against me! I’m so mistreated!”

  34. I would very much like to be wrong on this, but Brian’s first substantive appearance on this site since No Award voted overwhelmingly against slates appears to be directed against the author whose work won the Hugo for best novel, and precipitated by JCW using a frankly racist term to describe that author.

    I really would like to be wrong since I find it stomach turning, and I say that as someone who spent several hours yesterday having my stomach turned whilst various machines did weird things to accurately gauge my brain’s problems with balance. Unfortunately, the chances of Brian turning up on precisely this point go far beyond the possibilities of coincidence, much as I would like that to be the case…

  35. @Stevie:

    Brian Z has been around all along, so far as I’ve noticed. You may have missed him because he tends to post on older threads. He’ll sometimes keep one going for days while most everyone else has moved on.

    Brian Z is abrasive, and he certainly is not gracious to the people who have stood up for him, but he’s been here. He didn’t come back especially for this.

  36. Peace

    Thank you for this; I was very disheartened since I hadn’t seen his name for quite a while, and when it did turn up it seemed to be attached to denigrating Liu Cixin, as JCW was doing. I’m glad to know that it was mere coincidence, and thank you for cheering me up.

    Brian Z

    I apologise for my comments.

  37. PiMMN is right, Brian Z has never left, and while there have been a couple of discussions of nuisance at a level equivalent to his EPH nonsense, there has also been filking and book talk and the things that occasionally cause me to say, “Oh, yeah, that’s why I haven’t considered blanking out his posts.”

    Though I admit, the moment the word EPH shows up, I skim. (And not just Brian)

  38. Huh. I commended Liu Cixin’s integrity and pointed out a rational case for ending Hugo campaigns – and that’s all you people can do?

    Try looking in the mirror sometime. (Even if it “turns your stomach.”)

  39. Brian Z, you supported the idea that Liu Cixin didn’t understand the Puppy situation and how it benefited him–that he had integrity but was naive.

    Rather a backhanded “compliment.”

  40. This seems as good a time as any to ask if someone could provide a link for the stylish script to blank out specific commenters. My computer collapsed last week, taking with it all my Firefox settings and I miss my white space…
    Thanks.

  41. Lis/JJ/Brian Z: Since I deleted Brian’s comment, and have explained to him why I did it, I am also going to delete JJ’s reply which repeats the comment.

    I’m leaving your thanks, and this comment of mine as a hint at the good reason for them.

  42. I can see that my comment was unnecessarily directed at the previous commenter when it should have been marked more clearly as a general response. With this barrage of insults and attacks (thank you for deleting the particularly threatening ones, Mike), perhaps I fell into replying off the cuff. I withdraw today’s comment and return to my earlier non-specific formulation from a few days ago .

  43. Having taken responsibility for that mistake, Mike should have repeated publicly what he acknowledged in email: even if the comment were criticism directed at a single individual, it didn’t approach the sort of thing others here routinely dish out without comment from the moderator.

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