(1) MAKING MAUS AVAILABLE. Shelf Awareness says one Tennessee bookseller is crowdfunding the means for local students to read Maus in the wake of a school board decision: “Tenn. Comic Shop’s Maus Fundraiser Garners $90K”.
After the McMinn County Board of Education in Tennessee voted to ban Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus, about the Holocaust, from its eighth-grade curriculum last week, Nirvana Comics in Knoxville, Tenn., started a GoFundMe campaign to provide students with free copies of the graphic novel.
… The [Jewish Telegraphic Agency] reported that Penguin Random House negotiated a deal to sell 500 additional copies of Maus to Nirvana at a reduced price to give away to students. Actor Wil Wheaton shared Nirvana’s story on social media, and “that’s when it really, really exploded,” Davis said.
The GoFundMe campaign opened on January 28 with a goal of $20,000; as of this morning it had raised more than $90,000, from more than 2,800 donors. Although Nirvana Comics initially had planned to provide copies to local students, they will now donate copies to students anywhere in the U.S.
Students can request a copy of Maus from the store on Facebook or Instagram.
(2) AFROFUTURISM IN LEGO. CNN Style invites you to “Meet the Ghanaian Canadian Lego sculptor building a Black universe”. (The Official LEGO Shop also has a feature on the same artist in “Celebrate Black Creators”.)
…In his “Building Black: Civilizations” series, Nimako reimagines medieval sub-Saharan African narratives. His “Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE” piece, which is made up of around 100,000 Lego bricks and can be found in the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, is named after the capital city of a medieval Ghanaian kingdom. The artist explores medieval West Africa and reimagines what it would look like 1,000 years in the future.
Nimako hopes for an “inclusive future” that acknowledges the history of anti-Black racism and how “utterly disruptive” it is, and recognizes the role of Afrofuturism in allowing people to “envision a better world.”
“My wife always says, ‘all movements of resistance are rooted in that imagination.’ You have to imagine the freedom, the emancipation. You have to imagine this struggle being over. You have to project that in order to rise up, in order to resist. What else are you resisting for, if not for that Promised Land?” he said. “Even art is a form of resistance and it’s been used as a form of resistance for a very long time.”…
(3) BEST PUNISH THE WORLDCON HUGO. What do you think about “An Anti-Raytheon Protest Vote at This Year’s Hugos?” Doris V. Sutherland is working to make it happen.
…Before I should go on, I should mention that the practice of nominating short, emotive pieces like acceptance speeches or angry blog posts in Best Related Work — thereby taking spots that could have gone to longer works which took time, effort and research to construct and will better stand the test of time — is itself controversial. My views are conflicted. I would generally agree with this stance (my personal solution would be to split Best Related Work into long-form and short-form categories) but I have considerably stronger feelings about the deal with Raytheon. So, while I would like to see this Best Protest Vote practice to end, I don’t beleive that 2022 is the right year for it to end. I would like to see a Hugo ballot this year that includes an uncompromising renunciation of last year’s Raytheon sponsorship….
(4) LASFS HISTORY ZOOM. Fanac.org’s “Spring History Zoom” schedule is now up here. The first session is “Death Does Not Release You – LASFS Through the Years” with Craig Miller (M), Tim Kirk, Ken Rudolph and Bobbi Armbruster, on February 26, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. To RSVP, or find out more about the series, please send a note to [email protected]
LASFS is unique – in its history and impact on fandom. LASFS has a clubhouse, a long list of professional writers that have been members, and has had an incredibly active fan group over the decades. Los Angeles area fandom has produced innumerable fanzines, six Los Angeles Worldcons (and many other conventions). Join us for a session with our real world AND fannishly accomplished participants – convention runners (including a Worldcon chair), a noted fan and professional artist, and a fanzine editor, all past or present LASFS members – in conversation about Los Angeles fandom from the inside.
(5) A READY PLAYER. On Twitter, Ira Alexandre is ramping up the campaign to get the Worldcon to add a Best Video Game category. They foreshadow “a full-length, more detailed explanation” forthcoming on Lady Business. Thread starts here.
(6) PIECES OF EIGHT. Cora Buhlert posted a new Fancast Spotlight today, this time for Octothorpe, which is created by John Coxon, Alison Scott, and Liz Batty: “Fancast Spotlight: Octothorpe”.
Alison: I have been wanting to do a podcast ever since the very beginning of podcasts, but it turns out that if you want to do a podcast, you have to find someone who’s daft enough to do the editing for you. Because otherwise podcasts don’t happen, do they? So if you want to run your own podcast the core thing you need is somebody who’s up for doing the editing.
Liz: I didn’t have any desire to be on a podcast, or to start a podcast, or really to do any work around a podcast. But John had asked me “Do you want to do a podcast?” and I said, “Maybe?” And then there was a coronavirus, and now I literally have nothing else that I need to be doing on a Sunday afternoon, so let’s do a podcast! And I am just constantly amazed that we have made it almost 50 episodes, and there appear to be at least ten people actually listening.
(7) KANE ADAPTATION ANNOUNCED. [Item by Cora Buhlert.] According to The Hollywood Reporter, there is an adaptation of Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane novels and stories in the works: “Action Fantasy ‘Kane’ Adaptation in the Works From Vertigo”. Personally, I’d be happy if there was a decent print edition of the Kane novels and stories available again. Also, my inner pedant bristles at calling the Kane stories epic fantasy, because they’re sword and sorcery.
Kane is very able for producers Roy Lee, Andrew Trapani and Steven Schneider.
The trio has secured the adaptation rights to the long-sought-after series of Kane fantasy novels and short stories by cult fantasy author Karl Edward Wagner.
…Kane’s adventures take place in a visceral world steeped in ancient history, with bloody conflicts and dark mysteries. Wagner wove gothic horror elements into this pre-medieval landscape, taking Kane on fantastic sagas involving war, romance, triumph and tragedy.
(8) ONE READER’S APPROACH. Tika Viteri tells “How I’m Decolonizing My Sci-Fi Reading” at Book Riot.
… One of the ways I am working to decolonize my science fiction reading is to diversify it. White cisgender male authors are vastly over-represented in science fiction, and they come from the dominant gender and race of the English-speaking world, whether they are consciously buying into the narrative or not. A good way to mitigate that narrative is to read it from different perspectives, and those perspectives are usually written by authors who are either non-white and/or not male.
If you haven’t yet read the Binti trilogy of novellas by Nnedi Okorafor, it is an excellent place to start. As an author, she specifically identifies with Africanfuturism, which is a genre (along with Afrofuturism) that has been regularly blowing my mind since I was introduced to it. Our heroine, Binti, has been accepted at a prestigious university off-planet, but her journey is interrupted when her ship is attacked and she is the only survivor. The series handles interspecies biases, what it means to broker peace, and what happens when the fate of worlds rests on the shoulders of one young woman. Reviews are full of phrases like “ground-breaking” and “unique,” and I wholeheartedly agree….
Another of Viteri’s recent articles for Book Riot is “Literary Scandals: Who Was the Real-Life Dracula?”
… [Bram] Stoker famously kept to himself, editing his public image ruthlessly. In contrast to [Oscar] Wilde, and perhaps in reaction to what he perceived to be Wilde’s recklessness regarding his sexual exploits, he retreated farther and farther into the closet, going so far as to say in 1912 that all homosexuals should be locked up — a group that definitely, in retrospect, included himself.
(9) MEMORY LANE.
1971 — [Item by Cat Eldridge] Fifty-one years ago at Noreascon where Robert Silverberg was Toastmaster and Clifford D. Simak (pro) and Harry Warner, Jr. (fan) were Guests of Honor with Tony Lewis as the Chair, Larry Niven won the Hugo for Best Novel for Ringworld. It was published by Ballantine Books in October of 1970.
Other nominated workers were Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero, Robert Silverberg’s Tower of Glass, Wilson Tucker‘s The Year of the Quiet Sun and Hal Clement’s Star Light.
It would also win the Locus, Nebula and Ditmar Awards. Locus would later include Ringworld on its list of All-Time Best SF Novels before 1990.
Algis Budrys found it in his Galaxy Bookshelf column to be “excellent and entertaining, woven together very skillfully and proceeding at a pretty smooth pace.”
It would spawn three sequel novels with The Ringworld Engineers nominated for a Hugo at Denvention Two which was the year Joan D. Vinge’s The Snow Queen won and a prequel series, Fleet of Worlds which was co-written with Edward M. Lerner. (I really like the latter.) One film and three series have been announced down the decades but none to date have been produced. Indeed Amazon announced this as a series along with Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Greg Rucka’s Lazarus five years ago but none got developed.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born February 1, 1884 — Yevgeny Zamyatin. Author of We, a dystopian novel. He also translated into into Russian a number of H.G. Wells works and some critics think We is at least part a polemic against the overly optimistic scientific socialism of Wells. The Wiki writer for the Yevgeny Zamyatin page claims that We directly inspired Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Dispossessed and Brave New World. No idea if this passes the straight face test. What do y’all think of this claim? (Died 1937.)
- Born February 1, 1908 — George Pal. Producer of Destination Moon (Retro Hugo at Millennium Philcon), When Worlds Collide, The War of the Worlds (which I love), Conquest of Space, The Time Machine, Atlantis, the Lost Continent, Tom Thumb, The Time Machine, Atlantis, the Lost Continent, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (another I love)and his last film being Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze which is not so great. Can we hold a George Pal film fest, pretty please? (Died 1980.)
- Born February 1, 1942 — Terry Jones. Member of Monty Python who was considered the originator of the program’s structure in which sketches flowed from one to the next without the use of punchlines. He made his directorial debut with Monty Python and the Holy Grail whichwas nominated for a Hugo at MidAmeriCon, which he co-directed with Gilliam, and also directed Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. He also wrote an early draft of Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth, though little of that draft remains in the final version. Let’s not forget Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book by Brian Froud and him which won a Hugo at Intersection for Best Original Art Work. (Died 2020.)
- Born February 1, 1942 — Bibi Besch. Best remembered for portraying Dr. Carol Marcus on The Wrath of Khan. Genre wise, she’s also been in The Pack (horror), Meteor (SF), The Beast Within (more horror), Date with an Angel (romantic fantasy) and Tremors. She died much, much too young following a long battle with breast cancer. (Died 1996.)
- Born February 1, 1946 — Elisabeth Sladen. Certainly best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who. She was a regular cast member from 1973 to 1976, alongside the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker), and reprised her role down the years, both on the series and on its spin-offs, K-9 and Company (truly awfully done including K-9 himself) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (not bad at all). It’s not her actual first SF appearance, that honor goes to her being a character called Sarah Collins in an episode of the Doomwatch series called “Say Knife, Fat Man”. The creators behind this series had created the cybermen concept for Doctor Who. (Died 2011.)
- Born February 1, 1954 — Bill Mumy, 68. He’s had a much longer career in the genre than even I knew. And I probably overlooked something. His first genre roles were at age seven on Twilight Zone, two episodes in the same season (Billy Bayles In “Long Distance Call” and Anthony Fremont in “Its A Good Life”). He makes make it a trifecta appearing a few years later again as Young Pip Phillips in “In Praise of Pip”. Next for him he played an orphaned boy in an episode of Bewitched called “A Vision of Sugar Plums” and then Custer In “Whatever Became of Baby Custer?” on I Dream of Jeannie, a show he revisited a few years as Darrin the Boy in “Junior Executive”. Ahhh his most famous role is up next as Will Robinson in Lost in Space. It’s got to be thirty years since I’ve seen it but I still remember and like it quite a bit. He manages to show up next on The Munsters as Googie Miller in “Come Back Little Googie” and in Twilight Zone: The Movie In one of the bits as Tim. I saw the film but don’t remember him.He’s got a bunch of DC Comics and Marvel roles as well — Young General Fleming in Captain America, Roger Braintree on The Flash series and Tommy Puck on Superboy. He’s Lennier, one of the most fascinating and annoying characters in all of the Babylon 5 Universe. Enough said. I hadn’t realized it it but he showed up on Deep Space Nine as Kellin in the “The Siege of AR-558” episode. Lastly, and before our gracious Host starts grinding his teeth at the length of this Birthday entry, I see he’s got a cameo as Dr. Z. Smith in the new Lost in Space series.
- Born February 1, 1965 — Brandon Lee. Lee started his career with a supporting role in Kung Fu: The Movie, but is obviously known for his breakthrough and fatal acting role as Eric Draven in The Crow, based on James O’Barr’s series. Y’ll know what happened to him so I’ll not go into that here except to say that’s it’s still happening and damn well shouldn’t be happening, should it? (Died 1993.)
(11) STAND BY FOR NEW. “DC is re-writing all of its major events since the ’80s with a stunning reveal in Justice League Incarnate #4” – GamesRadar+ broadcasts the warning.
If you’ve read any of the big DC Comics superhero events from 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths to now, everything you know is about to change.
In February 1’s Justice League Incarnate #4, DC’s de facto chief writer Joshua Williamson and co-writer Dennis Culver have re-contextualized the major events in DC multiversal history from the ’80s to now. Although this Justice League Incarnate limited series has been a story unto itself, it continues to move pieces around on DC’s ‘big picture’ chessboard towards another Crisis-level event in the very near future.
Anything more we could say on Justice League Incarnate #4 would be spoilers, so…
(12) THE PANELS THROUGH TOMORROW. Jared Shurin has harnessed the power of modern computing to spew forth the commonest denominators in convention programming since the A-bomb went off. Thread starts here.
(13) MOST POPULAR VIEWS. While we’re waiting for someone to produce Sanctuary Moon, here’s what people are enjoying according to JustWatch.
Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies and TV Shows in the US in January (01.01.-31.01.22)
|1||Ghostbusters: Afterlife||Station Eleven|
|2||Dune||A Discovery of Witches|
|3||Free Guy||Resident Alien|
|5||Spider-Man: Far From Home||The Book of Boba Fett|
|7||Don’t Look Up||Ghosts|
|8||The Amazing Spider-Man||Snowpiercer|
|10||Venom: Let There Be Carnage||Doctor Who|
*Based on JustWatch popularity score. Genre data is sourced from themoviedb.org
(14) LOOK OUT BELOW. “Nasa reveals how it will destroy International Space Station at the end of its life” reports MSN.com.
…The plan assumes that lifespan will come to an end in January 2031. But the work to do so could start a year or more in advance, when the International Space Station’s orbit starts to fall towards the Earth.
Because of the ISS’s vast size, it will not burn up in the atmosphere, and so its descent will have to be precisely controlled in order to be safe. Nasa hopes to do so by gradually manoeuvring the spacecraft so that it drops down to Earth.
Those manoeuvres will be done partly by using the propulsion built into the ISS, as well as by the vehicles that visit. Nasa says that it has already examined the visiting vehicles for whether they would be able to provide enough thrust to help with the de-orbit – and found that a number of them do, with work continuing to expand that list further.
Eventually, the track of the space station’s fall will be lined up so that the space station will fall towards what it calls the “South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area”, or SPOUA. That area is known as the “oceanic pole of inaccessibility” since it is the part of Earth furthest from land – and it is so remote that often the closest human beings are the International Space Station’s astronauts as they float overhead.
Nasa will aim for a specific region known as “Point Nemo”, which is not only remote but almost entirely uninhabited….
(15) LOFTY CONCERNS. Here’s something else you don’t want to be under if it drops out of the sky. WIRED’s Rhett Allain is worried about “What Happens If a Space Elevator Breaks”.
…OK, back to the space elevator. If we can’t build a tower from the ground up, we can hang a 36,000-kilometer cable from an object that’s in a geostationary orbit. Boom: That’s the space elevator.
To get this to work, you would need a large mass in orbit—either a space station or a small asteroid. The mass has to be large so that it doesn’t get pulled out of orbit every time something climbs up the cable.
But perhaps now you can see the problem with a space elevator. Who wants to make a 36,000-kilometer-long cable? For a cable that long, even the strongest material, like kevlar, would have to be super thick to prevent it from breaking. Of course, thicker cables means more weight hanging down below, and that means the higher parts of the cable have to be even thicker to support the cable below. It’s a compounding problem that seems essentially impossible. The only hope for the future of space elevator construction is to figure out how to use some super strong and lightweight material like carbon nanotubes. Perhaps we will make this work someday, but that day is not today.
What About a Falling Elevator Cable?
In the first episode of Foundation, some people decide to set off explosives that separate the space elevator’s top station from the rest of the cable. The cable falls to the surface of the planet and does some real damage down there.
What would a falling space elevator cable look like in real life?….
(16) SHIELDS UP! Here’s a clip of what 2021’s Dune would look like with 1984 technology. Which, if you’re as old as I am, you maybe thought you’d already seen. From the Corridor Crew.
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Trailers: The Witcher, Season 2,” the Screen Junkies say that there’s a lot of grunting and deep signs in season 2 of “The Witcher,” but characters are obsessed with how bad they smell (tying into that Old Spice ad!) and much of the series has “a plot line as boring as the phrase ‘elf migration crisis’ would imply.” The narrator is bothered by the character growth in the show because “I haven’t grown since eighth grade!”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Rob Thornton, Soon Lee, N., Chris Barkley, Daniel Dern, Will R., Brian Z., Cora Buhlert, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer.]
(9) I just heard from an acquaintance the other day who mentioned that he has the Earth-turns-backwards paperback edition of RW. I told him he might want to hold onto that.
9) After a recent reread of Ringworld, I felt that it mostly survived the Suck Fairy except for the sexism, which is fairly prominent (especially as the book progresses).
(1) MAKING MAUS AVAILABLE.
Is this an example of The Streisand Effect? If so, I approve.
(12) THE PANELS THROUGH TOMORROW.
Surely some of those have been actual panels?
If you’ve read any of the big DC Comics superhero events from 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths to now, everything you know is about to change.
I always thought that version read better than the corrected version.
Rob Thornton says After a recent reread of Ringworld, I felt that it mostly survived the Suck Fairy except for the sexism, which is fairly prominent (especially as the book progresses).
I listened to it maybe six months ago and I agree it was fine except for the rather blatant sexism. That said, the latter novels in the series are by far worse when it comes to the sexism.
The tasp is probably my favorite weapon in sci-fi!
(9) It’s true, the original cities mentioned in the first printing of Ringworld simply sound better (Louis is first seen arriving in Munich; his party is in Greenwich; he dials for Tehran just before his surprise first meeting with Nessus). It also makes more sense for the English “seed and roll for 100 years” theory of lawncare to be enacted in Greenwich (rather than Resht in the revision, which turns out to be in Iran) when he finally arrives back home with Nessus and Speaker in tow.
5) As someone who actually worked on establishing new Hugo Award categories for twenty years (between 1999-2019), I can tell you all without a hint of irony that the process as it’s described in this Twitter post is just the TIP OF THE PROVERBIAL ICEBERG.
Well, I’m quite sure they’ll find out soon enough. Good Luck folks, you’re going to need it…
I’m not going to argue against reading authors who aren’t white males… just don’t refuse to read us. Some of us, at least, are writing stories that are a lot different than what folks writing 60 years ago were writing. Give us a chance.
The Hugo retribution? No. I disagree with that – create something else, don’t warp a literary award. And I will point out, as unhappy as I was to suddenly find Raytheon “sponsoring” it, that Mary Kowal apologized, so unless you’re someone who treats those who genuinely apologize the same way you treat those who triple-down on what they did, give it a break.
LASFS – they’re not the only ones. BSFS has a building (not a clubhouse – there are legal reasons for what we call it), with a well over 12k book library, and it’s been around since long before the turn of the millenium.
10) Terry Jones was also a medievalist and wrote several books on medieval history. I actually just finished rewatching Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives, an 8-episode BBC series he did about, well, the lives of various medieval folks (peasants, kings, minstrels, etc.), and how they often differed from the way they’re portrayed in popular fiction &c.
7) Now we just need to get a Fafhrd & Gray Mouser adaptation, and then get Kristofer Hivju to play both Kane and Fafhrd.
The right year, I observe, is one that has an issue that is important to other people, but not to Sutherland.
I was as annoyed about the Raytheon sponsorship as everybody else, but I am even more annoyed by trying to turn “Best Related Work” into “Best Protest Vote” or “Best Fannish Thing”.
If someone were to e.g. write a non-fiction book about the connections between SFF and the military and arms trade (and there is at least one book like that about the so-called Sigma group), I might well nominate it and vote for it. But I won’t nominate any of those fairly flimsy essays and I won’t vote for them, if nominated.
@Rob Thornton: I think the main reason “Ringworld” survives the Suck Fairy for me is that, when I first read it in 1970, I was well aware of the sexism in it (later on, I figured that was an unconscious bias on the part of the author). I liked the book in spite of it. I didn’t notice the Earth spinning backwards at the time, although I do recall a minor bit of confusion–I then decided Niven knew more about time zones than I did (oops). I was unaware of the Ringworld’s instability until “Ringworld Engineers.” Had I shown the book to my astronomy professor, she would have spotted the rotation problem immediately–and my physics prof would have noticed the inherent instability.
In the most recent Best Related Work Hugo there was one thing that quite a few people put behind No Award. But here Sutherland is recommending five things, which is almost enough to fill up the ballot. We’ll have to see whether people who find Sutherland’s idea appealing decide to nominate them all.
A Hugo to complain about a choice made by a previous Worldcon committee. What a terrible idea. Unless your purpose is to debase the Hugo Awards as a measure of excellence in science fiction.
10) Yevgeny Zamyatin … “The Wiki writer for the Yevgeny Zamyatin page claims that We directly inspired Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Dispossessed and Brave New World. No idea if this passes the straight face test. What do y’all think of this claim?”
Why the scepticism? The Wiki “writer” (I haven’t checked, but it’s most often a committee of, at least, editors) provides citations to biographies, interviews and critical works. I think the claim is worthy enough on the face of it.
I still don’t know what about Raytheon sponsorship caused such a hullaballoo. Yes, they’re a defense contractor. So what?
I’m delighted to hear that Vertigo will be bringing Wagner’s Kane to comics. He was one of my favorite sword & sorcery figures, along with Howard’s Kane, John Jakes’ Brak, and Henry Kuttner’s Elak. I wish Karl had written another dozen books about that character. So badass, so moody, so schizophrenic. and of course, so cursed!
Was the space station Freedom deliberately designed so it could not be boosted and have its orbital life prolonged?. If spacecraft engines can be used to help bring it down,why couldn’t they be used to help keep it up?
(10) I read We because Ursula K LeGuin recommended it in an essay, so it’s easy for me to accept that it influenced The Dispossessed.
Her essays also induced me to give Dickens another shot (after bouncing hard off A Tale of Two Cities in high school) and introduced me to Islandia. Still grateful.
Next big name in self-published SF?
Eight-year-old Dillon Helbig publishes his illustrated 81-page book, featuring time travel, by putting it on a shelf in local library. There is now a waiting list of 55 people to check it out.
Dillon’s family originally asked for the book’s return, fearing it would get lost, but librarian assured them that libraries are the safest place for books. (Let’s hope that stays true.) https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/feb/02/boy-handrwritten-book-dillon-helbig-idaho
10) Here’s an essay on We by George Orwell, written 2 years before the publication of 1984, where he compares it to Brave New World and suggests it was an influence.
I concur. There’s no positive in rehashing this.
Sutherland might object to this succinct summary of the position, but that’s the conclusion left for us to draw from the statement. I strongly advise against this course of action. How important to us is your virtue signaling?
That’s a pretty solid nominee list right there.
Wait… Elisabeth Sladen was older than Bill Mumy? Talk about time travel
I think we all agree that the only place a space elevator is remotely possibly to be constructed is over Mars. The best impossible idea I have ever read. But we need to put it to rest. Not gonna happen on terra, nanowhatsit notwithstanding.
It’s been suggested that Ayn Rand’s Anthem nicked much of Zamyatin’s We for its setting. Apparently Rand never acknowledged any similarity, much less debt. But then, she wouldn’t.
@ Michael Burianyk:
Note that (as it currently stands) a few paragraphs before the list that says that We inspired Brave New World, there is an explicit denial that it did so.
With that in mind, I think thre may be something to it, for possibly SOME of the examples listed.
Over on eBay the first paperback edition of Ringworld is going for about $25, or $200 if Niven has signed it. I suppose if I’m ever at a convention where Niven is a guest …
I read them both (long time ago), and think you’re right. Though I read We in translation, he was also the better writer.
gottacook says It’s true, the original cities mentioned in the first printing of Ringworld simply sound better (Louis is first seen arriving in Munich; his party is in Greenwich; he dials for Tehran just before his surprise first meeting with Nessus). It also makes more sense for the English “seed and roll for 100 years” theory of lawncare to be enacted in Greenwich (rather than Resht in the revision, which turns out to be in Iran) when he finally arrives back home with Nessus and Speaker in tow.
Thanks for reminding me that I actually did read it first in the original paperback printing. It’s hard to remember after all these years until remained up of the details of his birthday party. And no, that paperback is no longer in my possession.
Now listening to Rusch’s The Early Conundrums as I get interview her about the Spade / Paladin stories.
(3) I prefer the long-form Related Work nominees like “Astounding,” “An Informal History of the Hugos” (or “The Last BronyCon”) but I can imagine an article posted on a blog that covers the various issues with Hugo sponsorship in sufficient detail and depth that I’d put it above No Award (or even at #1) (I haven’t read any of the ones that Cora linked to yet).
On (5), note that the proposal is now for Best Game, not Best Video Game – that’s because the prevailing view of the people who have been working on this is that this is a continuum and there are many games that are near-identical in tabletop and video game form.
Chris, Ira is on the Hugo Awards Study Committee, where there is a clear following wind for this proposal. Beyond ‘a successful trial Hugo’ and support from HASC, what more do you think it would be sensible to do at this stage to get BM attendees onside? This is the largest part of our genre by a large margin, and crucially the only one where most of the sales are SFF rather than it being a small part of a much larger industry.
(3) In my view, both Jeannette Ng’s acceptance speech and Natalie Lurhs’ post were nominated not just as “a thing that talks about a controversy”, but as specific pieces of writing that captured people’s attention for the writing itself as well as for their relation to their respective controversies.
To me, Sutherland’s suggestions lack that aspect.
(3) Individual conventions can always have their own awards for things they don’t like, for example Bubonicon has the Green Slime awards. I don’t see this as a good use of the Hugos.
I disagree. I think that Related Work should only be for long-form works based on research. Short-form works are immediate and all of the moment, full of sound and fury and et cetera. It doesn’t matter how well written they are, they don’t deserve awards (even though I voted for Jeannette’s speech initially). We don’t need a category for screeds, no matter how well-written and thoughtful they are.
You seem to be disagreeing with something I didn’t say – in fact, with a topic I wasn’t even addressing.
My point was that both Jeannette Ng’s acceptance speech and Natalie Luhrs’ post had a quality to them in how they were expressed that made each of them compelling to nominators and voters, respectively, beyond mere association with a controversy; and that none of Sutherland’s suggestions seem to have that bit extra.
But for the sake of argument: why should a short-form related work not be award-worthy? There’s nothing in the description of the category that mentions any length minima or maxima; and length or lack of length does not make a work better or worse, or more or less impactful of important.
Short form does not necessarily mean that it’s “in the moment” – nor does longer form mean that the work can’t be just as much about a moment … but then, why would that be a bad thing when the moment is an important one – or perhaps a moment at the culmination of something that has been standing or building for some time?
Much of history can after all be described by looking at “turning points” – individual moments. Scholars can write vast amounts about brief moments. But likewise, short works can be written about long stretches of time, or large phenomena. Keep in mind the quote from mathematician Blaise Pascal: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” – a shorter work that can still address a point can be much better than a longer one.
Looking at the specific example of Jeannette Ng’s acceptance speech, it was not about ‘a moment’ but it raised long-standing issues, including a tone that had been set in the field of science fiction for a long time; and her speech also had great impact, including providing the final impetus to make a significant change, to rename the Astounding award. Her acceptance speech is absolutely within the “Related Work” category; and its significance absolutely makes it worthy of consideration for an award. And the fact that she managed to do all of this, achieve so much in so few words … that is completely award-worthy to me.
Also note that a “related work” could be something other than a writing. It could be a picture – whether a vast detailed painting, or a satirical cartoon. It’s not the size of the work, or the span of what it covers, that makes it potentially award-worthy. It’s … whatever the nominators and voters decide, really.
3) I like the idea of a short form and long form Best Related Works
First of all, I apologize for misinterpreting your words. I’ve had this topic on my mind and it just leaked out. Mea culpa.
Well, so far we have seen that short-form works (text) tend to be denunciatory in the best traditions of the Internet. It’s what we do best. I think that votes for those sorts of texts can confuse the moral quality of the text with its award-worthiness. The Related Work category traditionally has supported non-fiction works about SF/F that add to fandoms body of knowledge. In contrast, the short-form works have been.recognized for their ability to whip up public sentiment (right or wrong). Do we really want to encourage people to troll for Hugos?
More personally, I was disgusted by GRRM’s performance at New Zealand (though a little more empathetic than others like Luhrs). He attracted a lot of opprobrium and rightly so. I had put the whole affair behind me (though not forgotten – ask me about my Balticon GRRM story sometime), when I saw the Luhrs nomination appear. It really bummed me out.
I felt like a faction of fandom was using the Hugos to maintain a feud. Everything that could be said had been said already, but some people obviously couldn’t let it go and wanted to pile on again. By no means am I criticizing the Luhrs piece as a text–it was of the moment, well-written, and true to itself. I just don’t think that such a transient piece was more important than a new translation of Beowulf. And bottom line, I think that if you want to capture that historical moment, you shouldn’t give it a Related Works Hugo–you should hit the Save button or put the text in a scrapbook.
And I am afraid that short form works are going to be connected to angry attacks. It’s so rewarding to follow the crowd and punish someone who has already been punished by nominating a text that tears someone down (for good or for ill). If you can promise me that the next short-form work won’t be an attack blog entry, maybe I will agree with you.
Kameron Hurley’s “We Have Always Fought” was angry – but not directly related to any fannish feud (and was reasonably scholarly considering its length). But your other point is well-taken. I wouldn’t like to see the BRW turned entirely into an arena for rants.
“We Have Always Fought” was also a lot more substantial than the GRRM rant or Jeannette Ng’ s Hugo acceptance speech, even though I agreed with both their points.
And I know I may be fighting a losing battle here, but I like SFF related non-fiction and would like to see it honoured. And since the Nebulas don’t have a non-fiction category and other awards which honour non-fiction like the REH Foundation or Tolkien Foundation Awards have a limited scope, the Best Related Work Hugo is the best way we have to honour time and research intensive non-fiction books, documentaries and the like. And I hate to see the category used as “Let’s air our grievances, no matter how justified”.
A portion of last week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett was set on a ringworld, if not the Ringworld.
Captain America is Marvel, not DC.
Regarding the Best Related Work nominations going to details from the previous year’s Awards Ceremony
At least we don’t have people nominating the Awards Ceremony itself (or, worse, an acceptance speech) for Best Dramatic Presentation.
Not any more, anyway.
@Cora: I can’t help but think the best procedure in this case be to nominate and promote non-fiction works that exemplify the best of the category.
I really think that making this into a proposal to the business meeting would be something of a nightmare. Especially since establishing minimum criteria would be hugely, contentious.
I think trying to revert the Best Related category back is a lost cause; it’s “best fannish thing” now. I would welcome a “Best Non-fiction Book” category though, as those are definitely worth honoring IMO. (I would be more than willing to trade best series for it, or get it instead of best game, but I think I’m in the minority in that.)
Things I’m currently considering nominating for Best Related Work because I think they’re pretty good actually and not purely because I want to rehash last year’s Worldcon controversy:
Code is Just, an autobiographical account of what it was like to be a British teenager and game developer of Pakistani descent in the early days of video game development. It is, unfortunately, in one very long twitter thread, and I would recommend periodically clicking on tweets further down lest your browser have a hissy over Twitter’s bad code, force reload the page, and shove you right back to the top.
True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, by Abraham Riesman, a so-far-very-good (I’m just over halfway through) biography about Stan Lee, wherein the author’s frustration with the many, many unreliable narrators, not the least of which the subject himself, bleeds off every other page. Serious admiration for managing to wrangle anything resembling a narrative out of it, although once or twice I did spot the odd speculative “perhaps…” in there. But only once or twice.
An Exhaustive History of Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings by FoldingIdeas (Dan Olsen), a youtube documentary taking a fascinating look at the development of an adaptation I didn’t even know existed (not being born sooner is occasionally a serious handicap for genre history knowledge), and the successes and failings thereof. Even if he isbriefly very mean to The Aristocats, which I liked very much as a smol Meredith.
(FoldingIdeas also had another good one – The Nostalgia Critic and The Wall – covering a… parody of sorts of Pink Floyd’s film The Wall, but I think the Ralph Bakshi one is the better work, and anyway I’m not sure everyone will agree that The Wall is genre, precisely. Still, if you’re a fan of The Wall, you might want to have a looksee. Alternatively, if you enjoy comprehensive takedowns of bad parodies, probably a vid you’ll enjoy!)
Tracing the Roots of Pop Culture Transphobia, by Lindsay Ellis, a youtube documentary doing more or less what it says on the tin, and doing it well.
The Complete Elmore – Part One: A Book of Power, by BardicBroadcasts, one of my favourite, if not most regularly uploading, youtubers around, if perhaps not the very best of his videos. I just really, really enjoy listening to this man talk about general geekery, and since sword & sorcery is clearly his favourite form of genre, Larry Elmore’s work is very much within his wheelhouse. (Looking forward to part two.)
Comparing the Addams Family Sitcom and 90s Movies, by BeKindRewind, a classic cinema youtube channel that normally specialises in using the Best Actress winners as a lens to analyse film history, dipping into a more genre-specific work. (Even if she’s very mean to The Munsters, which, um, is the one I grew up watching recorded onto vhs tapes. Never actually liked the Addams Family all that much. But the comparison is interesting!)
(BeKindRewind also had another great video out – How Madonna References Classic Films – but while I believe in my heart of hearts that Madonna is just, like, inherently genre, I’m not sure there’s all that much genre in the actual video. I think Metropolis turns up?! But it’s a really good video! Super interesting! Even if you’re not much of a Madonna person!)
… and I’ve got a handful of other videos earmarked to try and get through before the deadline because they look promising. This list is very heavy on the Youtube Documentaries, but I was Very Not Well last year and it’s a damn sight easier – and cheaper – to rapidly catch up on those than it is non-fiction books, which are only rarely on sale and usually close to a tenner the rest of the time. Happy to hear recs for them though! Or other documentaries, youtube and otherwise! If there’s another bloody last-year’s-drama finalist I will cry. Let’s all rec shinier stuff instead. And then nominate a bunch of it. Please.
I would be very happy to support, in whatever capacity I am able, the addition of a minimum word-count (for text works) and minimum duration (for performed works) to the Best Related Work category.
@Meredith: Thank you for that. There are several things I really want to check out from your list (I saw the Bakshi LotR in the theater, which required extensive logistics since the nearest theater was an hour away from my rural home, and no one else I knew wanted to see it (if I recall correctly, by the way, the Macy’s Parade in 1978 had a LotR float to promote the movie, which is how I learned that Frodo was Fro-do, not Frod-o (which is how I had pronounced it in my head). Regarding Aristocats, smol not-Werdna liked it a lot, too, when I saw it at a drivein double feature with Song of the South (!) in 1970 or so).