Pixel Scroll 3/25/16 Phantom MacSpaceface O’Trollington

(1) SOLID NUMBERS. “So How Many Books Do You Sell?” is the question. Kameron Hurley dares to answer.

It’s the question every writer dreads: “How many books have you sold? ”

It’s a tricky question because for 99% of the year, those with traditionally published books honestly have very little idea. But two times a year – in the spring and in the fall – we receive royalty statements from publishers, which give a sometimes cryptic breakdown of what has sold where. So for those keeping track here with my “Honest Publishing Numbers” posts, here’s an update.

(2) HAND JIVE. Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration Honors Leonard Nimoy’s Artwork”.

More than 50 pieces will be featured during a 50th-anniversary Star Trek art exhibit honoring a half-century of exploring the final frontier. That includes the final piece of art created by original series star, the late Leonard Nimoy.

The event, which San Diego Comic-Con attendees will arrive just in time for, opens on July 21 at the Michael J. Wolf Fine Arts in San Diego, CA. It will then travel to Las Vegas, Toronto, and the UK.

The official Star Trek site is rolling out all the pieces bit by bit, but the artistic work of the beloved Nimoy was one of the first released. The piece, which depicts multiple images of Nimoy’s hand giving the “Live Long and Prosper” salute, was created for the Star Trek Art Exhibit.

The red, yellow and blue motif is a nod to the uniform colors worn by the Star Trek cast of characters in the original show.

(3) LISTEN UP. In “These hearing aids aren’t just for show A.k.a. This message speaks volumes”, Swedish fan Feeejay describes how her being hard of hearing impacted her experiences at the 2014 Swecon, her coping strategies, and how we can assist them.

What can you do to help? In social situations:

Face me when talking.
Repeat or double check that I’ve got the important information.
Help me sit in the center so I can hear everyone.
Speak clearly, and if I ask you to repeat yourself, try to raise your voice just a tad, but mostly speak slower and more clearly.
If you have a induction loop in a facility, use it.
Microphones should always be used, and if an audience microphone is available, use it too.
Alternatively, have the moderator repeat the questions.

When I’m at conventions, I always sit in the front row. If I’m in a panel I prefer to sit in the middle. This is what works for me — if you don’t know what works for someone else, try asking!

And how did it go at the Steampunkfestival?

Some panels went just fine, if I was placed in the center and didn’t get an audience question. Some panels worked less fine if the moderator forgot to repeat the audience question before someone answered it.

In one panel, I got an audience question and waited for the moderator to repeat it. My silence was interpreted as confusion or not having a good answer, so other panel members answered instead, while I looked like a question mark. I felt really stupid.

(4) THE MAGIC NUMBER FIVE. Lavie Tidhar, interviewed by Shelf Awareness, is asked a numerical question.

Your top five authors:

The writers who most influenced me (for good or bad) are probably Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler, Cordwainer Smith (the pen name of Paul Linebarger, who was an intelligence specialist and the godson of Sun Yat-sen and wrote the most extraordinary and peculiar science fiction stories). Tim Powers–I still remember discovering him for the first time and being so blown away. T.S. Eliot.

It’s a sort of Hardboiled Five, isn’t it? It’s more a list of people who directly influenced my writing in some way than anything else.

(5) READ COATES. Rachel Swirsky makes a “Favorite Fiction Recommendation: ‘Magic in a Certain Slant of Light’”

I met Deborah Coates when I was in graduate school at the University of Iowa. She and I were in a writers group together with a lot of other people. We called it Dragons of the Corn.

Deb writes beautiful magical realism, fantasy and science fiction. At one point, she was tossing around the term “rural fantasy.” Her prose is lovely, and the moods she creates are delicate and pervasive.

“Magic in a Certain Slant of Light” is one of my favorites of her short stories….

(6) HAMNER. Earl Hamner, Jr.’s family thanked everyone for their condolences on Facebook, and at the post provides addresses of charitable institutions he supported.

We have been asked about a memorial or service and all I can tell you at this time is that Dad was emphatically opposed to the idea. He even made my mother promise him not to even consider the idea! So, we are respecting his wishes, but at the same time trying to imagine a way to remember him that he would like. (I.e., we all meet at the James River in Virgina and go fishing and drink a lot of Jack Daniels.) In the meantime, if you feel you need to do something to honor him, you will find below a list of organizations that Dad supported. A charitable gift in his memory would make him proud.


  • March 25, 1956 — Lon Chaney stars as “Butcher” Benton, The Indestructible Man.

(8) RED MARS HITS RED LIGHT. Deadline reports “Spike TV ‘Red Mars’ Series On Pause After Showrunner Exits”.

Spike TV has pushed the pause button on Red Mars, its 10-episode straight-to-series drama adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson’s best-selling “hard” science-fiction trilogy. The move comes as executive producer/showrunner Peter Noah has exited the project, produced by Skydance TV.

…. I hear Straczynski, who had written the pilot script out of his passion for the books, had the option to stay on as showrunner or leave and keep an executive producer credit. The writer, who had been busy in features and TV, opted for the latter, and Noah came in as showrunner. He has now departed too over what I heard were creative differences with Spike.

(9) THE MESSAGE. Chris Van Trump is “Back In The Sad-dle Again” at Shambling Towards Bethlehem.

…What bothers me about the whole Sad Puppies situation is how often the existence of talent in the opposition has been denied, by both sides in this small battlefield of the culture war. Obviously that was Correia’s point in kicking off the whole affair; to expose what he considered to be ideological filtering in the Hugo nomination and voting process.

Personally, I think he was right. Not because of some grand cabal of liberal hypocrites willing to trash good authors on the grounds of political dissent, but because communities develop specific cultures, and those cultures create preferences.

And WorldCon has its own subculture, and as a result its own preferences, and those preferences lean towards the kind of pretentious twaddle that bores me to tears. But hey, it has the right messages, and that’s what’s important.

Or is it?

You see, there’s something that bothers me more than the denial of talent on the grounds of ideology, and that is the degradation of talent in the service of ideology.

One of the problems you run into, and this is something I’ve seen in other mediums as well, is that when you place the perceived political and social value of a work over its artistic value when determining merit, you get, well, precisely what you deserve. Passive, politically-correct-for-your-critical-lens pablum. A checklist of boxes to be marked off, with the expectation of accolades if enough boxes are checked.

You get boring message fiction. Or games. Or art of any kind….

(10) ON THE DOGS. Lela E. Buis, in “Discrimination against the Puppies?”, applies the thoughts from her recent posts about multiculturalism to the Puppy dilemma.

But, is Kate Paulk telling it straight? I don’t quite think so. Unfortunately I’m not going to have time to read the whole list of recommendations before the award nominations are due, but I have worked through the short stories and some of the related works. I can’t speak for the novels, but much of what I’ve read are not neutral recommendations. If you’re keeping up with my reviews, these works are slanted to present the Puppies side of the recent conflict. That means they are written by SJW’s on the Puppy side.

Who’s right? I suspect the SFF community needs to consider the Puppies’ point of view. If you’re reading along on my social commentary, you’ll note that the 50-year era of multiculturalism has closed, and we are now entering a period where community is becoming more important. This means the actions of divisive activists will be less well received than in the past—on all sides. I know people like to fan the flames, but wouldn’t community building be time better spent?

(11) PERFECTION. Sarah A. Hoyt begins “Perfectly Logical” with an epic autobiographical introduction to justify her view about why people asked off the Sad Puppies 4 List.

….It wasn’t a stupid fear.  It was real.  Even though writers can’t control who reads them and likes them, if you’re liked by the “far right” you must be using “dog whistles” — and thus the blacklisting starts.

So those people asking to be removed from the Hugo recommendations which were made by fan vote?  Perfectly logical.  Getting tainted by association is a thing in their circles.

The people proclaiming that we: Larry, Brad, myself, John C. Wright, I don’t know if they were stupid enough to include Kevin J. Anderson and Butcher in that, but definitely everyone else in the list, had “ruined their careers” are right.  For their world and their definition of career.  None of the big four will ever publish us again, except Baen.

They are stuck in the old push-model days in their head.  They think that everyone down the chain will now boycott us.  And they want to make d*mn sure it doesn’t splash on them.

Meanwhile we’re living in a different world.  We’ve tried indie, and it worked.  (Even though in my case it was just toe dipping.  More to come once internet is fixed and bedrooms, kitchen and office unpacked. (It’s all we’re unpacking in this house.)

We’re living in a world where we can be rude to whomever we please, love our fans whoever they are, and have our own opinions.  Because NYC publishing is NOT the boss of us….

(12) CASTING DUDES. “’Why Can’t We Have One White Superhero?’ Said No One Ever” is the topic today at Angry Asian Man.

Many of us who were following the casting of Marvel’s upcoming Iron Fist Netflix series were disappointed when news broke that some white dude named Finn Jones would play the title role of Danny Rand.

Inspired by this thoughtful plea by Keith Chow of The Nerds of Color, over the last two years a vocal fan movement had swelled and rallied around the possibility of an Asian American Iron Fist. While Danny Rand has traditionally been depicted as white in the comic books, there is no legitimate reason why he had to be played by a white actor. This could have been an interesting opportunity to cast an Asian American actor in the lead role, and complicate and reclaim some of the more problematic, orientalist elements of the character’s mythos.

It was a nice thought. But alas, Danny Rand will be white and it’s business as usual. Some people had some gripes about that. And of course, some people had gripes about the people with gripes.

Comic book creator Joshua Luna, best known for his work as a co-creator and writer of such books as Ultra, Girls and The Sword with his brother Jonathan Luna, recently posted a funny comic offering his take on the Iron Fist casting. Imagine, if you will, an alternate dimension…

(13) BEST SF TV. Adam Whitehead offers his list of the 20 Best SF TV shows of all time at The Wertzone.

In the grand tradition of Gratuitous Lists, here’s a look at the twenty Best Science Fiction TV Shows of All Time (that I can think of today). The list is in alphabetical order, not order of quality, nor is there a #1 choice as I’d probably have a totally different choice tomorrow. So rather than argue about arbritary placements on the list, you can instead yell at me at what got left off.

In case you’re wondering, the list contains only overtly science fictional TV shows. No fantasy (that’d be another, different list) and no anime, as I’m not well-enough versed in the field. After some debate, also no superhero stuff as the SF credentials of those shows can vary wildly and there’s enough of them now to make for another list.

(14) LEGO ACTORS. The LEGO Batman Movie – Batcave Teaser Trailer.

(15) DO YOUR DAMN DUTY. The Onion has a jaded view of the Batman v Superman experience:

Promising that it would be best to just buy a ticket and take care of the unpleasantness right away, a new Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice promotional campaign launched this week reportedly urged filmgoers to simply get this whole thing over with. “Listen, you all knew this day was coming, so just go sit your ass in the theater, stare up at the IMAX screen for a couple hours, and be done with this shit once and for all,” said Warner Brothers marketing strategist Elizabeth Harris, who encouraged fans to make plans with friends right now so they could all bite the fucking bullet over opening weekend.

(16) PRE-SUMMER HUMMER. No matter what you may have heard about the movie, Deadline says Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice set the cash registers spinning.

East coast registers are winding down and Warner Bros.’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is still on track to be the biggest pre-summer opening day with $80.5M (beating Furious 7‘s $67.4M) and weekend with $169.5M (outstripping The Hunger Games $152.5M) at 4,242 theaters. In sum, this is $20M better than where the industry originally estimated the film to be.

(17) THEME SONG. Darren Garrison’s salute to the late Garry Shandling takes a peculiar turn:

This is the theme to Glyer’s blog,
The theme to Glyer’s blog.
Glyer tweeted me and asked if I would write his theme song.
I’m almost halfway finished,
How do you like it so far?
How do you like the theme to Glyer’s blog?

This is the theme to Glyer’s blog,
The opening theme to Glyer’s blog.
This is the music that you hear as you read the comments.
We’re almost to the part of where he starts to Pixel Scroll.
Then we’ll read Michael Glyer’s blog.

This was the theme to Michael Glyer’s blog.

For those scratching their heads (starting around 30 seconds in):

(18) FLAME ON. Stoic Cynic rocked this verse.

With apologies to BOC:

You see me now a veteran
Of a thousand Usenet wars
I’ve been living on the edge so long
Where the posts of flaming roar

And I’m young enough to look at
And far too old to see
All the scars are on the inside
I’m not sure if there’s candy left in me…

[Thanks to Karl-Johan Norén, Michael J. Walsh, John King Tarpinian, Will R., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nigel.]

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295 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/25/16 Phantom MacSpaceface O’Trollington

  1. @Rev. Bob – They may have been velvety, but they looked very bitey, so I didn’t check! Problem is that apparently even a primate that small twigs my “there’s a person there” sense and I literally could not pass them on a path or the little bridge at the lodge without saying “Excuse me…” or “Pardon, let me just squeak by you…” and when I would turn around and one would be in close proximity “Oh, whoops, sorry! Didn’t see you there!”

    It was weird. I talk to animals all the time, but the monkeys triggered talking-to-humans responses, and I could NOT turn it off.

  2. (5) READ COATES – I just finished reading “Magic in a Certain Slant of Light.” The last paragraph made me feel as though my heart had leapt up into my throat. Twice. I mean, I went back and reread just those last few paragraphs, and the same physical-emotional sensation hit me all over again. Then I just stared at it and said, “How did she do that?”

    Vg’f abg nobhg jung unccraf ng gur raq. Vg’f nobhg jung qbrfa’g unccra, naq ubj vg qbrfa’g unccra.

    (Yes, that was a pretty vague sentence to be a spoiler. It’s still a spoiler, to my mind.)

    Anyway – wow, go read that story.

  3. @Bruce Baugh: Nice jumpy cat! I’m usually not into horror, but I’m always interested in Filer book/story commentary. I’d be a bit more interested in Lovecraftian than zombie, but really, you do you and it’ll be appreciated.

    @Various: If I counted right, I’ve read 16/65 Hugo winners (nearly 25%) and 44/234 non-winning finalists (nearly 19%). I’ve read 25% of the Retro finalists/winners (didn’t count how many of each). I didn’t finish two winners and one or two finalists. I strongly disliked one of the didn’t-finish winners, but I look back on most of the rest fondly, as books I enjoyed (maybe a few are meh or I no longer like them). In some cases, I was like, “Hey, that won/was a finalist? Cool!”

    There are some winning & finalist novels still buried in my TBR stack. I’ve read lots of books over the years, and I don’t care that there are books in the list I haven’t read, haven’t heard of, or that beat out a favorite of mine (except Spin, gak).

    @Various: I’ve only read Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book and a few short stories, but I felt it and the shorts I read were very good. I should read more of her, I know!

    @Dave Goldfarb: Eek, that stuff with your ballot makes me a bit nervous.

    @Various: Maybe I shouldn’t admit I loved The Warrior’s Apprentice when I read it. (To my shame, I haven’t read anything by her since. ::blush::)

  4. I am also very pro-gun-regulation. I just read that story a couple of days ago. I found it about as subtle as a sledgehammer, to the point of tedium by the end.

    My description of the story was “a bit too didactic for my tastes”.

  5. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: I hadn’t paid attention to that Pixel Scroll item, but your comments made me click through. I was thinking as I read it that I wasn’t sure I liked it, for some minor reasons that in retrospect seem silly, since I wound up liking it a lot! 🙂 So, thanks!

  6. Regarding overseas sales, ISTR from non-US Filers that Baen has very little overseas distribution. So people haven’t heard of Bujold even though she wins all the awards

    Still? I was at the Glasgow Worldcon in ’95, when I was given one task by my British expat coworkers – buy every single Pratchett that had come out since the last of them had been home. Pratchett joked that some British publication had assumed he sold as well in the US as he did at home, which wasn’t even close to true, and the reverse held for Bujold. Odd that it only changed for one of them.

  7. “Regarding overseas sales, ISTR from non-US Filers that Baen has very little overseas distribution. So people haven’t heard of Bujold even though she wins all the awards.”

    We have a bookstore in Sweden that specializes in SF&F. I took a look at their toplists for the year over the most sold books. There were two Baen-books among the top 100, the first one on position 60 or so, the other one close to the end. Both by Dave Weber. Next 100 had none at all.

    Plenty of Hugo-winners though.

  8. @Kendall and others: I’ve apparently read 16 of the finalists too, which surprises me. I guess I’ve read more sci-fi than I thought.

    (I’ve also read about the same number of non-winning finalists, which also surprises me and maybe shows perhaps I haven’t read all that much sci-fi after all)

    But it’s like most well-regarded awards: most of the books I read I’m glad I did and the ones I haven’t mostly look interesting. A few baffle me, a bafflement which would be greater if I knew what else could have been on the ballot.

    (nothing from The Chronicles of Amber???? only one Vance???? not everything by Le Guin???)

  9. I thought “Rattlesnakes and Men” was one of the very few unambiguous pieces of “message-fic” that I have seen in the last few years. I also thought it was not a good story (the one does not necessarily follow from the other).

    But this is not the first time that a Nebula short list has featured a work of less than mind blowing quality. The Nebula voters usually sort it out in the end (though I think their track record of doing so of late is less good than that of the Hugo voters).

  10. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Anyway – wow, go read that story.

    What an incredibly powerful story for such a very short length! If it had been published in 2015, I’d be nominating it for a Hugo.

    I’ve put her novels on my TBR list.

  11. @Kendall: I also liked The Warrior’s Apprentice, although I do see where Kurt is coming from. Nothing’s for everybody.

    In terms of Best Novel winners and finalists, I’ve read 63/65 (or 62/64, depending on how you count Blackout/All Clear). Of the finalists, I’ve read 168/234. (Assuming that my counting is correct, and that Kendall’s is.) For the Retros, 4/4 winners and 11/16 shortlisted.

    Not, you know, meaning to brag. This comes of starting at the age of 5, with indulgent parents and grandparents.

  12. Rattlesnakes and Men:

    Mmm, chewy messagefic. I did at least get a chuckle out of the familiar names, but it’s hamfisted at best. Passable as heavy-handed anti-Puppy satire, but it’s not really even a funny-once.

  13. I finished Windup Girl but only out of morbid curiosity. Was very disappointed as I liked the premise. Just unrelentingly grim and found myself unable to care about any of the characters.

    Only place I’ve seen Baen books regularly is in specialist sci fi bookshops in Scotland. Even then there there only a few and being imports they’re expensive. In fairness it is now quite easy to buy ebooks direct from their site but you need to know about the book/author and that Baen is their publisher for that.

    Vinge and Brust are another two authors that you don’t commonly see in the UK but having been exposed to them in the past I’ve made a point of keeping track of.

  14. Jamoche on March 27, 2016 at 12:40 am said:
    Regarding overseas sales, ISTR from non-US Filers that Baen has very little overseas distribution. So people haven’t heard of Bujold even though she wins all the awards

    Still? I was at the Glasgow Worldcon in ’95, when I was given one task by my British expat coworkers – buy every single Pratchett that had come out since the last of them had been home. Pratchett joked that some British publication had assumed he sold as well in the US as he did at home, which wasn’t even close to true, and the reverse held for Bujold. Odd that it only changed for one of them.

    Maybe not by Glasgow, but certainly by London I was buying all of my Pratchett novels overseas from UK sellers.

    I thought the American editions had bug-ugly or deadly dull covers, and much preferred the livelier, wittier, prettier UK editions.

  15. Simon Bisson said:

    (Imagine humans deliberately constructing a society via genetic engineering to be like a cross between Niven’s kzinti and Herbert’s Bene Gesserit. That’s Cetaganda in a sentence.)

    I like that description of Cetaganda and the Cetagandans a lot, Simon

  16. I was very shocked to discover that there’s a video on Youtube that was supposedly created to teach puppies how to discuss the issues, effectively make their points and deflect “SJW” counter arguments.

    You can find it here (if someone hasn’t managed to get it taken down yet). This is the shortened version.

    If you want the full course – which includes a short session on how to verbally abuse your opponents, you can find the long version here.

    I’m kind of not surprised that they’re preparing training videos….

  17. I don’t know who knows this and who doesn’t, but there’s some real-life context to “Of Rattlesnakes and Men”: the Bishops lost their son Jamie in a university shooting. He was 35, a German language instructor, and one of the victims in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. I…can’t quite imagine how it must be to lose your son that way and then watch such things keep happening, year after year, and see how our veto-point-heavy governance leads to so very little being done about it.

    I agree that the story’s too didactic to be very effective, and I would not have put it up for a Nebula. But I can also understand how someone might give it a sort of sympathy vote.

  18. I don’t think the editor did Bishop a favor by accepting the rattlesnake story. With his stature in the field, it doubtless won’t hurt him, and it clearly didn’t hurt him with the Nebula voters, but they obviously voted the message, not the story.

    Which doesn’t say much for the Nebs.

  19. In re “thou” and “thee”: People who want to get a grasp of how to do these could do lots worse than read Pamela Dean’s “Secret Country” trilogy. It’s a portal fantasy, and the people in the Secret Country of the title speak Elizabethan English, on which Dean has a rock-solid grasp.

    Yes, but there is certainly one line of Quaker tradition which does not use Elizabethan English, but a distinct variety of its own, in which ‘thee is’ and the like are perfectly grammatical.

    (Why does my browser not recognise ‘Quaker’? Does it think it’s a rude word? The British Society of Friends has ‘Quaker’ as part of its full name, for heaven’s sake.)

  20. Tasha writes

    his precious software engineers with questions when writing user/admin manuals and technical documents. I asked if he was going to double my pay to equal the engineers and he revoked the offer. Technical writing was my thing

    my sympathies, and my bogglement at your previous boss.
    I’ve done both (being 90% software engineer and 10% technical writer) and I’d have to say that I know a lot more people who have bodged programming without really knowing what they are doing than writers who have successfully bodged writing without knowing what they are doing! IMO quite similar levels of skill required for good results.

    thee and thou

    Hmm, just ordinary language for me, though rather archaic these days it’s not exactly difficult to get right (which is why it’s disappointing to read so much of it gotten wrong!) Definitely still in normal use in various places in the 20th century; I don’t think it’s much used now though, thanks to modern mass media.

  21. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little – Anyway – wow, go read that story.

    I had opened a tab for it yesterday, but might not have gotten to it before my next computer crash. Thanks for the nudge, because it was a magical, beautiful story.

    @JJ, I’ve read her first two novels and the third has been sitting on my Kindle waiting for the right moment. The two I’ve read burrowed into me and have stayed there, as vivid as lightning.

    @Lois Tilton – With his stature in the field, it doubtless won’t hurt him, and it clearly didn’t hurt him with the Nebula voters, but they obviously voted the message, not the story.

    That…sounds like a Puppy talking point. While it appears to be a consensus amongst the people here that the story is heavy handed and doesn’t work, that does not mean it didn’t work for the Nebula voters or that it was a sympathy vote. Personal taste is neither universal nor authoritative and isn’t a reliable guide to determining why other people do things.

  22. I enjoyed The Warrior’s Apprentice when I read it after reading at least The Vor Game first but all other Vorkosigan books, at least as far as A Civil Campaign in the internal chronology, are miles better IMO. Kurt’s mileage, should he resume traveling that road, may of course vary.

  23. Cheryl S – The last thing I concern myself with is whether someone, somewhere, might consider any comment of mine a “Puppy talking point”. I’d say that some people may have canines too heavily on the brain.

    At any rate, I’ll continue to make my own judgments on such matters.

  24. @ Peace is my Middle Name

    I come from an old Quaker family and to my knowledge no one since the original emigration to North America in 1670 ever used “thou” or “thee”.

    Most of the representations of Quaker “thee-thou” stuff that I have seen get the grammar totally wrong. I have no idea if that is true to life.

    When my parents were attending Seattle Meeting around the time when I was born, they knew a family who were raising their children with Plain Speech. I don’t know if they were part of a continuous tradition or if it was a revival. (I’ve known some other isolated cases of people reviving Plain Dress and Plain Speech as a personal practice in the 60s and 70s, but in those cases I’m certain it was a revival.)

    I’m not sure when the two big grammatical shifts in Plain Speech occurred. (Shifting to using “thee” for both object and subject, and shifting to using 3sg verb forms rather than the traditional 2sg ones.) For purely anecdotal examples, among the genealogical material for my Quaker ancestors in Pennsylvania, there’s an anecdote from the early/mid 18th century that quotes a young girl as using “Thee has…” rather than “thou hast”. If I went through the material in detail, I might find something earlier, since there are a number of letters and diaries included. Don’t have the time right now, alas.

  25. I do hope that Th’all wouldn’t happen. The plural of “thou” is “you.” (Spanish cognates are tu and ustedes.) “Y’all” is evolving because English is grasping for a new second person plural now that the the only singular form has mostly vanished. (Spanish retains the singular usted.) While I think we’re well rid of familiar/deferential grammatical forms, the lack of easy distinction between you (singular) and you (plural) causes English’s grammatical gears to grind. I tend to use “y’all” but there are others. If we retained the cognate with Spanish, the plural of “you” (usted) would be “youse” (ustedes).

  26. @rob_matic,
    On Nebula vs Hugo, my tastes have tended more to the Hugo than the Nebula. I think the Hugos are more enjoyable reads while the Nebulas are more writerly (if you know that I mean).

  27. My favorite yinz-usage ever: In fifth grade our teacher was also the principal. One day, as occasionally happened, he was summoned away from class to handle urgent admin business. Without the teacher there, the class became boisterous and loud. Finally, one girl, exasperated, exclaimed:

    “Yinz can hear yinz clear down the hall!”

  28. “Yinz want to go daun to Gint Igle and pick up some chipchop while I red up?”

    Next up: The Bloodsucking Monkeys of West Mifflin* – The greatest movie that was never made?

    * Count Floyd’s recap made it sound so good.

  29. On Nebula vs Hugo, my tastes have tended more to the Hugo than the Nebula. I think the Hugos are more enjoyable reads while the Nebulas are more writerly (if you know that I mean).

    I believe that honoring more “writerly” works was the original intent of the Nebula Awards.

  30. @JJ, @Cheryl S., others: After reading the Coates story I wound up devouring the free sample of Wide Open at Barnes & Noble last night. It and its sequels will probably become part of my library Real Soon Now.

    “That sounds like a Puppy talking point” may be shorthand for, “If it’s recognizably a shitty thing to do when the Puppies do it, it doesn’t become OK when someone over here does it.” At least, that’s how I read Cheryl S.’s point. Because, yes, when someone votes for/nominates a piece of fiction for an award, it’s kind of shitty to say “They aren’t really voting for its quality. They’re just voting for it because it has the Right Message.”

  31. @Jack Lint: Don’t be a jagoff. And, as my scoutmaster used to say, “Up agin the wall.”

    (For srs though, I think “red up” is an amazing colloquialism.)

  32. Totally in agreement with Kevin Standlee on “Th’all”. “Y’all” is just English groping for its lost plural, once it became repurposed as the singular.

    I don’t know about the cognate with Spanish, tho. The original English 2nd plural nominative was “ye”, of which the other forms had the “eow” root, cognate with the German of which it was a relative.

  33. ‘Thou’ would be familiar second person singular, cognate with tu/du. ‘You’ as second person singular would be formal, like usted/vous/Sie. It’s the singular familiar that’s gone missing.

  34. @Aaron,
    Yup, does exactly what it says on the tin and nothing wrong with that. Just because it doesn’t match my taste as well, doesn’t mean it is doing it wrong. I won’t be starting a campaign to force the SFWA to choose the right works IMO (because My Opinion is the only one that counts).

    Sorry, feeling punchy, but I keep getting reminded of how immature the Puppies’ opinions are which is irritating. (The urge to shout at them to “Grow Up!” is strong.)

  35. Past Hugo mathiness:

    Out of the 33 Hugo winners from 1985 to 2015, I’ve read 22 (66%.) Out of the 125 nominated that didn’t win, I’ve read 49 (39%.) Out of the 31 Hugo winners from 1964 to 1984, I’ve read 3 (10%.) Out of the 120 nominated that didn’t win, I’ve read 15 (12.5%.) So overall I’ve read around 29% of Hugo nominees and winners over the last 60 years.

    In all four categories, there are books on my to-be-read pile, many literally in my ebook reader now. Not enough to-be-reads in the 64-84 years to potentially bring it to match the 85-15 percentages, though.

    One of favorite SF writers from the pre-85 period is James White. I see that he was nominated only once for a novel Hugo (1962) and never won.

    Hearing aids:

    This makes me think of a manga I read in the past couple of weeks (it has been around for years, and even has an anime series, but I was late to discover it.) I is Koe no Katachi/A Silent Voice. The story is about a mostly deaf girl who is transferred into a middle-school classroom and is bullied, and the primary bully who feels very guilty about his role years later. Started off as a one-shot, was rebooted as a series that ran for 62 chapters. It has flaws: it would have been more compelling to have the deaf girl be the viewpoint character instead of the reformed bully; there is a bit of a “white knighting” feel to the relationship; as it is expanded from a one-shot to a fairly long-running series it experiences the near-inevitable loss of focus as more characters must be added and new storylines invented. But it was apparently good enough to get some sort of endorsement from the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, and I consider it worth reading even with its weaknesses. Read here.


    Wow, I’m a little surprised (but pleased) to see that Usenet is still in use. I haven’t dropped in in the 4 years or so since I stopped my paid subscription to Usenetserver.

    That reminds me of an anecdote that I thought about days after the thread on the Heathers remake. I missed out on mentioning at the time, but this is as good an excuse as any. I used to follow to alt.fan.winona-ryder. During her 2001 shoplifting scandal, I made a comment to the effect that I didn’t know if she was guilty or innocent, but I saw no reason it would be in Saks Fifth Avenue’s interest to frame her for shoplifting, especially since they would rather not alienate the rich and the famous from shopping there.

    A couple of days after the post, I get an e-mail from a reporter from the Associated Press wanting my phone number so that he could interview me about the topic. My immediate reaction was WTF? I’m Some Random Guy On The Internet stating a somewhat reasoned opinion, not an inside source. An interview with me would be completely pointless. So I didn’t bother even responding to the e-mail. A few days after that, I’m reading my local newspaper and see an article about the Winona Ryder and the shoplifting scandal. I start reading it, reach a part that was vaguely familiar, and find that I’m quoted by name from my Usenet post in a AP article that was picked up by who knows how many newspapers world-wide. So, on the one hand, if she read the article, Winona Ryder briefly knew my name. On the other hand, she knew me as Some Random Asshole.

  36. @Shao Ping: Well, maybe not “haven’t read all that much sci-fi after all” but more . . . not as much Hugo sci-fi? Hugo finalists and winners are a small fraction of the books in a given year, even back in the day, after all. 🙂

    “nothing from The Chronicles of Amber????

    That surprised me a little. I’ve only read one of Zelazny’s finalists (Jack of Shadows), and neither of his winners. But I consider myself a fan of his, mainly the “Amber” sequence and the pair of “Dilvish” books.

    @steve davidson: Hahaha, thanks, you punk’d me! I love that video. (No you don’t!) (Oh, shut up!)

  37. nothing from The Chronicles of Amber????

    If any, which? Amber strikes me as very much the kind of series where the value lies in the whole rather than the parts. An argument for the series Hugo, perhaps?

  38. Heather Rose Jones on March 27, 2016 at 9:53 am said:

    I’m not sure when the two big grammatical shifts in Plain Speech occurred. (Shifting to using “thee” for both object and subject, and shifting to using 3sg verb forms rather than the traditional 2sg ones.)

    Not sure about those (I’m pretty sure the loss of “thou” in favor of “thee” is generally considered a mystery), but I do know that the common myth that “thee” (and, earlier, “thou”) were preserved because “you” was considered too formal has recently been busted. Documents turned up showing that one of the founders objected to “you” because it was (in his mind) inarguably plural. In other words, it wasn’t some grand political/religious message—it was plain old language peeving of the type we see today about singular “they”.

    Hugo counts: Without checking, I can tell you that I’ve read all but two. I know this because I’ve kind of made it a point to keep up. No idea about the percentage of finalists, though, because I’m too lazy to check. 🙂

    However, what I can definitely say, as someone who has read nearly all the winners, is that the idea that the Hugos have gone bad recently is sheer balderdash. It’s almost certainly an example of the recency illusion: the notion that something you’ve recently noticed must therefore be recent.

    Books that aren’t so great don’t tend to be so popular decades later, so as you go back through the history of the Hugos, there’s a strong chance that the names you recognize will contain a higher percentage of great books the farther back you go. This can lead to the delusion that the voters chose better books back in those days. But if you’ve actually read all (or nearly all) of the winners, it becomes clear that this is a delusion.

  39. Lois Tilton said:

    Totally in agreement with Kevin Standlee on “Th’all”. “Y’all” is just English groping for its lost plural, once it became repurposed as the singular.

    I don’t know about the cognate with Spanish, tho.

    Right, it’s not a cognate. It’s also not a very good parallel, because Usted is third person singular, not second person plural. A closer parallel is tu/vous in French.

    (German goes the third-person-as-formal route, as does Yoruba IIRC.)

  40. iirc, speakers of one of the Scandinavian languages have recently dropped their plural/formal 2nd person because it was associated with excessive formality in the culture.

  41. Usted is third person singular

    Second person. Singular. It’s from vuestra merced, roughly equivalent to ‘your grace’.

  42. Second person plural in Spanish can be “vos” or “vosotros,” and I think maybe some other forms (I am neither fluent nor an expert on Spanish linguistics; I read one book a few years ago), depending on where you’re from/what dialect you’re speaking. “Usted” is a formal or respectful “you” (appropriate between strangers, or to a respected or higher-status person; a child might call his father “usted,” but his father would call him “tu”) but takes third person singular verbs, not second person. It’s shortened from “vuestra merced,” “your mercy.”

  43. Lois Tilton:

    “iirc, speakers of one of the Scandinavian languages have recently dropped their plural/formal 2nd person because it was associated with excessive formality in the culture.”

    We did that in Sweden around 50 years ago, but it is slowly creeping back. Younger people get the idea that they should use the fomal version to be polite, which feels really insulting to many us elder people as we feel that form is a n elitist class marker for those seen as above.

  44. I was going to say something about usted being second person formal, while “tú” is second person familiar, since in my head, “you = second person, regardless of verb form.” I don’t know if this is correct or not, but this page says “usted” is second person, but uses third person verb forms – distinguishing between the pronoun and the verb form, I guess.

    /slightly confused, but going with that explanation for now 😉

    ETA: Obviously I’m about the farthest thing from an expert you could find; I just find little details like this interesting.

  45. My own, rather vague, understanding is that the thou/you distinction in English was more about person and less about formality, as opposed to other linguistic traditions.

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