Pixel Scroll 4/21/18 If I Have Filed Further It Is Only By Scrolling On The Pixels Of Giants

(1) FIRST. Continuing the conversation about sff reviewing on his blog, Camestros Felapton offers this draft of “The Three Laws of Reviewbotics?”

…So here’s maybe a start for the hyper-critic oath (‘hyper’ because I’m overthinking this and ‘critic’ because ‘reviewer’ doesn’t work for the pun).

First, do no obvious harm. Don’t ever slander a writer. Avoid attacking them personally, even indirectly [that’s not always possible because writing is to varying degrees an extension of the self. In addition, some texts themselves are INTENDED to be harmful to others (I’ve reviewed many here over the years) BUT while we can all think of exceptions the norm should be to review texts, not people.] This does not mean treating all people the same – if you knew that somebody was currently in a vulnerable emotional state, then maybe reviewing their book isn’t a great idea. The flip side of that is you can’t reasonably tailor reviews around what a writer you don’t know might be feeling. And obviously don’t use slurs, stereotypes or language which we know to be harmful – such as overt racism, sexism etc. In an equitable society, some people are more vulnerable to others and if we KNOW that we have to be mindful of that while bearing in mind the points below as well.

(2) TO THE TUNE OF CORALINE. The opera based on Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is available on the BBC iPlayer for the next 29 days: “Mark-Anthony Turnage: Coraline”.

Kate Molleson presents the world premiere production of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Coraline – an operatic version of the dark fantasy tale by Neil Gaiman, directed by Aletta Collins with libretto by Rory Mullarkey. Soprano Mary Bevan sings the title-role with a cast including mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately and baritone Alexander Robin Baker who are making their Royal Opera debuts. Sian Edwards conducts the Britten Sinfonia.

During the interval, Kate is joined by guest Fiona Maddocks with contributions from Mark-Anthony Turnage and Mary Bevan.

Neil Gaiman has transformed the landscape of children’s literature with his highly inventive, atmospheric and otherworldly narratives. His prize-winning novella, Coraline is packed with astonishing imagery – a much-loved story about a girl who discovers a door in her parents’ house, leading to an entirely different place and family. For Mark-Anthony Turnage “the fundamental message beneath the story is that we shouldn’t be afraid to do what we believe is right. Coraline is brave, not because she doesn’t cry or get scared, but because despite these things she still tries her best and doesn’t give up. That’s why I wanted to write Coraline, because here’s a message well worth telling; through opera or in any other way.”

(3) FANTASTIC HOW MANY? A trailer advertising the Fantastic 4’s return to comics in August. But Carl Slaughter says, “Wait a minute.  Maybe I missed someone, but I saw only 3 members of the Fantastic 4 at the end of that teaser….” Actually, Carl, couldn’t that pillar of fire in the closing image be your missing fourth character?

(4) TRACK RECORD. A member of the Universal Fan Con committee – a con cancelled at the last minute — is alleged to have a problemactic past.

(5) SPOILER ALERT. Commentary on a recent Red Dwarf-themed word puzzle: “Inquisitor 1533: A Little Light Relief by Eclogue”.

There were enough clues that I could solve to get a firm foothold in the grid and start to see the message emerging.  It was the skeleton of the message that gave me the breakthrough.  I could see something like IT’S COLD OUTSIDE and THERE’S NO appearing and  those five words were enough to track down the theme to Red Dwarf, a cult television series which was still producing new episodes in late 2017

The theme tune can be found by by clicking here

The full message is IT’S COLD OUTSIDE THERE’S NO KIND OF ATMOSPHERE which are the opening lyrics to the show’s theme song.  The wording of the preamble was very precise when it stated ‘the correct letters from misprints in definitions provide the opening to the theme’.

I could see then that the unclued entries were going to be the characters from the show.  It was the one I didn’t really know that fell first – KOCHANSKI –  followed by HOLLY, LISTER, RIMMER, KRYTEN and CAT.  CAT came last because I nearly missed it.

(6) IT’S HUGE! In “Kickstarter Final Note”, Steve Davidson shares a bit of news about Amazing Stories’ next first print issue.

One thing of note:  we’ve gone way over our word count for the first issue and none of us have the heart to deny any of our authors and artists the opportunity to be in Amazing first new issue since 2005 (and not even that’s technically correct – we’ve published four issues since 2012 in point of fact), so, rather than disappointing a handful of authors and artists, we’ve chosen the high road and are biting the bullet on an extended page count – rather than our originally planned 192 pages, it looks like we’re going for 248…

Yes, it’s going to blow our budget out a little bit, but, well, we really want this first issue to be SPECTACULAR, AWESOME and REALLY GREAT!  And it’s going to be.  (Really Great Science Fiction magazine was rejected as a title….)

(7) HOW HARD CAN IT BE? Tough SF by “Matter Beam” says this is its mission:

… One genre defined by the struggle to create living settings in science fiction is Hard SF. ‘An emphasis on scientific or technical detail’ is a sure-fire way to create a realistic and functional universe, but often the need to adhere to realism slows creativity, stresses the narration, leads to improbable results or otherwise has negative effects. One of the biggest complaints is that it just isn’t ‘fun’….

…This blog therefore try to help authors, world-builders and game designers to create Tough Science Fiction. This is science fiction that is as resistant as Hard Science Fiction to criticism, review and general prodding and poking by the audience, but does not sacrifice the author’s vision or core concepts to pure, dry realism…

Here are a couple of illustrative posts:

Space Piracy is a common science fiction trope. It has been continuously derided in Hard Science Fiction as silly and a holdover of the ‘Space is an Ocean’ analogy.

But is it really that unrealistic to have space pirates? Let’s find out.

There’s more to piracy than just attacking a target and running away afterwards.

Put yourself in the shoes of a pirate, a merchant or the authorities. What would you do?

(8) BUNCH OF LUNCH. Why aren’t there more big mammals? We ate them.  “New Study Says Ancient Humans Hunted Big Mammals To Extinction”.

Over the past 125,000 years, the average size of mammals on the Earth has shrunk. And humans are to blame.

That’s the conclusion of a new study of the fossil record by paleo-biologist Felisa Smith of the University of New Mexico.

Smith studied fossils going back 65 million years, when dinosaurs died and mammals came into their own. Many of the early mammals went on to get big. Among the giant creatures: “Llamas and camels and sloths and five species of pronghorn [antelope] actually,” she says, “and certainly mammoths. And then lots of really cool predators, like Arctodus, the short faced bear.” The short-faced bear stood 11 feet tall, about the shoulder height of some species of ancient camel.

And that was just North America.

Being big was just as successful as being small, and had some advantages when it came to surviving big predators. “Taken as a whole, over 65 million years, being large did not increase mammals’ extinction risk. But it did when humans were involved,” Smith found.

Looking back over the most recent 125,000 years of the fossil record, Smith found that when humans arrived someplace, the rate of extinction for big mammals rose. She says it basically came down to hunger. “Certainly humans exploit large game,” she says, “probably because they are tasty”—and because a bigger animal makes for a bigger meal. …


  • April 21, 1997 — Ashes of Gene Roddenberry journeyed into space.


  • John King Tarpinian shared this link with pun lovers in mind — Off the Mark.

(11) BRADBURY MUSEUM UPDATE. A proponent told the Chicago Tribune “Ray Bradbury Experience Museum planning start in smaller space, eventual move to old Carnegie Library”.

The multi-million dollar dream of renovating and redeveloping the childhood library of Ray Bradbury for a museum dedicated to the Waukegan author is still alive more than two years after a campaign was launched to make it happen.

But a team of Bradbury devotees, civic boosters and creative minds has decided it isn’t going to wait for that overall package to take shape at the historic but dormant Carnegie Library on Sheridan Road.

Instead, early next month, plans will be unveiled for a more modest Ray Bradbury Experience Museum (RBEM) with a goal of opening in a Genesee Street storefront in time for the 100th anniversary of the late author’s birthday in August 2020….

(12) WOTF. Kyle Aisteach posted a memoir about “My Writers of the Future Experience” in the 1990s. Aisteach was a paid add-on student of the workshop, not a contest finalist.

… The workshop itself was much like what others have described: A whirlwind of big names coming in to talk to us, intensely trying to churn out a complete short story in just a few days, a lot of theory, and a lot of making friends. I learned a tremendous amount, much of which I carry with me and still use to this day. The workshop was wonderful.

But the question everyone wants to ask is this: What about the Scientology?

Well, it was definitely there. The impression I had at the time was that L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology and therefore Scientology loves L. Ron Hubbard and everything he was associated with, and therefore the Church of Scientology wanted to support us in any way it could. David Miscavige was there to welcome us all. L. Ron Hubbard’s name was not just mentioned frequently, it was extolled. We were clearly and obviously using Scientology property for both the workshop and the gala. I, personally, found it a little uncomfortable at times, but I’m always uncomfortable in someone else’s sacred space, so there was nothing weird about that to me. A couple of the texts we used were clearly Scientologist documents (the biography of Hubbard had him transcending instead of dying, and another essay – I don’t recall exactly what it was about – Budrys explained was written for Scientologists and he explained what terms like “clear” meant so we could follow it), but that didn’t faze me either, since texts that inform writing can come from anywhere and most of us pull from our own traditions when teaching.

Before anyone has a meltdown about any of this, remember that this was the 1990s. Scientology had some legal troubles as a young religion, but at this point the general feeling was that it had left them behind….

And former Writers of the Future winner J. W. Alden has written another thread – start here.


(13) BEWARE EVENTBRITE. Slashdot warns “Eventbrite Claims The Right To Film Your Events — And Keep the Copyright”.

But in addition, you’re also granting them permission to record and use footage of all your attendees and speakers, “in any manner, in any medium or context now known or hereafter developed, without further authorization from, or compensation to.” And after that Eventbrite “will own all rights of every nature whatsoever in and to all films and photographs taken and recordings made hereunder, including without limitation of all copyrights therein and renewals and extensions thereof, and the exclusive right to use and exploit the Recordings in any manner, in any medium or context now known or hereafter developed…”

(14) PERSISTENCE. At NPR, Genevieve Valentine analyzes Joanna Russ’ nonfiction classic: “‘How To Suppress Women’s Writing:’ 3 Decades Old And Still Sadly Relevant”:

…It’s hard not to get freshly angry at the status quo, reading this. But amid the statistics and the sort of historical pull quotes you’ll want to read out loud to horrified friends, Russ is also defying a literary tradition that, she points out again and again, wants to forget that women write. In so doing, she deliberately creates a legacy of women writers who came before. Well, white women. Russ mentions a few writers of color in the essay proper, and includes more in her Afterword, but this is a very white family tree. (It’s one of the ways the book shows its age; another is the way any genderqueerness is reduced to sexual preferences, which amid so much far-seeing commentary feels quaintly second-wave.)

And despite how much there is to be angry about, How to Suppress Women’s Writing is shot through with hope. There’s the energy of a secret shared in “the rocking and cracking of the book as the inadequate form strains or even collapses.” And beneath every denial of agency, there’s the obvious truth: For hundreds of years, despite those odds against them, the “wrong” writers still manage to write. Likely it won’t be remembered long enough or taken seriously enough, but to read this book is to admire this buried tradition, and realize how much there is to be discovered — and how there’s no time like the present to look at the marginalized writers you might be missing. “Only on the margins does growth occur,” Russ promises, like the guide in a story telling you how to defeat the dragon. Get angry; then get a reading list.

(15) MOVERS AND SHAKERS. In California, they’re “Betting On Artificial Intelligence To Guide Earthquake Response”.

A startup company in California is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to advise fire departments about how to plan for earthquakes and respond to them.

The company, One Concern, hopes its algorithms can take a lot of the guesswork out of the planning process for disaster response by making accurate predictions about earthquake damage. It’s one of a handful of companies rolling out artificial intelligence and machine learning systems that could help predict and respond to floods, cyber-attacks and other large-scale disasters.

(16) HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUBBLE. Great photo: “It’s The Hubble Space Telescope’s Birthday. Enjoy Amazing Images Of The Lagoon Nebula”.

The Hubble “has offered a new view of the universe and has reached and surpassed all expectations for a remarkable 28 years,” the agencies said in a statement, adding that the telescope has “revolutionized almost every area of observational astronomy.”

Hubble was launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery as a joint project between NASA and the ESA. Each year, the telescope is diverted from important scientific observational duties to take an image of the cosmos in intense detail.

This year’s featured image, the Lagoon Nebula, is a colossal stellar nursery, 55 light-years wide and 20 light-years tall, that is about 4,000 light-years away from Earth.


(17) END GAME. Looper tries to explain the ending of Ready Player One. Watch out for spoilers, I assume!

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, David Langford, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Peter J, Mark Hepworth, Jim Meadows, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

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76 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/21/18 If I Have Filed Further It Is Only By Scrolling On The Pixels Of Giants

  1. I actually go out of my way not to compare the stories I review to other stories (even by the same author).

    That’s not what I’m talking about. I am advocating something more like “If you like X and Y, where X and Y can be tropes, titles, authors, subgenres, etc, you will like this work.”

    A book can be excellent and not to someone’s taste, even if they like other works by the same author. A blurb is a condensed form of identifying which readers will like the book while warning off those who won’t. A review is often a form of that.

    Other possibilities include the analysis of how a piece works, how it fits within a particular group of works, what it says about society/history/the world, general musings, etc.

    I find a good part of “quality” entirely subjective. There are certainly some commonalities — and perhaps Art is part of of that — but a lot of quality is entirely due to the reviewer’s biases, experiences, and tastes.

  2. @John A Arkansawyer: “I have no trouble believing the worst pain of the kidney stone is worse than the worst pain of childbirth.”

    ::nodding:: That’s what the comparison told to me was – “worse pain than,” not “more exhausting process than.”

  3. Depends on the labor, I suppose—my mother broke her tailbone in delivery, and she said that was worse than her bladder stone. But I imagine it’s a rich tapestry of awful.

    Good luck, Hampus!

  4. Oh, Hampus, poor you. I hope they get you well taken care of, and that you feel better soon. 🙂

  5. @Cat Rambo

    I am advocating something more like “If you like X and Y, where X and Y can be tropes, titles, authors, subgenres, etc, you will like this work.”

    I like that idea. We do something like that now on Rocket Stack Rank with the subgenres and the blurb, but we don’t have a way to do “if you like X” in general. Of course, that’s a challenging thing for the reviewer to do too. 🙂 “If you liked Ursula K. LeGuin, then you might like this story” seems like a hard one for me.

    I find a good part of “quality” entirely subjective. There are certainly some commonalities — and perhaps Art is part of of that — but a lot of quality is entirely due to the reviewer’s biases, experiences, and tastes.

    Yep, that’s definitely true. But a good bit of quality is not subjective, or not entirely so. I tend to think of almost everything in probabilities, so I’m comfortable with the idea that “quality” is a measure of the percentage of SFF readers who would like (or recommend) a given story, if only they gave it a try. Some stories will have very low scores. Anything over 30% or so is probably outstanding.

  6. @Hampus
    My sympathies about the kidney stones. Those can be very nasty. Anyway, I hope you feel better soon.

    @Doctor Science

    How do I find out who can sell an ebook in a particular country?

    I’m trying to send e-versions of the Binti stories to someone in Namibia. I bought them through amazon.com, to be sent to the email address used for her Amazon account (it is a gmail address). She says “It is telling me that they are not available in my country and it doesn’t really give me an alternative.”

    Simultaneously, I’m mailing hard copies to a different Namibian person, and there is no apparent trouble (besides expense).

    How do we find out who’s the authorized distributer in Namibia? Should I buy epub versions and send them to her directly (via a website I control)?

    Amazon does not sell e-books in many countries, particularly in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia. I suspect that Namibia is one of the countries where they don’t sell any e-books at all and that’s why your friend cannot access the books.

    Other e-books stores operate in countries that Amazon does not cover. Kobo, Google Play and also Apple iTunes often sell e-books where Amazon wil not. It’s worth checking out whether the book is available in Namibia via one of those stores.

  7. Probably depends on the childbirth, the kidney stone, and how much painkiller/anesthesia you get.

    OTOH you don’t have feed, clothe, and worry over your kidney stones.

    @Cat Rambo: I like your review philosophy and will subscribe to your newsletter.

    @Vicki Rosenzweig: That’s exactly how I see them. That’s what I want from a review.

    I liked when Siskel and Ebert both hated a movie and competed with each other to say bad things about it. But they were longtime pros, and funny.

    @Doctor Science: I think you’re going to have to go the direct route. Get your Amazon money back and either buy an epub source (all the other vendors of ebooks; monopoly is bad, mmm’kay?) or the postage expense. If your Namibian pal has an ereader or computer that takes ’em all, hie thee hence to other fine purveyors of bits. Africans should not be restricted from reading African fiction!

    I had no problem with 1984 Worldcon budgeting so closely. After the 1983 debacle (there were charity auctions at EVERY con I went to the next year to help pay off their debt), it made sense. Especially since there weren’t any pass-along funds. IIRC, 1984’s final membership numbers (the most ever) enabled them to retroactively pay it off — even though it wasn’t legally their problem, they didn’t want WSFS to get a bad name. And that may have been another part of their decision not to count their at the door memberships before they hatched — knowing they were going to cover two cons’ worth of expenses.

    And who knows what sort of hairy eyeball the Anaheim facilities were giving them after 1983 failed. They didn’t want to get stiffed like the Baltimore venues did. People in the same biz talk to each other.

    Now I must hide, for in 1317, this glowing box makes me a witch.

  8. @ Doctor Science. A couple of ideas to try:

    Ask your friend to google Binti ebook from her computer in Namibia. This may bring up local sellers.

    Email the publisher or author to ask. For a lot of books distribution rights in Africa may not have been sold to anyone, in which case the author or publisher may agree to send you a PDF you can email to your friend.

    Ask your friend to go into her amazon account and change her country to the US for a couple of days while she reads this book.

  9. Hypothetically, having paid for a copy of the book to give as a gift, a gift-giver would be able to send that e-book with Apprentice Alf’s assistance to the intended recipient of their gift — the same as if they sent the recipient a hardcopy they’d bought — along with a nicely-phrased request not to pass copies of the book on to anyone else.

  10. @OGH: neither is blatant greed — or lines like “We don’t mean this but it’s politically correct” (LAConcom on providing a check for Connie — at least they didn’t demand a grovel as Chicon did.)

  11. I’m fairly certain a kidney stone would be worse than either of my childbirths, not just in pain peak but probably in duration — heck, I had two miscarriages, both of which were worse than either childbirth in duration and in one case in pain, though never as intense as the “push” segment of same (intensity and pain, as ways to describe muscle contraction and nerve feedback, are not the same).

    I’m less convinced a kidney stone could be worse than some of the horror stories I’ve heard from people whose birth experience is on the other end of the spectrum from mine. Labour is a wildly divergent thing.

    I really really hope the resultant production from childbirth is more desirable to the person going through the process, though.

  12. Chip Hitchcock: Damn, I wish there had been somebody to take my bet. I knew you’d answer a complaint about your solipsistic insult with something even more toxic and insulting. Plus I get the bonus of you trying to use something another concom did to justify it.

    What started as a discussion about a breakeven convention budget is now being misrepresented by you as blatant greed, which you will next be justifying because of the surplus, although at the time neither you nor anyone else predicted LAcon II would end up with literally thousands more members than the previous record-setting Worldcon.

  13. So, one of my kidney stones burned away with laser. Pew pew! On the other hand, it took so long time that they will have to add another operation for the other stone in a week or so. Bummer!

    At least, this operation didn’t leave me as affected as the last one where the nausea made me puke up all food they had gotten in me.

    Now I have to look forward to toilet visits feeling like “lemons pressed over open wounds”. Charming.

  14. @ Hampus. Good luck with the recovery and second operation. Hope all happens speedily and well.

  15. Hampus: Glad the first went well, and wish it didn’t require two. Good luck on recovery.

  16. Hampus, sympathy.

    OGH, thanks for commenting on the LAcon surplus. I had only ever heard vague rumblings about it, and was glad to hear more behind the reasons for it.

  17. Hampus,I am sorry you had to go through that and another one to come. But hopefully all of it will go as well as it can.

  18. @Hampus Eckerman: Congrats on the SF laser solution, but yuck, you have to wait for the second and have another operation?! 🙁 Yuck! Best to you and I hope it goes smoothly!

  19. (1) Apologies in advance for the length of this; it’s actually pretty rare these days for me to get to talk shop. I find it a little bit fascinating that the nature and function of reviewing is getting re-litigated over and over again in SFF (and Romance, if what my friends in that space tell me is true) conversations, whereas it’s *mostly* been a settled issue in all the other genres I’ve worked in (mystery, memoir, cultural criticism, pop science, pop history, litfic) for far longer than the 15+ years that I’ve been doing it. I wonder if it has something to do w/ how SFF has deliberately been seen (and just as deliberately seen itself) as “apart” from how other literatures are assessed (cf. Takayuki Tatsumi’s Full Metal Apache for further discussion of how that has affected critical discourse).

    I still find the guidelines I got from a trade journal editor to be the most useful in terms of what pro outlets expect from reviews and reviewers, though, regardless of what genre I’m reviewing for. (What follows is essentially those guidelines restated in my own words.)

    a) A review is a formal assessment/appraisal. This means making a value judgement: good, bad, mixed, it doesn’t really matter what the judgement is, but you’re being paid to make one, and you’re being paid to explain why you’ve made it.

    b) It is unethical to talk about things you can’t possibly know. You weren’t in the room when the editor and author hashed out the book’s problems. You don’t know how many rounds of editing it went through, or what decisions were made, by whom, or why. You don’t know what the author was feeling or experiencing when they wrote it, no matter how much you think you do. Statements like “this needed another round of editing” or “the author had to have been in a bad place when they wrote…” are improper.

    c) Reviews provide synopses and context, but that is not their primary purpose, and a plot summary is not a review. Tell the reader enough about the plot/characters of the work so that they can follow your review if they haven’t read the book, but remember that reciting a plot outline is not a review. Place the work in context as much as possible without overwhelming the review: a single sentence about the author’s background is usually sufficient, and you should also mention how this book relates to the rest of their oeuvre and how it relates to other works in the genre and the larger literary world (when necessary).

    d) Review the book, not the author. A value judgement about a book must not be a value judgement about the author. Exceptions can be made for certain circumstances, but those circumstances must be extremely rare, and backed up by evidence to a significantly greater degree than normal. (i.e., nobody’s likely to fault you for calling Jordan Peterson out for things he’s said and done outside the pages of his book, but it’s got to be rigorous to the same extent it would be if you were a journalist reporting a factual story, which is a significantly higher standard than what reviewers are normally held to)

    e) Read the book and write the review with the publication’s audience in mind. Who reads this publication, and why? Reviews in the Globe & Mail are for general readers, not for genre specialists. Reviews in Q & Q (my primary venue) are for librarians, booksellers, and other industry insiders trying to determine if an upcoming book is worth their time and institutional budget. Reviews in CNQ or Brick are for hardcore literary nerds, usually w/ a background in serious criticism and theory, but with a strong litfic bias. Reviews in Interzone are going to be for UK genre readers. (etc.) Each of these venues will require a different approach, and their readers will have different expectations about what’s important and will require the review to be contextualized differently (I wouldn’t have to explain who William Gibson is to Interzone readers, but I absolutely did have to do so for CNQ readers).

    f) The review is not about you. You are being paid for your opinion, and your audience will understand that. They will understand that your lived experience and background will inform and shape this opinion. A review is not a personal essay, so only include whatever biographical/personal information is necessary to make your opinions and the reasoning behind them clear. Most of your points can be clear and supported without letting your audience know about how you grew up or what your spouse’s health is like or whatever, so do not include anything of that nature unless it is 100% essential to getting your point across.

  20. Caveat to the above: a lot of these (especially part f) go out the window in a non-professional context. I think a, parts of c, and d remain especially important in any reviewing context, even if it’s just Amazon/Goodreads or your own blog.

  21. @August
    This is excellent! If you have a link to a professional publication’s guidelines showing this (or something like it) that would be great.

    One point about plot synopses: my reviews at Rocket Stack Rank are meant (among other things) to help people make nominations for awards. A really big problem people have when trying to nominate for awards is remembering what a story was about given just the title. So my reviews are written with the idea that at least some of the readers will be people who read the story a few months ago and need something to trigger their memory. It doesn’t need a detailed plot synopsis, but it does need at least some material that’s likely to seem a bit pointless to someone who just finished the story.

    I haven’t added a formal “synopsis” section because I don’t want to commit to actually writing a proper synopsis of every story. I just try to slip in enough in to each review that a person coming back to it can remember what it was about.

    This problem is probably limited to short fiction though. Few people read so many novels in a year that they can’t remember what they were all about.

  22. @Greg:

    Unfortunately I don’t have a link; I don’t think one exists to this particular set, and these are the only ones I’ve ever gotten from a publiation. These guidelines were internal, and I received them on a printed sheet slipped in with the first review copy I was sent by the venue in question. I still have them somewhere, but I’ve never had a digital copy.

    I totally agree that in your case a brief synopsis becomes a more important part overall; I quite often remember short fiction by what happened in it rather than by the title (it’s very rare for me to say something like “oh, read ‘Sounds of Water’ from the book Flight Paths of the Emperor“, but very common for me to say “oh, you should read Flight Paths of the Emperor, especially that one story about the Christmas presents”). I always do a very brief thing about the premise of the book at the beginning of the review, but most of my venues give me a hard 350 word limit, so I try to keep it to less than 1/4 of the review.


    EventBrite privacy policy beyond “we will not sell your data” also reveals that they will share it freely with their business partners and will build a profile on you based not only on whatever data you give them (name, address, e-mail, IP address, financial record, debit card number, etc) but also any matching data they can glean from their business partners including partial details which they will use to create a pseudo-profile of you and this may or may not be accurate… with all the consequences that this entails.

    Over here in Europe next month we are going through a re-vamp of Data Protection regulations. This will also apply to people from other countries processing European’s data in nations (such as US and Canada) that have data agreements with the EU.

    As we point out in this season’s editorial, this has implications for the SF community including Worldcons.


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