(1) AO3’S HUGO PACKET ENTRY. Archive of Our Own has publicly released its Hugo Voter Packet Submission. The two-page writeup is here [PDF file]. The following intro comes from Firenze to Therum:
AO3 was nominated for a Hugo Award this year for Best Related Work! This is an amazing achievement and we’re overjoyed that Hugo voters have recognised the incredible collaborative work that is the Archive.
Here’s some information about AO3, including its origins, some key features, and the team that makes it all possible. You can also check out the shiny PDF we submitted for the 2019 Hugo packet!
(2) AVENGING ECONOMIST. Behind the Financial Times paywall, economics columnist Tim Harford offers his thoughts on Avengers: Endgame.
Thanos fascinates me not only because he’s the best bad guy since Darth Vader–but because the muscular utilitarian is an economist on steroids.
Thanos’s claim to the economists’ hall of fame lies in his interest in scarce resources, his faith in the power of logical analysis, and a strong commitment to policy action–specifically, to eliminate half of all life in the universe, chosen at random…
…Thanos has convinced himself that he’s seen something nobody else can quite understand. The truth is that he sorely needs peer review. Like many powerful people, he regards himself as above his critics, not to mention every sapient being in the universe. He views humans less as free-willed spirits capable of solving their own problems, and more like overbreeding rabbits, needing a cull for their own good.
(3) ENDGAME REVIEW. NPR’s Glen Weldon tells us “Mourning Has Broken Them: ‘Avengers: Endgame'”.
Going into Avengers: Endgame, one would be well-advised to manage both one’s expectations, and — given its three-hour-plus, intermissionless runtime — one’s fluid intake.
…The Russos’ decision to stick close to the experiences of the remaining Avengers proves a rewarding one, as they’ve expressly constructed the film as an extended victory lap for the Marvel Cinematic Universe writ large. Got a favorite character from any Marvel movie over the past decade, no matter how obscure? Prepare to get serviced, fan. Because the film’s third and final hour contains extended references to every single Marvel film that has led up to this one – yes! even Thor: The Dark World! I’m as surprised as you are! – and part of the delight Endgame provides to the patient audience member is gauging the size of the cheer that greets the entrance of any given hero, locale or – in at least once instance – item of super-hardware.
Make no mistake: There will be cheers. And boos. And gasps. The final, climactic battle (come on, you knew there’d be one) is legitimately thrilling, because every one of its manifold delights is fueled by (a cynic would say coasting on) the warm familiarity that spending a decade with these characters has engendered….
(4) GLEN WELDON HAS COMPANY. BBC does a roundup of the immediate reaction — “Avengers: Endgame ‘satisfying’ and ‘glorious’, say critics”.
Critics have been left dazzled by the latest Avengers film, describing it as “glorious”, “irresistible”, “intensely satisfying” and “masterful”….
(5) DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY. Clarke Award director Tom Hunter, seeing how few award submissions are by writers of color, says “Diversity in science fiction needs action now”.
…Many authors and industry spokespeople have talked more eloquently about the need to address this disparity in publishing than I will ever be able to. But I also suspect more than a few publishers will quietly check their new submissions piles or log into BookScan after reading this, and suggest that in order to affect any real change they need to submit more books by writers of colour.
They may argue, of course, that there needs to be more evidence of sales potential first to get those books past gatekeepers in marketing, finance and other departments. They might (just) have a short-term point, but to me this sounds more like using data to justify a current position – and I think it also misses the bigger publishing opportunity.
Here are four cultural tipping point trends that show what I mean.
- From the SF&F bookshelves: N.K. Jemisin wins a record-setting third consecutive Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel with the final part of her Broken Earth trilogy (parts one and two having taken the prize in their own respective years).
- From the ‘respectable’ bookshelves: Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad wins the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature.
- From the Box Office: The Marvel Universe film Black Panther makes over a billion dollars at the box office in record time and gets nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture (it doesn’t win that one though, of course).
- From an adjacent cultural sector: The Musée d’Orsay in Paris opens their major exhibition Black Models: From Gericault to Matisse, challenging our historic perceptions of French masterpieces by reframing and renaming them to foreground attention on their black subjects, gaining both critical acclaim and a big upswing in first time visits from new audiences (new readers to you and me) along the way.
(6) HOPEPUNK AND HUGOS. Yes! takes a look “Inside Science Fiction’s Compassionate Revolution”.
…In 2018, almost every category of the Hugos were won by women, including N.K. Jemisin, who became the first person ever to win the Hugo for Best Novel three years in a row. Before Jemisin, no Black person of either gender had ever won the top award.
Then came this year’s historic collection of nominees, which are notable not just for the elevation of a more diverse field of storytellers, but for the specific type of story that many of them represent.
Rowland coined the term “hopepunk” on a whim in a 2017 Tumblr post, having no idea that it would catch on so strongly within the community. She defined it initially as “the opposite of grimdark,” referring to a popular dystopian subgenre characterized by nihilism, amorality, and a negative view of human nature. Hopepunk, in contrast, is optimistic about humanity and sees kindness as “an act of rebellion” against a power structure that benefits from people giving up on compassion.
In an essay for the Winter 2019 issue of The Stellar Beacon zine, Rowland expanded on hopepunk, emphasizing the resistance element. Unlike another subgenre dubbed “noblebright”—characterized by the belief that righteous heroes can and will prevail over wicked villains—hopepunk does not deny the inherent injustices of the real world. However, it also recognizes the potential for justice within humanity. Compassion and empathy are weapons in the eternal fight between good and evil within the human heart. Hopepunk acknowledges that that fight will never be won, but insists on fighting anyway, because, as Rowland wrote, “the fight itself is the point.”
(7) BIZARROCON PERSPECTIVE. Brian Keene interviewed Jeff Burk on a recent episode of The Horror Show With Brian Keene (“Jeff Burk Unchained – The Horror Show with Brian Keene – Ep 215”.) Part of the discussion centered on the events at BizzaroCon where Chandler Morrison performed a section of one of his works; complete with a dead (toy) baby covered in blood (ketchup) — events covered in File 770 posts “A Reckoning for BizarroCon” and “Changes in Store for Bizarrocon”.
Dann listened to the podcast and sent along these notes —
During the interview, Burk categorically denied having anything to do with abusive/predatory behavior that had been an issue at past cons. He was incensed at the post-con attempts to tie abusive behavior with himself or Morrison. Burk suggested that the tone/perspective of comments that he received at the con were decidedly different from what was seen on the Internet in the days that followed. The people complaining most loudly online had appeared to have substantially different perspectives while at the con. He also denied that Morrison ever exposed himself during his performance. A prosthetic/prop was used during the performance.
Burk acknowledged that he had made the mistake of thinking that BizarroCon was an appropriate venue for Morrison’s performance. Similar (and perhaps more gross) performances have been a long tradition at KillerCon.
Brian Keene indicated that he had acted as a consultant/mediator after the BizarroCon performance, but he had no direct input on Deadite Press’ decision to fire Burk.
Burk indicated that he disagreed with the decision by Eraserhead Press’ decision to terminate him. But he also said that he is still on good terms with the executives in charge and has a positive opinion of them.
He also discussed his new imprint “Section 31 Productions”. Star Trek fans will recognize the homage in the company’s name.
(8) DRAGON CHOW. Eater’s article “How Much Do the ‘Game of Thrones’ Dragons Actually Need to Eat? An Investigation” kind of reminds me of the Lilliputians trying to feed Gulliver.
In the Season 8 premiere, Winterfell leather goth Sansa Stark questions her brother Jon Snow’s decision to bring his pushy new girlfriend (and aunt!) Daenerys and her two dragons to the north, wondering out loud what precisely the dragons are going to eat. The Mother of Dragons smugly replies, “Whatever they want.” (Which, judging from past episodes, includes a lot of animal herds and the occasional shepherd boy.)
Later in the episode, two of Dany’s Dothraki footmen inform her that her dragons only ate only “18 goats and 11 sheep” for lunch, a sign that they are losing their appetite as a result of the move up north. Considering that Game of Thrones scribes D.B. Weiss and David Benioff love foreshadowing, we couldn’t help but wonder if the dragon’s dietary needs will play some key role in the upcoming Battle of Winterfell. To better understand the dragon hunger situation and how it could impact the impending war with the Night King, Eater got in touch with a bona fide expert on large reptiles and flying animals, and asked her a few questions about how these aerial beasts might act during the epic battle ahead.
(9) CONNOR TRIBUTE. Graham Connor (1957-2018) co-founded SF² Concatenation at the 1987 Eastercon and remained one of its co-editors until his death in December 2018. Jonathan Cowie and other friends have assembled an illustrated profile of his life in SF and space communications in “A life in SF and space”, an advance post ahead of SF² Concatenation’s summer edition.
Graham was born in the Cumbrian, coastal town of Workington, in the shadow of Windscale (now Sellafield). 1957 was the year of the Windscale nuclear disaster. And so the scene was set for Graham to potentially have been bitten by a radioactive spider and become a superhero. But, alas, that did not happen….
He did make it to several Worldcons — Brighton (1979), Brighton (1987), The Hague (1990) – he subsequently worked a couple of years for ESA nearby, and Glasgow (1995). Sadly, chronic illness prevented further attendance beyond the mid-2000s.
(10) BARNES OBIT. From BBC: “Dick Barnes, pioneer behind oldest working computer, dies”. The 98-year-old died April 8.
One of the co-designers of a machine later recognised as the world’s oldest working digital computer has died.
Richard “Dick” Barnes helped to create the Harwell Dekatron, which was first put to use in 1951 by Britain’s fledgling nuclear research establishment.
He was also involved in the 2.5-tonne machine’s restoration, which saw it switched back on in 2012.
…He and two colleagues, Ted Cooke-Yarborough and Gurney Thomas, began their work on the Harwell Dekatron in 1949.
It was initially used by the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Oxfordshire, where its tasks involved solving equations used to design the structure supporting the world’s first commercial nuclear reactor at Calder Hall.
…In November 2012 the machine was successfully switched back on after a three-year restoration project.
The revived machine functioned as planned, which is to say, very slowly.
It could take up to 10 seconds to multiply two numbers – but Mr Barnes and his co-designers had wanted a machine that could run continuously, not necessarily quickly, in order to be useful.
Indeed, it was known to calculate continuously for periods of up to 80 hours.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 24, 1930 — Richard Donner, 89. Oh, now he’s credited in directing Superman as making the modern superhero film. H’h. Well I’m going to celebrate him instead for Scrooged, The Goonies (really not genre but fun) and Ladyhawke. Not to mention the horror he did — Tales from the Crypt presents Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood. Oh and the first X-Men film which was superb.
- Born April 24, 1936 — Jill Ireland. For her short life, she was in an amazing number of genre shows. She was on Star Trek romancing Spock as Leila Kalomi In “This Side of Paradise”. She had five appearances on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. as well as being on Night Gallery, My Favorite Martian, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Voodoo Factor and the SF film The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything based on the 1962 novel of the same name by John D. MacDonald. (Died 1990.)
- Born April 24, 1946 — Donald D’Ammassa, 73. Considered to be one of the best and fairest long-form reviewers ever. His Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2005) covers some five hundred writers and as can two newer volumes, Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Horror Fiction (2006) and Encyclopedia of Adventure Fiction (2009) are equally exhaustive. I can’t comment on his fiction as I’ve only ever encountered as a reviewer.
- Born April 24, 1947 — Michael Butterworth, 72. Author with Michael Moorcock of, naturally, two Time of the Hawklords novels, Time of the Hawklords and Queens of Deliria. He also wrote a number of Space 1999 Year 2 novels, too numerous to list here. He also edited Corridor magazine from 1971 to 1974. He also wrote a number of short fiction pieces including one whose title amuses me for reasons I’m not sure, “Circularisation of Condensed Conventional Straight-Line Word-Image Structures“.
- Born April 24, 1953 — Gregory Luce, 66. Editor and publisher of both the Science Fiction Gems and the Horror Gems anthology series, plus such other anthologies as Citadel of the Star Lords / Voyage to Eternity and Old Spacemen Never Die! / Return to Earth. For a delightful look at him and these works, go here. Warning: cute canine involved!
(12) WILSON FUNDRAISING UPDATE. The “Help Gahan Wilson find his way” GoFundMe is now up to 1300 contributors and just over $60,000 raised. Gahan Wilson is suffering from severe dementia, and the goal is to pay for his memory care.
Gahan and my mother had been residing in an assisted living facility in Arizona. With my mother’s passing, he must move to a memory care unit.
…Gahan will be in our care at the casita, and we will also find him a memory care unit in Santa Fe since he also needs daily medical care.
Memory care is wildly expensive. More so than assisted living. If we could cover the cost ourselves, we would. We can’t, and Gahan and my mother did not save for anything like this. We are asking his fans to help us, help Gahan.
That’s what this is all about. Making the rest of Gahan’s days as wonderful as they can be.
(13) OVERLOOKED. In its review of a new sff collection, The Hugo Award Book Club faults “A People’s Future Without Labour”.
…Any author or editor attempting to claim the mantle of [Howard] Zinn’s work has an unenviable task ahead of them. But when SF luminaries John Joseph Adams and Victor LaValle — both of whom have produced top-quality works — announced a short story collection whose title is an homage to Zinn, we were very excited.
Given the provocative and timely premise of A People’s Future Of The United States, we approached the collection of stories with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the collection as a whole failed to live up to the grand ideas described by the editors.
…Questions of race, class and gender are important to explore and have all-too-often been ignored in science fiction.
We would argue that because science fiction is an inherently political genre, it is of paramount importance to create inclusive futures we can believe in. Some of the stories in this volume do indeed ably tackle topics of race, class and gender. But the topic of labour is almost entirely neglected.
It is disappointing that an anthology that so explicitly aims to address cultural blindspots has reproduced one itself.
In comparison, the index to Zinn’s classic history book includes a full page of references to organized labour movements. At a rough estimate, 30 per cent of the book deals with the struggles of traditional union movement organizing, and workers rights are integral to much of the rest of the text….
(14) ROBOTS LIKE ME. James Wallace Harris reviews Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me in “Why Should Robots Look Like Us?” at Auxiliary Memory.
McEwan’s story often digresses into infodumps and intellectual musings which are common pitfalls of writing science fiction. And the trouble is he goes over the same well-worn territory. The theme of androids is often used to explore: What does it mean to be human? McEwan uses his literary skills to go into psychological details that most science fiction writers don’t, but the results are the same.
I’ve been reading these stories for decades, and they’ve been explored in the movies and television for many years too, from Blade Runner to Ex Machina. Why can’t we go deeper into the theme? Partly I think it’s because we assume AI robots will look identical to us. That’s just nuts. Are we so egocentric that we can’t imagine our replacements looking different? Are we so vain as a species as to believe we’re the ideal form in nature?
…Instead of writing stories about our problems of dealing with facsimiles of ourselves, we should be thinking about a world where glittery metallic creatures build a civilization on top of ours, and we’re the chimpanzees of their world.
(15) POWER VOCABULARY. BBC’s science news “‘Exhilarating’ implant turns thoughts to speech” includes recorded sample.
Scientists have developed a brain implant that can read people’s minds and turn their thoughts to speech.
The team at the University of California, San Francisco says the technology is “exhilarating”.
They add that their findings, published in the journal Nature, could help people when disease robs them of their ability to talk.
Experts said the findings were compelling and offered hope of restoring speech.
The mind-reading technology works in two stages.
First an electrode is implanted in the brain to pick up the electrical signals that manoeuvre the lips, tongue, voice box and jaw.
Then powerful computing is used to simulate how the movements in the mouth and throat would form different sounds.
(16) KRUGMAN’S WORLDCON TALK. At Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman spoke and then took questions. Scott Edelman has posted an audio recording on YouTube.
(17) PROP MAKER. Kenneth Spivey is “The Swordsmith to the Stars”. Great Big Story has a video (just over 3 minutes) about this artist and prop maker who is “working on Hollywood films like the ones he’s always loved—and likely inspiring the next generation.” Chevy trucks are featured prominently since they are the corporate sponsor.
(18) GEMINI MAN. The Hollywood Reporter asks “Can ‘Gemini Man’ Revive the Golden Age of ’90s Sci-Fi?” That is, can it be “an event unto itself?” Will Smith stars opposite a CGI-ed 23-year-old version of himself in Ang Lee’s Gemini Man—a property with a long history of previous stars being attached. The movie opens October 11.
This morning Paramount had us seeing double with the first trailer for the Ang Lee-directed sci-fi/action film Gemini Man, starring not one, but two Will Smiths. The long-gestating film, which began development as a Tony Scott feature in 1997, centers on assassin on the verge of retirement Henry Brogen (Smith), who is forced to combat a younger clone of himself (Smith) in the not-too-distant future. Since the film’s inception in the late ’90s, a number of big names have been attached to star, including Harrison Ford, Nicolas Cage, Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery. When Ang Lee took over the project in 2017, he cast Smith in the lead role, giving the actor the unique opportunity to play both his current 50-year-old self and his 23-year-old self, who, thanks to the film’s revolutionary technology, looks like he just stepped right off the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. If the trailer for the film, which also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong, is any indication, Gemini Man may be just what the science fiction genre needs.
[…] Big-budget original science fiction needs a win, and hopefully Gemini Man can recapture the spirit of the ’90s where a big-name director, producer and actor were an event unto themselves, regardless of preexisting material. Gemini Man looks appealing not simply because of its concept and slick action sequences, but because it looks to simultaneously tap into our nostalgia with a sunglasses-wearing Smith, and also our desire for an original, high-concept property that doesn’t require any prior knowledge. It’s a double threat.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Dann, Carl Slaughter, StephenfromOttawa, Jonathan Cowie, Scott Edelman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
Going to do my best to ignore all the deceased equine abuse going on here…
I know some regular readers here actually appreciate content notes, so I feel the need to say — as actual plot and character spoiler-free as possible — there’s been some discussion on social media that some of Avengers: Endgame’s so-called humour is not just fat-shaming, but specifically fat-shaming someone who gained weight due to PTSD. Which the people I know with PTSD (and in at least one case, with weight gain due to PTSD medication) did NOT react well to.
It’s not exactly stopping me from planning to see the movie not too far in the future (not opening weekend or even in the week after, likely), but it was definitely something I feel much better off knowing in advance, and being braced for before I do go. Maybe you do too.
It is not a problem for a contributor to feel honored that a project they’re a part of has been recognized in the Hugo Awards. I know I fractionally bask in File 770’s rockets as an active commenter here and nobody can take that away from me.
If AO3 wins and an active fanfic author there feels like they were recognized too, I’m not seeing how that’s a bad thing for anybody.
Are you calling yourself a Hugo finalist or nominee on your bio or Twitter handle?
On the other hand, I am responsible for the quality of comments that don’t appear here, or disappear shortly after they appear here, if you know what I mean. 🙂
I take most of that stuff as playful instead of serious.
When someone is serious, like the author I won’t name who called himself a Nebula nominee because one person nominated him, that’s so transparently desperate it makes a complete fool out of them and discourages others from doing the same.
Your question reminded me that in the author’s bio of one of my books, I credited myself as an NBA playoff game MVP:
@Jack Lint I think of Shirley MacLaine when I think of The Right Stuff, because Terms of Endearment beat it for the Best Picture Oscar that year.
rcade on April 25, 2019 at 2:49 pm said:
I think you’re giving them too much leeway. When some of them have been told otherwise, they push back and say, in effect, “You’re not the boss of me!”
The one who claimed that publishing a work on AO3 after the finalists were announced would automatically make you a Hugo Award finalist is particularly rich and especially frustrating.
@StephenfromOttawa as a consolation prize, Terms of Endearment had Jack Nicholson as a retired astronaut. (One of the antenna networks has been running Terms of Endearment a lot this month.)
Shirley MacLaine’s first role was in The Trouble with Harry a lesser Hitchcock movie that also starred an even younger than we remember him Jerry Mathers.
What file shall a poor pixel scroll to all tomorrow’s parties?
Mike, that comes with having a blog. (I had to edit a comment, when I had one, that went into a “kids these days” statement that was, at best, off-topic. I think I disemvowelled it, and never heard anything more about it.)
Lenora Rose, thanks for the head’s up on AE.
Re AO3, I don’t have a dog in this fight as I never vote on BRW. I do think the argument about whether or not it can be tied to a specific year is substantive. It has nothing to do with how I feel about fanfiction. Somewhere in a file I have a copy of the fanzine with the Doctor Who/ Star Trek TOS crossover though all I remember is Scotty’s delight with the sonic screwdriver. I used to write it myself before I became an Old and lost time for most hobbies. Maybe after retirement? These days I feel lucky to have time to read, let alone write.
I recall that all the years when Locus was getting Hugos and I was on the masthead, it was Charles who took home the rocket*. Nor do I recall ever getting a nominee pin. We writers and staffers did, however, usually get to sit in the VIP/nominee section for the award ceremony. That was nice.
* Mark Kelly’s sfadb site lists Kirsten, Jennifer, and Liza–and earlier Dena Brown–as co-editors/co-winners for the relevant years, and Liza, Kirsten, “et al.” for the last win in 2012.
ULTRAGOTHA on April 25, 2019 at 12:26 pm said:
People routinely vote based on their perceived notions of eligibility. For an obvious example, many people will vote down a work that they don’t believe is genre (or genre enough), even if the Awards Committee deferred to the nominators and allowed it on the ballot.
And then there’s all the people who put every puppy nomination below N/A without bothering to read them. You can disagree with their approach, but they’re allowed to vote based on their perceptions of eligibility. And you don’t get to tell them otherwise.
Sometimes, the only way a person has to protest what they feel was an inappropriate nomination is to vote accordingly.
(I have no dog in this fight–I haven’t even begun to consider how and whether I’ll rank AO3. I’m just sayin’.)
Russell Letson: That’s how I recall it, up to a point — didn’t Rachel Holmen get a duplicate rocket when Locus won, at least one year? Unfortunately, I can’t remember any details.
Steve Davidson: This nomination is unverifiable so far as eligibility is concerned
Not so. Its eligibility has been verified by the Hugo Administrators, or it wouldn’t be on the ballot.
Steve Davidson: That PDF came across as marketing hype and emphasized some things in a way that struck me as antithetical to their cause.
Of course it’s “marketing hype” — in the same way that Rocket Stack Rank’s packet submission showing how their website functionality provides value to fans is “marketing hype”. I thought it did a great job of explaining why AO3 as a project is a worthy finalist in the Best Related Work category.
You keep emphasizing the changes which were made in 2018. If you use that criteria, then there is very little to recommend Jo Walton’s book, either.
Note that I would not consider AO3 eligible again next year, any more than I would be inclined to nominate or vote for one additional year of Hugo thoughts by Jo Walton, if she happened to publish one.
Mike–Could well be the case. Rachel’s stint as managing editor ended before I joined the magazine, though I did attend all the North American Worldcons/NASFICs between 1979 and 2003, so you’d think I’d remember such an event.
Weird Critter: new prehistoric crab found: has wrench-like claws and huge eyes; genus is named “Callichimaera”.
and pilots have gotten the Navy to stop ignoring UFO reports (article has an interesting photo)
This is still irrelevant, no matter how many people bring it up; before this change, the award was changed from “Non-Fiction” to “Related”, getting around the question (argued here recently) of whether the award was limited to presentations of facts. I am not sympathetic to any claims that AO3 doesn’t meet the intent of the category.
@ULTRAGOTHA: on the other hand, I am sympathetic to claims that there’s not enough that happened to AO3 in 2018 to qualify it for this year’s Hugo. You stated above that there were major developments, contradicting someone’s earlier comment that the 2018 changes were only incremental; can you expand on this statement?
My only qualm about this nomination is that I wouldn’t want AO3 nominated every year without being able to show a clear advance from the previous nominated state. Excluding it from nomination altogether would be wrong, I think. Finding a standard that keeps it from being nominated every year without that clear advance wouldn’t be.
I have absolutely no idea how to create such a standard. In the absence of it, I wouldn’t want to change the current rules. AO3 is a kind of thing which should be nominable. One might hope the creators would turn down a nomination if they felt it insufficiently improved since the last accepted nomination.
There might be the germ of a standard in that last sentence.
@P J Evans:
The original context of the word “practice”, as Kevin Standlee used it was, “to practice the art of writing”. I read that in the same way I would have read “to practice the art of medicine”, rather than “practice losing farther, losing faster”. Perhaps I misread it. I try to choose to interpret words I might I disagree with generously. I could be wrong.
rcade: It is not a problem for a contributor to feel honored that a project they’re a part of has been recognized in the Hugo Awards. I know I fractionally bask in File 770’s rockets as an active commenter here and nobody can take that away from me.
Of course not. That’s as it should be. But how many times have you promoted yourself as a Hugo nominee because you comment here? How many times have you seen other Filers doing that?
rcade: If AO3 wins and an active fanfic author there feels like they were recognized too, I’m not seeing how that’s a bad thing for anybody.
That, in itself, is fine.
The problem is that in an ordinary year, the real Hugo finalists can post about their finalist status on social media and celebrate that with their friends and fans.
This year, the real Hugo finalists just look like they’re one of hundreds of poseurs promoting themselves as bogus Hugo nominees. I think that’s really unfair, and that it really takes away from the luster and the specialness of their nomination for them. But I don’t expect that most AO3 members care about that.
It would be really nice if the AO3 Board were to post on their site blog, gently asking AO3 contributors to stop promoting themselves as Hugo nominees, because it’s unfair to the real nominees. But I don’t for a moment think that they’re going to be willing to do that, because it will get a lot of their members pissed off at them — and after all, the AO3 Board isn’t the one being hurt by the false claims, it’s all of the real Hugo nominees who are being hurt. 😐
@JJ: “The AO3 Board isn’t the one being hurt by the false claims, it’s all of the real Hugo nominees who are being hurt.”
True in terms of the direct, short-term effect. An indirect effect is that the behavior is also pissing off a certain number of Hugo voters toward AO3, which hurts their chances of winning. A long-term effect is that the behavior increases the possibility of an over-reaching rules change which could prevent a future nomination for AO3.
Yep, it really pissed me off. I went from ok with the nomination to leaning towards not ranking it at all.
Bruce, Olav, thank you for your discussion on what history books to read.
Not mid-season, following season.
Delighted to help, Hampus. If you don’t mind a more specialized recommendation, I highly recommend reading Eric Foner. His area of expertise is our civil war and the post-war reconstruction, and he’s really really good. I particularly like The Fiery Trial, which covers the evolution of Abraham Lincoln’s views on slavery throughout his adult life; it does a great job bringing to life the idea that there is no single “the true” version of people’s ideas, a lot of the time. But everything by Foner is worth your time, pretty much.
Even more insidiously, one of the claims being made by people enthusing about AO3’s shortlisting amounts to saying, “Because File 770 has won Hugo Awards in the past, I can call myself a Hugo Award Winner by publishing a comment on the F770 site.”
I’ve had material published in the paper version of File 770, possibly even in years where Mike won a Hugo Award for the magazine (I’ve never checked the timing), but I would never claim to be a Hugo Award winner because of that.
I admit when Mike was contemplating putting the poetry slam thread into his Hugo Voting Packet I was that chuffed. But my reaction was “I’ll be in a Hugo Voting packet! Woooo!” not “I’m a Finalist”. Alas, we did the File 770 Destroys Poetry in January of the following year so it never made a packet.
I’m not going to rank AO3 below No Award, but I am more disgruntled than I was when the Finalists were announced. I realize this disgruntlement isn’t really fair. There are nearly 2 million contributors to the site and only tiny fraction of them are pissing me off. So I’m actively trying to manage my disgruntlement.
Chip, here’s AO3’s Change Log tag. I am not a member of AO3–my fanfic writing and editing days being waaaay behind me and I’ve not been prone to read much lately either. But I recognize the community and think the whole of it’s parts is worthy.
John A. Arkensawyer, I agree with JJ that AO3 wouldn’t be re-eligible for a nomination without a major substantive change, same as all the essay collections that have been nominated in the past. (I am not a Hugo Administrator and I do not play one on line. If I were an actual Hugo Administrator I would not be commenting.)
Kevin Standlee: I’ve had material published in the paper version of File 770, possibly even in years where Mike won a Hugo Award for the magazine (I’ve never checked the timing), but I would never claim to be a Hugo Award winner because of that.
Of course not — but that’s because you have respect for the Hugo Awards, and because you care enough to not try to take thunder away from the people who are genuinely Hugo finalists.
I wasn’t even going to bother looking at File 770‘s packet last year, since I am intimately familiar with the content posted on this site. But for some reason I did, and was shocked and gratified to discover that Mike had included links to 3 of my posts. Did I feel like I contributed in a meaningful way to File 770‘s rocket last year? Absolutely. Would I presume to call myself a Hugo nominee? No — because to me, that would be a cheapening of what it means to be a Hugo finalist, and I care about the Hugo Awards too much to do that.
This is the same kind of culture clash which hit the Nebulas with the 20BooksTo50K people this year, and which generated the Puppies: people who regard the awards merely as a means to the end of promoting themselves, and have no respect for the awards as an institution, or for the honor that is conferred on those who are genuinely nominated by popular acclaim. 🙁
Ultragotha writes: Archive of Our Own qualifies in the category of Best Related Work under the current Hugo rules. Nicholas would not have listed it as a Finalist if he and whomever else was involved in the decision thought it didn’t qualify for the category.
Vote, or don’t vote on its quality as a complete entity; not its eligibility.
No. Administrators must decide what they think is eligible, it has to be done.
But if voters do not agree that it should be eligible it is perfectly OK to either not vote for it or vote it below No Award, even if those voters think it is the very best ineligible thing which wasn’t eligible in that year.
Has anyone actually asked the OTW board to say something about the Hugo finalist claims? Because I was mildly surprised at the idea, since they don’t usually do that sort of thing, so it’s possible it just hasn’t occurred to them. I’d be very surprised if many of the ones doing it in an obnoxious way would listen, but it might cut down on the just-having-fun people.
Meredith: Has anyone actually asked the OTW board to say something about the Hugo finalist claims?
I don’t think that anyone really has the remit to do that. The Hugo Awards as an org will generally send a polite request to stop to anyone who misuses their rocket logo, or who falsely promotes themselves as a “Hugo Finalist”, or who calls their new awards program “The Hugo Awards”. If that’s ignored, they’ll send a Cease-and-Desist letter, followed by further steps if necessary.
But AO3 as an org hasn’t done anything wrong — and they are not responsible for the independent actions of people who use their platform. So The Hugo Awards don’t really have cause to request that AO3 do something — and no one else has the authority to do such a thing.
If I had a friend involved with the AO3 governance, I’d put a bug in their ear that it would be courteous to the real Hugo finalists, as well as in AO3’s best interests, to kindly and gently ask their members to stop promoting themselves as Hugo nominees. But I don’t, and I don’t feel that it’s my place as Joe Random Fan to send them such a request. I suspect that most people feel the same way, and are just watching this play out with grim inevitability to what may very well be a No Award for AO3, if the site’s contributors manage to stir up enough bad feeling among Hugo voters.
I disagree. As far as I understand the change of the category to “Best Related Work”, the looseness of the category mostly leaves the judgement of what is and isn’t eligible to the voting body, rather than the administrators. e.g. from Vincent Docherty, WSFS Division Head for the 2010 Worldcon (emphasis mine):
So, yeah. I’d absolutely expect the administrators not to take it upon themselves to declare a BRW finalist ineligible, except in the most clear-cut cases imaginable.
And obviously, the only place to register a “errmmm, I don’t think that’s eligible” vote is in the final ballot :-/
Only the Hugo administrator has the right to decide whether something is or isn’t eligible, but as a Hugo voter I have the right to say that I disagree and can no award or leave of the ballot something I feel is misclassified, not SFF or otherwise not eligible.
And indeed, I have occasionally no awarded Hugo finalists, because I felt they were misclassified or ineligible. So far, most of those no awards have been in Best Related Work, mostly because there was another category where the finalist belonged IMO, and one for the Campbell Award, because I felt the finalist was no longer eligible due to the prior publication.
Since we have three edge case finalists in Best Related Work this year (even though everybody is only talking about AO3), I suspect that “No Award” may get another outing. But that’s my personal decision. Everybody else must vote as they see fit.
And the AO3 users who call themselves Hugo-nominated certainly aren’t helping their case, even if it is done out of ignorance or as a joke.
Galactic Journey, where I am a contributor, is nominated for Best Fanzine this year, but I don’t consider myself a Hugo finalist (and neither do any of the other contributors), because the site is the finalist, not any individual writer. Though I’m thrilled about the recognition for Galactic Journey and happy that one of my articles will apparently be in the voter packet this year.
@Olav Rokne , @Bruce Baugh:
The Canadian folk group known as Stringband has a song called “the Union Cowboy”. Might be hard to find a copy, though — Stringband has been hors de combat since the 80s, though they have done a few reunion tours since then.