Pixel Scroll 4/6/19 A Scroll Without A Pixel Is Like A Walrus Without An Antenna

(1) HUGO CONTENDING ART BOOKS. The Daily Beast gives a rundown — “These Are 2019’s Hugo Awards Art Book Finalists”.

… We compiled the six art book finalists below to give you an idea of what’s competing for the venerable award in August, along with some information about them from Amazon….

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, $36 on Amazon: Illustrated by Charles Vess, Written by Ursula K. Le Guin. “Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless and beloved A Wizard of Earthsea, this complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles includes over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin’s vision of her classic saga.”

(2) LARSON & JACKSON TOGETHER AGAIN. NPR’s Linda Holmes says “Brie Larson’s Directorial Debut Glitters With The Charming ‘Unicorn Store'”.

“Bringing a unicorn here is not an easy or inexpensive endeavor. You have to be the right sort of girl.”

The right sort of girl.

The backbone of Brie Larson’s offbeat directorial debut, the comedy Unicorn Store, is the idea of what it means to be the right sort of girl. Larson plays Kit, a woman pushing 30 who lives with her parents and favors an aesthetic heavy on rainbows, glitter and — yes — unicorns. And after she receives a couple of mysterious magical letters, she finds herself in the company of a man who calls himself The Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson). He’s the one who says these words, who tells her that she’s in line for a unicorn of her own. But she has to earn it. She has to be stable. She has to make a home for it. She has to be an adult, ironically, to be the right companion for a unicorn.

(3) NICE TRY? BBC reports “Google’s ethics board shut down”.

An independent group set up to oversee Google’s artificial intelligence efforts, has been shut down less than a fortnight after it was launched.

The Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) was due to look at the ethics around AI, machine learning and facial recognition.

One member resigned and there were calls for another to be removed.

The debacle raises questions about whether firms should set up such bodies.

Google told the BBC: “It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted.

“So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board. We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics.”

There had been an outcry over the appointment of Kay Coles James, who is president of conservative thinktank The Heritage Foundation. Thousands of Google employees signed a petition calling for her removal, over what they described as “anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant” comments.

(4) HEY RUBE. Steve Davidson complains that he can’t evaluate what technical changes make Archive of Our Own eligible in the 2019 Hugo category for which it was nominated, then, disregarding the argument he just made, asks why AO3 wasn’t nominated in another category that isn’t designed to recognize technical changes: “The Hugo Awards Best Related Work Category and the AO3 Nomination” at Amazing Stories.

In terms of AO3, since I can’t see the “change”, how am I to judge the substantiability?  Maybe, in my mind, it isn’t transformative enough to warrant a vote.  But I can’t make that judgement because I have no reference. I do not have the opportunity to weigh in on the Hugo Administrator’s choices.

Third:  we’ve already determined that websites can qualify under the Best Fanzine category and we can read right in the definition of Best Related Work that works qualify for that category “provided that they do not qualify for another category”.

Why doesn’t a website featuring fanfic qualify for the Best Fanzine category?  Call me a rube, but I can hardly think of a better category for a collection of fanfic than Best Fanzine.  In fact, I seem to recall that a bunch of highly regarded professional authors published their fanfic in…fanzines.  (The printed kind that some of you may not be familiar with.)

(5) BOOKS SHE LOVES. Shelf Awareness brings you “Reading with… Sarah Pinsker”:

Book you’re an evangelist for:

Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. It’s a wordless depiction of an immigration experience. The protagonist doesn’t share a language with anyone in his new country; their language is gibberish to him and gibberish to the reader. Any item we might recognize is rendered in such a way as to make it foreign to the reader as well, so we experience the confusion that the man feels: strange fruit, strange animals, strange monuments. Tan’s illustrations tell the immigrant’s story a thousand times better than words could have.

Book you’ve bought for the cover:

Saga Press is reissuing three Molly Gloss novels over the next few months (Outside the Gates,Dazzle of DayandWild Life) followed by her first collection, Unforeseen. I already had two of the books, but I’ve preordered all four of these both for her prose and the gorgeously stark matching covers by Jeffrey Alan Love.


  • April 6, 1967Star Trek’s “City on the Edge of Forever”, written by Harlan Ellison, first aired.
  • April 6, 19682001: A Space Odyssey was released.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born April 6, 1905 Thomas P. Kelley. Writer of Thirties pulp novels that were serialised first in Weird Tales (The Last PharaohA Million Years in the Future and I Found Cleopatra), Uncanny Tales (The Talking Heads) and Eerie Tales (The Weird Queen). (Died 1982.)
  • Born April 6, 1918 Kaaren Verne. She appeared in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon as Charlotte Eberli. The film btw was very much fanfic bearing little resemblance to the original premise of Holmes. She also appeared in The Twilight ZoneKraft Suspense Theatre and Fireside Theatre (freelance writers such as Rod Serling were a script source for the latter). (Died 1967.)
  • Born April 6, 1935 Douglas Hill. Prolific writer of short novels for both adults and younger of a sword and sorcery bent even when within an SF setting. Best known series include The Last Legionary, Demon Stalker and Huntsman. He served for a short period as assistant editor of the New Worlds magazine under Michael Moorcock. (Died 2007.)
  • Born April 6, 1937 Billy Dee Williams, 82. He is best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise, first appearing in The Empire Strikes Back. Other genre appearances include being Harvey Dent in Batman and voicing Two Face In The Lego Batman Movie
  • Born April 6, 1947 John Ratzenberger, 72. In-house voice actor for Pixar whose roles have included Hamm in the Toy Story franchise, The Abominable Snowman in the Monsters, Inc. franchise, The Underminer in The Incredibles franchise, and Mack in the Cars franchise. He made minor live appearances in Superman and Superman II
  • Born April 6, 1948 Larry Todd, 71. Writer and cartoonist, best known for the decidedly adult  Dr. Atomic strips that originally appeared in the underground newspaper The Sunday Paper and his other work in underground comics, often with a SF bent. In our circles, Galaxy Science FictionAmazing Science Fiction and Imagination magazines being three of his venues. He also did some writing for If magazine. He also did, and it’s really weird art, the cover art and interior illustrations for Harlan Ellison’s Chocolate Alphabet
  • Born April 6, 1981 Eliza  Coupe, 38. Tiger, one three main roles in Future Man, a web series where a video game apparently is actually real and deadly. She also had a recurring role on Quantico as Hannah Wyland, a series I swear is edging into genre. She was also in Monster Mash (also known as Monster Mash: The Movie and Frankenstein Sings), based on the Bobby “Boris” Pickett song “Monster Mash” and other sources.

(8) SPOTTED OWL. Mike Lawson has won the Spotted Owl Award for his mystery House Witness. The Spotted Owl Award is handed out by a group called Friends of Mystery, based in Portland, Oregon. Eligible are mysteries written by authors from the Pacific Northwest. The finalists were —

  • Baron Birtcher – Fistful Of Rain
  • Robert Dugoni – A Steep Price
  • Warren Easley – Moving Targets
  • G.M. Ford – Soul Survivor
  • Elizabeth George – The Punishment She Deserves
  • Stephen Holgate – Madagascar
  • Mike Lawson – House Witness – winner
  • Martin Limon – The Line
  • John Straley – Baby’s First Felony
  • Jon Talton – The Bomb Shelter

(9) CARTER BROWN. The winner of the inaugural Carter Brown Mystery Writing Award has also been announced:

  • Alibi for a Dead Man by Wilson Toney

The award is named in honor of the prolific Australian author Alan Geoffrey Yates (aka Carter Brown).

(10) MARKETPLACE. Here’s a service someone should start:

(11) WATCH OUT FOR THOSE BOUNDERS. Jim C. Hines referees “Bounding Into Comics vs. Fonda Lee” and finds it’s definitely not a fight by the Marquis of Queensbury rules.

I got to meet and hang out with author Fonda Lee at the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop a few years back. Recently, Lee was at Barnes and Noble and observed:

“This is what modern fantasy writers are up against. In my local B&N, most authors are lucky to find a copy of their book, super lucky if it’s face out. There are 3.5 shelves for Tolkien. 1.5 for Jordan. Here’s who we compete against for shelf space: not each other, but dead guys.” (Source)

Her Tweets got a lot of attention, leading to an article by John Trent at Bounding Into Comics that derides Lee and accuses her, among other things, of criticizing Tolkien. Not that Lee ever did this. Her second Tweet in that thread said, “Before you @ me about the importance of classics, I love LOTR too, okay?” One might almost suspect Trent’s comment, “Lee isn’t the first person to criticize Tolkien,” of being an attempt to stir up shit.

An effective attempt, it seems. Lee has been barraged by Tolkien Defenders over on Twitter….

(12) THE BREW THAT IS TRUE. “How Artificial Intelligence Is Used To Make Beer”.—Forbes has the story.

There are many ways artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can make our world more productive and effective. There are even breweries that are using AI to enhance beer production. Is this brilliant or unbelievable? While it’s admittedly too soon to tell, using data to inform brewmasters’ decisions and the possibility of personalized brews makes AI-brewed beer definitely intriguing.

(13) SJWC RETRACTION. Yesterday’s NPR-headline Pixel was quickly corrected: “All Right. Some Cats Do Fetch”.

A tongue-in-cheek NPR.org headline comparing the fetching abilities of cats and dogs revealed a truth known by countless cat owners: Some cats do fetch.

“Cats Don’t Fetch, But Know Their Names As Well As Dogs, Researchers Say,” the original headline proclaimed. This didn’t sit well with some readers.

“In what world do cats not fetch?” Kate Haffey commented on Facebook.

“Artemis knows her name and fetches,” Brandi Whitson said on Twitter. “She’s obsessed.” …

(14) HAPPINESS IS… And while we’re pushing your buttons, read this article in the Portland (ME) Press-Herald “Dog owners are much happier than cat owners, survey finds”.

The well-respected survey that’s been a barometer of American politics, culture and behavior for more than four decades finally got around to the question that has bedeviled many a household.

Dog or cat?

In 2018, the General Social Survey for the first time included a battery of questions on pet ownership. The findings not only quantified the nation’s pet population – nearly 6 in 10 households have at least one -they made it possible to see how pet ownership overlaps with all sorts of factors of interest to social scientists.

Like happiness.

For starters, there is little difference between pet owners and non-owners when it comes to happiness, the survey shows. The two groups are statistically indistinguishable on the likelihood of identifying as “very happy” (a little over 30 percent) or “not too happy” (in the mid-teens).

But when you break the data down by pet type – cats, dogs or both – a stunning divide emerges: Dog owners are about twice as likely as cat owners to say they’re very happy, with people owning both falling somewhere in between.

(15) HISTORIC GADGET. “Heath Robinson: WW2 codebreaking machine reconstructed” – BBC has the story. For any Filers not in on the joke: the US equivalent to Heath Robinson is Rube Goldberg — but this machine worked.

A World War Two codebreaking machine has been reconstructed after a seven-year project so it can run in public for the first time.

The Heath Robinson has been restored at The National Museum of Computing in Milton Keynes by a team of six.

The machine was an early attempt to automate code-cracking and, due to its complexity, was named after the illustrator W Heath Robinson.

Phil Hayes, of the museum, said the work was “quite an achievement”.

He said it completed using a hand-drawn circuit diagram along with replica circuits based on 1940s technology.

(16) OLD HABITS DIE HARD. CNN wondered why “Why 2.7 million Americans still get Netflix DVDs in the mail”. They came up with six reasons. In the process, they made Cat Eldridge’s day: “Years ago I had an argument with a techie who insisted that new technologies always drive out old technologies. I said that’s simply not true. And here’s proof of that.” Cat and Bruce Sterling agree.

Remember when Netflix used to be a DVD-by-mail company? Well, for 2.7 million subscribers in the US, it still is.

The familiar red envelopes have been arriving in customers’ mailboxes since 1998 and helped earn the company a healthy $212 million profit last year.

Why are so many people still using this old-school service in the age of streaming? There are a number of reasons.

(17) FIRE IN THE HOLE. NPR watches as “Japan (Very Carefully) Drops Plastic Explosives Onto An Asteroid”.

Early Friday morning, Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft detonated an explosive device over a small asteroid. The goal was to create a fresh crater that will later be studied by the spacecraft.

Researchers watched from mission control in Sagamihara, Japan, and clapped politely as Hayabusa2 released an experiment known as the Small Carry-on Impactor. The device consisted of a copper disk packed with HMX high-explosive. Once the mothership had safely moved out of the line of fire, the impactor apparently detonated, firing the disk into the side of the asteroid. A camera released by Hayabusa2 appeared to catch the moment of impact, which sent a stream of ejecta into space.

…”These particular asteroids are the precursors to what Earth was made from,” Connolly says. Ryugu is rich in carbon, and minerals on its surface contain water and so-called prebiotic compounds that could have started life on this planet.

“Ryugu is a time capsule,” says Connolly.

This is not Hayabusa2’s first attack. In February, the spacecraft physically touched down on Ryugu and fired a small pellet into its surface. The dust kicked up by that opening shot was collected and eventually will provide researchers with detailed information about the asteroid’s makeup.

But to really understand Ryugu, researchers also want to know what’s down there, and that’s why they created Friday’s crater. In a few weeks, after the dust has settled, the little spacecraft will survey the blast site to see what lies beneath. It may even land a second time to collect subsurface samples.

(18) CLASSIC APOLLO 11 PUBLICITY RESOURCE. In honor of the flight’s 50th anniversary, David Meerman Scott has scanned in his collection of Apollo 11 press kits:

Press kits prepared by the public relations staff at the major contractors for the Apollo 11 mission provided valuable additional information not found in NASA issued news releases. Reporters and editors from media outlets including television and newspapers had access to such documents from dozens of manufacturers while working on stories about the first lunar landing.

(19) STAR TREK FAN FILM. Gizmodo/io9 is drawing your attention to a fan film (“Temporal Anomaly is a Star Trek Fan Film Half a Decade in the Making”). The film appears as two parts, each from 24–27 minutes each.

First conceived and pitched to Kickstarter backers in 2013, Temporal Anomaly is an ambitious fan project set in the Star Trek universe, a nearly hour-long fan film created by Power543 Fan Films

(20) DISCOVERY. The Popcast analyzes The Borg Paradox.

If you thought the last Paradox was good, you’re going to love this one. The Borg are here and Resistance is Futile!

(21) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Stephen Cunnane, in “Gary the Gargoyle: Short and Breakdown” on Vimeo, offers a short fiilm about a gargoyle and an analysis of how the creatures in the film were designed.

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Cora Buhlert, Conrarius, John King Tarpinian, Bill, rcade, Martin Morse Wooster, Dann, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]

140 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/6/19 A Scroll Without A Pixel Is Like A Walrus Without An Antenna

  1. @rcade–

    I like fan fiction. Though I’m a web application developer, when I hear people tout the software platform I’m having trouble seeing what’s so special about it. How is A03 appreciably better than FanFiction.Net?

    Yeah, I despair of ever getting programmers to grasp what a library is and why a flat file isn’t good enough. With a real online library or library catalog, there isn’t necessarily anything fancy or impressive about the programming–from the point of view of a programmer. The tricky bit is getting the programmers to grasp what’s needed, so that people can find what they want, in the ways that matter to the user, not the programmer.

  2. @Bruce Baugh

    I think you’re onto something re: dog owner lifestyles.


    A year or so ago I nominated Mari Ness’ excellent Disney Read-Watch series (it didn’t make the ballot) on the basis that the last (and only the last, iirc) instalment was in the correct year. I don’t know whether the Hugo Adminstrator(s) would have agreed with me, of course, but I’m halfway sure that they wouldn’t have objected to that reasoning given how many compilations have been accepted onto the ballot (I don’t find “well they were stuck in a book” to be a persuasively significant difference, personally).

    I’m pretty okay with considering the Archive Of Our Own as a finalist for its whole self and history up until 31st December 2018. If it got on the ballot again in future, then I’d consider any changes from 1st January 2019 onwards instead. That being said, the 2018 updates were actually pretty good so for a thought experiment and my own use, once I’ve caught up on the other finalists in Related Work I might rank my ballot twice: Once with AO3 considered as a whole, and once just for the 2018 updates.

    @Greg Hullender

    When I put my ballot together this year, I had Fan Writer nominees on there that I wanted to recognise for their fanfic. In previous years I’ve also had individual fanfics on my ballot in the fiction categories. I don’t keep up with fanzine releases but I know enough to know that there are still transformative works fanzines coming out every year, so I could recognise those in Fanzine if I decided to put the effort in, too.

    I have perfectly good ways to recognise excellent fic and excellent fic writers already, and I have used them, because there’s excellent writers and works out there that deserve it. Archive Of Our Own was on my ballot for Best Related Work because I wanted to recognise the archive, in all its betagged and befanned glory. Please do not assume you know my motivations better than I do.

    @Chip Hitchcock

    It’s partly that — record players are also rather more conspicuous than tape players — but culturally where cassette tapes have legs is mainly as a sort of mix tape nostalgia (which can’t be expressed literally, since hardly anyone would be able to play it if you gave one to them, so it’s mainly as depictions in art on the walls), whereas LPs have had a resurgence in sales recently as they’re increasingly released as special editions.

    LPs are popular with audiophiles, but even for people who aren’t, I think there’s an appeal to them as an “object” that cassettes and CDs (and digital music, of course) can’t quite match (I slightly prefer CDs, personally, but that’s because I like the little booklets). There’s a ritual to putting one on to play, you know? It’s like an ebook vs a paper book — ebooks I can hold without as much pain, but paper books can I love as things.

    And yeah, streaming is only as good as your internet connection — but even then… I’ve got a pretty good one, and sometimes streaming is just bad. Especially at peak times. That plus the limitations to content (Farscape, for example, hasn’t made it onto streaming in the UK) make alternatives more appealing.

  3. @rcade

    My initial reaction was more along the lines of “AO3 no better than the Pit of Voles!? You wash that remark out of your mouth right now!” But I thought that wouldn’t be terribly helpful, so you get a word avalanche instead… 🙂

    The AO3 accepts everything, for a start, there’s no ban against adult content and there are no fandoms being excluded (haven’t been back to ff.net much lately, but in the past they’ve removed such fandoms as RPF and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles — basically anything where the creator liked to throw around legal threats — and the OTW/AO3 has a volunteer legal team ready to defend their users instead), and unlike ff.net it isn’t just for fanfic but also fanart, fanvids, meta, fancomics, and fanmixes (and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting).

    Fanfiction.net is a for-profit site that makes money off the labour of fans, whereas the AO3 is a fully volunteer-run non-profit.

    The AO3 gets most of its librarian admiration for its extensive tagging system, that allows you to tag or warn for basically anything you’d like (and it also gets used conversationally), and allows readers to find exactly what they want and exclude anything that they’d rather not see (the AO3 also has a “chooses not to use archive warnings” option for authors who prefer not to add potentially spoilery content notes, and the AO3 has a squad of volunteer Tag Wranglers to keep related tags linking to each other properly). Fanfiction.net has no real tagging system at all, only the most basic of filters. The AO3’s tagging system is supporting by a robust search engine, which allows you to search by any and multiple fields; ff.net’s search engine is also extremely basic. The filtering system received a major upgrade in 2018 which — as a regular user — has been a godsend and a genuinely huge improvement to my experience, and I use the new features all the time.

    To the best of my knowledge, FF.net has none of these features:
    The AO3 has Collections, which can be anything from someone’s recs, to a shared universe, to a theme, to fic gift exchanges like the massive annual Yuletide exchange.
    The AO3 lets you mark your works as part of a series, and links them together.
    The AO3 lets you download fanfiction onto your device for later reading, in the format of your choice.
    The AO3 lets you reskin the website.
    The AO3 lets you mark a work to come back to later, and puts those works on the front page so they’re easy to find.
    The AO3 lets you mark something as a Gift, or as Inspired by another work, and adds links so that people can find those things that they were inspired by, or that inspired them.
    The AO3 lets you disown a work, so that it remains on the archive but your name is no longer attached to it.
    The AO3 lets you upload works anonymously.
    The AO3 lets you upload fic under multiple pseudonyms with the same account, and lets users filter your work by those pseuds (so you might use one for your Whizzzbang Superhero Fic and a different one for your Angsty Vampire Fic, but they both appear on your user profile).
    The AO3 has the OpenDoors project, which works tirelessly to rescue older, at-risk, archives and import their content before they’re lost forever.
    The AO3 allows you to not just bookmark anything on the site, but also off-site works and keeps them with the rest of your bookmarks. When you bookmark works, you can add your own tags, comments and summaries to your bookmark.
    The AO3 allows you to mark your works as only visible to people who are logged in, so casual visitors can’t see them.

    And that’s just what I remembered off the top of my head.

    The AO3 is a community resource, a fantastic one with so, so many features, built by us and for us, we own the servers and we will never, ever be kicked off them again. Fanfiction.net hasn’t got half the features or half the heart. I only wish ebook reader apps like Kindle or iBooks had half the features, frankly.

    (I went looking but I haven’t refound it yet so take with a bit of salt for memory errors — there’s a post on Tumblr somewhere which explains that not only is the AO3 an amazing fanworks archive, an amazing non-profit/volunteer achievement, and an amazing fannish community hub, but it’s also the biggest and most popular archive/online library on the world wide web, running on a comparatively shoestring budget — Project Gutenberg, for example, has lower traffic, fewer works, and more funds iirc. It’s a really, really cool and unique thing, and I’m so thrilled to see it on the ballot. Transformative works fandom, although there’s some crossover, hasn’t had much to do with sf/f congoing fandom historically, so it’s exciting to see it on the ballot for that reason, too.)

  4. Thanks Meredith! I too am ok with voting for websites that technically has been created before. It takes time for them to find their audience and to get their material and thus get their importance. I find it a bit unfair to demand that an archive needs to be nominated in its rudimentary stage, the year it is launched.

    I really liked the earlier explanation with nominating AO3 on the same level as someone would nominating a listing or encyclopedia and am happy enough with that.

  5. @Meredith:

    I don’t think I’ve ever broken it down this explicitly, but examining my own assumptions, here’s the kind of nominations that “make sense” to me:

    1. Discrete work. A new book; a blog post; a series of essays within a single year.
    2. Concluded work. An ongoing series/project whose last installment was in the award-year. In this case, it’s the entire series being nominated, no matter how many years it’s been running. The proviso is that the conclusion needs to be, well, conclusive. Explicit. “This is finished now.”
    3. One year’s work. For an ongoing series, the nomination of “this series, but only its work in (award year).”
    4. The first collection of existing work into book form. In some cases the collection might be simple repackaging; in others it’ll be substantial reworking. (If the work is minimal enough, I might hypothetically consider it a very poor nominee, an insignificant work which I see no reason to recognize — but eligible nonetheless. A new anthology reprinting existing essays seems eligible to me. A reissue of a previously-published book, or a new edition with little new material seems ineligible.)


    So, just to use Jo Walton’s “Revisiting The Hugos” series at Tor.com (2010-2011) as a convenient example:
    – Nominating for 2010, I’d expect the nomination to be either for “Revisiting the Hugos (2010 installments only),” or for specific installments. You couldn’t nominate the series as a whole, because it’s not complete yet.
    – For 2011, you still have the option of “Revisiting the Hugos (2011 only),” and of specific posts; but you also have the new option of nominating the entire series, as it’s explicitly concluded.
    – If you’re nominating for 2012, you can’t nominate anything in the series, because it isn’t a 2012 work in any way. (You can’t nominate it for 2012 even if it wasn’t nominated for 2011. Which seems obvious, but is relevant to the discussion here 😛 )
    – In 2017, a single additional column was added, for a recently-rediscovered 1956 ballot. IMHO, since the series itself had clearly concluded in 2011, it wouldn’t be appropriate to nominate the series as a whole in 2017, even though it has new content (and it is now “re-concluded”).
    – In 2018, a revised version of the columns was collected as “An Informal History of the Hugos”. This is my “Category 4,” first collection in book form. Setting aside the question of “just how substantial are these revisions?”, I’m willing to say that the process of turning essays into a complete book is a clear enough “work” that it makes sense to me, even if there’s no new material.


    This is all my own understanding; I’m definitely not mapping any of this to formal definitions or WSFS bylaws 😛 But I do want to point out the common thread, which is: In each of the options, the scope is well-defined. There is no question of what is included and what is not. There is no question of what counts as one year and what counts as another; if the same author or series is nominated the following year, there is no question as to the difference between what each nomination covers.

    AO3 is… different. Different voters consider themselves to be voting on different things. The 2018 nomination is held as being qualitatively different from a hypothetical 2019 nomination in the same category (but, qualitatively similar to WorldCon members who have nominated AO3 in previous years and not made finalist).

    That’s why I’m so uncomfortable with the nomination; it feels like breaking all our own definitions. That’s the kind of thing that can leave a category broken.

    OTOH, AO3 is a remarkable accomplishment, in a field that really gets neglected and disrespected. I want to be able to celebrate it. (I also don’t think it’s any coincidence that his particular side of the field is one that, oh what a surprise, doesn’t tend to get recognized by awards.)

    (OTOOH, it’s not like nonfiction and genre criticism/observation is exactly in its heyday, in terms of readership or respect. And that’s actually something the Hugo for BRW is really significant for. I’d hate for fan-communities to Become A Thing for BRW, if that means pushing out excellent, excellent work, like the rest of the category this year. It’s all too easy for me to imagine a BRW ballot comprised of AO3, Worldcon, Reddit, and the godforsaken InfoGalactic — not because those are all good nominees for the category, but because casual votes in large numbers can drown out those who’ve actually invested in reading nonfiction.)

  6. @Lorien Gray:

    We watched The Good Place 1.01 last night, but didn’t skip to 1.04, everyone was enjoying it too much so we watched 1.02 &1.03 next. Not sure yet how long we’ll keep just bingeing, but thank you SO MUCH for the Good Parts Version list.

  7. @Meredith: thanks for those details.

    Do you have any idea when those various features and capabilities were introduced? Does the site publish a change log?

    I’d like to know because my placement of it on the ballot is going to hinge, at least in part, on what my assessment of it’s eligibility is.

  8. @Hampus

    Yeah, I thought Bruce’s encyclopedia comparison was helpful, too.


    I guess I’m not too worried about that because both of the websites on the ballot are definitely distinct “things” (works) rather than just community hubs or events or whatever. I might, I suppose, look at certain specific things on a subreddit and consider it to be eligible (I mean, I wouldn’t, because I don’t use reddit, but theoretically), say an AMA or a season of whatever, but I would never consider a subreddit in and of itself to be a work. The AO3 got nominated, not the Organization for Transformative Works, you know?

    @Steve Davidson

    They do. Most of what I mentioned won’t have been introduced in 2018, because the question was what’s the difference between x and y rather than what happened during z, but the biggest/most impactful single 2018 update was, to my best recollection, the tag filtering updates. But as I said, I’m happy taking the AO3s nomination as from founding to the end of 2018. YMMV.

  9. @Meredith Thank you so much for the overview of AO3. I had been trying to come up with something, as I am a regular user (YAY YULETIDE) and failing, so thank you for this summary.

    What makes the new change of exclusions helpful, for me: if a fandom has an incredibly popular pairing that I’m okay with, but not looking for right then, I can exclude that pairing from my search and it makes it much easier to find something I want to read. Frex, if I’m looking for The Handmaid’s Tale (TV) fic but not June/Nick, I can exclude that and find more worldbuilding heavy stories much more easily.

  10. @Lis Carey: One of my most disappointing professional moments as an IT professional was being tasked to work with a group of librarians/archivists who took a point of view toward what they wanted which was much like the blinkered point of view you articulated so well that many programmers take toward libraries. If what I wanted to do for them was difficult programming, I wouldn’t’ve been able to do it; as a programmer, I’m strictly low-complexity, a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. I do get the potentials of the available parts which I understand how to put together. But if all you want is to put an image on a page, you don’t need my help.

  11. @Meredith: Appreciated. For me, “substantial modification” applies to the “most recent prior iteration”, in this case, those that took place only during 2018, using 2017’s version as the benchmark.

    I also noticed during a brief survey (as a non-member) that, at least under the numerous random categories I selected, as well as the Star Trek fandom listing that I looked at, a great many authors decline to “Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings”.

    Are “Archive Warnings” used as tags? If individuals can opt out of it, as many appear to do in my sample, how effective is search based on warning criteria?

  12. @ Steve Davidson
    here’s an example of AO3 tagging: “Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings, Philip Boyce/Christopher Pike, Philip Boyce, Christopher Pike, James T. Kirk, Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Number One (Star Trek), Original Characters, Character Study, Christopher Pike Lives, Slow Burn, Pining, Injury, Disability, Divorce, Mental Health Issues, Implied/Referenced Drug Use, Discussion of Abortion, Childbirth, Implied/Referenced Domestic Violence, Suggestive Themes”
    So yes, you can opt out of archive warnings, and still use tags for search criteria – not that all authors will tag this thoroughly.

  13. @Steve Davidson

    I also noticed during a brief survey (as a non-member) that, at least under the numerous random categories I selected, as well as the Star Trek fandom listing that I looked at, a great many authors decline to “Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings”.

    Are “Archive Warnings” used as tags? If individuals can opt out of it, as many appear to do in my sample, how effective is search based on warning criteria?

    Archive warnings are a specific type of tags–the equivalent of MPAA ratings. If your story contains content that qualifies for one or more of the archive warnings (Graphic Depictions of Violence, Major Character Death, Rape/Non-Con, or Underage Sex), you must tag it with that warning–or select Choose Not To Use Warnings, the equivalent of an unrated film.

    Often authors Choose Not To Use Warnings because they feel the warning is unduly broad/reasonable minds might differ as to whether or not it applies, and they would rather use more specific tags to let readers determine for themselves what, for example, qualifies as “underage sex” (a seventeen year old character may be legally of age from the perspective of one reader but underage from the perspective of another) or what specific violent acts they’re comfortable reading about.

  14. @Beth in MA

    It probably isn’t a perfect purely-about-the-AO3 sort of summary, since it was essentially done as a comparison, but I do hope people find it useful.

    The exclusion change has been so, so helpful. I don’t read Steve/Bucky fic (nothing against it, I’m just contrary about juggernaut pairings), and being able to just filter it out makes the MCU fic I do want to read so much easier to find. I also like being able to exclude crossovers for small fandoms which have inspired popular fusion concepts. The fusion fic is perfectly fine, of course (I’m a big fan of the Iskryne psychic wolves fusions), but they’re not super helpful when you want fic of the actual thing, versus Harry Potter-but-with-Temeraire-style-dragons.

    @Steve Davidson

    Archive Warnings are indeed part of tagging — and are highlighted within the filtering system.

    One of the big decisions made right when the archive was started was to allow creators to warn or not to warn. It’s an intrinsic part of the AO3s philosophy that creators should have the freedom to make whatever they want and not be forced to provide spoilers for it if they don’t want to. “Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings” is a blanket here-there-may-be-dragons, enter-at-your-own-risk warning. But authors can’t use the No Archive Warnings Apply tag unless it’s definitely the case, so for readers who absolutely don’t want to risk it, that’s the safest option.

    As P J Evans mentions, people still use additional tags when not using the Archive Warnings. Astolat, for example, either chooses not to use them or (more rarely) marks works as no warnings apply, but often adds tags like “Consent Issues” as well. The Archive Warnings are quite blunt and black and white; a lot of transformative works aren’t exactly all sunshine and roses and social justice compliance but also don’t fit neatly into the AW system. Additional tags at the discretion of the creator fill that gap — another reason why the flexibility and design of the AO3 is so important and useful.

    Personally, I use a mix of exclusion filters and reading the additional tags, and I have yet to trip over anything I absolutely didn’t want to read using those methods.

  15. The 2018 tag covers more of the minor changes than the link to the site changes tag did, by the way, as well as including a number of helpful guides to how things work.

  16. @Standback

    (OTOOH, it’s not like nonfiction and genre criticism/observation is exactly in its heyday, in terms of readership or respect. And that’s actually something the Hugo for BRW is really significant for. I’d hate for fan-communities to Become A Thing for BRW, if that means pushing out excellent, excellent work, like the rest of the category this year. It’s all too easy for me to imagine a BRW ballot comprised of AO3, Worldcon, Reddit, and the godforsaken InfoGalactic — not because those are all good nominees for the category, but because casual votes in large numbers can drown out those who’ve actually invested in reading nonfiction.)

    I think this is a large part of the problem with the best related work category, namely that comparatively few people read genre-related non-fiction. And because Best Related Work is considered a grab bag category anyway, non-fiction books can easily get drowned out. And of the non-fiction books that make the ballot, more serious academic works often lose out to fluffier stuff. See John Scalzi’s collected blogposts (for which he already won a deserved best fanwriter Hugo) beating out Farah Mendlesohn’s excellent Rhetorics of Fantasy.

  17. I could wish that AO3 got a service to fandom award, but I don’t think that fits with the structure of the Hugos.

    I took a look at “The Store of Heart’s Desire”, and I thought I knew at least a little about all of Cordwainer Smith, but that story seemed unfamiliar, though the setting is obviously in the Instrumentality of Man.

    It’s possible I read it and forgot about it, but might it have been part of Norstrillia?

  18. Meredith: Thanks for the explanation of how A03 differs from Fanfiction.net. It sounds like quite an undertaking and a worthy nominee.

    When I was a teen comic book and D&D nerd in the 1980s, I was a little spooked by the fan fiction crowd at Dallas conventions. They were predominantly older women and some zines they sold at cons had covers implying a much closer relationship between Starsky and Hutch than I was prepared to contemplate.

    But in hindsight their slice of fandom was so much more interesting than the super-hero slugfests that were my primary obsession. I’ve been a casual reader of fanfic since I learned about it on GEnie in the 1990s.

  19. @Doctor Science

    You’re very welcome! Watching each episode in order is probably the best way to get the most out of the series. And the series is very bingeable. But at three seasons long, I can see people wanting a short cut.

  20. @rcade

    You’re welcome! I’m really excited about the AO3’s nomination and I’m hoping that the voters give it a fair shot.

    (But it’s Meredith. Two e’s, one i.)

  21. I just want to make a plea for an inclusion of “The Trolley Problem” in the list of must-watch episodes for The Good Place. It didn’t win a Hugo Award for nothing. It’s not a “can’t-miss” in terms of understanding the story arc, true: but it’s a “can’t-miss” in terms of being the show’s single best ep.

  22. (But it’s Meredith. Two e’s, one i.)

    Sorry! I wish I could edit that now because it will bother me for quite some time.

  23. @David Goldfarb

    Yes, I leaned towards episodes that contributed to understanding the show. There were some really great episodes I left out because my first draft of the list was closer to ‘all the episodes in order’ than to a good primer.

    I wish more people had chimed in with what they considered important. I didn’t realize it was just going to be me and my single opinion. Got any more suggestions on what to put in, or to leave out for that matter?

  24. rcade on April 8, 2019 at 7:08 pm said:

    They were predominantly older women and some zines they sold at cons had covers implying a much closer relationship between Starsky and Hutch than I was prepared to contemplate.

    ROTFL! (Almost literally).

    I’m not a fan of slash fic; but of ALL the slash fic out there, Starsky and Hutch comes closest to cannon, IMO. At least from all the jokes the cast and crew were making at the time.

  25. @Nancy Lebovitz (re the Smith): the ISFDB listing for that title says “Series: Rod McBan”; the NESFA edition of Norstrilia has a chapter “The Department Store of Heart’s Desire”.

  26. I’m not a fan of slash fic; but of ALL the slash fic out there, Starsky and Hutch comes closest to cannon, IMO. At least from all the jokes the cast and crew were making at the time.

    When you see the Starsky & Hutch beach publicity shots, it looks like they’re a couple in love. Surely that couldn’t have been missed by the show’s creators. They must have been hearing from fans in the 1970s who yearned to see that close emotional relationship as a romance.

    Has there ever been a cop show where two male cops are dating? There are heterosexual romances between partners on several shows. I can’t think of one with a gay pairing. Southland had a gay cop played by Michael Cudlitz but he was closeted at work.

  27. @rcade: The current program Brooklyn 99 has an openly gay police captain – however, he’s not dating another cop: he’s happily married to someone with no interest in police work (an English professor). There are two other pairs of male officers on the program who are very emotionally attached, though – one pair is almost a parody of Starsky and Hutch (Scully and Hitchcock).

  28. CHip Hitchcock, thank you for the information about Cordwainer Smith.

  29. Dear JJ, why be so rude? I only asked why an old film being re-released was getting so much coverage. Okay I also suggested Netflix was cashing in on CAPTAIN MARVEL’s success and Brie Larson’s high profile by making such a big deal about it but why call this a “rant”? I certainly don’t “hate” UNICORN STORE and might even like it if I saw it but we can’t afford Netflix. Do you work for Netflix? Is that why you are so angry at a simple question? A friend said this was a good news forum but maybe she was wrong. The forum part anyway.

  30. I think you are overreacting to a comment being called a “rant.”

    Welcome to File 770. Your friend was right.

  31. HowardB, you came to a strange website and your first comment was a denigration of a movie as well as saying that you didn’t think people should be talking about it. In my book, that was pretty rude.

    I wasn’t “angry”. I was laughing that you had the cheek to complain that people were talking about something you don’t like.

    Feel free to talk about what you like or don’t like here. Just be aware that telling people that they shouldn’t talk about something is not likely to go over well, and that such attempts at policing what gets said in the scroll or its comments is likely to get a similar response.

  32. HowardB; JJ’s mein tends to be brusque, but if you look past it, or correctly read it as (as they state above) a bit amused in with the brusqueness, you’ll learn they have a lot of worthwhile things to say.

    I did see the question as rather gruff and curmudgeonly and a phrase like “Cash in on” tends to imply a criticism beyond just curiosity, which itself implies a desire to not see it discussed or reported. Rereading it, I can see that I made some assumptions about your tone right back, and I’m glad I didn’t respond aloud until now.

    Welcome to the site. What books or media do you like?

  33. as well as saying that you didn’t think people should be talking about it.

    He most certainly did not say that. What he said was:

    Why the fuss about the release of a film Brie Larson made in 2017?

  34. HowardB:

    Welcome to you. This is a good place to come if you like the genres. As this is the internet, sometimes reactions can be rather energetic and colorful.

    As for Unicorn Store, since it’s now on Netflix, it’s going to attract a certain amount of notice, regardless of how old it is or what the reviews are like. I had never heard of it before seeing the review here today and might even check it out at some point. FWIW, I took your question as a question, rather than as an attack or as snark.

    I hope to “see” you around here again.

  35. Robert Reynolds: As this is the internet, sometimes reactions can be rather energetic and colorful.

    It’s also understandable that when someone’s first comment on a strange blog is bagging on Brie Larson, that that person might appear to be one of the army of Captain Marvel haters who are searching out posts about Brie Larson all over the internet and showing up just to post gripes about the actor and her work.

    If that was just an unfortunate choice by a first-time commenter who is genuninely interested in participating in good faith, I’m certainly willing to overlook it.

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