Pixel Scroll 4/13/16 The Dark Nightfall Returns

(1) FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK. A teaser trailer has been released for the Leonard Nimoy documentary.

(2) KEENE LEAVING HWA. Brian Keene cites over a dozen major organizational failures by Horror Writers of America in “Why and When I Will Begin Boycotting the HWA”, a list that ends —

*And most recently (as of today) allowing an avowed white supremacist and fascist who has previously demonstrated a bias against others based on their race, religion, etc. to participate as a Bram Stoker Award Jury member — an award which will include candidates of various races and religions…..

…Effective 1/1/17 (when the new year’s memberships become active) I will no longer work with anyone who is a then-Current member of the HWA, including writers, publishers, editors, etc. I will not give cover blurbs, introductions, or anything else. If I am asked to be in an anthology, and the anthology is being edited by a then-current HWA member, I will decline. If I am asked to submit a novel, and the publisher is a then-current HWA member, I will decline.

So… if you’d like to work with me in 2017, or you’d like my help with something going forward, I’m very happy to — provided you are not a member of the HWA as of January 1, 2017. Consider this an eight-month notice, which I think is more than fair.

I realize that this decision will put me at odds with both dear friends and fellow mutually-respected peers. That’s okay. It won’t be the first time that has happened. But this is my decision. I am not a Conservative or a Progressive, and I hold the extremists in both camps with contempt. But I am a human being, and a father, and I know what is right and what is wrong. Discrimination of someone based on their race, religion, creed, etc. is wrong.

We endorse things by our participation in them. This current debacle — and previous debacles — are not things I endorse, and I will not, in good conscience, contribute my name, my money, my talent, my draw, or my platform to them.

(3) BE MY GUEST. This is not a problem File 770 has, however, Melanie R. Meadors’ advice to prospective guest bloggers makes a lot of sense — “How to Write a Publicity Query Email That Won’t get You Blacklisted by Bloggers” at Bookworm Blues.

8. Offer them content that will draw readers to their blog. Bloggers are not your bitches. They aren’t working for you. They have a blog because they want people to read them. The harsh reality is that book spotlights get skimmed or skipped. No one cares. Anything that is easy for you, the author, is usually the least effective. Bloggers want content. They want an author’s unique view of things, they want to offer their readers something to entertain and inform them. They want something that will be shared on social media. And really, that’s what YOU want, too. You are doing a publicity tour so that you can actually reach readers. Not just so you can check off a box that says “stuck crap up on the internet.” Spotlights don’t reach readers in a memorable way. Posts that make them laugh, let them hear your voice, and show them who you are hit readers in a positive way that will make them click on the link to your work so they can learn more. That type of content is good for bloggers and is good for you. Tell them what type of post you are interested in, and if possible, even offer them a topic.

(4) STANDING UP. Randall at Catalyst Game Labs wrote his “I’m Standing Up” post before Ken Burnside’s appeared, but he subsequently linked to Burnside which is how I came across it:

I’ve certainly not been perfect. I can look back across a lifetime of con attendance and gaming and cringe now and then at stupid comments I’ve made. And for that, I publicly apologize to any woman who ever felt as though I didn’t respected her, or made her feel as though she is less valuable as she is to our hobby, community, and industry.

And perhaps for that very same sense, there are men who feel ashamed to stand up. Well shake it off. Do the right thing. Stand up. This will only change if we shine a bright enough light down into those repugnant currents. If we get enough people saying this is not okay we just might push those currents down where they’re too afraid to come out any more.

Now let me be absolutely clear, here: Harassment or bullying of any sort against anyone for any reason—be it gender, race, religion, you name it—is not okay. And if I hear anyone around me gatekeeping with that tired old mantra “you’re not a real gamer,” I’m gonna slap that down. Catalyst employees know this and swiftly take care of any such situations. (If anyone has ever had any issues that were not treated appropriately by one of our employees or Catalyst agents, feel free to email me [email protected] and I’ll immediately follow up). So this filth laps onto far too many. But it seems pretty clear to me over the research I’ve done that women, by a large margin, take the brunt of this hurt.

For anyone that feels even a moment’s regret over any of this, or experiences they’ve had, please spread this post. Plenty of others are doing the same and doing it well. But we need to do it more. I’m adding my voice to theirs to swell the chorus and shine a light on those currents.

And for all those amazing gamers that make the hobby brilliant for millions of people all over the world, thank you!

I’m a white, male gamer. And I’m standing up.

(5) ASIMOV DEBATE. The 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate topic “Is the Universe a Simulation?” was discussed by panelists on April 5 at The American Museum of Natural History.

What may have started as a science fiction speculation—that perhaps the universe as we know it is a computer simulation—has become a serious line of theoretical and experimental investigation among physicists, astrophysicists, and philosophers.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, moderated a panel composed of David Chalmers, Professor of philosophy, New York University; Zohreh Davoudi, Theoretical physicist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; James Gates, Theoretical physicist, University of Maryland; Lisa Randall, Theoretical physicist, Harvard University; and Max Tegmark  Cosmologist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(6) BILLIONS BEYOND FANDOM. Martin Morse Wooster passed along two fannish points from a profile of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman by Nicholas Lemann in the October 16 issue of New Yorker.

1. In middle school in the mid-1980s, Hofmann was a game tester for Chaosium, located near Hofmann’s home in Emeryville.

“Hoffman got himself into one of the groups, and then returned to Chaosium, offering to correct errors he had found in a set of role-playing scripts for Dungeons & Dragons that the company had published.  He wrote a detailed memo and took it to Steve Perrin, a major game developer (All the World’s Monsters, RuneQuest, Elfquest) who was working at Choasium at the time.  ‘He looked at it and said, ‘This is good feedback,’ Hofmann says.  So they gave me another scenario pack to review.  He also began writing reviews for Different Worlds, a gaming magazine that Chaosium published, and getting modestly paid for his work.”

2. Peter Thiel, a friend and college classmate of Hofmann’s, said that Hofmann “was entranced by Snow Crash, a science-fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, published in 1992, which takes place in a twenty-first century California where government has collapsed and people create avatars and try to find a new way to live through a technology-based virtual society called the Metaverse….

….Hofmann was playing with a set  of ingredients that he had first explored at Stanford, with Thiel and others–fantasy gaming, computer technology, philosophy–and thinking about whether there was a big idea that could enable him to have a major effect on the world, first through a business and then through the creation of an entire social system.”

“So sf and fandom is responsible for LinkedIn!” says Wooster, and he asks, “Can we collect royalties?”

(7) FIRST LINES. Rachel Swirsky studied her first lines and other authors’, now the third installment in her series answers the question “First Lines Part III: What Can They Do?”. Here are two of her seven points:

After giving close reading to a dozen first sentences, half mine and half others, I’m ready to make a list of things that a first line can do (although probably no first line should try to do all of them).

  1. Include a mystery the reader wants to solve by reading the next sentence.
  2. Set a fast reading pace.

(8) FINNISH WORLDCON’S FIRST PR. Worldcon 75, to be held in Helsinki in 2017, has issued its first Progress Report. Download it or read it online here. The contents include:

  • Tips on small talk with the guests of honour
  • Finland: An assortment of notes and information
  • The word for Worldcon is Maailmankongressi
  • Finnish fandom: Some unique characteristics

You can go directly the online magazine (done in a format where you digitally flip pages) by clicking here.

(9) TOHO BRINGS BACK GODZILLA. Kotaku says “Japan’s New Godzilla Movie Looks Awesome”.

For the first time in over a decade, there’s a new Godzilla movie coming from Japan’s Toho Studios. This one’s being directed by none other than Neon Genesis’ Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.

 

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Terhi Törmänen,  David K.M. Klaus, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]


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166 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/13/16 The Dark Nightfall Returns

  1. @Aaron

    I even subscribed to Alisa’s crafting podcast Champagne and Socks and I have no interest whatsoever in knitting or quilting.

    Did you say quilting? Thanks! I’ll give it a try.

    The podcast….I already quilt.


    Regards,
    Dann

  2. Dann, if you give the podcast a shot, please let me know if you enjoy it. I’m not a quilter, but if you dig the quilting aspects of the show, maybe I’ll see if I dig the knitting aspects.

  3. This was my first year nominating. I didn’t nominate anything for long form editor or podcast. I had at least three entries in all other categories. This year, I will buy a supporting membership for my partner. She read everything on the short list last year and I expect she will this year too. It seems silly to me for her to read everything and still not vote. I’m hoping that next year, she will nominate as well. While I expect some of the newbies to drop off, some will stick around and bring in more participants as their fannish friends see they are having fun and want to join in.

    Thanks to whoever recommended The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. My partner read the first one, then the next two, and bought three more this morning. I read the first one at breakfast and enjoyed it very much.

  4. @Johan P

    Another option which I’m personally fond of but which I think is unlikely to be accepted in fandom is to allow/instruct the admins to use their common sense to disqualify obviously embarrasing works. And possibly also to dismiss entire ballots, based on slate adherence. But it requires that we are willing to trust the admin’s common sense.

    As a four-time former Hugo administrator, my response to that is “Hell, no!”.

    The administrators must be, in all ways, impartial.

    Once you have a single person or small group of people) arbitrarily start discarding ballots (as opposed to DQ’ing ballot because of violations of the rules), then the Hugos are meaningless.

  5. Once you have a single person or small group of people) arbitrarily start discarding ballots (as opposed to DQ’ing ballot because of violations of the rules), then the Hugos are meaningless.

    One might note that this is exactly what the Dragon Awards have said their administrators are empowered to do. Someone who was cynical might note that this makes all of the excitement among certain quarters about the introduction of these awards just a mite hypocritical.

  6. World Weary on April 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm said:
    This was my first year nominating. I didn’t nominate anything for long form editor or podcast. I had at least three entries in all other categories. This year, I will buy a supporting membership for my partner. She read everything on the short list last year and I expect she will this year too. It seems silly to me for her to read everything and still not vote. I’m hoping that next year, she will nominate as well. While I expect some of the newbies to drop off, some will stick around and bring in more participants as their fannish friends see they are having fun and want to join in.

    Thanks to whoever recommended The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. My partner read the first one, then the next two, and bought three more this morning. I read the first one at breakfast and enjoyed it very much.

    Ooo, yes!
    I ran through all of that series in one go.
    Waiting impatiently for more.

    Also, last year i got my daughter and daughter-in-law a shared supporting membership – they being under-employed students and all.
    Without further nudging from me they voted, found and watched the ceremonies, and went on to nominating a full ballot all on their own.
    So I just got them their own separate supporting memberships for mid-american, as late Christmas presents.
    We’re now discussing whether a family rendezvous in Helsinki could possibly happen – Australia seems equally far from everywhere, so why not?
    In any case, it seems as if my whole just-try-one-gambit worked (gloat, gloat).

    FWIW, that’s one baby-boomer plus two new two millennials: what’s the opposite of greying out?

  7. I’ve been listening to audiobooks of Donald Westlake’s Parker novels (written as Richard Stark), extremely hard-boiled crime novels with the sociopathic career criminal Parker as protagonist, and had a minor revelation.

    Except for the eponymous Parker, everyone — EVERYONE — in the series is expendable. Backs are stabbed (sometimes literally), crosses doubled and tripled, loyalties abandoned without hesitation, lives taken without a second’s hesitation or regret. Forgiveness and mercy are for chumps, and chumps are the most expendable of all. Betrayal and death can come at any moment.

    And the thought struck me: “Oh, this is like Game of Thrones, if GoT was set in the 1960’s criminal underworld, and people like Roose Bolton, Walder Frey, and Ilyn Payne were the primary characters.”

    So, hey, if you’re tired of waiting for the next book in ASOIAF, the Parker novels might fill in the gap while you wait.

    Fan website: The Violent World of Parker

  8. One of the few areas where we give Hugo Administrators a “use your best judgement” card is “is there sufficient interest in the category to justify presenting it” after nominations are counted. The only times they’ve done it within my memory has been Special Categories that didn’t get enough interest, so the use of the authority hasn’t been that controversial. (Indeed, I’m one-third of the Admin committee who decided to cancel ConFrancisco’s Special Category of Best Translator back in 1993 when only one person got a double-digit number of nominations.) “Insufficient interest” isn’t defined. We leave it up to the Administrators to decide. I suspect if Admins ever decide to kill a permanent category, WSFS will try to take away the authority. OTOH, the Admins I know wouldn’t even try it unless it was blindingly obvious that the electorate as a whole didn’t care, and would publish the numbers to show it.

  9. @John Lorentz

    Once you have a single person or small group of people) arbitrarily start discarding ballots (as opposed to DQ’ing ballot because of violations of the rules), then the Hugos are meaningless.

    A lot of things that don’t work on their own work pretty well given proper checks and balances. That’s why you need some method to hold people accountable. We learned at Sasquan that the fans can do a fantastic job of holding people accountable, so any proposal (if any is really needed) should leverage that.

    Suppose that anything disqualified (for whatever reason) could still appear as an extra item on the ballot (with an asterisk), provided the author disagreed with the disqualification. Fans would have the option to vote for it anyway, and if it beat No Award in the final vote, then the disqualification would be overruled. That could eliminate the need for motions to extend eligibility of a work for an additional year too.

    Instead of the admins, and instead of letting fans “downvote” suspicious nominees, a third option could be to have a “qualifications committee” whose sole job would be to disqualify things. That would leave the admins in their current, impartial role, and, unlike with the fans, the committee would have to state the reason for disqualifying a given work. If fans agreed, then the work wouldn’t beat No Award for votes, and the disqualification would stand. If they thought the reason was bogus, they’d vote the work up anyway.

    I suspect “Space Raptor” wouldn’t fare very well, but “The Martian” might have won.

  10. @Kevin Standlee
    A point you made that really stuck in my mind was that WSFS is all about giving power to the fans. In that spirit, then, I don’t think it’s necessary for anyone else to make a final decision. All that’s necessary is to create some mechanism that lets someone put the question before the fans: “Should work X be disqualified?”

    I don’t think the details of how that’s accomplished matter too much; if the fans have the last say, there’s no incentive for anyone to make requests that are certain to be denied. Certainly there are likely ways to implement it that would minimize the impact on fans and admins alike, but the key is a system that lets the fans decide.

  11. As I’ve said before, the rabid slates only win if they win completely – if voters are left with a choice between voting for something picked by Beale and No Award. And even then, only if they sweep the main awards. With all due respect to the fan artists, there is no big win for Beale in packing the nominations for an award his followers have never heard of. I’m sure it’s already a hard enough sell convincing his band of idiots that the Hugos are worth their time and money. So I don’t think EPH has to be impregnable, it only has to work well enough to stop Beale from being able to write the list of finalists.

    Anyway, this is all more discussion than he’s worth…

  12. Instead of the admins, and instead of letting fans “downvote” suspicious nominees, a third option could be to have a “qualifications committee” whose sole job would be to disqualify things. That would leave the admins in their current, impartial role, and, unlike with the fans, the committee would have to state the reason for disqualifying a given work. If fans agreed, then the work wouldn’t beat No Award for votes, and the disqualification would stand. If they thought the reason was bogus, they’d vote the work up anyway.

    I don’t see how that’s any different.

    No matter who you have, the administrators or a separate committee, disqualifying a work for arbitrary reasons (not based on the rules), you’ve thrown away any validity of the Hugos being an impartially-run, fan-voted award.

  13. @Ray

    As I’ve said before, the rabid slates only win if they win completely – if voters are left with a choice between voting for something picked by Beale and No Award.

    I thought that too up until I saw Space Raptor Butt Invasion on the slate this year. His idea is to damage the credibility of the awards by putting things like that in the list of nominees–a list that’s kept around forever. Simply forcing the people at the ceremony to read out names like that helps undermine the awards by making them look ridiculous.

    Of course it remains to be seen whether that’s incentive enough to get enough people to buy memberships and vote to nominate. I suspect not, but we won’t really know for sure until we get to Helsinki.

  14. @John Lorentz

    No matter who you have, the administrators or a separate committee, disqualifying a work for arbitrary reasons (not based on the rules), you’ve thrown away any validity of the Hugos being an impartially-run, fan-voted award.

    Even though it would be the fans themselves making the final decision?

  15. @Kyra: I don’t think Vox Day made any slate or recommendations for the Retro Hugos this year at all. And the Sad Puppies made very few recommendations for the Retros.

  16. Even though it would be the fans themselves making the final decision?

    Yes, because you (i.e. whichever convention committee sub-group is doing it) are not treating the voter-decided Hugo finalists impartially.

    There’s nothing wrong with a fan starting a web campaign encouraging people not to vote for one of the finalists (although that sounds a lot like the actions of the people behind the Puppies’ campaigns, only in reverse), but it’s a far different matter for the people actually running the awards to do so.

    It’s a shame that you don’t understand that.

  17. @Laura Resnick – who wrote …”If the Rabid slate gets works onto the 2016 ballot and creates another round of months of satisfying attention for VD, he’ll persist in 2017.

    But if the Rabid slate has little or no effect on the 2016 ballot…”

    I’m sorry to have to disagree as the idea that he’ll go off to find something else to screw with is appealing, but I just don’t think so.

    I think I recognize the type. Nothing short of victory – on his terms – is going to get him to stop.

    Failure – to him – does not mean failure. It means that the fix is in even deeper than he originally thought, or that he was betrayed by confidants, or that his follower’s didn’t follow through the way they were supposed to.

    Last year wasn’t even a set-back; it was a partial victory that needs to be built upon.

    Doesn’t mean he won’t find something else to dabble in as well – he’ll just add it to his work with GG, MRA, & everything else he’s currently involved with.

    Fighting this fight is what gives him his kicks. Knowing that he is playing a game where only his opponents are constrained by the rules and morality is half the fun. He’s elevated himself so far above the rest of the human race (in his head) that everyone else are nothing more than tools to use or vermin to eliminate.

    If he can’t “win” with Hugo Awards fixing, he’ll find some other lever (we’ve been seeing reveals of at least one other lever all this year – the whole, SF fandom is rife with pedophiles thing.

    To borrow a cliche from perhaps the best “Alfred” there ever was, “some people just want to watch the world burn”. Beale is one of those people.

  18. @Greg Hullender

    I thought that too up until I saw Space Raptor Butt Invasion on the slate this year. His idea is to damage the credibility of the awards by putting things like that in the list of nominees–a list that’s kept around forever. Simply forcing the people at the ceremony to read out names like that helps undermine the awards by making them look ridiculous.

    I think that’s a poor reason to start mucking about with the system and setting something in place that ends up being used in an arbitrary fashion. I can’t imagine anyone is going to look at SRBI in ten years as a loss of credibility to the Hugos. First off, I don’t think that more than a very small number of people care about past nominees that much and that the institutional fandom memory of these two Hugos will disappear any time soon.

    When I look at work that is so glaringly and obviously not Hugo worthy, like Correia’s flamingly mediocre cookie cutter novels or Finn’s actual inability to write anything close to a professional level, much less award worthy level, it is easy to say ‘this is nonsensical garbage that doesn’t belong here’, but then, how do you justify it to a small group of fanboys involved who honestly do think it’s the best work they read all year? I think the potential for bleed over from responsible administration to editorization is too easy. It also offers a massive amount of fuel for the paranoid accusations of a small cabal that dictates what can and can’t win an award. It goes from being nothing but a silly whine from the paranoid to being something that you actually need to defend against.

  19. His idea is to damage the credibility of the awards by putting things like that in the list of nominees

    Yeah, but he has to convince a couple of hundred other people that getting SRBI onto the award shortlist is worth 50 dollars of their money. This year, he has an audience of people who paid to vote last year, so nominating costs them nothing.

    Are they going to pay for supporting membership again this year? Everyone knows the idiots are outnumbered. Last year they might have had fantasies about taking over the SJW’s awards, but this year we all know how it will work out in the end. Are they going to pay for the chance to nominate again next year? I’m sure there’s a lot of commenters on his blog who say they’ll come back every year until the award is buried, but when it comes to actually putting up the money they’re going to ask themselves what they get from putting a crap book on the shortlist of an award they don’t care about, where it will be ignored by the people they are trying to annoy.

  20. Other concerns that impact the guesttimating:

    the SP list was just window dressing and SPs received a separate slate to vote.

    (SP is STILL a slate as its purpose is a political one. They gamed it the way everyone expected them to – get generally approved works on it, in the hopes that final voters would do the same for more categories that they did in BDPLF last year with Guardians. I think there’s a good chance some slated works will win, let alone make it to the final ballot.)

    Same – and probably more so for RP voters. I think it safe to presume that of the two groups, RP is more likely to play even more games.

    I’ll be voting the same way I did last year: if it is on a slate (or a politicized recommended reading list – hah!) that it will not appear on my ballot; I’ll be sticking No Award in the appropriate location, be it after 1, 2, 3 or 4 non-slated works.

    Several people took the opportunity to try and make things easier on voters by repudiating slates (their works I will vote for if I deem them “worthy”).

    This is a bit hyperbolic, but I believe our real choice is between having a chronic infection that is treatable, versus having a life-threatening infection that’s not. Voting for anything on a slate is voting for the life-threatening version.

    Argue all you want about not feeding the troll – but realize that nothing we do in response is going to change behavior – the only choice we really have is insuring that whatever they do impacts us as little as possible. (If we fight, they’ll keep attacking; if we don’t fight, they’ll keep attacking.) The best face we can put on all of this is by demonstrating that we disagree and disapprove – the way we did last year, by denying a win to any and all slated works.

  21. ULTRAGOTHA

    Every time the Hugo Admins have exercised more than just administrative judgement, the WSFS Business Meeting has responded with a big fat DON’T DO THAT.

    Aren’t you mixing up two different situations here? The reaction to admins overstepping the role they currently have, and the attitude towards giving the admins a slightly expanded role, is not necessarily the same. It shouldn’t be the same.

    But asking the Admins to make those kinds of judgments just opens them up for even more crap from both WSFS members and others. I don’t want any more Lorentz Hugo Admin Burnouts, thank you very much. This just begs Admins to flame like torches every year.

    That’s a better counterargument. Yes, there is a risk that if the admins disqualify ballots from the Candid Rabbits 2018-slate, that decision cause just as much noise as last year’s kerpupple – except almost all the noise would be directed at the admins. Not a pleasant place to be.

    John Lorentz:

    Once you have a single person or small group of people) arbitrarily start discarding ballots (as opposed to DQ’ing ballot because of violations of the rules), then the Hugos are meaningless.

    I don’t agree that giving the admins more power is the same as letting them arbitrarily discard ballots. Quite the opposite, in fact. If the rules say that ballots should be disqualified in certain circumstances, then disqualifying those are anything but arbitrary. I’m thinking about something along these lines:
    a) make it explicit in the rules that you should nominate works you have read/watched/are otherwise acquainted with, and which you honestly and in good faith consider worthy contenders for the Hugo award in their respective categories.
    b) instruct the admins to use some judgment in identifing ballots that closely follows a slate, or is otherwise not believable as good faith-nominations, and disqualify those as being in violations of the above rule.

    In addition, the worst case scenario of slates are identifiable as attacks on the Hugo award and not (misguided) participation. This can reasonably be considered harassment of the members who take the Hugos seriously – and thus a Code of Conduct violation.

    Yes, this involves a certain amount of “fuzzy” decision making by the admins, but it does not need to be arbitrary and it is not something that stands in opposition to disqualifying ballots because of violations of the rules.

  22. John A Arkansawyer on April 14, 2016 at 11:10 am said:

    I suppose I’m the only person here who bought a Worldcon membership last year for the first time because someone was trying to screw up a process that had consistently provided me with good reading since I was a teenager and who nominated for the first time this year.

    No, you’re not alone – I’m in the same boat!

    Even as a not-particularly-informed not-real-capital-F-Fan, though, I don’t think a downvoting option or a disqualification phase would be a good idea. Downvotes would be subject to gaming by bad actors (and, besides, it strikes me as a mean-spirited sort of thing, adding a special “this sucks” option to the nomination process!) As for disqualifications by the Hugo administrators – for anything other than technical eligibility reasons – um, well, no. Just no. It would be playing into the hands of people who claim that the Hugos are run by an elitist clique – and it, too, would be subject to manipulation. Even if the admins only have power to recommend a disqualification, it’s still too much, in my opinion.

    Seeing the title “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” on the 2016 list would make people say, in the future, “yeah, that was one of the years the awards got trolled”. It’s annoying, yes, but not actually damaging. Giving the administrators discretion to exercise editorial powers, that’s something that could be a lot more damaging in the long run.

  23. One specific problem with giving the administrators more power is that they might be criticised for not disqualifying candidates which the critics felt should be disqualified. (One of last year’s non-slate finalists was alleged by a prominent commentator to be just as bad as the slates; if the administrators had had power to remove finalists it’s quite likely they would have been put under pressure to remove this one.) Their power to disqualify could be made subject to review by fans, but their power not to disqualify couldn’t be, unless we want to embrace the downvoting option in full.

  24. Mallory on April 14, 2016 at 9:03 am said:

    Re: Crown for Cold Silver.

    I could not get into this book. It seemed to get significant positive buzz and the description made it sound like it was completely up my alley but I tried to read it 3 times and couldn’t get past 50 pages each time. I just didn’t care about the characters and something about the prose was boring to me. Like Kyra, I have trouble articulating *what* turned me off so completely since I can usually power through at least 100 pages before deciding whether the book is for me or not. I am somewhat relieved to see that I am not alone even if I may be one of the few who could not finish it.

    Sad to hear you didn’t enjoy it, I wasn’t into it at first but from the Battle of the Extended Pinky onward I was hooked and ended up loving it.

  25. @Andrew M

    Very true; this is by no means the only fannish kerfuffle, and once created any powers could be redeployed for the next flashpoint.

    For me the Hugo nomination stage is a matter of positive voting – saying what we think is good, not knocking down what we dislike. A change to that principle risks changing the character of the award.

  26. Battlefield Earth was nominated. But the Hugos survived that. “F*** Me, Ray Bradbury” was a serious nomination, and nobody seems to think the Hugos have been permanently tarnished by a work with an F-bomb in the title. I think we’ll survive the invasion of Space Butts. 🙂

  27. The question isn’t just whether we trust the judgment of the Hugo admins: it’s whether anyone would be willing to be a Hugo admin, if we added “disqualify anything you consider ‘too embarrassing,’ which we will not define for you” to the existing responsibilities.

  28. And for the record, if I’d been voting that year, I’m pretty sure I would have voted “F— Me, Ray Bradbury” as #1 in its category, though there’s one nominee I’m not familiar with. If Space Butts appear on the nomination list this year, I’ll judge them on their merits. And I’m someone who thinks humor is generally underrated and underappreciated, especially when it comes to awards.

    “Humor is hard. Sometimes it works, but more often it doesn’t; it’s surprisingly difficult to make other people laugh, as any number of aspiring stand-ups have discovered. Ironically, good humor reads easily, so that we tend to be fooled into thinking it was a trivial matter to write.” — Charles Stross

  29. I wonder if the voting distributions may not tighten as the number of nominators rise. There are only so many works that are “award quality” – though that definition varies for everybody, at some point it starts to be depleted.

    Also been some cryptic tweets and such that would seem to indicate Greg’s predictions may be a bit pessimistic…

  30. I actually liked both Battlefield Earth and the Mission Earth Dekalogy. Or I did when I read them in my teens and early 20s. I have no desire to reread them to see if they hold up. They look pretty enough on my bookshelf.

    @Steve Davidson,

    I think you’re wrong about Teddy’s base motivations. I’m not even sure Teddy believes his own crap. I’m pretty sure it all comes back to the bottom line. The Kerpupple put a LOT of dollars in his pockets from people buying his crap to “stick it to the SJWs”. He’s got an audience and he panders to them, and they buy all of his shit. Last year shoveled a lot of money into his coffers. Drumming up alt-right/right wing outrage about SJWs and Cuckservatives? Shovels money into his coffers.

    When his projects start failing, he moves onto the next one. He’s got a string of broken promises behind him, and he talks a big game, until he sees a money making opportunity elsewhere. He was a game designer, and then he realized that would require hard work. Hence his abandoning of First Sword and his “revolutionizing the game industry” with his model of selling physical goods in game. Then he was an author until his ideas got to be a liability and even his indie Christian publisher dropped him. So he set up Castalia House to sell his own books, and then realized he could make a lot more money by pandering. He realized that old, white dudes are dying off and won’t sustain his outrages forever, he tapped a new well of reactionaries in GamerGate.

    The man is a hyena. When the carrion rusn out, he’ll find some other predator to slink behind and feast on the droppings of.

  31. Preserving the character of the Hugo is an important consideration which is why I backed EPH: it doesn’t change how we nominate & vote. The down voting does, I would oppose it.

  32. Johan P on April 14, 2016 at 2:27 pm said:
    Aren’t you mixing up two different situations here? The reaction to admins overstepping the role they currently have, and the attitude towards giving the admins a slightly expanded role, is not necessarily the same. It shouldn’t be the same.

    Nope. The one flows from the other. WSFS doesn’t like concentrated power. There’s a reason the only official on-going WSFS entity is the Mark Protection Committee, which has extremely limited and precise powers and is kept starved of cash.

  33. I don’t like the idea of adding downvoting to the Hugos. Even No Award isn’t a down vote. I mean, I really enjoyed Skin Game – I just didn’t think it was award-worthy. That’s a different valuation than saying it shouldn’t have been nominated. I didn’t think GoftG was award-worthy either, and it won. I believe that some people think both of those items were the best items of that year.

    To me the idea of adding downvoting to the nomination phase just seems mean-spirited, and opens the Hugos to even more mean-spirited manipulation than what we have already seen. This doesn’t seem to me to add to the fun except possibly some schadenfreude, which is not the sort of fun that I want to encourage in myself or others.

    I also think it would discourage some nominaters. I really enjoyed Jupiter Ascending for example. It was one of the most beautiful films that I have ever seen. I gather from various comments that I am one of the few people who enjoyed it. Even so, I nominated it. I can only imagine how I would feel to see my sincere nomination downvoted with comments about how that must have been trolling because no one liked that movie, etc. I would feel that my participation was not wanted.

  34. @World Weary: Well, here’s another fan of Jupiter Ascending. 🙂

    When it comes to assessing the motives of someone like Beale, I keep turning back to Harry Frankfurt’s essay On Bullshit. What Frankfurt identifies as the essential characteristic of bullshit – disinterest in whether what one is saying is true or false, only in whether it’s getting you want you want – infects the internal life of the bullshitter too, I think. You end up with a morass of conflicting motives, any of which can at any moment be sincere or not.

    William Burroughs nailed it: “Hustlers of the world, there is one mark you can never overcome: The Mark Inside.”

  35. Mark: It’ll be fine. It’s just like having a slightly out of control novel tbr, except that they put dates on the covers to shame you with.

    *snort*

    Well, that part is already working.

  36. @Jupiter Ascending is a movie I could watch a hundred times, so long as it was on mute, so I wouldn’t have to hear the dialogue.

  37. Me sixth for Jupiter Ascending.

    Which sort of supports my contention that folks should realize that it is possible for readers to be underwhelmed by the nominees and that folks ought to stop using the term “literature” as a bludgeon to artificially limit what gets considered. There a whole lot more than five great books published every year. It isn’t unreasonable to be passionate about a work that doesn’t make the cut.

    Regards
    Dann

  38. Soon Lee: (3) BE MY GUEST. This is not a problem File 770 has
    The standards are low (I post here), but there are standards…

    Then you should write a guest post! (That is, something for the front page.)

  39. dann665: Which sort of supports my contention that folks should realize that it is possible for readers to be underwhelmed by the nominees

    No one (that I have seen) is disputing that the Puppies are “underwhelmed” by the Hugo nominees. Can you provide some links to places where people have said that?

    What Worldcon members are vehemently disputing — and rightly so — are the Puppies’ claims that because they don’t like the Hugo shortlists, it therefore means that there is something wrong with the Hugo Awards program.

    What the Puppies keep refusing to acknowledge is that it is entirely possible for readers to be enthusiastic about the Hugo shortlists. They keep claiming that the people nominating and voting for these works can’t possibly actually like them, they are just doing so for “political” and “affirmative action” reasons.

     
    dann665: folks ought to stop using the term “literature” as a bludgeon to artificially limit what gets considered

    Again, please provide some links to places where people have done that.

  40. If we’re gonna talk about the Hugo’s being besmirched, I’d like to nominate the 2004 BDP Short *winner*.

    Srsly, was everyone high back then?

    ETA: wrong year, amended

  41. Lauowolf on April 14, 2016 at 12:51 pm said:

    World Weary: Thanks to whoever recommended The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series. My partner read the first one, then the next two, and bought three more this morning. I read the first one at breakfast and enjoyed it very much.

    Ooo, yes!
    I ran through all of that series in one go.
    Waiting impatiently for more.

    Did you miss the new one published in the last month or so? It was pretty good.

  42. Tasha/Lauwolf

    We’ve purchased six so far. I think my partner will find them all. I’ll let her know to look to make sure she has the latest one.

    Tasha – Not to pry, but wasn’t today your surgery day? Hope all is well!

    All – glad to hear I wasn’t actually the only one who liked Jupiter Ascending after all!

  43. @Tasha: Good to have you back.

    Re: Twenty-Sided Sorceress. I nabbed the first one for free last year and have been meaning to get around to reading it… I started on her novella “Avarice” too but I wasn’t deeply enthralled by it, to be honest.

    But I also nabbed Wendig’s Mookie Pearl books recently and started on those, and wow I’m liking Blue Blazes so far. (Although I’m only three chapters deep so all this could change)

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