Pixel Scroll 4/16/16 I’m Looking Over A Five-Leaf Clover

(1) HOLD ONTO YOUR KAIJU! Scified says Toho’s Godzilla Resurgence will not be released in North American cinemas.

As it stands currently, it doesn’t look like Toho’s Shin-Gojira (dubbed Godzilla Resurgence for us Westerners) will be making its way to the silver screen in North America this summer. With no mention of a US theater distribution company the chances of fans in the US and Canada seeing Godzilla Resurgence in a theater are extremely low.

The only semi-confirmed distribution company for Shin-Goji in North America seems to be a company called New World Cinemas. The downside is they’ve only listed home entertainment release on DvD for Godzilla Resurgence. The other downside is their projected release date is set in 2017… So, G-Fans over here will need to wait half a year to see Godzilla Resurgence… On DvD. We’re hoping Blu-Ray will also be available, but again, no confirmation.

(2) INKLINGS. John Garth reviews Charles Williams: The Third Inkling by Grevel Lindop in Oxford Today Trinity Term 2016.

“…By the time the narrative reaches the Inklings, we already know Williams as intimately as it is possible to know someone so secretive and strange…”

I review the latest biography of Charles Williams, whose shared times with CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were only one facet of a fascinating and peculiar life.

(3) MARS EXPERIENCE BUS. Fulfilling the vision of Icarus Montgolfier Wright….

Lockheed Martin has launched Generation Beyond, a first of its kind, national educational program to bring the science of space into thousands of homes and classrooms across America. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program is designed to inspire the next generation of innovators, explorers, inventors and pioneers to pursue STEM careers.

Generation Beyond includes a real-life Mars Experience Bus that will travel the country providing student riders with an interactive experience simulating a drive along the red planet’s surface. The Lockheed Martin Mars Experience Bus is the first immersive virtual reality vehicle ever built and replicates 200 square miles of the Martian surface. The Mars Experience was built with the same software used in today’s most advanced video games.

 

(4) BACK UP THE TRUCK. Indianapolis’ Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is asking his fans to contribute $775,000 to pay for its move to a larger location.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library needs $750,000 to pay its first three years of rent at a downtown Indianapolis building which has four times more space than its current location.

Library founder and CEO Julia Whitehead says that money will also help pay to reconfigure that 5,400-square-foot building for expanded programming and to exhibit more of its large collection, much of which remains in storage.

Click here to make an online donation.

(5) THE MAGIC NUMBER FIVE. Cheryl Morgan, in “Some Awards Thoughts”, speculates about how the Hugo Awards’ 5% rule will come into play this year.

…The first thing to note is that the rule is 5% of ballots in that category, not 5% of ballots overall. 5% of 4000 ballots is 200 votes, and that will probably be required in Novel and the Dramatic Presentation categories, but participation in other categories tends to be much lower. In addition, there is a separate rule that says every category must have at least three finalists, regardless of the 5% rule. So no category is going to be wiped out by this…..

My guess is, therefore, that we’ll have a few categories with 3 or 4 finalists this year. We’ll be able to draw some pretty graphs showing how more participation means more variation. And that will be useful because a motion to remove the 5% Rule got first passage in Spokane last year. This data will inform the debate on final ratification….

(6) PRATCHETT MEMORIAL. A year after the writer’s death from Alzheimer’s, a tribute in London drew together fans and friends — “Terry Pratchett memorial: tears, laughter and tantalising new projects” in The Guardian.

…Sir Tony Robinson read Pratchett’s Dimbleby lecture on Alzheimer’s and assisted dying, while the author’s daughter, Rhianna, read the obituary she wrote for the Observer. Dr Patrick Harkin, whose collection of Pratchett ephemera includes an onion pickled by the man himself, appeared alongside Discworld sculptor Bernard Pearson, as well as Pratchett’s publisher, Larry Finlay, and agent, Colin Smythe.

Neil Gaiman flew in from the States to read his introduction to Pratchett’s 2014 non-fiction collection A Slip of the Keyboard, and found himself presented with his friend’s trademark hat. Gaiman, looking a tad thunderstruck, placed it for a moment on his head, but quickly took it off again, saying: “Oh, I don’t dare.”

(7) NEW WAVE IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR. C. Derick Varn and Dinesh Raghavendra conduct New Worlds: An Interview with M. John Harrison” at Former People.

Former People Speak: What do make of the direction Science Fiction has headed in since you edited New Worlds and New Wave of Science fiction began?

M. John Harrison: New Worlds and the New Wave were a reflection of the more general cultural changes which went on from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. I think science fiction headed in more than one direction as a response to those changes. Or perhaps better to say that it’s an elastic medium, it was heavily perturbed, and it’s been bouncing around inside its formal limits ever since. There was an immediate reaction against the New Wave in the shape of a Reaganistic “back to the future” movement, but that was soon swamped by the concomitant emergence of left wing, feminist and identity-political sf. Now we see an interesting transition into post-colonialism, intersectionality, and–at last–the recognition by western sf that rest of the world writes science fiction too. These are, like the New Wave, responses to changes in the general cultural context. I enjoyed my time at New Worlds, although by the time I got there all the important work had been done. I enjoyed the New Wave for its technical experiments–even in those, though, it was beginning to reflect the generalised cultural shift to postmodernism (while the science fiction Old Guard hunkered down and grimly dug in its heels against the demons of modernism, fighting the previous generation’s wars, as Old Guards will).

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • Born April 16, 1921 — Peter Ustinov, who was in lots of things, including Logan’s Run.

(9) THE 100 ANGERS LGBT FANS. Washington Post writer Bethonie Butler says after Lexa, an openly lesbian character (played by Alycia Debnam-Carey) died on an episode of The 100, a lot of fans of the show vented, although the venting led, among other things, to raising a large amount of money tor the Trevor Project, which runs a suicide hotline for LGBT teens — “TV keeps killing off lesbian characters. The fans of one show have revolted”.

Many fans have stopped watching the show and have redirected their energy to Twitter and Tumblr to vent their frustrations. During the episode following Lexa’s death, fans tweeted with the trending topic LGBT Fans Deserve Better, which has since become an international fan-led initiative. As the show returned Thursday after a two-week hiatus, fans tweeted with Bury Tropes Not Us, sending the topic trending nationally. A fundraising effort has raised more than $113,000 for The Trevor Project, an organization that provides a 24-hour toll-free national suicide hotline and other services for LGBT and questioning youths in crisis.

(10) ASK GANNON ANYTHING. Chuck Gannon announced on Facebook he will be taking questions in a live session on Reddit.

For folks who were among my earliest readers (i.e.; Analog folks), and saw the earliest beginnings of my Caine Riordan / Terran Republic over a decade ago (now thrice Nebula nominated), this is the chance to ask some questions about my stories or what’s to come.

I’ll be on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything. April 20, 2 PM, but u can start leaving questions ~ 11AM EDT. & yes, in addition to answering questions about the craft and biz of being an SF/F author, I will spill beans in re my various series. (And particularly Caine Riordan/ Terran Republic.) PLEASE SHARE! And u can enter ur questions as long as u join Reddit (no cost) for just one day. You’ll be able to drop in by going to the front page of /r/books: https://www.reddit.com/r/books/.

(11) FAAn AWARDS VOTING DEADLINE NEARS. There’s just one week left to vote for the FAAn awards for fanzine activity in 2015. The deadline is midnight on Saturday, April 23. Award administrator Claire Brialey reminds —

So if anyone interested in SF fanzines is looking for something else to occupy their time before the Hugo award shortlists are announced, information about categories and voting can still be found at: http://corflu.org/Corflu33/faan2015.html

People don’t need to be members of Corflu to vote. They just need to have enjoyed some fanzines from 2015 and want to express their opinions about that.

Votes should be sent to me at this address (faansfor2015 [at] gmail [dot] com).

(12) YOUR FELLOW PASSENGERS. Damien G. Walter’s genre overview “Reaching for the stars: a brief history of sci-fi space travel” in The Guardian references Stephen Hawking and David Brin – also Kim Stanley Robinson and some mournful canines:

And the psychology of the human species is so poorly understood that the idea that we might survive for generations together in a big tin can is simply insane. Aurora digs into many of the social and psychological issues of generation ships, but ultimately Robinson is an optimist; a believer in the powers of the rational, scientific mind to overcome all challenges. Meanwhile, the science-fiction writing community can’t even organise the Hugo awards without descending into factionalism worthy of revolutionary France. Think the Sad Puppies are annoying now? Wait until you’re trapped in a space-biome with them.

(13) ASTRONOMICAL PUNCHLINES. David Brin feels like cracking jokes today

Asteroids, gotta love the yummy things.  For example: asteroid 5748 Davebrin made its closest approach to Earth April 4. (1.7 AU). Hey! I can see my house from here! Come on guys, it’s mine so let’s go melt it down and get rich.

And yes, this means it is time for one of our “look up!” postings, here on Contrary Brin!

For example…

Many of you recall the thrilling sight of Jupiter getting whacked multiple times by the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994. Now Phil Plait reveals some video taken this month by an amateur astronomer, which appears to reveal another one smacking the King World. And hints there may have been another collision some years ago. Yipe!  This’ll affect the statistics, for sure. No fluke, after all.  As Goldfinger said: “Three times, Mr. Bond, is enemy action.”

(14) PLEONASM INSTRUCTION MANUAL. At SFFWorld Mark Yon reviews the dictionary. But not just any dictionary — “Firefly: The Gorramn Shiniest Dictionary and Phrasebook in the ‘Verse by Monica Valentinelli”.

Nominally it’s as the title suggests – a dictionary/phrasebook of all those words created and amalgamated into the language of the TV series. For those who don’t know, Firefly is a future Western series set in the year 2517, where the language used by Joss Whedon’s characters is a mash-up of English and Mandarin Chinese.

So if you were wondering what words like ‘gorramn’ meant, then here’s the place to look them up. *

The writer, Monica Valentinelli , has a wealth of background that she draws on for this book. She worked on and became the lead developer and writer for the Firefly Role-Playing Game, and it is this that informs her work here. She has also had access to the original TV scripts.

(15) VERTLIEB ON JOINING RONDO HOF. Steve Vertlieb is thrilled to be voted into the Monster Kid Hall of Fame.

I awoke quite late last evening to a congratulatory telephone call from writer pal Jim Burns informing me of the astonishing news that I’d been inducted into The Monster Kid Hall Of Fame, the ultimate honor bestowed by voters in the annual Classic Horror Film Board competition for excellence in genre contribution. I am stunned, choked up, and deeply humbled by this wholly unexpected honor at the CHFB. I’ve been involved in organized fandom since September, 1965, when I attended Forry Ackerman’s very first Famous Monsters of Filmland convention in New York City, and have been a published writer since 1969 with my first published articles in England’s L’Incroyable Cinema Magazine. I dutifully voted this year for many deserving recipients of the “Rondo,” as I do each year, but I NEVER had ANY expectation of ever winning this most loving, prestigious award myself. I am profoundly moved by this wonderful recognition of my work for nearly than half a century, and want to thank everyone who helped behind the scenes to make it a reality. I’d also like to congratulate Mark Redfield and David Del Valle who happily share this distinct honor with me in the Hall Of Fame category, as well as Mark Maddox for his win in the Best Artist category, Gary Rhodes for Writer of the Year, and so many others whose artistic excellence has garnered them a well deserved commendation. I don’t know what else to say just now….except that I am utterly speechless and humbled by this wondrous honor, and most gracious kindness. Thank You all sincerely.

[Thanks to Will R., Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]


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117 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/16/16 I’m Looking Over A Five-Leaf Clover

  1. If a story gets on the ballot with 10 votes, then…

    1. If it’s unworthy, it can finish below No Award.
    2. If it wins then those ten people did fandom a favor.
    3. If it finishes somewhere between 1 and No Award then it was worth considering.

  2. with participation growing the way that it is (which will hopefully continue), I think it’s worth looking at requiring a minimum number of nominations, for something to be considered.

    Perhaps it should be a minimal cut-off rather than a percentage; There were 2,122 ballots passed last year; the cut-off for Best Fan Artist was 23. That’s just a tad higher than 1% of the total nominators (though within 5% for its category).

    It doesn’t look right, doesn’t feel right. Surely something that Worldcon members really care about oughtt to receive a minimum of 100 nominations before it’s even considered. The rules protect categories even when there’s a distinct lack of participation (no category shall have less than 3 nomnees…)

    Maybe it’s time to flip things around, make it a little more oriented towards rewarding participation rather than protecting lack of participation.

    It would even be possible (though I’m not sure of the rightness of this idea) for the Hugo Admins to announce – half-way through the nominating period – whether or not a category is in danger of being excluded for non-participation.

    In the grander scheme of things, we want 100% participation – every member nominating and then voting in every category. Considering that it will probably be no more than a handful of years before the number of members nominating exceeds 10,000 (we’d be there right now if all members voted) I think its worth rewarding participation even more. Something we are all being asked to vote on ought to receive at least 1% of the total in nominations. Otherwise we’re simply supporting something that most everyone is UNinterested in – or – we need to do more/better work to explain its relevancy.

  3. steve davidson said:
    In the grander scheme of things, we want 100% participation – every member nominating and then voting in every category.

    It’s a nice aspirational idea but it’ll never happen. Even Australia which has compulsory voting only gets to 94% voting.

    Voting for the Hugos is relatively straight-forward. It’s the nomination phase that requires more effort, and that’s reflected in the historical numbers; more members vote than nominate. Let’s not forget that Worldcons are not only about the Hugos, and many Worldcon members have no interest in participating in the Hugos (or unwilling to make the effort).

  4. In the grander scheme of things, we want 100% participation – every member nominating and then voting in every category.

    I rarely read graphic novels. Should I nominate in that category?

  5. “In the grander scheme of things, we want 100% participation – every member nominating and then voting in every category.”

    Very much no to this. People who aren’t interested in podcasts should not be forced to listen to them and so on.

  6. Soon Lee on April 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm said:
    steve davidson said:
    In the grander scheme of things, we want 100% participation – every member nominating and then voting in every category.

    It’s a nice aspirational idea but it’ll never happen. Even Australia which has compulsory voting only gets to 94% voting.

    I read an Australian mystery circa 1950-something in which the ne’er-do-well status of a young man was established by the fact that he had repeatedly failed to vote.

  7. It would even be possible (though I’m not sure of the rightness of this idea) for the Hugo Admins to announce – half-way through the nominating period – whether or not a category is in danger of being excluded for non-participation.

    Totally impractical.

    The vast majority of the nominations come in during the last few days of voting.

  8. In the grander scheme of things, we want 100% participation – every member nominating and then voting in every category

    Nope. The Hugos are only one of hundreds of things a Worldcon does. There are thousands of reasons to join WSFS. The Hugos are only one.

    Even people like me for whom the Hugos are very important aren’t interested in every category. BDP Short has left me cold for years.

  9. It’s a nice aspirational idea but it’ll never happen.

    I don’t even think it is a nice aspirational idea. Nominations are a way of introducing things to a wider audience. Award shortlists are a good way of finding stuff.

    The people best qualified to nominate are the people who are familiar with the field. Different people are familiar with different fields within the general area of SFF. ‘Familiar’ needn’t mean a massive expert; even the modest degree of familiarity needed to pick out five outstanding items is quite rare for some of the categories.
    The only categories with a really large number of qualified nominators are the dramatic presentations. Even with novels, there are many people who don’t read them in the year when they first appear. Making us all familiarise ourselves with everything may be necessary to deal with slates, but it is not an ideal; it undermines part of the point of the exercise.

  10. The vast majority of the nominations come in during the last few days of voting.

    Which actually links up with my point. I’ve noticed this theme recurring in various ways. People say ‘why don’t people nominate at the beginning of the nominations period?’. Or they say, in response to cries of ‘I haven’t read enough’, ‘Oh, but you don’t have to read everything. Why don’t you just nominate what you liked?’. Or they say ‘What’s the point of all these eligibility posts? Surely if something was one of the best works of the year, you would remember it.’ And running through this is an assumption; that we are all reading new stuff all the time, and just have to cast our minds back. People just don’t seem to realise of how few people this is true. I actually agree that people like that would be the people best qualified to nominate. But if we want mass participation, we can’t rely on them alone.

  11. Nope. The Hugos are only one of hundreds of things a Worldcon does. There are thousands of reasons to join WSFS. The Hugos are only one.

    @ULTRAGOTHA,
    I’ve told you a billion times: Don’t exaggerate!

    [It’s taken me a long time to come to understand that WSFS, Worldcon, & the Hugo awards are a true working democracy: things change at a glacial pace, and nobody is completely happy. Ever. But change comes, eventually, from bottom-up (not top-down), like a grassroots movement, culminating in the decisions made at the Business meetings which are, to mix metaphors, the tip of the iceberg. Actually come to think of it, given the amount of stuff that happens largely below the surface (volunteers & organisers of Worldcons, ditto the Hugos), (to mix metaphors again) it’s icebergs all the way down.]

  12. The vast majority of the nominations come in during the last few days of voting.

    The bathtub-shaped curve, with a shower on the closing end, as Frisbie described it. Somewhere I have a chart…. (In one of the six boxes of stuff that I got last year, with old and ancient Hugo stuff.)

  13. No, “in the grander scheme of things” we do not want every member nominating and voting in every category, unless you are proposing to remove the best dramatic presentation (long and short form), best graphic story, and best artist (pro and fan) categories. Almost none of the works in any of those categories is aimed at blind people; blind people can enjoy some movies, but alt text on a painting, even if it was supplied, wouldn’t help someone decide whether the work was any good. 0              

  14. I concede: You’ve convinced me that having 100% of WSFS members nominating & voting in every category is not a nice aspirational idea.

  15. Soon Lee, I wasn’t exaggerating. Honest.

    Between 5000 and 11,000 people join WSFS every year. Few of them for exactly the same reasons.

  16. Steve wrote: In the grander scheme of things, we want 100% participation – every member nominating and then voting in every category.

    All the nopes in the world, riding nopetopuses across a seascape filled with nopes. We do NOT want every member nominating and then voting in every category. We only want people nominating and voting in categories where they feel they have a useful opinion.

    I have been a member of Worldcons where I did not nominate or vote. Why? Because a) I didn’t want to, b) I was too busy to do the homework necessary, and c) I DIDN’T WANT TO. I became a member of Worldcon in those years for reasons that had nothing at all to do with the Hugos. Had I nominated in those years, I would have been essentially stabbing in the dark, and, in many categories, nominating and voting without any knowledge whatsoever about those particular fields.

    This year, there were some categories I left blank. Even though I was doing my Hugo homework diligently. Because I did not feel myself qualified to judge in those categories.

    So no, that’s a really, really bad idea, and a really, really bad goal. People who don’t care about the Hugos and/or don’t keep up on contemporary works are allowed to be Worldcon members. Indeed, historically, they’ve usually been a majority or near-majority. And do note that at the same time there was that large pool of non-nominators and non-votors, the Hugos became the respected awards they are. Not because only some mythical elite were the ones voting, but because only the people who actually CARED were voting.

  17. Mike Glyer on April 17, 2016 at 8:18 am said:

    David Goldfarb: The first rule of Pleonasm Club is the first and foremost of the principles and instructions that regulate and guide the behavior of Pleonasm Club members that make up its ranks.

    Beautiful. Now I’m curious about the other rules…

    The second rule is to restate, reiterate, reprise and ditto the first rule.

  18. I’ll second  fifth Cally and the others on the idea that all members should nominate in all categories.

    Firstly, you’d end up turning people off of the Hugos, and perhaps driving them away from Worldcon.

    Secondly, you’d have unknowledgeable/undiscriminating people just putting up the few things they’d read/seen (or possibly just heard about) rather than knowledgeable people nominating the things they found to be the best. I can’t see how that would do anything but degrade the quality of the Hugo Awards.

    As Henley said above, if something gets on the ballot with only 10 nominations, and it doesn’t belong there, “No Award” will do just fine. Hell, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” (in the opinion of me and a great many others, not a Hugo-worthy work) had 72 nominations to get on the ballot, and it nearly came in below No Award.

  19. The point is, the 5% rule was a bad idea. If you really want a percentage, it needs to scale with the number of nominations. So if 5% was good when there were 100 nominations, then you should divide it by sqrt(nominations/100). So with 2500 nominations, the threshold would drop to 1%. (But, again, why bother? Just pick a fixed number, like 25.)

    Otherwise we’ll eventually reach a point where nothing (except a slate) ever meets the 5% bar. Short Stories may be there already–assuming the various recommendation lists had no effect on nominators.

  20. Greg, the proposal to eliminate the 5% rule passed last year and is up for ratification this year. Come and vote for it.

  21. I confess I’m not really clear on how the 5% rule would interact with EPH in any case. Seems like there’s some potential for real confusion there. If you apply the 5% rule before running EPH, you could potentially get a different set of results than if you run it after, since having nominees eliminated will affect the weight of the remaining nominees on a ballot under EPH.

    Since I support EPH, I’d tend to favor getting rid of the 5% rule just to eliminate this possible source of confusion. Not to mention the other reasons for getting rid of the 5% rule that have already been mentioned.

  22. Matthew Johnson: The second rule is to restate, reiterate, reprise and ditto the first rule.

    You do have a gift for humor, I’ve noticed that about you.

  23. @ULTRAGOTHA

    Greg, the proposal to eliminate the 5% rule passed last year and is up for ratification this year. Come and vote for it.

    I know. I voted for it at Sasquan and I’ll vote for it again at MidAmeriCon2.

    I was just concerned that some folks seemed to be talking as though we should keep it, but the truth is that it punishes increased participation. It has to go.

  24. @Xtifr

    I confess I’m not really clear on how the 5% rule would interact with EPH in any case. Seems like there’s some potential for real confusion there. If you apply the 5% rule before running EPH, you could potentially get a different set of results than if you run it after, since having nominees eliminated will affect the weight of the remaining nominees on a ballot under EPH.

    The same problem exists for works disqualified for any reason. EPH has to be run after all the disqualifications.

    There is a related problem with EPH that I haven’t heard discussed, but it’ll come up sooner or later. Suppose EPH is adopted and used for WorldCon75 in Helsinki. Best Novel candidates are A, B, C, D, and E, and are announced. Novel A, “Slate Raptor Ballot Invasion” was a slate pick, and the author withdraws it after the list has already been posted. No problem, the admins just recompute without “Slate Raptor” in the list.

    And the new list comes back B, C, D, F, G. Novel E failed to rank this time. (It’s not hard to make this happen.)

    Now what? They already announced that E was a finalist. Do they take it back? Do they make all six items finalists? I don’t think the rules say.

    Alternatively, they could say, “well, EPH kicks things out in a particular order, so we could just use that as the ranking and not rerun the algorithm.” That would work, but then that would mean using one method when someone withdraws (or is disqualified) before publication of the results and then using a different algorithm afterwards. I don’t think that would fly.

    But you really, really do want to rerun EPH after a disqualification or withdrawal because otherwise people’s votes don’t get redistributed properly. (They get “lost” with the disqualified works.)

    Personally, I think the rule should be that once a nominee has been publicly announced as a finalist, then it cannot be dropped unless it’s really disqualified. I just wonder if that needs to be codified as a rule.

  25. @Greg Hullender,

    That scenario is already accounted for:

    3.A.4: After the initial Award ballot is generated, if any finalist(s) are removed for any reason, the finalist selection process shall be rerun as though the removed finalist(s) had never been nominee(s). None of the remaining original finalists who have been notified shall be removed as a result of this rerun. The new finalist(s) shall be merged with the original finalists, extending the final ballot if necessary.

    Novel E from your example stays in, other(s) that got in when EPH is re-run get added to the final ballot.

    [There was a lot of thinking that went into the formulation of EPH.]

    Shorter me: We got this covered.

  26. I am having considerable difficulties understanding why Ringo thinks it is a good idea for a pregnant 12 year old to have sex with many people.

    I ran it past my inhouse medical advisor, and sadly cannot quote her response since it was so very, very rude. Bad enough to have a pregnant 12 year in the first place; setting up a situation where multiple sexual encounters would help is totally bonkers.

    It wouldn’t help. It would expose her to all kinds of infections, including the ones which kill women. This is utterly fatuous…

  27. Yeah, no for me on John Ringo. I read one of his books. He wrote rather fetishistically about a super-competent sniper who was (you won’t believe this…) A woman. OMG! SCI FI! Then he killed her off. Since she was the only character in which I had any interest, I struggled to finish the book. This from a reader who likes pulpy military SF.

  28. Xtifr: I confess I’m not really clear on how the 5% rule would interact with EPH in any case. Seems like there’s some potential for real confusion there. If you apply the 5% rule before running EPH, you could potentially get a different set of results than if you run it after, since having nominees eliminated will affect the weight of the remaining nominees on a ballot under EPH.

    You wouldn’t apply it before running EPH, you would only apply it once you’d determined the finalist shortlist — just as right now, you only apply the 5% rule once you’ve already determined the Top 5 nominees.

    Hopefully it’s a moot point anyway, if EPH and the elimination of the 5% rule both pass at the Business Meeting this year.

  29. @Soon Lee

    Shorter me: We got this covered.

    Oh, excellent! Not sure how I missed that before, but thanks for pointing it out. I feel better already. 🙂

  30. JJ on April 17, 2016 at 4:44 pm said:

    You wouldn’t apply [the 5% rule] before running EPH, you would only apply it once you’d determined the finalist shortlist — just as right now, you only apply the 5% rule once you’ve already determined the Top 5 nominees.

    Except that right now, when you apply the 5% rule can’t affect the outcome (all the math is transitive). With EPH, that’s no longer true. Whether you apply the 5% rule before or after running EPH may affect which other works get selected!

    It’s done the way it is currently because it’s easier. You sort the list by number of ballots, then chop off the tail. Anything below 5% will be at the end of the list now, so they get chopped off too. You could go through the list and throw out entries with insufficient ballots before you sort the list, but that would be a lot harder, and would offer no benefits.

    When EPH comes into play, though, it’s no longer than simple! In fact, I would argue that throwing out the less-than-5%ers before running EPH would be more fair! But that’s likely to be a hotly debated argument, and if the 5% rule is indeed dropped this year, it won’t matter, so that’s really the result I’m hoping for.

  31. @Stevie: “I am having considerable difficulties understanding why Ringo thinks it is a good idea for a pregnant 12 year old to have sex with many people.”

    I may have been unclear; if so, mea culpa. The prescription was for her to have sex at least daily with someone, ideally the boy she was crushing on – not multiple partners. The rationale was that late-term sex does something to the female body (“thins the cervical walls,” I think the crewman said) which would make her more prepared to deliver.

    Whether that rationale is complete BS or not, I don’t know. But it wasn’t “yay go screw lotsa people ‘cuz sex is fun.”

    ETA, @Nate below:

    The thing is, it’s not presented as “folk wisdom” – the frakkin’ CDC signs off on it!

  32. I am having considerable difficulties understanding why Ringo thinks it is a good idea for a pregnant 12 year old to have sex with many people.

    I ran it past my inhouse medical advisor, and sadly cannot quote her response since it was so very, very rude. Bad enough to have a pregnant 12 year in the first place; setting up a situation where multiple sexual encounters would help is totally bonkers.

    It wouldn’t help. It would expose her to all kinds of infections, including the ones which kill women. This is utterly fatuous…

    It is, indeed, utterly fatuous and without actual medical merit — but that hasn’t ever stopped someone from passing on a hoary piece of folk wisdom. In the neck of the woods where I live — Pennsylvania — it is generally understood that if you want to make a baby arrive faster/more easily, the best way to do it is to have sex. The specific number of times a day is generally not cited but, well, banging the baby out isn’t a thing John Ringo made up, he just added an extra layer of rapey/squicky.

  33. Xtfr–EPH wouldn’t affect the 5% rule as far as I can see, because the 5% rule has to do with mentions, not points.

    Okay so the number of works you have in a given category affects what fraction of a point your ballot gives those works, and the works with the fewest points after all the ballots are totaled up challenge each other to stay in the game. During a challenge what matters is the number of *mentions*–the number of ballots that mentioned a work. Whether such a ballot mentioned five works or one makes no difference at this stage–a mention is a mention. Works with the fewest mentions (works mentioned on the fewest ballots) are eliminated.

    The 5% rule is about mentions–it doesn’t say a thing about points as it stands so the rule is that 5% of the ballots have to *mention* the work.

    And I’ve already had a few things to say on the subject of Ringo’s writing so I won’t repeat myself on that. But there’s nothing wrong with steering clear of someone you think is squicky.

  34. @Cat: The issue isn’t the sub-5% works themselves—it’s the other works that share the ballot with them. If you do 5% elimination before running EPH, then those other works will have more points (though their mentions will be unchanged) because they’re on a ballot with fewer items. So they may not be tested for mentions till a later round. And if it’s late enough in the process, there may be no later round….

    ETA: And if you’re trying to combat slating, ballots with sub-5% items are less likely to be slate nominations, so their remaining items *should* have more points, IMO.

  35. @Soon Lee: “If a category is so moribund that it attracts very few nominations, the fix is not the 5% rule. The fix is to get rid of that category.”

    I thought folks were talking about too-scattered nominations, not too few noms in the category. The fix for the former isn’t to remove the category. That said, I like the 5% rule; I’d rather see it tweaked than just removed, as I believe is on the table at the WSFS biz meeting right now. :-/

    @Greg Hullender: “it punishes increased participation. It has to go.”

    Well, no. It doesn’t have to, and if it “punishes” anything, it’s increased diversity of nominations – not increased participation. Those don’t always go hand-in-hand, but I understand your concern. Still, I’d prefer it be tweaked and not just removed, so I’m against the proposal on the floor to remove it; but you’ll be happy to know, I won’t be at MAC II to vote against the proposal. 😛 😉

    @Cally: “without any knowledge whatsoever about those particular fields” . . . “I did not feel myself qualified to judge in those categories”

    How you nominate (or don’t) is your business, but in my little fantasy land of Hugoville, I’m hoping it’s due to thinking something’s cool/award-worthy/etc. – not that you disqualify yourself from nominating because you don’t feel knowledgeable enough (like not having read enough of X or seen enough of Y). It’s tough to tell what you mean, so I’ll apologize in advance if (a) I’m mis-reading you, and/or (b) I’m just being annoying with my hobby-horse. (Extra apologies if I’ve said something like the above to you before; I know I’ve ridden this hobby-horse before around these here parts.)

    /Hugo-love-to-all 🙂

  36. Suppose 2000 of the 4000+ nominations this year included one or more items in the Short Story category. That means a story would have to have 100 nominations to meet the 5% rule.

    Given the hugely long tail in that category, my personal opinion is that if a story manages more than 30 nominations and is one of the Top 5 in the category, it shouldn’t be disqualified just because it didn’t attain 5% of the category nominations.

    Of course, that’s in a world where slates aren’t part of the equation.

  37. Kendall: I didn’t nominate in Best Editor Long Form because I know nothing about how to judge that. I didn’t nominate Best Fancast, because I don’t listen to any Fancasts. I’m not qualified because I’ve not listened to enough, with enough being ANY. Should I have nominated purely on reputation? Clever name? Cast list?

    I’m a big advocate of voting for what knocked your socks off, but my socks seem to be transparent on the BELF wavelength, so exactly how was I supposed to nominate there? Did this or that editor help their book(s)? Hurt them? Not do anything at all but got lucky in their author(s)? I’ve got no real way to know.

    I mean, I could do what the Puppies do, and just nominate editors on faith, but they ended up nominating a couple of editors who are on record as hardly doing any actual editing at all to their books (certainly the copyediting is dreadful), so it’s not an example I feel is good to follow.

  38. OJRN update:

    Out of curiosity, and since ebooks have their perks, I ran a search in Book Three for the 12yo’s first name, then the 17yo’s. You know, to see if the scene was setting up something for later in the book.

    Nope. Every mention was in that one chapter. (Okay, technically the boy’s name appears two more times, but they’re different characters. Common first name.) So the whole screwed-up scene appears to serve zero plot purpose.

  39. @Rev. Bob: So the whole screwed-up scene appears to serve zero plot purpose.

    The hell you say.

  40. Re: 5% Rule, your points are well-taken. I particularly like @Jim Henley’s point. “Oh no, something not-great might get into the shortlist” is not something I’m concerned about.

    At the same time, I think you’re all looking at any one individual year, rather than at the cumulative, systematic effect. Yes, in any one year, I prefer 5 nominees over 3 (or none).

    But overall, giving up on the 5% rule means that, in this category, nominations aren’t much better than a lottery. (It may, in fact, imply that *no* crowdsourced method with our current audience could do much better than a lottery.)
    Now, you know me; you give me any five titles and I’ll be happy to discuss and vote the heck out of ’em.

    But if the field is so scattered that we’re selecting a shortlist that represents at most 5% of the nominating body (e.g., if each nominee reached 1% of the total nominations in that category), then… I don’t know. There’s a wrongness to that. That’s beyond “The Hugos are an imperfect system,” and through to “Our shortlist is fundamentally arbitrary.” That gives me pause.

  41. @Standback:

    But overall, giving up on the 5% rule means that, in this category, nominations aren’t much better than a lottery.

    I see your concern. I’m not convinced the 5% rule saves us from it though. We can either have 5 stories that were lucky enough to get any votes at all, or 2-3 stories that had enough luck (and hype? and author recognition?) to get 5% of the votes. My preference is to err on the side of giving voters more candidates to choose from.

    My thoughts on the recognition of excellence in art were permanently changed by attending a house concert a decade ago, though.

  42. @Jim: LOL.

    Yes, I think I’m pretty much in agreement with that. To some extent, better to have an arbitrary sub-set of popular stories, than none at all.

    I would say something like this: I don’t think the 5% rule is ideal in its current state. At very most, it’s serving as an indicator of a problem, rather than actually improving the situation. I do think it’s the only pressure point we’ve got at the moment for “wouldn’t it be nice if we could converge a little more.”

    For that reason, I’d rather not see it stricken entirely; I’d rather find a better way to still exert at least some pull in favor of stronger convergence. I feel like getting rid of the 5% rule is kind of saying “Oh, we set up this alarm system, but now it’s going off and making loud annoying noises. Let’s disconnect it.”

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