Pixel Scroll 5/10/16 Who Scrolls There?

(1) GO RIGHT TO THE SOURCE. Joe Hill will bring his comic series to the air — see “Locke & Key TV Show Happening with Original Creator Joe Hill” at MovieWeb.

IDW Entertainment (IDWE) announced today that the award-winning, fan-favorite property Locke & Key is being developed as a television series. Author/creator Joe Hill will be writing the pilot and serving as an executive producer. Locke & Key has garnered both awards and acclaim during its five-year run.

Following the titular Locke family as they encounter magic beyond belief and evils beyond redemption, Locke & Key quickly won over readers and has since become a staple in introducing new readers to the medium. With the series adapted in dozens of languages across the globe, and more than a million copies sold worldwide, Locke & Key is an obvious choice to make the transition to the screen. New York Times bestselling author, Joe Hill, has continually captivated readers through his gripping novels and award-winning comic series.

(2) DIG HERE. According to The Independent, a 15-year-old boy believes he has discovered a forgotten Mayan city using satellite photos and Mayan astronomy

William Gadoury, from Quebec, came up with the theory that the Maya civilization chose the location of its towns and cities according to its star constellations.

He found Mayan cities lined up exactly with stars in the civilization’s major constellations.

Studying the star map further, he discovered one city was missing from a constellation of three stars.

Using satellite images provided by the Canadian Space Agency and then mapped on to Google Earth, he discovered the city where the third star of the constellation suggested it would be….

(3) DISABILITY METAPHORS. The Our Words launch included reposting “Corinne Duyvis on Minding Your Metaphors”, which first appeared on SF Signal in 2014.

I’m a co-founder of the website Disability in Kidlit as well as an author who regularly writes disabled characters; both my recently published fantasy novel Otherbound and my upcoming sci-fi novel On the Edge of Gone feature disabled protagonists. On top of that, I’m disabled myself. It’s pretty safe to say I’m a huge fan of disability representation. Specifically, I’m a fan of accurate, respectful, and textual disability representation.

However, when writing science fiction and fantasy, it doesn’t just stop at featuring textually disabled characters. Many SFF stories contain disability metaphors. These span a wide range—from purposeful to unintentional, from obvious to subtle, and from well-done to inadvertently offensive.

(4) SWIRSKY ASKS. Rachel Swirsky conducts a “Silly interview with Spencer Ellsworth whose bedpost notches are real people”.

…Every time I see Spencer, I always ask the same question. You see, several years ago when Ann Leckie was running Giganotosaurus, I sometimes did first-round reading for her. And while Ann and I have very similar taste, we don’t have identical taste. So once in a while we’d come up against a story that I was jazzed about, but that didn’t quite cross her threshold. So every time I see Spencer, I ask about that one story that got away…

(5) PKD COMES TO TV. io9 has the story: “Philip K. Dick Is Getting an Anthology Show, Courtesy of Bryan Cranston and Ronald D. Moore”.

“Ronald D. Moore, Bryan Cranston, and Philip K. Dick” are three names you probably never expected to see in the same sentence together. But that’s what’s happening as the longtime scifi producer and the acclaimed actor are teaming up to bring the legendary writer’s work to TV in a new anthology series for the UK.

Electric Dreams: The World of Philip K. Dick will be a 10-part miniseries written by Moore, who will executively produce alongside Michael Dinner (Justified, Masters of Sex) and Bryan Cranston, who will also star in the series itself. Each episode will be a standalone story that illustrates Dick’s “prophetic vision” and “[celebrates] the enduring appeal” of the writer’s past work. Isa Dick Hackett, whose past work includes The Adjustment Bureau and The Man in the High Castle and is Dick’s daughter, will also produce the show.

(6) WILLIAM SCHALLERT OBIT. His best known role was as the dad in The Patty Duke Show, but William Schallert appeared in dozens of series in a career that spanned eight decades (1947-2014). He passed away May 8.

Most fans would consider the peak of his sf career to be playing Nilz Baris, under secretary in charge of agricultural affairs for the United Federation of Planets, in Star Trek’s “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode.

Schallert on Star Trek

His genre work started with many bit parts, like the uncredited Gas Station Attendant in Mighty Joe Young (1949), and most of the time he was a supporting actor. IMDB shows he was in The Man From Planet X (1951), Space Patrol (1951-52), Invasion U.S.A. (1952), Gog (1954), Them! (1954), Tobor the Great (1954), Commando Cody, Sky Marshal of the Universe (1955), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Monolith Monsters (1957), Men into Space (1960), The Twilight Zone (1960), One Step Beyond (1959), The Wild, Wild West (1967-69), Land of the Giants (1969), Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), The Six Million Dollar Man (1974), The Bionic Woman (1976), Legends of the Superheroes (1979), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), The Twilight Zone (revived series) (1986), Quantum Leap (1989), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), and Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1994).

Schallert recorded this promo for MeTV in April 2014 when he was 91 years old.

Schallert featured in one of the Patty Duke Show themed PSA’s the Social Security Administration put online in 2010.

(7) SLATE THOUGHTS. Gary Denton of the Nightly Nerd News said as part of a long comment on Facebook:

I agree that slates violate the intention of the Hugo Awards that individuals should only nominate what they enjoyed and thought worthy of an award for best of the year. I also believe all elections eventually come to be dominated by parties and people have a right to oppose parties or support parties. Just don’t vote blindly folks, have an opinion on each item, don’t follow orders.

I believe that E Pluribus Hugo will only lessen the problem with slates, 20% of voters all following orders on how to vote even with votes on each ballots fractionalized will still allow disciplined Fascists treating this as a show of strength to dominate the ballot. Fascist is the correct term here, they are blindly following orders on what to vote for.

A digression, I dislike the editor nominations. Samples of what they actually did that year need to be included and that seems problematic. On all awards you need to have samples if not the whole thing to cast an informed vote, otherwise it is a popularity contest. If I can’t determine what they worked on last year and make a guess at how well they did they won’t get a vote from me. It is easier with short form editors. Wow, that magazine or anthology had a lot of amazing stories, that editor deserves an award…

(8) IT AIN’T ME. Max Florschutz processes a conflict some young writers have: “Being A Better Writer: Author Morals and Character Morals” at Unusual Things.

…Think about the last book that you read or movie that you watched that has a dangerous, unstable, or otherwise alarming character in it. Maybe they were a sleazy scumbag, or maybe a serial killer. A ruthless businessman, or an unscrupulous social worker. Basically, a character that was dangerous, alarming, or perhaps just unstable.

Now think about that character in relation to the author. And here’s where today’s topic comes into play. Do you think that because the author created a character like that, it means that they are, in some way, like that character?

The obvious—and correct—answer is no. I’ll say that again for emphasis, no, it does not. And this is where we run once more back into the question that plagues so many young writers: how can they write characters like that despite being nothing like them?

The trick is that for many this is not a question of being able to write good characters or filling their pages with creative prose. That’s not the consideration at all.

No, what a lot of these young writers are asking is how you deal with writing a character that’s not just different from themselves, but is different in a way that they find morally objectionable….

Yeah, some of you might be chuckling right now or even laughing and shaking your heads, but this is a real barrier that a lot of young writers run into. There’s a real question of where they stand on their own feet while writing characters that may hold different views than the, attitudes, or morals than them….

These characters are not you. They will swear. They will fight. They will make poor choices and good ones. As the author writing these characters, separate what they believe from what you believe because, unless you’re writing self-inserts (common enough), these characters are going to be as different from you as anyone else you meet in your life, and their emotions, thoughts, and other assorted things are theirs, not yours. That distinction is important. Your morals, ethics, and concepts, the stuff that makes you a person is not the same as theirs.

For instance, I am not a sociopath serial killer who stalks young couples. But one of my characters, Amacitia Varay, is. That doesn’t mean that I agree at all with her mentality, or the things that she says, or at all in any way what she does (all of which you can read about in the pages of Unusual Events). But I wrote the story … and it was her story, from her perspective and about her beliefs.

(9) MEET THE NEIGHBORS. Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn has learned Anime Midwest (July 8-10) will be sharing space with a porn convention:

In a bizarre coincidence, this year Anime Midwest will end up sharing the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center [in Rosemont, IL] with the Exxxotica Expo, a touring convention for “Adult Entertainment.” Exxxotica bills itself as “the Largest Adult Event in the USA Dedicated to Love & Sex.”

While Anime Midwest’s management (I’m just guessing) probably wants to distance themselves from Exxxotica publicly, Exxxotica management has embraced the proximity between events. Apparently, anyone with an Anime Midwest badge is being offered discounted admission to the porn expo and is planning “adult anime” events including a cosplay contest and “sexy anime seminars.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

This is… probably terrible? Pretty sure this is terrible. Frankly, many anime convention attendees are under the age of 18, and the idea that these underage attendees are going to be in immediate proximity of this kind of event doesn’t really do anyone any good. There are a list of bad things happen from the merely uncomfortable to the dangerous that are racing through my head.

I want to be clear that this is patently not Anime Midwest’s fault. It’s not a big enough event to rent the entirety of the Stephens Convention Center (which also is the home to the much larger Anime Central), and they cannot control what the owners of the site do with the space they don’t have under contract. We’re not huge fans of AnimeCon.org around here (for both obvious and not so obvious reasons), but honest to god there is no way they could have seen this coming.

(10) HOGWARTS. Costume sketches from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

(11) WILLIS, WHITE, AND IAN MCDONALD. Visual Artists Ireland says Richard Howard will speak about The Secret History of Northern Irish Science Fiction at the Centre for Contemporary Art Derry~Londonderry on May 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Using the exhibition Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone (ending May 21st, info here) as a point of departure, this talk will sketch the history of a science fiction tradition in Northern Ireland. Beginning in the late nineteenth century with Robert Cromie, it will trace the development of this tradition in the region, a tradition solidified by Belfast natives Walt Willis and James White, who instigated the Irish Fandom science fiction group in the 1940s and produced the fanzines Slant and Hyphen. Willis and White were eventually joined by Bob Shaw, one of the most prolific science fiction authors the region has produced. Shaw and White’s own efforts in the genre from the mid-twentieth century to its end will also be discussed; short stories and novels that were received in the context of the international science fiction community, but that extrapolated from and estranged the material conditions of Northern Irish society. As the latest iteration of the tradition, there are many schisms within the genre that separates the work of Ian McDonald from those that came before him. The paper will nevertheless attempt to propose a unified theory of Northern Irish science fiction, if only to detect the remainders and contradictions that might answer the questions: to whom is Northern Irish science fiction a secret and why?

(12) IS CAPTAIN JACK COMING BACK? Den of Geek speculates whether Captain Jack will be appearing on Doctor Who.

After he brought back Alex Kingston’s River Song for last year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, it’s starting to look like Steven Moffat may repeat the trick this year by bringing back another long-time absentee from the supporting cast for a festive reprive.

John Barrowman has teased that he has work in Cardiff in the near future, which has led the internet to suggest that he could be appearing in the 2016 Doctor Who Christmas special. Or maybe even the spin-off series, Class.

For the record, all Barrowman said – while promoting his new book in a Welsh Waterstones – was that “I will be back in Cardiff in about a week and a half… but I’m not telling you what for!”

That’s enough to get a rumour started, since the Welsh capital is synonymous with the production of Doctor Who at this stage. Perhaps it’s a bit soon to get excited, but the idea of Captain Jack Harkness bantering with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is a tantalising proposition, isn’t it?

(13) LONDON ROBOT EXHIBIT NEXT YEAR. The London Science Museum’s 2017 show about robots in the Daily Mail is accompanied by a small photo gallery.

Throughout history, artists and scientists have sought to understand what it means to be human and create machines in our own image.

Soon, a new exhibition will explore our obsession to recreate ourselves, revealing the remarkable 500-year history of humanoid robots.

The forthcoming show at London’s Science Museum will include a collection of more than 100 robots from a 16th-century mechanical monk to robots from science fiction and modern-day research lab.

Set in five different periods and places, this exhibition will explore how robots and society have been shaped by religious belief, the industrial revolution, 20th century popular culture and dreams about the future.

As well as celebrating machines of the past, the exhibition will examine scientists’ quest to build ever more complex and human-like robots that are able to learn from their mistakes and express emotions.

Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum Group said: ‘This exhibition explores the uniquely human obsession of recreating ourselves, not through paint or marble but in metal.

Seeing robots through the eyes of those who built or gazed in awe at them reveals much about humanity’s hopes, fears and dreams.’ …

The Science Museum has also launched a Kickstarter campaign that will pay to rebuild Eric, the UK’s first robot.

Originally built in 1928 by Captain Richards and AH Reffell, Eric was one of the world’s first robots and travelled the world to amaze curious crowds in the UK, US and Europe before disappearing.

If the full £35,000 ($50,596 is raised, the historic replica will become part of the museum’s permanent collection, as well as featuring in the Robots exhibition. It will also travel the world as part of the exhibition’s international tour, just like the original Eric did 90 years ago.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Will R., James H. Burns, JJ, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peace Is My Middle Name.]

227 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/10/16 Who Scrolls There?

  1. @Mike Glyer – Excellent list. One of my regrets about this bloggy format is how difficult it can be to go find cool items, and how easy it is to forget them. This will be a fun re-read, especially the earlier items, when I didn’t know the personalities here.

    @Rose Embolism – Aeronaut’s Windlass has a hard climb to the top, slated or not. Right now I’ve got Uprooted and The Fifth Season duking it out in my brain, with Ancillary Mercy coming in a not-so-distant second (third? fifth?). I haven’t read Seveneves, yet, but I suspect it will end up fourth or fifth on my ballot.

  2. brightglance on May 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm said:
    De Castell got a fair bit of coverage on Tor.com in 2014 when Traitor’s Blade was coming out (review post, excerpt post, competition post). So far from ignored by the supposed SJW central (not saying that Dann is doing any of that supposing).

    De Castell was also featured on Scalzi’s Big Idea in 2014, so I’m not sure who was doing the ignoring.

  3. @Kyra, re: Sandman: Overture

    Loved your review. I finally got a hold of it and read it this past weekend. Every third page, MIND. BLOWN. Only downside: I don’t have time for a complete reread of the original comic book, but the need to do so is very very strong now. (I did reread the 4-part Books of Magic after several minutes playing “Where was that character from?” game in my head.)

  4. Kyra on May 11, 2016 at 1:52 pm said:
    (I will note that though I have talked mostly about Gaimian here, a good deal of responsibility for how good the book was lies with the brilliant J. H. Williams III. And if you haven’t seen his artwork on Batwoman, I recommend that, too.)

    Williams is an amazing artist. His work on Promethea (which is basically Alan Moore explains the Tarot and Golden Dawn/OTO Magick) is utterly mindblowing. Like the issue where two characters have a conversation on a Moebius strip that you can start reading at any point on the strip and it makes sense when it finishes looping around.

  5. There are people writing Heinlein-juvenile equivalents. However, they recognize it’s 2016 and so the heroic characters might be women, or PoC, or LGBT. Which of course KENNA REEVES PROUD DAD* would have nothing to do with. Is ROD WALKER going to show up at the non-anime expo mentioned in (9)?

    Big props to everyone for the titles of the new new Heinlein books.

    Is Weber disqualified from Puppy slating because Honor is, gasp, a GIRL? Even though he seems much more Nuggety, with the endless milSF details and military right/liberals wrong. Only reason I can think of.

    I haven’t read a Baen book in years that didn’t have non-existent copy editing. Sometimes it even fails spellcheck. That’s enough to get their editors below NA on my ballot. And dear Lord, the way they ruin perfectly good story collections with the terrible forwards/afterwords. And the hideous covers. I don’t care if they switched to only printing books by black lesbian Marxists; the production quality is BAD.

    (9) I’m not worried about the children losing their innocence; any kid who’s into anime and is old enough to run around the con on their own knows porn exists, even if they think it’s icky and gross. But I do worry about the cosplayers of all ages; I doubt the sexxxpo people understand “Costumes are not consent” and I can imagine their reaction to Japanese schoolgirl outfits. If the grownups want to go off to the sexxxpo, fine, but maybe not in costume. And the sexxxpo attendees definitely need to be kept out of the anime side. Anime Midwest needs to have some GIANT CoC posters at the entrance.

    @TYP: I’m one of those feminist SJWs and I hated “Karen Memory” so much that I put it on my Hugo ballot the minute I finished it. Obviously I’m biased against steampunk. Also I always voted for “Girl Genius”, because I hate gaslamp. I will probably enjoy the Butcher, though I doubt it will knock my socks into orbit, which is what it takes to get a #1 Hugo vote from me (Oh, who am I kidding — “Fifth Season” is getting my #1 and everything else is vying for #2).

    @Mike: Good packet choices, esp. the brackets and Wombat.

    @k_choll: Jump right into “Gray Lensman” — between the recaps and your general osmosis knowledge of SF of the past 75 years, no problem.

    *(I am not giving Dr. Tingle a Hugo, but I do thank him for all the laughs. The Matrix references — with what we now know about the Wachowskis — never fail to make me laugh when used in reference to MRA’s. I hope it amuses Lily and Lana.)

  6. I just finished the Aeronaut’s Windlass. This is my first Butcher, and the story is good enough that I will read a few more of his novels, but I did not think that it was at the same level as The Goblins Emperor. Toward the end I was skipping pages and just wanting to get done with it.

    I did like the characters a lot, the good and the evil. A bit too much info dumping here and there, and I could have done with a lot less battle descriptions, in spite of the fact that I like military SF.

  7. I remember that bit in Promethea, yes. That was a mind-trip about a muse, indeed. With things like the five-headed beast that was basically the incarnation of a publishing house pen name for five different authors who all wrote hack stories about the character, which was defeated in part by drawing on the research an obsessive fan had done to figure out who the different authors actually were.

    I’ve seen a few other comic book uses of Moebius strips:

    xkcd did one that worked as a film strip if you made the paper transparent, so you got people kicking back and forth between the sides of the panels as the images wound through.

    Paul Pope did a page once that was basically Adventure Time‘s Finn and Jake wandering around a Moebius strip, drawn as a very deliberate homage to the style of Jean Gireaud. (a.k.a. Moebius)

    Matt Howarth in Particle Dreams did a pair of comics that could be cut out of the book and arranged as Moebius strips. One didn’t really use the full effect of the Moebius strip, just being a long lineup of people going nowhere in a loop. The other had an explorer in a spaceship with an alien warp drive distorting space inside it, who ends up meeting up with himself a couple of times; a proper reading following the main character’s timeline requires going around the loop a couple of times and at one point flipping the paper over as he steps through a side door on one ‘side’ and emerges on the other to meet a different version of himself.

  8. @lurkertype

    MRA-derived Matrix references always make me laugh. As I recently quipped to a friend:

    You’ve got to be careful with those red pills. Morpheus was clearly trolling the hell out of Neo. Those things made him think he was Jesus!! 🙂

  9. May I make a plea that Galactic Patrol is a much better starting point than Gray Lensman?

    Re Baen editing: an aversion to hands on editing was baked in from the start:

    from page 195 of Science Fiction Culture

    JIM BAEN: It’s been my experience that editors of that sort do as
    much harm as good…It’s also the most time-consuming thing we attempt to do. So in general, if someone were not sending a book I want to publish, I don’t publish it. Occasionally [we will make suggestions but]… we take a fairly strong position, that “thou shalt not edit. The author gets to publish the book she wrote.

    (note the pronoun: Jim Baen was pretty gung ho about finding women writers)

    As I recall, various issues got worse right about the time they discovered Weber’s sales were not affected by lack of editing.

  10. Speaking of MIND. BLOWN. — I think it diagnostic of the Puppies (either stripe) that they don’t explain why things are on their Hugo ballot with “mind-blowing”, even though that the most common term around here for what we want in a nominee.

  11. @Mike Glyer
    Great packet submission. It’s a good thing I’ll have read, looked at, and made decisions on most of the ballot by the time the voters packet comes out. I suspect rereading all those entries is going to suck me down a black hole revisiting old memories and 1,000+ comment threads.

    Good to see you back to your normal self. Making statements which say little but imply lots and lack clarity of thought and logic.

  12. @Doctor Science – A related point, it seems to me, is their inability to distinguish between “this is a good book” and “this book should win (or have won) a Hugo”. As if there was only one good book published in the field every year.

  13. Speaking of minds being blown, I’m taking a quick breather but The Fifth Season is really blowing mine. Is there a discussion thread for this book for when I’m done? Because whoa.

    [Insert Keanu .gif here ;)]

  14. @ Robinareid

    @Heather Rose Jones: I will be there as a Tolkienist not a medievalist though. Would love a meet up.

    Cool! I’d love to meet. How about the lunch break on Saturday? The folks I hang out with usually go to the cafeteria in the student union. Or other option? E-mail me and we can exchange more direct contact information. heather dot jones at earthlink dot net

  15. Mike – great choices for packet!

    Dr. Science – I also put down All the Birds because I couldn’t take the bullying. Will try again later.

    k_chol – I loved the first section of Seveneves, right up until the first time jump (that is, the narrative jumps forward a few years – the characters themselves do not time travel). Each time the narrative jumped forward, I felt like I was reading a completely different novel with different characters who coincidentally had the same names. Each jump forward, the storyline became less plausible. And I absolutely hated the entire last section. I am very bitter about this because I loved the hard-ish science in the beginning section. If it ended there, with no time jumps, it would have been at the top of my Hugo nomination list and I would be eagerly awaiting the sequel to find out what happens next. I hope you enjoy it more than I did!

    ETA – Currently reading Slan and enjoying it very much.

  16. Steve Simmons on May 11, 2016 at 2:47 pm said:

    Re (9): I’ve worked a number of conventions with folks who are security staff at large anime cons. From the stories they tell, the underage attendees are going to get an eyeful even if they’re not sharing space with an erotica convention. Or try looking up yaoi or hentai. Go ahead, hit those links. It’s just text, so reasonably safe for work. Try google images for a rather astounding set of examples.

    I’ve been working mostly Anime cons for the last fifteen years. Most cons, at least here in middle America, prohibit the open display of adult merchandise, and any 18+ panels or screenings are carded. I’m sure the people operating the Exxxotica Expo are ALSO going to be pretty strict in carding too.

    That said, the concern isn’t the event management, it’s a portion of the attendees.

  17. Dr. Science:

    Speaking of MIND. BLOWN. — I think it diagnostic of the Puppies (either stripe) that they don’t explain why things are on their Hugo ballot with “mind-blowing”, even though that the most common term around here for what we want in a nominee.

    “I’d like to buy a verb, Alex.”

  18. Typical of these people; in my day we didn’t bother asking! We took!

    That might temporally silence Puppidum while they work out what the hell is going on…

  19. 9) This won’t be the first time it’s happened. I can virtually guarantee you that the folks from the erotica con will (1) not be wearing scenewear around the convention center and (2) be policing themselves and other attendees pretty damn closely. An event of this type is high-profile, and they don’t want it to get shut down and maybe everyone there be arrested. The predators are not likely to be there at all, because it’s a high-profile event. If anything, they’ll have memberships to the anime-con but not the other one.

    Re series books — I was absolutely blown away by last year’s Changed World novel, but it’s #12 in the series and some of the things that blew me away about it were changes/contrasts from the previous story arc. I don’t think it’s fair to ask a new reader to read all the previous books to get up to speed, which is why I didn’t nominate it. A nomination for the first book in a new series is much more reasonable.

  20. @World Weary – Seveneves, like Aurora, I found quite tedious. Both start out interesting, yet both fall apart halfway through KSR’s attempts at pushing a short story into novel wordcount.

  21. A related point, it seems to me, is their inability to distinguish between “this is a good book” and “this book should win (or have won) a Hugo”. As if there was only one good book published in the field every year.

    I think one reason is that they don’t have a broad understanding of the field, or a particularly good grasp of history. Last year Hoyt wrote a blog post talking about how Hughart’s Bridge of Birds was the sort of thing the Pups wanted to see win Hugos. She even said that this is the sort of book whose victory would show that the Hugo had gone back to being “the kind of award that the Hugo was when Heinlein, Asimov and Ursula Le Guin won it” and that back then the award meant “This is science fiction that won’t be forgotten in ten years.

    The problem is that she clearly didn’t bother to look up any historical context. Bridge of Birds didn’t win a Hugo because Neuromancer did. Some people might prefer Bridge of Birds, but I don’t think there are many who should say it should displace Neuromancer or that it has been more influential than Gibson’s novel.

    The other nominee’s that year were Palmer’s Emergence, Niven’s The Integral Trees, Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice, and Vinge’s The Peace War. Which do you displace for Bridge of Birds? I suppose one could say the Heinlein was the weakest of the bunch, but who was going to displace a Heinlein book in 1985?

    Unless one looks at the context of nominations, one can always say “this book is good so it should have been nominated”. Until you evaluate what competition it faced, that is an empty assertion, because nominations are not made in a vacuum.

  22. The other nominee’s that year were Palmer’s Emergence, Niven’s The Integral Trees, Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice, and Vinge’s The Peace War. Which do you displace for Bridge of Birds? I suppose one could say the Heinlein was the weakest of the bunch, but who was going to displace a Heinlein book in 1985?

    Palmer’s Emergence, Niven’s The Integral Trees, Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice, or Vinge’s The Peace War.

  23. @ Aaron – that. This idea that a huge field has to he compressed considerably to get five nominees and one winner in each category means that, inevitably, good books will lose as well as bad ones. It’s both a bug and a feature of any award process. The number of prizes in a category is constant, the number of award worth works is variable.

    Probably the most obvious difficulty a puppy had with this notion was JCW’s strange assertion that he could have won more every award he was nominated for even when these stories were essentially running against each other.

  24. GSLamb — Seveneves was Neal Stephenson, not KSR.

    (only just now noted that the title is a palindrome)

  25. I forget who linked to the “On Pandering” article at Tin House, but I just finished reading it and I want to thank you.

    The comments are mostly good too. There are a few (inevitably) that do the inevitable #NotAllMen song and the “But Mr. Elliot does good work in the community, you shouldn’t have been so hard on him!” dance, but they are thankfully only a few. The comments that came from older men who said the piece had opened up their eyes were heartening.

  26. @ Nicole: Did you notice that there was also another woman saying she’d had a similar experience with the sainted Mr. Elliot? A guy who pulls that kind of shit never does it just once.

  27. Will R:

    “It’s a Heinlein Between Juvenile and Genius”

    Can’t believe I missed this line at first. It is brilliant!

  28. I don’t think anyone ever answered Mike’s question about DOBIE GILLIS’ connection to SF:

    Season 1, Episode 23: “The Chicken From Outer Space” — Dobie’s biology class assigns an experiment to judge the effect of growth hormones on chickens. Maynard mistakes “2cc’s” as meaning “2 cups”. Hilarity eventually ensues. (YMMV)

    If I recall correctly from when I watched the episode during its original broadcast (wait, what? how did I get to be -that- old?), they used some green-screened miniature work to show the giant chicken climbing up out of Mr. Gillis’ store basement. (Checking, I see the episode is available on Hulu. The chicken rears its head about the 23:00 mark.)

    It’s no “It May Look Like A Walnut” (classic DICK VAN DYKE episode), but I was always amused by Dobie Gillis. (Still like the original Shulman books.)

    – – – – –

    “New Heinleins” really are best proclaimed by readers and critics of a writer’s work, not by editors/publishers. Announcing their new writer to be “The New Heinlein” might end up being seen as trying to execute Plan Hein From Outer Space. Reputations need to be earned after publication (like, oh, Heinlein did), not proclaimed by editorial fiat.

  29. @Bruce Arthurs:

    “New Heinleins” really are best proclaimed by readers and critics of a writer’s work, not by editors/publishers.

    Surely New Heinleins are best proclaimed by Bob Dylan.

  30. Anime Midwest needs to have some GIANT CoC posters at the entrance.

    Isn’t that more the sort of thing the other con will have?

    ….oh, the spelling’s correct and you mean Code of Conduct. Nevermind.

  31. @ David Shallcross:

    (only just now noted that the title is a palindrome)

    As did I, at about the same time, and this despite the title being written in such a way as to emphasize the palindrome.
    And I wonder now, did he think of the title first and then come up with a plot to fit it? Although I can’t think of an example just now, I have sometimes read a line or a scene or a phrase that I was convinced was the kernel around which the rest of a story was written. I wonder if this title was that, for Stephenson.

  32. > “Here’s the Table of Contents for File 770’s submission for the Hugo Voter Packet.”

    Well, that led to a very pleasant trip down memory lane. 🙂

  33. Xtifr (re under-nominated humor): another example of tastes differing. IMO, Holt had a couple of good early works but has since been just so-so, while Rankin has always strained. (One of the hard parts of humor is making it look effortless.) Note also that Pratchett turned down a nomination in 2005 (something about not wanting the stress), and Gaiman turned down a nomination for Anansi Boys (IIRC, something about “it wasn’t the type of book that should get a Hugo”.) IMO, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was the best DP for 1979, but with lousy-to-nonexistent distribution in the US (home of ~60% of the membership) and no extended eligibility (added later), it had little chance.
    I’ve seen arguments that a work that is primarily humorous usually lacks substance, but that’s a major can of worms; OTOH, how often have you finished a humorous work thinking “Wow!”

  34. @Lee re @9: experiences vary. Possibly this con will be more discreet in dress in this location, or has a history of greater discretion, than the one I’m familiar with, but I would not assume that doesn’t mean it has people on the prowl; an acquaintance has told me she’s considering skipping the large local because too many people there assume any young female who shows up is fair game.

    @James: cute snark — but I suspect most of the puppies wouldn’t favor such a swap even though that’s a weak list; they strike me as exactly the sort of thing held up as exemplary.

  35. Gibson’s Neuromancer, Palmer’s Emergence, Niven’s The Integral Trees, Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice, and Vinge’s The Peace War

    I’m going out on a limb and saying that was a pretty strong group of nominees.

  36. BTW, I’ve been reading the comments on several of the stories debunking the Maya cities story, and they are filled with anti-intellectual, anti-science positions. The commenters are very angry that a feel-good story about a young boy making a big discovery turns out to be a story about a young boy who doesn’t know shit from shinola.

  37. @Tasha

    Good to see you back to your normal self. Making statements which say little but imply lots and lack clarity of thought and logic.

    I think I’ve been reasonably clear. In what way was it unclear and was the lack of clarity a function of transmission or reception? Perhaps it isn’t what I imply, but is instead what you infer?

    I thought about replying to a few other messages, but repetitions of “I agree” didn’t seem like it was adding much to the conversation. As suggested above, there are lots of good books out there. The ones that get the most love (for whatever reasons) may or may not be “the best” as that is a pretty subjective evaluation.

    I agree.


  38. Gibson’s Neuromancer, Palmer’s Emergence, Niven’s The Integral Trees, Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice, and Vinge’s The Peace War

    Much as I love Bridge of Birds, I don’t see any way it could have got onto the final ballot with that competition. I read all of them at the time (in the case of Emergence, the two lengthy pieces published in Analog), and Hughart just wouldn’t have had the broad appeal to succeed.

  39. Peter J,
    I am reminded of Jo Walton’s summary at Tor.com in which she lists notable novels that year. There were some great works (it was the year of “Neuromancer”), but she thought the nominators didn’t quite get it right:

    OK, so it wasn’t a boring year and all the major awards missed all the best books. Wow. Chanur’s Venture is the first third of a novel, and a sequel, so maybe not. But Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, probably Delany’s masterpiece. Clay’s Ark, one of Butler’s best. Icehenge! What could they be thinking, to nominate Job and The Integral Trees instead? It’s ridiculous.


    To sum up: I think through the eighties so far there has been a pattern emerging of nominating “old masters” with weak new works in place of the best books. This is a tendency we should watch out for in ourselves as nominators.

    Those were such innocent pre-Puppy days.

  40. Finished KSR’s AURORA recently. Probably not the best book to read when things in your own life are Going Wrong. (Latest complication since some jerk t-boned and totaled my car several weeks ago: Long hot drive, with a sore arm, to the other side of town to deliver some notarized papers. To find my insurance company had the wrong VIN number on the papers.)

    Better reading/listening: Clarkesworld’s podcast for Elizabeth Hand’s “Winter’s Wife”. Good story, with the New England setting and culture very well depicted. My first thought was of the 2016 Hugo recommendation topic, but Hand’s story is actually a reprint from 2007.

  41. Bruce Arthurs: Finished KSR’s AURORA recently. Probably not the best book to read when things in your own life are Going Wrong.

    I managed about 50 pages of that before I couldn’t ignore The Eight Deadly Words Elephant In The Room, and set it aside.

    I may be willing to give it another try at some point. Or not. 😐

Comments are closed.