Pixel Scroll 5/22/16 Pixelpotamus vs. Scrolloceros

(1) PRECISION. In “Save the Allegory!” on Slate, Laura Miller calls on writers to actually define “allegory” correctly.  She quotes from C. S. Lewis’ The Allegory of Love at length and makes lots of superhero references.

What people usually mean when they call something an allegory today is that the fictional work in question can function as a metaphor for some real-world situation or event. This is a common arts journalist’s device: finding a political parallel to whatever you happen to be reviewing is a handy way to make it appear worth writing about in the first place. Calling that parallel an allegory serves to make the comparison more forceful. Fusion says that Batman v Superman is a “none-too-subtle allegory for the fight between Republican presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.” (It is not.) The Hollywood Reporter calls Zootopia an “accidental anti-Trump allegory”—this despite the fact that there is no literary form less accidental than allegory. The meaning of the word has drifted so far that even works that aren’t especially metaphorical get labeled as allegory: A film about artistic repression in Iran is a “clunky allegory” for … artistic repression in Iran.

Allegory or metaphor: The distinction might seem obscure and academic to many readers. Shouldn’t allegory be grateful to get any attention at all? Isn’t it just an archaic literary mode that nobody uses anymore? Yes and no. About the only people creating true allegories today are political cartoonists. But a culture never entirely discards its roots, and allegory, which first appeared in the waning years of the Roman Empire, is one of the foundations of Western literature. Maybe if we understood it better, we’d realize how much we owe to it.

(2) NEXT AT SFWA. While detailing her writing and travel plans for the summer, Cat Rambo also previews SFWA’s upcoming activities in “Catching My Breath and What’s Coming Up”. In her second year as the organization’s president, she will be putting some needed infrastructure in place.

In SFWA areas, I’m focusing on a new committee that I’ll be working with, the Membership Retention Committee, whose job will be to look at the new member experience for SFWA members as well as how to keep the organization useful for members. (If you’re interested in volunteering with that, feel free to drop me a line.) Other efforts include a) working with SFWA fundraising, b) a small musical endeavor that I just prodded someone about and which involves Tom Lehrer (yes, that Tom Lehrer), and c) helping out where I can with some of M.C.A. Hogarth’s amazing efforts, such as this mysterious thing here lurking under a tarp that I am not at liberty to discuss. *mouths the words “SFWA University” then is dragged away by the SFWA honey badgers while shouting something about a guidebook*

Three other important SFWA things:

  1. I’ll be watching the results of our decision to admit game writers with keen interest. I can tell you that the initial set is criteria is being voted on right now and I expect to see it announced soon.
  2. An effort is in the works that I think will prove a lovely tribute to longtime SFWA volunteer Bud Webster and which will, in the longtime SFWA tradition, provide a benefit for professional writers at every level of their careers.
  3. And we’ll (finally) be announcing some of the partnerships we’ve been making — you saw reps from Amazon, Audible, BookBub, Draft2Digital, Kickstarter, Kobo and Patreon at the Nebulas and those relationships are going to extend beyond the weekend and give our members special resources and relationships at all of those companies — and others, including one that I am super-stoked to have facilitated.

(3) DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH. Neil deGrasse Tyson gives his view about how long you could survive on each planet in our solar system. It’s a 2015 video.


  • Born May 22, 1859 — Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

(5) POSERS FOR TINGLE. Neigh, a thousand times neigh!

(6) EVERMORE. The Baltimore Sun quotes lots of people involved with the convention in “Balticon grew to 50 as sci-fi, fantasy grew more mainstream”. Several are Filers.

Even 50 Balticons later, Ray Ridenour remembers his introduction to the annual gathering of the Baltimore region’s science-fiction and fantasy aficionados.

Ridenour, then a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, recalls taking the elevator to the top floor of the city’s since-demolished Emerson Hotel. This was the first Balticon put together by the then-4-year-old Baltimore Science Fiction Society, and he had little idea what to expect.

“As soon as I stepped out of the elevator, I heard something very noisy and stepped back in,” he recalls. “Two guys roared by in a wheelchair; one of them was singing loudly, the other was pushing loudly. They careened down the hotel aisle and then zoomed in another direction and disappeared.”

Ridenour asked someone walking by if they had any idea what was going on. “‘Oh, yeah,'” came the reply. “‘That was the president of the club.'”

Ridenour, now 68, a graphic artist and designer living in Hampden and a veteran of every Balticon since, knew he was in the right place. “So I said, ‘Well, these guys look like they know how to party.'”

…Baltimore natives Miller, 65, and Lee, 63, authors of a series of books set in the Liaden universe, were guests of honor at Balticon 37 in 2003. Veterans of Balticons dating to the mid-’70s — they met at Balticon 10 in 1976, when Lee won a short-story contest Miller had helped start — they have been married since 1980.

Balticon’s strength, Miller says, lies in its deep fan base. At a time when many fan gatherings have become massive affairs staged by professional organizations whose business is organizing conventions, with an emphasis on movie- and TV-star guests, Balticon is still organized and run by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and skewed toward the written word.

“Balticon hasn’t lost touch with the fact that it’s a bunch of fans putting this together, for their own interests and the interests of their friends,” Miller says.

(7) DUNGEON N-COUNTER. Jo Lindsay Walton tweeted this sample of what goes on in the Sputnik Award’s Dungeons of Democracy.

(8) ARE GO. Michael Flett describes the 2015 revival in “Thunderbirds 1965” at GeekChocolate.

…Adhering strictly to the ethic of the late sixties, wires are visible, the motion and expressions of the puppets are limited but still capable of expressing great character, and while Tracy Island is extended by the use of archive footage of tropical islands there can no justifiable objection to this use of stock footage nor in the famous launch sequences or any repeated shots of flybys, as this was all part and parcel of the original productions.

What is undeniable is the loving recreations of puppets, props, sets and machines, from Lady Penelope’s wonderfully shiny pink Rolls Royce FAB1 to the Thunderbirds vehicles themselves, the characters themselves graced by the creations of costume designer Liz Comstock-Smith who has crafted an exquisite new wardrobe for Lady Penelope, much to the chagrin of her chauffeur Aloysius Parker who in addition to his other duties must act as porter.

“When one is visiting, one tries to look one’s best,” his employer drily responds as she arrives at Tracy Island in opening episode Introducing Thunderbirds, less of an audio adventure now granted a visual dimension than, as the name would suggest, a showcase of International Rescue’s secret base and the amazing vehicles used to perform their daring missions.

Adapted from the soundtrack of F.A.B., The Abominable Snowman offers more in the way of spectacle with big explosions from the opening moments as a fire rages at Meddings Uranium, named of course in honour of the late special effects designer Derek Meddings who worked on many Anderson shows and later progressed to several James Bond films….

(9) STOP FIGHTING THE LAST WAR. Jim Henley, in “Hugo McHugoface Has Sailed”, offers his own frame for the Hugo reform discussions.

…Various options – including some kind of jury component and restricting voting rights (e.g. to only attending members) – have raised the objection that “They change the fundamental character of the award.” That class of objections fails to recognize the core truth: the character of the Hugo Awards has already changed. Again, the character of the Hugo Awards has already changed.

The Hugo Awards have become an internet poll in the age of Boaty McBoatface, freeping and chan culture. Nobody set out to make them this, and ex ante it was reasonable to imagine that the supporting membership fee (currently $50) was enough of a gating function to keep LULZers and trolls from targeting the process for abuse. But experience shows that there are enough motivated bad actors willing to spend that much to tie up the bulk of the ballot with whatever works their whims inspire them to place there, motivated by any combination of venial and mortal sins.

There is no question of preserving the character of the Hugo Awards. That ship has sailed, and it is not named for David Attenborough. The question is how can the award process be restructured so that future nominees and award winners will be of a character consistent with the Hugo tradition for the ’70 years prior to the mid-’10s.

I suppose the other question is how long it will take Hugo fandom and WSFS members to admit this.

(10) VERBAL AUTOPSY. Toby Litt tells Guardian readers “What makes bad writing bad”.

…Bad writers continue to write badly because they have many reasons – in their view very good reasons – for writing in the way they do. Writers are bad because they cleave to the causes of writing badly.

Bad writing is almost always a love poem addressed by the self to the self. The person who will admire it first and last and most is the writer herself.

When Updike began writing Rabbit, Run it was either going to be a great technical feat or a humiliating misjudgment

While bad writers may read a great many diverse works of fiction, they are unable or unwilling to perceive the things these works do which their own writing fails to do. So the most dangerous kind of writers for bad writers to read are what I call excuse writers – writers of the sort who seem to grant permission to others to borrow or imitate their failings.

I’ll give you some examples: Jack Kerouac, John Updike, David Foster Wallace, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou. Bad writers bulwark themselves against a confrontation with their own badness by reference to other writers with whom they feel they share certain defence-worthy characteristics….

(11) DOWN UNDER FAN FUND. Julian Warner, Justin Ackroyd and Lucy Huntzinger officially announced that the winner of the 2016 race is Australian fan Clare McDonald-Sims. She was the only candidate. The administrators say voting numbers to follow. McDonald-Sims will attend MidAmeriCon II.

(12) IT’S STILL NEWS TO SOMEONE. Fanac.org now has James V. Taurasi’s classic fan newzine Fantasy Times online, published from 1941-1955.

Also, congratulations to Jack Weaver, Fanac.org’s Webmaster of 20 years, and the site’s software developer, who received a special award at FanHistoricon in Virginia last month.


(13) TANK FOR THE MEMORIES. NPR covered yesterday’s transfer from the harbor to the museum – “A 66,000 Pound Space Shuttle Fuel Tank Is Parading Through The Streets Of LA”.

fuel tank

The last remaining space shuttle external propellant tank is moved across the 405 freeway in Los Angeles on Saturday. The ET-94 will be displayed with the retired space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center.

A massive space shuttle fuel tank is winding its way through the streets of Los Angeles Saturday, on a 16-mile trek heading to the California Science Center.

It’s set to be displayed with the space shuttle Endeavor. The tank, which was never used in a mission, is the “last flight-qualified space shuttle external tank in existence,” according to the science center…..

As The Associated Press reports, the giant tank started moving at midnight from Marina del Rey, where it “arrived by barge Wednesday.” It’s crawling along at about 5 mph, the wire service reports, and is expected to take 13 to 18 hours to reach the science center….

The tank was donated by NASA, and Science Center President Jeff Rudolph tells Danielle that he’s thrilled to acquire the tank.

“As soon as we got Endeavor, we said we got to see if there’s any way we can get that one remaining external tank,” he says. Danielle adds that the center is hoping to eventually add booster rockets to the display.

According to the center, that means it will be the “be the only place in the world that people will be able to see a complete shuttle stack — orbiter, external tank, and solid rocket booster — with all real flight hardware in launch configuration.”

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

141 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/22/16 Pixelpotamus vs. Scrolloceros

  1. Doctor Science: I grant I was incomplete for the sake of brevity; barring slates seemed the hot topic today. However I would not care to argue whether barring nominees is less work; one counter-argument is that banning a single ballot is a much less fraught decision than banning a work outright. As a public act (in your description in today’s scroll) ISTM it’s also an invitation to a lawsuit. I’m also not clear on why it’s preferred against the proposals for the voters to trim an intermediate list; do you think voters will need prompting to find and punt griefer nominations?

  2. @Lee. Yes! The ‘old timey classic wouldn’t have been a classic if written today’ thing should jut die. It’s not just puppies who say that, I’ve heard serious literary types bemoaning the (probable) fact that Finnegan’s Wake or Lolita couldn’t get published today. And I say probably not, but on the other hand The Road couldn’t have been published in 1850 and Handmaid’s Tale couldn’t have been published in 1920. Hell, NK Jesmin probably couldn’t have gotten away with publishing The Fifth Season in 2005.

    History. You’re living in it. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to deal with it.

  3. @ Arifel: The irony, it burnssss!

    I haven’t had to deal with a badly-written novel, but I did get handed a short story by a good friend some years ago. It was SO bad, and he was SO proud of it, and I struggled to find a way of telling him it was unpublishable without devastating him. I finally settled on pointing out the two worst flaws — that he had telegraphed the ending on the second page, and that his “surprise twist” was an idea that had been done many times before and he hadn’t done anything new or unexpected with it. He was still crestfallen, but at least he didn’t get mad at me.

  4. Doctor Science on May 23, 2016 at 3:26 pm said:
    Soon Lee:

    A Hugo with counterslates is no longer a Hugo IMO

    Where do you get the “counterslates” idea from?

    My comment was not aimed at what you & Greg Hullender are proposing, which looks like a workable solution and is not any form of counterslating. [Whether it’s desirable is left as an exercise for the Business Meeting.]

    I was responding to Chris S, whom I quoted in my comment. There was also Martin Easterbrook’s variant suggestion in the “Analysing EPH” thread so it’s not the first time counterslates have been brought up in recent days. I object strenuously to any proposals to counterslate (<- appears to be a trigger word for me) the Hugos in order to "fix" it.

  5. @ Cassy: Yes, start with the moon and look around. At the time I got a naked-eye view last night, it was about 20 degrees to the right of the moon and absolutely unmistakable — nearly as bright as Venus, and with a definite red tinge. I wonder how many people are mistaking it for an airplane?

    @ Nancy: Ouch!

    @ Doctor Science: Soon Lee said that the two alternatives are (1) something along the lines of 3SV or DN or (2) counter-slating. He did not say that these were the same thing.

  6. @steve davidson: Let me give this one more try.

    The whole piece builds an argument. The key to understanding what I mean by “preserving the character of the Hugo awards” begins two paragraphs above. First:

    Various options – including some kind of jury component and restricting voting rights (e.g. to only attending members) – have raised the objection that “They change the fundamental character of the award.”

    When I talk about “the character of the Hugo awards” it’s in the context of a class of complaints people have made against various possible fixes.

    e.g. “It’s impossible to algorithmically define a slate, so we need a middle step where a jury is empowered to remove clearly unworthy works from the list of finalists.” “You can’t have a jury. The Hugos are about the popular voice of Worldcon fandom. Having a jury would change the character of the Hugo awards.”

    e.g. “We may have to consider allowing only attending members to nominate.” “You can’t do that. Supporting members have been able to nominate for at least 40 years. Removing the nomination franchise would change the character of the Hugo awards.”

    e.g. “We need a semifinal round where the membership as a whole can vote to strike unworthy candidates from the roll.” “You can’t do that. The Hugos are about voting for what you love. Adding a downvote provision prior to the finals would change the character of the Hugo awards.”

    These statements about the character of the awards are about ground rules, process and especially the meaning of process. They may be arguable, but they are sincerely held.

    I am indeed saying that, defined at that level of specificity, the character of the Hugo awards has changed. Specifically, first the internet and then the Social Web happened. We know a lot about what it takes to preserve a viable community in the era of the Social Web and the existing Hugo process meets very few of those requirements. (It has a gating function – membership fees – which is not nothing. But it is, as the cliche says, Only Money.) The process that was in place by the 1970s has been overtaken by events.

    What my piece says is, make a process whereby, year in and year out, Worldcon can reliably bestow Hugos on works and creators it deems worthy in each category it chooses to honor year in and year out. We do not currently have that. We will never have that again if we privilege every particular aspect of the current process. (“No admins making judgments!” “No downvoting!” “No restrictions on the franchise!” “No juries!” “Only objective, formal methods of vote/candidate elimination!”) If we define “the character of the Hugo awards” as the way things are now with some low-effort mechanical tweaks then Worldcon will never again “reliably bestow Hugos on works and creators it deems worthy in each category it chooses to honor year in and year out.” We will only ever have that at the whim of bad actors. This isn’t even about the voxman. This is about everyone who can command a following who might take it into their head to fuck with the awards. Because right now they can be fucked with, with impunity.

    Saying that I am counseling despair is the next thing to a calumny. I am counseling being really willing to solve the problem.

  7. Jim

    Thank you for framing it so well; despair is what happens when people abandon hope, and you certainly haven’t abandoned hope..

  8. @Stevie: Thank you. I should add that, of the various examples, there are perfectly valid arguments against each of them on other grounds. Also perfectly valid arguments for them.

    FWIW, I’m coming around to the view that only strong moderation can make the Hugo process work, and while 3SV is a noble attempt to let “the committee of the whole” serve as moderator, committees of the whole don’t generally make effective moderators. Instead you get Reddit.

    The objection to strong administrative moderation is partly “the character of the awards” but partly practical: “The membership doesn’t want to give the admins that power and the admins will refuse it.” To me all this means is that both the membership and the pool of admins have to decide what the Hugos are really worth to them. But I think that’s going to be a process of a couple or few years to work out, and probably runs through 3SV until we finally arrive at something like Trust – But Verify.

    @cmm: I doubt Tingle’s story deserves a Hugo, but I sure hope GRRM settles an Alfie on the Buckaroo.

  9. @Jim H: ” To me all this means is that both the membership and the pool of admins have to decide what the Hugos are really worth to them.”

    What “pool of admins”? Have you forgotten that each Worldcon is individually governed?

  10. Okay. What I’m about to write is fairly obvious, and I suspect everybody who reads it is already aware of every individual point I’m about to make, but hopefully there may be some value in putting it all together in one explicit lump.

    It’s worth noting that the Hugos’ existing first-past-the-post nominations protocol has always been vulnerable to slating. This is a known fact—it’s pretty much been known since Time T = Minus Infinity. So if you want to say that the Hugos are broken, fine; but in that case, the Hugos have always been broken, right from the very beginning. We’re not talking about a newly-discovered exploit; rather, we’re talking about an exploit that’s always been there, an exploit which nobody felt the need to patch on account of “nobody wants to be That Asshole, so there’s no need to patch this exploit”.

    What’s changed—what we have now, that didn’t used to exist before—is, first, that there’s people out there who absolutely are willing to be That Asshole; and second, that these people have banded together in numbers sufficient to make effective use of that decades-old exploit.

    What’s changed is that in the past, slating could be stopped by fandom telling would-be slaters, “Dudes, you’re being assholes. Not cool.” And that sort of purely social sanction was enough to do the job. But now… well, now we got the Voxman and his dead elks, people who laugh at purely social sanctions.

    That is what Jim Henley means when he says that Things Have Changed. Specifically, what’s changed is that fandom has its own home-grown contingent of Destructive Trolls, and that said contingent is a new thing. Whatever response the non-DT majority of fandom makes to the DTs, that response must acknowledge that the DTs are here to stay. If you think the DTs are ever going to get tired of being DTs, you’re entitled to your opinion, but the fact that the DTs have been pulling this shit for multiple consecutive years strongly suggests that said opinion is wronger than lime-green bowling shoes.

    The Hugo Awards cannot continue to operate under the presumption that purely social sanctions are enough to prevent Bad Actors from acting badly. That’s what Jim Henley is pointing out.

  11. @Chip Hitchcock
    This seemed obvious to me a newbie compared to you and OGH: Pool of Admins = people willing to be Hugo admins

    I’ve heard enough times in my 5-8 years as a supporting member: Hugo Admins don’t want x power I figure it must be in the secret manual one gets the first time one is a Hugo Admin 😉

  12. Tasha Turner: Hugo Admins don’t want x power

    Some don’t want the power.

    Some don’t want the social obloquoy of exercising such power. (Ample precedent of what happens when it IS exercised.)

    Others never make their views public and end up being spoken for by fans based on what those fans want to be the case, rather than know to be the case.

  13. And at the opposite end of the body-count spectrum from Doctor Science’s preference, Dashiell Hammett’s RED HARVEST. The version I first read ran 125 pages, and had twenty-five characters killed in the course of the book. (Some were minor characters, killed in gang shootouts, etc.) Classic noir mystery.

  14. @Doctor Science: Now you’ve got me thinking about whether the number of deaths in Every Heart a Doorway was necessary. I think that the “we are being picked off one by one and can’t do anything about it” situation was what the author intended; I thought it was reasonable that they felt like they could cope with the first murder but the second murder made things fall apart. I didn’t feel like the second death was any more dramatically unnecessary than the first (if the plot was going to be based around murder in the first place — which I think worked well, but YMMV).

    I do see your point about some mysteries where victims are just plot items, though. I used to read lots of those myself and quit — I don’t know if the moral factor was a major reason, but there’s something to that.

  15. @Mike Glyer
    I fell into the group = monolith oops I should know better

    I might add:
    4. some admins don’t speak up and get spoken for by other admins

    Point 2 is the one I’d hate the most as a Hugo Admin although Hampus Eckerman is doing a great job of finding awards which throw out trolling nominators and voters. It makes sense to me in the same way CoCs and moderating ones blog or a community forum should be a given today.

  16. Glenn Haumann:

    “And of course, the new problem with some of these solutions: What prevents destructive trolls from becoming Hugo admins.”

    Well, we know that some well meaning people were totally ok with having Beale on a jury…

    It is more a matter of if all people among the admins are destructive trolls. And there is also the proposal of Rocket Review where the membership votes to confirm the choices of the admins. Checks and balances.

    Almost all larger awards have clauses letting them throw away ballots for people behaving destructively, cheating, using them for defamation or behaving unsportsmanlike. I do think the Hugos needs to have a rule like that.

  17. Glenn Hauman: What prevents destructive trolls from becoming Hugo admins?

    Committee selection is a people-based, trust-based process. So in the end, we have to count on voting in people who have shown character and sense during the bidding process. And depend on them to select ethical, reliable admins.

  18. sez glenn haumann: “And of course, the new problem with some of these solutions: What prevents destructive trolls from becoming Hugo admins?”
    Quoth the Hugo Awards website: “Each year’s Worldcon establishes a Hugo Awards Administration Subcommittee the manages that year’s Hugo Awards.” So, what stops Destructive Trolls from becoming Hugo admins is, first, that Destructive Trolls are vanishingly unlikely to mount successful Worldcon bids to begin with, and second, that it’s vanishingly unlikely that the sort of fen who do mount successful Worldcon bids will ever choose Destructive Trolls to administer the Hugos for their Worldcons.

    Could a sufficiently determined Destructive Troll manage to maneuver themselves into position to be selected as Hugo admin by a genuinely legit Worldcon bid? In principle, yes. In practice, this would seem to require that a person with the constellation of personality traits which make for a Destructive Troll, would be able to put up a convincing façade of non-DTness over an extended period of time… which doesn’t strike me as a plausible scenario.

    In short, I just don’t see Destructive Trolls being selected as Hugo admins under any scenario short of Destructive Trolls make up 50+ percent of fandom. And if that scenario ever comes to pass… well, then the Hugos truly would be toast.

  19. The concern with something like TBV is that it doesn’t take Destructive Trolls per se, but there is a risk of people with Opinions.
    Examples: A lot of people seem to hate the fancast category. (Not me).
    People either love of loathe If you were a dinosaur, my love (high art, imho not actually science fiction)
    An awards subcommittee could have Disruptive Opinions about such things without actually being Destructive.

  20. Dr Science wrote:

    Does Trust But Verify strike you as a horrible amount of work for the concom?

    Thinks. It could require quite a bit of hasty reading, at least if the works were going to be assessed honestly and not knocked on the head just because they were slated and not very obvious hostages.
    Looking over this year’s finalists: Probably all the novels should stand. Likely all the novellas. I see two novelettes I’d be very suspicious of, two or three short stories. Two definite eliminations on related work (The Wolfe stands, Jethro’s “There has been nothing worth reading written in the last 36 years” probably stands, I’m divided on Greysteel). Gets more difficult when we get into fanzine and Campbell and so on. Quite a lot of material to assess in a hurry.

  21. The inspiration for the wonderful title of the post today is “Hiphopopotomus vs. Rhymenoceros” by the New Zealand band Flight of the Conchords. Music video from HBO series here:

    . Everyone should watch–it is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

  22. I go into this at great length on another thread, but I’ll say it briefly here.
    If you think of 3SV as pre-emptive No Award, it makes a lot of sense.
    Hugo voters have shown themselves to be perfectly capable and willing to identify crud and vote No Award.
    3SV just lets them do it early enough that there can still be a ballot afterwards.
    I suspect once the Long List emerges that the presence of any crap on the ballot would provide a sufficient impetus to urge participation when necessary.
    I can’t see the committee of the whole aspect of it descending to Reddit – or Boaty MacBoatFace – levels any time soon, given number of Griefers willing to pay cash to vandalize.
    There have been enough of them to game nominations, but not enough to overcome No Award votes on the ballot.
    3NV relies on that proportion to No Award them off the ballot so they can be replaced by votable choices.

  23. eep
    Somehow I misplaced my username there for a moment
    “ctively” = Lauowolf
    I think there was a cat involved, and a sticky cut-and-paste, and it’s late.
    Maybe I have a sekrit identity and didn’t even know it!
    It went into moderation, sigh.
    Not much of a super power, that.
    Able to disappear my own comment into Limbo.

  24. I notice a lot of people saying “discard slate ballots” and I just wanted to say that might be more easily said than done. A significant contingent of slaters do not necessarily nominate in lockstep even now, and slaters could easily organize to refrain from doing so in the future. The fact that we are having difficulty agreeing on a computer algorithm that can spot slate ballots (how many nominees in how many categories must they have in common again?) suggests that making this call is not just “something that requires human judgement” but something that requires guessing.

    I would have no problem with discarding malicious ballots if I thought malicious ballots would always be objectively determinable. But I am pretty sure the “I know it when I see it” “definition” of pornography has been used to censor works of art, information about birth control, and sympathetic depictions of homosexuality, among other things, and it is not necessarily evil people who are wielding it when it happens.

    This is part of why I personally am leaning more toward methods that don’t call for a Strong Administrator (or Committee of Same) saving us all from slates.

    [ETA–my comment is apparently waiting moderation. I have no idea why; I don’t think I have mentioned any of the Words of Power or changed my e-mail or anything…}

  25. Bruce Arthurs
    Red Harvest is one of my favorite books. Considering how taciturn the Op generally is, it took me a long way into his psyche. With mostly declarative sentences, Hammett had me going blood simple. I keep thinking of one time the Op tells somebody to find another place to dodge bullets, and the guy obligingly goes off and gets shot. (I should try watching YOJIMBO again. I don’t seem to pay enough attention to it.)

  26. It’s important to remember that the whole point of Potter Stewart’s “I know it when I see it” statement was to explain why he wasn’t defining pornography, and furthermore to explain why it wasn’t a good idea to try.

  27. @Cubist and Jim Henley – i think you’ve summed up the new Hugo problem really well.

    @Simon Bisson – those are brilliant photos!! I am in awe of you capturing such whizzing wee birds so clearly and I love the water droplets for that extra feeling of time held in place, great stuff! 😀 I love trying to photograph nature but especially birds! I got some nice shots the other day of waterfowl, which are usually much easier to photograph lol

  28. Cat:

    Oh, there is always ways to make ballots not look like slates. But then they will not be as effective as slates.

  29. Glen Haumann:

    The “Trust” part of TBV is structured to make it close to impossible for trolls/griefers to get onto the Jury. The Jurors are concom members from multiple years, so it’s hard for them to be part of a single “push”. And they have to have voted in at least 5 of the past 7 years, so they’re people with a long-term, ongoing commitment to WSFS.

    It’s the best way I’ve been able to think of to make sure the Jury is made up of people who are exceptionally committed to WSFS and the Hugos. If I could think of a way to specify that they have to have already put in X hours/years in unpaid volunteer work, I would.

  30. And they have to have voted in at least 5 of the past 7 years
    Who keeps the list of people who have voted for the last 7 years?

    It’s the best way I’ve been able to think of to make sure the Jury is made up of people who are exceptionally committed to WSFS and the Hugos.

    Yes, you want people with the best interests of Hugos at heart. But you also want people who are good at judging good stories, and they may not be the same groups of people (I’ve known people who were into working at conventions [not SF — other activities] for the social aspect, not because they were particularly deep into the subject of the convention. I don’t believe they would be the right folks to be gatekeepers for the field’s highest honors)

  31. Kurt Busiek on May 23, 2016 at 1:31 pm said:

    I think Dr. Chuck Tingle should open a university. Then everyone can reference “Tingle U”
    If he opened it in Farley, CA, it could be:

    And if there’s a university for the E Pluribus Hugo Voting schema, it could be called
    EPH U

  32. Bill:

    Who keeps the list of people who have voted for the last 7 years?

    ugh. I have no idea how that would work in practice. Do the concoms keep that kind of list each year, or is it gone with the wind?

    you also want people who are good at judging good stories
    Really? It’s a pretty low and specific bar, “tends to bring discredit on WorldCon”, which (as Hampus points out) is the kind of decision administrators of all kinds of other large awards already make.

  33. @Various: I loved the new “Rabid Puppies” site. 😉 Thanks for the LOLs.

    @Various, also: Ebook sales in the U.S., at least at some stores! Come on, you know you want to check these out – I do.

    Isabel Cooper’s No Proper Lady is on sale for $1.99 from Sourcebooks Casablance (uses DRM). It sounds like a historical/UF romantic fantasy, and my Spidey-sense tells me Cooper is a Filer. 😉

    Paul Tassi’s The Last Exodus (Earthborn Trilogy #1) is on sale for $1.99 from Talos (cousin of Night Shade; uses DRM). This is “gritty post-apocalyptic survival and epic space opera.” I don’t recall how I first heard about this. It looks like the author reviews video games for Forbes.

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