Pixel Scroll 6/14/18 When The Scroll Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pixel Pie, That’s A-nnoying

(1) PUTTING SOME ENGLISH ON IT. Should the Hugo Awards add a Best Translated works category? Here are Twitter threads by two advocates.

(2) EXPANDING STOKER. The Horror Writers Association will be adding a new Bram Stoker Awards category for Short Non-Fiction in 2019.

HWA President, Lisa Morton welcomes the new addition, stating: “As a writer who has written non-fiction at all lengths, a reader who loves articles and essays, and an admirer of academic study of dark fiction, I am pleased to announce this new awards category.”

(3) WEBER DECLARES VICTORY. David Weber’s Change.org petition, “Ensure Freedom of Speech & Assembly at ConCarolinas”, recorded 3,713 signatures. Weber’s fans were so enthusiastic one of them even signed my name to the petition. Although I asked them to remove it I’m still getting notifications, like this one — “The Vote Is In…”

Our petition in favor of the policy on guest invitations for ConCarolinas enunciated by Jada Hope at the closing ceremonies of the 2018 convention is now closed.

That policy, simply stated, is that ConCarolinas will issue apolitical invitations to genre-appropriate guests and that guests, once invited, will not be DISINVITED because of political hate campaigns waged online after the invitations are announced.

In the week that it was open, it accrued over 3,700 signatures, many of whom left comments explaining why they had signed in support of that policy. We believe this is a fairly resounding statement of the fact that many more members of fandom support a policy in which individuals are not excluded because of the political demands of a vocal minority who assail conventions online. We believe the fact that NONE of the signatures on this petition were anonymous speaks volumes for the willingness of the signers to “put their money where their mouths are” on this issue.

At no time have we suggested that conventions are not fully entitled to make their initial guest selections on whatever basis they like, including how compatible they expect that guest’s apparent politics to be to the con goers they expect to attend. What we have said is that there is no justification for RESCINDING an invitation, once issued and accepted, simply because someone else objects to that guest’s inclusion. Clearly there will be occasional genuinely special circumstances, but unless something becomes part of the public record only after the invitation has been extended, it should not justify rescinding an invitation. That was that thesis of this petition, and that was what all of these individuals signed in support of.

Sharon and I thank you for the way in which you have come out in support of our position on this, and we reiterate that it does not matter to us whether the guest in question is from the left or the right. What matters is that true diversity does not include ex post facto banning of a guest simply because some online mob disapproves of him or her.

Fandom is supposed to be a community open to ideas that challenge us. Creating an echo chamber in which no dissenting voices are heard is the diametric opposite of that concept. Thank you, all of you, for helping to tone down the echo effect.

(4) WHERE STORIES COME FROM. Robert Aickman recalled, in “Strange, Stranger, Strangest” at The Baffler.

Like some of his more famous contemporaries—Evelyn Waugh, say, or Aldous Huxley—Aickman yearned for those pre-industrial times before the democratic rabble began making all their poorly educated and unreasonable demands; and while his political prejudices didn’t yield what some of his contemporaries considered a satisfactory person (one of his closest friends recalled him as being incapable of any “real commitment to anyone”), they inspired him to explore narrative ideas that were always idiosyncratic, funny, disturbing, and unpredictable. No two Aickman stories are alike; and no single story is like any other story written by anybody else.

The most dangerous forces in an Aickman story often emerge from common and unremarkable spaces: tacky carnival tents, rural church-yards, the rough scrim of bushes at the far end of a brick-walled back garden, the human rabble who visit their dead relatives in decaying cemeteries, or remote (and often unnamable) foreign holiday isles. And while supernatural events may often occur in Aickman stories—at other times they only seem to occur, and at still other times they don’t occur at all.

(5) JEMISIN GETS AWARD. The Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council has announced the lineup of initial 150-plus authors for this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival (“Brooklyn Book Festival Announces Stellar Fall Line-Up”), September 15-16. Hugo award-winning author N.K. Jemisin will be the recipient of the annual Best of Brooklyn (BoBi) Award.

Brooklyn author N.K. Jemisin has been named the recipient of the Brooklyn Book Festival’s annual Best of Brooklyn (or BoBi) Award. The annual award is presented at the September Gala Mingle to an author whose work exemplifies or speaks to the spirit of Brooklyn. Past honorees have included Colson Whitehead, Jacqueline Woodson, Jonathan Lethem, James McBride, Lois Lowry and Pete Hamill.

(6) LE GUIN TRIBUTE. John Lorentz, who attended, says the video recording of last night’s tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin is now available online at http://www.literary-arts-tribute.org/.

It was a special night (Ursula was a real treasure here in Portland, and throughout the literary world), and we were very happy that we could be there.

It was a mix of videos of Ursula and live speakers, such as Molly Gloss, David Jose Older and China Mieville.

And a dragon!

(7) AROUND THE BLOCK. Mary Robinette Kowal says NASA astronauts are now doing the spacewalk she saw them rehearse. Get on the Twitter thread here —

(8) SNEYD OBIT. Steve Sneyd, a well-known sff poet who also published fanzines, died June 14. John Hertz, in “The Handle of a Scythe, commemorated Sneyd after the Science Fiction Poetry Association named him a 2015 Grand Master of Fantastic Poetry.

He was poetry editor for Langley Searles’ unsurpassed Fantasy Commentator.  His own Data Dump has been published a quarter-century;

.. On the occasion of the Grand Master award, Andrew Darlington posted a 3,400-word piece “Steve Sneyd from Mars to Marsden” at Darlington’s Weblog Eight Miles Higher,  with photos, images of Sneyd’s various publications including Data Dump, electronic links, and things too fierce to mention

Sneyd’s own website was Steve-Sneyd.com. And there’s an entry for him at the SF Encyclopedia — http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/sneyd_steve.


  • Born June 14  — Lucy Hale, 29. Bionic Woman (2007 TV series) as Becca Sommers, sister of Jaime Sommers, and voiced Periwinkle in TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings.

(10) NOW AUTOMATED. CockyBot™ is on the job.

(11) SWATTERS PLEAD. “Two rival gamers allegedly involved in Kansas ‘swatting’ death plead not guilty in federal court” reports the Washington Post.

…Late last December, Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill, two young men separated by more than 800 miles and a time zone, clashed inside the digital playpen of “Call of Duty: WWII.” The Wichita Eagle would later report that the disagreement was over an online wager of less than $2.

But according to a federal indictment, Viner, from North College Hill, Ohio, became “upset” with Gaskill, a Kansas resident. Plotting a real-world revenge for the alleged slight delivered in the first-person shooter, Viner allegedly tapped a 25-year-old  from Los Angeles named Tyler Barriss to “swat” Gaskill.

“Swatting” — or summoning police to an address under false emergency pretenses — is a particularly dangerous form of Internet harassment. But when Gaskill noticed that Barriss had started following him on Twitter, he realized what the Californian and Viner were plotting. Instead of backing down or running for help, Gaskill taunted the alleged swatter via direct message on Twitter.

“Please try some s–t ,” Gaskill allegedly messaged Barriss on Dec. 28, according to the indictment. “You’re gonna try and swat me its hilarious … I’m waiting buddy.”

The wait was not long. According to authorities, about 40 minutes after the messages on Twitter, police in Wichita swarmed a local house in response to a hostage situation. Twenty-eight-year-old Andrew Finch was shot dead by law enforcement — the result, allegedly, of Barriss’s fake call to police. The deadly hoax, sparked by an online gaming beef, quickly became international news.

Now Viner, Gaskill, and Barriss are all facing federal criminal charges stemming from the shooting. On Wednesday afternoon, Viner and Gaskill — 18 and 19, respectively — were in a Wichita courtroom making their first appearance in the case. The Associated Press reported that both men pleaded not guilty to a host of charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and wire fraud.

(12) WARM SPELL. NPR reckons “Antarctica Has Lost More Than 3 Trillion Tons Of Ice In 25 Years”.

Scientists have completed the most exhaustive assessment of changes in Antarctica’s ice sheet to date. And they found that it’s melting faster than they thought.

Ice losses totaling 3 trillion tonnes (or more than 3.3 trillion tons) since 1992 have caused global sea levels to rise by 7.6 mm, nearly one third of an inch, according to a study published in Nature on Wednesday.

Before 2010, Antarctica was contributing a relatively small proportion of the melting that is causing global sea levels to rise, says study co-leader Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds.

But that has changed. “Since around 2010, 2012, we can see that there’s been a sharp increase in the rate of ice loss from Antarctica. And the ice sheet is now losing three times as much ice,” Shepherd adds.

(13) DUSTY ROADS. The end? “Enormous Dust Storm On Mars Threatens The Opportunity Rover”.

A massive dust storm on Mars is threatening NASA’s Opportunity rover, which has been conducting research on the Red Planet for well over a decade.

Where the rover sits, the dust storm has completely blotted out the sun, depriving Opportunity of solar power and cutting off communications with Earth.

NASA scientists believe the rover has fallen asleep to wait out the storm, and that when the dust storm dies down and sunlight returns, the rover will resume activity.

“We’re concerned, but we’re hopeful that the storm will clear and the rover will begin to communicate with us,” says John Callas, the Opportunity project manager.

The rover has survived dust storms before, but it’s never lost power this thoroughly.

The dust storm on Mars grew from a small, local storm into a massive event over the course of the last two weeks. Opportunity is located near the middle of the storm, while the newer rover Curiosity — which is nuclear-powered, so not threatened by the loss of sunlight — is currently near the storm’s edge.

… There’s no expectation that the rover will be completely buried by dust, but there are risks associated with the lack of temperature control and the extended lack of power.

“The good news there is that the dust storm has warmed temperatures on Mars,” Callas says. “We’re also going into the summer season so the rover will not get as cold as it would normally.”

The rover also has small, plutonium-powered heater units on board that will help keep it from freezing, and NASA scientists believe the rover will be able to ride out the storm until the skies clear. It’s not clear how long that will take.

(14) HOMEBREW DROID. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Patrick Stefanski decided, even before Solo: A Star Wars Story hit the theaters he wanted to build an Alexa-powered version of the droid L3-37. Well, the head anyway. He combined his skills with 3-D printing, model painting, and electronics to have his robot head respond to “Ethree” as a custom wake word and reply with a sassy “What?” when summoned. Those changes required running Amazon Voice Services software—basically the thing that powers Alexa—on a Raspberry Pi microcomputer rather than using stock Amazon hardware. That change also allowed him to set the localization to the UK so “she” could speak with a British accent.

Quoting the io9 article “Talented Hacker Turns Amazon’s Alexa Into Lando’s Sass-Talking L3-37 Droid” —

One of the best parts of Solo: A Star Wars Story is Lando Calrissian’s piloting droid, L3-37, who’s been uniquely pieced together and upgraded from parts of other droids. Patrick Stefanski has essentially done the same thing to turn Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant into a desktop version of L3-37 who answers to your beck and call.

The customizability of Amazon’s Echo speakers, which feature Alexa built-in, are quite limited. So in order to make his L3-37 actually respond to the simple phrase, “Elthree,” Stefanski instead used a software version of Alexa running on a Raspberry Pi3 mini computer. It also allowed Stefanski to alter his location so that his Alexa-powered L3-37 speaks in a British accent, similar to actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s performance of the character in the movie.

The SYFY Wire article has more of an interview with Stefanski, “This dude built a fully-functional and definitively sassy 3D-printed L3-37 Alexa”, including:

“I originally wrote off the idea of doing a 3D printed L3 project when I first saw her in a teaser trailer. Here is a 6- or 7-foot walking humanoid robot with tons of articulation and a ton of personality. What could I possibly do with that? Some builder’s tried to tackle K2-SO, a very similar droid from the Rogue One movie, and ended up with a 6-foot static mannequin.

…]That’s cool and all but, me, I’m all about the motors and the electronics and the motion.

“Then as luck would have it, the first time I heard L3-37 talk (a British female voice), it happened to be on the same day I saw a random YouTube video about someone hacking together an Echo Dot and one of those old ‘Billy the Bass’ novelty fish. […] My daughter is 3, and just starting to really get comfortable with Alexa. ‘ALEXA PLAY FROZEN!!!!’ is something you’ll hear yelled in my house a lot! So, I started thinking of something fun to do with our Echo, and the idea of turning it into this new female robot from Star Wars kind of just fell into place.”

(15) GREEN HELL. Science Alert is enthralled: “Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano Is Literally Raining Gemstones Now, And We Want Some”.

If Hawaii’s K?lauea volcano were to offer an apology for its chaos and destruction, it just might come in the form of a beautiful green mineral called olivine.

Over the past months we’ve reported on devastating lava flows and bone-shattering boulders. Now it’s raining gems – a rare event that has geologists enthralled and the rest of us just plain confused.

But ULTRAGOTHA sent in the link with a demurrer: “I will note that I am not confused as to why an active volcano is producing olivine.  This one does it a lot. There is a green beach on Hawai’i.” She has in mind Papakolea Beach:

Papakolea Beach (also known as Green Sand Beach or Mahana Beach[1]) is a green sand beach located near South Point, in the Ka?? district of the island of Hawaii. One of only four green sand beaches in the world, the others being Talofofo Beach, Guam; Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island in the Galapagos Islands; and Hornindalsvatnet, Norway.[citation needed] It gets its distinctive coloring from olivine sand eroded out of the enclosing volcanic cone (tuff ring).

(16) HIGH PRICED TICKET. This weekend, “Aliencon links the worlds of space travel, UFOlogy and science fiction at the Pasadena Convention Center”. Story from the Pasadena Weekly.

Tully notes that AlienCon moved to Pasadena this year simply because of needing a bigger venue, and that there is no hidden agenda or secret information that ties Pasadena to an impending alien invasion or hidden landing sites from past eras.

“That question of whether we know things we can’t tell came up numerous times at the first AlienCon,” says Tully. “I don’t know anything, hand over heart, but I believe we have a panel that answers everything one could possibly know. They don’t get censored by the government.”

The move to Pasadena has already paid off with one-day passes  for Saturday already sold out, as are the Bronze and Gold level (which includes a private event with the “Ancient Aliens” cast) passes, which cost $124 and $549, respectively. The remaining Silver level passes cost $436 and, according to the website, “passholders receive guaranteed premium seating in the Main Stage, a voucher redeemable for autographs or photographs, a tote bag with exclusive merchandise, and much more!”

The fact that AlienCon doesn’t feature any experts from Caltech or JPL raises the antenna of Dr. Michael Shermer, founder of the Altadena-based Skeptic Society, who has long debunked the prospect of alien life forms as well as the existence of God. While he was somewhat impressed that the chief astronomer of the federal government’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program and “Star Trek: Voyager’s” Picardo (who works with the Pasadena-based Planetary Society) will be panelists, he was more incredulous about the moneymaking aspects of the event.

“It’s a fun topic, like talking about God, where everyone has an opinion, but no one has any proof,” says Shermer. “But with the Gold Pass costing $550, you better be able to meet and greet an actual alien.”

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, ULTRAGOTHA, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Bill, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Chuck Connor, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

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136 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/14/18 When The Scroll Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pixel Pie, That’s A-nnoying

  1. There seems to be a lot more translated work in shorter formats. I constantly see shorter works that people like Rachel highlight. So perhaps Best Translated work might be best handled as a size-independent entity.

  2. Verne wrote “Voyages extraordinaires”, by his own description. Perhaps he needs a kerchief for that head-cold, if he’s sniffly. 🙂 (Sorry, couldn’t resist the chance to pedant back. Lem just happened to be at eye-height as I looked left at my SF hardcovers. 🙂 )

  3. Chip Hitchcock on June 15, 2018 at 8:01 am said:

    @Michael Kennedy: your description of the amendment process matches my recollections, although I can’t find specific procedures in either the constitution or the standing rules (anywhere in the neighborhood of “amend”). ISTM that this is standard (although not universal); motions (and debate) come from the floor, not from the presiding officers.

    Exactly. The Constitution/Standing Rules don’t restate things already present in common parliamentary law or the manual (Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised). The summary is:

    1. Any two members of the current Worldcon can propose a constitutional amendment.
    2. Any proposal submitted more than two weeks in advance must be on the agenda

    Here’s the longer version, with references:

    WSFS Constitution, Section 6.6:

    Section 6.6: Amendment. The WSFS Constitution may be amended by a motion passed by a simple majority at any Business Meeting but only to the extent that such motion is ratified by a simple majority at the Business Meeting of the subsequent Worldcon.

    So any change to the Constitution must be passed by one year’s WSFS Business Meeting and then be ratified by the following year’s Business Meeting.

    WSFS Standing Rules put the specifics on this:

    Rule 2.1 sets the deadline for submitting new business, which is 14 days before the first Business Meeting. This year, the first WSFS BM is on Friday, August 17 (second day of the Worldcon, which is the usual first meeting), and thus the deadline for submitting new business is Friday, August 3.

    “New Business” includes any new proposal, including amendments to the WSFS Constitution.

    The last sentence of Rule 2.1 allows the Chair of the meeting (not the Secretary) to admit new business submitted after the 14-day deadline. Alternatively, the meeting can vote to Suspend The Rules (non-debatable, 2/3 vote required) to allow proposals to be submitted after the deadline, if the Chair declines to admit such proposals. In my experience, only minor proposals and courtesy resolutions are admitted by the Chair.

    Rule 2.2 sets the requirements for submitting new business: Any proposal (including constitutional amendments) must be sponsored by at least two members of the current Worldcon. Unless you get the proposal to the Secretary so it’s included in the printed agenda, you’re responsible for printing 200 copies of it yourself. It doesn’t say so explicitly, but any voting members of WSFS, including supporting members and attending members who do not actually attend the convention or the meeting, can sponsor proposals.

    Rule 5.2 clears up a certain parliamentary dispute about the procedural nature of amendments to the WSFS Constitution that is primarily of interest to me and a small number of business meeting rules geeks. Without Rule 5.2, constitutional amendments would be handled as the incidental main motion To Amend Something Previously Adopted, and if you really want to know more about this, go read Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. Rule 5.2 also prohibits the use of the motion to Object to Consideration of a constitutional amendment pending ratification (second-year vote), because OtC is only in order against brand-new proposals, including first-year constitutional amendments.

    Rule 5.7 is obliquely worded, but it means that you’re not allowed to end the final Business Meeting (adjourn sine die) until you’ve dealt with every ratification vote (second year) on constitutional amendments, and also have received the site selection results and dealt with Question Time. All of these things are considered “general orders” under parliamentary procedure. Note, however, that it is possible to adjourn sine die without having actually voted on any or all new constitutional amendments. If that happens, anything that did not get voted upon “falls to the floor” (dies), although if can be re-introduced next year.

    Speaking of re-introduction, the motion to Postpone Indefinitely (Rule 5.3) only postpones consideration to just beyond the final adjournment. That means anything killed by being postponed indefinitely (or having an Objection to Consideration sustained) can be re-introduced the following year. A motion that would have the effect of postponing consideration beyond the following year’s Worldcon is out of order, do it’s not worthwhile to propose to postpone until the years 2200 or something like that. No Business Meeting can tie the hands of its successors except through the constitutional amendment process and to a lesser extend through the Standing Rules.

    I’m not sure how anyone got it into their head that only the Chair of the meeting can propose business. The Chair is the only members who can’t propose business. The Chair should not propose constitutional amendments or any other business (other than possibly routine matters and courtesy resolutions like “thanking the tellers”) because the Chair is supposed to stay neutral. Should the Chair be a party to a motion (including having sponsored a proposal up for ratification), the Chair should recuse themselves from the debate. I did that in Spokane over Popular Ratification.

    I am not Chair of this year’s Business Meeting or next year’s, which for the first time in quite a while frees me up to propose business or sponsor proposals. I’m not even on the head table in any capacity. (I’m the WSFS division manager, which means Tim Illingworth, the Business Meeting chair, reports to me administratively, but that does not put me in the Business Meeting “chain of command” for parliamentary purposes.)

  4. ULTRAGOTHA on June 15, 2018 at 8:16 am said:

    …or to add to the current committee that is considering revisions to the Hugo Categories…

    Without going into specifics, that committee was already discussing the matter of translations/translators before the latest push from people on Twitter.

  5. Apart from Cixin Liu, I struggle to think of another translated SF novel in English.

    Johanna Sinsalo’s books are translated from Finnish to English.

  6. The foreign film Oscar is different because each country determines its nominee. I remember this because the official Chinese film on the ballot was not the best Chinese film according to critics one year, so there was some discussion of this issue in the press.

    I visited the green sand beach and it’s a fairly dull green. The local guy who gave us a lift back detoured to show us a patch of bright green sand brought up by a recent storm. I recommend a visit, but would recommend hiring a local to drive you out. It’s a dull hot hike from the parking lot.

  7. Adding to the list of more-or-less contemporary translated SF I would include Michel Houellebecq, Tatyana Tolstaya, and Chang Hsi-Kuo. I’m sure there’s a ton more.

    I’m somewhat indifferent as to whether or not the Hugos have an award for best translated fiction, but I do wish there was either an award for them or they would be more often nominated in pre-existing categories. From what I can tell there’s a lot of great stuff out there.

    Also re: green sand beach. I almost entirely agree with World Weary. I’ve been twice and enjoyed the hike there but when I went with a friend, she got somewhat dehydrated. I also loved climbing down to the beach which is in a little cove. I would also strongly recommend Waipio Valley with the warning it’s a very steep hike (though you can be driven down it).

  8. The dark side of the high translation quota in many countries is that it’s very difficult for authors from said countries to persuade a publisher to take a chance on them, when translating a proven bestseller from abroad is cheaper and less risky. There usually is room for literary and local interest fiction, but often genre fiction is 90% or more translated.

    German is not a small language. We have approx. 95 million native speakers and what the German publishers’ and booksellers’ association calls a “rich publishing landscape”. However, that “rich publishing landscape” focusses mainly on literary fiction and to a lesser degree crime fiction. The vast majority of genre fiction is translated, while local authors, if they can get a look it at all, are relegated to ephemeral pulp fiction.

    There are dozens of stories of German genre authors pretending to be Brits or Americans in order to sell their fiction, complete with British or American settings and characters. We also have reports of authors (Walter Ernsting a.k.a. Clark Dalton and Helmut Rellergerd a.k.a. Jason Dark among others) being told by publishers, “German writers and settings don’t sell. If you want to be published, pretend to be British or American.” The crime and mystery writers eventually overcame this and we now have a wide variety of regional German crime fiction available. My favourite example is a mystery bookstore in the town of Leer in East Frisia, which differentiated between “East Frisian crime fiction – Islands” and “East Frisian crime fiction – shore”. But even today, we still have German crime writers pretending to be French, Italian or Scandinavian in order to sell.

    But SFF is still largely dominated by translations. We do have a handful of successful German SFF authors, but new authors still have a hard time breaking in.

  9. I’m pretty sure David Gerrold used the quote in “Chess With a Dragon” which was published in 1987.
    The quote about ” … for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup” I mean.

  10. I can think of a handful of translated works in my collection (from Pierre Boulle through Anna Kavan up to Angelica Gorodischer), I have no idea how many original novels are published in different languages every year. Isn’t that something that we, as sf fans, should be more aware of?

  11. I have received a heads-up that The Incredibles 2 may be hazardous to people with epilepsy, due to strobing effects. A quick Google search shows several corroborating warnings, but (as yet, and again, only on a quick skim) I do not see any reports of actual seizures being triggered.

    I was looking forward to seeing this in a theater, but instead I will wait for the home-video release… because they’ll have a chance to make adjustments to the problem sequences between now and then.

    @OGH, this should probably get prominent placement in the next Scroll as a public service warning.

    ETA: Relevant Twitter link (first in thread).

  12. @Ray Radlein: I see she’s got the Tortietude on full already. You are pwned.

    @Vivien: I think you are entirely correct. But there’s a mechanism that allows each convention to give out a one-year-only award. Then the possible Nice Worldcon could have a “Meilleur histoire/roman en français” category, and any further non-English countries could do the same.

    A Canadian Worldcon (aren’t they about due again?) could also present an award to a French work. I’m not sure there’s enough written in Gaeilge, as @O. Westin has pointed out, for Dublin to do this, nor enough in Gaidhlig for a Scottish Worldcon, nor in Maori for NZ 2020. But certainly a German Worldcon could manage it, and someday we might see a category in Swahili.

    But someone’s gotta draft a proposal and rustle up a bunch of sponsors and sit through business meetings. Not complain on Twitter. That’s probably not going to happen in time for San Jose. Try getting a proposal to appoint a committee solidified in time for Dublin, I’d say.

    One wonders, could a California Worldcon present an award to a work in Spanish or Chinese, a Louisiana one to French, and so on? There are a whole lot more Spanish speakers in California than speakers of any of the Gaelics, despite there being no official US or state language. The public transit in San Jose (light rail stops right outside the convention center!) has signs in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese so most of the riders can find something they can read. But that way lies even more madness.

  13. Lurkertype: Doesn’t really impinge on the current discussion, still, I am reminded how surprised I was that the Nippon 2007 Worldcon had zero Japanese-language Hugo nominees.

  14. I am SO happy just to see all of this discussion going on about SF in translation. These novels/collections/stories are some of the best works I’ve ever read. For the past three years now I’ve only read SFT (with a couple exceptions) and it’s been like a party for my brain. NEXHUMAN, THE BOTTOM OF THE SKY, THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM, DENDERA, MR. TURTLE, NEST OF WORLDS, CAT’S WHIRLD, all of the Spanish anthologies, the Croatian anthology, Finnish Weird… there’s just so much worth reading.


  15. @Rev. Bob: Thanks for the warning. I’ll wear my shades and go on a non-migraine day, doped up with plenty of ibuprofen, and go to one of the smaller screens.

    Which is ridiculous just to see a movie, and I don’t even have epilepsy. Movie and TV people shouldn’t do this, or if they do, they ought to announce it ahead of time.

  16. @OGH: I was too. I expected some overlap with the Seiun that year. We even get good Japanese things in translation here, so I’d have thought at least one great story/manga/anime would have been nominated in its native land. Not enough nominators to make it over the threshold, I guess? Did only English-readers nominate? (At least they didn’t have koinu)

  17. @Lurkertype:

    I understand that there’s not even any warning preceding the strobe scenes in the movie. Just “surprise, strobe time!” – for up to two minutes at a time.

    This should very much be a Not Do, especially after the Pokémon episode that got banned for triggering seizures.

  18. A buddy of mine got migraines from Doctor Strange and the portal shifting back and forth, and needed me to spoiler that in Infinity War—“Do they do the Dr. Strange combat thing?!” Yes. Yes, they did.

  19. @Lurkertype
    When I talked to non-anglophone fans at WorldCon 75 and asked whether they had nominated or voted for the Hugos, I often got answers like “No, I don’t know those people/books.” I pointed out that they could nominate whatever they enjoyed the previous year and that they could download the Hugo voter packet to get an overview of the finalists, but several people didn’t know that. I also think the language barrier was a problem in some cases.

    Plus, when you nominate a non-anglophone work for the Hugos, its chances of making it are a lot lower. I have nominated non-anglophone comics on occasion and my Mom nominated a German TV series and will likely do so again (she likes the series very much), but I had zero illusions about the chances of those works making it. So if you have five worthy anglophone nominees, it makes more sense to go with those than waste a nomination on a non-anglophone works with no chance.
    Though in 2016, 2017 and 2018, we’ve had Finnish fan artists nominated, which is a good start.

    As for WorldCons in non-anglophone countries or at least not solely anglophone countries adding awards for works in the local language, let’s not forget that most countries and languages already have their own SFF awards. For example, the Finnish SFF award, whose name I’d only misspell anyway, was handed out during WorldCon 75 last year. An extra WorldCon only award would be redundant.

  20. Re: Nippon

    I just had a quick look using the very sophisticated method of scrolling down the list looking for Japanese names and the longlist for 2007 doesn’t have many. Three artists in Pro Artist and a book in Related Work. The longlist includes works with nominations in the single digits for all categories so if they had been nominated in numbers of any significance then they’d be on there.

    Must admit I was surprised. Japan has a thriving sf/f media.

  21. @Ingvar: Nobhg, lrf; bhg, ab. Gung FHI jnf fubjebbz-pyrna.

    @Kevin Standlee: that’s why I wasn’t finding it — I was thinking the rules were particular to amendments, rather than to any business. Thanks for the clarifications.

    @Cora: I am surprised that German publishers expected successful mimetic fiction from other countries to do better than something local; I can understand this for genre, but I’d think local color/customs would be an attractant for crime/mystery/thriller/romance/… Have any of those writing-like-a-foreigner works been translated and sold in their apparently-native markets?

  22. Speaking of Strugatsky, Turner Classic Movies here in the USA will be showing Tarkovsky’s Stalker (based on Roadside Picnic, of course) on June 25, uncut and without commercial interruption, like all their movies.

  23. @Chip Hitchcock
    There is a pretty strong and persistent “German books/films are boring” sentiment among many German readers and fans of genre media. I have to admit that I suffer from this myself on occasion. When I was a kid, I assumed that all good movies and TV shows were American and all boring movies and TV shows were German. Later, it turned out that many of the “good” movies and TV shows were British, French, Dutch, Italian and even German on occasion, though the boring ones usually were German.

    German authors pretending to be British or American has something of a tradition, there are examples dating back to pre-WWII and even to the 19th century. There apparently were a lot of unauthorised Sherlock Holmes and Nick Carter stories written by German authors in the early 20th century and you also had a lot of German western authors pretending to have been real cowboys in the West.

    Regarding crime and mystery, in the 1950s and 1960s, the most popular types of crime fiction were American style hardboiled mysteries and gangster fiction, Agatha Christie type traditional mysteries and weird menace thrillers a la Edgar Wallace. Writers emulating these inevitably pretended to be American or British and many movie adaptations pretended to be set in the US or UK as well, even though they were actually (and often obviously) shot in Germany. The result is a kind of curious fantasy Britain and fantasy US that never existed, but is nonetheless instantly recognisable to anybody who grew up with the stuff. Regional German crime fiction became popular sometime in the 1980s, maybe also before.

    Romance is a bit different, because romance always had German writers, often working for pulp magazines or book club hardcovers. The styles and subgenres were also quite different from US and UK romances. You had subgenres like alpine romance (people in dirndls and lederhosen falling in love in the mountains), aristocratic romance about fictional royalty, often coupled with Cinderella stories, doctor/nurse romances and contemporary romance/women’s fiction hybrids, often with an extra helping of social issues. There also were (and still are) gothics whose authors usually pretended to be British or Americans and wrote about British settings. There also is translated Harlequin/Mills and Boon stuff available. However, in recent years we have seen German authors of YA and contemporary romance either pretending to be Americans (Poppy J. Anderson, Mara Woolf) or writing about British and American characters. Mostly, these books are aimed at young audiences, who have probably learned to associate German YA with dull problem books.

    As for whether any of those books have ever been translated, Clark Dalton a.k.a. Walter Ernsting was the co-creator of Perry Rhodan and has certainly been translated. In more recent times, YA fantasy author Kerstin Gier (doesn’t pretend to be British or American, but writes about British characters) has been translated. Some novels of the Mister Dynamit spy series have been translated as well. I also think that Kommissar X and Jerry Cotton have been translated at some point. Not sure about Jason Dark.

  24. I was disappointed that one of my favorite webcomics, Stand Still Stay Silent, did not make finalist last year despite its author being Finnish. It takes place in post-apocalyptic Scandinavia. However it would not qualify for translated work, as the webcomic is in English.

  25. @Cora: But every single one of those romance subgenres save for Alpine were and sometimes still are popular in US romance!

    Americans had mountain resort romance — jeans instead of dirndls and lederhosen, but otherwise probably the same. Lots of hiking, clear lakes with pine trees, simple food, and traditional songs.

    Our next door neighbor in the 70s couldn’t get enough nurse romances; she must have bought every one available, some of them used from the 50s.

    American authors occasionally pretended to be Brits if they were doing gothic or English country house mysteries, but nothing else AFAIK; mostly those were handled with British imports directly. But Lovecraft showed you can do gothic in a US setting, and rich people had big houses in the country with servants, secret passages, and scandals just fine in the US.

    And Southern Gothic is a whole US genre unto itself, with the bayous and Spanish moss in the trees, particularly on the old plantations. Perfectly suitable for the heroine to flee the crazy relatives while carrying a candelabra and wearing a drippy white nightdress. Had She But Known…

  26. @Mike: On linking Twitter threads, I’d recommend just adding a “full thread here” to the item, with the “here” linking to the first tweet in the thread, on Twitter itself.

  27. @Lurkertype
    There are other differences as well with regard to the interaction of the couples, etc… And the alpine romances also have specific tropes such as heroic hunters, evil poachers, etc…

    I once wrote an article about German pulp romances which goes deeper into this. One day, I’m going to collect all the articles I wrote about German pulp fiction over the years and will republish them as a non-fiction collection.

  28. @Cora: that’s fascinating — a sort of whole-nation version of the “the grass is always greener…”. Re translation: I know about Perry(*) I was wondering not about SF but about the ~mimetic, or even historic, fiction; e.g., have any of the mysteries with English settings been sold in English, or is the recognizable-but-fantasy England-in-German-mysteries too far removed to sell where it’s set?

    (*) I was a MITSFS library keyholder when most of the US-edition Perrys came out, and catalogued a number of them, but they never looked worth reading — they sounded like the German version of Lionel Fanthorpe. Mine was not a solitary opinion — shortly after the original Star Wars came out, somebody put a card on the shelf saying “These aren’t the books you’re looking for. Move along.” — but at the time the MITSFS bought everything that came out from US mainstream publishers. (Small press was much less known then, so I’m not sure whether its absence in my memory is my memory’s fault, or the fact that our wholesaler didn’t carry it, or a real absence.)

  29. I’m not sure about the “crunchy with ketchup” one, but I seem to remember the “soggy and hard to light” pair being found in the 1969 Harvard Lampoon parody novel Bored of the Rings.

    I wouldn’t swear to it, because it’s been ages since I read that, but my memory is that it was one of the few genuinely funny things in that book. Which would be an odd thing to remember if it wasn’t there at all. (Though not impossible–memory is funny stuff, if I recall correctly.)

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  31. @Xtifr: “memory is funny stuff, if I recall correctly”

    I see what you did there.

  32. Plenty of evil poachers and heroic hunters in American ones too. Depending on when they were written, there might be heroic or evil loggers. And the couples interaction depends on when they’re set.

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