Pixel Scroll 6/27/22 Scroll Ain’t Nothing But Pixel Misspelled

(1) STOP STICKING IT TO AUTHORS. In “Amazon’s e-book return policy comes under criticism from authors” NPR takes up the cause of the writers whose pockets are being picked.

… Authors are protesting Amazon’s e-book return policy, a system they say allows readers to “steal” from self-published authors. Amazon’s current return policy for e-books allows customers to “cancel an accidental book order within seven days.” But, for some readers, seven days is more than enough time to finish a book and return it after reading, effectively treating Amazon like a library.

When an Amazon customer returns an e-book, royalties originally paid to the author at the time of purchase are deducted from their earnings balance….

…Those suggesting the read-and-return practice think they’re “sticking it to Amazon,” but in reality are only harming the authors, said Eva Creel, a fantasy writer who publishes under the name E. G. Creel.

“I have my book available at the library. If somebody wants to read it for free, they can,” Creel said. “But reading it and making me think that I’ve made an income and then that income being taken away from me, that feels like stealing.”

Science fiction and fantasy author Nicole Givens Kurtz said she’s concerned that this trend will continue.

“If people continue to promote [reading and returning e-books], it impacts my income, which impacts my quality of life and my ability to take care of my family,” she said. “I don’t think readers quite understand or see the person behind the product.”

(2) STURGEON SYMPOSIUM CFP. The Gunn Center reminds everyone that the deadline for proposals for the first annual Sturgeon Symposium is only 3 days away. The event takes place September 29-30 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. See the call for papers here.

(3) INCIDENT INTERRUPTS BUSINESS AT MACMILLAN. “After ‘Security Incident,’ Macmillan Closes, Will Not Process Orders” reports Shelf Awareness. The details are not disclosed.

Macmillan sent a notice to customers saying that because of “a security incident” on Saturday that involved its servers and internal system, the company has closed offices today, Monday, June 27, in order to continue its investigation and to rebuild “a secure working environment.” As a result, Macmillan is currently not able to process, receive, place or ship orders. The company added that it will keep customers posted.

(4) HUGO TAKES. This month the SF Insiders blog launched. Who’s writing it? No idea! It’s a secret.

Not unlike other writers hoping to break into the science fiction and fantasy field, we have high hopes, many opinions, and no power. We remain anonymous to protect ourselves from the Internet horrors we’ve seen inflicted on others.

The blog’s first order of business is evaluating the 2022 Hugo finalists. They’ve written about two Hugo categories and the Astounding Award so far.

2. Sheila Williams

Williams is the only previous winner on this year’s ballot and the editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction. She’s also edited several anthologies, but none of those were published in 2021. Asimov’s output for 2021 was exactly what we’ve come to expect and Williams continued involvement with the Dell Award did not go unnoticed by us. There’s a reason she’s won two Hugos and continues to appear on this list.

5. Escape Pod

A science fiction podcast that publishes a mix of reprint and original stories. Their editors are finalists for Editor Short form and we stand by the opinions stated there. On discussing this publication for the second time, however, we questioned why the same work is eligible for two awards. This isn’t the first time it has happened, but we think it would be more fair if these magazines choose to be in one or the other. With how often there are repeat finalists in these categories, restricting it to one would give us more variety to choose from.

We were supposed to talk about the Astounding Award finalists during this week’s Zoom, but we went in a different direction instead: the “not a Hugo” status of the award. Maybe someone can tell us how has this never become an official Hugo Award? As writers, the current status feels like a slap in the face and we’re not even eligible yet….

(5) LE GUIN, ROBINSON, AND UTOPIAS. The Tin House podcast offers “Crafting with Ursula : Kim Stanley Robinson on Ambiguous Utopias”.

Today’s guest, Kim Stanley Robinson, is perhaps the living writer most associated with utopian literature today. And as a student of the philosopher, political theorist, and literary critic Fredric Jameson, Robinson has thought deeply about the history of utopias, the history of the novel, and the strange hybrid form that became the utopian novel. In his mind it was Ursula K. Le Guin who wrote the first truly great utopian novel. We discuss Le Guin’s utopian work alongside his, and contextualize her importance historically. Robinson also shares some incredible anecdotes from his time in the 70s as her student and the ways their lives as fellow writers have intersected over the decades.

What is a utopian novel? What is an ambiguous utopia? And why has this genre become a particularly vital form and even a critical tool of the human imagination today? Listen in to find out. 

(6) NO COUNTRY FOR YOUNG MEN. [Item by Olav Rokne.] The Ringer does some interesting research into the trend of Hollywood blockbuster action movies that center on older actors and finds that it’s a multifaceted phenomenon that can be tied to economic heft of older moviegoers, changing media tastes in younger generations, and shifts in how movie studios build tentpole features around intellectual property rather than around individual actors and their personal brands. “The Golden Age of the Aging Actor”.

They quote film historian Mark Harris: “Maybe they’re gamers, or maybe what they really enjoy is TikTok, or maybe it’s something else, but a generation can’t generate stars if it doesn’t really love the medium that creates and accommodates stars.”

(7) BRYAN BARRETT OBITUARY. Fan and bookdealer Bryan Barrett, who co-chaired the 1998 World Fantasy Convention, died June 21. Lucy Huntzinger relayed the news from Bryan’s nephew, and wrote a tribute about him on Facebook which says in part:

…I can’t say enough about what a genuine, caring, intelligent, interesting man he was. He was always willing to help out friends with his little truck while he still had it, and he had a marvelous time at the San Jose Worldcon in 2018 seeing many old fannish and mystery friends again.

Because of his poor health in the last few years he lived a life that became increasingly housebound and full of medical appointments, but he never stopped caring about the world, about fairness and justice, about democracy….

(8) MEMORY LANE

1966 [By Cat Eldridge.] Fifty-six years ago this evening on ABC, the rather at first mundane soap opera Dark Shadows first aired. Now it wasn’t until ten months later that the Toothy One, vampire Barnabas Collins, as played by Jonathan Frid, made his first appearance. 

Before its six seasons and one thousand two hundred and twenty-five episodes ran their course, those of us who watched it will have seen Frankenstein style monsters, ghosts, a parallel universe, time travel, warlocks, werewolves, witches, and even zombies. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something of a fantastic nature that happened there. 

It has never left syndication in forty years. Dark Shadows (later referred to as Dark Shadows: The Revival) was attempted in 1991. That too created by Dan Curtis who was responsible for Dark Shadows, it lasted twelve extremely poorly received episodes. Dan Curtis also did two films set in the Dark Shadows continuity, House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.

It was somewhat unusual in a small company of performers played many roles; and as performers came and went, some characters were played by more than one performer.

I am not going to comment about Tim Burton directing a film version of this starring Johnny Depp, who finally realized one of his childhood fantasies of being Barnabas Collins. Really. I’m not. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 27, 1909 — Billy Curtis. You’ll best remember him as the small Copper-Skinned Ambassador in Trek’s “Journey to Babel” episode. His genre experience goes all the way back to Wizard of Oz where he was a Munchkin, and later on he’s a mole-man in Superman and The Mole-Men, and later on a midget in The Incredible Shrinking Man. He had lots of one-offs, be it on Batman (twice there), Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, Planet of The Apes or Twilght Zone. (Died 1988.)
  • Born June 27, 1941 — James P. Hogan. A true anti-authoritarian hard SF writer in the years when that was a respectable thing to be. The group that gave out the Prometheus Award certainly thought so with fifteen nominations and two Awards for two novels, The Multiplex Man and Voyage from Yesteryear. I’m sure that I’ve read at least a few of his novels, most likely Inherit the Stars and The Gentle Giants of Ganymede. A decent amount of his work is available at the usual suspects. (Died 2010.)
  • Born June 27, 1952 — Mary Rosenblum. SF writer who won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel for The Drylands, her first novel. She later won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History Short Form for her story, “Sacrifice”. Water Rites and Horizons are the only ones available at the usual suspects. (Died 2018.)
  • Born June 27, 1959 — Stephen Dedman, 63. Australian author who’s the author of The Art of Arrow-Cutting, a most excellent novel. I really should read Shadows Bite, the sequel to it. He’s the story editor of Borderlands, the tri-annual Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine published in Perth. Kindle has The Art of Arrow-Cutting and a few other titles.
  • Born June 27, 1966 — J.J. Abrams, 56. Executive Producer of AliasLost: Missing PiecesStar Trek, Lost, FringeStar Trek Into DarknessAlmost Human… Well you get the idea. Most fans really like, a few very vocal ones really hate his guts mostly for his Star Trek work. I love Fringe unreservedly and therefore will forgive any transgressions he committed elsewhere. 
  • Born June 27, 1972 — Christian Kane, 50. You’ll certainly recognize him as he’s been around genre video fiction for a while first playing Lindsey McDonald on Angel before becoming Jacob Stone on The Librarians. And though Leverage ain’t genre, his role as Eliot Spencer there is definitely worth seeing. 
  • Born June 27, 1975 — Tobey Maguire, 47. Spider-man in the Sam Raimi trilogy of the Spidey films. His first genre appearance was actually in The Revenge of the Red Baron which is one seriously weird film. Much more interesting is his role as David in Pleasantville, a film I love dearly. He produced The 5th Wave, a recent alien invasion film. 
  • Born June 27, 1987 — Ed Westwick, 35. British actor who has roles in the dystopian Children of MenS. Darko (a film I couldn’t begin to summarize), Freaks of Nature (a popcorn film if ever there was one), the “Roadside Bouquets” episode of the British series Afterlife (which I want to see) and The Crash (which may or may not be SF).

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Nancy shows a writer with ambitious goals.

(11) TRALFAMADORIAN TOOLKIT. Emily Temple has collected “Kurt Vonnegut’s Greatest Writing Advice” for Literary Hub.

5. Sound like yourself
The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was Conrad’s third language, and much that seems piquant in his use of English was no doubt colored by his first language, which was Polish. And lucky indeed is the writer who has grown up in Ireland, for the English spoken there is so amusing and musical. I myself grew up in Indianapolis, where common speech sounds like a band saw cutting galvanized tin, and employs a vocabulary as unornamental as a monkey wrench.

In some of the more remote hollows of Appalachia, children still grow up hearing songs and locutions of Elizabethan times. Yes, and many Americans grow up hearing a language other than English, or an English dialect a majority of Americans cannot understand.

All these varieties of speech are beautiful, just as the varieties of butterflies are beautiful. No matter what your first language, you should treasure it all your life. If it happens to not be standard English, and if it shows itself when your write standard English, the result is usually delightful, like a very pretty girl with one eye that is green and one that is blue.

I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.

(12) HISTORY JUMPS THE TRACKS. Annalee Newitz joins Margaret Atwood on the list of sff writers who didn’t set out to predict the present in “Science fiction, abortion, and predicting the future” at Slate.

A few months before COVID shut the world down in 2020, I published a book called The Future of Another Timeline. Set in 2022, it’s about a group of time travelers who live in an alternate United States where abortion was never legalized. Working in secret, they travel 130 years back to the 19th century to foment protests against the anti-abortion crusader Anthony Comstock. Their goal is to change the course of history. Spoilers: They succeed—sort of. When they return to 2022, abortion is legal in a few states, though it remains illegal in the majority of them.

It is not a good feeling to live through a version of the dark timeline I imagined in my fiction….

(13) A LONG TIME AGO. Craig Miller posted the letter he sent to winner of a contest he ran for The Star Wars Corporation in the Seventies.

In issue two of the Newsletter of the Official Star Wars Fan Club, I announced a contest to come up with an actual name for the newsletter. Fans could send up to three suggestions. We received a huge number of entries. I don’t remember how many but, apparently, there were thousands.

…The winning name: Bantha Tracks. And the winner, Preston Postle.

The letter is dated just 10 months after I started this newzine. I should have asked Craig for some of his discards – I’ll bet there were some better ideas in there than File 770, eh?

(14) THIS REMINDS ME. [Item by Chris Barkley.] When I heard this story, naturally I thought of this quote: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” Listen to the Here and Now report on WBUR: “Don’t worry about the robot revolution: One expert explains why AI is nowhere near sentience”.

For decades, robot revolutions have been a staple of science fiction stories. But earlier this month, the stuff of fiction came a little too close to reality when Blake Lemoine, a Google engineer, claimed that the company’s artificial intelligence had achieved sentience, the ability to experience feeling and thought.

While Lemoine’s claims made waves online, many experts are pretty skeptical. They argue that just because a program can imitate human language doesn’t mean it’s actually human.

One of those critics is Emily M. Bender, a professor at the University of Washington specializing in computational linguistics and grammar engineering. She spoke with Here & Now‘s Celeste Headlee.

(15) GOOD FORM. Walter Jon Williams told readers he recently leveled up in his martial arts training: “Achievement Unlocked”.

…I successfully tested for my 6th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate. In the days since, I’ve been judging at the tests of lower-ranking belts, and participating in a demonstration in front of a live audience.

All with a torn achilles tendon which requires me to walk with a cane much of the time.

Fortunately most of the test consisted of theory and philosophy. I was required to do some forms, but I designed most of these myself, and could alter them when I needed to. (For the demonstration, I was able to do my own kata more or less without modification, and the other form requires me to alter the steps once. It was uncomfortable and a little awkward, but I wasn’t left with the impression I’d bungled anything.)…

(16) POORFEADING. Jon Del Arroz, who styles himself a leading figure of ComicsGate, wrote an article belittling Heather Antos’ work for IDW. A true case of Muphry’s law in action, as Taylor Talks Comics pointedly reveals in a thread that starts here. A couple of excerpts —

(17) YOUTH WANTS TO KNOW. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Thanks for a friend alerting me that Dr Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is now available on the Disney+ streaming service for free (well, no $ other than the monthly fee), I’ve got one non-spoiler question (not directly germane to the movie, but I suddenly found myself wondering):

What happens when Blackadar Boltagon (aka Black Bolt), a (Jack Kirby-created) Inhuman usually ruler of Attilan and (often but not always) spouse to (the Inhuman named) Medusa, whose slightest whisper is explosive, burps, hiccups, or sneezes. (Or, for that matter, snores — let’s hope he doesn’t have sleep apnea.)

(18) OLDER THAN LUCY AND PROBABLY DESI. “Ancient fossils in the ‘Cradle of Humankind’ are more than 1 million years older than previously thought” reports Yahoo!

In 1936, archeologists began unearthing a trove of early human fossils in a South African cave. Now, researchers say most of those ancient bones date back 3.7 million years, which makes them more than 1 million years older than previously thought….

To gauge the ages of the hominid skeletal remains, Granger and his team used a technique known as “cosmogenic nuclide dating,” or burial dating, which involves examining the rocks that encased the ancient bones. It works like this: When energetic particles from space, or cosmic rays, hit rocks, they produce elements like aluminum and beryllium that build up and decay at a known rate.

“We’re able to take a rock that was exposed to cosmic rays, and if it falls into a cave, it’s shielded from more radiation,” Granger told Insider, adding, “It’s called burial dating because, really, what we’re doing is dating when the rock was buried.”

Granger used the same method in 2015 to estimate that one set of Australopithecus remains found in the Sterkfontein Caves, nicknamed Little Foot, was about 3.4 to 3.7 million years old. The new study suggests that in addition to Little Foot, all Australopithecus remains on the site are between 3.4 and 3.7 million years old, rather than roughly 2 million years old, as scientists previously thought.

The remains’ shifting age puts the species within roughly the same time frame that the famous human ancestor “Lucy” — which belonged to the species Australopithecus afarensis — roamed what’s now Ethiopia, 3.2 million years ago. According to Granger, that refutes the theory that the Sterkfontein individuals descended from Australopithecus afarensis. “There must be an older common ancestor somewhere,” Granger added…

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Olav Rokne, Stephen Burridge, Alan Baumler, Daniel Dern, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]

44 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/27/22 Scroll Ain’t Nothing But Pixel Misspelled

  1. (1) Worse, Amazon keeps the money for the book. Some authors end up owing money.

    (4) They could, Idunno, maybe talk to people who have been around the Hugos for more than a few months?

  2. Dark Shadows: I was 3 when Dark Shadows started, we didn’t watch it at my house, my grandmother watched other “Stories” (Such as Another World and Days of Our Lives)

    In 1967 my aunt’s sister came to stay for a while and she was an absolute Dark Shadows fanatic. She never missed an episode. One day I went into the living room while she was watching and saw a scene of a woman dressed all in black, kneeling at the side of a grave and crying. Suddenly a hand thrust up from the grave breaking the surface. The woman screamed and ran from the graveyard in terror. I remember seeing this and saying “Cool”.

    From that day forward I didn’t miss an episode. My grandmother, who claimed to not be a fan, always watched with me, under the idea that I was too little to watch it alone and might get scared. I watched every episode until Jan 1971 when my school bus route was changed and I didn’t get home until after it was over. I later watched the re-runs on a local independent station while I was in college, and before long I had most of a dorm watching episodes. I would often remember lines before the characters spoke them or upcoming actions.

    Currently Dark Shadows is running on Amazon’s Freevee under Prime or just as FreeVee (Formerly IMDB TV)

  3. Silence lies heavy against the Scrolls and Pixels of 770.
    And whatever Scrolls there, Scrolls alone.

  4. I have a writer friend who would like to burn Amazon to the ground and salt the earth where they were over what they’ve to authors. And some days she thinks that’s too good a fate for them.

  5. 9) His guts are worth hating for what he’s done to Star Wars, too.

    Whatever they are, they scroll near Pixel 957… and they must scroll there alone.

  6. 17) Black Bolt: That’s “Blackagar” not “Blackadar”. (Perhaps you’re being influenced by a certain Rowan Atkinson vehicle?) I’ve never felt that “Blackagar Boltagon” was one of Mark Gruenwald’s better ideas: it’s just “Black Bolt”, thanks much. Anyway, I can’t recall the comics ever going into things like sneezes, but it would be easy enough to handwave that the power involves the speech centers of his brain and so only manifests through intentional speech acts, so letting out things like coughs and sneezes and snores.

    The thing I always wondered about Black Bolt is why he couldn’t use some sort of artificial voice like Stephen Hawking had, or at least a pointing board. Marvel Universe supertech ought to be able to make his disability all but unnoticeable.

    Hugo finalist Saladin Ahmed wrote a Black Bolt series that was surprisingly good, by the way.

  7. I had a college group that watched Dark Shadows for while. Fridays were our favorite, because we wanted to see if a new writer was coming in on Monday or not. If it was a pretty standard episode with a pretty standard cliffhanger, same writer on Monday. If it was a gonzo episode with all the characters left in impossible situations, new writer on Monday.

  8. @Alan: Yes. After about 2000, Hogan fell into Holocaust denial, Velikovskism, and evolution denial (all of which contrasted with the attitudes he showed in his pre-2000 works).

  9. Meredith moment: Vonda N. McIntyre‘s Barbary is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine. As you probably know, it has, SPOILER ALERT! significant SJW companion content. A really cute one at that. END SPOILER ALERT.

  10. Love it. A species that claims intelligence and yet can’t define what “self-awareness” is, claims to be able to tell us whether or not some other species is self-aware. We may or may not have self-awareness (human beings), but we certainly have self-arrogantness.

    This article from 2018 does a pretty good job of discussing the issue, and comes to the same general conclusion(s) I came to when working on AI concepts at AT&T: self-awareness is an illusion generated by feedback mechanisms.
    And, for our next trick, we’ll try to explain how a non-self-aware being can express awareness of self without being self-aware….

  11. @Cat:
    There are thousands of booksellers, ex-booksellers, and booksellers’ clerks (past and present) who would cheerfully hold your writer friends’ beers and matchboxes while they torched Amazon and all its dark satanic mills to the ground.

  12. (1) Some of the arguments people are coming up with about the “read and return” problems are driving me nuts. And they’re coming from both pro and con sides. On the one side, some say readers should never ever ever be able to return ebooks, not even for accidental purchases or outright scams. (I started to buy them from Amazon more often because they had a return policy.) On the other side, some are claiming that the authors are exaggerating these reports. As if authors weren’t already seeing signs of serial returners in their sales reports.

    (8) There were a couple of one good things about the Tim Burton movie. Because of the publicity, people like me started watching the original to catch up. And that helped us realize how much the movie got wrong. (That wasn’t Willie Loomis! That wasn’t Dr. Hoffman! That certainly wasn’t Roger Collins!)

    How many people know that Dennis Patrick, who played Jason McGuire on the original Dark Shadows, was the Golden Man in that (very subtle) Lost in Space episode?

    Big Finish has some Dark Shadows dramas that had some of the final work of John Karlen as Willie Loomis.

    (16) Some of the quote tweets on that thread… facepalm Or is that faceplam?

  13. I ended returning a book to Apple Books, a Steven Brust novel, when I discovered that it was in Hungarian. The description was in English but the entire text was in Hungarian. Huh.

    I’ve never read a chapter or two and decided to returned any book. I just swallow the price.

  14. The only time I ever returned a book was because a writer I follow on Twitter said their book was on offer and I rushed straight to buy it, only for the price to stop to 20% normal ten minutes later.

  15. SF Insiders is off to a rocky start with the disparagement of the Astounding Award tiara:

    Instead of the iconic shiny rocket, an Astounding Award winner gets a plaque and a tiara. A tiara?! What kind of message is that? The pinnacle of an early career shouldn’t be something commonly associated with princesses. How do you react when someone calls you “princess”? Did anyone stop and think “should we be doing this?”

    The message the tiara sends is “this is fun.” Winners and nominees love the tiara, aside from grievance-collecting, right-wing sad sacks like Larry Correia who once sounded a bit like SF Insiders when he wrote:

    Yes. There is a Campbell tiara… No… I don’t get why either. Though I am going to vote for Brad Torgersen to win next year, just so that when he accepts the award he can say thanks, but then say that he is a Warrant Officer in the United States Army, and Warrant Officers don’t wear tiaras.

    As for how to react when you’re the newly crowned Astounding winner wearing the tiara and someone calls you “princess”, perhaps you could remember that it’s fun (point of fact) and not treat being wrongly gendered as female as some kind of personal affront.

    Even if the tiara was not fun (which, as I might have mentioned, it is), it is an effective way to find out which males in the SFF world are grappling with insecurity about their masculinity and/or heterosexuality.

  16. I remember running home from (elementary) school to watch Dark Shadows. Kids these days with their Cable TV’s and VCR’s don’t know what we had to put up with last century.

  17. rcade says Even if the tiara was not fun (which, as I might have mentioned, it is), it is an effective way to find out which males in the SFF world are grappling with insecurity about their masculinity and/or heterosexuality.

    I think the tiara as an Award is very cool and that deeply irritates certain folks is an added bonus. I do have a question though. Who’s the brilliant individual who came up with it?

    Now listening to Charles de Lint’s Drink Down the Moon, one of his early Ottawa novels.

  18. Well…some people have spent large amounts of their life being misgendered, and I certainly don’t want to add to that. Nobody should be forced to wear the tiara if they don’t want to. Even the social pressure is something we might want to think about.

    I mean, part of me would still like to force the cis-men to wear it, but since it’s none of my business whether someone is cis- or trans- or whatever, I have to dismiss that option as unworkable.

    edit: and I say this as a cis-man myself, albeit one who would be perfectly comfortable wearing a dress and a tiara.

  19. Torgersen was nominated in 2012. I don’t think he’s eligible next year.

  20. Ref James Hogan…I remember back in the late ’70s, Hogan’s first novel, “Inherit the Stars” came out–which I enjoyed, by the way. It begins with moderen astronauts on the Moon coming across a human corpse on the Moon, in a space suit not of modern-earth manufacture. A few months later, I came across one of those supermarket tabloids (Weekly World News, I think it was) that had a cover “article” saying that a human corpse had been found on the Moon. Of course it was fiction–there were no astronauts on the Moon at that time, and the photo was a fake. Normally I would have ignored the tabloid, but this time, I disguised myself and bought a copy of it and mailed it off to Hogan, with a note saying “How did you know?” He was amused. Hogan went on to write several good novels and stories, but, alas! as was noted here in File770, he went off the deep end by the ’90s and later. Pity.

    As for “How did you know”–it kind of made me wonder how Heinlein, in “Stranger in a Strange Land”, could have known in about 1960 that the (or a) World Chief Executive in the late 20th century would be an amiable but not particularly bright politician whose wife was into astrology. (I’m talking about Ronald and Nancy Reagan.)

  21. Even if the tiara was not fun (which, as I might have mentioned, it is),

    Different people have different idea of what “fun” is.

    it is an effective way to find out which males in the SFF world are grappling with insecurity about their masculinity and/or heterosexuality.

    Which is hardly the purpose of an award, and it takes away from the honor the awardee should be getting.

  22. According to Wikipedia, Jay Lake and Elizabeth Bear came up with the idea of the tiara in 2005. (Unless it’s saying that what they came up with was the idea of passing it along year to year, which is a possible reading of the sentence.)

    The Tiptree Award started its tiara tradition in 2001.

  23. I read “created at the behest of” as saying that they were the ones who had it made and started the tradition. I believe that the tiara itself is the work of Best Fan Artist winner Elise Matthesen.

  24. The tiara could just as easily be described as a diadem for those people fearing tiaras have cooties.

    No one is forced to wear it, but while they do a lot more people recognize them as the Astounding Award for best new writer.

    John Scalzi provides more details.

  25. Went to a funeral first one of my oldest friends today. She died a week ago, quite suddenly, and while it was quite peaceful and painless for her, every part of it has been griefridden and exhausting for everyone else involves. Starting with her housemate of thirty years, who found her late enough in the day that once police and EMTs arrived, it took over three hours to find a funeral home able to take the body temporarily. During that time, the police helped her search through the papers for the will (found), the deceased’s phone, purse, any sort of personal phone book (not found), home number and address of the cousin who is the executor of her will (housemate had that), vacation home phone or address, or cellphone, when he wasn’t home (not found)…

    He was finally contacted when the next day, housemate started reaching to cousins on deceased’s Facebook page.

    And today was the funeral. Contrary to normal circumstances, I couldn’t manage to stand or kneel properly without getting dizzy during the funeral service, or stand for the length of the not at all excessive graveside service. I had to have one of the few chairs. Not normal for me. Good that I went to the church, from church to graveside, and back to the house with a small group of mutual friends.

    So very tired. I’ve know her since the midseventies. Well, both of them. I introduced them when my mother converted our house to a two family and was looking for someone to rent the other apartment. My sister says the only really good thing that came out of that conversion was introducing them to each other.

    They’re both sf fans.

    Of actual Filer interest, she had a cat, I think previously mentioned. She was curled up with the cat when she died. At the funeral and at the graveside, different members of the family were asking both me and the housemate about her Credential, to be sure he still had a home. They were very pleased to know housemate as already started getting his records changed over to her name.

    I am exhausted.

  26. Lis: I’m sorry your friend died, and that it’s so physically difficult to get through the observances.

  27. Re: tiaras, doesn’t the Pope wear one? Seems to me that always beats regular crowns in fairy tales. Can’t see why anyone would be fussed about the ‘feminine’ aspect of it save ignorance.

  28. I’m sorry for your loss, Lis. Losing a longtime friend is incredibly difficult. I think of the one I lost a few years back often. It still doesn’t seem real. He brought so much joy into the lives of the people he knew.

  29. Re: tiaras, doesn’t the Pope wear one?

    He has one in the Vatican version of Hangar 51 but it stopped being worn as official papal headgear by Paul VI. This was controversial. Some Catholics declared him an “antipope” for no longer wearing it.

    Let that be a lesson to the first Astounding winner who renounces the tiara.

  30. The pope also wears a dress, but that doesn’t change the fact that dresses are generally perceived as feminine in our culture.

    Anyway, I’m not so concerned about a buffoon who thinks that anything with a hint of femininity will cause his dick to shrivel up and fall off. But I do have some concerns about a young trans-man who might have to choose between feeling like he’s being slightly misgendered again, and feeling like he’s somewhat of an outsider because he’s not participating fully. My impression is that trans-folks often spend too much time both being misgendered and feeling like an outsider for me to wish such a choice on one.

    Of course, this is sheer speculation on my part, since I’m not trans. But I would feel better if trans-folks–especially, trans-men–were a more visible part of the dialog.

  31. 4) Kind of amusing that they praise Asimov’s and Sheila Williams and her involvement in the Dell Award then complain about Dell Magazines’ Astounding Award being a slap in the face for not being a Hugo.

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