Pixel Scroll 6/20/17 Hugos And Dragons And Campbells Oh My!

(1) HAN SOLO DIRECTORS AXED. The untitled Star Wars Han Solo spinoff started principal photography on February 20 at London’s Pinewood Studios, but progress has come to an ass-grinding stop with the departure of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who cited “creative differences” for the split.

Variety’s article puts it a bit differently — “’Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy”.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s reputation for writing irreverent, poppy films such as “21 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie” helped the white-hot writing and directing duo land one of the most coveted gigs in Hollywood — a chance to call the shots on a “Star Wars” film.

But their chance to put their stamp on a galaxy far, far away collapsed on Tuesday with the stunning announcement that the pair would be departing the still untitled Han Solo spin-off movie in the midst of production. Their exit comes after months of conflict with producer Kathleen Kennedy, others from her LucasFilm team, and co-writer and executive producer Lawrence Kasdan, and the two directors hired to infuse the “Star Wars” universe with a tongue-in-cheek sensibility.

Miller and Lord were stunned to find that they were not being granted freedom to run the production in the manner that they were accustomed to. They balked at Kennedy’s tight control on the set.

(2) SAY IT OUT LOUD. Madeleine E. Robins has some advice about dialect in “’Ow’s that, Guv’nor?: The Art of Reading to an Audience”.

So maybe, even if you hear the words you’ve written with a perfect what-ever-it-is accent, you’ll want to think carefully before giving voice to their accents. This is a time when enlisting the assistance of a friend can be useful. Read aloud to them and ask them to tell tell you if it works. If your listener says you’re more [Dick Van Dyke’s Bert the chimney sweep] than Sir Ben Kingsley, rethink.

But my dialogue is written in dialect! Okay, but you don’t have to read inflections that are not in the page. If you’ve got a character saying “I don’t know ‘ow!” you can soften the presumed “Oi” in I; if you aren’t good at the vowels, don’t hit ’em hard. And remember, it’s more important that your listeners follow the sense and meaning of the words than that they get a full theatrical performance.

(3) RED PLANET INTERIOR DECORATORS. Jeremy White in WIRED (“IKEA designers are living in a Mars simulator to get inspiration for future collections. Really”) says that IKEA sent an in-house design team to spend seven days at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, who then decided how to make a Mars mission “more homey” and then use that knowledge to aid in IKEA’s product development.

At its annual Democratic Design Day event in Älmhult, Sweden, IKEA has revealed its latest collaborations and products, with a focus on millennials and space travel. Yes, space travel.

To this end, IKEA has done something rather drastic. It’s banished a delegation of its in-house design team to live in a simulated Mars habitat at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, America, to learn what it’s like to live in the inhospitable and cramped environs of off-world settlements.

When the company learned that Nasa and students from Sweden’s Lund University School of Industrial Design were working on what would be needed for a three-year space mission to Mars, IKEA requested to join the project.

The home furnishings giant wants to tap in to what scientists and engineers learn from spaceflight to Mars, and apply these discoveries to products and methods for everyday life at home. Marcus Engman, head of design at IKEA, said the company wants to find out what could make space travel “homey” and to identify the boundaries and restraints needed to work in that environment, and then port that knowledge into IKEA’s own product development and “use space knowledge for a better everyday life on Earth”.

(4) TENTACLE TIME. Camestros Felapton reviews a science fictional-themed brew, complete with photos of its exotic label, in “Tuesday Beer: Galactopus @LittleBangBrew”.

…I know my readers would WANT me to drink a beer called “Galactopus”, which features a planet devouring octopus on the label.

The sacrifices I make for you all.

The label has some very clever copy. I wonder how many beer labels a person has to author to qualify for SFWA?

(5) RHETORICAL QUESTION. Having seen the Wonder Woman movie Daniel Dern wants to know, “Why no kangas on Paradise Island?”

(6) HOWARD. The duck’s cameos in Guardians of the Galaxy give his leading lady a new excuse to brag: “Lea Thompson Talks ‘Howard the Duck,’ Claims Her Crown as First Queen of Marvel”.

Lea Thompson couldn’t give a quack about what you think of Howard the Duck, the puntastic 1986 Marvel Comics-based action-comedy that ran afowl of movie critics and has lived in film infamy ever since. The George Lucas-produced movie has a fan base out there, and that’s good enough for her.

“People love that movie!” Thompson said of “HTD,” as she likes to call it, during a Facebook Live interview with Yahoo Movies (watch the full interview below). “They’re releasing it again in Blu-ray or something… They don’t just do that because they’re nice.” (The film was made available on Blu-ray for the first time last May.) “It’s a hilariously bizarre movie,” Thompson continued. “The only thing that I can say that I don’t like about it is that I thought it was a little long.”

The film, which featured the Back to the Future breakout as a Cleveland singer who helps the anthropomorphic duck acclimate to life on Earth, runs 110 minutes, which is still well short of the average runtime of today’s Marvel movies, including the two Guardians of the Galaxy films that have briefly resuscitated Mr. HTD

(7) FIVE STARS. Marion Deeds and Kat Hooper each take a cut at Daryl Gregory’s Spoonbenders at Fantastic Literature. Here’s Marion’s first paragraph:

Spoonbenders (2017) by Daryl Gregory, is multi-generational family saga. It’s a coming-of-age story. It’s a psychic adventure story and a weird conspiracy tale for lovers of shadowy CIA projects like MKULTRA. It’s a gangster story. There’s a heist. There is a long con, and a madcap comedy along the lines of classic Marx Brothers routines. There are a couple of romances, a direct-distribution scheme, a medallion, a cow and a puppy. If we’re talking genre, I don’t know what Spoonbenders is. I know I loved it. I know it was fun and made me laugh, I know it was scary at times and I know I closed the book feeling happy and sad. And I know it’s a five-star book.

(8) COMIC SECTION. John King Tarpinian notes an amusing sf reference today in Bliss.

(9) SAD PUPPIES PROGRESS REPORT. Sarah A. Hoyt returned to tell Mad Genius Club readers what happened to Sad Puppies 5 in “About Those Lost Puppies”. After a lengthy recap of her version of history, she reaches the tentative present:

…Our intention was always to just create a page, in which those who register can post reading recommendations, not just of recent years, but of anything that struck their fancy.  There will be a place where you can say when the book was published and if it’s eligible for an award — and not just a science fiction award — and a link to the award page for people to follow, if so minded.  Yeah, we’ll include the Hugo, but probably with a note saying the award is in the process of self-destructing.

Thing is, I meant to have this up before nominations for the Dragon Award opened.  But on top of the comedy of errors above, our website provider either crashed or was hacked, so while trying to survive auto-immune and meeting more deliveries than UPS, I’ve been trying to get it up and running again.  (My author site is down also.)

So, that’s where we are.  We’ll put it up sometime in the next couple of months, and then Amanda and I will run it, and then Amanda will take over  Or Amanda, Kate and I will continue shepherding it.

When we said this before and pointed out that PARTICULARLY indie books need some place to mention them, we were linked to/lectured by someone one the rabid side, because apparently they already have a site, so we don’t need one of our own.

Tips hat to the right.  Thank you kindly.  But you guys are aware your aesthetics and goals aren’t ours, right?

You just turned Marxist aesthetics on their head, and are judging books by being anti-Marxist and how much they don’t support the neo Marxist idea of justice.  That’s cool and all.  To each his own.  And since, so far, your crazy isn’t being taught in schools, it’s slightly less annoying than the Marxist crazy.

It is still annoying, though, because you’re still judging literary value by whether it fits your (at least as crazy-cakes’ as the Marxists) narrative and your precepts….

(10) I ATE THE WHOLE THING. It’s been reliably reported that Whole Foods was not long for existence if Bezos or the like hadn’t bought them. “Amazon Eats Up Whole Foods as the New Masters of the Universe Plunder America” japes The Daily Beast’s Joel Kotkin.

Unlike our old moguls, the new Masters don’t promise greater prosperity but a world where most people are to be satiated by a state-provided basic income and occasional ‘gig’ work.


(11) PLAY BALL The Washington Post’s Scott Allen, in a piece called “Nationals will hide ‘dragon eggs’ ahead of ‘Game of Thrones’ Night”,  says the Washington Nationals have hidden 10 “dragon eggs” in the D.C. area, and if you find one fabulous prizes can be yours at the Nationals’ Game of Thrones night.

Nationals Park will look and feel a bit more like Westeros, the fictional continent from the popular HBO series based on George R.R. Martin’s novels, when the Nationals host the Reds on “Game of Thrones” Night on Friday.

Ahead of the event, the Nationals will hide 10 prize-filled “dragon eggs” in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. A Westeros-themed map posted on the team’s social channels and in The Washington Post Express on Tuesday morning will guide fans to the eggs, which contain a Nationals and “Game of Thrones” co-branded T-shirt, two tickets to Friday’s game and a fast-pass to pose for a photo on the 800-pound Iron Throne that will be located in the Right Field Plaza.

…The Racing Presidents will wear different-colored cloaks with faux fur designed by Ingrid Crepeau, the same woman behind the elaborate costumes that the Racing Presidents have worn on “Star Wars Day” since 2015. Teddy and George showed off their costumes at AwesomeCon in D.C. over the weekend. Screech will be dressed as his favorite “Game of Thrones” character, the three-eyed Raven.


(12) SEUSS MUSEUM. The Washington Post’s Andrea Sachs asks, “Will the Dr. Seuss museum be one of the places you’ll go?” Her article reports on the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss museum in Springfield, Massachusetts, where museumgoers can make small books or “a Lorax mustache on a wooden stick, look at his art, and see the rooms where he wrote and drew his books, including hats given him from fans of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

The ground floor brings to life several of his 40-plus children’s books. The front door opens up to “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” the first children’s book Seuss published. A statue of a police officer patrols a zany parade painted on the wall. Around the bend, step into McGrew’s Zoo, a riot of animals, most not found in the wild. A diagram shows some of the pretend creatures from “If I Ran the Zoo.” There is a preep, a proo, a nerkle and a nerd. Yes, a nerd — a word Seuss made up. Continue onward to make the acquaintance of Thing One and Thing Two, the Cat in the Hat, the Lorax and the tower of turtles from — burp — “Yertle the Turtle.”

Here’s the direct link to “The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum”.

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss is a permanent, bilingual museum designed to introduce children and their families to the stories of Ted Geisel, promote joy in reading, and nurture specific literacy skills. The 3,200-square-foot first floor exhibition will provide opportunities to explore new sounds and vocabulary, play rhyming games, invent stories, and engage in activities that encourage teamwork and creative thinking.

The second floor will be filled with personal memorabilia belonging to Ted Geisel, including original oil paintings, a collection of zany hats and bowties, the original Geisel Grove sign which used to hang in Forest Park, and furniture from Ted’s sitting room and studio, including his drawing board, breakfast table, sofa, and armchair.

(13) NAZI RELICS. Matt Novak of Gizmodo covers the “Huge Collection of Nazi Artifacts Discovered Inside Secret Room in Argentina”.

Federal police in Argentina recently discovered a time capsule of evil, hidden inside a house near Buenos Aires. Roughly 75 Nazi artifacts, including everything from a large knife to Nazi medical devices to a photo negative of Adolph Hitler, were uncovered in a secret room. Police are investigating when and how the items entered the South American country….

One reason that authorities in Buenos Aires has some degree of certainty that they are originals is that some items from the collection are pictured in photographs with Nazi leaders. For example, one item in the collection is a magnifying glass. The same magnifying glass is seen in a photo negative from the collection showing Hitler himself. Investigators showed the photo to the Associated Press on the condition that the photo not be published.

“This is a way to commercialize them, showing that they were used by the horror, by the Fuhrer. There are photos of him with the objects,” said Bullrich.

 [Thanks to JJ, Daniel Dern, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer Sylvester.]

179 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/20/17 Hugos And Dragons And Campbells Oh My!

  1. Dann:
    I’m going to toss out my periodic bromide that it would help de-escalate the SP issues if they were afforded the same consideration that is given to anyone else that perceives they have had an unpleasant experience. The best way to keep a group isolated is to keep isolating that group.

    I’ve been following the Sad Puppies for years. In the early days, a number of well-meaning individuals tried. But anyone who wasn’t 100% in agreement were regarded as the lying enemy, called nasty names, and subjected to abuse. Their views & emotions were set in stone, and it seemed that their identity depended on that unwavering view.

    After a while, well, why keep trying, when all you get in return is abuse & name-calling?

    Edit: Paul Weimer was one of the people I thought of who tried in good faith to engage & see things from the Puppy PoV. The abuse he got for his efforts is the main reason why I’m leaving the Puppies alone.

  2. Only an eternal optimist would so frequently run the risk of creating an example of the sort of thing that needs to happen a little less frequently.

    Show us where you tried your approach with the puppies, so we can learn from how it worked out.

  3. Dann: I’m going to toss out my periodic bromide that it would help de-escalate the SP issues if they were afforded the same consideration that is given to anyone else that perceives they have had an unpleasant experience. The best way to keep a group isolated is to keep isolating that group.

    Your continuing attempts to retcon the Puppies as victims who have always just minded their own business and who have been wronged by others, rather than as the aggressors who have repeatedly acted with deliberation to harm others which they really are, does you no credit.

    They are isolated because they have made a very loud, viciously-worded, and sustained effort to isolate themselves. They are the only ones who can fix that. And continuing to bad-mouth and attack Worldcon voters and the Hugos is not the way for them to fix that.

  4. @Dann – I did watch Paul Weimer’s attempt to have a calm conversation with the Puppies, way back when it was exploding. I believe this was before the “assterisk” incident, even. If I knew the link, I’d post it so you could see, but Paul was being exceedingly empathetic and kind, basically saying “What I’m hearing you say is that you feel like X because Y. On the other side, when you say/do Z, it makes me feel Q.” Or whatever. And he was pretty viciously shouted down and eventually banned. There was no room for dialogue, according to many of them. That was around when I mostly gave up trying to communicate with them, as well. If Paul’s rhetoric was too much for them, my inability to not snark back at people who attack me rendered my efforts hopeless.

    On the other hand, yeah, they tend to be roundly mocked outside of their own circles, but I don’t know how that can possibly change until they at least see non-Puppies as human. As far as I can tell, the general consensus is that we are all transhuman neo-marxist college professors who were born and raised in big coastal cities and/or Europe and have never left those confines.

  5. That piece by Lydy is very well-written and powerful — and she puts a finger on exactly what made me unhappy with Brust’s speech, but which I was not able to articulate (and bear in mind that I have, and have long had, positive feelings about Brust as a person).

    Brust’s abuse of the term “safe space”, like Neil Gaiman’s abuse of the term “Trigger Warning”, comes from him not ever having had the need for such a space and thus not being able to understand the huge significance of such a space for those who, unlike him, have never had that.

    Yes, having to navigate social interactions with constant, never-ending vigilance, not knowing the rules, and frequently getting called out for somehow stepping over a line without even being aware that the line was there, is tiring and nerve-wracking. But this is the daily life of a huge proportion of the human population.

    That those who have had lives privileged enough that they never had to deal with it before this, are now having to do so, and are complaining about having to do so… well, sorry, but I’m saving my empathy for the people who have been dealing with it all their lives, who will never get to stop having to deal with it, and who’ve never had the advantage of being able to retreat back to comfortable safe spaces where their power and their privilege protect them and they don’t have to spend every moment of every day second-guessing what they say and do. 😐

  6. I’d say everyone needs to read Lydy’s piece, but I imagine those who most need to read it would dismiss it because she’s too emotional. 🙄

    You get upset that I am enraged over how you say something rather than engaging with what you “actually” said. You are ignoring the fact that I have spent my entire fucking life trying to divine what is really meant by so-called innocent words. I have never been able to take at face value a compliment, an invite to drinks after work, a comment about my clothing, an inquiry into my health. I have spent my entire life carefully navigating the unspoken, because the penalty for getting it wrong was my reputation, or worse. Again, always, I worry about violence. Because that is life, for me, as a woman.


  7. Dawn Incognito on June 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm said:
    And you can bet that none of us would get a pass on the nonsmoking area rules just because of who we are. (Or any other rules.)

  8. @P J Evans: did Brust get a pass on the smoking rules? Was he GoH? (The site is unenlightening at quick glance.) If otherwise, I’m appalled — and even making a smoker a GoH is a matter of negotiation and planning. (I know this had to be done when, e.g., MacLeod was GoH at Boskone, but that was long enough ago that I don’t remember the outcome.)

    @3 is a neat idea, but I hope IKEA goes beyond designs and thinks about more-adjustable pieces; ISTM that they’re well-placed to do it (if the user has to insert tab A into slot B, why not also make slot B-prime), and colonists (whenever they happen) might find that different dimensions work better in Mars’s lower gravity. I wouldn’t assume that they will, but thinking about maximum flexibility is worthwhile given how expensive getting things there will be. And even if the furniture is 3-D printed on-site, having it thought about beforehand will save spoons that will be needed for other (probably survival) tasks.

    @9:Yeah, we’ll include the Hugo, but probably with a note saying the award is in the process of self-destructing. I see Hoyt is still having as much trouble connecting to reality as the Ankh-Morpork king who gave the city its other slogan.

    The comments about the recent Julius Caesar furor are reminding me of a scene early in Kornbluth’s The Syndics, in which most of the characters are post-revolutionary historical figures (by makeup — the script is unchanged); the protagonist has to figure out what political argument is intended by who is “cast” as whom.

  9. @Dann: I think it’s time for you to put up or shut up. Show one instance where the Puppies have dealt reasonably with reasonable, fact-based disagreement. (I don’t count starting by telling them, “Yes, all your grievances are righteous.”) AFAICT, this started with Correia’s ex-post-facto temper tantrum (saying at-con he was enjoying himself, then complaining afterward about being mistreated — without any evidence that he was treated differently from anyone else who wasn’t a GoH or up for an award); this suggests they are not part of the reality-based community. (And most of us remember what happened when that was used as a slur.)

  10. Chip Hitchcock on June 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm said:
    Either in Lydy’s post that Elise linked, or one of the comments there, it was mentioned.

  11. Timothy: Come on, Whonior.
    Doctor: Will you please stop calling me Whonior?
    Rose: What does that even mean? Whonior?
    Timothy: It’s his name: Timothy Wimey, Whonior.
    Doctor: I like “Doctor Who.”
    Timothy: We named the dog Doctor Who.

  12. It’s powerful writing, but it’s a straw man argument, don’t you think?

    Nowhere does the speaker ever say, “Let’s get rid of all rules!”, but that’s what the caricature, the straw man, says, only to be soundly and easily refuted.

    The argument escalates from there, but I hopped off at the mezzanine.

  13. Chip, 4th Street has not had Guests of Honor since 2008. (We were going to have a GoH in 2009, but Stuff Happened, and we didn’t. Enough people liked the move towards a peer-to-peer environment that we did it on purpose after that.)

    I ran the convention in 2009. I was very proud of my hotel co-heads,Jenett and Davey (the latter of whom I believe you know), for graciously but firmly adhering to the hotel’s rules forbidding smoking no matter who tried to get an exception. (Moral of that story: poker player versus Boston-area women administrators is an event where you probably want to put your money on the latter.)

  14. Elise Matthesen


    Thank you for sharing this. I replied to the original post with the speech here with saying that it was at best confusing and at worst marginalizing the concept of a safe space. But as someone who hasn’t needed one, she makes several points I hadn’t even considered and all around a fantastic response to some who might ask what the rules are of what they can say.


    I’m going to toss out my periodic bromide that it would help de-escalate the SP issues if they were afforded the same consideration that is given to anyone else that perceives they have had an unpleasant experience. The best way to keep a group isolated is to keep isolating that group.

    C’mon man, not sure how that works. If someone has an unpleasant experience that I’m involved with I’ll usually go with ‘Sorry about that, what can I do to help make it better?’ but the response of ‘You don’t actually like the things you say you like, and you only say so because you’re trying to ruin everything.’ Ain’t gonna fly.

    Same consideration for an unpleasant experience isn’t a great analogy when the isolation is just self inflicted, but proudly so.

    So it goes. I got the first The Greatcoats book out of the library based on the good things you had to say about the final book. Either I’ll like it or I wont, either way I’ll be glad for another thing to read and happy to discuss it without suggesting you lied about liking it 😀

  15. John A Arkansawyer

    It’s powerful writing, but it’s a straw man argument, don’t you think?

    Nowhere does the speaker ever say, “Let’s get rid of all rules!”, but that’s what the caricature, the straw man, says, only to be soundly and easily refuted.

    That’s covered in the linked blog

    I have some very specific issues with the things Steven said, but I don’t want to write about them at this moment. Instead, I want to address something that comes up over and over in these conversations, and always from men.

    It’s not a strawman argument as the person specifically mentions that what they’re discussing isn’t a response to what Steven said but a response to the conversations that come up in discussions about free speech, harassment and safety. You could go with anecdotal but the writer specifically states what they are responding to and nowhere does it say the speaker ever said ‘Let’s get rid of all the rules’.

  16. @Matt Y: There’s just one piece in response, right? Or did I lose track? I may have, because you are absolutely right: “nowhere does it say the speaker ever said ‘Let’s get rid of all the rules’.” That is exactly right and I’m still wondering how I got it wrong. Had I noticed the title, I would’ve understood better.

    It still isn’t really a response to the speech, though. It’s a response to someone asking for “the rules”. And so here they are.

  17. @P J Evans: and reading further, it’s clear that was from the previous version of 4th St., which ended in 1995. Need I say that Things Were Different Then? (In 1987 I left a job because management refused to control someone’s smoking — and this was in Boston, which I was still used to thinking of as more ~progressive than MSP.) Brust may have put his foot in it up to his armpit with his impersonation of Humpty Dumpty (definer of words), but bringing up an issue that died (really died…) 22 years ago is not just.

    @Elise: TFTI; I had forgotten D working on hotel for you. (That was around the time I was dealing with Anticipation craziness, followed by Events that called for more focus.)

  18. @Bruce Arthurs

    If you put a Marxist and an anti-Marxist together, does it:

    Cause both to be obliterated in a titanic explosion?

    I’m a bit nervous every time I walk by an Italian restaurant that some day, someone there might drop an antipasto on a plate of pasta.

  19. @Dann – Only an eternal optimist would so frequently run the risk of creating an example of the sort of thing that needs to happen a little less frequently.

    In general, I ignore passive aggressive asides, but you have once again made the same false equivalency error about the same thing you usually get wrong. When people – any people – post an error here, there will be a group pile on explaining why that poster is wrong. It’s not groupthink, it isn’t closing ranks against wrongthink, wrongfun, or wrongfan. It’s just a bunch of individuals rushing to correct errors because not doing so, letting the error pass as if it was not an error, is impossible for them.

    It’s a group characteristic and inextricably linked for almost everyone who posts here. It’s like at a synagogue, where any error in a reading will elicit a loud chorus of correction. It has no underlying social meaning, no disapproval,it’s just eh, no, wrong.

    I get what Brust was going for, but he has no standing with which to make that particular declaration. Also, I think I might learn cross-stitch so I can make a permanent record of everything Lydy Nickerson wrote about rules.

  20. @ Mark: Yeah, I noticed that too He basically starts from the same assumption we always hear from the “Political Correctness gone MAD!” crowd — that wanting a safe space means wanting to be coddled, handled with kid gloves, and never, ever disagreed with about anything. (You know — the exact kind of treatment they demand from others.)

    FTR, when I hear “safe space”, what I think of is a place in which I will not be assaulted physically or verbally; a place in which I and my views will not be marginalized; a place in which my personal experience will not be discounted or denied, and in which I will not be accused of lying when I talk about it. A place in which, if there are 50/50 women and men, the women will be able to contribute roughly 50% of the conversation without being interrupted or talked over (and likewise with white people and PoC). A place in which disagreement does not automatically devolve into anger. Admittedly, the latter two are not always easy to achieve, but that’s what “striving for improvement” means, right?

    The quickest summing-up of Brust’s speech that I can think of is GIGO.

    @ Paul: Yes, just as the issuing institution for a diploma says a lot about the value of the document.

  21. You know what would de-escalate the conflict with Sad Puppies? If they used that banner to talk about books they love and why they love them more than they talk about people they hate and why they hate them.

    When puppies used to drop in during the height of the award wars, there was a common tactic used by Filers: Someone would ignore their vitriol and ask, what have you read lately and why did you like it? More often than not, this shut them up. Talking about books in an argument about a book award was a bridge too far.

  22. @ John A: Speaking of strawmen, how do you feel about Brust casually redefining the meaning of “safe space” in order to build his argument around that redefinition?

  23. Looking just at MGC crowd branch of Puppydom, prior to the full on 2015 Kerfuffle, the Hugo’s was not something that appeared to concern them much. The SFWA and associated controversies was more their concern. I’m not sure there were even any posts on Sad Puppies 1 and 2 at MGC.

    So, in terms of addressing their concerns about the Hugo’s and Worldcon etc? I don’t think they ever really had any that particularly bothered them until 2015.

  24. Re Sad Puppies (and Rabid ones too, for that matter), this is my opinion:

    1) I think it’s good for Mike to link to their posts, because first off, this blog is about “news of science fiction fandom”, and that means all of fandom, not necessarily just the parts we like; and secondly, it’s always a good idea to know what people who hate you are up to.

    2) That said, I often wish that we didn’t spend so much time and energy responding to what they post, especially since it’s generally the same already-refuted stuff over and over again. This is why I rarely say anything about Puppy posts; I *eyeroll* and scroll on. But I’m not trying to tell anyone else how to react; I scroll past a lot of comments too, with or without attendant eyeroll.

    3) That said, I long ago stopped believing that Dann is arguing in good faith on this topic. He’s mostly using the bog-standard right-wing false equivalence that mocking and annoyance are just as bad as active sabotage and (occasionally) physical threats, and that’s not worth my attention.

  25. @Dann
    What precisely is the unpleasant experience the Sad Puppies allegedly had with the regards to the Hugos? That there are some Hugo-winning books they dislike? Well, guess what? There are plenty of Hugo-winning works I dislike, including some where I have no idea how something like that even got nominated, let alone how it managed to win. However, I don’t start a campaign to sabotage the award, just because I don’t like some of the winners.

    If the unpleasant experience refers to people quoting their words, liking to them, arguing with them, being snarky about them, puppy nominees getting no-awarded and the wooden asterisk thing, well, they brought that upon themselves.

    Plus, as the experiences of Paul, Camestros, GRRM and others have shown, the puppies don’t respond well to people trying to have a reasonable discussion with them. So it’s no wonder that people stopped trying.

    Good indie SFF authors:

    Kyra Halland: Her Daughter of the Wildings series is a western romance with magic. She also has a couple of standalones. Some of her books have puppies in their also-boughts, but don’t let that scare you off.

    C. Gockel: The I bring the fire series is Norse mythology based urban fantasy. She also has a space opera series.

    J.C. Kang: The Dragon Songs Saga is a Chinese mythology based epic fantasy series.

    Patty Jansen: Writes hard SF, space opera and historical fantasy.

    Andrea M. Höst: Writes science fiction, steampunk and epic fantasy.

    Annie Bellet: You may remember her as one of the sad puppy nominees who distanced herself from the puppies and withdrew her Hugo nominated short story in 2015. Her Twenty-Sided Sorceress series is urban fantasy, the Pyrrh Considerable Crimes Division series (which I wish she’d continue) is a police procedural set in an epic fantasy world.

    Shanna Swendson: She started out traditionally published and then went indie, when her publisher dropped her series. The Enchanted Inc. series is an urban fantasy workplace comedy with some chick lit overtones. She also has a new series about fae.

  26. (1) Not a good sign. And while I liked Alden Whatsis in “Hail, Caesar!” he’s really, really not Han Solo. Ditto Glover as Lando. So it won’t affect me much. Also, I don’t believe they were “shocked” — they can’t be that naive.

    (3) Be interesting to see the Mars-inspired furniture when it comes out. I’ll definitely look at it and have some meatballs. In the future, will astronauts need NASA-spec Allen wrenches?

    (6) Are the new movies in continuity with that one? Because if so then sure. She can claim it. Also, as an extra in HTD, that makes ME part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe! EXCELSIOR! (🎝quack quack quack quack🎝)


    But seriously, she shouldn’t let the Rabids keep her from doing whatever she wants. It’s not her fault the Teddy Boys ran ramshod over Larry and Brad. The Sads list will probably have some interesting stuff on it.

    What she ought to do, though — since Larry and Brad aren’t involved any more — is rebrand to something that doesn’t carry such baggage. Why not “The Mad Genius Club Recommended List”? It’s a much friendlier name. Doesn’t carry echoes of resentment, entitlement, crazy right-wingers, pathetic feels. AND it’s old-school sci-fi related. Like the stuff back in the good old days. And it’d be good marketing for the MGC. Make it her and Amanda’s own good thing, not a retread of inherited crap.

    Heck, let Declan Finn have the SP name — it’ll really be Sad at that point.

    But I’m just glad her followers finally read the WSFS constitution and realized that the Hugos are owned by WSFS. Now, have they gotten the message that WSFS and SFWA aren’t the same organization yet, or will it take them another 4 years to twig to that? (jots down note to check in 2021 before DC Worldcon)

    Considering you have to be a member of Worldcon to vote for Hugos, how is it not bleedin’ obvious that Worldcon owns the Hugos? “Citizenship”, if you will.

    (12) Sounds a lot like the Charles Schultz Museum in California, which has a whole lot of other cartoon/comic book content and workshops. They had a table at SVCC and I was quite impressed with their flyer of ongoing and upcoming events, which included Jeff Smith of BONE fame.

    @many — wonderful filk and poems.

    I’ve met one Marxist in my life, and even he wasn’t very doctrinaire. Mind you, I’ve spent a lot of time in/around CU Boulder and UC Berkeley, where apparently I should have been inundated with nothing but them being all Marx-y and I can tell you I saw far more t-shirts with Groucho than Karl on ’em.

    And being an apologist for the current regime is just as likely for fascist dictators. Take the artistic and scientific output of Spain in the early Franco* years. Or even Republicans — else what was all that effulgent praise and sucking up in the US Cabinet meeting about last week?

    @BravoLimaPoppa: consider following Cora Buhlert’s blog for indie SFF that’s actually been edited and proofread.

    @Brust’s speech, I couldn’t hear it over the dog whistles and sea lions. Oooh, he’s so “edgy” and “provocative”! Let’s make up our own definition of a common term and then get all boo-hoo butthurt when other people disagree! The fact that commenters are un-ironically using SJW shows what kind of people he was speaking to. Woof. “But what about the straight white mens and their fee-fees??” Lydy Nickerson says it best. Thanks for the link, Elise.

    And a commenter on Lydy’s post says Brust also liked to smoke in non-smoking areas, because he’s above such petty ideas as making it easier for others to breathe. Even in the 90’s, that was Not On.

    *Who is, of course, still dead.

  27. Wasn’t 2015 the first time the MGCs were finalists for Hugos? Personally, I view SP3 as their first real attempt to game the system, only to be shown how to really do it by the RP, SP4 was more, “OK, we get why everyone got mad at us, so we’ll modify our behavior so we’re not really gaming the system, much”, only to by overshadowed again by RPs, and unfortunately, still treated the same as the RPs by everyone not a puppy, and now they’re mad because they’re still treated as though they are RPs because even though they don’t totally act like RPs, they’re still hanging out with them, and still act like RPs sometimes.

  28. 1995. Need I say that Things Were Different
    Not that different – the company I mostly worked at had banned smoking indoors about 1988. There were no-smoking areas in restaurants in Texas before 1993 (and sometimes they got ignored, much to the annoyance of the rest of us).

    What I object to is the idea that some people are so special that rules that apply to everyone else don’t apply to them. Smoking rules are health-and-safety issues; you shouldn’t get a pass on them because you’re Important.

  29. Heh. Ninja’d by Cora.

    So I’ll add LJ Cohen. She has a duology (and that’s IT!) of fantasy, and a hard sci-fi but not milSF series of which the first is “Derelict”.

    And of course there are our own Heather Rose Jones and Charon Dunn.

  30. @Hampus:

    Yeah, Mellick’s definitely… something. Haven’t read that one, but I will say that one of the Critical Failures novels – I believe the second one – requires Our Heroes having to find a way to sneak a stake into a vampire’s stronghold. The plan they go with involves taking a stake and crafting the not-pointy end into a masterwork-class dildo.

    So there’s that.

    @Kip W.: (overheard on the Group Filer bench)

    “…and creatin’ an asterisk!”

    @lurkertype: (adding to the MCU)

    After seeing GOTG2, my headcanon is that the Hasselhoff Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD movie exists in the MCU… as a propaganda biopic based on heavily redacted data, which the actual Nick Fury occasionally still complains about. (“Can’t believe they whitewashed my ass and the brass didn’t correct ’em!”)

  31. I don’t complain about people smoking at the bus stop any more, either. I got to where I sympathized more with them than the people telling them to disappear.

  32. What I object to is the idea that some people are so special that rules that apply to everyone else don’t apply to them. Smoking rules are health-and-safety issues; you shouldn’t get a pass on them because you’re Important.

    One of Germany’s former chancellors was a heavy smoker. In his later years (and he lived well into his nineties), he was also infamous for smoking everywhere and steadfastly ignoring non-smoking signs and regulations. He smoked in restaurants, in hospital, in theaters, in TV studios while being interviewed. And whenever someone complained or pointed out that smoking was not allowed, he got extremely rude and simply continued to smoke, which is ironic, because as chancellor he was very much about law and order. He even got sued over his steadfast insistence on smoking wherever he pleased, but the lawsuits always got dismissed. I so hated that people kept indulging him, because he was old and had been chancellor once upon a time. Because whether he’d been chancellor once or not, the law still applies to everybody.

  33. When the SPs had their high time I tried to understand them and went to their pages and asked questions in their comment section. I was always ignored. At one point I just thought – Well obviously youre not really interested in discussing anything, so why should I care?
    And I too aks myself: What is the negative experience that the Sad Puppies had?
    Its this kind of guessing game that gives me the impression, that the problem with the sad Puppies is not, that nobody would talk to them, but that they dont really want to talk with anybody else but themselves.

    I dont hate the Sad Puppies. Why would I? They are easy to ignore.

  34. He stopped calling himself that in Mississippi when he realized that “libertarian” meant white supremacist with a college degree.

    I love that and am going to steal it to send to all my friends.
    Especially the “libertarian Trump-ites”

    As for the MGC–it would certainly be helpful if they actually did create a column where they could list writing they loved and why. But I’m afraid that would negate the whole reason for their existence.

  35. Chip said: “22 years ago is not just.”

    Eh, he was still trying to get a pass on them in 2009 when I was conchair. (The Bostonian Women’s Hotel Wranglers Guild won that one handily.) But the smoking thing was about respecting shared resources, and about the deleterious effects on one’s reputation of a lack of concern for the common good, which was not what we were disc… oh, wait.

    (The Lioness has set off the snark detector, and is therefore going off to bed.)

  36. Indie writers — I’ll recommend Henry Melton. He’s basically got a captive publishing house, with 40-odd titles at this point and still going strong. A lot of his books are YA, but not all, and the YAs I’ve picked up are pretty damn good.

    P J Evans: Leslie Fish was a problem in the filk community for a long time. I think these days if she’s going to be at a con, the filk coordinator sets up smoking and non-smoking filkrooms; most people are okay with stepping outside to smoke, but not Leslie. (It’s also totally wrecked her voice. I have tapes from 30 years ago, and OMG she sounded so much better then.)

    And there’s a fairly popular Texas author who virtually dropped out of sight about 10 years ago when hotels started going all non-smoking. Side note: I was both amused and annoyed by the number of staunch Libertarians who were all up in arms about that. And it wasn’t a government mandate, it was that the hotels had gotten sick and tired of having to renovate the smoking rooms 5 or 6 times as often as the non-smoking ones. They were bleeding money, and they put a stop to it.

  37. Mark-kitteh: Brust has posted a follow-up about his speech.

    With “friends” like W. S., who needs enemies? 🙄

  38. @lurkertype, when I read your post where you mentioned Gereralisimo Franco I was going to delurk and say something about him still being dead but then I saw your asterisk. You beat me to it and I wanted to say it made me smile.

  39. BGrandrath: when I read your post where you mentioned Gereralisimo Franco I was going to delurk and say something about him still being dead but then I saw your asterisk. You beat me to it and I wanted to say it made me smile.

    I cracked up laughing out loud, too. 😀

  40. BGrandrath: when I read your post where you mentioned Gereralisimo Franco I was going to delurk and say something about him still being dead but then I saw your asterisk. You beat me to it and I wanted to say it made me smile.

    JJ: I cracked up laughing out loud, too.

    Me three. 🙂 Good one, lurkertype!

  41. Whoo. Better late than never, there, Brust. Now work on not smoking in places where it’s technically allowed but people would rather you didn’t, and also try not to dog whistle and sea lion so much so you can be “edgy”.

    @Elise: Will you and/or Lydy adopt me or something? I am not picky about what non-sexual form our relationship might take.

    @Rev. Bob: With someone, possibly Tony Stark attempting to ‘splain: “Maybe they were trying to keep your cover intact by showing someone your opposite?” And Fury says “Naw, they just didn’t care. Although for DAMN SURE Hasselhoff is my complete MF opposite.” Meanwhile, Steve makes another note of references to look up.

    @Lee: Leslie is less and less seen at filk cons because of her refusal to put on a damn nicotine patch once in a while. Even if a con is willing to accommodate her, so many hotels are completely non-smoking in all areas that there are a lot of cons she won’t attend. All the Westin and Marriott chains are smoke-free in US and Canada, as are some states. So fewer filkers know who she is nowadays and she’s being forgotten because of her own actions. When the young’uns who have heard of her hear her sing, they wonder how she got so famous since her voice is terrible now. I guess she’s a good object lesson for all singers?

    Libertarians only believe in the free market when it benefits them. If other people’s ways of making money gets in the way of them carrying out their entitlement wants (not needs), it hurts their fee-fees. Especially if it means they might have to be responsible for their actions.

  42. JJ:

    “With “friends” like W. S., who needs enemies?”

    I was thinking just that.

  43. woahhhhhh
    Everybody’s Avatar/Icon thing has just turned into a black square aside from Mark’s – which is plain white*

    *[no, really – I’m not just being weird for no reason]

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