Pixel Scroll 6/9/17 A Simple Scrollable Pixel, Or How I Was Mike Glyered Into Filing

(1) OPENING ROUND. Fantasy-Faction, in “The SPFBO: Introducing Round One!”, tells how they’re getting ready to participate in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off.

As you know, 300 competing titles have now been split into batches of 30 and assigned to one of the ten participating blogs. Here’s the tough part: we can’t keep them all. It’s a bit like being asked to foster a small herd of kittens, then being told you’re only allowed to adopt one of them. We try hard not to become too attached, but it proved very difficult last year and I wouldn’t be the least surprised if the same were true again this time.

(2) SPACEBALLS. Profiles in History will be auctioning “Rick Moranis hero ‘Dark Helmet’ helmet from Spaceballs.” At the end of the month reports Invaluable.

Rick Moranis hero “Dark Helmet” helmet from Spaceballs. (MGM, 1987) This articulating oversized signature helmet was worn by Moranis as Dark Helmet throughout the Mel Brooks classic Sci-Fi spoof. Consisting of 20 in. round by 14 in. tall cartoonish “Darth Vader” -stylized helmet constructed of heavy vacuum formed plastic component shell affixed to internal construction worker’s hard-hat liner to fit the actor. With screw-hinged movable faceplate section featuring vents, metalized shower drain mouth piece and triangular embedded tinted see-through lenses. Exhibiting only minor production wear and age. In vintage very good to fine condition. $8,000 – $12,000

(3) M. BANKS. Sam Reader at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog honors the late author — “With The Algebraist, Iain M. Banks Perfected His Space Opera”.

The Scottish author Iain Banks famously led a double life in publishing. Some of his books — the ones published under the name Iain Banks — were sold to readers as “literature,” and shelved as such in bookstores. The rest — the ones that applied his talent for creating boldly unlikeable characters and enormously complex plots to the tropes and trappings of science fiction — were published under the name “Iain M. Banks,” that middle initial serving as a beacon to genre readers across the world, telling them: this one. This is the Banks you’re looking for.

The Algebraist is peak Iain M. Banks. It’s also the only book he ever wrote to be nominated for the Hugo Award, a fact that seems almost unbelievable in retrospect.

The late, great SF pioneer, who died on this day in 2013, spent most of his life experimenting with space opera …

(4) ANY SUFFICIENTLY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY. Yesterday, you didn’t care about this. But today you will passionately brawl about it. Natalie Zutter asks “Is Time Travel Science Fiction or Fantasy?” at Tor.com.

Even though you would expect time travel to require hard rules, it seems to most often appear in both science fiction and fantasy stories that require a certain amount of handwaving on the details. We’re given some sense of how the TARDIS operates — the chameleon circuit, and the sometimes-isometric, sometimes-telepathic controls — but it’s best just to jump in and hang on. Similarly, there’s no clear explanation for the time travel in Kindred or Outlander aside from supernatural forces working outside of our understanding or control, forces that cause certain events to occur as part of some larger cosmic plan.

(5) NEVERMORE. Maybe there’s a more subtle reason Noah’s raven didn’t come back? The Verge reports “If you wrong a raven, it will remember”.

These nine ravens were raised in captivity, growing to become familiar with the researchers. Then came the test.

The ravens were put in a cage along with two trainers on each one. The first trainer gave the raven a piece of bread. The raven then carried the bread to the other trainer on the other side, and exchanged it for cheese.

The second time, the raven was soundly rejected. Instead of getting the cheese, it had to watch as the trainer just ate the cheese in front of it.

Two days later, the researcher rounded up up seven of the birds and presented them with three trainers: the fair one who gave them the bread, the unfair one who ate food in front of them, and a neutral one. Six out of seven birds chose the fair one. One chose the neutral one. Nobody wanted to play with the mean one.

(6) I FORGOT. The City, Awake by Duncan Barlow was released in March by Stalking Horse Press.

Barlow’s metaphysical noir The City, Awake is a novel of chemically induced amnesia, doppelgangers, fanatics, and killers. Saul, a man without a history, awakes in a hotel room with a note in his pocket. Hunting for answers, he must survive rival assassins, a millionaire with an axe to grind, a shape-shifting femme fatal, a silent hit man, and a psychotic who is only looking for an exit. Barlow evokes a vast mid-century modernist cityscape in prose that is by turns hard-boiled, then unexpectedly psychedelic and delicate. With temporal and spatial distortions reminiscent of A. E. van Vogt’s The World of Null-A, the novel that inspired Godard’s Alphaville, this is a vivid investigation of identity, scientific speculation, and Biblical Apocrypha. The City, Awake is a mirror maze of dark streets and darker secrets.

(7) FEAR OF THE ARTS. Omni’s Joshua Sky asks the questions in “Where X Marks the Spot: An Interview with Steve Barnes”.

Walk me through it. I’ve read about you, but I haven’t been able to find much on your childhood. Can you give me a recap of your youth?

Steve Barnes: Born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles. I was interested in science fiction, fantasy, films and stories from a very early age. My mother and sister raised me; there wasn’t a father in the home. So I was always very interested in macho adventure.

First book that I can remember clearly reading was called Space Cat. I was in second grade, before then, I loved monster movies and stuff like that. It’s always been apart of my life. The first real sci-fi novel I’ve ever read was probably Robert Heinlein’s, Have Spacesuit Will Travel, in the fifth grade.

When did you start making attempts at writing?

The first story I remember ever writing, was in like, third grade. It was called, The Yeti. It was about an abominable snowman in a Canadian lumber camp. After that, I wrote a lot of sci-fi action adventure, space ship monster stuff. I was doing that from third to fourth grade, up through college.

(8) NOTED FUTURIST. Joshua Sky also did an “Interview with Trina Phillips, Chief Futurist at SciFutures” for Omni.

Describe what SciFutures is. I’ve read about it, I know about it, but I’d like to hear it from you.

TRINA: We do a range of things, but our main idea is that a lot of companies don’t do well with changing their ways and staying up to date with new and near future technology. This isn’t just using new systems. We’re talking about thinking forward. Some of these companies have been around for over a hundred years; being forward thinking and moving fast are not their specialty. The idea behind it is that not only do you use science fiction ideas to help propel them into the future, but we use storytelling to help them understand it, to help them comprehend this new information better. Because someone can sit there and say, I’m doing projections, and with all the graphs and charts and this and that. And we don’t do that. We go further out than those are realistic for, you know, guessing at. We’re not going to tell you what you should do next year; we’re going to tell you what you should be looking to do in five to ten years, or more — if you prefer the long view.

But it’s all theoretical in a sense, because it’s from a science fictional standpoint, right?

TRINA: Yes, except it is based on the tech that’s available now, and we have a really good handle on modern technology. Half of our staff consists of tech people — a little more than half, actually. So we have a real grounding in where the tech is, where it’s going. We know what’s feasible, and we base our suggestions on that information. But that doesn’t mean we’re not inventing things that don’t quite exist yet. In fact, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

(9) NO FUTURIST. Meantime, John Scalzi was shocked to discover that his go-to soda, Coke Zero, is on its way out: “Is This the End of Our Hero, Coke Zero?!??!!??!?”

It’s that “no sugar” part that’s apparently important, because these days, or so the news reports suggest to me, sugar is in bad odor as being the worst possible thing you can put in your body short of heroin, a proposition I’m not convinced of, but then I’m kind of a sugar fiend, so I may be biased. By calling the new product Coke No Sugar, Coke is making it clear there’s, uh, no sugar in it. So, good for hyper-literal branding, I guess. I think “Coke No Sugar” is kind of terrible as a brand name, and suspect that if consumers didn’t know Coke Zero had, you know, zero sugar in it, the problem was marketing, and not the branding per se. Mind you, if memory serves, the whole point of Coke Zero marketing in the early days was to hide from dudes with fragile masculinity the fact that they were drinking a diet beverage, which is why the word “diet” was never put anywhere near the product dress. So again, I’m not sure consumers are 100% to blame here if they didn’t catch on about the zero sugar thing.

(10) MORE ON BOOKEXPO. Shelf Awareness insists the cup is half-full: “BookCon Draws 20,000; Trade Attendance Up at BookExpo”.

BookExpo drew 7,425 non-exhibiting attendees–primarily booksellers, librarians, retailers and media members — while BookCon brought in 20,000 readers, up 2,000 from two years ago, when the consumer event was last held in New York, ReedPOP announced this week. According to Brien McDonald, event director for BookExpo and BookCon, trade attendance was significantly up this year compared to last year’s show in Chicago, Ill., and in particular, attendance at the show’s author talks and educations sessions was “exceptionally high.” McDonald also noted that for 2017, ReedPOP implemented a review process for all non-buying categories of trade attendees, including self-published authors, bloggers and consultants, in an effort to curate more “high-quality attendance.”

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 9, 1965 — Ursula Andress stars with Cushing and Lee in Hammer Films’ She
  • June 9, 1978 — Walt Disney’s seminal science fiction classic *coff*  The Cat From Outer Space premieres.
  • June 9, 1989 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was first seen in theaters.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born June 9, 1925 — Keith Laumer
  • Born June 9, 1930 — Lin Carter
  • Born June 9, 1943 — Joe Haldeman

(13) ON THEIR WAY OUT. If you’re trying to make sense of the British elections, actively avoid Camestros Felapton’s “Exit Poll”. But if you need a laugh, click away.

(14) INCONSISTENCY. J.K Rowling calls out a problem I’ve often observed — critics of misogyny who decide to give themselves a pass whenever they have an opportunity write an insult about a politically conservative woman. If someone values human respect, that should control their choices all the time.

(15) ZOMBIES TO THE RESCUE. In the May 25 Financial Times Charles Clover and Sherry Fei Ju note that China, which has long banned any film with ghosts or the supernatural (such as the Ghostbusters remake or the acclaimed South Korean film Train to Busan) has relented and allowed the latest Resident Evil film and Logan to be shown in China, possibly as a way to stimulate slumping box office sales. (“China unleashes zombie films to boost the box office” , behind a paywall.)

(16) GHOSTING CONS. Kara Dennison says “Let’s Talk About Lobbyconning”.

I was very confused by a comment left on Facebook concerning a convention I work for. A potential attendee asked if the con would be “open” or “closed.” No one really had any idea what this meant, until it was clarified: do you have to buy a badge to enter the convention space at all, or can you chill in the hotel lobby without buying a badge? The practice is known as “lobbyconning,” and I had never heard of it until within the last year or so. Essentially, rather than buying a membership to a convention, the lobbyconner just hangs out in the non-convention spaces of the hotel, seeing friends, showing off their cosplay, using Street Pass, etc. They see it as harmless and a way to save money. Now, quickly up front. I have sped by hotels where a convention is going on to say hi to a friend. Like. If the con is in the area. Usually if I want to see a friend at a nearby convention I’m not attending, we go get lunch or something, or if I go to the hotel we’ll meet for a drink in the bar or I go to their room. But if I’m going to see the friend, we generally leave the convention space. If I’m going to the convention to see the friend, I buy a day pass. Why? Because I am using the convention as a way to pass time with my friend, because it means they can still enjoy all parts of the con without having to abandon me for panels, and because dammit, supporting a con.

(17) A MATCH MADE IN HECK. A newsflash from Cattimothy House — “Jon Del Arroz hires Timothy the Talking Cat as his Publicist”.

Prominent local author, Jon Del Arroz entered into extensive negotiations with Cattimothy House yesterday to massively boost his profile by recruiting the services of Timothy the Talking Cat. Timothy, who is notable for his work with John C Wright, Declan Finn, Hillary Clinton and Vladimir Putin, is one of the leading editors of modern science fiction and is at the forefront of what he calls “the Pulp Revolution” (Timothy’s Jarvis Cocker cover band).

Timothy is alread taking proactive steps to boost Mr Del Arroz’s profile including new cover design concepts …

Naturally (or perhaps unnaturally), Jon was thrilled to realize “The File 770 Crowd Loves Me, Quite Literally”.

Today, Camestros Felapton upped the game of having a crush on me by making a full on book cover based on For Steam And Country — which is releasing next Thursday. This looks like a pretty time consuming effort, maybe even more so than the File 770 commenter who purchased and distributed convention ribbons for a full weekend homaging me …

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Jon Del Arroz, Peer Sylvester, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ken Richards.]

101 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/9/17 A Simple Scrollable Pixel, Or How I Was Mike Glyered Into Filing

  1. I think THIS is the link for 13.

    Also, @15, I don’t recall any zombies in Logan. Mutants, yes, but not zombies…

  2. (16) I suspect that Lobbyconning (or alternatively, Barconning) got its start with conventions that had membership limits and/or very high rates. I know, for example, a number of people who regularly lobbycon World Fantasy Cons, because the fees are on the high end and they have a membership limit. I have nothing but anecdotal evidence as a basis for this assessment.

    Does this extend to other conventions a lot? Maybe. It would be interesting to get actual data on how prevalent lobbyconning is, and at what sort of conventions it might take place more or less often.

  3. @17, apparently, Jon Del Arroz also doesn’t understand convention ribbon culture. I know people who give out half-a-dozen different ribbons at every convention. It probably cost the person handing them out ten or twenty dollars, and they enjoyed the joke. People make fun of anything and everything, including themselves. That’s what ribbons are for.

    <edit to add> Accidental fifth!

  4. I’ve seen plenty of ghosts & other supernatural elements in Chinese-made movies over the years …

    And I’ve almost finished my novelette reading and (with one notable exception that, well, I don’t actually feel any need to sample) I’m impressed with the nominees.

  5. Lobby/Bar Con – Based purely on extracting semantics from usage context, I’ve had the impression that while “lobby-conning” refers to the described activity of socializing with convention-goers in public spaces of a venue, “bar-conning” refers to socializing in non-programming spaces of a convention (especially the bar) in contrast to participating in the structured programming. If someone tells me, “I’ll mostly be bar-conning” I understand it to mean that they’re present to socialize but probably aren’t attending panels or readings (either as presenter or audience), but I wouldn’t automatically assume it meant they weren’t planning to buy a membership.

    Re: Famous Local Author ribbons — I’m notorious for not being able to connect people’s online nyms with their meat-space person, but I didn’t get the impression that the guy handing out FLA ribbons at BayCon was a Filer. I could be wrong, of course.

  6. Heather Rose Jones: but I didn’t get the impression that the guy handing out FLA ribbons at BayCon was a Filer.

    He wasn’t. That’s JDA playing fast-and-loose with the truth yet again. JDA has also falsely claimed that the person who handed out the ribbons was on the Baycon concom (he wasn’t).

    The guy in question did show up in a File 770 thread a week ago to say “I’m the guy”. Given that’s the only time he’s ever commented on File 770, calling him “a File 770 commenter” is incredibly disingenuous. And as he very clearly points out, the ribbons weren’t an homage, they were mocking JDA.

  7. (11) You know, I have never seen the movie, but I read the novelization of The Cat from Outer Space maybe half a dozen times back in the day and loved it more each time.

  8. (13) Fixed:

    If you’re trying to make sense of the British elections, actively avoid Camestros Felapton’s “Exit Poll.” But if you need a laugh, click away.

    My take: Actually, for non-linear thinkers of the sort that tend to gather on File-770, it provides some interesting insights.

  9. I been Norman Mailered, Darth Vadered
    I been Alfred Bestered, Uncle Festered
    I been Analoged and Galaxy’d till I’m blind
    I been Teddy Bealed until I feel
    Like a puppy who’s about to reveal
    His Noah Ward, well, never mind

    I been Mary Shelley’d, DeForest Kelley’d
    I been Gordon Dicksoned, Laura Mixoned
    Well, I read all the books I want to read
    My Hugo Ballot’s full of DNF
    I get to chapter two, it goes back on the shelf
    The stack goes from here to Ganymede

  10. I have found that the Transmongolian railway has been an excellent way to catch up on Hugo reading. And this is after a 24 hour layover in Beijing airport enabled me to finally finish ‘The Dark Forest’. Dare I attempt ‘Death’s End’?

    3) Who’d have thought, B&N Fantasy blog is blocking me. Maybe its because I’m in Russia
    This page is unavailable due to either geographic restrictions or other restrictions in place at this time. NOTE: other restrictions can be a result of our security platform detecting potential malicious activity. Please try again later as the restrictions may be lifted, or contact your service provider if the issue persists.

    ID: 1621882632369405545

    13) & 17) Double Camestros. Well done sir!

    Oh, and thanks Mke for the title credit!

    ETA: @Bill, Brilliant

  11. 14) As Dave Barry puts it, “A man who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice man.” And a man who proclaims himself a feminist ally but still calls women whores and worse — or mocks them for being unattractive — when he thinks it’s “safe” to do so is not a genuine feminist ally.

    Incidentally, same/same with racist slurs. If the N-word isn’t already part of your active vocabulary, it won’t “slip out” at an inconvenient time.

    16) Back in the days of the dinosaurs, this was called “crashing the con” and was severely looked down on. If you can’t afford a membership, volunteer. This gets you into the con legitimately, and it also helps the con, so it’s a win/win.

  12. (7) Yaaas, all here for Space Cat (and the sequels) too.

    (13) Link is borked; worth unborking, though.

    (14) Good for JK. “Idiot” and “asshole” are gender-neutral insults which can be used for anyone. Personally, May strikes me as a robot.

    (16) Who’s never heard of lobbyconning or barconning?

    (17) I am sure Timothy will do a fine job.

    I see Jonny D is lying again; guy who handed out ribbons is NOT a Filer, and is NOT on concom or staff. I don’t know if he was on programming or not.

    Puppies really don’t get humor, satire, logic, or the concept of actual true/false questions. (Along with how publishing and contracts work, politeness for the sake of other people’s feelings, the idea that other people other valid ways of thinking and behaving, empathy, gratitude, the concept that words have common meanings, the idea that actions have consequences, a concept of proportional response…)

    Almost all ribbons are for fun. Often for making fun of things. He’s really not at all conversant with con culture or the field (add that to my list above).

    Last night when I was brushing my teeth, another thought struck me.

    Puppies are always saying Filers, or the SJWs, or whoever it is they’re having Two Minutes’ Hate against today are all about the group-think.

    And yet — who named themselves after a species which literally lives by group think? Runs around in packs and is unhappy alone? Actually LIKES being told what to do? Is gleefully, willingly, lovingly subservient to a different species?

    Of course, actual dogs will also give their food and lives for someone else; despite all using the same barking terminology, Puppies aren’t altrusitic — they’re basically “What’s in it for MEEEEEE?” And real dogs are lovable and useful. Maybe Puppies are those little dogs who live in purses, tremble when they’re out of their safe space, and yap incessantly with no real meaning, just to get attention and annoy others.

    Whereas OGH undoubtedly feels like the guys in that old “Cat-herders” commercial every day.

  13. @Lee: Volunteers have to have a membership to the con. You might get it refunded or partially refunded after the con’s over, or you might get a membership to next year’s con, but gofers still have to pay up front.

    Bar or restaurant conning is better than lobbyconning, because at least that way you’re contributing to the money the hotel’s pulling in, which will count as goodwill for the con. But neither are kosher if you’re doing anything more than talking to a few friends; no cosplay, no promoting yourself and your work, etc. Go in, have a drink or a meal with your pal, then go away.

    Some cons sell huckster-room only badges, which don’t get you into the panels, parties, etc. but do help out the dealers. Occasionally, people then like what they see so much that they buy a day membership (with credit for the huckster-only badge payment if it’s same-day). It’s kind of a hassle for the gophers, though.

    @Ken: in Soviet Russia, etc. etc. No telling whether it’s on B&N’s end or Russia’s.

  14. Cassie B. and Lurkertype: I think I have the link to Camestros’ post unborked finally.

    Strangely, I had caught a problem with that link during my final runthrough, and had gone back to his site, made a correct copy, and dropped it into my post. The problem is that I did that in a way that caused there to be two sets of quote marks before and after the URL.

  15. Bill: I been Norman Mailered, Darth Vadered

    There’s another touch of genius!

    What is the song behind it?

  16. Mike:

    The song is Simon & Garfunkel’s “A Simple Desultory Philippic (or how I was Robert McNamara’d into submission)” from Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. I can hear Paul Simon’s voice doing Bill’s version.

    And Bill, great job! (Paul, if you’re here, your version is pretty good, too.)

  17. @Cassy B: I think psychic powers fall under “supernatural” to the Chinese censors. Maybe being a mutant does, too, but the things Prof. X can do with his brain are right out as far as they’re concerned.

    Apparently zomboids are okay if they’re in Chinese-made movies, like that “Great Wall” with Matt Damon and a bunch of Chinese people, as are psychic powers like being able to fly if it’s through martial arts.

  18. “Time travel is fantasy” has been a theme of Larry Niven’s for a while. He has a whole series about a guy who goes back in the past to collect specimens, and ends up accidentally getting mythological beasts instead, just to underline the point. (And he confirmed that this is indeed the point somewhere along the line.)

    Scrolltide Rising
    A Pixel Upon the Deep
    The Scrollish Policeman’s Union

  19. (17) It is refreshing to see HAD try to view everything in a militantly optimistic (almost Candide-ian) light. Yes, I get that he is doing it in the hopes of annoying people, but this style is a touch more pleasant than the usual Buy my stuff because these other people are assholes.

  20. On a separate note, I just read Brandon Sanderson’s Snapshot. Nice pacing, good characterizations, and a satisfying ending.

    Not exactly Hugo worthy, but a fun, light read.

    [Some days, I hate autocorrect. Case in point: the previous comment’s ‘HAD’ instead of ‘JDA’. Time ran out before o could stop my phone from ‘correcting me.]

  21. I have “lobbyconned” several times, though I thought it was called “drop by the hotel because that’s where people I’m meeting happen to be that weekend”.

    I refuse to accept that my visiting a hotel lobby that’s open to the public is denying the convention anything. In fact, it may be helping, as the people(s) I’m meeting with didn’t leave the venue for the meeting and remain accessible to attendees.

    The folks we have to watch out for are the ones who gather up a large party of conrunners, panelists and others and then leave the site for multiple hours, the Offsiteconners.

  22. Perhaps we should have some empathy to the puppywriters.
    They have only 2 goals:

    1. Destroy the evil “SJW”
    2. Sell books to them.

    Somehow 1 and 2 are not working together so well.

  23. Xtifr on June 10, 2017 at 1:45 am said:
    Svetz! Yes, those are fun. (Flight of the Horse is the collection.)
    (Always wondered if the guy was crossing universes instead of time.)

  24. I’m not familiar with the term “lobbycon” or “barcon”… I’ve always used “ghosting” a con for that behavior. “Is so-and-so here this year?” “Yeah, I saw her but I don’t think she can afford a badge. She’s ghosting.”

    Maybe it’s a Midwest con term? (Where, geographically, does the term “lobbycon” show up?) Or maybe it’s just because I’m an old fuddy-duddy who is not up on the slang that them there kids use… <shaking broom> Off my lawn!

    I’ve been known to buy day-badges for “ghosts” of my acquaintance whom I knew were too flat broke to come up with the membership. As lurkertype mentioned upthread, gophering is a great solution… for the NEXT year.

  25. It’s odd that a puppy like JDA is trying to emulate Scalzi of all people, claiming that people ‘have a crush’ on him. Maybe he thinks that doing so will confer Scalzi’s success on him. Unfortunately, he forgot to do the parts about “being highly amusing and interesting” and “selling a metric fuckton of books.”

  26. Speaking of catherds, I was telling Sarah a longer story that ended with Cathy and my cousin and me calling for a small black and white cat on the (to Cathy & me) unfamiliar streets of Houston when my cousin’s roommate came along and asked what we were up to. We explained and went off calling, and when we got back, Lewis (the roommate) was standing in the same place, only with two or three cats who matched the description we’d given, sitting quietly by him. It was uncanny. He really should have monetized that skill.

    (And, yes: Our cat turned up a couple of minutes later, safe and scared.)

  27. @Ken Richards

    And this is after a 24 hour layover in Beijing airport enabled me to finally finish ‘The Dark Forest’. Dare I attempt ‘Death’s End’?

    I can only give you my experience: I just finished Death’s End and thought it was a godawful mess. Clunky prose, terrible characterizations, and overstuffed with exposition to the point where he made Neal Stephenson look lean and breezy. You know, for all the complaints about not knowing what’s happening in Ninefox Gambit, I’d much rather have Yoon Ha Lee’s science-fantasy-VR-magic or whatever it is than Cixin Liu’s physics-saturated entire history of the frigging universe. (And it felt like it took seventeen billion years to read it.)

    All of which is to say, Death’s End is going nowhere near the top of my ballot.

  28. @StefanB —

    They have only 2 goals:

    1. Destroy the evil “SJW”
    2. Sell books to them.

    Oh, how I wish we could “like” comments on this blog. 😉

    I would add #3, though:

    3. Be given awards by them.

    Which has also not worked out so well.

  29. @Cassy B – I’ve always heard it called Ghosting, too, here on the West Coast. And it was less about people who simply show up and sit in the lobby for a quick meeting with folks who are at the convention, and more about people who actively haunt all the public spaces of the hotel, including the hallways outside panel rooms, and “participate” as much as possible in the convention without actually paying.

    I know we had an open dealers room at one con I’ve been involved in, and that seemed to alleviate some of the problems (while causing others, like when a VERY conservative Christian family came in to check out the LEGO display and got shocked by a vendor selling leather goods).

  30. I guess this makes two comments for me here. 🙂

    I would never consider myself to be a Filer, as I mostly lurk and read.

    I am a regular on Baycon programming. If they ask me to sit out a year, no problem, because unlike JDA, my entire sense of self-worth isn’t tied up in conventiion invites.

    And Jon, I know points tend to fly over your head, but the Prominent Local Author ribbon was mocking you. To be clear, I find you to be an arrogant ass with no redeeming characteristics and a tendency to play the victim that disgusts me. Understand?

    Jon will now clutch his pearls and scream that I’m being mean to him on his blog, where he has blocked me from commenting.

  31. Hugo Reading – Best novel:
    Finished. Very good selection, I’d be happy for most of them to win. Ninefox Gambit was mindblowing, Closed and Common Orbit was lovely. Looks like another tie.
    Obelisk Gate not quite as impressive as Fifth Season. Too Like the Lightning very interesting universe, but as a novel not my thing. Similar for All the Birds.
    Death’s End goes below No Award.

    Hugo Reading – Best Related Work:
    This is just not my category, I’m thinking about not voting. The only work I really read was Sarah Gailey’s Women of Harry Potter series. (Liked it, but very short.)
    Interesting how Le Guin and Gaiman wrote essentially two versions of the same book. (Prefer Gaiman, but not by much).

    Hugo Reading – Best Series:
    The only one I’d read before (and nominated) was The Craft Sequence. So far, I’ve completed at least one volume of all the others and expect to spend the next five weeks reading more, maybe about half of it all. Preliminary ranking:

    6. October Daye:
    I liked Tybalt’s short stories. Would probably stop after “Rosemary and Rue”, but I will stick it out at least till vol. 3 or 4 due to recommendations by Filers.

    5. Rivers of London:
    Hmmmm. Not too impressed by “Rivers of London”, a lot more by “Moon over Soho”. I can see potential.

    4. Expanse:
    Like “Leviathan Wakes” a lot, “Caliban’s War” a bit less. Interesting universe and plot, but the characters feel a bit formulaic.

    3. The Craft Sequence

    2. Vorkosigan Saga:
    Love Cordelia (Shards of Honor / Barrayar), Miles in “The Warrior’s Apprentice” not so much. “The Mountains of Mourning” was again excellent – will keep reading.

    1. Temeraire:
    OMG, I want a dragon! Why have I never read these before?! Must go bookshopping…

  32. @ Douglas Berry

    I think by any reasonable standard, that makes you a Filer. So I retract my previous impression (even if it somewhat weakens the position that the ribbons were totally unrelated to File770).

  33. @Bonnie McDaniel re ‘Death’s End’

    (And it felt like it took seventeen billion years to read it.)

    Thanks. Well, I have been been warned. I only have 22 hours on a train to Saint Petersburg tomorrow. ‘The Dark Forest’ took me over a year to get done with. I’ll probably start it and see how far I get. I’d rather get a sense of its place on my ballot. It has awful stiff competition.

    I don’t need to reread ‘Ninefox Gambit’ to know it is a ripper (despite the WTFIGO) moments. Devoured ‘A Close and Common Orbit’ on the last train trip. Loved it. Really cleared up the the awful tast in my mouth after ‘An Unbearable Light’.

  34. I’m very sad about Adam West’s death. I have such an unironic love for his Batman that I can’t watch the modern versions (although I will go see Justice League).

    Argh on Death’s End. I finished it, so there’s that, but it was a chore. I sometimes read one. leaden. word. at. a. time. The ideas were fascinating, but it was like racehorses hitched to a broken carousel and I’m baffled as to why anyone thought it was award-worthy. I am currently reading and deeply detesting Too Like the Lightening, which I might just give up on because I don’t care about the characters and the universe is all very clever, but I don’t actually like or appreciate that sort of cleverness.

    I’ve had much better luck with Best Related, where I’ve really enjoyed everything except Geek Feminist Revolution.

  35. I decided a while ago that even accounting for the packet and its contents, I really didn’t feel I could afford to get a supporting membership this year. I’m still kind of reading along, in that I am reading the rest of the Temeraire books, and Ninefox Gambit is next on my list*. I suppose I should pick up either the Expanse or All the Birds in the Sky from the library soonish if I want to continue this trend of actually reading the same stuff others are reading and commenting on.

    On the plus side it means I don’t have to feel guilty about not reading Death’s End.
    ____________________

    * I was reading the third Lady Trent as my downstairs** book, but found reading two books that involve a lot of sailing, a lot of world travel, many dragons, and a similar, though non-identical, time-frame was a bit too jarring, even though I can enumerate the differences at least as well.

    ** I tend to have at least two books on the go. Right now it’s technically four, since I did get further on Dune not long ago, though now I’ve outright misplaced the book, and I’m reading Ursula Vernon’s latest short fiction collection on the computer.

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