Pixel Scroll 7/25/23 There’s No Business Like Scroll Business

(1) CHENGDU’S OFFER TO HUGO FINALISTS. Joe Yao, a WSFS Division department head for Chengdu, provides more information about the assistance being offered to 2023 Hugo finalists to attend the Worldcon:

As it is the first time a Worldcon held in China, along with the first time for the Hugo Awards presented in China, we really like to have more finalists coming in person, and they can also participate in program and other activities if they want. But as we all know, it is a long and expensive trip for most of the finalists and they might not afford such a trip by themselves, thus we tried our best to help them, even though we have limited budget as well.

Hope there will be more finalists coming in October.

It appears the offer of help is being offered to 2023 Hugo finalists generally (or to one representative of finalists involving teams of multiple editors/creators). A few more people who have confirmed to File 770 that they received the offer include Gideon Marcus, Alison Scott, and Olav Rokne and Amanda Wakaruk (the latter got theirs today; they didn’t have it yet when they responded yesterday.)

(2) WRITER BEWARE. “Contract, Payment Delays at the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction” at Writer Beware.

F&SF takes First North American Serial Rights and pays on acceptance (which in practice means on receipt of a contract). Acceptance emails indicate that writers will receive a contract and a check within two to four weeks. However, Writer Beware has recently received multiple reports from writers whose work has been officially accepted but, months later, are still waiting for contracts and checks.

…Writers also report a variety of other delays: waiting for notification of official acceptance well beyond the stated acquisition timeline of 6 weeks to 6 months; receiving copy edits and proofs for accepted stories without having received a contract or payment; receiving contract and payment only weeks before the publication date, after months of waiting; completing requested revisions and then hearing nothing more. Many of the writers who contacted me say that they’ve sent repeated emails asking about the delays, and haven’t received a response….

Writer Beware’s Victoria Strauss contacted F&SF publisher Gordon Van Gelder and heard what he is doing to resolve the issues. See his responses at the link.

(3) SDCC AMID THE STRIKES. Rob Kutner says the lack of big movie presentations had its advantages in “Comic-Con In the Time of Strikes” at Book and Film Globe.

…As I’ve written here, Comic-Con offers many uses for the working (on non-struck things) professional. I came this year in part to network for gigs, and in part to sign my new kids’ graphic novel at my publisher’s table. Neither of those directly tied to the big panel/preview scene, so for me it was mostly business as usual. Nor, at first glance, could I necessarily spot a difference, other than some occasionally empty patches in the crowds, which would normally be wall-to-wall nerd.

However, after two days, some patterns began to emerge, and friends and colleagues that I spoke to confirmed this. As Craig Miller, Lucasfilm’s Director of Fan Relations for the first two Star Wars movies, described it, the effect on strike-year Comic-Con was “both profound and minimal. Hall H, the big, 6,000-person room”—where they often announce the latest Marvel or Star War for the first time — “is empty. There are no lines of people waiting hours to get into that room. But they’re still here at the convention.”

As a result, Miller spent the Con at a table, selling his memoir Star Wars Memories, and sold every last copy. Granted, any SDCC might have brought him scads of customers who liked both Star Wars and books, but it’s also a highly competitive environment, with literally hundreds of vendors and publishers vying for those same dollars.

This time, however, the diversion of crowds, who might otherwise be in Lineworld, onto the main convention floor created a flood of foot traffic for vendors that lifted even the smallest boats. Rantz Hoseley, VP of Editorial for Z2 Comics, confirms, “sales and signings at our booth were the biggest we’ve had at any convention, with a number of deluxe editions selling out by Thursday evening [the first of Comic-Con’s four days].”…

(4) BACK TO 1955. In “Buckle Your (DeLorean) Seatbelt: ‘Back to the Future’ Lands on Broadway”, the New York Times talks to franchise co-creator Bob Gale.

…And now on Broadway: “Back to the Future: The Musical,” which opens Aug. 3 at the Winter Garden Theater, follows a story that will be familiar to fans of the film. Using a time machine devised by Doc Brown, Marty McFly travels to 1955, meets his parents Lorraine and George as teenagers and must help them fall in love after he disrupts the events that led to their romantic coupling.

On its yearslong path to Broadway, “Back to the Future” has faced some challenges that are common to musical adaptations and others unique to this property.

While the show’s creators sought actors to play the roles indelibly associated with the stars of the film and decided which of the movie’s famous scenes merited musical numbers, they were also trying to figure out how the stage could accommodate the fundamental elements of “Back to the Future” — like, say, a plutonium-powered sports car that can traverse the space-time continuum.

Now this “Back to the Future” arrives on Broadway with some steep expectations: After a tryout in Manchester, England, its production at the Adelphi Theater in London’s West End won the 2022 Olivier Award for best new musical. The show also carries a heavy price tag — it is being capitalized for $23.5 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Throughout its development process, the people behind it — including several veterans of the “Back to the Future” series — tried to remain true to the spirit of the films and keep intact a story that has held up for nearly 40 years.

Bob Gale, who wrote the original movie with Robert Zemeckis, said of the stage adaptation: “We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. We just want to make the wheel smooth.”

But, he added, “It cannot be a slavish adaptation of the movie. Because if that’s what people want to see, they should stay home and watch the movie. Let’s use the theater for what theater can do.”…

(5) LEARNEDLEAGUE. [Item by David Goldfarb.] LearnedLeague is currently in its “off-season” when it features player-created content, including 12-question specialized quizzes that last for one day. Monday there was one about the Stargate movie and TV franchise. As I write this it’s still live, but by the time tonight’s Pixel Scroll goes out, it will be graded and so available for the public to view. Here’s a link: Stargate 1DS

(6) CORDWAINER SMITH REDISCOVERIES. James Davis Nicoll encourages readers to “Take a Minute to Celebrate the Forgotten Greats of Science Fiction” at Tor.com.

Time is nobody’s friend. Authors in particular can fall afoul of time—all it takes is a few years out of the limelight. Publishers will let their books fall out of print; readers will forget about them. Replace “years” with “decades” and authors can become very obscure indeed.

The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award was founded in 2001 to draw attention to unjustly forgotten SF authors…. Since it’s been five years (and there have been four new recipients) since we last discussed the award in 2018, I’ve updated the discussion to include the newest honorees—including the most recent winner, announced this past weekend at Readercon.

I wish the award were more widely known, that it had, perhaps, its own anthology. If it did, it might look a bit like this. Who are the winners? Why should you care about them? I am so happy I pretended you asked….

(7) FANAC.ORG NEWS. The fanhistory website Fanac.org has been adding scanned fanzines at an colossal rate. Among their accomplishments, they’ve finished scanning a run of Imagination, by LASFS members during the Fighting Forties…

We’ve added more than 1,000 publications since the last newsflash in March, and about 2,000 since the last full newsletter in December 2022. We’ve added some great zines by Arnie Katz, and many APAzines from Jeanne Gomoll. Here are some highlights.

 We completed our run of LASFS’s first important fanzine, Imagination including the Rejected issue. Imagination is filled with contributions from notables in the field, fan and pro, among them Yerke and Bok, Kuttner and Bloch, Bradbury and Lowndes, Hornig and Wollheim, and of course 4sj….

(8) WILL WIKI MATE WITH CHATGPT? Jon Gartner calls it h “Wikipedia’s Moment of Truth”. “Can the online encyclopedia help teach A.I. chatbots to get their facts right — without destroying itself in the process?”

In late June, I began to experiment with a plug-in the Wikimedia Foundation had built for ChatGPT. At the time, this software tool was being tested by several dozen Wikipedia editors and foundation staff members, but it became available in mid-July on the OpenAI website for subscribers who want augmented answers to their ChatGPT queries. The effect is similar to the “retrieval” process that Jesse Dodge surmises might be required to produce accurate answers. GPT-4’s knowledge base is currently limited to data it ingested by the end of its training period, in September 2021. A Wikipedia plug-in helps the bot access information about events up to the present day. At least in theory, the tool — lines of code that direct a search for Wikipedia articles that answer a chatbot query — gives users an improved, combinatory experience: the fluency and linguistic capabilities of an A.I. chatbot, merged with the factuality and currency of Wikipedia.

One afternoon, Chris Albon, who’s in charge of machine learning at the Wikimedia Foundation, took me through a quick training session. Albon asked ChatGPT about the Titan submersible, operated by the company OceanGate, whose whereabouts during an attempt to visit the Titanic’s wreckage were still unknown. “Normally you get some response that’s like, ‘My information cutoff is from 2021,’” Albon told me. But in this case ChatGPT, recognizing that it couldn’t answer Albon’s question — What happened with OceanGate’s submersible? — directed the plug-in to search Wikipedia (and only Wikipedia) for text relating to the question. After the plug-in found the relevant Wikipedia articles, it sent them to the bot, which in turn read and summarized them, then spit out its answer. As the responses came back, hindered by only a slight delay, it was clear that using the plug-in always forced ChatGPT to append a note, with links to Wikipedia entries, saying that its information was derived from Wikipedia, which was “made by volunteers.” And this: “As a large language model, I may not have summarized Wikipedia accurately.”

But the summary about the submersible struck me as readable, well supported and current — a big improvement from a ChatGPT response that either mangled the facts or lacked real-time access to the internet. Albon told me, “It’s a way for us to sort of experiment with the idea of ‘What does it look like for Wikipedia to exist outside of the realm of the website,’ so you could actually engage in Wikipedia without actually being on Wikipedia.com.” Going forward, he said, his sense was that the plug-in would continue to be available, as it is now, to users who want to activate it but that “eventually, there’s a certain set of plug-ins that are just always on.”…

(9) MITCH THORNHILL (IRA) OBITUARY. Mitch Thornhill (Ira) died July 25 after many months of serious medical problems. He lived in Mississippi. However, he first became known as a fan in the Seventies while living in New Orleans and Minneapolis. He sometimes went by the name Ira M. Thornhill.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 25, 1907 Cyril Luckham. He played the White Guardian first in the Fourth Doctor story, “The Ribos Opperation”, part one, and then twice more in the two-part Fifth Doctor story, “Enlightenment”.  He was also Dr. Moe in the Fifties pulp film Stranger from Venus, and also showed up in The Omega FactorA Midsummer Night’s DreamRandall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Tales of The Unexpected. (Died 1989.)
  • Born July 25, 1910 Kendell Foster Crossen. He was the creator and writer of the Green Lama stories about a Buddhist crime fighter whose powers were activated upon the recitation of the Tibetan chant om mani padme hum. He also wrote Manning Draco series, an intergalactic insurance investigator, four of which are can be found in Once Upon a Star: A Novel of the Future. Kindle has a really deep catalog of his genre work. (Died 1981.)
  • Born July 25, 1922 Evelyn E. Smith. She has the delightful bio being of a writer of sf and mysteries, as well as a compiler of crossword puzzles. During the 1950s, she published both short stories and novelettes in Galaxy Science FictionFantastic Universe and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her SF novels include The Perfect Planet and The Copy Shop. A look at iBooks and Kindle shows a twelve story Wildside Press collection but none of her novels. (Died 2000.)
  • Born July 25, 1937 Todd Armstrong. He’s best known for playing Jason in Jason and the Argonauts. A film of course made excellent by special effects from Ray Harryhausen. His only other genre appearance was on The Greatest American Hero as Ted McSherry In “A Chicken in Every Plot”. (Died 1992.)
  • Born July 25, 1948 Brian Stableford, 75. I am reasonably sure that I’ve read and enjoyed all of the Hooded Swan series a long time ago which I see has been since been collected as Swan Songs: The Complete Hooded Swan Collection. And I’ve certainly read a fair amount of his short fiction down the years. 
  • Born July 25, 1971 Chloë Annett, 52. She played Holly Turner in the Crime Traveller series and Kristine Kochanski in the Red Dwarf series. She was in the “Klingons vs. Vulcans” episode of the Space Cadets, a sort of game show. 
  • Born July 25, 1973 — Mur Lafferty, 50. Podcaster and writer. Co-editor of the Escape Pod podcast with Valerie Valdes. She is also the host and creator of the podcast I Should Be Writing which won a Parsec Award for Best Writing Podcast. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Escape Artists short fiction magazine Mothership Zeta. And then there’s the Ditch Diggers podcast she started with Matt Wallace which is supposed to show the brutal, honest side of writing. For that, it won the Hugo Award for Best Fancast at Worldcon 76, having been a finalist the year before.  Fiction wise, I loved both The Shambling Guide to New York City and A Ghost Train to New Orleans with I think the second being a better novel. She has two nominations at Chicon 8, first for Best Semi Prozine as part of the Escape Pod team, second for Best Editor, Short Form with S.B. Divya. 


(12) NO THERE THERE. GameRant warns that this “steelbook” collectible doesn’t include a copy of the series: “WandaVision Steelbook Release Is Missing An Actual Blu-Ray Copy”.

WandaVision is the first Disney Plus series to have a physical release, but the upcoming steelbook doesn’t actually include any discs or a download code.

The steelbook set includes a case, full slip, folder, envelope, character cards, and stickers, but the lack of actual physical media may turn fans off.

The decision to release a steelbook without including the series itself seems odd and could be seen as a disappointment, especially considering Disney’s recent removal of other series from its streaming platform…

(13) NASFIC COVERAGE. “Winnipeg hosts first Canadian version of international science fiction convention” at CTV News Winnipeg

…Unlike other “comic-cons,” Pemmi-Con makes a point of bringing in scientists as well as science fiction content creators. Canadian paleontologist Phillip John Currie is speaking about Jurassic Park-inspired fiction and dinosaur art and will be participating on a panel about recent scientific discoveries.

Other guests include biologist and author Julie E. Czerneda, Captain Canuck comic creator George Freeman, and Indigenous author Waubgeshig Rice.

“One of the things we’re trying to do this year is…emphasize Indigenous contributions to Canadian science fiction and fantasy,” Smith said.

The convention takes a different name every year relating to its location. Pemmi-Con is an homage to pemmican, a popular Metis dish in Manitoba. Smith said NASFiC attracts a worldwide audience….

(14) TECHNOLOGY NEVER DIES. Especially when somebody is devoted to keeping it around like the people who host the Mimeograph Revival website.

Mimeograph Revival is dedicated to preserving the printing technologies of an earlier era – with a particular emphasis on the stencil duplicator, the hectograph, and (maybe, as this is still a work in progress) the spirit duplicator. These are the techniques, machines, and processes that have fallen by the wayside, been relegated to “obsolete” status, and nearly forgotten.

Once ubiquitous, these machines ushered in an era in which it became possible for individuals and organizations, including clubs, fraternal organizations, churches, and schools, to quickly, easily, and cheaply reproduce printed matter. 

There’s not too much fannish content, however, the “Personal Narratives” section has a wonderful anecdote by Jeff Schalles.

Jeff Schalles, fanzine creator, printer, and founder of the facebook Mimeograph Users Group left the following story here at M. R. one day. A little historical documentation personal-narrative-style:

A while ago I was contacted by a researcher working for National Geographic Magazine. She was looking for material for an article on mimeo and ditto printing of the Greenwich Village Beat poets and writers scene and poetry chapbook creaters of the 1950’s.

I responded by suggesting she contact the late Lee Hoffman concerning the gatherings in her Greenwich Village apartment, where musicians like Dave Van Ronk and the poets, writers, musicians, and other local Beats, would jam all night. Lee had a reel-to-reel tape recorder and taped many of the parties.

Lee also had a mimeograph and produced Science Fiction fanzines, including the long-running “Science Fiction Five Yearly” published every five years until Lee died sometime in the early 21st Century. The print runs were short and there are few copies of SF Five Yearly around. Geri Sullivan and I edited and mimeo’d two of the later issues for Lee. Harlan Ellison had a long-running serial in every issue and never missed a deadline until Lee’s death finally ended the run of Science Fiction Five Yearly.

The Geographic researcher was only interested in “The Mimeograph Revolution” and its beginnings. Her response to my suggestion that she contact Lee, who was by then living in Florida, was that there was… absolutely, positively, no connection between the Beats and Science Fiction Fandom. She was very rude to me, and obviously had no interest and little knowledge of SF Fandom. I just sighed and stopped corresponding with her. I blame Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of National Geographic for hiring an idiot like her.

I’m of the opinion that SF fan mimeographers like Ted White, who had a small basement mimeograph print shop in the Village, had something to do with teaching the Beats how to use the technology. The Geographic researcher insisted that was impossible, and that SF Fandom was just a bunch of teenage amateurs amounting to nothing.

I’ve asked around to see if any of Lee’s party tapes survived, but no one ever got back to me, so I suspect they were tossed in a dumpster.

(15) NETFLIX PASSWORD CRACKDOWN: HOW HAS PERFORMANCE CHANGED? With the recent news about Netflix changes and its growth, JustWatch has put together a graphic about the global market shares of streaming services and how Netflix performed over the last 2 years.

In brief, global streaming giant Netflix found a way to restore its former glory after losing -3% market share in 2022. Launching a “Basic with Ads” brought back some interest, however the key move was introducing password sharing crackdown, as they gained nearly 6 million subscribers in the last three months.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Ahsoka, a Star Wars Original series, begins streaming August 23 on Disney+.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Joyce Scrivner, Moshe Feder, Rich Lynch, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

23 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/25/23 There’s No Business Like Scroll Business

  1. (2) I’m glad to see F&SF is taking steps to change this. Submitting stories is harrowing enough as it is. 🙂

    (12) That’s not a physical release — that’s a way to get hopes falsely raised. I hope enough fans refuse to buy that until a change is made. If companies keep doing this, we’re going to see more people quietly selling “gray area” disks at cons. (Not that I have ever bought any of those. Nope. Never. 😉 )

  2. Number twelve. Let’s keep in mind that they are selling only eight hundred copies at ninety dollars apiece. This is not a mass market item. So I won’t be surprised if the eventual discs costs as much as a hundred dollars when Disney releases them especially for the customers who’ve bought this box.

    I just pictured the after market price of this on eBay…


    New message shows that Riverflow, SkyLuke, Kanyu Wang and other Chinese nomitators have received the invitation letter with support. It seems good omens, comapring to some of the worst estimation that the Chinese nomitators will be dismissed and pay thousands of yuan for 5-star hotels nearby and plane tickets.

    In addition, I wonder why “Three Major Plans” disappears in File770. Maybe it can be attributed to the absence of enough promotion in foreign media; the tweets won less read. Nevertheless, I do not think the plans are useful or helpful.
    The first one, “Galactic Community” (Apparently the name of the 1st plan,”Xinghai Gontongti” comes from Stellaris, but they choose a strange English name called “The Star and the sea”), tries to encourage someone to register panels and fantables with some rewards. The rewards are:

    “1. Walk-in reservation channel for the Worldcon opening ceremony instead of wating for drawing lots and Hugo Awards ceremony is provided for the participants of the plan.
    2. 2023 Chengdu Worldcon mascot doll and commemorative badge
    3. The activity you initiated will be compiled into the corresponding page of the Worldcon publications
    4. The committee will set up a signature wall for recording yourmessages to our Worldcon, and from the debut day on, thecourage and perseverance of your honor will be etched.”

    The benefits are the normal rights of the members of worldcon81, aren’t they? So why they are benefits, instead of worldcon81’s obligations?
    The second one,”One Hundredth Light-second” (Baifenzhiyi Guangmiao) looks strange, too. It claims that they will offer these ten benefits for some special members:

    1. Walk-in reservation channel for the Worldcon openingceremony and Hugo Awards ceremony (without waiting for drawing lots)
    2. Free pickup service from airports to the venue (This policy applys to both Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and the Chengdu Tianfu International Airport)
    3. Assistance on hotel reservations
    4. Free shuttle bus service between Fandom Warm-heartedhotels and the venue, translation and international paymentservices along with the welcoming souvenir for the guest room.
    5. Special Star Cloud gift
    6. Free city tour in Pidu District
    7. Online assistance for you to enjoy a more convenient andcomfortable service in visa, transportation, local travel, etc
    8.2023 Chengdu Worldcon mascot doll and commemorativebadge
    9. Three online tickets for your friends and families
    10. Limited edition digital figure of the Worldcon (In the Chinese version, they stress the figure comes from metaverse)

    I have metioned that this plan is accesible to special and selected members. Who are the selected and special members? According to their pictures, members whose hometown are 3000 kilometers away from Chengdu can enjoy the benefits. 3000KM means that most parts of China, Korea, Japan, India, Southeast Asia countries are excluded. Joe Chi, who is known as “the little helper of the bidding for worldcon” has told us

    “But as we all know, it is a long and expensive trip for most of the finalists and they might not afford such a trip by themselves, thus we tried our best to help them, even though we have limited budget as well.”

    That sounds very good! Over 2,000 CNY for plane tickets from Shanghai to Chengdu or 7000CNY from Tokyo to Chengdu and 5 stars nearby hotels seems so cheap for rich Chinese and Japanese sf fans that they can afford it by themselves independently.

    Evelyn C. Leeper on July 24, 2023 at 8:58 pm said:
    (1) If the Chengdu committee is really paying for the flights, hotels, and ground transportation for the Hugo finalists, that is definitely not a precedent other Worldcons will be following. And it indicates an influx of money from somewhere other than the membership fees.

    Plan2 means unnecessary payouts, doesn’t it? Getting sponsors might be good for a worldcon, but I suspect if the Chengdu committee can make full use of their sponsors. I find a plan Announcement of government procurement contract for the construction and operation project of the 81st Chengdu World Science Fiction Convention of Chengdu Science and Technology Association showing that Chengdu Business Daily used to get 765,000 yuan (about 100,000 US dollars) from Chengdu Association of Scence and technology to enhance the propraganda and negative public opinion monitoring service of the Chengdu 2023 worldcon. It is the only one sponsor we can find on public media. Where are the others?

  4. (13) Why do I not love media coverage, tell me, oh fates. Let’s see, a headline with “first international” (not counting the Winnipeg Worldcon), and “other comic-cons” as if this was one. Then “The convention takes a different name every year relating to its location.” Um, when it occurs, which they don’t seem to hear.
    (14) And I hoist a (virtual) glass of corflu to them!

  5. (12) That’s just stupid (and also a very bad look of pure unnecessary grifting by a billion-dollar corporation). People want physical copies of things. Some of the DVDs and Blu-Rays I have (Total Recall 2070, the complete 5-season set of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda [I stumbled across that one at my library’s used book sale], The Adventures of Brisco County Jr) aren’t streaming anywhere. And if the streaming services keep raising their prices, I won’t be able to afford them anyway. Releasing seasons of series would just make more money for them. (See: the frenzy over the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Babylon 5, also pre-ordered by yours truly.)

  6. ?12?”That’s just stupid (and also a very bad look of pure unnecessary grifting by a billion-dollar corporation). People want physical copies of things. Some of the DVDs and Blu-Rays I have (Total Recall 2070, the complete 5-season set of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda [I stumbled across that one at my library’s used book sale], The Adventures of Brisco County Jr) aren’t streaming anywhere. And if the streaming services keep raising their prices, I won’t be able to afford them anyway. Releasing seasons of series would just make more money for them. (See: the frenzy over the upcoming Blu-Ray release of Babylon 5, also pre-ordered by yours truly.)”

  7. Ilii, Oleg X just above you pointed us to a link that shows that Disney did not release nor approve this discless steelecase. So no, it wasn’t greed on their part at all.

    Btw The Adventures of Brisco County Jr is available on Apple+ on a per episode basis or for purchase for the entire season. Prime Video also has it as well.

  8. (1) I will add that, according to Chengdu, if someone hasn’t gotten an email, it’s because it got lost in spam (in which case, write to the @gmail.com account they provided!), or the potential recipient has explicitly, publicly stated that they will not go to Chengdu under any circumstances.

    To those who say that the invitation should be sent out anyway, I know at least one Finalist who won’t go who said they don’t want the stress of having to decline the invitation.

    So I think Chengdu is threading the needle about as well as they can (though I’m not sure why the emails were sent out one at a time rather than a blanket as it’s a form letter–the only difference is between the nominees with teams vs. individuals).

    Full disclosure: I’m not going, would not go, and cannot go. But one of our team is.

  9. @zimozi – we noticed ‘the Stars and the Sea’ offer and talked about it a little in the most recent Octothorpe (episode 88). Our hot take, digested: ‘this is incomprehensible’.

  10. The third “plan”, “Galaxy Echoes” was posted on Weibo by the Chengdu Worldcon account earlier today – and I think I’d seen it somewhere a couple of days ago – although it’s not shown up on their Twitter account, at least as I type this.

    It’s a bit more comprehensible than “Stars and Seas” – which also had me scratching my head – but it feels like it’s maybe more aimed at Chinese fans? I’m not sure what sort of fanac would get 300k views in the space of time available before the event, or how exactly you could evidence having more than 60 people participating in an offline event, short of having everyone sign a bit of paper or appear in a video.

  11. @Zimozi_Natsuco: Thank you very much for another informative comment. I find it very interesting that the linked PDF from that page explicit mentions File 770 (and WSFS, and Black Gate) as online spaces to be monitored and responded to.

    I’ve not yet tried to get machine translation to parse all of that PDF, but here’s what the Google Translate Android app made of a screenshot of page 4:

    Publish original articles, no less than 200 reposts, and more than 5 million page views during the contract period (including secondary transmission).

    (5) Monitoring and control of public opinion at home and abroad

    Coordinating bilingual personnel, timely feedback and disposing of public opinion on the official website of the conference and the official accounts (public accounts) of the conference such as Facebook, Youtube, WeChat, and Weibo (response within 24 hours), and responding to file770, wsfs official website, and blackgate overseas sci-fi fan gathering platform Monitor public opinion and provide disposal suggestions (response within 24 hours). Regularly (monthly) submit reports on the monitoring and handling of public opinion on the above-mentioned media platforms.

    (6) Design and production of cultural and creative commemorative products related to the conference

    Design and produce 350 sets of badges and 350 sets of cultural and creative gifts as cultural and creative commemorations related to the conference

    Products (completed by August 25, 2022).

    (7) Any changes to the above services shall be subject to negotiation between Party A and Party B.

  12. 9) Ira Mitch Thornhill and Rhip Thornhill operated a small press called Corroboree Press in the 1980s that published a number of books by R.A. Lafferty and Ubik: A Screenplay by Phillip K. Dick. I own the latter, which is a handsome volume with pasted-in color illustrations, dated 1985.

  13. (Missed edit window on previous comment)

    Looking again, I see File 770 et al are mentioned on the page that Zimozi linked, I’m assuming it’s a precis or extract of the PDF. Copies of that webpage and the PDF have been saved on archive.org just in case they disappear.

    Without fully translating those docs, I think it’s hard to know how concerned we might be – quite possibly it’s just funding for public relations type stuff? If anything, I’m wondering whether the Sichuan province government are wondering if they’ve gotten their money’s worth, as I don’t recall seeing much evidence of responses to comments and questions here within 24 hours. Although the information from Joe Yao in item (1) of this Scroll is a welcome example of a rapid response to our questions, so thank you for that.

  14. I mean, I don’t think that’s out of line with the promotions/ social media teams of other Worldcons, right? Some of that is like the merchandise agreements that Worldcons have, too, which are commercial. SM teams aren’t normally professional for a Worldcon but you could make a solid argument that they should be as a better way to do outreach.

  15. Alison Scott: Just as a data point in line with your thought about what could be done, DisCon III used a professional publicist. I ran many posts based on his press releases about plans for the convention.

  16. Poking around on that Sichuan provincial government website and doing searches on terms like “Chengdu World Science Fiction Convention” and “Science Fiction” (obviously the Chinese language versions thereof) uncovers quite a few interesting things, that might explain why there’s a load of money being pumped into this event, the building, etc.

    For example this PDF was posted around the end of June, and is about ‘a series of activities to “burn dreams on the future and welcome the event-Science Fiction Season”‘ (machine translation). The 2007 Yokohama Worldcon is mentioned on page 2 alongside the Chengdu event. The bottom part of page 7 has the following (via Google Translate camera functionality):

    6. “Walk with Imagination – Future Lecture Hall” activity

    In order to further implement the State Council’s “National Scientific Literacy Action Plan (2021-2035)” and “Chengdu City National Science Literacy Action Plan Implementation Plan (2021-2025)”, deeply integrate the science popularization industry and science fiction, and promote the improvement of the national scientific literacy . It is planned to take the opportunity of the 2023 Chengdu World Science Fiction Convention to carry out a series of activities of “Future Lecture Hall”. By inviting scientists, scientific and technological workers and well-known science fiction writers at home and abroad to focus on the same theme, they will give lectures on the same stage from the perspective of technological development and science fiction development. , and invited young people and fantasy groups from all districts (cities) and counties to watch the speeches and interact with the big names in science fiction on the spot, focusing on the development and development of the science fiction industry.

    (Not clear to me if that’s talking about something that will happen at Worldcon, or if it’s something they plan to do in that building afterwards? Presumably the latter?)

    I’m actually really impressed that this info is up on the internet for anyone to look at – I dunno if the equivalent western government orgs would have this sort of material available for public viewing? Maybe it would help things if the Worldcon organisers were able or willing to talk about this sort of stuff, as it might help make things make a bit more sense to us on the outside?

    Whether all these plans have been at the cost of rescheduling the event, and consequently making it more difficult for students to attend, is another matter of course.

  17. “Full disclosure: I’m not going, would not go, and cannot go. But one of our team is.”

    Strike that. After consideration, and impressed by the actions of fellow nominees who have declined invitations because of Chengdu’s problematic GoH choice, we have decided there will be no Galactic Journey representative at Chengdu.

    The Hugos, of course, belong to all of us, so we’ll still be voting.

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  19. mark on July 25, 2023 at 7:44 pm said:

    (13) Why do I not love media coverage, tell me, oh fates. Let’s see, a headline with “first international” (not counting the Winnipeg Worldcon),

    Pemmi-Con was the first NASFiC held outside of the United States of America. ConAdian in 1994 was not a NASFiC; it was a Worldcon. Therefore, it was an accurate description.

    and “other comic-cons” as if this was one.

    This is such a common mistake by media coverage of genre events that I don’t generally worry about it that much.

    Then “The convention takes a different name every year relating to its location.” Um, when it occurs, which they don’t seem to hear.

    Except where the article says in the third paragraph, “The convention is not an annual event in North America, rather it takes place when the World Science Fiction Convention is not held in North America.”

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