Pixel Scroll 7/11/17 Be Kind To Your Scroll-Footed Friends, For A Duck May Be Somebody’s Pixel!

(1) NEW WFA TROPHIES ON THE WAY. Kim Williams, chair of the 2016 World Fantasy Con, told readers of WFC’s Facebook page that last year’s WFA winners, given certificates at the 2016 award ceremony in Columbus, OH will soon be receiving copies of the new statuette created by Vincent Villafranca.

Vincent Villafranca’s design was chosen to replace the Lovecraft bust trophy by the World Fantasy Awards Administration and the Board of the World Fantasy Convention following a year-long public competition.

(2) OMNI REBOOTS AMID RIGHTS LITIGATION. Penthouse Global Media, on July 10, announced the acquisition of OMNI magazine and that its upcoming issue is slated for print publication in late October.

“As Penthouse Global Media enters its second year under new ownership, our driving principle is to put all of the pieces of the brand back together again.  As a result of decades of neglect, much of this company’s brilliant legacy was lost…until now,” stated Penthouse CEO Kelly Holland. “I am proud to announce that one of those casualties, OMNI—the magazine of science and science fiction, heralded as one of Guccione’s most iconic brands—is once again a part of the Penthouse family where it belongs.  Thanks in large part to Pamela Weintraub, one of OMNI‘s original editors, who had the foresight to bring the brand back to life by re-registering the trademarks and launching a digital site, she, along with many of the original OMNI staff, will deliver the award-winning magazine to newsstands once again.”

Only days ago, to protect its intellectual property, Penthouse Global Media sued Jerrick Media, and various other defendants including Jerrick Media Holdings Inc., Jeremy Frommer, and actor Jared Leto, for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, among other claims.

The lawsuit states:

Despite the fact that an application for registration of the OMNI Marks in connection with magazines had already been filed with the USPTO by Penthouse’s predecessor in interest, signaling to the world that the OMNI Marks were not available for use by Defendants, in 2013, Defendants Frommer and Schwartz again willfully and blatantly disregarded the intellectual property rights of others and began planning to publish an online science and science fiction magazine using the OMNI Marks and to republish and sell archival material from the original OMNI magazine. 29.

On or about June 27, 2013, Defendant Jerrick Ventures, LLC filed an application for registration of the purported trademark OMNI REBOOT (Serial No. 85,972,230), which registration was refused by the United States Patent and Trademark Office because of a likelihood of confusion with a registered OMNI Mark. On or about May 31, 2016, Jerrick Ventures, LLC filed a cancellation  proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) seeking to cancel the OMNI Mark (Cancellation No. 92063829). Because Penthouse General Media seeks a declaration in the present action that its registered OMNI Marks are valid and should not be cancelled, it will seek to have the cancellation proceeding  before the TTAB stayed pending the judgment in this action. 30.

Despite knowing of the existence of the registered OMNI Marks, and despite being denied registration of Omni Reboot, Defendants nonetheless  proceeded to willfully and blatantly infringe on the OMNI Marks by operating an online magazine at https://omni.media, which it refers to as OMNI Reboot, that not only uses the OMNI Marks in connection with the publication of an online magazine featuring science and science fiction topics, but also contains archival material from the original OMNI magazine, including magazine articles and reproductions of OMNI magazine covers, all without the permission or consent of Penthouse.

Jeremy Frommer’s claims to the rights are allegedly based on an auction purchase:

Frommer bought at an auction erotic photography, films and historical documents, among other things associated with Guccione and Penthouse. He then began reselling those and other related items online, according to the complaint, and allowing the public to view Caligula for a fee. That triggered the first round of this fight in bankruptcy court in 2013, but the parties mutually dismissed their claims without prejudice.

Penthouse’s Holland minimizes that claim:

“We at Penthouse don’t believe a person can acquire the rights to a brand simply by stumbling upon some of its products,” Holland said. “If you buy a DC comic book at a garage sale it doesn’t give you the rights to make a ‘Wonder Woman’ movie, nor does one have a right to our legacy because they found an old Omni magazine.”

(3) PUBLICLY CHOSEN GARGOYLE. The Washington Post’s Marylou Tousignant found some items of fannish interest at the Washington National Cathedral.

Washington National Cathedral, the sixth-largest cathedral in the world, has 215 stained-glass windows. The most popular holds a piece of moon rock brought back by the Apollo 11 astronauts in 1969.

Another must-see is Darth Vader, carved into the cathedral’s north side. The “Star Wars” villain was one of four winning designs by middle-schoolers in a 1985 contest. Vader is one of 1,242 weird creatures staring down from the cathedral’s neck­stretching exterior.

(4) EYECATCHING. Marvel Comics will release lenticular covers for Marvel Legacy.

The biggest stories and most epic team-ups come to MARVEL LEGACY this fall, and now you can hold the past and the future in your hands! Today, Marvel is proud to announce that all of the Marvel Legacy homage variants will be available as lenticular covers – a true celebration of Marvel’s history and expansive universe!

As seen on Newsarama, all of Marvel Legacy’s homage variants were previously unveiled, showcasing the new Marvel Legacy line-up and classic covers of the past. Don’t miss your chance to own a part of Marvel history – enhance your collection with all of Marvel Legacy’s lenticular covers, coming to comic shops this fall.

(5) DID YOU WONDER? What will the next Wonder Woman movie be about? ” Rumor of the day: Diana will face off against the USSR in Wonder Woman 2″.

With Russia in the news so much these days, The Wrap has said in an unsourced report that Wonder Woman 2 will take place during the 1980s and feature Diana of Themyscira going head-to-head with agents of the Soviet Union.

That means that like its predecessor, Wonder Woman 2 will be a period piece — only not as far in the past as the World War I setting of Diana’s first standalone adventure.

Although Patty Jenkins is not officially confirmed to return as director, she is said to be developing the script for Wonder Woman 2 with DC Entertainment co-president Geoff Johns. And while the story will allegedly feature the USSR in an antagonistic capacity, there’s no word on whether other villains from Wonder Woman’s published history will appear as well.

(6) THE PAYOFF. Marvel says Secret Empire #9 will reveal Steve Rogers’ secret. On sale August 23.

When Steve Rogers was revealed to be an agent of Hydra due to the manipulations of Red Skull, the Marvel Universe was rocked to its core. Now, it’s the moment fans have been waiting for – and you’re not going to want to miss this reveal!

What is the secret of Steve Rogers? And how will it affect the Marvel Universe as we know it?

(7) WHY IT’S HARDER TO FIND GOOD REVIEWS. Speculiction’s Jesse Hudson, in “And the drop is due to”,  charts the site’s declining number of book reviews against his rising familiarity with PlayStation 3 games. He is in awe of the current gaming technology.

It’s no secret that modern video games are exponentially more realistic and immersive than their pixel and dot forebears.  For the unaware, the degree of realism and immersion in today’s video games is essentially one degree removed from cinematics—a gap that will be covered in the next few years, for sure.  What this means is that game creators are able to put players, as much as is possible, into the shoes of the characters running around the imagined worlds on screen.  Being a detective, mighty warrior (or warrioress), or space marine is this close.  Game developers have done all the work to give you agency in what are essentially silver screen experiences.  Instead of watching a movie, you become part of the movie, directing the character, depending on the game, through the story.  I still fully appreciate novels for retaining the distance between sensual and imagined reality—for forcing the reader to use their imagination.  But I also appreciate what modern gaming is doing to virtually eliminate this distance; if the game’s world and gameplay are well-developed and unique, then so too can be the experience.

(8) THOUGHTS THUNK WHILE THINKING. Nancy Kress tells about her Big Idea for Tomorrow’s Kin at Whatever.

Your mind does not work the way you think it does.

You probably assume that you consider data and come to rational conclusions. But all too often, people don’t take into account such pesky tendencies as confirmation bias (“This fact confirms what I already believe so it gets more weight”) Or polarization (“This situation is all good/bad”). Or emotionalism (“I feel this so it must be true”), a need for control (“I’m looking at what I can change and nothing else”), presentism (“The future will be like the present only maybe a little more so”), or scapegoating (“If this isn’t as I wish it to be, someone must be to blame!”)

When I set out to extend my novella “Yesterday’s Kin” into the novel Tomorrow’s Kin, which takes the story ten years farther along, I wanted to write about these distortions in your thinking. Oh, not you in particular (how do I know what you’re thinking as you read this—maybe it’s “She doesn’t mean me. I’m different.”) What interested me—especially in the current political climate—is the public mind as it relates to science and the perception of science….

(9) CROWLEY’S TIME HAS COME. Tor.com’s Matthew Keeley has published a brief profile of John Crowley, “Predicting the Future and Remembering the Past with John Crowley”, an author he notes is best known for his book Little, Big, but regrets is still not very well-known outside writing circles. The article aims to change this situation:

At Readercon a few years ago, I attended a panel on favorite science fiction and fantasy books. One author, one of the best working today, talked about the near-impossibility of writing a book so perfect as John Crowley’s Little, Big. There were wistful sighs from writers in the audience and nodded agreements from other panelists. Everyone in the room at that most bookish convention recognized that competing with Crowley was impossible.

Yet in many fan circles Crowley remains unknown. This literary master of the hermetic, hidden, and esoteric has for too long been as hidden as the obscure histories, gnostic theorists, and addled visionaries that populate his work. Despite the many awards; despite the praise of luminaries both inside the genre community, like Ursula K. Le Guin and Thomas Disch, and outside it, like Harold Bloom; despite his inclusion in both Bloom’s Western Canon and Gollancz’s Fantasy Masterworks, most fantasy readers don’t read him. Perhaps this is the year that changes.

(10) MARTINELLI OBIT. Italian-born actress Elsa Martinelli died of cancer in Rome on July 8. She was 82. Her genre work included The 10th Victim (1965), based on the Robert Sheckley novel.

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • July 11, 1997 — On this day in 1997, Carl Sagan’s Contact entered theatres.
  • July 11, 2014 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes premiered theatrically.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born July 11, 1899 – E.B. White
  • Born July 11, 1913 — Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger — better known by his pseudonym, Cordwainer Smith

(13) JEOPARDY! CONTESTANT. On the July 11 episode of Jeopardy!, Kelly Lasiter, from the St. Louis area, admitted she’s an SF fan who attends conventions in the area, and went to the 2016 Worldcon in Kansas City.

She won the game, with $22,800, and will play again on Wednesday.

(14) WHERE THE GEEKNERDS ARE. Examined Worlds’ Ethan Mills praises a convention’s community building in “CONvergence 2017 Report”.

The deeper thing that CONvergence taught me back in the early-mid 2000’s was the value of cons as a space for community, something I’ve discussed before with regard to other cons.  While being a geek/nerd is not as uncool as it used to be, it’s still great to have a place where you can let your geek flag fly proudly.  No matter how intense your nerdery is, someone at con is nerdier.  You may be wearing Vulcan ears, but someone else may have a full Starfleet uniform and android-colored contacts to dress up as Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation (an actual costume I saw at CONvergence).

The openness of a place where people can love what they love without derision or judgment is a beautiful thing.  This aspect of fandom seems to be unappreciated by small but annoying parts of fandom like the Rabid Puppies and Gamergaters, but it’s safe to say that for the vast majority of fans, this is precisely what fandom is all about….

(15) WHERE TO SELL. Now available: the “SFWA Market Report for July” compiled by David Steffen.

(16) A DAY AT THE PLANT. At Amazing Stories, Adam Roberts is interviewed about his contribution to an anthology,

Gary Dalkin for Amazing Stories: ‘Black Phil’, your story in Improbable Botany, packs a huge amount into 20 pages. It combines the scientific, the political and the personal in a way which is ultimately very moving, and does so while gradually revealing to the reader a startlingly imagined near future earth. There is a lot of specific detail in the story and I’m wondering what your approach to writing a piece like this is, how much do you have planned out before you begin writing, and how much comes to you through the writing process? I’m asking this in part because I’m wondering how quickly you write, given you are a prolific author of highly imaginative, intricately constructed novels and have a day job as a professor of literature as well.

Adam Roberts: My approach to writing has changed, I suppose. When I was starting out as a writer I would generally plan things out fairly carefully; now I have more technical fluency, and can trust my hands to produce more of what’s needed if I let them loose on the keyboard. Not entirely though. It’s a balance, as with so much of life. If a writer maps every beat of every chapter in a detailed plan before she ever writes a word, the danger is that the actual writing turns into a chore, merely filling in the blocks in the grid, and if the writer gets bored writing then that tends to communicate itself to the reader. On the other hand, simply diving in with no sense of where you’re going or how the story is going to unfold, in my experience, will result in something too baggy and freeform, understructured and messy. So the praxis for me is threading a path between those extremes: having a sense of the overall shape of the thing, and which spots I definitely want to hit as I go, but working out some of the specifics as I write the first draft, to keep at least elements of it fresh. With short stories the process is a little different to novels: plot is constrained by the shorter space, so there’s a greater need for other things to hold the whole together – a governing metaphor, for instance, that can be unpacked and explored, provided it’s eloquent enough. In ‘Black Phil’ I was working with blackness as a colour and blackness as a mood, which meant that the story needed to make a certain kind of emotional sense, and the other elements were rather subordinated to that.

(17) IF YOU WANT TO GIVE HER A MISS. Canberra sff author Gillian Polack puts a different spin on the typical convention schedule announcement in “How to avoid me at Worldcon 75”.

This is the post you’ve been waiting for. Now you can plan your Helsinki visit knowing you can avoid me. You’ll also know that I can’t redeem myself with chocolate, for I have tiny scraps of Australia to give everyone instead. Ask me nicely and you could take home some opal or Australian turquoise or fool’s gold. (When I say ‘scraps of Australia’ I mean it quite literally.) Asking me politely would, of course, mean not avoiding me.

I can only be at a small bit of the auction, but I’m bringing Tim tams, a blow-up kangaroo and other exciting things to add to the bidding frenzy. This emans I’ll be there … sort of…for some of the time and my luggage will represent me the rest of the time….

(18) GOOD REVIEWS. The other day I said someone’s Hugo nominee reviews were lacking who hadn’t completely read most of the stories. Now, at the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve encountered the hyperfeasance of Garik16 who claims, “I managed to read every nominee this year before the nominations were announced except for A Closed and Common Orbit (Yes I know I’m hipster bragging here lol).”

More importantly, his post, “Reviewing the Hugo Nominees: Best Novel”, is rich in analysis and substantive comments.

  1. Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Review on twitter here:

Disclaimer: I’ve just finished this books sequel (Raven Strategem, review forthcoming next week), and will try to separate the two books since its fresh in my mind. Ninefox Gambit is a book that is Challenging to read.  Whereas other books might try to infodump explanations of how extremely complicated made up SF or Fantasy worlds work, Ninefox Gambit just drops you right in the world, made up terminology and all, and trusts you to figure it out on your own.  It’s probably a bit too far in this direction honestly – a short story in the same universe for example explains a little bit more and there’s no reason this book couldn’t have done the same – but if you can get past it, the result is just phenomenal.

This is a universe where calendars followed are of maximum importance, where mathematical calculations allow for armies to create devastating attacks on a battlefield, and where immortality may be very possible.  This book deals largely with the efforts of a mathematical genius but otherwise standard infantry soldier getting stuck with an undead general in her head – an undead general who is both brilliant and known for massacreing his own forces.  The interplay between them, as well as how the world works around them, results in a truly fantastic book.

This is one of those books that will have you going back after your first reread to find out things you might have missed, and to see how things read after the reveal later in the book. The book isn’t light in tone – the dominant government relies on ritual torture to keep its technology working for example – but it is absolutely gripping if you can get past the terminology at the start and contains some pretty strong themes of the values of freedom, justice and sacrifice.

I suspect it’ll come in 2nd in voting, but this has my vote.

And for bonus reading, here’s what Garik16 thinks about the Hugo nominated novellas, novelettes, and short stories.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Rob Thornton, Rich Lynch, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]

89 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/11/17 Be Kind To Your Scroll-Footed Friends, For A Duck May Be Somebody’s Pixel!

  1. I’ve got my fingers firmly crossed that I don’t have any episodes of brainfail between now and the voting deadline, since if I do I won’t be able to vote in Novel or Series, both of which I’m still finishing up. Everything else is either set or a category I don’t mind sacrificing. At least I’ll still have read some good stories either way, but it would be nice to get to the finish line.

    Just a few days of not-Hot would be great.

  2. (18) I’m not going to make it. The Best Series category is simply impossible to judge without reading more than I was able to in the weeks since the finalists were announced. I will put the one I’m familiar with on the ballot, but I’m afraid I can’t judge the others. I tried. I really tried. I read as much as I could, but even a person who reads as fast as I do can’t get through that many books in two months with all the other stuff to read as well.

    I wish I was like Garik, and had read them all last year. I wish I hadn’t been so depressed I didn’t read at all for six months. Maybe next year’s Hugos will be better if I can get more reading done from here on out.

  3. @Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag,
    Sympathies. Depression sucks.

    I’m not voting this year. What with health issues in the family, distracting myself playing Pokemon Go*, and trying to keep up with File770 posts & comments, my fiction reading has dropped off in the last year.

    *Hey, it gets me out of the house & walking which has had positive benefits. Plus it’s fun.
    Gamification: the future of fitness?

  4. Sometimes stuff just has to give. I barely read anything new last year (my nomination ballot was laughably minimal) because last year sucked. Early part of this year I mostly just obsessively read the same half a dozen Witcher fics by astolat because that was what worked to keep truckin’ on (she’s on my fan writer ballot for next year because of it). This year, I have a wheelchair and I’m not going to be spending half of it healing from very-minor-but-nonetheless-mobility-impairing-and-slow-healing-surgery, and I don’t have any benefits assessments due *fingers crossed* so hopefully it should all be less distressing. It would be nice to feel a bit more on top of Hugo reading for next year.

    I’m not too worried about failing to vote in Series, to be honest. I never thought the category was a good idea in the first place, from a practicality perspective, and I was only giving it a shot because Temeraire is one of my very favourite things. (I’m not sure whether I’ll vote for the ones I’m familiar with already – I’m still thinking about it. Odds are Temeraire would be ranked first regardless, of course, but…)

  5. Meredith: Odds are Temeraire would be ranked first [in Best Series] regardless, of course, but…

    If you feel that the Temeraire series is worthy of a Hugo Award, then by all means you should put it on your ballot, even if you haven’t been able to read any of the other Series.

  6. @Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag
    I think the Best Series category is poorly thought out. The work required to vote on it–never mind nominate–is just ridiculous.

    The way to signal that you think a category shouldn’t exist is to vote No Award in the #1 spot for that category and nothing else. That’s what I’m doing.

  7. @JJ

    Mm, it’s just that the other option – as Greg mentions – is to No Award the whole lot because I think the category is silly and shouldn’t exist (as I do with Editor Long), which is what I intended to do before the nominees were announced and I had a crisis of oh-no-a-favourite-thing. It really depends on whether what I think is the most-right-thing wins against my deep dislike of the idea of putting No Award above Temeraire. 🙂 I probably won’t entirely make up my mind until I finalise my ballot.

  8. @Soon Lee: If I had a phone that could handle Pokemon Go, I would be playing it JUST to get myself walking more. My sisters swear by it.

    @Meredith: I love Vorkosigan, and I can’t NOT vote it in, but I agree that the category seems a bit crazy. Perhaps if there was more time – but a multi-year vote is also crazy.

    @JJ: I feel mildly guilty putting Vorkosigan on the ballot when I feel like I can’t vote for the other series… but it’ll be there. At least this has had the result of making me start reading five series that I was barely familiar with. Maybe I’ll keep reading them. I had hoped one or two would just resonate with me… no such luck.

    @Greg Hullender: Agreed, but I won’t put No Award. I think wiser heads will prevail in the end.

  9. Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag: I feel mildly guilty putting Vorkosigan on the ballot when I feel like I can’t vote for the other series… but it’ll be there. At least this has had the result of making me start reading five series that I was barely familiar with. Maybe I’ll keep reading them. I had hoped one or two would just resonate with me… no such luck.

    I’m glad to hear that. If you think the series is worthy of a Hugo Award, that’s an appropriate choice.

    Look on the bright side: even if none of the other 5 series this year resonate with you, next year you’ll probably have the impetus to dig into 6 new series, and maybe one of those will hit your sweet spot. 🙂

  10. @Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag

    I get why people want it – I mean, look at us, each too in love with a series to just ignore the category, plus the reflecting-the-market aspect – but the logistics of it are just absurd. Six novels isn’t too much of a hardship in the time period (barring sucky life-circumstances) but the Best Series novels added up to something like a few dozen novels plus assorted short fiction. It just isn’t going to be a reasonable workload for a lot of voters, but given the love aspect there’ll be a lot of people voting for their favourites even without reading the rest (and why shouldn’t they, when the workload is unreasonable) so at that point it will be less which one is best and more which one has the biggest group of devoted fans.

    My money’s on the Vorkosigan Saga to win (although I’m still roting for Temeraire), since Bujold is extremely good and extremely popular. I prefer her fantasy stuff but I know the Vorkosigan books well enough to respect them.

  11. (13) The Jeopardy! match also featured two adjacent categories in the Double Jeopardy round, “Shaka” and “When the Walls Fell” – possibly too much of a TNG in-joke for most of the audience; had to explain it to my wife & child.

  12. Meredith: My money’s on the Vorkosigan Saga to win (although I’m still roting for Temeraire), since Bujold is extremely good and extremely popular. I prefer her fantasy stuff but I know the Vorkosigan books well enough to respect them.

    I saw a comment from Seanan McGuire to the effect of “Well, of course Lois is going to win, because, I mean, it’s The Vorkosigan Saga!” but she said that she was really delighted by the opportunity to have more readers introduced to her work — especially since, of all her series, October Daye is her favorite child, and that she was very grateful to Sheila Gilbert and DAW books for being willing to put all 10 novels as well as the 14 novellas, novelettes, and short stories in the Hugo Voter’s Packet.

  13. I know there are a lot of series books, but how many are award worthy? I actually like the category, because it recognizes a body of work. It’s not easy to increase or maintain quality and interest within the rigors of a series and that’s an extra layer of difficulty that generally doesn’t get recognized at awards time, not least because it’s the rare series book that can be read independently of its fellows.

    The number of books that would need to be read to be up to date with this year’s nominees is ridiculous and I didn’t do that. Instead, I read enough to get a good feel for the series I hadn’t read before and read a few more in two I wasn’t caught up with and that was enough for me.

  14. JJ: Y’know, there’s a great tradition of Hugo nominees that everybody knew was going to win, then they all individually, and quietly, voted for what they liked — and the front runner lost. Like the year everybody knew E.T. was going to win even though they wanted Bladerunner — which, in fact, won.

    And let me tell you — I voted for E.T., and I’ve voted for the Vorkosigan Saga. Could there be any surer kiss of death than that? Temeraire, here we come….

  15. Mike Glyer: Could there be any surer kiss of death than that? Temeraire, here we come…

    *snort*

    Can I pass you a list of finalists which I would really like not to win? 😀

  16. @Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag,

    I swear by Pokemon Go too.

    Re: series Hugo.
    I think this is will be a good trial of it. Already we’re seeing some of the concerns in play:
    – how many Hugo-worthy series are eligible in a given year?
    – how feasible is for a voter to read all the finalists & form an informed judgement given the time constraints?

    My sense is that it is a worthwhile idea that is too impractical to run annually. Maybe once every five/ten years?

    As for the Vorkosigan Saga, it’s been my comfort read in recent weeks & it’s standing up well to re-reading. IMO it is indisputable that it is Hugo worthy & I wouldn’t hesitate to put it as my sole selection on my ballot if I didn’t get time to read the other finalists.

  17. The way to signal that you think a category shouldn’t exist is to vote No Award in the #1 spot for that category and nothing else. That’s what I’m doing.

    That’s how I plan to handle series and a few other categories. I’m also finding that as I get older and read more I’ve gotten a lot less tolerant of what IMHO are lackluster nominees, which includes those with just a thin veneer of SF&F glued on the outside (yeah, I’m looking at you, The Art of Space Travel). Nor do I feel obligated to finish overly long pretentious novels if they grate on my nerves by the time I’m a third of the way through (sorry, Too Like the Lightening, but your narrator’s gender-obsession got old by the 4th chapter).

    For me, a Hugo-worthy work is one that we can all look back on in a decade or three and agree that, like it or not, it was a well-constructed piece of SF&F storytelling, with an internally consistent world and believable characters and deserved to be called one of the best of the year.

  18. Minor correction: The Sheckley novel was based on the movie. The movie was based on his short story, “The Seventh Victim”. (Sheckley also worked on the screenplay.)

  19. I’ve really enjoyed the concept of Best Series – much more than I expected to – but the practicalities of it are damning IMHO. I’d read three of the finalists already, and even then I found the reading a daunting prospect.
    I don’t think it should continue in its current form.
    (However, I do think that running it as a trial was an excellent idea by W75 – it’s really brought the issues into focus)

  20. (18) GOOD REVIEWS

    Good reviews indeed – I enjoyed those roundups.

    I’m noticing a pattern with This Census Taker – it’s either making the top of people’s ballots or the bottom. A genuine marmite story, and unfortunately for it, I hate marmite!

  21. If PoGo doesn’t appeal, try Ingress also by Niantic. I’ve been averaging 4.5km a day since I started playing last summer and am now a Level 14 Enlightenment agent. Not only am I walking round town more, I’m also having days out in other places to do Mission Banners and grab unique portals.

    PoGo apparently started as a skin on Ingress used for demos at trade shows. Nintendo saw it and went “Want!”.

  22. I must admit, I’m a bit conflicted about Best Series… I was kind of lucky, in that three of the finalists were already quite familiar; even so, there was a lot of reading to do before I felt vaguely comfortable about making a decision. (And suppose someone was completely new to the Vorkosigan Saga? Or suppose there was a sudden influx of German fans, and Perry Rhodan got on the ballot?)

    So, there’s the potential for it to take a lot of effort… and, also, for it to be dominated by the same finalists for quite some time. At least one of this year’s finalists will also be eligible next year, won’t they? Someone who’s popular, and good at putting out annual instalments, could stay on the final ballot for years and years. (Maybe I’m just being sloppy, and this question has already been addressed. But if it hasn’t, it probably should be.)

  23. Any Filers going to Charles Stross’ book launch tonight? I happened to be traveling in the U.K. with my family when they announced it, so we decided to time our swing up to Edinburgh to coincide with it.

  24. Got my Hugo voting done…I think. With a minimum of Puppy Poo, I had to reestablish my thinking skills to weigh some categories. As noted above by others,. Best Series was hard. The Campbell Award for me was particularly hard with three candidates I rolled around as near equal in my head.

    13) Yay! One of us!

  25. Steve Wright: So, there’s the potential for [Best Series]… to be dominated by the same finalists for quite some time. At least one of this year’s finalists will also be eligible next year, won’t they? Someone who’s popular, and good at putting out annual instalments, could stay on the final ballot for years and years.

    No, the rules state that a finalist is ineligible to be on the ballot again until there have been at least two (2) additional volumes published, consisting in total of at least 240,000 words, after they qualified for their last appearance.

    Also, a series can only win in this category once.

  26. I think gamification is the present of fitness. Even minus fancy apps, I and many of the people I climb with have a tendency to chase harder and harder grades of climbs, whether at the gym or outdoors. I’m currently climbing around 7a/7a+ and projecting 7b.

    Also many martial arts; what are belts if not levels to be achieved?

    Unfortunately sometimes – and particularly within the martial arts, I’ve found – people chase the grades without a full understanding of what they’re doing and why, which leads to getting a gigantic brick shithouse sandan (3rd degree black belt) with no understanding that a technique that works for him won’t necessarily work for me, a tiny wafer of a person.

  27. I was pleased with the Best Series results this year, because they’re all hugely popular and none of them have less than 5 books. (Of course, the fact that I had already read 4 of the series in their entirety, and they had been on my nomination ballot, contributed to my feeling that the category worked well this year.)

  28. 2: well then, I guess it’s a good thing that my discussion with Frommer/Jarrick Media never went anywhere. If anyone needs testimony on brand confusion, I will be happy to state that I was totally confused by the “two Omnis” (and equally confused by the rights claims).

    18: the logistics required for Best Series are near impossible (doing the award ever nth year would only increase the difficulty: how can you guess what you should have started reading 5 years ago?)

    I think it should be an “open” award category; everyone nominates their favoriite, whatever series gets the majority above a certain minimal vote requirement wins; the series is no longer eligible and the author can’t be voted on for two years. Or something like that. Some methodology that allows years of following a series to count, as opposed to trying to play catch up with multiple series in a single year.

  29. @JJ: see, this is part of the problem – my brain is now so full of wormhole strategy, space battles, undead legal manoeuvres, faerie politics, dragons and police regulations on the use of magic, there’s no room left to remember the bloomin’ rules….

  30. @ Steve Wright: And suppose someone was completely new to the Vorkosigan Saga?

    ::Raises hand:: I asked for recommendations, and then ended up getting more of the later books through the library and reading them. I can see why it is a Best Beloved series for many, and if I had started reading it in more formative years, it would have been one for me. So it wasn’t at the top for me, but I do feel like it will probably win.

    I think Best Series needs a different (sort of) criteria from Best Novel/Other Story Length. In standalone stories, I want to see boundaries pushed, as well as excellent writing, and it is difficult to do that in a series, IMO. I had already recently re-read three of the finalists, and was able to get a good handle on the other three, including Vorkosigan. Enough that I’m happy with my vote.

  31. @Hampus, your cat is extraordinarily beautiful and I’m happy to know you will both be safe from zombies. If I have to rely on my dogs, I will only be safe from people wielding gas powered yard tools.

    8) THOUGHTS THUNK WHILE THINKING – I continue to be fascinated by the human mind, particularly in its ability to ignore facts.

    18) GOOD REVIEWS – I liked the novel reviews so much that I read the rest. I liked them too.

  32. Perhaps a Series Hugo could only accept a nominee if the series has been officially concluded for one year. That way, everybody would have time to read all of the novels. I am not sure how this might affect the marketplace (or even how you define “finished”) but I think it’s a worthy suggestion.

  33. @Rob Thornton:

    That’s effectively what we had until last year (any work published in the last year, any series concluded in the last year; see the Wheel of Time in 2014 as a worked example).

    I think the proposed Series award proposal is, on the whole, an improvement over the status quo, although I will admit that it may not be perfect.

    OTOH, things like “fan art”, “pro art” and to a large extent “graphic novel” are categories where I am not really willing to spend time to become an informed voter. I don’t think it’s a requirement that all award categories have a massive appeal to all voters in order to be useful.

    This year, the only finalist in “Best Series” that I had not already read at least some works in was the Craft sequence. I’ve only read 2-3 of the Temeraire books, so far, but I have at least enough to form an opinion on the series as a whole. The remaining four I’ve read in their completeness.

  34. I still need to check out and vote on the artist categories. Not sure yet what I’ll do with best series — the only ones I’ve read are Temeraire and The Expanse, both of which I think are worthy contenders; so I might just rank those two, or I might leave it blank. And while I did get all of the shorter fiction categories this year, my novel ballot is embarrassingly short.

  35. @JJ: Don’t get me wrong, all of the books I’ve read I’ve enjoyed on some level. I just was hoping one or two would make a serious connection with me in the first book and that would make them rise above the rest so I could say, “YES! This is my second choice” or “This one obviously is great enough to go higher on the ballot!” But none of them hit me like that. All good, mostly interesting, but nothing so powerful that they jumped immediately up to ballot-worthy.

    @Meredith: I would not bet any real money on this category. While it seems natural for Vorkosigan to win, being a popular series beloved of many, I’ve gotten the impression that many of the others are also popular and beloved. So I’m curious to see how the vote goes, but I have no expectations.

    @Mark: regarding This Census Taker, the more I think about it, the more it worms into my head. It’s one of those stories that keeps eating at me and forcing me to look at it again. I thought I didn’t like it, but even now it’s the one story on the ballot that I keep coming back to think on. That’s a plus for it – but like you it feels like marmite and I’m not a marmite fan.

    @Anthony: You’re making me want to get a new phone so I can participate in the fun.

    @Hampus: Your kitteh is gorgeous.

  36. The problem with a zombie killing cat is that eventually they may become bored or full and then you’re doomed. Like the cats they got to try to control the rabbit/mouse problems in Australia who could only kill so many rodents and/or lagomorphs before it was nap time.

    Maybe zombie killing terriers are the answer.

  37. Best series reading:

    My usual strategy is to start with the shortest and expect-to-like-least reading matter. That’s why I finished everything else weeks ago and only had Best Series left. (The rest of life is badly neglected.)

    Before starting I had only read (and nominated) Gladstone. I won’t finish, but come close enough.

    All series are deservedly on the ballot – No Award never had a chance – and good enough for me to check out the next volume. I’d be very happy for either of my top three to win.

    6 Aaronovitch:
    Suffered from time pressure. I believe this series needs to be read with a cup of tea and a lot of looking up police jargon (what was IC3 again?). Reading too fast I never quite got into the humour, and without the humour the cases were just not that interesting.

    5 Corey:
    Fascinating and quite addictive. I could have done without some of the more explicit stuff (Vomit Zombies). At times the characterization was… off. Inconsistent? Formulaic?
    The cheeto review hits close; except I prefer Oreos and didn’t feel sick afterward.

    4 McGuire:
    I read all of these in three or four days (off work). Very very fast and addictive. Part of the speed is that a lot of the descriptions repeat (I know what a Fetch is. And who Quentin is. And Raj. And January. And the Luidaeg. And Danny. And a Barghest. And a bloodworker. Get to the story!) There is also a lot of running/driving around getting the same people from A to B to presumed safety.

    3 Gladstone:
    Unique mostly for the mood they create. (Kos Everburning! The Red King! The
    drowning idols!). And the combination of business and religion. And the way Gladstone wrote very different stories in very different places of the same universe that still managed to come together and be more than the sum of their parts.

    2 Bujold:
    Not finished reading (7 down, 14 to go. One, maybe two before the deadline.) Might move down a spot if Miles doesn’t start to be a bit more likeable soon. The capers in “The Warrior’s Apprentice” and “The Vor Game” are both hilarious and grating.

    1 Novik.
    Not finished reading (expect to end at 5 or 6 on Sunday morning).
    No tie. Definitely no tie in this category. Squeeee.

    This category would be manageable if some of the series were a bit shorter. Maybe even trilogies (The Broken Earth 2018!) This year, it was just too much.

  38. @Meredith:

    the Best Series novels added up to something like a few dozen novels plus assorted short fiction. It just isn’t going to be a reasonable workload for a lot of voters

    I don’t see reading that many books as a reasonable workload either — but I wonder how many people would be starting from scratch? I’m retired, so I’m not a median case — but I read rather more slowly than I used to (and tend to fall asleep even with good books), so I may not be ridiculously far out on the curve; I was almost(*) current on all of these series because individual works had caught me interest enough for me to keep reading as new works came out.

    It will be interesting to see how the category works out over time (assuming it’s not killed by this year’s business meeting — that happens, but not often). Possibly the requirements for additional work between nominations will leave us with nothing good on the ballot in a couple of years(**), and people will reconsider in 2021 (when the category will be brought up for review) — or possibly there will be enough ongoing non–open-ended works (e.g., (edit: cf @GiantPanda) The Broken Earth in 2019?) to keep the category interesting. (The post-ceremony publication of extended nomination results will be interesting; I wonder how many places down the Laundry Files was?

    *: I’ve given up on Expanse — more things to track than I can manage — and I infilled a couple of Aaronovitch after starting with #4.

    ** e.g., ISTM that “October Daye” won’t be eligible again for 3 years, as the books look smaller than 120K words each.

  39. I am worried about Best Series. It so happened that I had read at least one work in all but one of the series already. So I was able to check out a few more and get up to speed. But there is no guarantee this will always be the case. Indeed, it is unlikely to continue. For one thing, for the next couple of years at least there will be another six series each year. For another, there is less likelihood of convergence in nominations here than in many categories; there’s no possibility of checking out the most recommended works of the year as there is in Best Novel etc., or of something being widely talked-of and catching people’s eye; people will nominate things they are already fans of – which will be things that have a large following, but which people outside that following won’t know.

    I think that people will very often vote in this category for things they already know and like, which seems to me not in the spirit of the Hugos. (It is in the spirit of the Dragons, where the aim is explicitly to see who can mobilise the most fans, so a series award there would make sense.) Various things are pushing us in this direction – the multiplication of awards, with the YA not-Hugo adding to the amount we have to read, as well as 5/6; it all makes reading everything, or even sampling everything, harder to achieve.

    (Did you notice, by the way, that the Marvel comics were stamped ‘Hugo Awards Selection Committee’? My first thought was that Marvel don’t understand how the Hugos work. But then it struck me that in a way they are right; we are a committee, just a very big one; we are considering things and reaching a judgement, not just expressing our existing preferences. Or so it should be.)

    There is a reason why works in long series tend not to get Hugos (works in short series do so all the time, of course); they require prior knowledge and commitment; the audience for the later volumes is fans of the series.(The Vorkosigan series is deliberately written so that each book will be accessible; others aren’t like that.) It’s not possible for them to command a consensus in the way that stand-alone novels or novellas do. This problem is not removed by changing the rules.

  40. @GiantPanda —
    2 Bujold:
    Not finished reading (7 down, 14 to go. One, maybe two before the deadline.) Might move down a spot if Miles doesn’t start to be a bit more likeable soon. The capers in “The Warrior’s Apprentice” and “The Vor Game” are both hilarious and grating.

    I love the Vorkosigan saga, but IMHO Miles doesn’t become “likeable” until he learns a huge life lesson in “Memory”. After that, in “Komarr”, he meets Ekaterina, and after a few bumps in “A Civil Campaign”, he matures.

    Just sayin’

    YMMV, of course.

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