Pixel Scroll 7/31/17 I’ll Get You, My Pixel, And Your Little Scroll, Too

(1) FANDOM FEST AFTER ACTION REPORT. Randall and Anne Golden decided they’d go to Louisville’s Fandom Fest despite “Weird Al” Yankovic’s cancelling his appearance. They lowered their expectations and lived to tell the tale in a two-part conreport.

We finished our FandomFest experience and were out the door by 12:30. For the math-curious that’s four hours of two-way driving, one hour spent on the line to get in, forty minutes on ticket exchanges, and 110 minutes on actual conventioning. We’ve done worse for less.

By the end of the day at least a couple hundred more fans had packed into the Macy’s and begun turning into a bona fide crowd. Anne noted that today’s attendance was probably more people than the actual Macy’s had entertained in years. But it was never anywhere near 1700. For a show that once welcomed a five-digit annual attendance, that’s an alarming deceleration.

For a show in its twelfth year, with so many years of experience and resources (you’d think, anyway), that’s a drastic sign either of incompetence, evil, or intentional downsizing. We can’t speak for the innumerable fans still upset with their FandomFest fleecing and still crying out for retribution, but I wish more could be done for them.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on Saturday my wife Anne and I attended FandomFest in Louisville, KY, the twelfth iteration of this entertainment/”comic” convention that’s quite low on comics, heavy on controversy, improper in its online customer service, saddled with a years-old negative image not really helped by the depressing role call of thirty-one canceled guests, and graded a solid F by the Better Business Bureau. But beyond the mountains of baggage, their volunteers were pretty friendly to us in person despite their upper management, and the fifteen actors in the house seemed like decent folks.

Publisher Tony Acree of Hydra Publications talked about the (literal) silver lining he found in the clouds surrounding the con — “Fandom Fest 2017 Day 1 Recap”. (Lots of cosplay photos in his Day 2 and Day 3 recaps.)

What hasn’t changed, is the number of high quality vendors who have been to Fandom year after year. Hydra Publications lucky to be in “Author Corner” along with Stephen Zimmer and Holly Phillippe of Seventh Star Press, the wonderful ladies of Per Bastet, along with Lydia Sherrer, Lacy Marie and my fellow Hydra authors, Arlan Andrew Sr., Dave Creek, Lynn Tincher and Stuart Thaman. Oh. And super editor Josiah Davis.

Despite all the negative news, we sold more books this year on Friday, than we did last year. To you, the fans, we say thank you.


Arlan Andrews Sr. and Dave Creek at the Hydra table

Jeff raises an interesting question – when quoted by the press, the co-organizer of Fandom Fest went by the name Myra Daniels.

Noah Bisson posted a video of his walkthrough of the con. Crowding was definitely not an issue.

(2) NO SHOW. Steve Davidson, in “What’s Happening with the TV Show?”, explains why you shouldn’t be looking for an Amazing Stories revival on NBC. For one thing, the check wasn’t in the mail.

I waited for a period of time to determine if I would receive something.  After months of waiting and still receiving nothing, a notice of Termination/Breach of Contract was sent to NBC legal, seeing as how pretty much everybody we had previously been working with was no longer with NBC.  It sure looked to us like Amazing Stories The TV Show had become an orphan:  no showrunner, prior contacts no longer with the company, no word, no checks.

The notice was properly delivered to NBC in May of this year.  Despite the fact that the orginal contract would have expired in August of this year, I had completely lost confidence in two things:  NBC’s ability to treat me properly AND NBC’s ability to deliver a show.

(3) HE SECONDS. Robert J. Sawyer has added himself to the list of people sponsoring the “Separate Fantasy and Science Fiction Hugo Best-Novel Awards Amendment” submitted by Chris Barkley and Vincent Docherty and discussed here last week.

(4) MOVING DAY FINALLY HERE FOR MACMILLAN.  After years of rumors, Macmillan Publishers is really going to bid farewell to the iconic Flatiron Building.

Macmillan Publishers is officially leaving the Flatiron Building, having signed up for 261,000 square feet at Silverstein Properties’ 120 Broadway.

The space will span five full floors, the New York Post reported. In April, sources told The Real Deal the publisher was weighing a move to the Lower Manhattan building, but the size of the space was not clear.

Asking rents at 120 Broadway are in the mid-$50s per square foot, according to the newspaper.

Macmillan is the Flatiron Building’s sole tenant. The property has not been totally empty since it was built more than a century ago. Sorgente Group of America, which owns a majority stake, may rent it out to new tenants or potentially go through with a plan to turn it into a hotel.

(5) SHAKEN UP. A Marvel Comics editor posted a selfie of herself and some coworkers enjoying milkshakes. For this innocuous act, she has been harassed on Twitter: “Female Marvel Comics editor harassed online for milkshake selfie”. (Warning: the harassment is extensively quoted in the article.)

Antos condemned the abuse the following day, writing that “the internet is an awful, horrible, and disgusting place.” She added, “Woke up today to a slew of more garbage tweets and DMs. For being a woman. In comics. Who posted a selfie of her friends getting milkshakes.”


  • July 31, 1971 — Astronauts David Scott and James Irwin became the first people to drive a vehicle on the Moon.
  • July 31, 1976 — NASA released the famous “Face on Mars” photo, taken by Viking 1.
  • July 31, 1999 — The ashes of astro-geologist Eugene Shoemaker were deposited on the Moon.


  • July 31, 1965 – J.K. Rowling


  • Born July 31, 1980 – Harry Potter


  • Born July 31, 1966 – Dean Cain

(10) COMIC SECTION. Chip Hitchcock recommends today’s Rhymes With Orange.

(11) FILER ALERT. Greg Machlin extends an invite to all Filers in Helsinki for his very first Worldcon panel as a panelist —

Science Fiction & Fantasy in Musical Theatre

Thursday 16:00 – 17:00, 103 (Messukeskus)

Wicked, Into the Woods, Rocky Horror, Little Shop of Horrors – fantasy and science fiction have long been represented in the musical theatre. The panelists discuss their favorites and also perhaps some not-so successful SF musicals.

Emily January, Sari Polvinen (M), Ada Palmer, Greg Machlin, Sami Mustala howeird

Also on the panel: Ada Palmer (Too Like The Lightning).

Machlin adds: As someone who’s written and had produced a fair amount of sci-fi/fantasy theatre (Keith Haring: Pieces of a Life in L.A. in 2014; the one-act “Sushi” all over the place), this is my jam. I may, if the other panelists are patient, present a song from an actual sci-fi musical I wrote the book and lyrics for, The Great Swiss Cheese Conspiracy Theory.

(12) MARLOWE MAKES FINALS. Congratulations to Francis Hamit who is a finalist in the London 2017, New Renaissance Screenwriting Competition. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony, on August 20.

Christopher Marlowe

Feature Screenplay • Drama, Thriller, War, History, Biography

Francis Hamit 


The poet, playwright and spy lives in two worlds at a time when politics was religion and vice-versa. He is a brilliant playwright and an effective spy but his intemperate ways and desire for power as well as fame combined with a free thinking pose of atheism eventually lead to his death at the hands of his fellow agents at the order of Queen Elizabeth herself. Timeline is from 1585-1593 and includes real events such as the Babington Plot, The execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the sailing of the Spanish Armada. Characters based upon real personalities of the time, and extensive research.

(13) LET DARKNESS FALL. The Planetary Post, hosted by Robert Picardo, is devoted to the Total Solar Eclipse coming on August 21.

In this month’s episode, we explore all things eclipse, including a special visit to NASA JPL to see a spacecraft that can create artificial eclipses!

…The Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st is coming up! We’re getting ready with the U.S. National Parks Service and a new Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer activity book. Also, Starshade is new technology being studied by a team at JPL/NASA and Picardo has the inside scoop.


(14) ON BOARD. The Borg site is impressed with this tie-in edition of the classic game: “Monopoly–Planet of the Apes means a tie-in madhouse for Hasbro”.

For its next franchise tie-in, Hasbro has partnered with 20th Century Fox Consumer Products to release this summer’s strangest mash-up game: Monopoly: Planet of the Apes Retro Art EditionIt’s not just your typical Monopoly tie-in with a popular franchise.

For Monopoly: Planet of the Apes Retro Art Edition, Hasbro tapped artist Dan Perillo to give the game a design it might have had, had it been released when the movie premiered in 1968.  Perillo is known for his retro style.  One of his works was featured in last year’s Star Trek: 50 Years/50 Artists project (reviewed here at borg.com), and he’s produced some stunning work for Mondo.  Perillo’s work for the new Monopoly game should appeal to Planet of the Apes fans, but it’s also a dose of silly fun that will appeal to fans of all things retro.

The standard game is altered–slightly.  Instead of paying an Income Tax, in the new edition you get strung up on a spit by your hands and feet and led off.  Instead of the joy of landing on Boardwalk you get to discover the ruins of the Statue of Liberty.  And that’s Taylor’s marooned space capsule instead of the valuable Short Line railroad.  Perillo created six character tokens to choose from: Taylor, Cornelius, Zira, Dr. Zaius, Nova, or a gorilla general (it looks like you could play the gorilla as either General Ursus from Beneath of the Planet of the Apes, Chief of Security Urko from the TV series, or General Aldo from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes).  As with all Monopoly editions, the four corners of the gameboard never change.

(15) NEVERTHELESS, HBO PERSISTED. The Wrap, in “HBO Responds to #NoConfederate: Slavery Drama Will Be Handled ‘With Care and Sensitivity’”, says that the hashtag #NoConfederate was the #1 hashtag last weekend. Despite the protests HBO replied they are going to develop this series.

A campaign protesting the planned HBO series “Confederate” flooded social media Sunday night, with viewers tweeting #NoConfederate in massive numbers during “Game of Thrones,” propelling the hashtag to Twitter’s No. 1 trending spot in the U.S. and No. 2 worldwide.

“We have great respect for the dialogue and concern being expressed around ‘Confederate,’” HBO responded in a statement. “We have faith that [writers] Nichelle, Dan, David and Malcolm will approach the subject with care and sensitivity. The project is currently in its infancy so we hope that people will reserve judgment until there is something to see.”

“Confederate” tells an alternate version of history in where the South has seceded from the Union… and slavery has remained legal and continued into the modern era.

(16) WHITE HOUSE BEAT. Camestros Felapton has a scoop: “Breaking news: Talking cat named Whitehouse Communications Director”.

Followed by another scoop: “Breakin News: Timothy the Talking Cat Fired as Whitehouse Communications Director”.

Both stories are dated August 1. How is anybody supposed to compete with someone who gets tomorrow’s cat news today?

(17) THRONE QUESTIONS. Did Camestros and Melisandre graduate from the same J-school? …Vulture has burning questions after “The Queen’s Justice,” the latest episode of “Game of Thrones”:

  • Did Varys get a tan on Dragonstone?
  • Does Melisandre know how Varys will die?
  • Will it all come down to two women battling for the Iron Throne?
  • Will Theon ever redeem himself?
  • What fate awaits Yara?
  • Which city is a worse place to live: Gotham or King’s Landing?
  • Will Cersei really marry Euron? And is Euron actually the best thing to ever happen to Jaime?
  • How has Cersei not yet grown out that pixie cut?
  • Why is Littlefinger quoting True Detective to Sansa?
  • We know, Baelish, time is a flat circle. #hbocrossover
  • When will Jon find out about his parentage?
  • Will Jorah and Sam forge the alliance between Jon and Dany?
  • Was that seriously all we get to see of Casterly Rock?

(18) CULTURE WARRIORS. At Nerdist, “Darth Vader and Captain Picard Face Off for a Sci-Fi Debate”. Click through to see the debate between two toys.

When you have toys, all things are possible, including a dream crossover between Star Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation! In the new episode of Toy Shelf, we finally get to see what happens when Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise encounters the Dark Lord of the Sith: Darth Vader!

Keep in mind that these are toys that know they are toys. And Vader catches Picard as he goes for more of a cowboy diplomacy by swinging a lightsaber around. It’s pretty much the laser sword of Picard’s dreams, and if Vader was looking to tempt the Captain to the Dark Side of the Force, then he would have a pretty good head start.

(19) RARITY. Ashley Hoffman of TIME, in “A Super Rare Copy of Super Mario Bros. Just Sold for $30,000 on eBay”, says that a copy of “Super Mario Bros. that has been sealed since its release in 1985 and never opened just sold for $30,100 on eBay

To outsiders, that may seem like a high cost to become the proud owner of a game, but they might not appreciate the most exciting feature, which distinguishes this Nintendo Entertainment System game from all those unwrapped $10 versions: a hangtag on the back that indicates the copy originates from back when video games hung on pegs in stores.

“They said the reason that game went for so much was because Mario was always sold in the system,” CEO Drew Steimel told Mashable quoting the experts of Reddit. “You bought it with the system, it came in the box. This particular copy was from before that happened, before Nintendo decided to bundle them. They only did it for a short time.”

You read that right. No box for this game, hence its final price.

(20) BOTTLED LIGHTNING. I would have answered yes if the question had been, “Should I use this to launch a torpedo?”

(21) HARD SCIENCE FICTION. The 1910 Thomas Edison production A Trip To Mars begins with “The Discovery of Reverse Gravity.”

[Thanks to rcade, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Greg Machlin, Francis Hamit, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

58 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/31/17 I’ll Get You, My Pixel, And Your Little Scroll, Too

  1. 21) Thanks for posting A Trip To Mars.

    Here in 6969, man is still alive and woman can survive.

  2. @1: I’m croggled by people driving 2 hours each way just for 2- hours of expected-to-be-not-good congoing; is Indianapolis that boring?
    Despite all the screwups, I’m not convinced that the organizers are playing fast and loose with names; Myra Daniels may have been her pre-married name by which she was commonly known, and I haven’t seen any reference to Kenneth anybody — can somebody point to an instance of “Kenneth Daniels”?

  3. (20) According to a lot of kids in Indiana, that’s the best drink to start with. Something called Purple Passion, which is apparently a pre-mix that was first made available in 1986, but which I’m pretty sure was a popular concoction among the people I would have called the older kids well before that.

  4. kathodus: (20) According to a lot of kids in Indiana, that’s the best drink to start with.

    Where I grew up, there was a favored concoction for weekend parties, involving some combination of everclear, vodka, beer, and frozen lemonade concentrate (sometimes with different variations which included one or more other ingredients).

    At uni there was a different version, which involved steeping sliced apples and oranges (stockpiled from dorm foodservice lunches) in vodka and/or everclear overnight, then turning the resulting potent fruit into punch with the addition of fruit juice, fruit punch and more alcohol.

    Ah, those were the days. I regret nothing. 😀

    (of course, it’s easier to regret nothing, if you remember nothing)

  5. Xtifr: Say, not only did you correct that link, you located the missing link (so to speak) for the following item. A double ration of appertainment for you!

  6. Huh. I actually looked for the article that link might go to, and didn’t spot it, even though it’s the very next item. I think maybe I should stick to singles. 😀

  7. 3) My personal opinion? Separating SF from fantasy is going to be every bit as easy as separating conjoined twins. With safety scissors.

  8. IT’S ALIVE!!!
    Back in ward after knee surgery. Am told it went well. Ate cottage pie for my first meal in over 24 hours, and very much appreciated it was too.

  9. 15)
    Still not interested. Too much other stuff to watch anyway.

    4) I regret not visiting Tor there when I had the chance. The view from the top of the building, from the photos I’ve seen some authors and editors take, is something to see.

    3) Splitting the Hugo into Fantasy and SF has the issues of what happens with edge cases, and when people nominate for the “wrong” category. Those issues are not insurmountable, but the language has to be clearer than the proposal as written.

  10. (3) Given that the Best Novel category this year contains All the Birds in the Sky – an obvious example of a work that would fit happily in both categories – I’m not sure attempting to separate the rockets from the talking animals is a very good idea.

  11. I’m glad you posted the link to the Golden’s Louisville Fandom Fest report, because I always wanted to know how you held a convention in a decommissioned department store. Now I know!

  12. 3) I guess someone has to root for the snowball in hell. Is Mord the flying bear fantasy or science we don’t understand? Is magic on another planet a book about an alien civilization in space or fantasy because magic is used? If a dragon is created in a lab instead of found in a nest is it more SF than Fantasy?

    I mean good luck with that but it sounds like people would pend more time splitting hairs that they’d never get around to voting.

    5) Wow, how miserable does a person have to be with their own life that a picture of someone enjoying a milkshake with co-workers sends them into a frothy hate spiral?

    20) I watched the movie Fist Fight last night that had a fitting line, though it was in regards to meth, to paraphrase ‘that’s not a gateway drink, that’s the finish line.’

  13. “Distilled from 100% selected grains” well, that’s reassuring. Does it say “For external use only” on it anywhere?

  14. I love how marketing works. Proudly advertise that you make a low-quality product, but add the word “selected” to make it sound like you’re selective about your ingredients.

  15. I was once found a bottle labeled “Scottish Single Malt – Blended in India”.

  16. (20) A good friend of mine was fairly straitlaced in high school, but when we got to college he started to sample some of life’s more worldly pleasures. One of them was alcohol. One night he drank a bunch of PGA and Mello Yello. He pulled a pair of orange gym shorts (it was the Univ of TN) over his head and crawled under his bed and passed out. When he came to, all he could see was a diffuse orange glow. He was still under the influence and was scared that the world had turned orange. He tried to get up to run away from the orange, hit his head on the bottom of his bed, fell down and hit the other side of his head on the floor. He went back to sleep and woke up the next day with an awful headache from the hangover and from the bumps. He asked us to never let him drink PGA and Mello Yello again.
    The next night, he made up another big batch and drank it. This time he went outside and barfed it all up in the bushes by the dorm’s main entrance. Still had a hangover the next day, though, and everyone who went in and out of the building got a lovely whiff of distillery/stomach acid.
    So yes, John, start your drinking with grain alcohol.

    (BTW, this friend paid for his college with an Air Force ROTC scholarship. He spent much of 1986 in the control room of a missile silo in Minot, ND, with his finger literally on “the button”.)

  17. (3) impractical at best, impossible at worst.

    (5) christ on a bike. Milkshake is all it takes for these idiots to lose their shit?

    (15) I’ve lost interest in the Tits and Dragons Hour so I’m even less interested in this project and wary of their ability to pull it off with “care and sensitivity”.

    Everscroll: distilled from 100% selected pixels.

  18. Well…science fiction and fantasy may not have hard borders–but the Locus Awards seem to be able to give out awards in both categories each year. And the WFA seems to be able to exclude science fiction, somehow. I’m not particularly in favor of the idea, but I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable.

    We’d have to let the fans decide. But there’s already precedent for this with some other categories, like short-form vs. long-from (series vs. episode). Votes in the “wrong” categories get transferred to the majority’s choice, IIRC. (Although the mechanisms here might merit a closer look.)

    However, it would effectively double the amount of reading required, when it’s already going to be increasing due to 5/6 and possibly Best Series.

    Bottom line, it would be a lot more work for everyone (administrators, nominators, and voters), would likely increase the number of in-fandom battles (“This work is SF!” “No it’s fantasy and you’re an idiot!”) and I don’t really see any real benefits.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind seeing someone set up a science-fiction-only award to complement the WFAs. (At the time the WFA was founded, fantasy was struggling to compete with SF in the market, but those days are gone.) I just don’t think it should be the Hugos.

  19. (20) I’ve had Everclear Jell-O shots, which is…really not an experience I recommend. (Not least because they don’t set up properly.) You can flame them, though, which is pretty cool for the .2 seconds before they melt.

  20. 15) Meanwhile Amazon announces its new planned alt-history show:
    Titled Black America, the drama hails from top feature producer Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like A Man franchises, Straight Outta Compton) and Peabody-winning The Boondocks creator and Black Jesus co-creator Aaron McGruder. It envisions an alternate history where newly freed African Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama post-Reconstruction as reparations for slavery, and with that land, the freedom to shape their own destiny. The sovereign nation they formed, New Colonia, has had a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with its looming “Big Neighbor,” both ally and foe, the United States. The past 150 years have been witness to military incursions, assassinations, regime change, coups, etc. Today, after two decades of peace with the U.S. and unprecedented growth, an ascendant New Colonia joins the ranks of major industrialized nations on the world stage as America slides into rapid decline. Inexorably tied together, the fate of two nations, indivisible, hangs in the balance

  21. (15) I’d say people should wait and actually see what’s done but the torches and pitchforks are already being readied on parts of the internet. Never mind that so far all that is known is that the Civil War was fought to a cease-fire. The various creative people involved have said they only have a rough arc for the story/stories involved. No characters; no story-lines; nothing set in stone.
    Number one hashtag is about as reliable as any on-line voting.

  22. Xtifr on August 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm said:

    Well…science fiction and fantasy may not have hard borders–but the Locus Awards seem to be able to give out awards in both categories each year.

    That’s because the editorial team at Locus make the decisions, without public debate and without appeal. Also, in practice, the Locus Awards long list is the Locus Recommended Reading List, which means that a lot of the decisions have been made in advance. (Write-ins are allowed, but rarely make an impact.)

    In the case of the Hugo Awards, you’d need a Strong Administrator making the calls, and you would have no appeal from their decisions.

    And the WFA seems to be able to exclude science fiction, somehow.

    Again, because they have Strong Administrators and are not run by a democratic process. Their decisions are by fiat, and you can’t do anything about it.

    Most people who have administered the Hugo Awards do not want to be responsible for deciding whether a work is SF or F. It’s not possible to write objective rules for it, like you can with length.

    Everyone who seems to brush aside categorization is, in my opinion, implicitly assuming that their own personal definitions of genre are obviously the ones that will be used and that everyone will agree with their decisions. That’s fine until the first time a Strong Administrator declares a work you insist was SF is actually Fantasy and it consequently fails to make the final ballot.

  23. Xtifr: But there’s already precedent for this with some other categories, like short-form vs. long-from (series vs. episode). Votes in the “wrong” categories get transferred to the majority’s choice, IIRC. (Although the mechanisms here might merit a closer look.)

    The difference is that there’s no subjective judgment involved with that. A work’s word count is its word count; the current fiction categories are clearly defined.

    The difference between SF and Fantasy will never be clearly definable. As Kevin says, the first time people realize that their votes for a Novel didn’t get counted because they had full nomination ballots in both categories and the Hugo Admin decided the Novel belonged to the other category, and it doesn’t make the final ballot because of that, there will be a lot of unhappy nominators.

  24. Sorry for the Louisvillians that Weird Al didn’t make it. I had the pleasure of being his wrangler at a tribute to Stan Freberg a few years ago, and he struck me as a nice guy. In particular, as I was getting him settled at his seat (was held in a theatre), but while the audience was still wandering around before the start, I asked if he wanted me to give him privacy by serving as a blocker for any fans that came up. He replied no, he was happy to talk with folk before the tribute started. He was also up for autographs, selfies, etc. He also did a nice job with his tribute to Mr. Freberg, one of his main inspirations.

  25. @JJ: well, that’s conclusive. It might be mildly amusing to know just what’s going on, but after this goat roping I’d be happier never to hear any of those names again.

    @Kevin Standlee: the WFA does not have have a Strong Administrator; it has a panel of judges who somehow agree on three of the nominees in each category. (Two are the top choices of convention members, like all the Hugo nominaees.)

  26. @Kevin Standlee and @JJ: I wasn’t suggesting that the Strong Administrators make a fiat decision. I was suggesting that the administrators let the fans decide via nominations.

    Specifically, after double-checking the rules, I’m thinking of section 3.8.7:

    If a work is eligible in more than one category, and if the work receives sufficient nominations to appear in more than one category, the Worldcon Committee shall determine in which category the work shall appear, based on the category in which it receives the most nominations.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Note: I’m still not supporting the idea of separate categories for SF & Fantasy. I’m definitely opposed. I’m just pointing out that some of the obstacles may not be quite as bad as they look.

  27. Xtifr, I don’t think that rule makes the existing obstacles any less difficult.

    There are still going to be plenty of potential cases where nominations for a Novel don’t get counted because the nominators had full ballots in both categories, so their votes can’t be shifted, and a novel which would have made the final ballot in the category other than the one it gets allocated to, doesn’t make the ballot in the category to which it’s assigned.

    It’s not the assigning of the category which is the real problem; as you say, the Hugo Admin can be directed by the rules to select the one where it gets the most nominations. It’s the fact that all nominations for that novel won’t be — can’t be — transferred to that category… unless the votes are transferred regardless of how many the nominator already had on their ballot in that category, and then those nominators are essentially being given 7 slots in that category — something that will be a big “NOPE”.

    And it’s entirely possible that a work could get enough total nominations to make the ballot in either category, but not enough in either category to make the ballot for that category.

  28. @JJ: Ok, that’s a more substantive objection. But that applies to anything which falls under the domain of 3.8.7. It could be considered a hole in the existing rules.

    Now you could argue (and I would probably agree) that 3.8.7 was created to deal with rare cases, and so any flaws it might have are unlikely to be serious problems in practice unless we start relying on it for something as fundamental as dividing the Best SF from the Best F. But that still highlights the fact that 3.8.7 is flawed. And doesn’t show that the idea is unworkable. We’d need something better than 3.8.7, but 3.8.7 at least suggests a way forward, assuming we want one.

    (I honestly don’t know why I’m defending the idea. Just for the intellectual challenge, I guess. If I had any sense at all, I’d simply say “nah, you’re right, that won’t work.” But where’s the fun in that?) 😀

  29. Xtifr: Ok, that’s a more substantive objection. But that applies to anything which falls under the domain of 3.8.7. It could be considered a hole in the existing rules.

    Except that it’s not, because a work’s word count is the count of its words. The only time 3.8.7 gets applied is when a work is within the +/-20% (5,000 max) category threshold, and voters have split their nominations.

    If voters have split their nominations, but the work is outside that threshold, then 3.8.7 does not apply.

    3.8.7 would only apply if:
    a) word count is greater than 6,000 and less than 9,000
    b) word count is greater than 14,000 and less than 21,000
    c) word count is greater than 35,000 and less than 45,000

    and nominators have nominated the work in two adjacent categories.

    And because there are (unlike in olden days) so many different ways now to determine word count for a work, the incidence of wrong categorization by nominators has dropped significantly.

  30. 3) Still disagreeing strongly. Too goddamn many edge cases. That’s why the categories were merged in the first place!

    15) I was going to post about the Amazon counterpart with a refreshingly new approach to the topic, but I see other people have already beaten me to it. That one I might actually watch.

    20) A better use for it is to make Rivengut, aka “five-minute mead”. One part apple juice, one part honey, one part Everclear, let it sit on a shelf for a month, then drink.

    @ Tom G: Weird Al is one of the nicest celebrities you could ever hope to meet. I was lucky enough to get to a book-signing of his a few years ago, and he was cool with letting fans get pictures with him.

  31. ETA: Note that I am referring above to 3.8.7 only in the context of the fiction categories.

    The definition for the Related Work category (“provided it is not eligible in any other category”) pretty much eliminates it from these sorts of edge cases:

    If a work could be considered a Dramatic Presentation or a Fancast or a Fanzine or a Semiprozine based on the definition for those categories, then it is not eligible as a Related Work.

  32. Chip Hitchcock on August 1, 2017 at 3:28 pm said:

    @Kevin Standlee: the WFA does not have have a Strong Administrator; it has a panel of judges who somehow agree on three of the nominees in each category. (Two are the top choices of convention members, like all the Hugo nominees.)

    It amounts to the same thing. A small select group gets to make the decision. I rather suspect that if a lot of members nominated a work of obvious SF, it would not appear on the final ballot no matter how many nominated it, but nobody would ever hear about it.

    Xtifr on August 1, 2017 at 3:49 pm said:

    @Kevin Standlee and @JJ: I wasn’t suggesting that the Strong Administrators make a fiat decision. I was suggesting that the administrators let the fans decide via nominations.

    Specifically, after double-checking the rules, I’m thinking of section 3.8.7:

    If a work is eligible in more than one category, and if the work receives sufficient nominations to appear in more than one category, the Worldcon Committee shall determine in which category the work shall appear, based on the category in which it receives the most nominations.

    I can certainly see that leading to a case where a work misses making the final ballot because the category where it got the most nominations (even after possibly transferring nominations from those ballots where it’s possible to do so, i.e. there’s a vacant spot on the voter’s ballot and they didn’t nominate the work in both categories) was took too many nominations to crack the shortlist, whereas if the nominations transferred the other way to the “weaker” category, the work might have made the ballot. But maybe nobody will be troubled by that.

  33. I saw a lot of people calling The Fifth Season “science fiction” and a lot of people calling it “fantasy”.

    Looking at the Novel nomination statistics for last year, if its nominations were somewhat evenly divided between the two categories, and it got put in SF, it very well might not have made the final ballot.

  34. JJ on August 1, 2017 at 6:51 pm said:
    By me it’s science fiction – I can’t see how it would be fantasy.

  35. Well, I suppose if you ignore all the magic and stuff, it could look like science fiction… 😀

  36. (3) NO. Way too many edge cases. Nobody wants to administer that.

    Maraschino cherries soaked in Everclear are pretty darn tasty and whoa.

    @Xtifr: Psychic powers are grandfathered into SF thanks to Campbell.

    (15) The Amazon alternative sounds much more interesting, a lot like ideas we were kicking around here last week. Much more imaginative and less fraught.

  37. lurkertype: Psychic powers are grandfathered into SF thanks to Campbell

    … according to some fans, who apparently do not include me or Xtifr. 😉

    Which is exactly my point. If you think that everyone who nominated The Fifth Season would have nominated it in the science fiction category and not the fantasy category, I theeeeeeenk you might be mistaken.

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