Pixel Scroll 8/18/19 I Am Most Definitely Not Left Pixeled. That Would Be Sinister

A skeleton Scroll – but there are only so many hours in the day!

(1) DUBLIN 2019 MASQUERADE AWARDS. Issue #8 of the Worldcon daily newzine has the full list of Masquerade award winners — https://dublin2019.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Issue8-final.pdf [PDF file].

(2) WORLDCON ATTENDANCE. The daily newzine reported that when the Registration desk closed Saturday night, the convention had registered a total of 5,554 attendees across all days.

(3) HUGO LOSERS PARTY PROBLEM. Alex Acks and a busload of people invited to the Hugo Losers Party were told they couldn’t get in when they arrived because the place was already filled to capacity. Thread starts here.

(4) GAMERGATE AT 5. Brianna Wu’s op-ed “I Wish I Could Tell You It’s Gotten Better. It Hasn’t” is part of the New York Times retrospective on the fifth anniversary of the start of Gamergate.

When Gamergate began, I was the head of development for my game studio, Giant Spacekat. I watched for months as a mob of trolls harassed women in game development with death threats and rape threats, and violated their privacy until they quit or gave up their careers.

What follows are a selection of quotes detailing threats and harassment claims from the FBI Gamergate report (2017)….

The men in our field were oblivious, saying it was “not an industry issue.” People in power did nothing.

Since industry leaders would not, I knew I had to act.

(5) REMEMBER WHAT VONNEGUT SAID PEOPLE WERE GOOD FOR. Cara Buckley asks “Why Is Hollywood So Scared of Climate Change?” in the New York Times.

Humans ruined everything. They bred too much and choked the life out of the land, air and sea.

And so they must be vaporized by half, or attacked by towering monsters, or vanquished by irate dwellers from the oceans’ polluted depths. Barring that, they face hardscrabble, desperate lives on a once verdant Earth now consumed by ice or drought.

That is how many recent superhero and sci-fi movies — among them the latest Avengers and Godzilla pictures as well as “Aquaman,” “Snowpiercer,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “Interstellar” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” — have invoked the climate crisis. They imagine postapocalyptic futures or dystopias where ecological collapse is inevitable, environmentalists are criminals, and eco-mindedness is the driving force of villains.

But these takes are defeatist, critics say, and a growing chorus of voices is urging the entertainment industry to tell more stories that show humans adapting and reforming to ward off the worst climate threats.

“More than ever, they’re missing the mark, often in the same way,” said Michael Svoboda, a writing professor at George Washington University and author at the multimedia site Yale Climate Connections. “Almost none of these films depict a successful transformation of society.”

(6) A MOVIE ABOUT A WRITER. The Austin Chronicle headline reads “To Know Joe Lansdale Is to Love Joe Lansdale” – and there’s a great deal of truth to that.

Documentary films about authors are few and far between. That’s chiefly because the act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard isn’t anyone’s idea of high drama.

Not so with New York-based documentarian and self-professed fangirl Hansi Oppenheimer‘s All Hail the Popcorn King, a tribute to and examination of Joe Lansdale, the Lone Star State’s “writer of the purple rage.” Lansdale’s genre-defying, outrageously prolific curriculum vitae – some 50 novels, 500-plus short stories, comic books, screenplays, and not least his own brand of “martial science,” aka Shen Chuan – makes for an absorbing portrait of an artist whose imagination knows no bounds. Whether it’s on the screen (Bubba Ho-Tep; Sundance TV’s adaptation of Lansdale’s long-running Hap and Leonard series of novels) or on the page, the life story of this 10-time Bram Stoker Award-winning “Champion Mojo Storyteller” from the piney woods of Nacogdoches is every bit as extraordinary as any one of his artistic endeavors.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 18, 1929 Joan Taylor. Her first genre role was Earth vs. the Flying Saucers as Carol Marvin, and she followed that with 20 Million Miles to Earth as Marisa Leonardo. Her last genre role was as Carol Gordon in Men into Space, a late Fifties series about a USAF attempt to explore and develop outer space. She retired from acting in the early Sixties. (Died 2012.)
  • Born August 18, 1931 Grant Williams. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Scott Carey in The Incredible Shrinking Man though he will have the role of the psychopathic killer in Robert Bloch’s The Couch. Of course, he shows in Outer Limits, he plays Major Douglas McKinnon in “The Brain of Colonel Barham”.  And he’s Major Kurt Mason in The Doomsday Machine. (Died 1985.)
  • Born August 18, 1934 Michael de Larrabeiti. He is best known for writing The Borrible Trilogy which is noted by several sources online as being an influence by writers in the New Weird movement. Ok folks, I’ve not read so please explain how The Borrible Trilogy influences that literary movement. (Died 2008.)
  • Born August 18, 1925 Brian Aldiss. He’s well known as an anthologist and SF writer with Space, Time and Nathaniel, a collection of short stories being his first genre publication. I’ll single out Space Opera and other such anthologies as my favorite works by him. His “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long” is the basis for A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Much honored, he’s was named a Grand Master by SFWA and inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He also has received two Hugo Awards, one Nebula Award, and one John W. Campbell Memorial Award. (Died 2017.)
  • Born August 18, 1954 Russell Blackford, 65. Writer resident in Australia for awhile but now in Wales. Author of Terminator 2: The New John Connor Chronicles, and editor of the Australian Science Fiction Review in the Eighties. With Van Ikin and Sean McMullen, he wrote Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction, and Science Fiction and the Moral Imagination: Visions, Minds, Ethics which is just out.
  • Born August 18, 1958 Madeleine Stowe, 61. She’s in the Twelve Monkeys film as Kathryn Railly, and she’s in the Twelve Monkeys series as Lillian in the “”Memory of Tomorrow” episode. Her only other genre work was a one-off in The Amazing Spider-Man which ran for thirteen episodes nearly forty years ago. She was Maria Calderon in “Escort to Danger” in that series, and she also played Mia Olham in Impostor which scripted off Philip K. Dick’s “Impostor” story.
  • Born August 18, 1966 Alison Goodman, 53. Australian writer whose Singing the Dogstar Blues won an Aurealis Award for best young-adult novel. The Two Pearls of Wisdom which in the States as Eon: Dragoneye Reborn won a Aurealis Award for the Best Fantasy Novel, and was a 2008 James Tiptree, Jr. Award Honor Book as well.
  • Born August 18, 1967 Brian Michael Bendis, 52. He’s both writer and artist, a still uncommon occurrence. Did you know he’s garnered five Eisner Awards for both his creator-owned work and Marvel Comics? Very impressive! He’s the primary force behind the creation of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, launching Ultimate Spider-Man which is an amazing series which I been reading on the Marvel Unlimited app.

(8) CONZEALAND PR#1. If I didn’t mention it before, CoNZealand Progress Report 1 has been posted. It’s a free download for anyone.

(9) REQUIEM. The climate change dunnit: “Iceland’s Okjokull glacier commemorated with plaque”.

Mourners have gathered in Iceland to commemorate the loss of Okjokull, which has died at the age of about 700.

The glacier was officially declared dead in 2014 when it was no longer thick enough to move.

What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano.

Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson and former Irish President Mary Robinson attended the ceremony.

After opening remarks by Ms Jakobsdottir, mourners walked up the volcano northeast of the capital Reykjavik to lay a plaque which carries a letter to the future.

“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier,” it reads.

“In the next 200 years all our main glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done.

“Only you know if we did it.”

The dedication, written by Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason, ends with the date of the ceremony and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air globally – 415 parts per million (ppm).

(10) HACKING THE WAY TO GLORY. The Hollywood Reporter reveals “How a Norwegian Viking Comedy Producer Hacked Netflix’s Algorithm”.  

…The key to landing on Netflix’s radar, he knew, would be to hack its recommendation engine: get enough people interested in the show early. Then, hopefully, Netflix’s mysterious algorithm would do its thing.

Netflix had given Tangen an Aug. 18, 2017, date for the premiere of Norsemen in its English-language territories (the show shot back-to-back versions in Norwegian and English). Three weeks before launch, he set up a campaign on Facebook, paying for targeted posts and Facebook promotions. The posts were fairly simple — most included one of six short (20- to 25-second) clips of the show and a link, either to the show’s webpage or to media coverage.

They used so-called A/B testing — showing two versions of a campaign to different audiences and selecting the most successful — to fine-tune. The U.S. campaign didn’t cost much — $18,500, which Tangen and his production partners put up themselves — and it was extremely precise.

(11) WHEN GOOD ISN’T ENOUGH. Odyssey Writing Workshops shares unexpected insights about the slushpile in “Interview: Graduate Kate Marshall (Part 2 of 2)”.

You used to read slush for Beneath Ceaseless Skies. What were some of the things you learned from reading all of those stories? 

The main thing I learned was that there’s a whole lot of “fine” and even “good” writing out there, far more than there is “bad” (in the slush, at least). The competently written stories abounded, and at first it was very hard to turn those down. There was nothing wrong with them, after all. But eventually, I learned to recognize the gulf between competent writing and a great story. There wasn’t one thing that set every great story apart; it wasn’t that clear-cut. It might be a killer voice, a grab-you-by-the-throat opening, an ending that left you feeling downright emotionally wobbly. Every one of those stories had something that provoked a reaction, and studying the difference between the death scene that was merely competent and the one that felt like a knife to the gut helped me start to think about what the true core of my stories was.

[Thanks to rcade, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

43 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/18/19 I Am Most Definitely Not Left Pixeled. That Would Be Sinister

  1. (5)
    Maybe it’s because many people are so obviously not even trying to change their bad habits in the face of a change-or-die situation.

  2. (7) Aldiss lived to past the age of 90; born 1925, not 1935. He was still publishing as late as 2012.

  3. I heard about the party thing. Reports seem to suggest that many INSIDE the party are not Hugo nominees or plus-ones, which makes leaving actual nominees outside even more inappropriate.

    We shall I hope see further, better reports.

  4. (5) Dear Cara,

    Because we should all be scared that we’re destroying the planet and not assume that we’ll be able or willing to adapt to a completely fucked world.

    Kind regards,
    A haunted umbrella

  5. (3) is just awful. I can’t imagine. Straight-up turning joy into ashes — all the worse for a SUPER AWESOME, once-in-a-lifetime, next-year’s-gonna-be-in-New-Zealand, consolation party.

    As with most things fannish, I’m inclined to assume everybody involved was trying their very best. I certainly don’t want to blindly chew into GRRM, who I’m kind of growing to assume is finding his dearly-beloved Worldcons turning into a creeping hell of superstar-detachment.

    But I’m so, so sad to see this. Because I know how much this one party means to so many people. Because this should have been preventable. Because I understand reaching “gee, this is kinda crowded; maybe we should repeal Five-And-Six, ha ha ha?”, but not “a busload of finalists can’t enter the venue.” Maybe because the Losers Party seems very open to stand-ins and casual +1’s, which is lovely, but if we’re reaching the point where actual finalists can’t get in the door, then IMO those priorities are out of whack.

    Anyway, if somebody has links to any comments on what happened and how this came about, I’d really like to grok it a little better.

  6. The word I got this morning is that CoNZealand understood they had the entire facility rented, while the venue managers onsite understood that it was only partly rented, and once that got sorted, people were allowed in.

  7. @Mark: That… is a woefully inadequate apology, which either misses or ignores what the actual problem was.
    @Jo: That explanation sounds… more in line with what I’d kind of expect from a situation like this. Leaves a lot of open questions, though, like “why didn’t they notice that as soon as the got in the place”, or “why didn’t they tell the finalists that,” etc. etc.

  8. Click, click, click when the Pixel, post, post, post went the Scroll, Stalk, Stalk Stalk went my Crendentials, from the moment I saw them, I Filed.

  9. 5) This was enormously sad to read and you kind of desperately feel you would want to do something, anything, to make everyone involved feel wanted and appreciated.

    All my hugs to the finalists. I do hope they got a more serious apology in person (Twitter isn’t really the arena for this). But this is a thing that might only happen once in a lifetime. You can’t really mend it afterwards.

  10. Not even letting the people for whom the party was for in because “there was no space”? How can anyone do that?

    Those responsible should be sent back to elementary human behavior training.

    And I’m not going to say what I think of those who were not Hugo losers but showed up anyway expecting and getting admittance.

  11. The fact tickets were sold makes me wonder if the 2020 World Con is going to move to a DragonCon style philosopher, where there are customers, not a community of fans.

  12. 5) Back in the day it was more sporting to crash the SFWA party, but times have changed.

  13. James Davis Nicoll: The fact tickets were sold makes me wonder if the 2020 World Con is going to move to a DragonCon style philosopher, where there are customers, not a community of fans.

    Tickets were sold to what? I don’t understand to what you are referring.

  14. Re: Resnik: If Manhatten Magic series is the Esther Diamond books, they’re funny. The difference between Esther’s world view and what’s happening around her is great.

  15. @James Davis Nicoll–

    I thought there was a reference to tickets to the losers party?

    Invitations, distributed one assumes in an effort to control numbers and actual relevance to the Hugo Losers party, but then not adequately checked for by the people who should have done so at the location.

  16. And I commented on the wrong day. So whenever herb irthday was. Ms Resnik is funny
    .I can’t type today, either. Collins4?

  17. News note

    Behold the winners for the National Fantasy Fan Federation Speculative Fiction Awards, the Neffys, first given in 1941 or 1942 as the Laureate Awards. We have a happy event: We announce only the winners. (and while I am grateful for the Best Novel Award, I did not expect it to win.)

    Best Shorter Work (under 100,000 words) – The Black God’s Drums – P. Djèlí Clark – Tor Publishing

    Best Book Editor – Toni Weisskopf

    Best Fanzine (electronic publication is allowed) Tightbeam from the N3F

    Best Blog Mad Genius Club—the Mad Genii

    Best TV Show – Game of Thrones

    Best SF Movie/Video – A Quiet Place

    Best Anime -Aggretsuko

    Best Graphic Art Publication – Raven Daughter of Darkness – Marv Wolfman

    Best Cover Art—Tie! Kent Bash – the March-April 2019 F&SF; Brad Fraunfelter – The Broken Throne (novel by Chris Nuttall)

    Best Magazine – Amazing

    Best Novel (over 100,000 words) – Against Three Lands—George Phillies

    For the 2020 awards, we plan to have more fan awards, as we once did. We also plan to partition the ‘Best Fanzine Award into a ‘not from the N3F’ award and an award inernal for one of the nine zines that we publish.

  18. Lis Carey: Invitations, distributed one assumes in an effort to control numbers and actual relevance to the Hugo Losers party, but then not adequately checked for by the people who should have done so at the location.

    There were door monitors who were closely adhering to checklists. Unauthorized admittances were not the problem. I leave the logical conclusion as an exercise for the reader.

  19. C.A.Collins says Re: Resnik: If Manhatten Magic series is the Esther Diamond books, they’re funny. The difference between Esther’s world view and what’s happening around her is great.

    They are. I just shortened the name.

  20. @Lis —

    Invitations, distributed one assumes in an effort to control numbers and actual relevance to the Hugo Losers party, but then not adequately checked for by the people who should have done so at the location.

    The ConZealand twitter account specifically referred to tickets in their nonpology. That’s probably where the confusion is arising.

    “Very sorry to those who had a chilly wait for the Hugo Loser’s party. The tickets were very popular and we reached capacity for the venue. For health and safety, we could not let more people in at the time. We hope that on admittance a good time was had by all.”

  21. @Lis Carey
    Well, question would be how much of that is her opinion and how much it is the party’s provision for being allowed to work.

  22. One of the things I have heard is that the organisers were under the impression they had hired the entire venue, while the venue thought only a section had been reserved.
    Regardless, it should have been fixed there and then. Also if, as they say, the people who were left out ended up being blamed for it, I would say an apology is in order.

  23. 11) Kate Marshall’s slushpile experience matches mine from when I edited a couple of anthologies in the 1990’s. Classic bell curve*: Lots of perfectly competent stories in the middle. Much smaller number of godawful, painful-to-read works on one end. And on the other end, the stories that grab and excite and impress and get bought. (Mostly. There were some outstanding stories that just weren’t a good fit for the anthologies’ themes. And some very promising stories that I later saw revised versions being published elsewhere.)

    *yes, I know bell curves are out of favor, but it’s a good fit for this particular instance

  24. Hugo Losers party aside, I hope everyone had fun! I spent most of the last 5 days rushing from thing to thing, I saw some of the File770 people in passing but never when I had time to say hi.

    I enjoyed the con for sure, but sadly unless I win the lottery in the immediate future I won’t be travelling too far for another one. I might try and do Glasgow if they win the bid in 2024 though.

  25. @Bruce: I just did a stint of slushreading for Diabolical Plots. Full agreement. This was my first slushreading experience, and they do a one-month submission window — I felt my bar rising rapidly after, say, the first week, when a lot of “Maybe”s turned for me into “Unacceptable”. Not because they’re awful, just because I need more than “not awful,” and it became clearer to me how to tell them apart (and how firmly)…

  26. @Standback: Leaves a lot of open questions, though, like “why didn’t they notice that as soon as the got in the place”, or “why didn’t they tell the finalists that,” etc. etc. Remote facility planning is a bear (says the man who has had over two years of his life eaten by doing it for 4 Worldcons); planning in real time, amid other duties of a seated Worldconcom (signup table, shadowing this year’s concom for learning) is also hard, and handling a mess that you’re right in the middle of is even harder. (Not to mention this happening on a Sunday; I wonder whether they were faced with a low-level worker giving them keys and not being able to reach a lessor with authority.) A massively competent/experienced, heavily staffed concom might have avoided this; massive competence doesn’t always happen, experience isn’t always available, and getting staff to the other side of the world is non-trivial (aside from the question of how much staff is available for what’s expected to be a small convention). Are they guiltless? Of course not. Should they have said more in the tweet? Maybe — but then they’d get ripped for making excuses, or for not getting everything figured out in advance; ISTM that it’s a lose-lose situation (although referring to “tickets” instead of “invitations” suggests they could have used another pair of eyes before posting).

    @Jon Meltzer: Not even letting the people for whom the party was for in because “there was no space”? How can anyone do that? Have you ever dealt with fire regulations? One of the basics is not letting in more people than a space is licensed for; this is often ignored for popular program items (because they’re in a room in a larger space) but is harder to fix in an offsite facility that you think you have all of. (Depending on local laws, the site owner and/or landlord might have had their ~license-to-operate-a-public-hall suspended or permanently removed if too many people were let in.) This is a learning experience; shouting doesn’t help learning.

  27. Guinness and the catering company provided food, bar, and security staff. CoNZealand staff checked the guest list at the door, took photos of the finalists in front of the decorations they’d brought, and handed the finalists gifts. Dublin was responsible for putting the invitations into the finalist packets.

    All arrangements for the party not listed above were under the purview of someone other than those two concoms.

  28. Speaking as someone who actually was at the Hugo Losers’ Party, all Hugo finalists got invitations in their packet (if there was a packet – e.g. Adri Joy got hers two days later) admitting two people. I don’t know if additional inviations were distributed and to whom.

    We got lucky, because we were cold and shared a taxi instead of waiting for the bus, so we got there early. There definitely was someone at the door checking invitations and checking names off a list. And they were very strict about whom they let in.

    Were there people there who were neither Hugo finalists nor plus ones nor presenters? I guess so, though it’s hard to tell. I did talk to at least one person who was neither a finalist nor a plus one, but had an invitation. I also spotted a couple of other people who were not finalists this year, but may well have been accepters or plus ones. And while the Guinness Storehouse is big, the party was only in one room on one floor and eventually spilled out onto the balcony. There was not a lot of space there.

    Also, I did see quite a few finalists, including some who had tweeted about the problem, at the party later on, so they must have gotten in after all.

  29. ISTM that’s even less fannish involvement than usual — but the only parties I’ve done that side of the pond were bid and thank-you parties, which are modest compared to the Hugo Losers party. (Although IIRC the HL party used to be more modest, at least on this side; as a member of the Noreascon 4 ~concom I showed up in a tux to pour cava for the Torcon 3 party, but that was about as posh as it got.) So most or all of the flamage toward NZ was uncalled for — they were just the public face; I wonder how much of this will come out enough to damp whatever flames are left.

    @Cora Buhlert — the model at USian nightclubs (and other limited spaces, e.g. a real-ale festival before it found a bigger space) is that people are let in in exact balance to other people leaving; the same may have applied here. That doesn’t make it much less unpleasant for the people turned away initially, but it’s something.

  30. Chip, my understanding is that after a next-Worldcon-run post-Hugo reception a few years ago really sucked, that reception has since been subsumed by GRRM’s party, with some humanpower provided by the next Worldcon.

  31. Ooo. Unexpected Scroll title from me!

    Re: The Losers Party. I’ve been to two: 2014 in London, which was a relatively spartan and unexciting affair in a space right in the same convention building. No drama The other was in 2017, when I was representing NOAF. Party was downtown and relatively easy to get to, but it was loud, crowd, uncomfortable (for all it being a very cool steampunk bar)

  32. As someone who has never been to a Hugo Losers’ party, but is fascinated by social dynamics: it has been my perception that in the last 3-4 years, admittance to the Hugo Losers’ Party (for those other than actual finalists and their +1’s) has become a massive status symbol. Something to wangle at all costs and to brag about afterwards, for some. Also something to be upset at not achieving. (After last year’s Worldcon, I was privy to a department head having a ranting melt-down in a private social space because they had not been offered an invitation or been slipped in by someone who had.)

    Given that, it is unsurprising that the demand for invites may have outstripped planning. Perhaps also unsurprising that the supposed purpose of honoring the finalists got lost in the shuffle.

    Perhaps it’s time to re-think the tradition. (Not that any of use have anything to say about it.) Who knows, maybe the finalists might be glad of a chance to celebrate with their non-finalist friends and fans rather than being whisked away beyond the velvet rope until the wee hours of the morning.

  33. Pingback: Top 10 Posts for August 2019 | File 770

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