Pixel Scroll 8/2/20 Lemonade Stand On Zanzibar

(1) READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP. On the last day of CoNZealand, Jenny Hammond posted to Discord a verse about attending the first virtual Worldcon.

Five days of insanity
Oh the humanity
I click on a room
It refuses to Zoom
I say words of depravity!

(2) CONZEALAND MEMBERSHIP STAT. Interesting revelation.

(3) INSIDE THE HUGO CEREMONY. Erin Underwood, who presented the Best Fan Writer Hugo, told Facebook readers some specifics about the lack of support she received, and offered these general comments —

A few more thoughts, the ConZealand Hugo Awards Ceremony production team owned the production of the event (edited to be clear). It was their show. What we saw was what they created. George owns his words and choices, but they own the decision of using those videos. They produced the show that we saw.

… It is hard to push back against an iconic guest and to provide critical guidance for improved performance, but that was their job. ConZealand owned that Hugo Ceremony from start to finish. As con runners and volunteers, it’s our job to make sure that our speakers and guests are well-prepared and know exactly what’s expected of them, and if they fail, we fail.

Nicholas Whyte, Deputy Hugo Administrator added this comment:

CoNZealand Hugo administrators were as much in the dark about what was going on as you were. Probably more so in that we had no input at all, whereas at least you recorded a video.

Edited to add: practically the first thing we did with finalists was to ask the correct pronunciation of their names.

(4) AVOID FRIENDLY FIRE. Michi Trota is concerned about collateral damage from the social media response to the troubled Hugo Awards ceremony.

(5) ASPIRATION PLUS PERSPIRATION. Cheryl Morgan analyzes some of the challenges of managing Worldcons in “Why Worldcons Go Wrong” and says in conclusion:

…There’s a tendency in certain quarters to sneer when people say that running Worldcon is hard, but it is, and unless you have actually done it you probably don’t understand just how hard it is. Which is not to say that people don’t make terrible mistakes, and should not be called to account for them. I can assure you that I have done that often enough in my time (ask people about TorCon 3 if you don’t believe me). However, I have always tried to do so in the hope that we can learn from our mistakes and make Worldcon better. I hope you can see from the above that fixing things, or creating an alternative, is not simply a matter of vowing to “do better”.

(6) CLOSED CAPSHUNNING. The AI still needs some work.

(7) CHANGE THE CHANNEL. Heroes & Icons tickles your memory about these “15 Forgotten Science-Fiction TV Shows Of The 1980s”.

The Eighties were a golden era for science-fiction. Cineplexes were chockablock with blockbusters like The Empire Strikes BackBack to the FutureAliens and The Terminator. On the small screen, you could get your space fix with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Sitcoms had aliens and androids as their stars in ALF and Small Wonder. Even the cars could talk on Knight Rider.

Of course, not everything was a hit. For every smash, there were scores of knock-offs. Every network attempted to launch its own time travel adventure, it seems. While these shows rarely made it to a second season, they remain cult favorites of those who watched them. They might have thrived today, in our geek culture of a thousand options…


Peter Barton starred alongside Lou Gossett, Jr., in this 1982 superhero series. Production began in 1981, though was put on hold after Barton fell onto a pyrotechnics flare, suffering severe third degree burns. Production was shut down, as the actor healed for several months in a hospital. Barton had edged Tom Cruise for the lead role, an alien prince hiding out in high school on earth. Star Trek fans take note: Leonard Nimoy directed an episode, and Walter Koenig wrote one.

(8) YOUR NAME HERE. The New York Times’ John Schwartz has been “Tuckerized” – in fact, he even uses that word in his article “Boldly Writing What I Hadn’t Written Before: Science Fiction”.

I’m a character!

I mean, in a novel. OK, a minor character, more like a cameo, but still — my name is the first that you see in the first chapter of “The Relentless Moon,” the new novel in Mary Robinette Kowal’s “Lady Astronaut” science fiction series. The novels are set in an alternate timeline that has the world, after a devastating meteorite strike and the resulting runaway global warming, greatly accelerating its space program to get humans off the doomed planet.

John Schwartz, Special to the National Times
KANSAS CITY, March 28, 1963 — If all goes as it should — and in space, that is no sure thing — then sometime today, thirteen brave voyagers will cross a Rubicon that no man ever has: the halfway point between our home planet and Mars.

Ms. Kowal, who has won Hugo and Nebula awards and who is president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, makes her novels something of a group project by relying on the expertise of others for thorny passages: She gets help with orbital mechanics and spacecraft piloting, for example, from actual astronauts. She puts the names of real people into her work, including astronauts.

But she tucks in other names, as well….

(9) DON COMES UP LIKE THUNDER. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Last night I heard a 2019 podcast Leonard and Jessie Maltin did with Don Hahn.  Hahn began his career at Disney in the mid-1970s, back when an animator who asked to “see a scene” could have an intern go to the storage area where the original cels were stored.  Hahn’s been associated with Disney ever since, surviving the first attempt to revive the animation decision in the early 1980s and the second one when Disney shifted to musicals with The Little Mermaid.  He was the producer of the first versions of Beauty and The Beast and The Lion King, and tells many stories about the era, including how The Lion King was nearly scored by ABBA. He’s also proud of spotting talent early, including seeing the potential in composer Hans Zimmer and director Tim Burton, and says Burton became a success because of “an incredible work ethic.”

Hahn also writes books, including books about animation and an edited version of Walt Disney’s memos about animators.  He paints and published a collection of his art called Hahn Solo.

Hahn also directs documentaries about Disney.  His most recent one is Howard, about Howard Ashman, who revived the American musical with his lyrics for The Little Mermaid  and Beauty and The Beast  but whose career was tragically cut short after he died of AIDS in the early 1990s. Howard is dropping on Disney+ on August 7, 

Hahn was going to come to a movie convention Maltin held last year, and promised he would sign a book any way a customer wanted “as long as it was legal according to the laws of the state of California.”

Hahn’s website is donhahn.com.

(10) IN (LONDON) TIMES TO COME. [Item by Andrew Porter.] Behind a paywall at The (London) Times: “Why the future looks bright for science fiction” by Bryan Appleyard.

John Clute, the co-editor of the six million-word Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, is pleading with me.

“Please don’t use it, it is deeply vulgar and very stupid. It’s really kind of reprehensible . . . I shouldn’t have mentioned it at all, and I didn’t.” But, John, it’s out there, it’s in your book. I really have no choice.

The term he loathes is “cli-fi”. It means climate-change fiction — stories about the world after a climate catastrophe, stories that used to be called science fiction. The purpose cli-fi serves is not noble, it is pure snobbery. It is, as the entry says, a way of “distancing from the perceived downmarket nature or Pulp roots of Genre SF”. “Speculative fiction” is another class-ridden term used by authors who don’t like to be seen slumming it. Even “sci-fi” is not welcome — in TV listings and the like it describes superhero nonsense.

Yet calling it SF will not, for many readers, drag it out of the lower ranks of the literary league table. Jessica Harrison, the editor of the new SF series from Penguin Modern Classics, admits that for her the term at first evoked book or magazine covers with “half-naked girls and purple planets”. Neither is present on the austere white covers of her list…

… Now, and here comes the optimism, SF has gone global, with new waves of Asian and African writers. One Chinese author in particular has to be mentioned, Liu Cixin. I’ve just started reading his book The Three-Body Problem — it is different from anything else and beautifully written. It is also brave, in that it starts with a vivid description of the horrors of Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. Barack Obama loved the book, not least because it made his “day-to-day problems with Congress seem fairly petty”. That, of course, is exactly what SF should do.

SF will survive even as technological progress seems to race ahead of some of its wildest imaginings. It will survive because it is a way of seeing — not aliens, time warps, superluminal travels and so on, but ourselves. Dr Snaut nailed it in the greatest of all SF movies, Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972).

“We don’t want other worlds; we want a mirror. We seek contact and will never achieve it. We are in the foolish position of a man striving for a goal he fears and doesn’t want. Man needs man!”

(11) BRIMLEY OBIT. Actor Wilford Brimley, who appeared in Cocoon and its sequel, died August 1 at the age of 85. He was also in The Thing (1982), the Ewoks: Battle for Endor TV movie, Progeny, and in the genre-adjacent Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) as the head of C.U.R.E.


  • In July 1997, Donnerjack was published by the Easton Press. This was the true first edition as the Avon Books hardcover edition wouldn’t be out for another month. Though it was started by Roger Zelazny, this novel was largely completed by Jane Lindskold. He completed a few hundred pages of the first draft and left detailed notes for its remainder. The outline Zelazny did was entitled ”Donnerjack, of Virtù: A Fable for the Machine Age“. It was to be the first novel in a trilogy but as Zelazny said in his Hugo Award winning “24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by by Hokusai“ novelette, “I know, too, that death is the only god who comes when you call.” (CE)


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born August 2, 1916 Elizabeth Russell. She’s best remembered as the Cat Woman (though the voice was dubbed by Simone Simon) in The Cat People. And she was Barbara Farren In The Curse of the Cat People — some of the same characters, not a sequel.  She was also Countess Lorenz in The Corpse Vanishes where her co-star was Bela Lugosi. Lastly she was Dean of Women Grace Gunnison in Weird Women which was sort of based off Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife. (Died 2002.) (CE)
  • Born August 2, 1920 Theodore Marcuse. He was Korob in “Catspaw”, a second-season Trek episode that aired just before Halloween aptly enough. He had appearances in The Twilight Zone (“The Trade-Ins” and “To Serve Man”), Time TunnelVoyage to the Bottom of the SeaWild, Wild West and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the episodes “The Re-collectors Affair”,  “The Minus-X Affair”,  and “The Pieces of Fate Affair”.  (Died 1967.) (CE)
  • Born August 2, 1942 – Isabel Allende, 78.  Adventures in and beside literature include ten novels for us, a score of shorter stories, translated into Dutch, French, German, Portuguese; many others (one of which, Chip Hitchcock, is Zorro).  Fan of Shakespeare.  Translator of romance novels into Spanish, fired for altering dialogue to show the heroines smarter, plots to show them more independent.  First woman to receive the Gabriela Mistral Order of Merit.  Harvard Litt.D. (Latin, Litterarum Doctor “doctor of letters”, in her case honoris causa “for the sake of the honor” i.e. honorary degree).  Memoir, The Sum of Our Days.  American Academy of Arts & Letters.  Chilean Literature Prize.  Gish Prize.  US Medal of Freedom.  [JH]
  • Born August 2, 1945 Joanna Cassidy, 75. She is known for being the replicant Zhora Salome in Blade Runner and Dolores in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, two of my favorite films. She also did really bad horror films that don’t bear thinking about. I mean really bad horror. (CE)
  • Born August 2, 1948 Robert Holdstock. Another one who died far too young. His Ryhope Wood series is simply amazing with Lavondyss being my favorite volume. And let’s not overlook his Merlin Codex series which is one of the more original takes on that character I’ve read. The Ragthorn, co-written with Garry Kilworth, is interesting as well. (Died 2009.) (CE)
  • Born August 2, 1949 Craig Shaw Gardner, 71. Comic fantasy author whose work is, depending on your viewpoint, very good or very bad. For me, he’s always great.  I adore his Ballad of Wuntvor sequence and highly recommend all three novels, A Difficulty with DwarvesAn Excess of Enchantments  and A Disagreement with Death. Likewise his pun-filled Arabian Nights sequence will either be to your liking or really not. I think it’s worth it just for Scheherazade’s Night Out. (CE)
  • Born August 2, 1949 – Joe Siclari, F.N., 71.  Collector, fanhistorian, active in cons and fanzines.  New Yorker and Floridian.  Chair of MagiCon the 50th Worldcon.  Co-founded SMOFcon (“Secret Master Of Fandom”, as Bruce Pelz said a joke-nonjoke-joke) and FanHistoriCon.  Published The Complete “Quandry” (being Lee Hoffman’s fanzine; note spelling), The Enchantment (Walt Willis), A Wealth of Fable (Harry Warner’s fanhistory of the 1950s); edited a photo-illustrated ed’n of All Our Yesterdays (HW fanhistory of the 1940s).  Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service award).  Chairman of FANAC (fanac has long been short for fan activity; in this case, the Florida Ass’n for Nucleation And Conventions) which sponsored MagiCon and now sponsors Fancyclopedia 3 and the FANAC Fan History Project.  Fan Guest of Honor at MiniCon 31 (with wife Edie Stern), DeepSouthCon 34, Loscon XXVI, Lunacon 51.  DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegate (with Stern).  Big Heart (our highest service award; with Stern).  FAAn (Fan Activity Achievement Award) for Best Online Archive or Resource (i.e. the FANAC Fan History Pjt; with Stern).  Named Fan Guest of Honor (with Stern) for Chicon 8 the scheduled 80th Worldcon.  [JH]
  • Born August 2, 1952 – Hope Leibowitz, 68.  Only person to have attended every Ditto (fanziners’ con; named for a brand of copying machine).  Has lived in Toronto longer than New York (38 yrs, 30 yrs).  Contributor to FLAP (Fannish Little Amateur Press, an apa).  Sent a birthday card to Bob Madle (see here and here).  Likes the cover for Mike Resnick’s Paradise – but I forgot to ask if she meant this one (Whelan) or maybe this one (Gauckler).  [JH]
  • Born August 2, 1954 Ken MacLeod, 66. Sometimes I don’t realize until I do a Birthday note just how much I’ve read a certain author. And so it was of MacLeod. I’ve read the entire Fall Revolution series, not quite all of the Engines of Light Trilogy, all of The Fall Revolution, just the first two of the Corporation Wars and every one of his one-off novels save Descent. I should go find his Giant Lizards from Another Star collection as I’ve not read his short fiction. Damn it’s not available digitally! (CE)
  • Born August 2, 1973 – Prapda Yun, 47.  Writer, filmmaker, graphic designer.  S.E.A. Write Award for Probability (short stories); The Sad Part Was, mostly therefrom, seems the first translation of Thai fiction published in the UK.  PY himself has translated Lolita and PninA Clockwork OrangeR.U.R.  Songs and other music for Buahima and the Typhoon Band.  [JH]
  • Born August 2, 1976 – Emma Newman, 44.  Eleven novels, as many shorter stories (one for Wild Cards).  Collection, From Dark Places.  Audiobooks.  “How LARP [Live-Action Role Playing] Changed My Life” here.  Best-Fancast Hugo for Tea and Jeopardy (with husband Peter), see here.  [JH]
  • Born August 2, 1994 – Dawson Vosburg, 16.  Three novels. “I love my imagination.  It’s the one thing I’m thankful for every day.”  Here’s Chapter 2 of Incognito.  [JH]

(14) DAYS OF OUR LIVES. The sand ran out?

(15) WASCALLY FOREVER. John King Tarpinian has received his Bugs Bunny stamps.

(16) UNDER THE LID. Where does Alasdair Stuart find the time? Here’s what he covers this week in The Full Lid for 31st July 2020:  

This week in The Full Lid! With the movie riding high I dig into the second volume of the original Old Guard comic series. Force Multiplied changes the game for the immortals in some big ways and is both a good read and a great basis for the almost certain sequel. 

Elsewhere this issue I take a look at Fredrica and Stefon Bristol’s audacious and smart time travel movie See You Yesterday which is one of those films that will stay with you after viewing. Finally, I take a look at the first issue of Bleed Them Dry, a vampire/cyberpunk/murder mystery from Vault Comics and the team of Hiroshi Kuzumi, Elliot Rahal, Dike Ruan, Tim Daniel and Miquel Muerto. Our interstitials this week are remixes of classic Calvin and Hobbes strips by the Blindspotting team of Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs.

The Full Lid is weekly, free and published every Friday at 5 p.m. BST. You can find an archive and a subscription link at the top of this week’s issue.

(17) ROCKET SCIENCE. Here is how Siobhan Carroll would improve the Retro-Hugos:

 …my suggestions would be to focus on the award’s goal of introducing fans to lesser-known works and teaching us something about SF history. I’d suggest the following format changes:
1) make it a juried award, with the jury consisting of academics and critics who’ve done historical recovery work; 
2) reduce the slate from 12 or so awards to 1 or 2, which would allow for more fan engagement with the work(s) in question; 
3) make its guiding question not, ‘what works might have won in a given year’ but  ‘Which lesser-known SF works from the years of eligibility most speak to the genre and the SF community in 2022?’”

(18) READ FASTER. Review site BookNest.eu will turbocharge the growth of your Mt. TBR with their list of favorites from the 21st century:“Fantasy List: Top 100 Fantasy Books Of Our Century”.

We at BookNest.eu are incredibly excited to announce that we have reached the extraordinary milestone of TWO THOUSAND reviews! That’s an incredible number, considering all of the hours that go into crafting even a single review. We are proud of our reviewers, who have worked for years with passion and dedication to deliver our reviews to the fantasy community in the hopes of increasing awareness of authors and titles we are excited about.

In celebration of this occasion, our reviewers have compiled a list of our picks for the top one hundred fantasy novels that have been published this century. This list is, of course, subjective, so if your favourite book is missing, we apologize in advance. We have not read every book in the world, and the taste of our reviewers may not reflect your own.

(19) PRETTY COLORS. Goobergunch is definitely showing something here. Excuse me a minute while I go learn from the Wikipedia what it is….

(20) THEY MADE IT! “Splashdown! SpaceX And NASA Astronauts Make History”NPR has the story.

Two NASA astronauts are back on Earth after their space capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.

The last time any NASA astronauts came home by splashing down was in 1975—and back then, they were in an Apollo space vehicle. This time, the astronauts were in a white, bell-shaped capsule owned by SpaceX.

The success of their test flight, to the International Space Station and back, is a milestone for SpaceX, the first private company to send people to the outpost.

The company has been taking cargo to and from the station for years. This flight with people on board was the final test for SpaceX’s crew system to be certified by NASA as ‘operational’ for future astronaut missions.

That means the U. S. once again has its own ability to put people in orbit and return them safely. Since retiring its space shuttles in 2011, NASA has had to buy seats for its astronauts on Russian spaceships.

NASA can now rely on an American space taxi that takes off from Florida, and it’s already assigning astronauts to future SpaceX missions–including Megan McArthur, who happens to be married to one of the just-returned astronauts, Bob Behnken.

The BBC also has a movie of the parachute deployment and descent (splashdown at 1:18) and one of the crew checking out of the ISS.


If you wanna watch, it’s live right now on Twitch.

(22) A HORSE, OF COURSE. Adam Thirwell says Bojack Horseman reminds him of everything from Don Quixote to Ibsen in “A Horse’s Remorse” at The New York Review of Books.

…I’m in no way an avid watcher of cartoons but, to risk a sense of disproportion, I began to feel something similar as the animated series BoJack Horseman unfolded on Netflix over six seasons and seventy-seven episodes, beginning in 2014 and ending early this year. “It’s not Ibsen,” went a repeated refrain in the show, which was funny not just because it was a form of immediate self-deprecation about the show itself—a cartoon comedy whose supporting cast includes a news anchor who’s an irascible blue whale and a film studio renamed Warbler Brothers—but also because this show was Ibsen in a way, just an opioid version: a wild investigation of self-deception and failure. Or rather, that’s what I concluded by the end. At first it was simply zany and delightful, this series about a talking horse who’s the washed-up star of a now-forgotten 1990s hit sitcom, Horsin’ Around, a saccharine confection about a horse who adopts three human orphans. But by the time it finished, it had become something much grander and more terrible. Exactly what, however, and exactly how, are conundrums that have preoccupied me….

[Thanks to John Hertz, Chip Hitchcock, rcade, Andrew Porter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, Dann, N., Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

113 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/2/20 Lemonade Stand On Zanzibar

  1. The thing is, the anthology effect cumulates. Once a story/poem has appeared in one anthology, other editors are aware of it, and aware that somebody else approves of it, which keeps the story top-of-mind. And once it’s been anthologized twice, then it’s officially good.

    If, as was mentioned upthread (and I don’t have a dog in this fight), many of the early anthologists were Campbell disciples, then Campbell-approved stories are going to get anthologized earlier and more often than stories in Weird Tales. And the katamari rolls onward…

    I’m very skeptical of “anthologized” as a measure of quality. The conventional wisdom of the 1800s dismissed a lot of women novelists, and it took researchers who went back to the stacks to unearth gems (Emily Eden’s The Semi-Detached House, for one) that had passed from memory. (This is a terrible sentence, sorry.) Virago Press has done a great job of unearthing good books written by women that didn’t pass into the canon. I suspect if somebody did the same sort of excavation into Weird Tales, they’d find more anthology-worthy stories.

  2. OTOH, perhaps the reason that the anthologists and readers liked Campbellian stories was because he had spent a decade finding and cultivating them, and creating a market for them. Cart before the horse.

    At least some of the advantages you say that Campbell had, he created by his own actions as editor. It doesn’t seem fair to disqualify him because he was good.

  3. @Contrarius: I said there were some good things on the list; I was asking about the number of authors I had not heard of anywhere (not even, IIRC, in @OGH’s posting of various grimdark awards — although I don’t always read those clearly), not just the ones I hadn’t read. I look forward to seeing your reports on any of that list that you clear off your TBR.

    And wrt Baru, see the rest of my comment, and think about what her goal is (given that the book gives us a couple of well-defined sides) and that it’s not just in her mind — and consider the personal cost she’s paying.

    @Cora Buhlert: I don’t know nearly enough about the field then to discuss, but your arguments seem plausible.

  4. @Madame Hardy

    I’m very skeptical of “anthologized” as a measure of quality.

    2 responses:
    first — As I said up front, it’s a proxy, and obviously legitimate criticisms can be made of it. But it’s an attempt to make a more rigorous comparison of Campbell to McIlwraith than “I like my candidate better”. It’s easy to criticize it as a proxy, but I’d be the first to congratulate you on finding a better one.
    second — The job of an editor is to put stories in front of readers that they will buy. The fact that Campbell’s 1944 choices were anthologized and collected more, on a percentage basis, than McIlwraith’s is strong evidence he was better at that part of the job, as expressed by the anthology publisher’s wallet.

  5. @Chip —

    @Contrarius: I said there were some good things on the list; I was asking about the number of authors I had not heard of anywhere (not even, IIRC, in @OGH’s posting of various grimdark awards — although I don’t always read those clearly), not just the ones I hadn’t read. I look forward to seeing your reports on any of that list that you clear off your TBR.

    Chip, this isn’t a discussion with a “wrong” or a “right” — we’re not really in opposition here. I’m just exploring some of the reasons that have probably led to you not hearing of many of those books or their authors.

    As for the TBR — it’s an ever-expanding mountain, but ones that I’m more likely to actually get to include:

    A Dance of Cloaks — Dalglish
    Across the Nightingale Floor — Hearn
    Beyond Redemption — Fletcher
    (the sequel to Cold Iron — Cameron)
    (the sequel to Foundryside — Bennett)
    Ghost Talkers — Kowal
    The Light of All that Falls — Islington
    Kings of Paradise — Nell
    Orconomics — Pike
    Paternus — Ashton
    Senlin Ascends — Bancroft
    Six of Crows — Bardugo
    (the last two books of the Black Prism series — Weeks)
    (the last book of the City of Brass trilogy — Chakraborty)
    The Ember Blade — Wooding
    The Grey Bastards — French
    The Gutter Prayer — Hanrahan
    (the last book of the Name of the Wind trilogy — Rothfuss)
    (the last book in the Ruin of Kings trilogy — Lyons)
    The Song of Achilles — Miller
    (second and third books in the Vagrant trilogy — Newman)
    The Way of Shadows — Weeks
    Under Heaven — Kay
    Unsouled — Wight

    Incidentally, you might be surprised by some of the five books I’ve dnfed off that list —

    Children of Blood and Bone — Adeyemi
    Jade City — Lee
    The Darkness that Comes Before — Bakker
    The Priory of the Orange Tree — Shannon
    The Way of Kings — Sanderson

    And wrt Baru, see the rest of my comment, and think about what her goal is (given that the book gives us a couple of well-defined sides) and that it’s not just in her mind — and consider the personal cost she’s paying.

    I’m happy to agree to disagree on this one. I didn’t like the character; if you did, that’s fine too.

  6. @bill
    Regarding Astounding n Campbell’s better editing regarding more anthologizations, isnt there sth abt the Halo Effect possible there-Campbell/Astounding publushes Heinlein, Asimov n E.E. Smith, which led to their work n others in Astounding being anthologized. The anthologies are popular cos cheap entertainment after/during/before was in demand and sold well. (If Weird Tales stories had been anthologised too, we could compare sales figures instead but i think their non-existant for that time). The Halo effect leads to more n more stories from Astounding being anthologised n Asimov n Heinlein n Smith(?) becoming published in book form too. More Halo effect other science fiction writers get published in book form.
    What is not due to Halo effect is stories from Weird Tales coming to major(for its time) attention decades or years later. Afaict.
    This has litlle to do with 1945 retro hugos you say, except Campbell is being discussescwrt to his editing of 1944 Astounding n not future anthologies stories in his 1944 astounding. So i think tat breaks ur argument somewat. You can only argue the merits of the stories/editing/magazine as published in 1944, unless you also include the halo effect n its detrimental effects to weird tales in 1944. (Iv only read the stories of heinlein n asimov published in their books tat were also published in 1944 astounding,if any so i am effected by this halo effect too, but i dont agree with bringing in anthologisation as an argument since its biased in favor of astounding/campbell n also not 100% due to campbell.) Iv not read any 1944 weird tales, afaik unless leiber lankhmar stories were in there, (i hv never nominated/been a member of worldcon nor plan to ever, unless i am donated a membership along with an extra 18 hrs a day to read/nominate for it) [debating with myself whether to post this, yeah ok-posting it now]

  7. MixMat — I don’t understand your “Halo Effect” well enough to account for it in any analysis, but if you don’t agree with my argument, fine. The point is to try and come up with some way to evaluate McIlwraith vs. Campbell, head to head. I’ve offered this, and why I think it is useful: people who risked money to publish books wanted the best stories possible to go into those books. Stories chosen by Campbell were more likely to go into those books than stories chosen by McIlwraith. If you want to say that the publishers were wrong, you can prove it by showing that books with Campbell stories were less successful than books with the McIlwraith ones. I don’t think you can.

    We can only evaluate editors by the stories they edited. That’s why contemporary Hugo editor nominees have to include examples of work. With retro-Hugos, we not only get the work, about which we can make our own personal subjective judgments, we can also look at how history has evaluated the work. I think history has been better to Campbell’s editorial choices than it has to McIlwraith’s. I’d love to see other quasi-objective looks at the question; I’m still waiting for one to be offered.

  8. @bill
    I tried to tell you i dont agree, but you insist tat we must come up with a better way. I submit tat a fan award IS subjective n anthologisation is just ur excuse to pummel others over the head with why Campbell was best. If you had argued tat Asimov, simak n van vogt stories were subjectively better than wellman, harding n bradbury n bloch stories in weird tales, i might hv believed u werent just making up a theory to fit ur worldview. As it is i will read ur reply to this if any but not reply as there’s 2 new pixel scrolls newer than this. Sorry @mike to zombify this thread. Again i dint nominate or join worldcon, but using spurious statistics just got my goat.

  9. @MixMat
    The Lankhmar stories were never published in Weird Tales, which was moving away from sword and sorcery towards horror and ghost stories at the time, but first appeared in Unknown, edited by none either than John W. Campbell, and later found a home in Fantastic under Cele Goldsmith-Lalli. Campbell reportedly told Leiber that the first few Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories really weren’t what Unknown normally published, but were more Weird Tales type stories, but he liked the stories and so published them. They are also fine examples of SFF with non-white protagonists (Mouser is not white) published by Campbell.

    Weird Tales did have anthologies, but they were mostly hardcovers published by August Derleth’s Arkham House in small editions that were not easy to find even at the time, whereas the paperback anthologies and fix-up novels drawing from Astounding were much more widespread. Stories that had originally appeared in Weird Tales and other fantasy mags like Campbell’s Unknown did get more reprints in the 1960s, when the illegal paperback edition of Lord of the Rings set off a fantasy boom, which saw a lot of vintage sword and sorcery stories reprinted. Stories from Weird Tales also show up quite frequently in horror and ghost story anthologies, but again those have a different readership than pure SF anthologies..

  10. @Cora Buhlert: partial summary: “He pulls things out of his pockets with such panache that you forget he does it all with money.” (quasi-quote from the end of All the Colors of Darkness.) I’m sure there’s a book somewhere that explains why this was possible; I have a strong recollection of reading that S&S was a major magazine empire, such that large numbers of newsstands got “a box of each of these, and most of a box of that, and toss in a few Astounding to fill up.” Newsstand sales may or may not have been as profitable per item as subscriptions, but the exposure (at a time when newsstands were ubiquitous instead of mostly behind airport security barriers) would have been priceless.

    @Madame Hardy: I suspect you’re right about laziness as a factor. When I did collections of Chandler and of Reynolds I read everything I could find in the MITSFS (which had a pretty complete magazine collection), but for one author that was plausible; for an anthology the it’s-been-here-before process makes the editor’s earnings-per-hour-worked something more than kind. I’m not sure it was all disciples (cf the Healey/McComas anthology I cited in a previous thread on this argument), but that would also have been a factor.

    @Contrarius: I am unsurprised by your DNFs; IIRC I mentioned having no time for Sanderson, the Adeyemi was so ?crude? about women that I’m not reading any sequels, I thought Jade City was an overblown example of a cheap martial arts movie even before it took the WFC award from The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, I looked at The Priory of the Orange Tree and decided I couldn’t cope, and Neuropath was such a disaster that I’ve looked askance at later recommendations for Bakker. So I will be watching for your reports of the others with interest.

    I don’t like Baru either. But IMO Brecht wasn’t just giving MacHeath a one-up in the line ~”That was Art, you moron! Art isn’t ‘nice’!”; I can say “This character is worthy but I’m never inviting them for tea.”, which I would not say about the hero of “Brown Shoes”. Or you may be using a wider definition of “like”; in either case I’ll leave it.

    @bill: I offered the anthologization test some threads ago, but in addition to any halo effect (did you look it up?) I would question whether the tastes of anthologists of the immediate time should be the ultimate decider; the few times I was willing to vote on the retro-Hugos at all, I did not try to take on the mindset of a reader of that era.

  11. @Chip —

    @Contrarius: I am unsurprised by your DNFs

    The part I thought you might be surprised by was that my dnfs were some of the better-known works and authors on that list, rather than the lesser-known ones.

    So I will be watching for your reports of the others with interest.

    If you get interested in any of the ones I’ve already read, I’d be happy to report on those as well. There are several that I’m very fond of. Let me know if there are any in particular that you’re curious about.

    And if you like goats, you must read The Vagrant. Goats rule. LOL!

    I can say “This character is worthy but I’m never inviting them for tea.”

    But I don’t think Baru is worthy. I think she’s a deluded Mary Sue.

  12. @Chip Hitchcock — yes, I did try to understand the Halo Effect. I don’t disagree that it exists, I just don’t see how to account for it. And to a certain extent, so what?
    If anthology editors picked JWC stories for their books because they had a favorable opinion of JWC Astounding in general, or were predisposed to those stories, that’s still to JWC’s credit as an editor.

    And I’m not deferring to the tastes of anthologists as “the ultimate decider”; it’s just a piece of a larger pie. It’s sole advantage is that you can count it.

  13. @Cora Buhlert

    The Lankhmar stories were never published in Weird Tales, which was moving away from sword and sorcery towards horror and ghost stories at the time, but first appeared in Unknown, edited by none either than John W. Campbell, and later found a home in Fantastic under Cele Goldsmith-Lalli. Campbell reportedly told Leiber that the first few Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories really weren’t what Unknown normally published, but were more Weird Tales type stories, but he liked the stories and so published them. They are also fine examples of SFF with non-white protagonists (Mouser is not white) published by Campbell.

    Iv not read any 1944 weird tales, afaik unless leiber lankhmar stories were in there,

    wellman, harding n bradbury n bloch stories in weird tales,….

    I was tryin’ to say iv never read any ‘Weird Tales’, dint check first where Lankhmar was published (only checked 4 weird tales aithors recognisable/known to me l8r.) My next comment was after i cursorily checked which stories/authors i’d recognise were in 1944 ‘Weird Tales’. Sorry 4 my hasty/unresearched earlier comment.

    Re: Mouser- iv not read Knight n Knave in yrs, dint pick up on Mouser’s non-whiteness. As im a NBPOC reader in S.E.A., the important thing to me then was tat he was a badass fighter/thief/fantasy character.

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