Pixel Scroll 8/9 A Dribble of Links

Birthdays, baseball and Bill Murray cannot disguise the fact that it’s all Lou Antonelli all the time in today’s Scroll.

(1) August 9 is a big day on the science fiction birthday calendar.

  • Frank M. Robinson (1926-2014)
  • Daniel Keyes (1927-2014)
  • Marvin Minsky (1927)
  • L. Q. Jones (1927)
  • Mike Hinge (1931-2003)
  • John Varley (1947)
Cheerleaders reenact “Red's wedding” during the Staten Island Direwolves game August 8. (Photo by Bill Lyons.)

Cheerleaders reenact “Red’s wedding” during the Staten Island Direwolves game August 8. (Photo by Bill Lyons.)

(2) George R. R. Martin was in the stands for the Staten Island Direwolves v. House Lannister minor league baseball game Saturday. The ‘Wolves won.

The Staten Island Direwolves successfully defended Richmond County Bank Ballpark against an invasion from the omnipotent House Lannister (Hudson Valley Renegades).

Ned Stark maintained that you could hold Winterfell with just 100 men, but the Direwolves needed just 30.

Be it an act of blood magic or sorcery, but RCBC was transformed into a fantastical realm in front of a record crowd of 7,529, celebrating Game of Thrones night and mastermind George R.R. Martin’s appearance.

Martin, a lifelong Mets supporter, had just one stipulation if he was to be in attendance; the Staten Island squad had to abandon the “Yankees” name for the game and adopt “Direwolves” instead.

Promotional activities overshadowed the game, as often happens in the minors, all advancing the Game of Thrones theme.

An opportunity to meet George R.R. Martin and receive an autograph highlighted a list of special events which included: an appearance by a live arctic wolf, jousting competition, trial by combat against Scooter, a reenactment of the red wedding featuring mascot Red and swearing in of honorary Night’s Watch induction.

(3) Deadline says Bill Murray will be in the next Ghostbusters after all.

Bill Murray, scared off the Ghostbusters train after his disappointment with 1989’s Ghostbusters 2, will appear in Paul Feig’s 2016 franchise reboot starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth.

(4) Yesterday, Lou Antonelli reported Carrie Cuinn at Lakeside Circus had revoked a signed contract for one of his stories in reaction to the news about his contacting Spokane PD to warn against David Gerrold.

Cuinn soon thereafter sent this tweet —

https://twitter.com/CarrieCuinn/status/630254247200862209

Now Lou Antonelli has called on those involved to stop.

Ok, if anyone I know out there is contacting Carrie Cuinn and castigating her for the decision not to publish my story, knock it off. She and Lakeside Circus have their right to free expression, also. Lambasting her is certainly not helping things.

Insofar as the story is now available, and to make the best of a bad situation (since it probably will never be published anywhere anyhow – or anything I write in the future, for that matter), I will drop it in here now, so maybe some people can enjoy it.

Ladies and gents, I present “Message Found Written on an End Roll of Newsprint”:

The text of the story follows.

(5) Pat Cadigan gave her take on Lou Antonelli’s letter to the cops on Facebook –

In my opinion, the line crossed here can’t be un-crossed, certainly not with an apology.

Denouncing someone to the authorities for disagreeing, about science fiction or fantasy fiction or any other kind of fiction, is completely unacceptable. In my opinion.

1945 called; it wants its Iron Curtain and the Secret Police back.

David Gerrold responded:

Pat, I love you and will hug you ferociously every time I see you —

That said, I have to say this as well.

I am dismayed by where some of the comment threads are going — not just here, but everywhere.

So I’m asking people to please be compassionate. There is far more to this situation than has been reported, and I’m not going to violate anyone else’s confidentiality. I’m just going to say, please, let’s all take forty or fifty deep breaths, have some chocolate, or coffee, or a beer, or whatever — and recognize that we’re all just human, the missing link between apes and civilized beings.

It’s time to say, “This isn’t working. Let’s try something else.” It’s time for all of us to decide if we want our conventions to be war zones or places of celebration. If we want celebration, then we have to remember that despite our disagreements, no matter how ferocious they might seem, we’re all here because we love the sense of wonder that we find in science fiction and fantasy.

We have to stop beating each other up. Especially in comment threads, where it feels safe to say terrible things about people we’ve never met in person — because those ripples spread outward and generate more negativity and more and more.

The solution? It starts with one person saying, “if we’re the good guys, let’s act like it.” And then another and another. And send those ripples outward instead.

So please, it’s fair to report what happened — but let’s also be responsible enough to say that we can use this as an opportunity to look in the mirror and decide if we want to continue being angry every day or choose to be some other kind of person.

Thanks for listening.

(6) Adam-Troy Castro drew our attention to his sarcastic reply to Steve Tinel’s post about David Gerrold, linked in yesterday’s Scroll:

Question to blogger Steve Tinel: why would you even want to write a blog dedicated to science fiction when you have such bottomless loathing for science fiction?

What’s that? You don’t loathe science fiction?

How can you say that when David Gerrold’s criticism of one (1) Catholic Cardinal led you to accuse him of “vile anti-Christian bigotry?”

You attacked one science fiction writer! Clearly, you hate science fiction!

What’s that?

You weren’t attacking all of science fiction? You were just expressing your anger against one guy?

You mean you can do that, show outrage at one member of a group without being accused of venomous hatred for every single member of the group?

Oh.

That changes things.

Doesn’t it.

(7) Vox Day sure gets a lot of attention in Newsweek’s story about what it calls “the Nazi romance novel For Such a Time”.

Now, after being nominated for two major prizes at the Romance Writers of America’s annual conference in late July, the book’s Holocaust-set themes of Christian salvation are tearing the romance world apart…

“Obviously a lot of people liked the book, because they nominated it,” Day adds. “What they’re trying to do is disqualify all those people’s opinions because they disagree with them. It’s something that the SJWs are getting more and more blatant about, and I think people are getting more and more tired of their attempts to impose political correctness and impose thought-policing on everyone else. Donald Trump’s not having any of it, and I’m certainly not either.”

Donald Trump isn’t a political figure I’d expect to see Vox link himself to, even if it’s only to bait Newsweek readers.

[Thanks to Steven H Silver, Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

238 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/9 A Dribble of Links

  1. @Brian

    The only way to minimize the influence of politics/the culture wars/the SJW backlash/whatever horror is coming next is if the fans get together and decide not to go overboard. And all remember to read and nominate. Sorry.

    Read and nominate. Sure, Brian. I agree.

    The mathematics of it, though, Brian is, given the size of the Hugo electorate as it now stands, even with its record numbers, the Puppies engaging in slating tactics distorts the Hugo nomination ballot intolerably in their favor.

    However, given the number of times that people have tried to argue in favor of a technical solution, and your resistance to any change of any kind, its clear that what you want is just the status quo, consequences be damned.

    Fine. I understand. I just strongly disagree, because the current system is too vulnerable to manipulation by actors with followings willing to vote in lockstep.

    Finis.

  2. ““… like John C. Wright felt loyalty to the fans who honestly supported them.”

    Honestly? Naaah, block voting is the opposite of honesty.”

    You know what? I might be willing to give some of them the benefit of the doubt on that one. A lot of these people said things about never having realized that they could vote. It’s entirely plausible that they did not understand the implication of bloc-voting, or even know that is what they were doing. The Sad Puppy followers, at least. The Rabids not so much.

    The real howler in the post you responded to was the idea of Wright feeling any understanding of loyalty or appreciation of honesty. This the ‘hey, good people would boycott my publisher, but I’m not going to tell you to do so’ guy.

  3. oh great, someone tracked FUD all over the comments

    the Antonelli story is better than the nominated one, in that at least something happens. Not something original, or well-written, but something. As well as the problem Kurt pointed out, it has a pronounced version of the usual zombie problem – what do they eat? The narrator has been locked up for months, long after the regular food supplies ran out. The whole point of these zombies is that they have enormous appetites. So how come there are loads of them still running around?

  4. Block voting and slates is going overboard. And that is the start of the whole mess.

  5. How would VD enforce his requirement that these people agree to be given all the nominations in perpetuity? Under those circumstances, wouldn’t the vast majority start declining those nominations pretty soon or more likely immediately?

    What a great way to get selected SJWs off the ballot! Victory! Rhetoristotle!

    What makes you think he’s out to do anything other than disrupt the Hugos in the myriad variety of ways that slating will allow? He has no requirements to enforce. He certainly doesn’t have any literary standards he wants to promote or endorse. He only has to embrace a strategy of metaphorical bomb throwing until his unmeetable demands are met. He’s only limited by the size of his ilk and the haplessness of his sad puppy enablers. He can slate whoever he wants. Their acceptance or withdrawal? part of the plan! Their awarding or no-awarding? Victory! He’s morally and culturally bankrupt, and the only thing he has to lose is attention.

  6. Brian Z on August 10, 2015 at 2:58 am said:
    Really? OK. How would VD enforce his requirement that these people agree to be given all the nominations in perpetuity?

    It’ll be somewhere in the Castilia House contract boiler plate: “Author agrees that, if this work is recommender for a Hugo award by the publisher, author will not withdraw the work from consideration”

  7. is if the fans get together and decide not to go overboard.

    Going overboard would involve counter-slates – which may yet turn up. Beale would like that, I think.

  8. Nigel on August 10, 2015 at 3:15 am said:

    What a great way to get selected SJWs off the ballot! Victory! Rhetoristotle!

    What makes you think he’s out to do anything other than disrupt the Hugos in the myriad variety of ways that slating will allow?

    Given his avowed interest in ‘4G’ warfare VD may well use a range of petty tactics to disrupt – including nominating people for the purpose of pressurizing them to withdraw. I suspect we may also see Castalia house publishing stories near to the close off for nominations with misleading names intended to resemble likely contenders or with author pseudonyms that resemble likely nominees or something equally silly. He just needs fuss rather than success and he can rationalize taking the low-road.

  9. RE: Beale and Donald Trump, according to a recent post on We Hunted the Mammoth, there’s a reactionary far-right mob pushing a hashtag #cuckservative, wherein they lambast any Republicans who show even the lightest level of support for women or racial minorities. Which, as it turns out is pretty much everyone but Trump.

    Guess who’s been part of that little storm of hatred and stupidity?

  10. I can see why people would suspect Antonelli’s intentions in re publishing Cuinn’s info. But the theory that he did it on purpose requires a slyness that doesn’t seem to be in Antonelli’s nature. Antonelli’s besetting vice is the hot reaction, not cool calculation, and the pattern is that he only recognizes the wrongness of what he’s done long after the fact. For the Cuinn thing to have been a pre-meditated attempt to get back at the editor while appearing to have clean hands, Antonelli would have to have actually thought, in advance, about how it would all look. That doesn’t seem to be his comparative advantage.

  11. @Hampus

    I don’t even know what that means. Is “cuckservative” a combination of “conservative” and “cuckolded”?

    ETA: Went to link. Of course it would have something to do with the “beta male” nonsense. Bah.

  12. Okay, I was fully on board with Antonelli’s apology. It sounded truly sincere and reflective, but this

    Insofar as the story is now available, and to make the best of a bad situation (since it probably will never be published anywhere anyhow – or anything I write in the future, for that matter)….

    is passive aggressive bullshit. C’mon, Lou, really? That’s not going to put out a fire, that’s going to create some long-burning embers, readied for the very next chance to burst into full flame.

    “Oh, don’t yell at her, it doesn’t matter now, since I’m never going to be published again, anyway. Sigh.”

  13. @Redheadedfemme: Yes. It’s a remarkably racist and sexist term. Jeet Heer also wrote a nice piece about it recently.

    re: Lou Antonelli’s story: it was a fun little read, but I was a bit dismayed about his understanding of estrogen. He wrote:

    In desperation to find a solution to the problem, the Taiwanese health ministry strapped the chemist who invented the drug in a chair and asked him rather directly exactly what he had done. The SOB admitted it was neither herbal nor drug, but in reality an engineered virus–activated by estrogen because women were seen as its target market–but still worked for men because men are, after all, exposed to estrogen every day.

    As if men don’t also produce estrogen.

  14. Thanks, Hampus. After reading that article and noting a few iffy headlines, I had to check “is Odessa American a parody”. Turns out, it’s not. 🙁

    More tragically, if that kid was threatening to turn someone else invisible with his magic ring, he didn’t understand The Hobbit.

  15. @ Hampus

    got in trouble for bringing a kids’ book about pregnancy to school.

    Poor kid, it doesn’t sound as though the school’s a good fit for him.

    My son took The Facts of Life by Jonathan Miller to school and startled a teacher. It’s a child’s pop-up book with a pop-up penis. And paper engineered ovulation. Didn’t get into trouble though.

  16. Wow.

    David Gerrold is seriously a class act.

    I hope more of us can act like him.

  17. @Camestros Felapton

    1. there are many more people with nomination rights for 2016 than for 2015

    How do you work that out?

    Loncon had over 11,000 members in the end. Sasquan hasn’t quite reached that yet but I am sure it will be around the same number by the start of the con. Where are your many more people with nomination rights going to come from?

    Now the increase in final ballot voting this year may translate to a similar increase in nominating ballots next year – I hope so, as that would be a good thing. I also certainly hope the rest of your list end up being true. Although as people have remarked upon, nominating is harder than voting – especially if you are not in the habit of reading books more or less on release, so we may not see such a huge upswing in nominating ballots.

  18. Andyl: The difference is Puppies. A lot more of us are alarmed about the well-being of the Hugos and interested in doing our part this time in the first round as well as the second.

  19. I believe the stated intents of the burnt earth nominating strategy included things like lots of tie-in novels and a Farsi dictionary. I would think that novels would be the hardest category to game because it usually gets more nominations. And the dictionary would be moved to a different category.

    I’m sure the nominating process is easier when you’re just set on vandalism. The Sad Puppies probably have the tougher job next year.

  20. Brian Z said

    mentioning his name looks dumb even by the rock-bottom standards of File 770.

    Woah. Brian. I had no idea you despised us so much.

  21. @ Peace
    Indeed!
    What are you reading at the moment? I’m still trying to be sure the brackets stuff got onto my TBR list, but I finished The Just City last week and look forward to The Philosopher Kings.

  22. This ‘Cuck’ business is interesting.
    Apparently started by the racist far right as they feel betrayed by republican politicians.
    I guess this is what happens when you spend decades blowing racist dog whistles and campaigning on racial fear and resentment.

  23. I see yesterday was Frank M. Robinson’s birthday. ‘The Dark Beyond the Stars’ is my favorite generation starship story. Anyone else read it?

  24. Just to back up andyl @ 6:12 a little with my own personal anecdote (anecdote is the singular of data, right?), I almost always end up waiting until books come out in paperback, because otherwise, I’d not be able to afford to keep reading at the rate I do. Given the choice between three paperbacks from last year, or one newly released hardback, I usually take the three paperbacks, because they’ll last me longer on a first read-through, and fit on my rapidly filling shelves a lot better, and don’t have DRM like an ebook.

    And the end result of that purchasing trend is that, come years’ end, I’ve only read perhaps three eligible novels, likely published at the beginning of the year with an end-of-year paperback edition, and from those three (this past year, for example) I’ll be lucky to find one that truly feels Hugo-nomination worthy – Sanderson’s ‘Radiance’ was a solid ‘part-two’, but didn’t feel self-contained enough, ‘Corey’s’ ‘Cibola Burn was fantastic but again, overly context-dependant, and Butcher’s ‘Skin Game’ was workmanlike and solid, but much as I enjoy Dresden’s adventures, the only one I’d have thought award-worthy so far was book 12, ‘Changes’. Watts’ ‘Echopraxia’, Abercrombie’s ‘Half a King’, Lynch’s ‘Thorn of Emberlain’, Scalzi’s ‘Lock-In’, VanderMeer’s ‘Southern Reaches’, and Stross’ ‘Rhesus Chart’ all wound up on my 2015 reading list instead, and I’m already pushing ‘Seveneves’ back ’till 2016 (unless… well, no, darnit, I don’t care how pretty it is sitting there in the bookstore window. I have a budget to follow! I’m an adult, dangit!).

  25. There’s a headline over at the Gawker site that reads:

    “Dude, Get Outta My House”: Marmot Refuses to Obey Angry Cursing Man

    which takes on a totally different meaning given the much used File770 anagram.

  26. In other news, we have an annual International Book Festival coming to where I am next week. Over 800 authors coming. Glancing over the list, ones I’ve read include Ben Aaronovitch, M. R. Carey, Michel Faber, Michael Frayn, Sarah Hall, David Levithan, David Mitchell, Patrick Ness, Jane Smiley, Alexander McCall Smith, Ali Smith, Sarah Waters, and Irvine Welsh. Ones I’ve been planning on reading include Alisdair Gray and Kirsty Logan (and this might be a good place to pick up that copy of “The Gracekeepers” I’ve been meaning to get …)

  27. How the heck am I gonna be able to nominate anything from 2015 when all these brackets and recommendations has added at least 50 old books to my TBR list? :/

  28. Brian Z,

    And even if it were somehow beneficial to have a so-called “technical solution” waiting at the curb with the engine running, EPH and 4/6 would still be mostly dominated by one such group of idiots, and would be essentially overwhelmed by two.

    That's not accurate in the case of EPH. 4/6 can be dominated by two minority slates. EPH cannot.

  29. @PatrickMay:

    “That’s not accurate in the case of EPH.”

    Remember, this is Brian Z. Anything he says about EPH is not accurate.

  30. I don’t usually nominate for the Hugos. I would love to be in the position, when nominations come around, of feeling that I had read a decent spread of the year’s eligible novels. Most likely, if I make a particular effort for next year, I will have read about a dozen. Maybe not even enough to fill out my ballot. I think a lot of people are in the same situation.

    The funny thing is, it is much easier to read a couple of hundred shorter pieces before then, but the novel category always seems to get more nominations and final ballot votes

  31. Donald Trump isn’t a political figure I’d expect to see Vox link himself to, even if it’s only to bait Newsweek readers.

    Eh, it’s not really surprising considering his love of terms like gamma male and this cuckservative stuff. It’s mistaking stupidity for masculinity, that if someone says something bold and confidently enough regardless of how wrong they might be factually or how insulting that message might be (often because of how insulting it might be) then they’re a bastion of masculine values. Their failures aren’t because they’re wrong, it’s rationalized as being because people are threatened by them. All who disagree aren’t masculine and therefore pussies, betas, white knights, SJWs, etc.

    National Review did a good write up about how Trump appeals to folks like that regardless of his ability to back anything he says or does up.

    You see it in the language and rhetoric of the Puppies as well, both Sad and Rabid varieties. The claims of Affirmative Action to explain why certain authors are winning, trying to get the term pink SF over as though literary fiction is somehow feminine, in the insults and insinuations used.

    It’s not surprising. I just wonder what they’re compensating so hard for, and if they’d be better of buying a sports car or a Mid-Life Chrysler.

  32. I have a background in math and AI, and I spent a good bit of time exploring the implications of E Pluribus Hugo. In a scenario with 2-5, non-overlapping slates of roughly equal size, it pretty much guarantees each slate gets one slot on the ballot. That’s a big improvement on the current system, which would give the largest slate ALL slots on the ballot, even if it were only slightly larger. If two slates overlapped on a single item, EPH would most likely choose that item to represent BOTH slates, leaving 4 slots free for other sources.

    EPH says “You get to nominate 5 but you only get one vote on the final ballot. Any scenario that puts two of your choices on the final ballot divides your one vote between them.” Slates such as the Puppies used mostly contained works so bad that it’s unlikely anyone else nominated them, but if they did nominate one more-popular work, then that’s the one that would land on the ballot.

    The more I look at it, the more clever EPH seems to be. It will work best if people nominate as many works as they can, though. The biggest challenge will be to convince people that it is a bad strategy to only nominate one work per category.

  33. So I finished the Birmingham Dave books over the weekend. They were much fun, and intriguingly subversive. My tl;dr summary is “a FPS video game intersects with the real world and an immature sexist jerk gets to be the player. He grows up.”

    Now onto a Michael Connelly Harry Bosch novel, Echo Park, one of the two that were used as the foundations of the Amazon Bosch miniseries. I like me some LA Noir…

  34. Camestros,

    Given his avowed interest in ‘4G’ warfare VD may well use a range of petty tactics to disrupt

    I did say don’t bother fighting last year’s war.

  35. Ray, I think that’s partly because the greater time investment for a novel actually makes it easier to remember/distinguish its details and title after up to a year has passed and partly because there’s so much more discussion about individual novels that it’s easier to remember. I keep track of all the fiction books I finish, but when it comes to short fiction, I only keep track on the anthology/collection level, not on the level of individual stories — which I certainly consider changing in future, but it’s just so much more work because I read so many more short stories, see?

  36. @Brian Z

    Hampus: well, it should be blindingly obvious to anyone who stops to think for a moment.

    Sorry for harping on a pet peeve for a moment. I would like you, please, to go visit the wikipedia page on Principia Mathematica, the book that tried to build up all of modern mathematics of its day from the simplest possible concepts; and I would like you to note how long it took them to reach the point where they could say “1+1=2”;* and then I would like you to never again use the phrase “blindingly obvious” ever again.

    No, seriously, every time someone says that, a mathematician falls down dead from logical asphyxiation.

    This has been Fugue’s mathematical pet peeve post. Thank you for giving me a few seconds of your time.

    *Short version: it doesn’t appear until nearly page 400. This despite Principia Mathematica being one of the densest texts of mathematics ever written.

  37. Patrick May,

    That’s not accurate in the case of EPH. 4/6 can be dominated by two minority slates. EPH cannot.

    That wasn’t what I got from felice’s finding. Voting behavior has changed since 1984. Look at realistic data with a fragmented market and short fiction nominations that cluster around the interests of various online communities and interest groups.

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