Snapshots 56 – Cart Run!

Trivia answer: 56 was my employee number when I worked for K-Mart in the summer of 1970.

Now for 9 developments of interest to fans…

(1) The opening of Hugo nominations also means the beginning of the long season of elbow-jogging and outright vote-begging from people who obviously feel the purpose of the award is to “recognize the best in science fiction, plus the stuff I wrote.”

So, if you swing that way, at least try to be as humorous as Jason Cordova who is pitching hard for people to nominate his novel Corruptor:

Have I no shame, you ask. Hell no. If I had shame I wouldn’t suggest you use nominating me to assuage your white guilt. Yeah, I have more nationalities and races in me than Nina Hartley. You want a list? Fine…

I have Uyghar (Chinese minority), Spanish (General Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba is a distant relative), German (Saxony, from John George) and British (some peasant wench) in me. I also have a smidgen of Blackfoot (Native American), but I don’t see it and generally don’t claim it.

So see? Vote for the… uh… American guy. Damn it, there went my whole argument. *grumble*

…Well, nominate me anyways. It’d be cool to stand up there with John Scalzi and say “I blame him for this award”.

Jason, I’m tempted.

(2) Speaking of John Scalzi, life is full of odd coincidences. Can you imagine anybody being less representative of Scalzi than Representative John Boehner, his Congressman and now Speaker of the House?

(3) Book pirates no doubt hailed this new product introduced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, Ion’s do-it-yourself scanner for books, magazines, and comics:

Fed up of paying through the nose for e-books? Ion, the company best known for its USB turntables, is readying a gadget that will help you digitise your paperbacks, hardbacks, magazines and comics.

Called the Book Saver, it’s a large frame into which you place an open book. Tap the Scan button and the spread is digitised and dropped onto an SD card, ready to be transferred to your computer. Each page is saved separately, thanks to the unit’s two flash-equipped cameras.

Duncan Jones with the Hugo for MOON.

(4) Duncan Jones, director and co-writer of 2010 Hugo winning film, Moon, blogs about the arrival of the trophy:

It was back in September 2010 that MOON had the honor of winning a prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, a fantastic achievement, beating fellow nominees Avatar, District 9, Star Trek & Up.

We featured a lovely pic of the award in the original announcement, designed by Nick Stathopoulos, described as “An organic Art Nouveau Hugo”

And now the award itself has found its home with Duncan in LA, pictured here with Sam Bell’s original suit from MOON. What a stunna!

(5) Slate Magazine has a grim story about “Swords: The murder weapon of nerds”:

That is to say, the sword is the weapon of nerds. It’s also the weapon of schizophrenics. And, most of all, it’s the weapon of schizophrenic nerds.

Consider how Michael Brea described his mother’s slaying in November: ‘I felt like Neo from THE MATRIX.’ Then he added, ‘It’s a powerful sword’ — as if his murder weapon had been forged by goblins. It’s said there are crimes of passion and crimes of logic. Brea’s was one of science fiction and fantasy.

(6) Even regular old swords in the hands of peasants inflicted ghastly damage at the Battle of Towton, archeologists have shown:

The skeletons had clearly been the victims of great violence. Many display the same frenzied wounding as Towton 25. “Imagine one of those movie scenes with people closing in on a cornered individual,” says Christopher Knüsel, one of the original team of archaeologists and now at the University of Exeter. “Usually the camera has to pan away because you cannot show some things. Here you see it.”

Over 28,000 soldiers died in this 1461 battle, the turning point in the Wars of the Roses.

(7) Ed Park comments that Bill Patterson’s Heinlein bio is well-written, in a review for the LA Times. I agree. Yet Park also feels he was told a lot more than he needed to know about such things as the day-to-day treatment of Heinlein’s tuberculosis. I figure – what else is a science fiction fan reading a bio about Heinlein for but to get that level of detail? Besides, David McCullough had just as much to say about John Adams’ illness during a diplomatic mission to Holland, and McCullough is one of the best biographers around.

(8) A recent status on Facebook: “Richard Desk is thinking that if we have to change key words in the novels of Mark Twain because a contemporary audience may find them offensive, perhaps we need to go back and revise Orwell’s 1984 so that Big Brother fellow doesn’t seem so cruel — after all, it might offend dictators.”


(9) Count on The Register for hard-hitting science journalism like this story, “Runaway hydroponic fungus attacks real-world Starship Voyager”:

The Leicestershire Trekkie who turned his flat into a replica of the Starship Voyager spent two years battling an alien mould attack, unaware that it was caused by a dope farm in the property below…

[Thanks for these links goes to Andrew Porter, Vincent Docherty and David Klaus.]

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13 thoughts on “Snapshots 56 – Cart Run!

  1. Yes, I wrote the above without checking the Register to confirm it’s Alleyne, which I’ve now done.

    As if there’d be more than one. 🙂

  2. Hey, I’m flattered that you’re tempted. I know I’m not going to with the Hugo, especially since another Miles book came out last year by Lois. But I think it’d be hilarious that something I classify as “B-Literature” could potentially upset everyone’s sensibilities.


  3. I’d love to get that new-style scanner, as I will probably soon have to scan page after page of elderly fanzines; this looks like it would do the job very well. But I suspect it’s going to be quite expensive.
    Good to see that Hugo winner Duncan Jones actually prizes his Hugo; this isn’t common among dramatic presentation winners, though by no means unheard of. Rod Serling kept his Hugos in a more prominent place that he kept his Emmys, because he said the Hugos were given by people who loved the stuff.

  4. Oh yeah, another thing. I’d truly love to win a Hugo, but circumstances have conspired against it. KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES originally was published (1n 1982) by a small press and got very few fannish reviews; Charlie Brown flatly refused to review it in LOCUS. So not enough people knew about it. The same is true with the new edition; it was officially published in 2010, but appeared in late 2009. There weren’t enough people who knew about it to get it nominated bor 2009; it isn’t eligible for nominations in 2010. Of course, there is the dismaying possibility that not enough people LIKED it for it to be nominated.

  5. @Bill: I wish your book had made the ballot — what an epic accomplishment it is. As for Locus, while you were hoping for a review to enhance your chances of a nomination I can tell you that even a book that’s already a Hugo-nominee isn’t certain to be reviewed there — Diana’s book on the Inklings never was.

  6. I’ll give serious consideration to nominating any novel the author cares to give me a free hardcover, first editon, signed copy of… honest! Otherwise you take your chances.

  7. Bill Warren:

    I’d love to get that new-style scanner, as I will probably soon have to scan page after page of elderly fanzines; this looks like it would do the job very well. But I suspect it’s going to be quite expensive.

    With just a tiny bit of patience you can get a fine scanner on Craigslist for $5 or free.

    With less patience, just go to ebay. There you have a money-back guarantee.

    Ditto Amazon Merchants, which sends almost no money to Amazon, but you still have the guarantee.

    Bill, on getting people to buy the book, I suggest that links encourage people who won’t already know you, what you’re talking about, or where to look.

    As it is, I can state quite authoritatively that fewer than 90% of readers will click even one link, and every additional click cuts another 90%, roughly speaking, under most circumstances, in most places online.

    I predict that Mike Glyer is unlikely to disagree with this statement, but I could be wrong.

    Anything done to get old fanzines scanned and on the web, for all, would be the best thing possible to do for preserving fanhistory, IM personal opinion.

    I wish I had any of my own old collection. But I don’t. All I can do is try to encourage others, and try to explain that all that’s involved is the time, but finding that time can be, of course, extraordinardily difficult, or impossible, for many of us, given that many of us have circumstances making it impractical.

    But getting more old fanzines on the web, in any form = blessings from Roscoe, Ghu-Ghu, and Foo-Foo, methinks. Even Harry Warner, Jr. might grudgingly admit it’s no worse than Kim Darby, were he still around.

    But I’m just guessing there, and he might not approve at all.

  8. I’d also point out that Charlie Brown is dead, and no longer making policy at _Locus_. What they current reviewing policy is, I have no idea, but I assume that both you and Mike/Diana have made contact directly by email with JONATHAN STRAHAN, who lives here, or otherwise with the right folks so you’re sure it’s not just an oversight, given the thousands of books they receive.

    It certainly may be a deliberate decision, and you’d know best, and you’ve doubtless established this, so no attempting to teach grandma anything about eggs here, but I mention it on the off chance that anyone else has ever been disappointed with a lack of Locus response in recent months and who hasn’t made sure it’s not an oversight might read this, and consider the possibilities.

    Apologies if this is boring, or irrelevant, unwanted, etc.

  9. Good to see that Hugo winner Duncan Jones actually prizes his Hugo; this isn’t common among dramatic presentation winners, though by no means unheard of. Rod Serling kept his Hugos in a more prominent place that he kept his Emmys, because he said the Hugos were given by people who loved the stuff.

    That was a bit of a while ago. But you’re using present tense. How many winners in the last, say, ten years, haven’t prized it?

    I don’t know, which is why I’m being curious and asking a world-class expert, who certainly shouldn’t respond unless he desires.

    Lastly, I’d note that, these days, if a book doesn’t have a website devoted to it, promoting it, etc., it’s going to be less noticed than most every book published in the last ten years, which does.

    And the site would be best advised to be designed to get a high PageRank, properly indexed, and so on.

    Selling/promoting to the world online works. Not doing so: no so much, in this century.

    But, again, I’m only making an observation in an attempt to be helpful. Please ignore this if it isn’t, and, again, since this is a site read by many, perhaps someone else might read this comment, and benefit, so I hope you’ll forgive me for writing it with that in mind, rather than in any way trying to offer a suggestion to anyone who most certainly wouldn’t want one.

    You’re a fantastic writer, Bill; more people should read your work. The same, of course, is true of Diana, although I must say that I base that only only small samples of her writing. But that’s enough for me; I have been paid tiny amounts of money on rare occasions for my judgment on such things, irrelevant as that is, given how many more talented people work without pay than those who do.

  10. @Gary: Well, bear in mind that Diana’s book came out almost four years ago. By the time we were done three review copies had been sent to Locus, including one with our personal cover letter. I don’t need to tell you that Locus only reviews a percentage of the books that come out. We did what we could to attract their attention.

  11. Bill Rotsler, then reviewing semi-regularly for LOCUS, sent a favorable review of the original edition of KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES. It was rejected, with Charlie adding a note claiming “Bill Warren will never get a favorable review in LOCUS.” I remain mystified by this.
    I don’t have a specific website to promote KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES! THE 21st CENTURY EDITION, but there is a site for it on I’m not sure what such a website would do, other than say “Hey! Here it is!”

  12. Seems like Keep Watching the Skies is the sort of book for which Hugo eligibility might be extended. Epic is a good word for it. There’s now a provision in the Hugo rules for giving particular books another chance– would this be possible for Bill’s book?

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