Internet Journalism at Its Most

Airlock Alpha now is demanding “Where Did The Fake Harlan Ellison Story Come From? EXCLUSIVE: Famed author never corrected people who were congratulating him.”

I may scoff but none of you will be fooled. You will know I secretly envy Michael Hinman’s ability to squeeze another post out of the very fact that he has no story to write about. (What was your first clue? Maybe this post for File 770, ostensibly about the story he doesn’t have?)

Yahoo! contributor Erik Shirey originated the story that Ellison had “won” his suit against the makers of In Time, which many of us repeated. Andrew Porter sent me a version run by the Orlando Sentinel and I traced it back to Yahoo! when I drafted my own report.

However, Airlock Alpha‘s Hinman has a sufficiently high profile that he got calls from Vincent Cox, an attorney with Leopold Petrick & Smith in Los Angeles, who is representing Niccol in the suit, as well as an attorney with the Writers Guild of America, complaining the original story was false. I guarantee it would shake me up to be getting those calls.

Cox also posted a denial as a comment on the story at SF Site.

Apparently none of us ever took notice of Shirey before this. But he posts a lot on Yahoo! Movies, which makes it tempting to argue in a kind of Queeg-like manner that the story must have come from someplace — “I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the ward room icebox did exist…”

After all, where does any news on the internet come from? Shirey could have made up this story. He could have based it on a rumor. He could have encountered some kind of information about settlement negotiations that have yet to actually bear fruit. He could have been intentionally misled by someone who wanted this story run in order to influence negotiations. (Are any of you basketball fans? Then you’ve already seen this happen many times in coverage of the current NBA labor negotiations.)

All I know is that when it comes to this story Harlan Ellison hasn’t said a thing. And darn it, when Harlan Ellison has nothing to say, that’s news!

Holey Hugo Ballot!

Nothing like this has ever happened before.

Sure, plenty of times fans have discovered things missing from the final Hugo ballot. In 2007 everybody noticed there were no Japanese stories at all even though the Worldcon was in Japan. But at least everybody was missing the same thing.

This week, wherever I turn some fan is complaining that a crucial nominee has been left off his 2010 Hugo final ballot. But it’s never the same one! I’m positive only a diabolical super-villain could orchestrate the disappearance of something different from each fan’s Hugo ballot.

And what things are missing?

One fan claimed Dave Langford’s name is gone from its usual place, after 31 consecutive years as a Best Fanwriter nominee. That can’t be right.

Then I thought maybe it was, seeing Airlock Alpha had titled Dennis Rayburn’s latest feature “Something Is Missing From Hugo Nominations”. In the footer it says “Dennis Rayburn is a professional fan writer,” so what other category could he possibly be writing about?

But Rayburn had nothing to say about Langford! He said there was something else missing from his Hugo ballot. No matter how long he stared at the list of Best Dramatic: Short Form nominees “Torchwood: Children of Earth” was nowhere to be found.

So thanks to Rayburn’s article I wasn’t surprised when I read John Scalzi also had found an error in the Best Dramatic: Short Form category on his Hugo ballot. Except (here’s the really scary part) the missing nominee was another show entirely!

…while, yes, I get that lots of fans really like their Doctor Who, I think having it constitute 60% of the slate might suggest nominators aren’t looking at the whole range of sf/f entertainment options available to them. LIKE STARGATE: UNIVERSE, PEOPLE. Sorry, that just slipped out

Don’t give up, John. Your show is probably on lots of people’s ballots. (Everyone please check and let him know that you found it.)

In the meantime, this is unquestionably the biggest crisis to strike the Hugo Awards since that one Scott Dennis took credit for solving (Smofs, you know which one, *wink**wink*).

We just better hope that the 2010 Hugo Voter Packet for members of Aussiecon 4 will have everything it’s supposed to. More, if possible.