(1) KUANG ON BABEL’S HUGO INELIGIBILITY. Rebecca F. Kuang decided that saying nothing isn’t an option. “Rebecca F. Kuang: ‘statement’” at Bluesky.
(2) ANOTHER WAY TO RUN A RAILROAD. Answering some writers’ renewed cry that the Hugo Awards be taken away from the Worldcon, Cheryl Morgan has drafted a proposal. It’s explained in “Decoupling the Hugos” at Cheryl’s Mewsings. Morgan’s draft can be downloaded at “Independent-Hugo-Administration.pdf”.
In amongst all of the discussion as to what to do about the Chengdu Hugo issue has been one suggestion that can actually be implemented, albeit over a number of years. That is decoupling Hugo Award Administration from the host Worldcon, so that the laws of the host country cannot interfere with the voting process….
… WSFS already has an organization called the Mark Protection Committee (MPC), which is responsible for maintaining the service marks that WSFS owns (in particular “Hugo Award” and the logo). I suggest renaming this the Independent Hugo Award Administration Committee (IHAAC) and giving it, rather than Worldcon, the job of administering the voting process. The IHAAC would recruit experienced administrators in much the same way that Worldcon does, but there would be a lot more consistency from year to year.
Worldcon would still have the option of staging a Hugo Award ceremony, and creating a distinctive trophy base, but equally it could decline to do that and pass the job back to the IHAAC.
Kevin [Standlee] and I cannot take this proposal forward ourselves. Kevin is a member of the MPC, and I effectively work for them in maintaining the WSFS websites, so we both have a vested interest. Our involvement could easily be portrayed as a power grab. But we are happy to provide help and advice to anyone who does want to take this forward at Glasgow….
(3) DON’T MAKE CHANGES THAT TAKE VOLUNTEERS FOR GRANTED. Abigail Nussbaum has a remarkably insightful post about the current crisis: “The 2023 Hugo Awards: Now With an Asterisk” at Asking the Wrong Questions.
… Even taking this most charitable view of events, however, there comes a point where honest mistakes corrupt a result too thoroughly to be distinguishable from malice, and that’s before we even get into those three still-unexplained ineligibility rulings. Unless Chengdu steps forward with more information, there is, unfortunately, no avoiding the conclusion that the 2023 Hugo results are irreparably tainted.
On the matter of those three disqualifications, the assumption that many people are making—and which, again, seems like the most plausible conclusion until and unless Chengdu starts answering questions—is that all three were struck off for political reasons. This might mean outright government interference, or someone on the Hugo team complying in advance, or an independent but politically-motivated actor among the award’s administrators striking off work they don’t approve of. This may also explain the silence from the Hugo team, who may fear reprisals towards themselves or their teammates. At this point it is possible that we will never know the whole story of what happened to the 2023 Hugo Awards. Which means the important question before us is how to move forward.
That question is complicated by the erratic, increasingly rickety superstructure of the Hugos and the Worldcon as a whole. Put simply, there is no Worldcon organization. Each convention is its own corporate entity charged with holding the convention and administering the Hugos, and bound only by the WSFS constitution. Said constitution is discussed and amended in the annual Business Meeting, a sclerotic, multi-day affair administered under rules that seem designed to baffle new participants and slow change to a creeping pace. What this means, among other things, is that there is no actual oversight over any individual Worldcon’s behavior, and no mechanism to claw back either the convention or the Hugos if it appears that they are being mismanaged.
It’s not at all surprising that the reaction of many people upon learning these facts, and especially in the present context, is to immediately leap to the conclusion that this entire system should be scrapped and replaced with a centralized authority. This, I think, is to ignore some very basic facts: the Worldcon is a fully volunteer-run organization. The free labor that goes into administering it, and the Hugos specifically, probably runs to tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of dollars in value. The idea that one can simply erect a super-organization under those same conditions is hard to imagine….
(4) LECKIE ON THE HUGOS. If you happen to be on Bluesky, Ann Leckie has a thread with a lively discussion. It begins:
(5) MORE CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSES. [Item by Ersatz Culture.] Some more anonymized online reactions to social media posts about the Hugo nomination report, some of which are based on coverage of the continued Anglosphere reactions, such as John Scalzi’s blog post about Babel.
English translations are all via Google Translate unless otherwise indicated, with minor edits or commentary in square parentheses. Some of the smileys haven’t come through, so bear in mind that some of these should be read in a sarcastic tone.
Why does it feel like the Hugo’s have a melon every time? [Note: “melon” is Chinese slang – maybe “drama” is a reasonable translation in this context? Also, this translation is via DeepL; Google Translate comes up with a less literal result, but which I think is incorrect]
This time in 2023 it should be the “China Hugo Award”. ￼
What happened to the Hugo Awards?
When I saw this news, I didn’t feel any emotion at all. I even thought it was too normal for this to happen here. It was surprising to see positive news. Foreigners still know too little about real flower growers [Note: “flower growers” = China]
What a pity
However, [Tower of] Babel has been translated into Chinese in China, which is amazing and confusing￼
Why on earth do you feel that there are not many domestic platforms talking about such a big thing? ?
[replying to previous comment] Because it’s not a big deal how the Hugo Award is, but how much income the domestic Hugo Award-winning works can bring to the media is a big deal￼
[A further reply] It’s real. I remember when a domestic author won the Hugo Award, all the media were interviewing him.
I speculate that it is not CN Kang’s censorship but some selfish motives of the organizer (although I don’t know the specific motivation). You must know that “[Tower of] Babel” itself has a strong sense of “premature Leninism”. Don’t be too correct. Of course, I firmly support Mr. Scalzi’s suggestion on the rules of the conference! [I’m not sure what “CN康” is, Wikipedia says “CN” is “virgin”, but that doesn’t seem to make any sense in this context.]
????So what? Is it questionable and inappropriate to hold the World Science Fiction Convention elsewhere if it does not follow foreign aesthetic standards?
After all, it is a major matter related to the credibility of the country. Don’t just write about the awards and not the controversies. Let’s just say [This comment cced in half-a-dozen news organizations, some of which are ones that I recognize from earlier coverage of the con, I think some of which was linked in prior Scrolls]
“[Tower of] Babel” criticizes colonialism and is set in the United Kingdom. Why don’t you guess that the United Kingdom interfered with the nomination through certain means [smiley]
去年看的巴别塔，前不久看的Yellowface，Rebecca F. Kuang就是很灵秀啊，23年雨果奖怎么搞的评委最清楚啦￼
I [read] [Tower of] Babel last year and Yellowface not long ago. Rebecca F. Kuang is so smart. The judges of the  Hugo Awards know best￼
“[Tower of] Babel” obviously praises the Chinese people’s anti-colonial efforts. It would be a pity to miss out on the Hugo Award.
[Re. Xiran Jay Zhao] This is just for others. Didn’t [they] participate in a joint boycott of the Chengdu Science Fiction Conference? Now you feel like you should [be given] a specific reason for being removed?
Zhao Xiran, the Chinese science fiction writer who wrote about Wu Zetian’s mecha. [They] said that the Tang Dynasty was the era of sluts in China. [referring to this Tweet]
Kuang is awesome. I stayed up late and read 1/4 of Tower of Babel.
(6) MAP CANNON. Yesterday’s China roundup by Ersatz Culture included the term “map cannon”, for which made an approximate English translation. Thanks to Gareth Jelley for finding a Baidu Encylopedia article that explains it in detail.
The map cannon originally refers to a map attack type weapon in the “Super Robot Wars” series. It first appeared in the “Second Super Robot Wars” in the Magic Machine God’s Sebastian , and was later used to refer to some mass destruction weapons. weapons or magic. On the Internet, the extended meaning of “map cannon” is the act of verbally attacking a certain group. On the Internet, it often refers to geographical attackers , or the behavior of a few people is used to deny the behavior of a certain group.
Since in many anime works, the map cannon exists as a weapon with great power and large area of destruction, so in some forums (such as NGA), the map cannon is extended to large-scale indiscriminate deletion of posts, banning IDs, and punishing users. Behaviors such as this also often refer to some moderators who often delete and ban people on a large scale and indiscriminately.
It can also express prejudice against certain things. There is often a label that summarizes the whole based on the characteristics of the part. Prejudice against different groups of people will always exist. However, there are also some “facialization” who are willing to be accepted by others – if they think they are at the top of the discrimination chain. The rise of the Internet has redefined the standards of “us” and “them” for the first time.
(7) COMIC RELIEF KERFUFFLE. Doctor Who fandom blew up yesterday. The first one got almost 300K views. The second is one of the more entertaining replies.
(8) YOUR SF TAXONOMY. Horst Smokowski lists “All the Types of Science Fiction”: at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. There are fifty of them. The first three are:
1. Check this place out, it’s dope
2. Technology solves problems ???? (future good)
3. Technology creates problems ???? (future bad)
(9) EXTREME SUFFRAGE. Looking for more sff awards you can vote for? (Oh, you glutton for punishment!) Rocket Stack Rank has a roundup here: “SF/F Ballots For Stories From 2023”.
Here are links to ballots for various SF/F awards, 5 that are open to all, and 4 that are open to members of a convention or association. Highlighted awards are currently open for voting.
The magazine-specific awards come with a longlist link to all stories published by each magazine, with blurbs to help you remember the ones you’ve read and scores to guide further reading….
(10) FREE READ. Marie Brennan’s “Embers Burning in the Night” is a free-to-read story at Sunday Morning Transport, offered to encourage new subscriptions.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY.
[Written by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 22, 1970 — Alex Ross, 54. So Alex Ross, eh? A fantastic, in all senses of that word, comic book illustrator and writer whose first work with comic book writer Kurt Busiek, the four-issue The Marvels for, er, Marvel Comics would been a highlight of anyone else’s career.
Not Ross though. Another four-issue run, Kingdom Come, this time for DC, under their Elseworlds imprint, told of an aleternate DC universe that might have happened. One of my favorite DC stories. It was written by Mark Waid and him.
Yes, he can do pulp as he illustrated the John Layman written series, Red Sonja/Claw: the Unconquered Devil’s Hands, that was co-published with Dynamite Entertainment where Red Sonja and Claw, a cursed warrior I had never heard of before this, had a series of adventures that showed Red Sonja’s assets very well.
He’s just not interested in the costumed superheroes. Over at his website, you’ll find the prints he’s done for the Universal Monsters – Dracula, Wolf Man and so forth, they’re all there. The prints look fantastic bad they can be yours if your pocket change is deep.
Here’s my favorite piece of art by him.
(12) COMICS SECTION.
- Frazz is for editors.
- Last Kiss breaks the fourth wall.
- Annie mentions science fiction, and also might be a reference to this B.C. strip.
(13) THE SGT. MAJOR’S MARSCON REPORT. [Item by Dann.] Mike Burke is a retired US Marine Corps Sergeant Major. Mike operated under the nom de plume (or perhaps nom de guerre) of “America’s Sergeant Major” for several years. He has led Marines in peace and in war. Since his retirement, he has written fiction and nonfiction for the US Naval Institute. The USNI is a non-profit organization with the purpose of providing an “independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write in order to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to global security.”
Sgt. Maj. Burke has started writing on Substack as Spearman Burke and is a self-professed “noob” at the profession of writing.
He recently attended Marscon in Norfolk, VA and has a report from the con. He was able to meet Ben Yalow, David Weber, Kacey Ezell, and a few other notable authors. One of Kacey’s stories was what inspired Mike to pursue his next career as a genre author. He scored a contract to submit a short story for an anthology at the con.
(14) CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. AP News says “Reformed mobster who stole Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from ‘Oz’ wanted one last score”. Now they’re about to drop the big house on him.
The aging reformed mobster who has admitted stealing a pair of ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz” gave into the temptation of “one last score” after an old mob associate led him to believe the famous shoes must be adorned with real jewels to justify their $1 million insured value.
Terry Jon Martin’s defense attorney finally revealed the 76-year-old’s motive for the 2005 theft from the Judy Garland Museum in the late actor’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in a new memo filed ahead of his Jan. 29 sentencing in Duluth, Minnesota.
The FBI recovered the shoes in 2018 when someone else tried to claim an insurance reward on them, but Martin wasn’t charged with stealing them until last year….
(15) ROBERT BLOCH WEBSITE UPDATE. Jim Nemeth of the Robert Bloch Official Website announced a major update.
At the (fantastic) suggestion and immense help of Mr. David J Schow (DJS) we now have a new Gallery page, showing just about every/all sides of our beloved Bob.
(16) THE REMNANT OF HUMANITY IS COMING HOME. Friends of Fred Lerner will be excited to hear that his book In Memoriam will be released by Fantastic Books And Gray Rabbit Publications on July 2.
David Bernstein is a 17-year-old member of the Remnant of Terra, the descendants of the 2,000 people who survived the Cataclysm that destroyed human life on Earth. For two centuries the Remnant has lived among the Wyneri, who rescued the few survivors and brought them to their world. Although the Wyneri are physically and psychologically very similar to Terrans, the two species interact only when they must. The Remnant earn their keep among their alien hosts, but otherwise remain apart, devoting themselves to preserving the cultural heritage of Terra.
David, however, is fascinated with the Wyneri and their culture, an interest shared by none of his contemporaries. Attending a Wyneri performance he meets a Wyneri girl his own age, and he and Harari strike up a taboo friendship.
While David learns about his Terran heritage, he feels very much alone in trying to also learn about the history of the Terran-Wyneri relationship. Violent Wyneri xenophobia drives David to intensify his studies, and to dig into the mysteries surrounding the Cataclysm, the rescue, and the ensuing two centuries of cover-ups. He begins to suspect a long-lived cabal that has spent the years working in secret, preparing for a return to Earth.
Harari’s murder crystallizes David’s need to explore the Terran-Wyneri history. Her posthumous message proving that the Cataclysm was caused by rogue Wyneri military personnel leads David to the Remnant’s leaders, who confirm it as genuine. Their conclusion? The time has come for Terrans to separate from the Wyneri. They enlist David’s help to persuade the Remnant to return to Earth, and to encourage the Wyneri to help them.
(17) RED PLANET WINGS. “Nasa plans to fly giant solar-powered Mars plane to look for water on Red Planet” reports The Independent.
The solar-powered vehicle, called Mars Aerial and Ground Intelligent Explorer or Maggie, is expected to fly in the Martian atmosphere with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability similar to Nasa’s pioneering Ingenuity Mars helicopter.
With fully charged batteries, the Mars airplane could fly at an altitude of 1,000m for about 180km with its total range over a year on Mars expected to be over 16,000 km, the space agency said earlier this month.
Using the aircraft, Nasa hopes to conduct three studies on the Red Planet’s atmosphere and geophysical features, including the hunt for water, research on the origin of the planet’s weak magnetic field as well as tracing the elusive source of methane signals on Mars….
(18) HIDDEN HISTORY. Constellation comes to Apple TV+ on February 21.
“Constellation” stars Noomi Rapace as Jo — an astronaut who returns to Earth after a disaster in space — only to discover that key pieces of her life seem to be missing. The action-packed space adventure is an exploration of the dark edges of human psychology, and one woman’s desperate quest to expose the truth about the hidden history of space travel and recover all that she has lost.
(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] Isaac Arthurs has just had his monthly sci-fi weekend and asks who would win: robot or alien?
We often worry that humanity might be attacked by Aliens or AI, but which is worse and which would win in a battle between them?
[Thanks to Steven French, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Andrew (not Werdna), Gareth Jelley, Dann, Rich Lynch, Daniel Dern, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, and SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Henley.]