(1) 2023 WORLDCON CRITICIZED. C. L. Polk, author of a 2023 Hugo finalist, told newsletter readers they want the Hugos taken away from the Worldcon.
…I rebuke Chengdu Worldcon for inviting Sergey Lukianenko, a choice that is so terrible I can’t even make a bitter derisive joke about it. That’s a fucking horrifying choice from all angles and this person should not be honored in this way. And I shouldn’t have to be horrified by even one GOH who supports fucking genocide, but actually there’s two, since Liu Cixin is also invited.
The treatment of Uighyr Muslims in China is an atrocity and I hate it. The attempt to invade Ukraine and re-colonize it with unspeakable violence is an atrocity and I hate that too. I don’t have any clever words for this. it’s fucking evil and gross and thinking about it makes me feel fury. There was no way I would attend or participate, and being on the ballot for the Hugo awards doesn’t change my mind.
Again, I don’t really feel like anyone is surprised that I object to Chengdu worldcon’s guests and I have nothing to say to any of them.
But I wish that the Hugo Award would/could separate itself from Worldcon.
I have had this opinion for ages. yes, the Hugo Award is not Worldcon; it is only presented there, but that’s a distinction that doesn’t register for a lot of people who believe or assume that they are the same thing. They’re not…but.
The Hugo award is like the Aurora Award here in Canada. It has its own organization, just like the Aurora Award here in Canada. But the Aurora Award ceremony in Canada is hosted by different Canadian conventions each year. In 2019, I went to Ottawa for a lovely award ceremony as part of Can Con (please attend this convention; it’s a good one.) The Aurora Award ceremony has been held in Calgary several times. It floats from place to place, year to year, and in that wandering, asserts that it belongs only to itself.
Perhaps the Hugo Award should do that too, to reinforce that it’s not Worldcon – it’s simply that a worldcon bid, by tradition, includes the hosting of the Hugo awards and so they are associated in this way….
(2) SECONDED. John Wiswell also says, “’D.I.Y.’ is a Hugo Finalist! And I am not going to Worldcon”.
…I wish that I could just spend my time celebrating. But there’s more we need to discuss. I’ve wrestled with this for some time.
The ceremony for the Hugo Awards traditionally takes place at each year’s Worldcon. I support Worldcon touring the world; it should not always be in the U.S., especially not as the U.S. becomes increasingly dangerous for visitors and marginalized people.
This year’s Worldcon is in Chengdu, China, which many authors protested because of the Chinese government’s ongoing genocide of the Uyghurs. Since then Chengdu Worldcon has selected reprehensible Guests of Honor. Among them is Sergei Lukyanenko, an author infamous for his rabid support of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Chengdu Worldcon has been asked numerous times to remove him and ignored it. Lukyanenko has had ample opportunities to change and has instead deepened his support for the war, and specifically cheering for the murder of Ukrainian civilians and children.
I am a descendant of many Slavs. One of my first introductions to fantastical literature was my grandmother telling me fairy tales from her ancestors. My great grandfather helped assemble one of the largest collections of Slavic literature in the English-speaking world. He gave the collection to Texas A&M University in the hopes of further spreading knowledge of Slavic culture.
It shouldn’t take that level of connection to be disturbed here. It is repulsive that anyone would platform and celebrate Lukyanenko while he gloats about war crimes. It is the same repulsion I feel when reading reports of the genocide against the Uyghurs, and that I feel when so-called Guests of Honor vocally support that genocide.
So, as a Hugo finalist, I will not be participating in this year’s Worldcon. I will not travel to Chengdu in person. I will not do any virtual programming remotely, either.
The Worldcon community should know how these decisions have hurt us, and that this is how a Hugo finalist feels. I’m grateful that my work is meaningful to you. I hope the community can do better. It deserves better….
(3) PAY THE WRITER. [Item by Anne Marble.] Yilin Wang learned the British Museum was using their translations of poems by Qiu Jin (“China’s Joan of Arc”) — without credit, permission, or payment – and tweeted about it on June 18. Wang translated works that were in the public domain, and the copyright on the translation is owned by Wang.
The story has been covered in ARTnews (“British Museum Removes Writer’s Translations of Chinese Poetry”) and by CNN (“British Museum apologizes after using translator’s work in China exhibition without pay or acknowlegment”). The British Museum eventually responded to the controversy by taking down the translations — instead of, you know, paying the translator.
The translator, Yilin Wang (she/they), has been published in Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, and others. (Wang has been covered in several File 770 posts.) Wang was a finalist for the Aurora Award and attended Clarion West Writers Workshop 2020/2021.
On July 10 an organization called the International Intellectual Property Law Association put up a very misinformed article about the topic that could have been considered defamatory because it said the translator was the copyright infringer. It has since been superseded by the version “British Museum Drops Writer’s Chinese Poetry Translations Over Copyright Claims” which ends with an apology by IIPLA for its “wrong interpretation”.
The British Museum has issued an apology following the unauthorized use of translations by writer and translator Yilin Wang in their exhibition titled “China’s Hidden Century.” Wang expressed disappointment on Twitter, stating that their translations of Chinese feminist poet Qiu Jin’s work were included without their consent.
The museum released a press statement acknowledging the incident as an “unintentional human error.” They privately corresponded with Wang and offered compensation for using the translations. Consequently, both Wang’s translations and the Chinese poems they translated were removed from the exhibition. However, the museum’s actions have faced criticism, sparking a broader conversation about the role of translators.
The British Museum, which previously stated it would not remove “controversial objects” from the display, faced criticism from Wang, who described the response as “erasure.” This raises concerns about the museum’s engagement with its curation and power dynamics with non-white contributors. The museum issued a statement acknowledging Wang’s request, removing the translations from the exhibition, and offering financial compensation. However, Wang disputes the sufficiency of the museum’s response….
PS: Apology from IIPLA for Wrong Interpretation…
Yilin Wang is continuing to press for compensation from the British Museum for having used her translations: “Canadian Translator Will File Copyright Lawsuit Against British Museum” at ARTnews.
Vancouver-based writer, translator and poet Yilin Wang has raised enough money to initiate a legal claim against the British Museum, as she continues to accuse the institution of copyright infringement after the museum removed poetry translations from a major exhibition on nineteenth century China.
As of July 10, Wang has raised £17,380 ($22,400) on crowd-funding platform CrowdJustice to work with lawyers in the UK to file a claim against the British Museum in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), a specialist court that is part of the Business and Property Courts of the High Court of Justice in London. Wang has also retained the services of Jon Sharples, a solicitor specializing in intellectual property and art, from the British firm Howard Kennedy LLP.
,,, Wang told ARTnews Monday she decided to raise money to pursue legal action after exchanging several emails with the British Museum about full reinstatement of Qiu Jin’s poetry with credit for her translations; “reasonable payments” for the use of her work in several different formats; as well as an apology explaining what happened and how the museum would avoid it in the future. Wang said the British Museum initially offered a payment of £150 ($194) for the catalogue. That amount was raised to £600 ($775) after Wang asked for a list of all the places the poetry translations had appeared, but the museum also said it would not reinstate Qiu Jin’s poetry and Wang would not be credited because the work would not be in the exhibit.
“They refused twice,” Wang said. “And that was why I started the fundraiser, because it was just not going anywhere at that point.”…
(4) IN THE FIRST PERSON. The SFWA Blog has more testimony in “The LGBTQ+ Speculative Experience: Part 2”, curated by Elle Ire. Ire is joined by Scott Coatsworth, Nicola Griffith, Jose Pablo Iriarte, and Virginia Black. “Kind of like the Star Trek Experience—lots of diversity that some accept, some fight, and others never see.”
Our exploration of the experiences of various members within the LGBTQ+ spec fic community continues in this blog post. Please see Part 1 for an introduction to the series, disclaimers, and why I began this quest. In Part 2, we’ll look at the publishing choices my interviewees made once they were bitten by the writing bug and examine whether there was a connection between their initial exposure to spec fic and the publishing paths they took….
(5) NEW TRANSLATION PRIZE. The Cercador Prize is a new bookseller-led prize for literature in translation. A wide range of prose works will be eligible.
A new and auspicious distinction, the Cercador Prize for Literature in Translation will be awarded annually by a committee of five independent booksellers. During the initial prize cycle, each committee member will be responsible for nominating two full-length translations published in the U.S. between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023. The Cercador committee’s primary focus will be translated prose works including but not limited to fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and hybrid texts. As nominations are culled from the organic discovery, discussions, and recommendations of the committee, there is no formal submissions process for this prize.
The ten finalists for the Cercador Prize will be announced no later than October 15, 2023 with one winner, chosen by whatever method the committee deems appropriate, to follow. The winning translation will be announced no later than November 15, 2023. A prize amount of $1,000 will be attached and conferred entirely to the winning translator(s). Translators based anywhere in the world are eligible for the Cercador Prize.
The inaugural prize’s five committee members include:
- Thu Doan of East Bay Booksellers in Oakland, Calif.
- Gary Lovely of Prologue Bookshop in Columbus, Ohio
- Javier Ramirez of Exile in Bookville in Chicago, Ill.
- Riley Rennhack of Deep Vellum Books in Dallas, Tex.
- Spencer Ruchti of Third Place Books in Seattle, Wash. (chair)
(6) HOLLYWOOD BOWL. Steve Vertlieb was in the audience to hear this concert over the weekend. Great poster!
(7) MEMORY LANE.
1971 – [Written by Cat Eldridge from a choice by Mike Glyer.]
Philip Jose Farmer’s the writer who Mike choose this time. Now I know that y’all are very familiar with him, so I don’t feel that I need to go into any depth on him.
I will say that I love the first two novels of the Riverworld saga, plus Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life.
So the Beginning for this Scroll is To Your Scattered Bodies Go, the beginning of the Riverworld saga, which won a Hugo at the first L.A. Con. It was also nominated for a Ditmar.
It was published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons fifty-two years ago. It was originally serialized as two separate novellas: “The Day of the Great Shout” which was printed in the January 1965 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow, and “The Suicide Express” that was in the March 1966 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow. The cover illustration is by Ira Cohen.
And now let’s see how the Riverworld novelstarted off..
His wife had held him in her arms as if she could keep death away from him.
He had cried out, “My God, I am a dead man!”
The door to the room had opened, and he had seen a giant, black, one-humped camel outside and had heard the tinkle of the bells on its harness as the hot desert wind touched them. Then a huge black face topped by a great black turban had appeared in the doorway. The black eunuch had come in through the door, moving like a cloud, with a gigantic scimitar in his hand. Death, the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Society, had arrived at last.
Blackness. Nothingness. He did not even know that his heart had given out forever. Nothingness.
Then his eyes opened. His heart was beating strongly. He was strong, very strong! All the pain of the gout in his feet, the agony in his liver, the torture in his heart, all were gone.
It was so quiet he could hear the blood moving in his head. He was alone in a world of soundlessness.
A bright light of equal intensity was everywhere. He could see, yet he did not understand what he was seeing. What were these things above, beside, below him? Where was he?
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born July 11, 1899 — E. B. White. Author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, both of which are surely genre. Along with William Strunk Jr. he’s the co-author of The Elements of Style English language style guide. In a survey of School Library Journal readers, Charlotte’s Web came in first in their poll of the top one hundred children’s novels. I know I saw the Stuart Little film. It was, errr, cute. (Died 1985.)
- Born July 11, 1913 — Cordwainer Smith. Pen name of Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger. Most of his fiction was set in The Instrumentality of Mankind series which I know I’ve read once upon a time at in fragments. Both iBooks and Kindle are well stocked with his novels and short stories including Scanners Live in Vain, a most excellent novella. (Died 1966.)
- Born July 11, 1950 — Bruce McGill, 73. His first role was as Director Eugene Matuzak in Time Cop. He later has got one-offs in Quantum Leap (twice), Babylon 5, Voyager and Tales from the Crypt. He’s in the first television remake of The Man Who Fell to Earth as Vernon Gage. If MacGyver counts as genre and I for one think that it should, he had the recurring role of Jack Dalton there.
- Born July 11, 1956 — Amitav Ghosh, 67. Author of the absolutely brilliant The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium and Discovery. Really go read it and then we’ll discuss it over a cup of chai masala.
- Born July 11, 1958 — Alan Gutierrez, 65. An artist and illustrator, specializing in SF and fantasy cover art. His first professional sale was to Rigel Science Fiction, #3 Winter 1982 . He then began producing work for Baen Books, Tor Books, Pequod Press and other publishers. He has also painted covers for Analog magazine, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and other SF magazines.
- Born July 11, 1976 — T.L. Morganfield, 47. She is as she says “An Aztec geek; whether it’s history or mythology, I devour it all. It’s a love affair that began in college and has taken over my fiction writing life.” And that’s why I’m recommending her Bone Flower trilogy which is at genre adjacent if not genre. Her Aztec West series bring the Aztec gods into the Old West and is quite entertaining in a weird sort of manner.
(9) JUDGE DREDD. [Item by Olav Rokne.] This was an emotionally challenging book to read. Often damning and enraging. But brilliantly written, and insightful. Michael Molcher’s I Am The Law deserves consideration for Best Related Work next year. “Judge, Jury, Executioner … and Prophet” at the Hugo Book Club Blog.
…The book depicts the creation of Judge Dredd as a response to the rising reactionary moral panics that engulfed British media in the late 1970s. Molcher seems to argue that comics provided a fertile ground outside of the “establishment” media for Judge Dredd writers like John Wagner and Alan Grant. It provided a platform from which they could offer pointed critiques that were later seen as prescient.
“Things that happen in [Judge Dredd] echo, copy, or pressage things that happened in real life maybe a week or two either side. These are comics that were written months before,” Molcher says. “It’s almost Cassandra-like.”
By understanding Judge Dredd, Molcher argues, we can understand the multifaceted political crisis we are facing today. Thus, it might also be considered an important work of social science fiction. Throughout the book, history, sociology, and cultural studies are woven together.
“When you look at the book Policing The Crisis by Stuart Hall — it’s about the moral panic around the mugging crisis of the 1970s — you can’t help but realize that Hall and [Judge Dredd writers] John Wagner and Alan Grant are talking about the same things,” Molcher says….
(10) GIZZARD HISTORY. “A Strange Museum Takes a Strange Turn” and Reason wants to tell you about it.
Philadelphia has some of the strangest museums in the country. There is a Dental Museum with buckets of teeth, a museum dedicated to insects, and Pizza Brain, featuring…pizza. But the strangest collection must be the Mütter Museum.
Part of the College of Physicians, the museum houses a vast store of medical oddities dating back to the 1850s. Although not large, the two-story institution houses hundreds of specimens and maintains a 19th century feel. Visitors can see part of Albert Einstein’s brain, tumors removed from American presidents, and the death cast of the “Siamese twins” Chang and Eng Bunker, who died in 1874. The collection of skulls and diseased body parts defies description. One of my favorite exhibits is a large set of drawers filled with bizarre objects that people have swallowed (including, as I recall, a cast metal toy ship).
As much as I loved the Mütter, I have been careful to bring only visitors I thought would enjoy it. Some people prefer to keep their distance from a display of a 9-foot human colon….
(11) SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. Speaking of gizzards, here’s what Archie McPhee has been up to.
These are some adorable organs! From kidneys to livers, this pack of internal organs is a perfect pick-me-up for a minuscule mortician. While it includes a few unpopular organs, you’ll also get the most popular organ of all time, the heart! (Brain is a close second. Also included.)
Want to make it look like a gnome died in your potted plant? These Itty Bitty Bones are like a tiny archaeological dig in your azaleas. Or, pose them in front of your cat and take a picture! What has little Fluffy been up to?
(12) SLEEPOVER IN A MISSILE SILO. Alta will host a Zoom interview with missile silo owner and enthusiast Gary Baker tomorrow, July 12, at 12:30 p.m. Pacific. Register here.
Would you spend the night in a decommissioned missile silo in Roswell, New Mexico? If your answer is an enthusiastic yes, you’ll want to meet Gary Baker: silo enthusiast and owner of Site 4, one of Airbnb’s most curious rental offerings. Profiled in Mark Wallace’s Alta Journal article “Sleeping in the Barrel of a Gun,” Baker joins Alta Live to detail his passion for missile silos, tell us about “preppers”—people who prepare for the end of the world—and reveal what it’s like to sleep in an underground bunker that was built to withstand a war. This will be a fun one—join us!
(13) THE VIBES. [Item by Steven French.] It turns out that the shape of your brain may be more important than previously thought (presumably by folk with particularly shaped brains …!) “MRI study challenges our knowledge of how the human brain works” at Physics World.
We have long thought that specific thoughts or sensations elicit activity in specific parts of the brain, but this study reveals that structured patterns of activity are excited across nearly the entire brain, just like the way in which a musical note arises from vibrations occurring along the entire length of a violin string, and not just an isolated segment…
(14) IS RESISTANCE FUTILE? “How to Resist Amazon and Why by Danny Caine (Audiobook Excerpt from Chap. 2)” from 2021.
This is a preview of the digital audiobook of How to Resist Amazon and Why by Danny Caine (Audiobook Excerpt from Chap. 2: An open letter to Jeff Bezos from a small bookstore), available on Libro.fm
[Thanks to SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Bill, Anne Marble, Olav Rokne, John King Tarpinian, Chris Barkley, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]