The Snifferance Engine 6/23

aka Altered Slates

Today’s roundup comes courtesy of Adam-Troy Castro, Matt Forney, Vox Day, A. G. Carpenter, Nicholas Whyte, Brandon Kempner, Eric Flint, Melina D, Patrick May, Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag, and Lis Carey. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Will Reichard and  Glenn Hauman.)

Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 23

Evidence, to me, that this is an aesthetic issue and not just a political one. (Though of course it’s that as well).

Brad Torgersen pronouncing what kinds of stories he sees as worthy.

“Downbeat endings suck. They are ‘literary’ and some critics and aesthetes love them. But they suck. If you’re going to roast your characters in hell, at least give them a little silver lining at the end? Some kind of hope for a more positive outcome? Your readers will thank you.”

I…can’t even begin.

I love a happy ending as much as the next guy. But not all stories need to be geared to the “rah-rah us.” And if I started naming great works in and out of science fiction where “readers thanked” the author for going black, I’d be here all day. I do this without being a critic or aesthete. I loved the despairing endings of Jack Williamson’s “With Folded Hands,” of Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Nine Billion Names of God,” of John W. Campbell’s “Night,” of Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream,” of any number of TWILIGHT ZONEs and of George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, before I was ten — all before I discovered film noir or got into horror or watched Von Stroheim’s GREED or even knew that stories could be *about* the things in life that aren’t fair. Downbeat endings do *not* suck. Who would dare to say that the ending of THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE sucked? Or that the ending of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME sucked? Or that the ending of DOUBLE INDEMNITY sucked? Or that the ending of MILDRED PIERCE — the novel, not the much-altered Joan Crawford movie — sucked?

Downbeat endings don’t suck. Pointless endings suck. There’s a difference.

Just speaking as a writer, alone: Gad, am I happy I am not shackled to that criterion. I go downbeat about half the time, because different stories go different places, and I have gone dark with some of my most popular work. HER HUSBAND’S HANDS AND OTHER STORIES is not exactly a collection of uppers.


IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: Brad has communicated with me about this post, and wants to make clear that in context he was speaking, specifically, of space opera, and no other genre or subgenre. I think he’s likely wrong even when talking about that limited context — I can think of a number of cases where intrepid space heroes came to grief, and have indeed written a book of them — but you know what? In the context of that clarification it is not exactly fair to paint him as being unaware of the depth and breadth of the use of the downbeat ending in literature. I want this known and recognized.


Matt Forney on Return of Kings

 “Backlash Against The Boycott Of Sci-Fi Publisher Tor Books Shows The Hypocrisy of SJWs” – June 23

In the past couple of decades, publishing in general—and sci-fi and fantasy publishing especially—has become increasingly dominated by leftists, who have jettisoned the genres’ focus on adventure and exploration in favor of heavy-handed social justice narratives blaming cishetwhitemales for all the world’s ills.

Any writer who dissented from the SJW line was effectively blacklisted from Tor and other major publishing houses, as well as denied nominations in the industry’s prestigious Hugo and Nebula Awards.

As you would expect, sales of newer sci-fi and fantasy books have flatlined as SJWs such as Nielsen Hayden and N.K. Jemisin have become dominant voices. As it turns out, nobody wants to read “socially aware” dreck like If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love and other works that cast straight white men as the devil incarnate.

Sales figures show this: of the top ten best-selling sci-fi books in 2012, all but two of them were either Star Wars/Halo tie-ins or published decades ago. The number one best-selling book was Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, published in 1985.

Last April, SJWs threw conniption fits when the Sad and Rabid Puppies, two campaigns spearheaded by sci-fi authors Larry Correia and Vox Day, respectively, successfully nominated several non-SJW works for this year’s Hugo Awards. Beyond showing how petty SJWs are, the Sad and Rabid Puppies’ campaign showed that SJWs are a vocal-but-tiny minority, since it only took a handful of votes to swing the nomination results.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Let reason be silent” – June 23

When experience gainsays its conclusions. Ed Trimnell argues against fighting fire with fire:….

How did Brandon Eich fail to out-argue his opponents? How did the Nobel Laureates Tim Hunt and James Watson fail to make their cases? The fact is that one cannot out-argue anyone in debates that do not take place, debates that Mr. Trimnell knows very well, from personal experience, will never take place. He can attempt to out-argue me because I am willing to engage with him, debate him, and discuss our differences in a civil manner rather than pointing, shrieking, and summoning an Internet mob to shout him down, disqualify, and disemploy him. He simply cannot do the same with the people at TOR Books, among others. He knows that.

Furthermore, Mr. Trimnell is ignoring the wise advice of Aristotle. He is appealing to dialectic in a rhetorical battle where the greater part of those on the other side are not even capable of understanding that dialectic. That is why following his advice is a surefire way to ensure defeat.

I am offering a proven way to win, one that is both historically and logically sound. Mr. Trimnell is offering nothing but certain defeat because feels. He doesn’t like not feeling morally superior to the other side, so much so that he would rather lose than give up that feeling of superiority in order to meet the enemy head-on. I dislike boycotts too, much as General Ferguson disliked poison gas. But I dislike being methodically mobbed, disqualified, and disemployed even more, I dislike being falsely accused and blatantly lied about even more, so I am utilizing certain SJW tactics even more efficiently and more effectively than the SJWs can. Everyone else of influence on the Right should be doing the same.


Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – June 23

Vox Day’s contribution is to the daily File 770 roundup what FAMILY CIRCUS is to the Sunday comics section — a guaranteed bummer often marked by the requirement that you follow the most torturously convoluted of dotted lines.


A.G. Carpenter

“Silence is Support” – June 23

….But, Torgersen and Correia maintain that they themselves are not racist, sexist, or homophobic. They just, don’t say anything about Beale’s ongoing rants. Maybe they laugh at his jokes or hit like on the comment window. They can argue all they want that they are not be bigots themselves, but their actions say otherwise.

Correia reached out to Beale last year. This year he reached out to GamerGate (with admittedly uncertain results when it comes to the ballot stuffing) – a group known for its sexist attitudes towards women and a radical and violent fringe. And Torgersen got in deeper with Beale by coordinating their slates under the Sad and Rabid Puppies flags. This isn’t just silent support.

This isn’t just silence that is interpreted as support. This is a deliberate alliance with those who do not hide their racist, sexist, homophobic agendas.

But I will not be silent. And I will not support the ideologies that led a young man to murder nine men and women in a church in Charleston. i will not shrug and say “That Vox Day. He’s an asshat but what can you do? It’s just one man ranting on the internet.” I do not want the others like Dylan Roof looking at the world of SF/F and thinking “See? They agree with me.”

Because I don’t.

Because we don’t.

Because silence only leads to regression.


Nicholas Whyte on From The Heart of Europe

“E Pluribus Hugo, revisited” – June 23

I’ve spent more spare time than is healthy over the last few days musing on the proposed new system for counting Hugo nominations, designated E Pluribus Hugo (henceforth EPH) by its designers (to whom detailed observations should be directed here). I am in sympathy with its intent, which is to prevent any group – whoever that group may be – from absolutely excluding nominees from having the chance to be considered for the Hugo Award. I think that the proposal as it currently sits achieves that aim, but at a cost of making it too easy for a group which is otherwise utterly unconnected with Hugo voters to get a single work onto the ballot by “bullet votes” (ie votes for their candidate[s] and no other). I explore this problem below, using data from the 1984 Hugo nomination ballots, and propose a partial solution, which is to use square roots as divisors when weighting nomination votes.


I’m tremendously grateful to Paul Evans for providing me with the 1984 data he described here. Having spent a couple of evenings crunching figures, I now feel huge sympathy and admiration for the Hugo administrators trying to make sense of the variant titles and spelling submitted by voters. Administering what are essentially thousands of write-in ballots is not exactly straightforward, and I am not sure that I would have the patience to do so in an RL setting myself. Not surprisingly, my tallies vary a bit from Paul’s. He has taken more time over it, so his numbers are probably right.

I’ve picked three different ballot categories from 1984 to analyse mainly because they were relatively easy to process, with less name and category confusion than some of the other options would have presented.


Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Modelling a Best Saga Hugo Award, Part 1” – June 22

I find it difficult to imagine an award in the abstract, so in this post and the next I’m going to model what a hypothetical Best Saga Hugo would look like for the past 4 years (2011-2014), using two different techniques to generate my model. First up, I’ll use the Locus Awards to model what the Best Saga would look like if voted on by SFF-insiders. Then, I’ll use the Goodreads Choice Awards to model what the Best Saga would look like if the Best Saga became an internet popularity contest. Looking at those two possible models should give us a better idea of how a Best Saga Hugo would actually play out. I bet an actual award would play out somewhere in the middle of the two models.


Brandon Kempner on Chaos Horizon

“Modelling a Best Saga Hugo Award, Part 2” – June 23

…. Methodology: The same as last time. Goodreads publishes Top 20 lists of the most popular SF and F novels; I combed through the list and chose the most popular that were part of a series. The Goodreads lists actually publishes vote totals, so I used those to determine overall popularity. Here’s the 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards; note that these would be the books elgible for the 2014 Hugo. The Goodreads categories are a little wonky at times. Keep that in mind. They also separated out Paranormal Fantasy until 2014, so no Dresden Files or Sookie Sackhouse in the model…..

This model looks less encouraging than the Locus Awards model. I think this is what many Hugo voters are afraid of: legacy series like Ender’s Game, Sword of Truth, or even Wheel of Time, showing up long after their critical peak has worn off (if Goodkind ever had a critical peak). Series can maintain their popularity and sales long after their innovation has vanished; readers love those worlds so much that they’ll return no matter how tired and predictable the books are. A 10 or 15 year series also has 10 or 15 years to pick up fans, and it might be harder for newer series by less-established authors to compete.

Still, even the Goodreads awards were not swamped by dead-man walking series, and the Hugo audience would probably trim some of these inappropriate works in their voting. It would be interesting to see someone like King win a Hugo for The Dark Tower; that’s certainly a very different feel than the current Hugos have.


Eric Flint


….But my biggest difference with John’s approach has to do with something very general—about as general as it gets, in fact.

What are the goals of literary awards in the first place? And what’s the best way to achieve those goals?

There are two ways to look at this. The first is the way John is looking at it, which runs throughout his entire argument, not just in the two paragraphs I quoted above. For John, awards should not only be a recognition for excellence, they should be designed to encourage the development of new talent by being concentrated in those areas where new talent is most likely to emerge.

Hence, he champions short fiction awards. Please note that John is not disagreeing with a point I made in my first essay and have repeated many times since—to wit, that short fiction represents only a very small slice of F&SF whether you measure that either in terms of readers or (especially) the income of authors. He simply feels that’s not very relevant because what he sees as most important is the following:

It [a “Best Saga” award] privileges the established writer over the newer writer. Almost by definition, the authors who are eligible for the “Best Saga” award are very likely be writers who are already successful enough to have a long-running series and the ability to publish in those series on a recurring basis. It’s theoretically possible to have someone toiling away on a series in utter obscurity and suddenly emerge with a knockout installment that would pop that writer up into “Best Saga” consideration, but as a practical matter, it’s almost certainly more likely than not that the nominees in the category would be those authors with perennially popular series — people, to be blunt, like me and a relatively few other folks, who are already more likely to have won the “genre success” lottery than others.

I don’t disagree with the point John makes when he says that “the authors who are eligible for the ‘Best Saga’ award are very likely to be writers who are already successful enough to have a long-running series and the ability to publish in those series on a recurring basis.”

He’s absolutely right about that. But where he sees that as a problem, I see it as an essential feature of any award structure that’s designed to attract the attention of its (supposed) audience. In fact, it was exactly the way the Hugo awards looked in their heyday in the 1960s and 1970s…..

At the moment, and for some time now, the “pendulum” of the Hugo awards has swung too far away from the mass audience. Where I differ from John is that I don’t see any way to reverse the increasing irrelevance of the Hugo awards to most F&SF readers unless the Hugos adopt one or another version of an award for series (i.e., the “Saga” award that’s being proposed). When most popular authors are working exclusively or almost exclusively in series and most of the awards are given for short fiction you will inevitably have a situation where the major awards in F&SF become irrelevant to most of the reading audience. Which, in turn, means that winning an award becomes less and less valuable in any terms beyond personal satisfaction.

If the idea of modifying an award structure to better match the interests of the mass audience really bothers you, grit your teeth and call it Danegeld. But it works.


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Hugo Recommendations: Best Related Work” – June 23

This is how I am voting in the Best Related Work category. Of course, I merely offer this information regarding my individual ballot for no particular reason at all, and the fact that I have done so should not be confused in any way, shape, or form with a slate or a bloc vote, much less a direct order by the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil to his 383 Vile Faceless Minions or anyone else.

  1. “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF”
  2. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth
  3. “Why Science is Never Settled”
  4. Letters from Gardner
  5. Wisdom from My Internet


Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015: Thoughts on Editing” – June 23

I’m not going to talk about individual nominees here, but I did want to talk about the editing awards, particularly short form editing. I’ve heard people talking about these award before and how you can’t really judge editing unless you are either the author or the editor (or someone who works with them) – usually implying that ‘regular fans’ shouldn’t be voting for these awards.

I have to disagree. When we look at the nominees for the short form editing, we’re essentially looking at editors who have put together anthologies or collections (or in one case a magazine, similar to the anthologies/collections, but with more of them over the course of a year). And I strongly believe that you can see good editing when it comes to these forms – as well as bad editing.


Melina D on Subversive Reader

“Hugos 2015 Reading: Best Fan Writer” – June 23

I’m not actually going to talk about the nominees individually. There’s a few reasons for this. Firstly, I think some of the nominees thrive on notoriety and get a buzz from someone talking about them. It feeds into their over-inflated sense of self-importance and I don’t feel like adding to that. Secondly, I don’t think any of the provided submissions were at an award level – in content or writing, so there’s no benefit in discussing them individually. Finally, the tone of a few of the pieces left me concerned that I would become a target for abusive behaviour if I was publicly critical of the authors. There’s probably a very slim chance of it, but events of the last couple of years has shown me that it does happen, and I’d prefer not to deal with that at the moment. So, my discussion here is going to be a more general look at what was submitted and what made me so ranty about it.

One thing that really struck me while I was reading, was that many of the pieces had little to do with speculative fiction or media or the community as fans. When we’re celebrating fan writers, I’m looking for people who are passionately engaged as fans. I want to know about the books and stories and media they love and why they love it. I want to know about the spec fic they find find problematic and why. I want to know why media inspires them and why. I want to know what kind of fan community they aspire to belong to and why.


Patrick May

“2015 Hugo Awards Graphic Story Category” – June 23

[Reviews all nominees in category.]

The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate

This is the only nominee not included in the Hugo packet. I asked the author on his website and on Twitter if there is an excerpt available, but got no response. Since it’s a webcomic I read a few months worth online to get a feel for the work.

This is less a graphic story than a series of loosely connected gags. Some are amusing, most are not. The artwork is decent, but neither it nor the writing make it a Hugo contender.


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant” – June 23

Lightspeed Magazine is a 2015 Best Semiprozine Hugo nominee.

Lightspeed publishes a wide range of science fiction and fantasy fiction, as well as interviews, Q&As with their authors, and fiction podcasts. What I did not find is an archive allowing me to look at their 2014 issues, the relevant issues for this year’s Hugos. The only thing I’ve been able to read that they published in 2014 is “The Day The World Turned Upside Down,” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt. I’ve already expressed my opinion on that one, and you can read it, if you wish, by clicking the link.

It’s very well presented visually, but with the Heuvelt story being the only thing from 2014 that’s available to read, I’m not prepared to rate it very high.


Laura “Tegan” Gjovaag on Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

“Hugo Reading – Short Stories” – June 23

[Reviews all five nominees.]

The best story of the five by a few lengths was definitely “Totaled”, although it wasn’t perfect, nor even the best I’ve read from 2014. It was just very good. In descending order of quality I would rank “A Single Samurai”, “On A Spiritual Plain”, “Turncoat”… and then “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” a distant last. Four of the five have something to recommend them, but only one was good enough to even be considered for an award.




543 thoughts on “The Snifferance Engine 6/23

  1. @Sweet, I had kind of a similar experience with Dickens, largely because I tried to be a pretentious git as a kid, and attempted to read him unabridged when I wasn’t ready — so I formed an impression of him as very dry and overly wordy.

    Then I took a grad seminar on lit & econ, and we read Our Mutual Friend, which includes…well, I don’t think fantastic is quite the word for OMF — surreal is better. And I was head over heels in love by the third chapter. I couldn’t believe what I’d been missing.

  2. Gabriel F.: Am I the only person who really liked the ending of My Real Children?

    Doctor Science: …possibly? My Real Children didn’t work for me. I love alternate timelines, but I wanted there to be a connection between her chioces and the way the two universes worked out.

    Actually, I liked the ending well enough, given that I didn’t really care for how the whole book turned out. I mean, the ending worked as well for me as anything else in the book.

    My take on it is pretty much the same as the Doctor’s. I was hoping to be “wow’ed”, and I just… wasn’t. And I found the ending sort of a “well, I’ve gotten the book written up to this point, and I can’t really figure out how to end it, so I’ll just write a bit more and call it an ending”.

    Which was exactly how I felt about Among Others. I liked the protagonist, the world was interesting (and of course I loved all the SFF author homages), there was some building-up of plot and tension and then… just nothing. A non-ending as if the publisher was saying “you have to give us the final manuscript NOW”.

    I’m still going to give The Just City a try, and at some point I’ll probably try to read the Small Change series, about which I’ve seen a lot of positive comments.

  3. Gabriel F.: Speaking as someone with a Mexican family, if Correia’s name is pronounced in a hispanic way (I’ve seen people say he identifies as hispanic so I will assume that it is,) then no. Marie is mah-REE-ah. Correia would co-Rrrey-ah with a rolled r, ideally.

    Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: I am not Portuguese (which I think is the ultimate origin of his name, yes?) but I doubt it. In Correia, -eia has an extra vowel, because AFAIK Portuguese is like Italian in that you pronounce every letter than is written down instead of taking a while guess at what the… ahem. Sorry, old grudges. Also the double R has a different sound from the single R of Maria.

    Nick Mamatas: “Correia”, as a Portuguese surname, has a soft “r.” coh-hey-uh.

    Shut up! SHUT UP, ALL OF YOU! I want to see a Sound of Music filk for Correia!

  4. @Jane_Dark The BBC version of Our Mutual Friend knocked me out — and I thought they did a great job of creating a sense of Dicken’s poetic strangeness.

  5. @Soon Lee: If [Tolkien] had a weakness, it was his inability to finalize his worldbuilding revisions (though I can totally relate to the urge to keep tinkering).

    He did call himself a “niggler,” and arguably “Leaf by Niggle” is an allegory of that sort of personality’s artistic process!

    @mintwitch: Someday, great piles of money will fall out of the sky to land at my feet, and I will be able to retire with nothing to do other than read, read, read. And garden and make tamales, so that I don’t turn into a sofa spud, but mostly read. /fantasy

    I bless my fantastic mentor/Shakespeare prof who encouraged me to realize I should stop paying colleges to hang around reading and writing and get qualified so they would pay me to hang around reading and writing (and I know I am supremely lucky to have the job I do, and that the destruction of the academic system—flawed as it is, I don’t think the corporatized/GOP version will be any improvement—is likely to bring it crashing down). (It’s not a utopia, though since there are administrators and increasing bureaucracy, sighs.)

    @Msb: Ack, I would have thought I’d read all of Scott’s work, but I don’t have Armor of Light. I dug out my top favorites (erm there are seven): here are the titles with a short blurb for each—I wanted to write more but if I wait until I have time, well, too much time will go by!

    Her lesbian feminist deconstruction of cyberpunk, two stand-alone novels: Trouble and Her Friends and The Jazz .

    A new collaboration with Amy Griswold that is alternative Victorian London with metaphysicians and two male characters that in the right light are a bit Holmes/Watsonian, and yes, the slash is canon so to speak: Death by Silver

    Night Sky Mine with an adolescent lesbian of color whose past is shrouded in mystery and who has to discover the story behind why she was abandoned on a space station as a baby, with a major amazing cyberworld/virtual world plot.

    Burning Bright Her praise-song for gaming, sf with a fascinating alien culture and three queer protagonists, a diplomat, artist, and pilot stumbling into major political conspiracies.

    Dreaming Metal and Dreamships are loosely related—and focus on AI.

    Scott’s futures and protagonists in these novels always show class hierarchies (and usually from the perspective of people who are in the marginalized/lower classes—except for _The Jazz_ which is a bit different).

  6. Entirely tangentially, does anyone here know whether the linguistic “distance” between Portuguese and Castilian is greater than or similar to that between Castilian and Catalan?

  7. Since I’ve been lurking for some time, I would like to express my appreciation for everyone discussing books here. I am interested in the Hugos but I probably wouldn’t be reading through hundreds of comments in a day without the book discussion. And thanks to Mike for his hard work keeping everyone up to date with his posts.

    JJ wrote:

    Which was exactly how I felt about Among Others. I liked the protagonist, the world was interesting (and of course I loved all the SFF author homages), there was some building-up of plot and tension and then… just nothing. A non-ending as if the publisher was saying “you have to give us the final manuscript NOW”.

    I’m still going to give The Just City a try, and at some point I’ll probably try to read the Small Change series, about which I’ve seen a lot of positive comments.

    I can see the comments about the ending of My Real Children but I think Among Others is different. The book starts where most books would end: the protagonist has gone through a fight (or saved the world) at great personal cost and has to find a way to return to normalcy. Hence it seems to me natural that instead of tension building you have it diminishing.
    I haven’t yet read The Just City but since the next book is already almost out, I would guess that it might be less complete in itself than Farthing, the first of the Small Change books (which I think was written with no idea of it being the first of a series).

  8. @James: Portuguese and Castilian are classified in the same branch of the Romance family, whereas Catalan is in the same branch as French. I’ve studied Spanish a little, and in Spain or Mexico I can order food in a restaurant and make a tiny bit of small talk.

    However, in my experience this doesn’t translate well to Portuguese (even though I tried to study it). In Portugal I found that although I can usually read Portuguese I had a terrible time understanding it when spoken. This was even true when I tried to follow along the captions (in Portuguese!) on an airline safety video. Fortunately the Portuguese seem to be relatively fond of English speakers thanks to their history with Britain.

    Brazilian Portuguese, on the other hand, seems to be easier on English speakers.

  9. Castilian and Portuguese started out as near-twins, then diverged. The closest relative to Portuguese is Galician. Controversy rages over whether Galician and Portuguese are actually the same language with different pronunciation and orthography, or two separate languages which are more or less mutually intelligible.

    Portuguese is (mostly) phonetic, but has more varied vowel sounds than Castilian, which has very “pure” vowels. If you can read one, you can pretty much read the other, for the most part (then something totally unexpected will show up which makes no sense in the language you’re familiar with). Broadly speaking, Portuguese speakers tend to have an easier time picking up Spanish, and Spanish speakers have more trouble learning Portuguese. The sound is where Portuguese really differs. European Portuguese, especially, sounds like a Slavic language if you’re not used to it, and doesn’t seem remotely like a Romance language. It tends to sound like “rrshshrrshshrrsh” until you learn to pick out the hidden vowels. The prestige dialect also does funky things with diphthongs. “Correia” would come out approximately “Crrraia”.

    European and Brazilian Portuguese differ in pronunciation and somewhat in grammatical syntax. Brazilian “Correia” would be closer to “Coheeyyyya”.

  10. I have a modest proposal which will solve both of our Hugo problems, the Puppies and the Best Series, at one blow. As the master says: ”A good idea is something that does not solve just one single problem, but rather can solve multiple problems at once.”

    The first step is to create a one-time Hugo Award, The All-Time Best Saga award. The nomination and voting continue as usual except the winner must be Heinlein’s World as Myth (which contains all of Heinlein’s work tucked into a universe of universes), which isn’t that unlikely.

    The World as Myth also encloses, thanks to the power of travel through alternate universes, all stories that have ever been written or will ever be written, even the one where Wisdom From My Internets somehow made it onto the ballot. Thus everyone and everything already has a Hugo Award For Best Ultimate Saga. We’re all winners! (We could also use L-Space to accomplish this via the Discworld series, but that fails to disprove the claim that sensual jew whisperers would never award Heinlein a Hugo nowadays.)

    So now Vox Day has a Hugo, Brad Torgersen has a Hugo, every single book ever has a “From The Hugo-Winning Author of…” banner, and everything is hunky-dory again. There’s no need for a Best Saga rocket since whatever series already won. Even Miyamoto-san has a Hugo now.

    And titles:
    The Ringworm Engineers.
    Jerry Was A Mutt.
    A Collie for Leibowitz.

  11. I’ve given up on keeping up with the comments, since I’ve only got a couple hours a day to devote to reading stuff on the internet, but…

    GSLamb said “To Your Scattered Puppies Go.” at [several hours ago, back on page six or so…]

    I would suggest that “To Your Scattered Chewtoys Go.” fits the flow of the original title better, ‘t’ and ‘d’ having more in common when spoken aloud than ‘d’ and an aspirated double-‘p’…

  12. Kyra, what about The Porcelain Dove by Delia Sherman?

    I’m thinking of that author at the moment because when I went out to buy books on Tor Day, and discovered that it was also Fiction Friday, I couldn’t resist adding a Small Beer Press book, namely her story collection Young Woman in a Garden. There may be more goodies for your list in that, although since I haven’t read it yet I don’t know for sure.

  13. @Simon Bisson

    In re: Potlatch
    “A great little con, and one well worth attending: the year we made it Always Coming Home was the Book of Honour.”

    A minor quibble: Always Coming home and Growing Up Weightless were joint books of honor 😉 — did you pick up a broadside at that Potlatch?

    And if you’re in town in March, swing by FOGcon — many of the people there came from Potlatch as part of their background. (Well, and Readercon and WisCon.)

  14. @Christie Yant on June 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm said:

    I’ve been meaning to ask, are you by any chance the Nicole LaBoeuf I attended SBWC with, and last ran into on an airplane three or four years ago?

    And you asked on a thread where I had a decent chance of catching up, too!

    No, that wasn’t me – I don’t think we’ve ever met in the flesh, though I could be wrong, and I’ve never been to SBWC (but World Con, World Horror, World Fantasy, and Mile Hi, yes!). We are both members of the same online writers’ community, and I think a manuscript of mine once crossed your slush – that’s it so far, I think.

    LeBoeuf isn’t that uncommon of a name. It and its spelling variants occur wherever the Cajuns wound up. Mine’s a southern Louisiana family, but when I moved to Boulder I got the odd query about whether I was related to this or that LeBoeuf in the Colorado Rockies. And then there’s Shia LaBouef who I hear is also of Cajun extraction…

  15. Gabriel F. on June 24, 2015 at 3:57 pm said:
    Am I the only person who really liked the ending of My Real Children?

    I loved all of it and it stayed with me for a long time. Whereas I never managed to get into Among Others, i think because the use of magic.

  16. @Mr. Slim:

    What happens if the Library in the Sandman also gets nominated in the Best-All-Time-Saga Category, since the Library contains all the books that haven’t been written? Including versions of every single book ever written which are all just *slightly* better?


  17. Nick Mamatas on June 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm said:
    Also, I’d like to stand up for Ulysses. I think that book is compelling and often laugh-out-loud funny. Plus, some of it is dirty, which I always enjoy.

    I’d like to recommend this free audio book, which many people who bounce off the text seem to like.

    Nick is right. Also, now I’m shuddering to think what James Joyce would have done to the audiobook had it been invented.

  18. Nick Mamatas on June 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm said:

    “Correia”, as a Portuguese surname, has a soft “r.” coh-hey-uh.

    I suppose that may or may not be how they usually pronounce it at CorreiaTech Global HQ in Yard Moose Mountain, Utah.

    But even so, the filk still works.

  19. P J Evans on June 24, 2015 at 12:15 pm said:

    Brian Z said:
    But that’s not what I’m talking about here.

    What are you talking about?
    (This is why you keep getting notes from the mods at Making Light.)

    I only go to ML if the mods tell me to and other people paste chunks of my comments there.

    Hey, are you trying to dodge my question about what you meant by this? The suspense is killing me!

    There was, actually, another slate hiding in the ballots that year – it was filkers. We found out later.

  20. > “Also, if you haven’t read it yet, you may want to try Karen Memory.”
    > “Kyra, what about The Porcelain Dove by Delia Sherman? … There may be more goodies for your list in [Young Woman in a Garden] …”

    Happily adding these to me To-Be-Read list …

    Also have a part eleven coming up because I realized I’d forgotten at least a few …

  21. Rev. Bob, honest I wasn’t speeding, officer, just catching up on another long thread! But thanks for your concern. I would like to buy you a beer whenever we can cross paths – hopefully Kansas City?

  22. Sweet: On Dickens, he was tremendously influential on Late Victorian crime writers; his (mostly) non-fiction piece The Detective Police is pretty interesting; if it is to be believed he invited some detectives to his office, gave them food and drink and wrote down their stories of how they caught criminals. The way he lays out a Ponzi scheme in Martin Chuzzlewitt is both fascinating, very clear and full of great details.

  23. Lesbian Romance SFF, part the Eleventh

    Special Category V: Stuff I forgot about the first time around
    Because, duh, of course I forgot a few

    Tame by Melissa Snowdon
    Comment: A book that basically answers the question, “What if ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ had a lesbian werewolf character in it?” Probably not to everyone’s taste, but I found it quirky and fun.
    Rating: 3.25/5 stars

    Eat Your Heart Out by Dayna Ingram
    Comment: A chain store clerk, a B-movie star, a zombie apocalypse. Definitely some rough edges in the writing to this one, but in general a fun, quick read.
    Rating: 3.25/5 stars

    Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew
    Comment: I will note that this is by an extremely controversial author that people might not wish to support; I won’t get further into the details in this short post (and please don’t assume my listing/reviewing the book serves as a statement of my opinion on the actions of the author in any way.) Anyway, this book is modern fantasy based on Chinese myths, and in terms of the writing and story, I thought it was pretty good.
    Rating: 3.75/5 stars

    Special Category Vi: Odds and Ends
    Stuff that didn’t quite fit elsewhere

    A Land Fit For Heroes Trilogy by Richard Morgan
    Lesbian romance is not at all the main plot of these books, but it’s here because there is one as a reasonably important subplot for a major supporting point-of-view character. I haven’t been listing books where lesbian romances happen for minor or side characters, but the one in these books is juuuust important enough that I think they have a toehold here. At any rate, these books are gritty, violent fantasy novels where ambiguously heroic heroes face powerful, ancient forces.
    Rating: 4/5 Stars

    The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan
    A strange book that I wouldn’t really call a romance, and in some ways is as much horror as fantasy. A woman meets a mysterious naked stranger on the side of the road. Either about schizophrenia or the supernatural, depending on how you take it. This is another one that I liked and many peopled LOVED, so adjust the rating accordingly if you like. Won a Tiptree, nominated for a Nebula.
    Rating: 3.5/5 stars

  24. I’ve been using electronic book readers for more than 10 years now (if you count only back to Handspring Visor PDAs—more than 20 if you count back to various of those little palmtop Franklin BOOKMAN devices.) I bought my first dedicated ebook reader as soon as the first one dipped below $200 (a 5 inch Sony PRS-300—I still use the $139 PRS-350 I replaced it with a year later, battered but still working going into its 5th year of service.)

    An earlier mention on this thread about us “living in the future” with our ability to download a book with a mouse-click makes me think about how much things have changed in not only the 14ish years since I bought my first PDA but also in the 6ish since I bought my first e-ink device. Today, we rarely think twice about the novelty of reading an electronic Hugo packet (well, I say “we”, but I’m not actually a Hugo voter) or buying and instantly downloading a book recommendation. Electronic books are one of those technologies that have become common enough (in certain circles, at least) to disappear into the background. But back then, the concept of “electronic books” was not only unfamiliar but also widely (and often strongly) rejected. So I thought that some of you who didn’t have your “ear to the ground” about early(ish) ebook opinions might enjoy taking a break from staring with incredulous open-mouthed awe at the insane hate-filled rantings of the anti-“SJW” puppies to stare with incredulous open-mouthed awe at the insane hate-filled rantings of an electronic books opponent.

    (Warning: In sheer Bizzaro-World offensiveness, this easily gives VD, JCW, and BZW a run for their money.)

  25. I remember that guy. Barking mad on the subject; couldn’t be reasoned with.

    Maybe someday we’ll talk about Correia and Torgersen and so on in the same way.

  26. Cat: Did you happen to be one of the posters over on Mobileread, where he showed up on that thread about the first article? (I was Ardeegee over there.)

  27. Kyra, I’ve copied off all of your recommendation posts for future reference! (Well, ok, and in one case for warm-and-fuzzy contemplation.) Do you have these recommendations somewhere easily linkable? I’d love to be able to point other people to them in a more manageable format.

  28. Kyra said

    Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones

    — the sequel is Mystic Marriage.

    Kyra said

    The Year Seven by Molly Zanger

    — it’s Molleen Zanger, and she had only one other book: Gardenias Where There Are None.

    Now you’ve got me wondering what is hiding in my collection! I’ve been remiss in keeping track of my older books, and there’s got to be a few other lesbian SFF books in there — but you’ve got the majority of the selections listed (thanks for doing all that work!)

  29. > “Do you have these recommendations somewhere easily linkable?”

    Hi there! So glad you liked them!

    I don’t have them anyplace easily linkable at the moment, but possibly I should. I have a Livejournal account, I think I’ll try to put it up there tonight, after I make some of the corrections others have helpfully pointed out (including the correct name of “The Mystic Marriage” — so sorry about that, thanks Ginger!)

    When I have it up, I’ll post the link in this thread, and on whatever thread is getting the most chatter currently on this site.

  30. I’ve posted a consolidated, slightly modified version of the posts here:

    Looks like it can be edited after the fact (it’s been a LONG time since my livejournal got any exercise, but I’m pretty sure this is possible), so I may add books as I come across them. There’s at least one by an author I haven’t read before sitting over on my to-read pile already … and of course, as you know, I’m very much looking forward to “The Mystic Marriage”. 🙂

  31. @Greg

    That would work too. The improved versions would be nice, it would probably cut the Heinlein corpus incest count a bit.

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