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BayCon - San Francisco Bay Area science fiction & fantasy convention

I have two panels at BayCon this year, which will be held from May 27-30 at the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport (this is a change of hotel from the previous years).

BayCon Guests of Honor

Writer Guest of Honor: David Gerrold

Artist Guest of Honor: Chris Butler, F.R.A.S

Fan Guest of Honor: Anastasia Hunter

Toastmasters: Library Bards

BayCon Charity

BayCon’s charity this year is SETI Institute.

My BayCon Schedule

I’m on two panels, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

The good, The Bad, And The WTF of Cover Art
Saturday, May 28 2:30 pm, Connect 1
Forget judging the book by its cover, sometimes you can’t even identify it. Our panelists discuss highs and lows and just plain weird in the world of cover art.

WordPress
Sunday, May 29 11:30 am, Connect 1
Methods for making the most creative and effective use of WordPress.

Programming Schedule

The full programming schedule is available here.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Just a reminder that Hugo Awards voting closes tomorrow night (July 31st) at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time. You can submit or change your vote before then by visiting this page on the Sasquan site.

Note: You will need your Hugo PIN to submit or change your ballot. Please request your PIN as early as possible if you don’t have it handy.

Even if you and I have nothing in common on which we’d vote for, if you’re a member of Sasquan, please vote. Here is my Puppy-free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide if that helps you.

I want to say this about the Best Fan Writer category. I’m not voting for Laura J. Mixon as best fan writer for the following reasons:

  1. She has lobbied for the award, which I consider an automatic disqualification. Cool is letting someone know what you have that you believe is eligible. Not cool: “A vote for me sends a clear signal…” Yes, she later edited that out of her post, but that’s emotional blackmail.
  2. I consider a pro author criticizing a reviewer’s history as a pro activity, not a fan activity, and thus not fan writing.
  3. Benjanun Sriduangkaew has since been doxxed, and I believe that the vaunting of Laura J. Mixon helped that happen.

Getting back to the Hugo Awards more generally, I liked this pep talk from Cheryl Morgan.

Comments are off on this piece. Please comment elsewhere if you’re so inclined.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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BayCon—san francisco bay area science fiction & fantasy convention

I may make it to BayCon tomorrow, but I might not, so I thought I’d go over some of the panels I was on while everything was still fresh.

Friday’s Panels

Writing Handicapped Characters

There was a lot of great discussion about various handicaps though, with the panelists in question, we had more discussion of physical handicaps than mental issues.

From the audience, Sunil Patel mentioned several interesting anthologies. He also said that Kaleidoscope, a diverse anthology, was one of his favorites from last year. (I have a copy, I haven’t read it yet.)

A book I mentioned was Sarina Bowen’s The Year We Fell Down, a romance novel featuring two handicapped characters: one for the year, one for good.

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

What worked for me about this book is that Corey deals with her situation: it’s her new normal, and the book does not “cure” her. When things are difficult for her, she figures it out.

Invertebrates are Cool

We had some great panelists for this, including someone who had a background in parasitology and another with a background in marine biology. We tended toward discussing cephalopods because, let’s face it, they’re cool.

Cliff Winnig managed to make me completely lose it in a fit of laughter twice, which was awesome fun. He’s earned his title of “Invetebrate punster.”

I’d meant to bring my copy of Cephalopod Behavior, but forgot to. Probably just as well because it appears to be out of print and now selling for insane amounts of money, and I would miss it if it were to disappear like an octopus.

Saturday’s Panels

Book Covers that Sell Books

If I hadn’t just wiped my iPad, I’d have had a before and after of a cover I redid with me. Here’s the after cover. It uses a free photo, and a couple of other layers. Because this was a print book, I also did a back cover using another free photo.

The panel focused on books that would be print books, but many book covers these days are for things that will never be in printed form, e.g., short stories. For these, you really do need to both communicate genre and not lose your shirt $-wise in the process, and there’s simply no way you can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a cover for that kind of work.

For A Sword Called Rhonda, I went the same route panelist AE Marling mentioned and found an artist on DeviantArt. A render will almost always sell less well than a high-quality illustration or a photograph, but it’s still an option—and, in most genres, it’ll typically still sell better than something with no person on the cover. I also thought this particular rendering fit the image I had of the character almost perfectly. The artist wanted to do the typography too, which—you get the deal you can, right? So the type is one weight lighter than I’d have used/preferred, but it works fine in a thumbnail.

For The Duchess’s Dress, I knew this would never be a huge seller, so I cobbled together a cover from bits I had and spent $0 on the cover. As Joel Friedlander said, “The elements are right, but they add up to a very weak ebook cover.” Which is fair. The formal symmetry takes away from the energy it might have had. On the other hand, it’s sold some copies (and I’ve made a profit), so that’s a win. It does more or less what it needs to do.

So here are some resources mentioned:

  1. AE Marling and I both referred to Deviant Art, which is a great place to find someone to do cover art for you (or adapt an existing work into a cover). I will say that one of the key problems in finding suitable art: most art isn’t structured well for a cover. It needs to have more headroom so the title can go above, or, alternatively, a less complex middle. You can also put the title at the bottom, but that’s often less effective. Regardless, a piece that’s designed to stand alone is often not going to be suitable for having a big blob o’ text over it.
  2. I referred to Deposit Photos, my preferred stock photo vendor. When I say “photo,” though, they don’t just sell photos. There are also some superb illustrations and renderings. (The problem is finding them.) If you are going to do a lot of covers, then having a plan is a great idea, and sometimes you can find discount plans available.

  3. Tony Todaro talked about using 99 Designs for book covers, and I talked a bit about the other side of the coin: designing covers for 99 Designs clients. More about that in this contest where I was a runner up. For 99 Designs, see also this post and comments and this post, especially the comments.

  4. Lousy Book Covers. Much as I like this site and its hate for bad book covers, I don’t think it’s actually particularly useful for someone who wants to make something better than what they have. With just a little bit more knowledge and/or care, many bad covers could be made to actually work. I’ve been meaning to get a more constructive site started, but the last few weeks have been horrible.

And here are some not mentioned:

  1. A lot of the lower-to-middle-end cover designers have pre-made covers. If that fits your taste/budget/design sense, then by all means consider them. Here are two: Patty Jensen, who does a lot of renderings; and Adrijus G., who specializes in action and adventure.
  2. Joel Friedlander has a monthly contest for people to submit their indie designed covers. Here’s last month’s. (I love the use of Borges Lettering’s Desire on Damon Za’s cover for Genevieve McKay’s The Opposite of Living).) Highly recommend reading this post series for a master class in book cover design. Even if you’re not a designer, it’ll help you commission better work. It’s also a great way to find indie cover designers.

The Hugo tug-of-war: Diversity of opinion among Worldcon voters

This panel went really well, and I’m glad that Kate Secor had some details that I hadn’t researched. Also thanks to James Stanley Daugherty for moderating and Amy Sterling Casil for her contributions.

My general feelings:

  1. Excluding the arguments about politics, there are other underlying points: certain houses are nominated—and not just for Hugo awards—more frequently, and certain popular authors are never nominated. I’ve looked at what I have been reading and realized that, over the last few years, I’ve been reading fewer books from Daw, Del Rey, and Baen. My personal commitment going forward is to read at least one first author per quarter from each major SF house, and two other books per quarter (all of the above from the current year’s catalog).
    Not everything popular is good enough, so I don’t think that it’s ever going to be the case that the most popular writers get nominated with any consistency. You’re far more likely to see a breakout book on the ballot.
  2. The more that is done at this year’s meeting to “fix” things, it will become an outrage escalator, and I believe that would be counterproductive long term. While I think the 4 of 6 proposal (and a couple of others) have merit, what I’d actually like to see is more people nominating. Specifically, more people who realize you can’t read the entire field, so nominate what you have read and what you think is worthy.

Nothing that “fixes” nominations will change the fact that there are far fewer nominators than members, and far fewer nominators than voters.

Categorizing Your Books: YA versus NA

First: I want to fangirl about being on a panel with Amber Benson. She’s marvelous.

NA, or New Adult, is a relatively recent category focusing on stories about people in the 18-25 age group. It is my catnip.

In addition to the target age group, I think one of the things New Adult appeals to are those people whose lives have had upheavals and suddenly they can start over. I was 37 and had been married five months when I found myself suddenly widowed. Over the next couple of years, I found that I didn’t relate to people who were my own age group. At that point, I could have gone anywhere, done anything, and had few constraints upon my life.

I found that who I most related to in that time were people who were 19 or 20, because I was having problems typical of that age group even though I wasn’t that age.

Probably because of that, I’ve never stopped bonding with fiction about the college era in people’s lives, when people leave the nest, go off and make some big mistakes (or fail to make big mistakes and regret not trying).

One book I mentioned is one of my favorites so far this year, Sarina Bowen’s The Shameless Hour. Somewhat spoilery discussion follows: Bella’s had a very hookup oriented shameless sex life, but she stays too long at a frat party and gets rufied. Thankfully, she doesn’t get raped, but the humiliation stunt and the infamy that follows really haunts her. This is a kind of book that really is NA and can’t be YA.

That said, I’m not convinced NA is as useful a marketing category in science fiction and fantasy as it is in other genres. I also made the point that a lot of NA heroes (and occasionally heroines) have far more real kinds of jobs than many other segments of the romance genre, though I will admit that a lot more of them are artistic or sporty.

Themed Reading: Erotic SF/F/H

Initially, I was signed up to be on the Death panel at the same time. Just three days before the panel, I realized that had changed, and I needed to scramble and figure out what to read. One scene from a book I’m writing (New Adult SF) I wasn’t yet happy with (and a lot of my sex scenes aren’t in speculative fiction genres). I haven’t been writing on this book over the last few weeks because it has been dark and I have been trying to keep it from going darker.

The other was a short humor draft with a bad pun ending, and that’s what I wound up reading. (Always read your first drafts in public, especially erotica. It’s humbling.)

It turns out that I went last, and after a really dark fantasy piece, so the comic relief was well-timed.

Afterward

I haven’t talked about why I was dragging myself around on Saturday, but I wound up having some acid reflux late Friday night, and given GERD being related to of my mom’s cascade failure, that led to some understandable nightmares last night.

I got about two hours of sleep all told.

So, I was really dragging and was trying to make a call between taking a nap before the 8:30 A Shot Rang Out and going home.

When I found out that no one had been collecting the silly lines we’re supposed to end our turns with, Rick and I both realized that neither of us had the spoons to take care of that ourselves. (I could possibly have done the panel if I could get three solid hours of sleep, but not if I had to get less.) So I went home and immediately went to bed at 5:30 in the afternoon. My last thought was, “I should email Berry,” aka the other panelist, but I didn’t even manage to reach for my iPad before I fell asleep. I was just that tired.

Anyhow, I’m sorry I missed what’s almost always my favorite event at BayCon, and doubly sorry I had to miss the 12:30 am “Eye of Argon” reading that’s such a tradition. In fact, I didn’t wake up until well after that reading started.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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BayCon—san francisco bay area science fiction & fantasy convention

BayCon’s coming up this weekend, Friday through Sunday in Santa Clara, California. This year’s theme is Women of Wonder…and the people who love and appreciate them.

Normally BayCon is four days; this year it’s three due to a hotel snafu. The con starts earlier on Friday (10 am) than usual and runs late on Sunday, with the final formal event being Seanan McGuire’s concert at 8:15 pm.

BayCon Guests of Honor

Seanan McGuire, writer guest of honor

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, artist guest of honor

Amber Benson, toastmaster

Caradwen “Sabre” Braskat-Arellanes, fan guest of honor

The Winner Twins, young adult special guests

My Friday Panels

Handicapped Characters (Alameda at 1:30 PM)

There’s a lot more ‘there’ there than the wheelchair! How do you do it right? How do you find out what life is like for someone with a particular problem? How do you handle the messy bits otherwise known as reality without turning the reader off? How do you show what other kinds of courage might be needed by a handicapped hero or heroine?

Invertebrates are Cool on Friday at 4:30 PM in Ballroom A

Jellyfishes. Octopuses. Cephalopods. Invertebrates can be unexpectedly beautiful, surprisingly smart, or just weirdly intriguing. Find out why these panelists think that they are just plain cool.

I may also put in a good word for nudibranchs.

My Saturday Panels

Book Covers That Sell Books (Bayshore at 10:00 AM)

When you’re browsing at a bookstore, why do you pick up a particular book? When you’re on Amazon, do some suggested books seem to jump out at you more than others? The saying goes “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but when it comes to impulse buying, that’s exactly what people do. With self-publishing becoming more common, writers need to know more about an area they previously left in the publisher’s hands. How does one make a cover that will stand out when it’s shelved alongside other books? How can one tell if a thumbnail version of the cover will look good on Amazon? Do shoppers judge the quality of the book by the quality of its cover design? The panelists discuss the design elements of a good book cover, and where to go to for help in designing one that will sell.

The Hugo tug-of-war: Diversity of opinion among Worldcon voters (Camino Real at 11:30 AM)

This year’s Hugo nominations certainly have fandom talking. Is this just another periodic “all fandom is plunged into war” outbreak, or are there serious systemic issues to address?

Categorizing Your Books: YA versus NA on Saturday at 1:00 PM in Alameda

The Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association defines a young adult (YA) as someone between the ages of 12 and 18. Authors and readers of YA novels traditionally defined the genre as literature written for ages ranging from 16 up to 25, while Teen Fiction is for the ages of 10 to 15. In 2009, a new category entered the mix: New Adult (or “NA”) for literature with protagonists with ages ranging from 18 to 25. Is NA here to stay? If it is, where does that leave YA and Teen Fiction?

I’m a huge fan of the New Adult genre, though it does have some pitfalls.

Themed Reading: Erotic SF/F/H on Saturday at 4:00 PM in Alameda

Hear authors read from stories that blend erotica with speculative fiction. For ages 18 and above only, please.

What it says on the tin.

A Shot Rang Out on Saturday at 8:30 PM in Alameda

…and bounced down the hallway, through the door, and out of the world. Come see hilarious, impromptu storytelling. Back as always by popular demand.

If the masquerade/variety show starts on time, then this is likely to start after the variety show ends.

(Note: I was originally also on one Sunday panel, but, given recent events, said I wanted to be taken off as I wasn’t feeling it.)

Hope to see you there.

If you’re going, what are you looking forward to? Full schedule can be found here.

My Next Convention

After BayCon, the next convention Rick and I will be attending is Westercon 68 in San Diego, California, July 2-5. I’ll be volunteering as site selection administrator for the 2017 Westercon.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

The Hugo Awards voting packet is now available.

You’ll need your registration number and Hugo PIN in order to download the packet.

Haven’t yet registered? Here’s the registration page.

What’s in the Hugo Awards Voter’s Packet

The next two paragraphs are from the press release:

This free download is supplied by the creators and publishers of works that are nominated for the awards. It is free to all current Supporting, Attending and Young Adult members of Sasquan, and those who become members before 31 July 2015. Its purpose is to allow those who are voting on the Hugo Awards to be able to make an informed choice among the nominated works.

All of the short fiction and graphic novels are included in their entirety (((assuming Zombie Nation comes through!))). The packet contains the full text of three of the novels: The Dark between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, amd The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Skin Game by Jim Butcher and Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie are represented by extensive excerpts. One of the five finalists in the Related Work category is represented by an excerpt: Letters from Gardner, by Lou Antonelli. There is some material in each of the other categories except the Dramatic Presentations, but not everyone wanted us to include their work in this packet.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Locus Awards header graphic

Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the top five finalists in each category of the 2015 Locus Awards. I note that Connie Willis will MC the award ceremony at the Locus Awards Weekend.

Science Fiction Novel

Fantasy Novel

Young Adult Book

First Novel

Novella

Novelette

Short Story

Anthology

Collection

Magazine

  • Asimov’s
  • Clarkesworld
  • F&SF
  • Lightspeed
  • Tor.com

Publisher

Editor

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Gardner Dozois
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

Artist

  • Jim Burns
  • John Picacio
  • Shaun Tan
  • Charles Vess
  • Michael Whelan

Non-Fiction

Art Book

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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hugo-awards

Hugo Award voting is now open. Voting closes Friday July 31, 2015, 11:59 PM PDT.

In order to vote, you must be a member of Sasquan, this year’s Worldcon. If you’re not currently a member of this year’s Worldcon, you can join as a supporting member for $40 or as an attending member for $210. The convention will be held from August 19-23 in Spokane, Washington.

For your reference, should you wish to use it, I’ve updated The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide for what (I hope!) is the last time, including those who withdrew their nominations. The full ballot can be found here.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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hugo-awards

Althea Kontis shares Edmund’s statement:

My name is Edmund R. Schubert, and I am announcing my withdrawal from the Hugo category of Best Editor (Short Form). My withdrawal comes with complications, but if you’ll bear with me, I’ll do my best to explain. I am withdrawing because:

  1. I believe that while the Sad Puppies’ stated goal of bringing attention to under-recognized work may have been well-intentioned, their tactics were seriously flawed. While I personally find it challenging that some people won’t read IGMS because they disagree with the publisher’s perceived politics (which have nothing whatsoever to do with what goes into the magazine), I can’t in good conscience complain about the deck being stacked against me, and then feel good about being nominated for an award when the deck gets stacked in my favor. That would make me a hypocrite. I can’t be part of that and still maintain my integrity.
  2. Vox Day/Theodore Beale/Rabid Puppies. Good grief. While I firmly believe that free speech is only truly free if everyone is allowed to speak their mind, I believe equally strongly that defending people’s right to free speech comes with responsibilities: in this case, the responsibility to call out unproductive, mean-spirited, inflammatory, and downright hateful speech. I believe that far too many of Vox’s words fall into those categories—and a stand has to be made against it.

  3. Ping pong. (Yes, really.) A ping pong ball only ever gets used by people who need something to hit as a way to score points, and I am through being treated like a political ping pong ball—by all sorts of people across the entire spectrum. Done.

Edited to add this paragraph: the statement on the IGMS website clarifies my point #1 wass wrong, and I have corrected it accordingly. My apologies to Mr. Schubert.

I think it’s important to note these things:

  1. It’s likely Edmund knew did not know about the slates prior to nominations closing.
  2. Edmund accepted the nomination (people are given the ability to decline prior to the official nominee list being posted).
  3. Edmund likely knew others withdrew after acceptance. Edmund chose not to at that point.
  4. Edmund likely knew the ballot had been locked after two people were declared ineligible and two withdrew.
  5. Like Black Gate, Edmund’s withdrawal took place after all these events.

While that allows for some sympathy/empathy, it’s not as large as someone declining the nomination in the first place or, as Dave Creek did, asking off the slate prior to nominations closing.

The statement is significantly longer than what I’ve excerpted above, but I’d like to highlight two parts.

What About the Works Pushed Off the Hugo Awards Nominations?

I will not, however, advocate for an across-the-board No Award vote. That penalizes people who are innocent, for the sake of making a political point. Vox Day chose to put himself and his publishing company, Castalia House, in the crosshairs, which makes him fair game—but not everybody, not unilaterally. I can’t support that.

This is, my opinion, classic speaking from privilege.

You know who was really penalized? Hint: it’s not the people who were nominated.

It’s the works (and people) who were pushed off the ballot entirely.

There are works that will never receive fair consideration for a Hugo award.

Voting no award for the two puppy slates does not deprive the puppies of their Hugo Awards nominations.

That’s why I’m voting down the entire slate.

Schubert’s Comments About IGMS

As editor of IGMS, I can, and have, and will continue to be—with the full support of publisher Orson Scott Card—open to publishing stories by and about gay authors and gay characters, stories by and about female authors and female characters, stories by authors and about characters of any and every racial, political, or religious affiliation—as long as I feel like those authors 1) have a story to tell, not a point to score, and 2) tell that story well. And you know what? Orson is happy to have me do so. Because the raison d’etre of IGMS is to support writers and artists. Period.

IGMS—Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show—is open to everyone. All the way. Always has been, always will be. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is that people’s minds operate in the same fashion.

It’s published some fine writers and some fine stories. My problem with it, understandable in context, is that it’s Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show and not just InterGalactic Medicine Show. There’s no real way of promoting the magazine without the full problematic title and its problematic patron.

Much like L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future.

Yet I’m also fascinated, in the case of comparing people’s feelings about the two, how much harsher people are about IGMS than WotF. So far as I know, Card has never made a gay or lesbian (or, in this case, someone accused of same) stand in a trash can for twelve hours while screaming obscenities and epithets at them.

Scientology has, and it runs Writers of the Future.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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hugo-awards

One of the questions when faced with bloc nominating in the Hugo Awards is this: when is something bloc voting/nominating? When isn’t it?

There have been statements about the Sad Puppies slate being a slate because it’s five items in many categories: conveniently the number of possible nominations. And, while that is a compelling argument, that isn’t one I find especially convincing.

A Question Was Posed

In this comment, MC DuQuesne says:

Here’s another obvious slate that should be taken into account
http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-article/2015/03/final-2015-hugo-awards-ballot-recommendations/

I’m not going to respond to the sealioning in MC’s comments here (though I did cover the answers in another recent comment on the post they commented on), but Aidan’s post actually is a good compare/contrast to discuss why I believe Aidan’s post was not a slate and the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies was.

Because, frankly, if you don’t think that setting up a sockpuppet site (or a hundred), declaring a slate of “SJW” works, and infesting it with a few pets to write blog comments (perhaps even buying a few fiverr gigs for even more comments) isn’t going to happen, well, that’s naive.

So, what defines a slate, then?

Well, let’s look at a bit of unpleasant second-world history for some actual historic usage, tweets by Rose Lemberg that were storified by Charles A. Tan. Actual gulag tales there.

Clearly, we don’t mean anything that dramatic with bloc voting in the Hugos. One hopes.

For starters, there’s the obvious results-based approach. Let’s look at successful nominations this year:

Slate/List Successful Nominations Failed Nominations
Rabid Puppies (Slate) 55 12
Sad Puppies (Slate) 49 11
Aidan Moher (List) 8 34

Aidan’s list includes two Best Novel nominees, one Long Form nominee (shared with the puppies), one Best Pro Editor Short Form nominee, one Best Professional Artist nominee, and three Best Semiprozine nominees. What’s particularly interesting—and perhaps most compelling given how much of Aidan’s blog is about art—is that his sole Fan Artist nomination wasn’t on the final ballot at all. This was the sole puppy-free category, too.

A Better Measure of Influence: the MilliScalzi

Google ranks pages; Alexa ranks sites. Alexa ranks are used by all kinds of companies to measure influence. The ranking (lower is better) means: how many sites are more influential than you are?

In this case, the milliScalzi is defined as:

1000 * (Scalzi’s Alexa Rank) / (Your Alexa Rank)

Name Alexa Rank MilliScalzis
John Scalzi 84,424 1,000
Vox Day 86,085 981
Larry Correia 124,256 679
Brad Torgersen 199,682 423
Sarah Hoyt 238,721 354
John C. Wright 265,307 318
Mike Glyer / File 770 296,754 284
Aidan Moher 525,045 161
Deirdre Saoirse Moen 579,880 146

So, given that Aidan and I hang around in the same milliScalzi hood, I feel I can say about how much influence he had this year. Let’s put it this way: it only took 23 nominations to get on the fan artist ballot, and his nomination didn’t make it onto the list.

More Compelling Reasons I Don’t Consider Aidan’s List a Slate

  1. Aidan didn’t highlight his own work. Do I need to explain how the puppy slates differed in that regard?
  2. Aidan posted it on March 9th (though he’d posted novel thoughts earlier), and nominations closed less than a week later. The Sad Puppies 3 slate was posted at the beginning of February. While I could also see a case being made for people just nominating without reading, I believe the extra lead time is a significant factor.
  3. A slate with little to no effective conversions (in the marketing sense, by which I mean people taking action) is not a slate. Given that the fan artist influence didn’t push his candidate up and over, I think the “slate” argument is truly a non-starter.

Just to put this in perspective, here are my blog stats for that same period:

march9-15-stats

Still, I think it’s poor form to post one’s full nomination list if one has any significant influence—and Aiden having won a Hugo last year means he has some. There are bound to be hurt feelings about who was left out, even if they’d never say so. (And no, I’m not the least bit offended or hurt. I’m glad I’m not on the final ballot this year. I feel for my friends who are.)

Hugo Awards Nomination Ideas

I kind of like this one because I think it’ll take more pressure off people who feel they haven’t read the whole field.

  • One nomination per (some new member type) member per category;
  • Two nominations (currently 5) per supporting member per category;
  • Four nominations (currently 5) per attending member per category.

I think only having one or two things would feel less overwhelming for someone who hadn’t read as widely.

In Other News

In other news, Worldcon has a new gavel (which Rick suggested be named Grabthar’s Hammer), and master filker Tom Smith has a Sad Puppies filk. With a choir.

Puppy nominee Lou Antonelli calls me a Nazi after I tossed him off my blog. (Nazi screencap here.) Protip: when your opening paragraph asserts a position I do not hold and tries to argue with me about it, things will not go well for you.

My honest reaction was amusement: you think you’re a legitimately-nominated Hugo Award nominee for Best Short Story (and Best Related Work)—and that’s the best you’ve got? Really?

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Two Hugo Awards nominees who were on Sad Puppies and/or Rabid Puppies slates have withdrawn their works.

Annie Bellet, author of “Goodnight Stars,” nominated for Best Short Story, announced her withdrawal in a moving post, excerpted:

I want to make it clear I am not doing this lightly. I am not doing it because I am ashamed. I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on any “side,” though many friends have made cogent arguments for both keeping my nomination and sticking it out, as well as for retracting it and letting things proceed without me in the middle.

I am withdrawing because this has become about something very different than great science fiction. I find my story, and by extension myself, stuck in a game of political dodge ball, where I’m both a conscripted player and also a ball. (Wrap your head around that analogy, if you can, ha!) All joy that might have come from this nomination has been co-opted, ruined, or sapped away. This is not about celebrating good writing anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of what it has become.

I am not a ball. I do not want to be a player. This is not what my writing is about. This is not why I write. I believe in a compassionate, diverse, and inclusive world. I try to write my own take on human experiences and relationships, and present my fiction as entertainingly and honestly as I can.

I am proud of “Goodnight Stars.” I wrote a damn good story last year that a lot of people have enjoyed. I believe it could have maybe even won.

But it is not the last story I will write. It is not even the best story I will write. I have perhaps already written better stories this year. I will write better stories next year, and the year after, and for decades after that. I hope to be like Ray Bradbury and write every moment until I go gentle in that good night, pen in hand.

There will be other years and maybe other rockets. I don’t want to stand in a battlefield anymore. I don’t want to have to think over every tweet and retweet, every blog post, every word I say. I don’t want to cringe when I open my email. I don’t want to have to ask friends to google me and read things so that I can at least be aware of the stuff people might be saying in my name or against my name.

This is not why I write. This is not the kind of community I want to be a part of, nor the kind of award I want to win.

Incredibly moved by that post.

Marko Kloos, nominated for his novel Lines of Departure blogged about his withdawal:

It has come to my attention that “Lines of Departure” was one of the nomination suggestions in Vox Day’s “Rabid Puppies” campaign. Therefore—and regardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of “Lines of Departure” on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work.

Both are very honorable positions, and, no matter which way they had gone, they’d have both made friends and lost friends. I wish them both the very best.

John Scalzi on Hugo Conspiracies

Because of the kerfluffle over ineligible work, naturally it was pointed out that Scalzi’s Old Man’s War previously qualified for a Hugo Award, though it did not win, despite having first been serialized for the web.

Scalzi’s response is interesting. The tl;dr version is: the changes in the publishing landscape between then and now have changed what’s perceived as “publication.”

Scalzi wraps it up with this point:

What would I have done in 2006 if I had been disqualified from the Hugo ballot because OMW had been serialized on my Web site? I imagine I would have been very gravely disappointed and would have probably groused privately and possibly even publicly. Then I imagine I would have put on my own big kid pants and dealt with it. Because here’s a home truth: No one is owed a Hugo award, or a Hugo nomination. If you start thinking you are, you’re the problem, not the Hugos, their administrators, or anyone else who might have ever been nominated, or even been awarded, one of the rockets.

I don’t know, John, maybe this calls for your Universal Blame Accepter role. 😉

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

In the continuing saga of this year’s Hugo Awards, I discuss commentary from Connie Willis and J. Michael Straczynski.

Connie Willis writes about why she’s turned down the opportunity to present the Campbell Award this year:

I love the Hugos. I can still remember how thrilled I was the first time I was nominated for one. It was the fulfillment of a dream I’d had ever since I was thirteen and had opened up Heinlein’s HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL and fallen into the magical world of science fiction. I was nominated for a short story called “Daisy, in the Sun,” and I didn’t win–I lost to George R.R. Martin–but just being nominated and being there at the awards ceremony was more than enough, and then on top of that, I got to talk to Robert Silverberg and watch Damon Knight emcee and meet all these famous authors who were my heroes. It was one of the happiest nights of my life.

Since that first time, I’ve won Hugos, emceed the awards ceremony twice, and presented countless awards. I’ve handed Hugo Awards for all kinds of fiction to all kinds of authors, told them congratulations, beamed at them as they made their acceptance speeches, hugged them, and helped them down the dark stairs backstage afterwards. I’ve loved doing it. And I’ve loved everything else about the Hugos–the anticipation and the nervousness when you’re a nominee, the fun of bantering with George R.R. Martin and Mike Resnick and doing comedy routines with Robert Silverberg, the excitement of watching authors and artists you love be awarded for the work they do, and the joy of being in a room with thousands of other people who love science fiction as much as I do. I’ve adored every minute of it. Till now.

She continues, and I’d suggest you read her piece.

Personally, I can’t imagine being a presenter this year. Too fraught.

In a partial response, J. Michael Straczynski has a radical suggestion:

That being said, every indication is that this year the process was hijacked to a degree never before witnessed, if only because those involved seem to have made no pretense otherwise. They not only robbed the bank, they posted photos of the currency on Facebook and dared anyone to come and get it.

[…]

If, as many involved in Worldcon believe, the Hugos have been hijacked, if the slate of nominees to go out has been gamed in such a way that the Hugo vote and the awards themselves are not actually legitimate, then you have only one option.

Leave the relationship.

Cancel the Hugos.

If you, the organizers, genuinely feel that the Hugos this year are illegitimate, then why in god’s name are you handing out illegitimate awards?

My problem with that is that the Hugo Awards are consitutionally required by the WSFS constitution. The constitution takes two years to change, so changes initiated this year would need to be ratified next year, then become effective for 2017’s Hugo nominations and awards.

What is not constitutionally required is a Hugo Award ceremony.

Sure, that would hurt any legitimate winners (and the entire fan artist category in particular). But when I read Connie Willis’s piece, I wondered how many other people had been asked to be presenters and turned it down.

Instead, the winners as well as the nominator breakdowns could be circulated before the first business meeting. Or the second, so the old business could get out of the way in the first meeting.

Frankly, I don’t envy the senior members of Sasquan’s concom about now.

I can just hear con chair in memoriam Bobbie DuFault on the entire topic….

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Nepalese Sadhu man • Requires Hate, Hugo Awards, and Laura J. Mixon's nomination for Best Fan Writer

Nepalese Sādhu man in Kathmandu. Photo by dibrova

Note: the front half of this post was originally going to be separate from my post about the Best Fan Writer Hugo Award. Rick pointed out that the light opening could be seen as minimizing the subject, which was not my intent.

Is There a Statute of Limitations for Being an Ass on the Internet? (Or: Why I’m voting No Award first on the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer this year.)

Asking for a friend.

(That was a joke.)

Well, it both is and it isn’t, because I’ll bet those people who’ve known me for five-ten-twenty-more years remembered something of their own to wince about.

One of the Problems of the Internet

One of the special problems of the internet is that everything that’s a still-valid web page appears to be happening now. Save for obviously “ZOMG, how 90s” pages that call attention by their dated look and sixteen web-safe colors, things feel like they’re happening now, even when they’re not.

Sure, there are contextual clues in many pages—dates, technology choices, etc.

I’m not sure that changes the emotional weight of something feeling fresh and new, though.

Not long after I wrote my Laura J. Mixon piece on Requires Hate, I had a little nagging in my ear:

When did this happen?

Followed by questions like: am I punching down by signal boosting? Why didn’t I see what writers of color were saying about it before jumping on it?

By the time I returned to the land of real internet (instead of catching slight breezes of it in St. Vincent and the Grenadines), the initial furor had died down. I did read another piece (now gone) that made me think.

I didn’t do anything until February 8, when I added the update to the end. Almost a month later, I wrote this post. and got into several conversations about it, and updated that post accordingly.

Then the Hugo Award Nominees Were Announced

…after George R. R. Martin signal boosted that Laura J. Mixon should get the fan writer nomination, she does. Further, she’s the only fan writer standing after you take away the puppy slates’ nominees.

By the time the nominations were announced, I pretty much knew how I felt, though I didn’t really have a sense of how the actual nominations would unfold.

My Own Organizing Principles

These are some of my organizing principles, and it’s impossible to really discuss how I feel about Mixon’s post without them.

  1. I value people trying to live less hateful lives.
  2. I believe that people change for their own reasons, on their own time schedules. Which may be never.
  3. Not everyone will change for the better, and your definition (or mine) of “better” may be wrong.
  4. It’s not necessary (or even desirable) to forgive everyone who’s harmed you. It’s one’s own judgment whether that should happen.
  5. I believe shunning is evil, where shunning is defined as person A trying to encourage person B not to communicate with person C else sanctions will occur. I belonged to a cult that did shunning (Scientology) and I’m over it. Hence, I still have friends who dislike each other. Vehemently.

I’m not asking that my guiding principles be yours, but: I really believe in redemption and/or self-improvement.

I read this long piece from Abigail Nussbaum and I’m concurring—in the legal sense, meaning: I agree with her decision to rank Laura J. Mixon below No Award—but I disagree with Nussbaum’s reasons.

First, there is no question in my mind that Requires Hate/Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s behavior years ago was reprehensible. She agrees.

Second, there’s an obvious conflict of interest here: I was also eligible for best fan writer. One of the things I had to decide was whether or not I was going to nominate Mixon. In the end, I did not. So, regardless of how the nominations wound up, I’d made that choice before the nominee outcome was known.

Voting No Award for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer

My reasons, let me how you them.

  1. The events Mixon’s post mentions were, essentially, 3-10 years ago. Had they been contemporary, I’d have felt they were more relevant.
  2. Mixon’s post happened after Sriduangkaew started to get recognition and after Mamatas outed her.
  3. I disagree with Nussbaum that the topic isn’t sufficiently fannish.
  4. I agree that I think fan writer should be about a body of work and not a single post (says the person who got a quarter million hits for the best-known of my own posts last year). For a single post, Best Related Work is more relevant (as Kameron Hurley won for her “We Have Always Fought” piece).

Much of this information was available for years and only came to be posted because it affected a new writer’s career.

You know, the writing career that Sriduangkaew was now focusing on instead of harassing people.

Statute of Limitations

Most of us are never going to live the lives of a Sādhu, and I’m sure even they have moments they’re less than proud of. It’s entirely possible that some people become Sādhu because they’d done things far worse than you or I have.

The Internet allows us to hold onto hate longer and spread it farther, and that’s not always a good thing.

I don’t have an answer for what the statute of limitations should be for being an ass on the Internet. I’ll just say that the base federal (US) sentencing guidelines for involuntary manslaughter are 10-16 months.

For killing someone. (Not intentionally, obviously.)

Maybe we ought to think about this three-to-ten year thing.

No, this Does Not Mean

…that people who were harmed by Requires Hate / Winterfox should “get over it.” You have a right to feel however you feel.

I just question lowering the boom so long after the situation had changed so significantly.

Some may question: well, if that’s too late, what about Marion Zimmer Bradley?

I’ve heard no evidence that, at any point in her life, MZB felt any remorse about the part she took in raping children and allowing children to be raped (by her husband). Her only care was separating from him to reduce her financial liability. Also, half of that story (her as perp) had never been told until I broke it last year. Plus she’s dead, so it won’t affect her career, though it’s probably affected her heir and co-authors.

Nussbaum Nails How I Feel

In a later comment, Abigail Nussbaum added this, and it reflects my feelings:

My problem is with what the zeal of that exposure reveals about our community, and with the message that I think is sent by rewarding it. You and I obviously disagree about what that message is, and you may be right, but let me be clear again that we do not disagree about the harm that Sriduangkaew has caused.

Got Comments?

Respectful comments welcome. Legal threats, well, I’m in California and we have amazingly powerful anti-SLAPP laws here. (I mention this because of this comment on Abigail Nussbaum’s piece.)

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Hugo Awards: Puppyflation

(click to enlarge)

I thought I’d show, in chart form, what the year-over-year changes are in Hugo Awards nominations, substantially due to the sad puppies (and rabid puppies) voting.

This year, there were almost exactly 10% more Hugo nominations than last year. Last year, there was also a (substantially less successful) sad puppies slate.

The area charts are 2015, and the lines correspond to the Hugo Awards nominations in the same categories for 2014.

Sources: 2014 statistics and 2015 statistics.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

Update: Includes changes announced after initial nominations were announced. The only puppy-free slate changes are in the Best Novel and Best Novelette category. Ineligibility changes at File 770. Withdrawal changes at File 770.

Update 2: I’ve added those who withdrew after the final ballot into their respective categories below (because some people will be ranking choices after No Award and may wish to take these names into account). Also, for reference, here is the full ballot.

Follow, or don’t, your choice. If you are voting the strict ix-nay uppy-pay slate, here’s the options in each category:

Best Novel

Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)
(in whichever order, followed by No Award)

Best Novella

No Award

Best Novelette

The Day The World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
No Award

Best Short Story

No Award

Best Related Work

No Award

Best Graphic Story

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
Saga Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
(in whichever order, followed by No Award)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)
(all other nominees were part of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. Suggest following the above two, either order, with No Award)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Doctor Who: “Listen”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
(all other nominees were part of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. Suggest following the above two, either order, with No Award)

Best Editor, Short Form

No Award
Withdrew: Edmund R. Schubert

Best Editor, Long Form

No Award

Best Professional Artist

Julie Dillon
(followed by No Award)

Best Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison, editor-in-chief
(followed by No Award)

Best Fanzine

Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Lynda E. Rucker, Pete Young, Colin Harris, and Helen J.Montgomery
(followed by No Award)
Withdrew: Black Gate, edited by John O’Neill

Best Fancast

Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman
(followed by No Award)

Best Fan Writer

Laura J. MixonExcept Mixon also campaigned for a Hugo Award with emotional blackmail language, which IMHO makes her no better than the Puppies.
(followed by No Award)

Best Fan Artist

This is the only puppy-free category (as it wasn’t on their slate)! Congrats to the nominees!
Ninni Aalto
Brad W. Foster
Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo)

Wesley Chu
(followed by No Award)

You’re free to comment, but if you’re going to send hate comments, I’m just going to block you from commenting ever.

Note: After posting this, Rick told me later about this File 770 post, which analyzes the issue differently and compares the Sad/Rabid Puppies slates.

Related

Sir Pterry declined his nomination in 2005. Many of the comments are interesting too, including the one that J. K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett trailed just behind John Scalzi and Charles Stross in 2008.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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delphinium-700

I posted something in November in haste, and I regret breaking one of my own rules in doing so.

That rule is: rely on your own research when calling people out.

Another thing I’ve become aware of since the Marion Zimmer Bradley story: I actually have a significant platform and need to be careful how I wield it.

Further, we were on sippy cup internet that week (like GPRS every once in a while) and, by the time we got back to normal internet, much of the context was already lost. So it wasn’t that easy to go back and see what happened.

Then a writer of color linked to a piece on the subject that made me think I’d been backing the wrong horse. But it needed research and I was sick, so I put it off. Sadly, that piece has since disappeared, as has another piece it pointed to.

I then added an update to this original post, but didn’t amplify it further, because I wasn’t sure what to say.

So I’m left with a gnarly mess where most of what I really need in order to get the big picture—is incomplete and temporally inconvenient.

Then I Got Called Out on Twitter

First, let me say this: it’s always appropriate to call me out. I’m pointed and direct, so that can be intimidating, but I will always respect it.

So:

  1. I should not have jumped to conclusions based on a single source.
  2. It’s one thing posting things one’s unfamiliar with if they happen to be objective fact, but quite another when it’s not.

  3. I should know better after STGRB in particular that sometimes groups have ironic names.

  4. In general, I try to stay out of drawing conclusions based on what people are have alleged to have done, and instead try to focus on what happened. I didn’t do that, either.

I’m left with the distinctly discomfiting feeling that I should know more about what happened than I do.

I apologize to all I’ve hurt in this, directly and indirectly.

Update: Some Points of Clarification

  1. I didn’t mean to imply that Laura Mixon relied solely on one source. I meant that I had.
  2. This is not a recanting of my prior post. This is an, “I feel an obligation to look into this further because I posted about it in haste and therefore have a duty to the subject matter. And people.” Please don’t assume I’m taking a particular side. I’m simply going to do what I should have done before posting: look and listen.

  3. My usual way of working when there are disparate stories is to start from the position that all people are telling the truth as they know it, and that disparities of information are a part of almost all conflict.

  4. This is big and gnarly and I have a chronic spoon shortage. I may be at this for quite some time, and I’m not starting on it for two weeks.

  5. I believe that pseudonymous and anonymous speech are important, but I believe they can (and should) have limits, too. (Here are some recent US court rulings on anonymous speech.)

  6. I don’t know that I can be impartial (ever, not just in this situation), but I always try to be fair.

  7. To the extent possible, I’ll rely on first-hand information.

(There’s more I wanted to say, but I’m just amazingly tired and in pain, and I need sleep too badly.)

If you wish to comment anonymously here, others have used an email address of anon@anon.com. It’s always moderated, and moderation may take a day or two over the next couple of weeks. Obviously, I get your IP address, but I have no intention of using it.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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larry-niven

SFWA’s just announced that Larry Niven is the newest SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Larry’s always been one of the more approachable big name writers. He and his wife Fuzzy often appear at conventions, especially in the Los Angeles area.

I remember when I first met him in person, back as an awe-struck twenty-something. My boyfriend and I were in Santa Rosa at a con in 1982. I had a dealer’s table selling game supplies, and he and Jerry Pournelle and their wives came by, pausing at my table to say hello.

Fuzzy wore a button that said, “Big Fan of Larry Niven.” Jerry’s wife didn’t wear a button, but Jerry wore one that said, “Big Fan of Jerry Pournelle.” Years later, it still makes me laugh.

I’m in an Anthology with Larry Niven

My short story, “A Sword Called Rhonda,” appeared in a collection that Larry Niven’s also in. Honestly? That was a big thrill for me.

About the Award

I’ve always wanted one of these. It does definitely mean I’ve gotten old. I’ve been publishing fiction for more than fifty years now. I’m convinced I picked the right career.” ~Larry Niven

Another Funny Larry Niven Anecdote

Larry can be incredibly quick witted. A lot of funny writers, well, we have to work at it over time. Larry’s written some amazingly funny stuff, including “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”, about the problems of Superman having sex with human women.

A few years ago, I happened to be at a convention waiting for an elevator at the same time Larry was. I can’t remember why I had a bunch of “I’m not Jay Lake” ribbons, but I offered Larry one.

He declined, saying, “But I am Jay Lake.”

“Oh?”

“It’s an office, not a person.”

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Ice Flowers

Ice Flowers, by Thom Bouman

Folks, I was really hoping that I’d have this by the 31st, but I’m going to need to slip a few days on that because I have the flu.

I’ve needed 12+ hours of sleep a day (one day, I slept 14-1/2 hours straight!), and I still have sooooooooo much to do it’s not funny. (Have you heard about my new t-shirts yet? No. I’ve been that busy.)

I’m changing my deadline to Feb 4th, but that’s assuming my sleep schedule gets less overwhelming.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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For those who don’t know, Requires Hate was a book reviewer—of sorts. And so much more. Laura J. Mixon analyzes.

In many other situations book reviewers are simply and only book reviewers, e.g., this review and set of progress comments from Blythe that led to Kathleen Hale’s self-admitted stalking, leading to the #HaleNo backlash.

Here’s RHB’s MO:

Using one of her pseudonyms, RHB begins chatter about a writer or a social-justice topic on her blog, a forum such as LiveJournal, or on Twitter. She uses increasingly obscene and insulting language against her target(s). This is done to goad the target (or their supporters, or a particular community) into responding sharply. In their responses RHB finds words or phrases she can re-cast as misogynistic, homophobic, racist, or colonialist (sometimes they actually are those things, but for her purposes it doesn’t matter).

For instance, rachelmanija, a commenter on the Livejournal community 50 Books POC, told Requires Hate (as Winterfox) that it was inappropriate to call Chinese-American author Cindy Pon a “stupid fuck.” Rachelmanija added that the standards at 50 Books POC were different from those of 4chan (a community where anything goes). In response, Requires Hate accused rachelmanija of being racist and implying that Winterfox was a Nazi, because 4chan was a cesspit of Nazis and white supremacists.

Often RHB will then begin to pursue the person she has decided to target, issuing multiple vituperative posts or death threats on blogs they frequent, and/or on Twitter, and/or in the online forum where she first targeted them. She then erases—at the very least—the most violent and abusive comments and posts, leaving the target reeling but with no visible proof that the threat occurred. Often, she deletes everything. Therefore not many screencaps of her worst abuses exist.

However, I received numerous screencaps that had been recovered by her targets or witnesses, and I was also able to obtain copies of a portion of RHB’s now-deleted content via The Wayback Machine. In addition, I received independent emails from both targets and witnesses confirming the substance of the death, rape, maiming, and dismemberment threats RHB has been accused of.

I believe reviews are sacrosanct. However, I believe stalking and threats are not.

Much like Kathleen Hale, Requires Hate is a case where she was doing the stalking, then ironically accusing the other party of doing so.

As Mixon documents, her targets have been largely of color and women, two groups that are already under-represented.

Therefore, as far as award consideration goes, Benjanun Sriduangkaew unfortunately goes in the Sin Bin along with a handful of others. I won’t nominate for awards, and the Sin Binners will be the last I read for award consideration (and not just in that category; on the entire ballot). I still believe the work stands alone, so if I genuinely think it ranks first, that’s where I’ll vote it. That’s never happened so far, though.

Our genre has always had a soft spot for sharp-tongued souls. The person who speaks embarrassing truths has an honored—if discomfiting—place at the dinner table, in our SFF Island of Misfit Toys.

I honor such people (and in fact am one of them)—but only up to a point.

Update

At one point, I read a post about the Requires Hate controversy from the perspective of a writer or reader of color, and it was interesting, and, after reading it, I felt guilty linking to the above without also amplifying a voice of color’s perspective on it. I was traveling at the time, and I appear not to have saved the link. (I remember it being tweeted by Naamen Tilahun, but attempts to look at his Twitter stream don’t go back far enough.)

However, I found this thoughtful post from K. Tempest Bradford, so I’m linking to that, as it brings up one of the points I’d been feeling guilty about with respect to this specific controversy.

In general, I have not been receipt gathering. I value the people who do that work, it’s just not something I think to do. But I shouldn’t have piled on without digging deeper, either. I try to do my own research, and when I can’t, I try to limit my commentary to the part of a controversy I actually understand. This is a case where I exceeded that. I think it’s valuable for me to preserve what I originally wrote, but also valuable for me to fess up.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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Reading Audiobooks

For years, I never really thought about what verb to use when reading audiobooks. I discuss my shift in verb usage from “listen” to “read.”

Mary Robinette notes some good things for the future of audio-first books:

Last year, she was disqualified for Best Novelette in last year’s Hugo Awards because it was audio first and the posted story on her blog had some small staging directions. Thus, the administrators ruled it would qualify in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Sadly, it lacked the number of votes to make the nominating cutoff in that particular category.

This year, it was published on Tor.com and won Best Novelette.

A few months ago, I had a conversation on Twitter with Colter Reed. He said he’d “read” an audiobook, and the usage stuck out to me.

Audiobooks are really taking off, and a lot of people read them. (See what I did there?)

I’ve moved away from them myself, for various reasons, mostly that I tend to remember books better when I read them by eye rather than ear.

I’m very aware, as my very literate father’s eyesight has degraded, that reading a book with one’s eyes is a privilege not everyone has.

Some people prefer audiobooks for other reasons, like making a long commute easier.

Still, it’s a book—or a story—and we “read” those.

Accordingly, my usage of the term “read” has changed.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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The Hugo Awards

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.

In light of my changing feelings over the Hachette/Amazon battle and reminders of same like this Salon piece, I’m changing the reading order for this year’s Best Novel Hugo nominees, putting the Hachette authors first.

Because I support Hachette in their game of chicken against Amazon.

My usual method for reading the Hugo novel nominees is: read first chapters until I get to a book I can’t put down, then finish that. Then either read other first chapters or pick which one I liked next best from the first chapters. Lather, rinse, repeat until we’re all out of time or until I’m done.

I now have all the books.

Also, in my prior piece, a badly worded sentence, when taken without surrounding context, said that I was going to vote something last.

I vote on what I’ve read. If I haven’t read it, I don’t vote for (or against) it. I also don’t vote things higher or lower because I like or dislike the author or what they’ve said. That may affect the order in which I read things, but it doesn’t affect how I vote directly. It does indirectly in that I may not get to certain authors’ works in light of my current workload.

Hope that’s clearer, because I actually felt bad that I’d failed so spectacularly until called out on that sentence.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

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