Just an additional note on the 20booksto50K Nebula not-a-slate

This is more for completeness and general curiosity. An earlier post on the same Facebook group was posted in November last year:

“Jonathan Brazee shared a link. 16 November 2018 SFWA MEMBERS (Associate and Active) (Message approved by Craig)
Nominations are now open for the Nebulas. You can nominate five in each category. Indies have not fared so well in the awards, with only one work making the ballot last year. It probably takes 20 nominations to make the ballot, so there are certainly enough indies who have read each others’ works and can nominate. We can’t–and shouldn’t–have a slate to get an indie work the actual award, but we can get indie works visibility to that other members might notice them and read them. Then, let the chips fall as they may, and may the best story win, indie or trad. Below is a list of indie works or trad works from 20Books members taken from the Nebula Reading list. I have probably missed some, so please, let me know so I can add them. I will be repeating this effort later on. If you don’t want to nominate now, then please give support in the reading list. The more recommendations each work gets, the better the visibility. My feeling is that if a work is generally good, I’ll give it my thumbs up. For the nominations themselves, I will nominate the five stories I liked the best from the list. If you are ready to nominate, you can go to: https://www.sfwa.org/forum/ballots/ You can change your nominations up Feb 15. If you just want to give some thumbs up for now, you can go to: https://www.sfwa.org/forum/reading/ OK, now for the list I’ve gleaned so far:
A Fiery Sunset Chris Kennedy
A Light in the Dark AK Duboff
Bound By Law Terry Mixon
Fringe War Rachel Aukes
Hidden Enemies Terry Mixon
Integration Jonathan Brazee
Masters of Fate AK Duboff
Quantum Civil War Stephen Aresenault
The Human Experiment Kevin McLaughlin and Craig Martelle
The Lost Ranger CW Lamb
The Moons of Barsk Lawrence Schoen
The Other Marilyn Peake
The Terra Gambit Terry Mixon
Today’s Spacemage Timothy Ellis
Yesterday’s Spacemage Timothy Ellis
Fire Ant Jonathan Brazee
Invasion Lawrence Schoen and Jonathan Brazee
Messenger R.R. Virdi and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne
The Squad: Orion’s Belt Stephen Arsenault
Unexpected Bounty Terry Mixon
Short Story
A Galactic Affair Craig Martelle
Dirty Dreams of a Dishwasher Robert Jeshonek
Driverless Robert Jeshonek
Here Be Dragons Lindsay Buroker
Interview for the End of the World Rhett Bruno
One Last Battle Timothy Ellis
Queens Iris . . . Jason Ansbach
Scrapyard Ship Felix Strange
The Gordian Asteroid Chris Dietzel
The Spike Nathan Mutch
The Stars so Black, The Space so White Robert Jeshonek
Where no Furry Has Gone Before Robert Jeshonek
Please consider supporting the indie works you like at least with the reading list. Then go with your heart for the nominations and actual vote.”



Discovery: Sound of Thunder S2:E6

Last week Cora noted that once you thought about the episode it all fell apart. This week the fragility of the story is even more manifest. If you shut down any thought of the moral, social and political implications of what happens and just sit back and enjoy the ride, it’s not at all bad. Doug Jones takes the lead in a Saru centred story and he is always fun to watch. We also get the continuation of the Episode 4 story line as well as the pre-season 2 ‘Short Trek’ story ‘The Brightest Star’ (well worth watching prior to this episode).

Yeah, but. No. Sorry, this was bollocks. However, spoilers must be heralded, so do not click below unless you are prepared.

General order 1 forbids spoilers!

The Nebulas & 20booksto50, not-a-nudge-nudge-slate

The SWFA’s Nebula award finalists have been announced http://file770.com/2018-nebula-awards-nominees and Cora Buhlert has an interesting analysis here: http://corabuhlert.com/2019/02/21/some-thoughts-on-the-2018-nebula-award-finalists/

Cora notes the presence of several nominees associated with the 20booksto50 group. I discussed this group last year after they received several finalist positions in the Dragon Awards. The group is centered on helping indie writers write and promote their books and notable figures in the group are Craig Martelle, Michael Anderle and Jonathan Brazee.

So was there a 20bboksto50 slate? Well, they have a closed Facebook group but it’s not a particularly mysterious group or highly exclusive and I don’t thing it is a secret (but perhaps not well known) that they’ve had a recommended reading list for the Nebulas for a few years.

Here’s a screenshot of the start of the relevant post this year (I’ll post the text further on).


Where the “this is not a slate” looks more than a tad disingenuous is the asterisks next to some works based on number of recommendations which effectively singles out some works as a particular focus. Brazee also notes about the YA entry on their list “Last year, there weren’t six books that achieved the minimum required ten noms, so there were only four books on the ballot. If ten people have read her book, liked it, and nominate it before COB Friday, then it will probably make the final ballot.”

    • Integration** Jonathan Brazee
    • The Human Experiment* Kevin McLaughlin and Craig Martelle
    • Fringe War Rachel Aukes
    • A Light in the Dark AK Duboff
    • A Fiery Sunset Chris Kennedy
    • The Other Marilyn Peake
    • The Terra Gambit Terry Mixon
    • Jurassaic Jail Bill Webb
    • Dodging Fate Zen DiPietro
    • Fire Ant ** Jonathan Brazee (Nebula Finalist)
    • The Continuum Wendy Nikel
    • Star Brigade: Inheritance C.C. Ekeke
    • Messenger** R.R. Virdi and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne (Nebula Finalist)
    • The Rule of Three** Lawrence Schoen (Nebula Finalist)
    • Here Be Dragons* Lindsay Buroker
    • The Squad: Orion’s Belt * Stephen Arsenault
    • Unexpected Bounty Terry Mixon
    • CASPer’s Widow J. R. Handley
    • Interview for the End of the World Rhett Bruno (Nebula Finalist)
    • Queens Iris . . . Jason Anspach
    • A Galactic Affair Craig Martelle
    • Scrapyard Ship Felix Savage
    • Driverless Robert Jeshonek
    • Going Dark Richard Fox
    • The Spike Nathan Mutch
    • A Light in the Dark, AK DuBoff (Amy DuBoff) (Nebula Finalist)

Slate? Not a slate? Is it an issue if it is? Some of those questions depend on the culture of the award. The Dragon Award is 100% fine with this approach and the Hugo voters would see it as an anathema. I’m not a SWFA member, so it’s not my call to make regarding the Nebulas.

[ETA: Also see Nicholas Whyte’s analysis here https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3165861.html ]

After the fold is the full text of the not-a-slate:

No slates down here…no siree

There’s been some Dragon Award progress

After my last post about the Dragon Award website, I sent the gist of the post as an email to the email addresses I had for the awards. I’ve not had a reply and it may be a coincidence but some of the issues have been fixed:

Getting to the nomination page is still circuitous. Find the 2017 “Nominations are now live” news post and that has a link to this year’s nomination page. They’ve also fixed the first sentence which now says “Welcome to the annual Dragon Awards” instead of “Welcome to the third annual Dragon Awards”. The register to vote page still has the old sentence though.

Captain Marvel versus the Trolls

Multiple news sources are covering that the new (and as yet unseen) Captain Marvel movie is being review-bombed by right wing trolls. The amount of coverage of this has itself increased just in the past few hours but this link seems to be one of the first articles on it: https://comicbook.com/marvel/2019/02/19/captain-marvel-rotten-tomatoes-fake-reviews-sabotage/

I’d actually thought about writing about how the alt-right campaign against the film had started to warm up the other day after seeing our old-pal Vox Day jump on the bandwagon (archive link)…but didn’t because I’m lazy and/or got distracted. What I can offer instead of an amazingly insightful prediction that obnoxious misogynists are about to be misogynistic obnoxiously is some graphs!

I grabbed the review data from Rotten Tomatoes so that I can show graphically the influx of reviews. Unfortunately, I would have liked to show another film for comparison but it’s hard to get a like for like. The nearest equivalent with a similar release date and no pre-screening reviews yet is Disney’s live action version of Dumbo. That has only one page of user reviews/comments so far, as opposed to Captain Marvel’s six pages but I don’t think it is a like-for-like in terms of organic interest.

Here’s the first graph for Captain Marvel. It’s a running total of comments over time. It’s a longgggg time axis because the first comment is from 2015! Rotten Tomatoes (and similar sites) create entries for movies that have been announced even before production begins.

Interest (mainly positive but some negative) starts picking up from last July and subsequent trailers lead to more comments (again some positive and some negative). Some of the coverage of this troll attack is focused on the absurdity of people rating films that haven’t been seen yet but at this point, it is technically Rotten Tomatoes allowing people to say whether they are “Not interested” or “Want to see it”. Some of the comments are literally spam and some of the earlier comments are anti-Disney etc.

The next graph zooms in to the last few months:

There’s a spike of comments in February. Obviously some of that is an inevitable increase as the release date gets closer but the more overt hate comments really ramp up. The worst include comments about the lead actress (Brie Larson) being hit by a bus. The length of the comments also increase in the form of what are best called rants:

“Why Marvel decided to cast a very vocal racist and sexist aimed at white males, I’ll never know. If Robert Downey Jr. started saying that he didn’t care about the opinions of 40 year old white chicks and he doesn’t want to be interviewed by a white woman as its not inclusive enough, people would lose their minds. His career would be over, branded a racist and sexist, attacked in the media and his legacy tarnished. As a white male, I will not be supporting this or any other movie that stars Brie Larson. They say that Captain Marvel will be the new face of the MCU? As the villain because she certainly isn’t a her-o. “

How many is it though? Well, one comment anticipating somebody dying in a bus accident is one too many but for a sense of scale it’s about 14 comments over the past 10 days that are of the ‘arrghh SJWs! Feminazi!’ style crap. It’s not a huge number and the spike shown above is inflated by other people querying why there are so many anti comments for a film nobody has seen yet.

It’s a reasonable assumption that this is just the start though.

Timothy the Talking Cat reads “Ender’s Game”

Oh, this is one of my very best favourites! It’s a retelling of the famous fairy tale “the three little pigs” but instead of pigs, it is people and they are called “Wiggins”. People can be cute and funny in fairy tales too, not just pigs and goats and magic porridge pots.

So once upon a time there were three human children who lived in a cruel and cynical world. Everybody was fighting each other or fighting the space alien bugs from Starship Troopers. The bugs were really scary and are all like “we were in a really famous science-fiction story”.

The Three Little Wiggins were:

  • Peter: who is the hero and is basically the cat in this story but its a fairy tale so you make-believe that he is a human.
  • Valentine: who is Peter’s sister but a bit soft like a stupid puppy.
  • Ender: who is the snotty youngest brother. I don’t know why he is in the title. Maybe because “Peter is really smart” is a bit obvious.

So one day, Peter is bored with killing small mammals (and don’t we all get like that sometimes) and he says to Valentine: “Let’s use the internet to take over the world by arguing really well.” and Valentine is like “Sure, we are the best at arguing but let’s argue opposite sides.” “Sure thing!” says Peter. “Can I help!” says Ender (probably – this happens off screen I think) and the older kids are like “No, you are bad at arguing and just a snotty kid. Get lost and do something else.”

So Ender goes to battle school instead which is basically phys-ed and video games. Ender beats up some kids and then after that, he just plays video games because he is a loser. “Stop monopolising the TV with your video games!” is what Peter should have said but he doesn’t because he is on the internet being THE BEST at arguing on the internet. “I’m the best at arguing on the internet!” says Peter using his super secret internet troll name. “No, you are not!” says Valentine in a brilliant riposte. Everybody in the future is impressed by this because they’ve never seen two anonymous people arguing on the internet before.

People are SO totally impressed by how good the two of them are at arguing that eventually the whole world decides to make Peter King of the universe. “Yay!” says Peter, who built his house out of bricks. And he lives happily ever after.

Meanwhile, Ender accidentally commits genocide. “Ooops!” he says. Well that’s what happens if you spend all your time playing video games, which is the moral of the story. Any way he is sad because he wasted all that time playing video games instead of studying. “What am I going to do now!” says Ender, “I’ve got no qualifications, no marketable skills, and my only life experience is beating up kids and playing video games! What POSSIBLE career is open to someone like me?” Then Valentine shows up and she is very smart but not as smart as Peter and she says “You sound like you are perfectly qualified to be a WRITER!” Ender is like “Wow! I’m going to write a book about how those aliens I 100% murdered were really nice and also a book about how my brother Peter is great and totally misunderstood even though he is a psychopath.” Meanwhile Peter is really old because of relativity and stuff. Then Ursula Le Guin shows up and says “Did you steal my ansible?”

The End

Sunday Beer: Golden Spiral Fibonacci Hopped Ale

I had some Garage Project beers in Wellington last year and I’ve found a source for them in Australia now. Here’s a gimmicky beer which claims to use the Fibonacci sequence somehow. I only drank one. If I had drunk another one, I would then have to drink two more, then three more, then five more. Soon I’d spiral out of control.