(For the record, 26 May, 1988
August 29, 1997 (suspect this one will tip several people off... got sunblock?)
12 June, 2070
October 23, 2077 (my favourite)
 Arguable! But it's Thursday, 26th of May, which I believe makes 1988 the most likely guess.
• "Accurately" is relative to my own writing goals and not a requirement for everyone in the world to write the character the same way I do!
• I'm off on holiday in c. 24 hours so there may be a cut-off with delayed responses after that.
My fics can be found here.
I won’t be able to get all of the retro-Hugo material read before the closing date for voting (I’ve had health problems which mean my ability to concentrate has been diminished, and which also mean that I sadly won’t be able to vote for the Campbells, which I consider more important than the retro-Hugos) but I thought I’d at least get the short fiction done. I’ll review the novelettes tomorrow.
As always, these are ranked from best to worst.
Who Goes There? by John Campbell (writing as Don A Stuart) — this has to win, of course. It’s incredibly flawed as a piece of writing, between the lengthy passages of scientific exposition and the attempts at writing like Lovecraft (a clear influence on the story) with lines like “Nothing Earth ever spawned had the unutterable sublimation of devastating wrath that thing let loose in its face when it looked around this frozen desolation twenty million years ago.” And the ending is a massive cop-out.
But still… this is a great story. It’s lost a lot of its power through imitation, but here in this story of a thing from outer space frozen in the Antarctic, thawed out millions of years later, and taking over the bodies of the scientists at the base in such a way that none know who is human and who is alien, we have the basis not only of the three films that have been directly based on it (The Thing From Another World, the 1980s film The Thing and the 2011 film The Thing), but also much of Philip K Dick’s work, almost every Patrick Troughton Doctor Who story… even as recently as 2011 I voted for Peter Watts’ short story The Things in the Hugos, and that was just a (wonderful) inversion of this story.
Much like, say, Frankenstein, this is a story that has lost a lot of its power because the things it did first have been done better since, but one that still works well enough to show just how impressive it must have been seventy-five years ago.
A Matter Of Form by Horace L Gold — this reads like a story from the fifties, not the thirties. This is unsurprising — Gold was one of two editors (Fred Pohl was the other) who moved SF on in the fifties from John Campbell’s 1940s hard SF into something more literary. Which isn’t to say that this is itself literature — it’s full of stock characters talking in ways that no human would in order either to impart information to the reader or to cause otherwise improbable plot events — but there’s a slickness and readability here that’s lacking from most 30s SF.
The Time Trap by Henry Kuttner — Kuttner was a very good writer! But not this early in his career! This is a good old-fashioned pulp yarn! Clearly influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs! With plenty of exclamation marks and Barsoomisms! He would get much better! Once he started collaborating with his wife! In a year or two’s time!
Sleepers Of Mars by John Wyndham — normally I wouldn’t rank this, as I haven’t been able to track down a copy, and while I did read it when I was a child (when I read everything Wyndham ever wrote) I don’t remember it particularly fondly. However, I wanted to make sure I could vote something else last.
Anthem by Ayn Rand — this is filth. It’s better written than some of the other storiess here, but all the more reason to rank it the lowest of the low. Rand’s “philosophy” is codified sociopathy, and everything she ever wrote was intended to turn people into sociopaths. In all too many cases, she succeeded. Filth.
Tagged: hugo blogging, hugos, hugos 2014, retro-hugos
Wickedly Dangerous [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] is the first book in a new paranormal romance series from debut novelist Deborah Blake, coming out in five weeks on September 2, and it’s a lot of fun. From the publisher:
Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.
But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.
Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…
As some of you might know, I have a bit of a weakness for updated/retold fairy and folk tales, so seeing Baba Yaga brought into the 21st century with an enchanted Airstream trailer (complete with a fridge that at any given time might contain anything from baked chicken to an endless supply of cherry pie), a dragon disguised as a big old pit bull, and a load of magic, was pretty much guaranteed to draw me in.
Barbara is a great protagonist, powerful and compassionate, but also a bit out-of-touch with her human side. That happens when you spend most of your life moving about, hanging out with the supernatural, and never building any long-term relationships with mortals. Her love interest, Liam, was engaging as well, being a small-town sheriff with a good heart and some romantic/emotional scars, dealing with the double-barreled crap gun of corrupt politics and a case he’s not equipped to understand. They make a good team, and Blake definitely creates some good chemistry between them.
I winced a little at the treatment of Liam’s ex-wife. She’s quite broken, and at times it felt like she was there more as a plot device than as an actual character.
It looks like each book in the series will follow a different Baba Yaga, which I like. It means the book has a satisfying ending and a full plot arc, but also promises more to come. The epilogue sets up the next book, Wickedly Wonderful, which comes out in December 2014 and tells the story of Beka Yancy.
Wickedly Dangerous is a fun, fast-paced read with heroic protagonists, a clear battle of Good vs. Evil, love and romance, a happy ending, and a lot of nice little details. And also a dog-dragon. (Yes, I really like Chudo-Yudo.)
More info is available on Blake’s website.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Our co-blogger and comrade Corey Robin has been arrested at the Israeli mission to the UN, 800 Second Avenue (at 42nd Street), for committing civil disobedience in protest at the Israeli actions in Gaza. Respect to Corey for his courage and we hope he is released and home before too long.
I wanted to take on a small personal project. One that involved a commitment but not difficult and that involved something I already enjoy. Photography felt like a good option given I always feel I should do it more, and so having spotted a retweet from someone doing a One Photo a Day challenge it seemed like a good idea.
I love photography but just don’t feel I have the technical skill to achieve what I see in my mind when I look at something. No doubt some time soon I will do a photography course to help me learn that part, but one simple thing I can do, and something all the professionals recommend, is to just keep taking photographs. One Photo a Day feels a good way to help make that happen. Many photographers say you should always carry a camera with you, well I do, but only in the form of my phone. I simply can’t carry my usual DSLR with me to work and everywhere else I go. So a less good quality and harder to achieve my aims phone camera it will have to be.
So what is the One Photo a Day going to be about? Well some days I already take lots of photos and it’s also not unusual for me to tweet ad hoc photos as I think it makes tweets more interesting, but the difference with this project is that I’ll try and take one photo of something that sums up my day or life in general or just something interesting or curious that I stumbled on. It’s one photo that means something rather than just an illustration to accompany a tweet or as a series of things in a photographing splurge. Sometimes I might be arty and other days it may just be something mundane. But most of all it has to be relevant to that day.
For some time now I’ve had the Instagram app on my phone but I’ve never used it. I remember one person being really surprised that I didn’t use it but I’d never seen the point given you can tweet photos or put them on Flickr, depending on what you are trying to achieve. But Instagram feels really appropriate for this project. It feels pure and simple. Just about the photo and nothing else.
So tonight I made a start and took this photo. It’s a view I see every day on my commute to and from work and so pretty much sums up every day. It’s from the Stockport Viaduct over the Mersey valley looking roughly East over the town centre towards the Pennines and on clear days you can see for miles.
If you’re interested in seeing how it goes then do follow me on Instagram although I will also tweet a link to it every day.
Home of the web’s best political conversation
Why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.
If you’re a lurker, it’ll be a Tragedy if you don’t delurk, I’m sure your contributions won’t be Better Best Forgotten, I hope at least 5,6,7,8 lurkers delurk.
The round up of recent events (click on the links below, and it will bring up the relevant link)
- Why Cameron’s crackdown on immigrant benefits won’t help the Tories. The PM is fuelling the perception that “benefit tourism” is a problem while still allowing himself to be outflanked by Ukip.
- Jowell retakes lead in Labour London Mayor poll – but race is still wide open
- Boris Johnson refuses to say if he plans to stand as MP in 2015. London mayor dodges questions on BBC’s World at One about whether he plans to re-enter parliament and combine two jobs
- Why Ed Miliband’s public image matters
- The Tories attack Miliband because they’ve got no decent policies
- Labour needs to make common cause with left-wing Lib Dem supporters to win in 2015
- Old debts put Labour still deep in the red, Opposition party owes more than all its rivals
- Tories to announce “tens of thousands” increase in membership at party conference.
- McBride back to attack a Labour leader? Old habits die hard
- Why Labour loves Andy Burnham, Burnham’s NHS brief gives him high-priest status, but it is the man himself who commands loyalty from the Labour faithful
- Bankers should take a Hippocratic oath to restore virtue to the financial sector
- The rich want us to believe their wealth is good for us all. As the justifications for gross inequality collapse, only the Green party is brave enough to take on the billionaires’ boot boys
- Why patriotic Scots will be voting No. The question of the referendum is not “could Scotland be independent?”, but “why should it be?”
- How to win an argument on Twitter
- Life after a nuclear war revealed: Computer models reveal Earth would suffer a 20-year-long winter and worldwide famine. Researchers from Colorado studied the effects of nuclear conflict on Earth
- British inventor builds giant ‘fart machine’ to fire at France (hat-tip RobD)
- Model of Richard III looks more like a storm trooper, say experts
- The British Empire is ‘something to be proud of’
- This gentleman won’t be making any more outrageous predictions and bets in the future.
- Today is the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Kleidion, Basil II who became henceforth known as The Bulgar Slayer.
- Twenty-six years ago today, Paddy Ashdown became Liberal Democrat Leader, here’s what the Guardian wrote at the time.
Transcript is below the video!
Conor Oberst, frontman for the band Bright Eyes, was last year accused of raping a woman. The woman, named Joanie Faircloth, posted a comment on an XOJane article claiming that Oberst raped her after a concert on her 16th birthday.
Oberst said he was innocent, and filed a defamation lawsuit against Faircloth. A year later, Faircloth has publicly apologized and admitted she made the story up for attention.
Oberst accepted her apology and generously dropped the defamation lawsuit.
This has reignited several tired male supremacist talking points, including the idea that false rape accusations are common, that feminists deny the fact that false rape accusations occur, and that false rape accusations occur when women have sex they regret. These have all been debunked before elsewhere, but apparently male supremacists haven’t been listening, so let’s give it another go.
First, are false rape accusations common?It’s obviously difficult for researchers to get a precise percentage here, but methodologically rigorous studies estimate that 2-8% of reports are false. In fact, the US Department of Justice uses the figure of 2%.
But reports aren’t the same as accusations…many false reports of rape are those in which the victim doesn’t name the supposed rapist or even give a specific description of them. So the number of false accusations is actually considerably lower than 2-8%.
That means that if you were to make a habit out of always believing a person who says they were raped, you would be wrong approximately 2 times out of 100. If, however, you always believed the person being accused of rape, you would be wrong about 98 times out of 100.
You can improve your odds, of course, by not automatically believing one party or the other. When evaluating a rape claim, you can use those research statistics to know that it’s extremely likely that the victim is telling the truth. You can then evaluate the information you have about the assault to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to doubt the report.
The National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women has a great document describing much of the research into false reports, and they include some potential indicators. These include a report of the perpetrator being a stranger or an unnamed, vaguely described acquaintance, a report that the victim fought back as hard as they could, a perpetrator that uses a weapon or serious physical violence, a report that is solely about penis-in-vagina penetration, or a report that closely mimics another highly publicized rape.
The victim’s history can come into play as well, particularly if they have serious psychological problems or a history of chaotic personal relationships. The flip side of course is that these types of victims actually do have an increased risk of being sexually assaulted, so the Center makes it clear that any one of those indicators on its own isn’t a cause for concern, but many of them together could be a sign of trouble.
Of course, the most important thing to remember is that these evidence-based suggestions are suggestions for investigators and prosecutors. The most important thing to remember when you’re just an average person hearing about a person making a report of rape is that you are not an investigator or a prosecutor or a defense attorney or Miss Marple. You don’t have the tools to dig into a case properly. You don’t have access to all the evidence. You don’t have all the parties’ statements. You don’t have the rape kit.
So keep in mind that challenging a person’s report of rape can be absolutely devastating to the victim if they really were assaulted. Devastating. And we live in a world where there are more than 100,000 rape kits in the US alone that have never been sent to a lab for testing. 100,000 rapes that were never even properly investigated. High school football coaches are covering up for rapists on their teams. A teen girl who accused a classmate of rape had her house burned down. A study in 2004 from the Victoria University of Wellingon, NZ found that
rape complainants must still battle to gain credibility in the eyes of some police officers, and stereotypically based judgements continue to impact negatively on police perceptions and decision making.
It’s easy to see why a person would be discouraged from even bothering to report their rape, and every time a rape goes unreported, a rapist remains free to rape again.
So think of that the next time you hear a report of rape. Before you accuse the alleged victim of lying, think long and hard about whether you have all the facts, whether your accusation will have unintended consequences for rape victims, and whether the victim really is one of the 2%.
YouGov found London voting intentions of CON 35%(nc), LAB 45%(+3), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 8%(-2), GRN 4%(nc). Labour are up three since June, but this poll would still suggest Labour doing slightly worse in London than elsewhere (a ten point lead for Labour in London is a 4 point swing since the general election, whereas GB polls are currently showing a 5 1/2 point swing to Labour.)
YouGov also repeated a batch of questions about Boris Johnson returning to Parliament. 37% of Londonders now think it is reasonable for him to seek to return to Parliament in 2015, but 43% think he should not consider doing so until he has completed his term as mayor. If he were to be elected as an MP in 2015 50% think he should stand down as mayor immediately, 34% think it would be okay for him to do both for a year.
Finally today’s poll looked at the possible Labour candidates for London mayor. Tessa Jowell comes top… but only on 12%, narrowly ahead of Diane Abbott on 8%. Amongst London Labour voters Jowell also comes top, but still only on 16%. I think the reality is that questions like this are largely just a recognition contest… and none of the candidates are particularly well known (I haven’t seen anyone even bother asking who should succeed Boris as the Conservative candidate!)
So, here’s his “audioboo” telling us that the recent IMF report says that pure monetary policy just ain’t good enough.
Here’s the actual IMF report that he himself links to…OK, the report on the report that he links to:
The IMF completed its “Article IV” mission to the UK in June when it ended its feud with the coalition government over austerity. In its more considered report on Monday, the fund produced optimistic forecasts, similar to the government’s, and said the latter’s austerity strategy was “appropriate”.
It recommended continued cuts in public spending and efforts to boost productivity to make the UK more competitive.
Please note, I don’t say that the IMF is correct, nor that the FT is correct in what they say the IMF has said. But you do have to be mad to draw Ritchie’s conculion from his source.
Athena watched the 2006 animated version of “Peter and the Wolf,” which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short, and felt compelled to write her very first film review. Here it is. As a former professional film critic, I’m very proud.
(Also: If you’d like to see the film for yourself, here it is on Netflix).
Last night, I watched a short film called “Peter and the Wolf”. It is a thirty two minute Oscar-winning claymation short. Not only did it win an Oscar, but five other awards as well. This film is about a boy named Peter who lives in a small Russian village. He lives with his grandpa, he gets bullied by some townspeople, and Peter’s only friend is a duck.
This film was one of the most interesting I’ve ever watched. One of the things I found most interesting about “Peter and the Wolf” was that there was no talking throughout the entire film. It didn’t need words though. The film was fine with just facial expressions and actions to express thoughts. I’m not saying the film was silent, though. In fact, it had some of the most amazing music I’ve heard in a soundtrack.
I thought the animation was quite interesting, as well. Claymation is one of my favorite types of animation. I think claymation is just so much more captivating than any other kind of animation. The movement of the characters in the film wasn’t the smoothest, but I loved their facial expressions and how detailed everything was, especially the wolf.
Based on the title, I was expecting the story to be like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, but it was its own story and an original idea. It wasn’t what I was expecting, to say the least. It was funny at times, but I almost cried at one part. I would’ve never guessed how it ended.
Overall, I enjoyed this strange yet compelling film. It’s clear to see why “Peter and the Wolf” won an Oscar.
Some short bits for you folks:
1. A reminder for you Dayton area folks that this Saturday (August 2nd), I will be making an appearance at the Beavercreek Barnes & Noble at 2pm, at which time I will read from Lock In and other things, answer questions, and sign things, probably books, but hey, if you want something else signed, I’ll probably sign that too. I’m easy. If you’re in the Dayton area, come on by. I would hate to be all alone.
2. A reminder to all of you who have Loncon 3 memberships that you have only until 11:59:59pm Pacific Time on July 31 to get your Hugo votes in. If there’s something or someone you want to have take home a rocket, this is just about your last chance to help make it happen. Get to it.
3. As I’ve noted earlier, I’m not going to be able to make it to Loncon 3 this year, so I’ve been asked if I was going to be at GenCon instead, which happens the same weekend and is rather more conveniently located for my purposes (it’s in Indianapolis, which is just a couple of hours away). The answer: Maybe, but not in an official capacity. I have some friends who will be there I want to see, so I might come up for a day and see them. I won’t be there the whole weekend because I have a wedding to attend on Saturday. So most likely I’ll just pop over on Friday, if I show up at all. So if you’re at GenCon on that Friday and you see someone who looks like me: Maybe it is. Come say hello!
Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester and probably the only Lib Dem MP to have walked into a football stadium and have the crowd start chanting nice things at him, has just joined Twitter.
This makes him the 47th Lib Dem MP on the social network which has more active users than British newspapers have daily sales.
I just got back from a weekend at Comic Con where I was surrounded by some of the nicest, most creative people I have ever met. I feel inspired and motivated. It’s as though I have had my soul polished and primed and prepared for part-two of whatever grand journey life tosses my way.
And I’d like you to join me on this adventure.
This coming Tuesday, August 5th at The Center for Inquiry- Los Angeles, my new, shiny women’s group known as LAWAAG will be having it’s 2nd meeting.
At this meeting we will plan the building of our first public art exhibition scheduled to take place in September. I am looking for people that are good with scissors and glue to help make that dream a reality. I am also looking for a few good people to just hang out with me, and drink wine and eat cookies.
If you identify primarily as a woman, are in or near Los Angeles and are interested in social activism, art, building a supportive community or eating cookies then please join us! All who help build the art exhibit will be credited as official builders in what is sure to be a grand exhibition! We will also talk about how art can be important and empowering to social change and a godless community.
What: Los Angeles Women’s Atheist and Agnostic Group 2nd Meeting
When: Tuesday, August 5th at 7pm
Where: Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles
4773 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90027
This is a private meeting for those who identify as women only. BUT, we have some great public events scheduled soon!
The art opening/reception party on September 13th will be a public event. On November 4th, 2014: Sikivu Hutchinson will give a presentation to our group! And in December we have Anne Sauer scheduled to give a “Science of Cocktails” demo and all are invited to that as well!
More info as well as our current events and our code of conduct and a way to donate to our group can be found on our website.
See you soon!
My pals Lynne and Michael Damian Thomas (3-time Hugo winner and 3-time Hugo nominee, respectively), are hoping to start a new science fiction and fantasy magazine and are also hoping you’ll help them kickstart this ambition. They’re here to tell you about their plans, in the hope you’ll like what they have planned.
Also, consider this my official endorsement of the magazine. I’ve known Lynne and Michael for years and have every confidence they will make a fantastic magazine that you’ll want to read. And I’ve put my own money where my mouth is, as I was either the first or second person to back this Kickstarter. It’ll be good. Go ahead and kick in.
Lynne and Michael Damian Thomas:
Hi, we’re Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas. We are Hugo winning and nominated editors who have spent the past several years creating and sharing work that gets us excited. Whether it’s sharing true, personal stories of how the community that loves Doctor Who changes lives in Chicks Dig Time Lords and Queers Dig Time Lords , publishing haunting, lyrical, and devastating stories in Apex Magazine, or throwing a massive, Kickstarter-funded science fictional party through Glitter & Mayhem‘s stories of the dark side of night life and roller derby (what’s more awesome than aliens and roller derby?), we’ve done our best to bring you stories and images that stay with you, because they feel like they were made for you.
We’re taking our experiences and using them to create a new online magazine, funded via Kickstarter. We’re calling it Uncanny, because we want to produce a sensational magazine that feels like you’ve been here before, in the best way possible. Uncanny will have stories, prose, poetry and cover art that stays with you after you’ve read the issue. Contributors for year one will include Charlie Jane Anders, Paul Cornell, Galen Dara, Julie Dillon, Neil Gaiman, Jim C. Hines, Kameron Hurley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ken Liu, Scott Lynch, Sofia Samatar, Rachel Swirsky, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. We will also have open submissions in search of new work.
These kinds of stories feel as rare as unicorns. Getting to share them with our readers is awesome like a space unicorn (hence our mascot).
We hope that you will support Uncanny. Because space unicorns are for everyone.