[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Or as we might put it, more research that has been done down the pub for centuries:

Forget witty one-liners – the secret of seduction could be as simple as standing next to an ugly friend.
Researchers have discovered that our judgements of people vary according to the company they keep – and if their companion is a plain Jane or a dull Dave, they seem far more appealing.

Well strike me down with a wet haddock, eh?

No one ever knew that until the scientists got on the case….

So, about Gary Becker on prejudice

Oct. 1st, 2016 06:24 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

In her post she savaged the idea that skin colour, and the widespread bias against people with darker tones, could be a joking matter. “In a country where … people don’t get jobs because of their complexion, where every matrimonial advert demands a fair bride or groom … in a country where dark skin is marginalised, making fun of it is not a roast,” she wrote.

The open celebration of fair complexions in India can be striking. One of Bollywood’s most popular songs last year was the syrupy Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan, performed by a lip-synching Sri Lankan actor, Jacqueline Fernandez. All the rage at Indian weddings, its refrain goes: “Please agree, take me shopping. Please listen, show me a romantic movie. I ask you, white wrists, I’ve got white wrists.”

It’s not just India of course. Common across much of southern Asia.

In part the preference for light complexions in India is a colonial hangup. “Remember, we’ve been ruled by fair skin,” said Hansal Mehta, a veteran director, writer and actor from Mumbai.

But Chatterjee, in her post and subsequent interviews, put the blame on an older blight: India’s tenacious caste system, a rigid social strata that some scholars trace back three millennia to the epic folklore that forms Hindu orthodoxy.

“Upper caste equals fair skin equals touchable. Lower caste equals dark skin equals untouchable,” Chatterjee wrote in her post. “Yes, I have pronounced it. Probably most of us will not admit that our hatred for dark skin also comes from caste bias.”

Yes, but not exclusively so. It’s perhaps more deeply rooted in India because of caste. But you can find the beginnings of the same thoughts in Jane Austen. Mother fussing about the girls wearing bonnets so they don’t get the sunshine and thus freckles. Any form of tan might indicate, as with freckles, that they were girls who actually had to work outside and thus were common.

This entirely flipped, and quickly, with indoor work and foreign holidays.

However, to Gary Becker. He said that such prejudice was costly to those expressing the prejudice. Those discriminated against were therefore cheaper in the marketplace than those not so. Meaning that a young man in search of a wife might well now deliberately seek out those with darker skins. For the same set of attributes that he has he may well be able to trade for a sweeter nature, a better dowry (hey, this is India!) or a better pair of bazoombas. Or, if he’s actually serious about the wife bit, a better cook.

Yes, I know, how patriarchal and sexist of me. But the increasing urbanisation of India is going to lead to this happening anyway. For the larger the market the less such discrimination is going to “work”.

Dear Ms. Soubry

Oct. 1st, 2016 06:04 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

The former business minister, who sat in cabinet until July, said Theresa May was a voice of sanity following the referendum, but that the prime minister needed to explain even in “broad terms” what she wanted out of Brexit, as three months later we are “no further forward, and it’s her job to lead us”.

“Liam Fox’s speech this week was very worrying; in fact, it was delusional,” she told the Guardian. “How can we have ‘freer’ free trade? Let’s get real, for God’s sake. It’s really worrying that these are the senior people who have the future of our country in their hands. May is the voice of sanity, and without her I don’t know where the three Brexiteers would take us.”

We currently do not have free trade with the world. Because we are forced, by our membership of the EU customs union, to impose tariffs on goods from outside the EU.

Thus, if we leave the customs union, we can have more free trade. That is, freer, free trade.

That you don’t know this is worrying.

Code push tomorrow!

Sep. 30th, 2016 11:02 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We are planning to do a code push around 21 hours from now, at approximately 6pm Pacific time on Saturday, Oct 1.

Here's a partial list of changes that will go live with this push, apart from the usual minor tweaks and bugfixes:

  • Selective Screening, a new feature that lets you screen comments from a particular user.

  • Two new journal layouts with one theme each: Gold Leaf/Elegant Notebook and Venture/Radiant Aqua.

  • Six new themes for Heads Up, and seven new themes for Corinthian.

  • The minimal spacing between line elements in the list of success links on Foundation pages has been restored.

  • Punctuation marks in message subjects will no longer be overescaped.

  • The admin pages for the translation system are now hidden from anonymous viewers, to avoid scaring unsuspecting search engine users away from the site.

  • The text messaging feature has been removed from user profiles.

  • The email notification worker is now less likely to misbehave.

We'll update again to let you know when the code push is in progress!
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by David Herdson

Big Ben

The two big parties are left scrapping over the also rans

One of the more remarkable features of the polling in the last parliament was the almost complete inability of both Labour and Conservatives to win voters from each other. Vote shares may have gone up and down but it was gains from and losses to the Lib Dems, UKIP, the Greens and SNP (and non-voters) that was responsible; the direct swing between the big two was negligible.

As then, so now. All three polls released this last week tell the same story. ICM record 3% of the Labour vote from 2015 going to the Conservatives, with 3% of the Tories’ general election vote going back the other way; BMG’s figures are almost identical; YouGov have the Tories doing a little better, gaining 6% of Labour’s former vote while losing only 2% of their own but even there, that amounts to a swing of only a half per cent. We’re talking tiny numbers.

The current very comfortable Conservative leads are instead based on two different aspects. Firstly, the Tories are doing better at holding on to their own vote. ICM and YouGov record the Blues as keeping between 72-75% of their 2015 voters, against Labour’s 60-67% (this includes those who say they don’t know or would not vote). And secondly, the Conservatives have done better in the net swings from the lesser parties and in particular, from UKIP.

In fact, the notion that many Corbyn supporters have that the increase in the Conservative lead over the summer can be put down to the leadership challenge is at best only partly true. Labour’s introspection no doubt caused it to miss opportunities but the Labour share has drifted down only very slightly.

    Of far more significance since June has been what looks like a direct UKIP-Con swing, presumably off the back of both the end of the EURef campaign and the change in Conservative leader.

What looks to be the case is that Britain is a very divided country with the concept of the traditional swing Lab/Con voter close to extinct and instead, three distinct broad groups (with subdivisions but let’s keep this simple): those who would vote Conservative, those who would vote Labour and those who would vote neither (who, outside of Scotland, we can more-or-less ignore).

So while there’s barely any defecting between the Tory tribe and the Labour lot, they do potentially meet when they go walkabout elsewhere, to UKIP, the Lib Dems or (most frequently) to none of the above.

What that suggests is that the big boys, but especially Labour, need the also-rans to be performing fairly strongly. Without those parties being attractive enough to their rival’s supporters, the negative campaigning of old will be far less effective as voters might be disillusioned but find no real alternative home.

Interestingly, the Lib Dems have been performing fairly strongly against the Conservatives in local by-elections recently but this hasn’t made its way across into the national polls. All the same, that the party seems capable of big swings across the country suggests at least a willingness by Conservative voters to consider them again; a willingness that might translate into Westminster voting given the opportunity.

The Lib Dems will no doubt hope that the opportunity will come in Witney. That might be a little too early but with Con and Lab unable to take support from each other, with a far-left Labour and a Tory government engaged in debates about Europe, if they can’t take advantage in the next two years, they never will.

David Herdson

(no subject)

Sep. 30th, 2016 09:48 pm
zvi: Deaq, Steve McQueen's car, Van (Fastlane): You need a good whip to play in my fandom (Fastlane)
[personal profile] zvi
I made it back to the gym this morning! 30 minutes on the bike. I didn't push very hard, but I went and I didn't die from not being able to breathe, so I'm counting it as a win.

I'm not starting Luke Cage tonight. I was supposed to watch with someone and she was napping when I called. Tomorrow night, she'll call me. Then Sunday, I'm going to see Queen of Katwe with my aunt.

Tomorrow I pack for Comic Con, and I have to decide if I'm going to ditch some of the t-shirts I already own so I can buy t-shirts there or not. I've already spotted one that I want and I'm not even there yet!

large image cut to save your reading page )

Also, Jen Bartel is selling a Girl Gang snapback that I kind of covet.

Today was my old boss's last day full-time. :/
kareila: Rosie the Riveter "We Can Do It!" with a DW swirl (dw)
[personal profile] kareila posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Every few months, I run through [site community profile] changelog compiling a list of who has been contributing patches to our code repository, with the understanding that this is not a competition, or any sort of "high score" list. It's intended as a guide for casual developers, to discern not only our most prolific contributors, but also those who have contributed to the project most recently and therefore would be more likely to provide a timely, informed response to development questions. That is why the list is sorted by "Latest" instead of "Changes".

In general, one commit on Github equals one point in the "Changes" column, but fractional points are awarded for collaborative efforts — the most common example being a new S2 theme, where usually half credit is awarded to the theme author and the other half to the person who converts the theme into a code patch. Due to the nature of development, some changes are massive contributions of new code, and others are tiny tweaks; there is no correlation with the amount of effort involved. We are grateful to everyone who helps to improve Dreamwidth, in ways large or small.

I last compiled this list at the beginning of April. Since that time, we have welcomed five new contributors: [github.com profile] dfabulich, [personal profile] phidari, [personal profile] wohali, [personal profile] pinterface, and [personal profile] onlyembers. Congratulations and thank you again!

  #  User                      Changes     Latest
  1. kareila                      1030     Fri Sep 30 19:09:51 2016 UTC
  2. woggy                          17     Thu Sep 29 22:26:43 2016 UTC
  3. momijizukamori             224.16     Thu Sep 29 19:58:05 2016 UTC
  4. onlyembers                    0.5     Thu Sep 29 19:58:05 2016 UTC
  5. pinterface                   15.5     Sat Sep 24 00:19:48 2016 UTC
  6. wohali                          1     Wed Aug 31 14:12:26 2016 UTC
  7. hotlevel4                      52     Fri Jul 15 22:39:55 2016 UTC
  8. kaberett                       44     Thu Jul 14 14:59:58 2016 UTC
  9. mark                        552.5     Mon Jun 27 04:24:47 2016 UTC
 10. phidari                         2     Sat Jun 18 21:14:12 2016 UTC

 11. cesy                        29.83     Sat Jun 18 15:28:34 2016 UTC
 12. chrisboyle                     15     Sun May 15 12:08:22 2016 UTC
 13. me_and                         36     Sun May 15 11:33:08 2016 UTC
 14. dfabulich                       1     Mon Apr 25 19:53:40 2016 UTC
 15. alierak                      19.5     Sun Apr 10 22:41:50 2016 UTC
 16. azurelunatic                    8     Mon Mar 28 05:54:30 2016 UTC
 17. srukle                          7     Wed Mar 23 16:44:54 2016 UTC
 18. sgsabbage                      17     Wed Feb 24 20:45:39 2016 UTC
 19. sophie                         58     Sun Feb 14 18:19:32 2016 UTC
 20. ljacob                          1     Sat Nov 07 12:13:45 2015 UTC
The rest of the list... (159 total) )
[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

Here is the surprising story of how a British Conservative politician played a key role in creating the European Convention on Human Rights:

The animation is inspired by the life and words of David Maxwell Fyfe (1900-1967). Here is some real footage of him at work during the Nuremberg trials:

On April 2, 1946, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe of the British Delegation cross-examined Von Ribbentrop, the Nazi Germany Foreign Minister. It was deemed one of the most striking cross-examinations of the Trial enhanced by the Aliies having a large number of captured documents. Subjects discussed included the matter of pressure on the Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg; admissions of the threat of force in Czechoslovakia; treatment of the Yugoslav partisans and relations with Great Britain.

[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Pink Dog

More educative entertainment from Tom Scott:

Inuktitut syllabics are brilliant. A writing system that’s not an alphabet, but something really clever: an abugida, one designed from scratch for a language very unlike anything European.

New Books and ARCs, 9/30/16

Sep. 30th, 2016 08:24 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

It’s our last stack of new books and ARCs for the month of September, and it’s a very fine one, I have to say. What here looks good to you? Tell me in the comments!

[syndicated profile] el_reg_odds_feed

Posted by Iain Thomson

Fuming frenchie causes a oui bit of damage

A French man has been charged after he stormed into an Apple store and smashed up iPhones and MacBooks using a metal ball that is more commonly used for the traditional game of pétanque.…

[syndicated profile] el_reg_nsfw_feed

Posted by Thomas Claburn

Web giant offers open-source AI-powered X-rated pic hunter

Having laid bare over half a billion usernames and passwords through meager funding and witless indifference, Yahoo! is putting its faith in artificial intelligence to protect people from bare skin.

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
(bumped up from comments)

Nobody who made Strange Horizons' annual count—still not holding a grudge—has reviewed as many books by POC as I have. That's less a matter of diligence on my part (my total for 2016 will likely only be about 60) than a measure of how low a bar the annual count sets for me in this matter.

Review source POC (%)
James Nicoll Reviews 2015: 45 (14)
JNR 2016: 44 (23)
Strange Horizons: 30 (22
Locus: 22 (7)
Tor: 18 (13)
Lightspeed: 14 (50)
Romantic Times: 14 (10)
Io9: 12 (21)
NYRSF: 11 (26)
SFX: 10 (6)
CSZ: 8 (35)
Interzone 7 (10)
LARB: 7 (20)
F&SF: 5 (9)
Vector: 4 (8)
Asimov's: 3 (6)
Analog: 3 (4)
SFS: 2 (4)
Foundation: 1 (3)
Rising Shadows 1 (1)

Or to put another way, it's pretty easy for a single person to read and review as much spec fic by POC as Rising Shadows, Foundation, Analog, Asimov's, Vector, F&SF, LARB, Interzone, CSZ and SFX did en masse in 2015. The good news is, it would be very, very easy for Rising Shadows, Foundation, SFS, Analog, Asimov's, Vextor, F&SF, SFX, and Locus to improve their numbers in this matter merely by increasing the fraction of books by POC they read from single to low double digit percentages.
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Mike Smithson

Seats changing hands in September 2016

Liberal Democrats GAIN Four Lanes on Cornwall from United Kingdom Independence Party

Conservatives GAIN Grangefield on Stockton on Tees from Labour

Liberal Democrats GAIN Mosborough on Sheffield from Labour

Liberal Democrats GAIN Tupton on North East Derbyshire from Labour

Liberal Democrats GAIN Plasnewydd on Cardiff from Labour

Labour GAIN Christchurch on Allerdale from Conservative

Plaid Cymru GAIN Cilycwm on Carmarthenshire from Independent

Labour GAIN Coatbridge North and Glenboig on North Lanarkshire from Scottish National Party

Labour GAIN Arley and Whitacre on North Warwickshire from Conservative

Liberal Democrats GAIN Hadleigh on Suffolk from Conservative

Liberal Democrats GAIN Teignmouth Central on Teignbridge from Conservative

Liberal Democrats GAIN Stow on Cotswold from Conservative

Liberal Democrats GAIN Adeyfield West on Dacorum from Conservative

Data compiled by Harry Hayfield

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Antony Hook


Hilary Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, has written about the importance of civil rights in America’s presidential election.

In an essay for Black Entertainment Television he writes:

I’ve learned how being white… means you can go your entire life without ever understanding the challenges African-Americans face every day. It’s on all of us to come to grips with these issues.

In many ways, that’s the deeper question we’re facing in this election: who we are, how we treat each other and what kind of nation we want to leave our children.

It’s a civil rights election.

He emphasises the economic nature of segregation in 2016 and the sharply different ways law enforcement treats people depending on their colour:

Today, African-American families only have eight cents of wealth for every dollar a white family has.  African-Americans are more likely to be convicted and sentenced to longer prison sentences than white Americans for the same crimes. Far too many Black families are losing loved ones to gun violence and through deadly encounters with the police at an alarming rate.

He has this to say about Trump:

This is a man who simply doesn’t see the heroes and heroines of a vibrant civil rights movement, the success of Black leaders in every field, the strength of the Black church or the pride that so many Black parents feel watching their children thrive. He even perpetrated the painful and bigoted lie that President Obama is not an American citizen.

So it’s pretty rich for Trump to ask people he has disregarded for decades, “What do you have to lose?”

I’d say quite a bit.

Most importantly he sets out a very solid plan of action for the Clinton administration:

We’ll target resources where they’re needed most by investing in jobs and infrastructure in communities that have been left out and left behind.

We’ll make sure that environmental injustices like what occurred in Flint, Michigan, never happen again by eliminating lead and investing in water infrastructure, especially in areas where decades of neglect have created dangerous living conditions.

We’ll put forward national use-of-force guidelines for the nation’s police forces and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. We’ll end the era of mass incarceration and replace the school-to-prison pipeline with a cradle-to-college pipeline. And while we’re making college debt-free for everyone, we’ll invest $25 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities to make sure they’ll keep producing some of our countries greatest leaders for generations to come.

And finally, we’ll reinstate the Voting Rights Act. Don’t let anyone tell you your vote isn’t important. If it wasn’t, the other side wouldn’t be trying so hard to stop you.

There are plenty of equivalent steps in the UK that Liberal Democrats have and are calling for, not least to “target resources where they’re needed most by investing in jobs and infrastructure in communities that have been left out and left behind”.  And that applies to communities of all colours.

Tim Kaine has previously described himself as “the most boring man in politics” but if this essay is anything to go by he is a good choice for Vice-President of the USA.

* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

[syndicated profile] el_reg_nsfw_feed

Posted by John Oates

NSFW Tits=medium, bellend=strong

UK comms regulator Ofcom has released in-depth research into the British public’s attitudes to fucking swearing.

[syndicated profile] robinince_feed

Posted by robinince

Halfway around Of Angels and Dirt, the Hepworth’s Stanley Spencer exhibition, I realised I had been infected by a bout of temporary synesthesia. I could audibly smell some of the paintings (that phrase makes sense to me in my head) and hear them, too. I have liked Stanley Spencer’s paintings since I was an early teen, and I hoped that visiting another exhibition of his work would help me work out why. I think it has.

I walked to the gallery from Wakefield Westgate, down the pastoral route of the A638, bejewelled with Currys, Homebase, Toys ‘R’ Us and wire mesh fencing. On the way, I saw a young man casually drop his greaseproof fast food wrapping to the floor as he licked his greasy mayonnaise fingers. It is a simple, single action that makes a tut echo in my head as my mind sighs sadly at humanity. Casual littering is an action, or lack of action, that makes me resort to sociopathic thoughts and ruing the failure of parents, education and society as a whole. It was the sort of ugly action that can be adeptly countered by rooms filled with the paintings and words of Stanley Spencer.

“I like my life so much that I want to fill every empty space on a wall with it”

I like Stanley Spencer for a two, maybe three pronged nostalgia.

I used to go to a book fair with my father in Cookham. The Stanley Spencer Gallery is the first art gallery I went to with him.

There is tremendous warmth in his paintings and feelings of a memory of an England that probably never was but was fertile in the mind of Spencer. It is certainly a better England on the wall than in my ear as I write this while a man on the Bradford train is leaving bids for a car loudly over his phone (which is on speaker).
I look at his images of Cookham and can reminisce over things that never happened in my life.

Why is placing New Testament events in the graveyards, on the river banks and in the streets of Cookham so delightful. Can I ever understand how I painter can so adeptly transfer the delight in his mind onto canvas and still convey that 57 years after his death?

While Francis Bacon may have us distressed and murmuring, “what fresh hell is this?” , Spencer has our eyes smiling as we ask, “but what fresh heaven is this?” And his heavenly images are not those of a distant magnificence that says’ “all this can be yours just as soon as your dead”, it says, “this can be yours and it is here and it is now”.

The Last Supper (1920) reminded me of Gulley Jimson (the artist of Joyce Cary’s Horse’s Mouth who, in the film if not in the book, lazily I cannot tell you if it is both, spends months painting feet for a grand mural. When he sees the right wall, he must paint on it, even though he has never been able to be true to what hangs in his head). It is not merely the lightness of this last supper, it is the disciples bare feet all sticking out from under the table that pleases so much.

His naked paintings were considered beyond the bounds of decency during his life. The painting of his second wife, Patricia Preece, topless is the antithesis of contemporary consumer nude. The breasts sag, the veins are apparent, the flesh is fleshy. There was too much reality for some then and there may be too much reality for some now. There is no air in this brush. He described his brush as being like an ant crawling all over her body as he recreated what was before him on paper.

It is the room of the workers on the Clyde and the cluttered Art Class where the noise really begins, and the smell too. Why, when I have seen so far more exact painterly interpretations of boat builder’s yards and furnace huffing industries does Stanley Spencer’s work create the most noise?

And amongst all these, some of the most beautiful paintings of flowers, and gardens and landscapes…
I probably still haven’t worked out what it is about Spencer, but after a morning at the Hepworth, my delight in him is even more firmly held than it was the day before.

Only a few days left, you should go, you deserve it.

Book Shambles series 4 has begun. Episode one is Alan Moore talking of rap and myth and Lovecraft and creation, next up is Noel Fielding. Patreon subscribers will get a bonus 70 minutes of Alan Moore on Sunday. You can find Alan Moore (and the rest) HERE.(also, if you are in London, remember the brilliant US comic Barry Crimmins is playing Leicester Square Theatre on Friday and Saturday)


[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Here’s a press release I received today from Worldcon 75, next year’s Worldcon in Helsinki, Finland:

The 75th World Science Fiction Convention, (“Worldcon”) taking place in Helsinki in August 2017, announced today that a special Hugo category for “Best Series” will be included in the 2017 Hugo Awards.

The Hugo Awards are the leading awards for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy, and have been presented at Worldcons since 1953. They are voted on by members of each year’s Worldcon.

Fans voted in August 2016  to trial a new Hugo award for “Best Series”, which could be added in 2018. Each Worldcon Committee has the authority to introduce a special category Hugo award, and Worldcon 75 has decided to test “Best Series” in 2017. This follows the precedent of the 2009 Worldcon, which trialled “Best Graphic Story” before it became a regular Hugo the following year. Fans at Worldcon 75 will be able to decide whether to ratify the “Best Series” for future years and suggest revisions to the award definition at the World Science Fiction Society Business Meeting held in Helsinki during the convention.

Nicholas Whyte, Worldcon 75 Hugo administrator, said, “The proposed Hugo for “Best Series” is a big change, the first time that a new category may be added to the written fiction Hugo categories in fifty years. There is clearly a great deal of interest in how this new award will work, and what might be nominated.”

An eligible work for this special award  is a multi-volume science fiction or fantasy story, unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation, which has appeared in at least three volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the calendar year 2016, at least one volume of which was published in 2016. 

My first thought, because I have an ego, is that this is a Hugo I won’t be eligible for, as I have no novels out this year, and therefore no eligible series. Unless, I guess, I quickly whomp up an Old Man’s War novella and make it available as a single volume before the end of the year — would that work?

Which is my other, really more relevant, question: What constitutes a “volume” in this case? I assume (for no particular reason) that a volume has to be released in itself and not as part of a larger publication, such as a magazine or anthology, but would a individually-released short story (or novelette, or novella) count toward a series credit? What about a graphic novel, set in the universe and part of the continuity? How about a song whose lyrics are written by a series author, set in the series universe? As long as all the previous criteria are met — at least three volumes, at least 240,000 words — where is the boundary line for a new volume?

Also, here’s another thought: Does this new volume have to be written by the author of the previous installments? If I hire someone to whomp up a new story in the Old Man’s War universe, and that story meets the criteria for a “volume,” whatever that might be, would it make the whole series eligible? And if so, who would accept the Hugo if it won? Me, or the new writer, or both? Or the editor of the series? Or the publisher? Or — and here’s a fun possible criterion — to the owner of the copyright?

(Combining both above: Would an anthology of short stories set in the universe constitute a new volume? And if so, to whom would the Hugo go?)

This isn’t to suggest I think a Hugo for series is a bad idea at all. But I do think it’s possible that unless the definition for “volume” is concretely defined, you might see a rush of shorter works tying into a series dropping into the stream of commerce between now and December 31. Electronic publishing makes that possible (let’s hope it’s a windfall for copy editors). After the hijinks of the last few years, let’s not pretend there aren’t people out there who will be happy to game the system if they can.

This “Best Series” Hugo is a trial run, to see how things work, and to see if it’s a good idea to continue such a Hugo. My own personal thought on a Best Series Hugo, if it were to continue, would be that I would wanted it handled as such:

  • It’s not awarded every year, it’s awarded every five years, with an eligibility window of five years;
  • If awarded every five years, the finalist slate is twice as long as the finalist slates in other categories;
  • It’s a “one time” win, i.e., once a series is awarded, it’s ineligible for further wins in the category (although individual works in the series would still be eligible for other relevant Hugos);
  • At least three volumes, at least 240,000 words total;
  • A “volume” is defined as a new, original story of at least 25,000 words, released individually and not as part of a collection, magazine or anthology;
  • The recipient for the Hugo would be the series author(s) and editor(s);
  • The current “Best Novel” Hugo criteria would be amended to take out the bit that allows a series to have been nominated if no previous volumes had individually been nominated.

Why would I do it this way? Because series are (generally speaking) a multi-year endeavor and should be considered as such and because the number of eligible series in any given year is substantially smaller than the number of eligible works in any other Hugo category for fiction; because I think if you don’t define “volume” as a substantial work then the category runs the risk of being gamed; and because I think while editing is important to individual novels, it’s especially important to series.

If I had to pick just one of those criteria to pass on to an official Hugo definition, it would be the “one-time win” one. The Hugos aren’t the Emmys. If a series has gotten “Best Series” once, I think it’s okay for the category to be closed to that series further.

I’ll also note that “Best Series” here is clearly appears to be geared toward novels, so my own fantasy criteria for the category weights toward additional work of at least novella length. That said, I think you could make a perfectly good and valid argument that a “series” could be a bunch of short stories all set in the same universe, or anthologies set in the same universe, or graphic novels in the same universe, etc, as long as they meet the “three volumes/240,000 words” criteria. I’m not going to make that argument, but I think you could make that argument.

Finally, I’ll also note that if the Series Hugo does pick up traction and becomes an annual award, then what’s really likely to happen from a practical point of view is that the Hugos will be awarding a second “Best Novel” award, which just happens to be going to series novels. That’s fine but maybe there should be thought given to that fact — perhaps by an additional rule that says if a Best Novel finalist is in a series up for Best Series in the same year, if the novel and series both win their categories then the author gets to go home with whichever of the two awards they received the most number of votes for, with the other award going to the next work in line. Otherwise I suspect you’re going to see a lot of Best Novel and Best Series awards carried off by the same authors, because the votes will be highly correlated — someone who votes for a book in a series for Best Novel is also likely to think highly of the series in general.

Tell me your thoughts on a Best Series Hugo, and your thoughts on my thoughts.

September 2016 in Review

Sep. 30th, 2016 10:07 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
22 books reviewed. 13 by women, 9 by men. F/T = 0.59

5 books by POC, or 23%.

Year to date

191 books read. 112 by women (0.59), 77 by men (0.40), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.01). 44 by POC (0.23).

To put in context:


matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
Mat Bowles

October 2015


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Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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