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August 04, 2008


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Didja see the cartoon comparing Denvention & the Democratic Convention? The Barrayar Summerfair is mentioned.

my only definite commitments are the masquerade

So I heard.

I am on the ground in Denver and heading over to the hotel around noon to check in! Right now I am prancing around in the world's scariest bell bottom pants....

Hah! I will pass that along to my friend Irene whose home I am currently at and who is running the Summerfair event.

I hope you get enough masquerade volunteers! And what's scary about bell bottom pants? I used to wear those....

As a former wearer of bell-bottomed trousers myself, I second Marilee's question.

I can imagine two possibilities: either they've got *really* big bells[1], or the fabric is something that Pucci designed while ingesting curious substances.

[1]scary to go down the hall in; all too easy to trip over

The bells were really big AND the fabric was equally guilty. I was there. The horror! The horror!

Scary bell bottoms. I used to wear them too, but not like this. These were more like the fins on a 1950s Cadillac.

Home safely after a loooooong day of travel. More about Denvention soon!

Serge, did you think to get a picture?

The masquerade newsletter has a rather dark picture here. You can see Serge rocking out on the far left with his amazing Submarine Gun/Saxophone and me in my scary bell bottoms/fins.

Thanks for the link, Susan. I'd love posting that photo on my blog, but I don't know who I should contact to get the permission. Oh well. That being said, I am definitely going to have the newsletter framed. Of course, my ribbon will be hanging to the frame.

Hey, that's a .pdf! (I have a nine-year-old stupid computer, I like to be warned about these things.) I see I know almost everybody who was in it! And I don't think the bell bottoms were actually that bad. Did anybody get a video of the presentation?

Sorry, Marilee!

There was video taken; I think the con will be selling a DVD. I hate watching myself on video, so I dread seeing it.

I looked on their site last night, but it's probably too early for them to have an ad for the DVD.

What were the bells made of? Or should I instead be asking how you got them to stand out like that? Yes, they *were* scary. (Although a picture of one of the other entries was a bit more worrying, as it seems to suggest a hint of dinosaur sodomy.)

I also meant to inquire how the Summerfair went.

one of the other entries was a bit more worrying, as it seems to suggest a hint of dinosaur sodomy

Might you be refering to the bear, joann? I saw it backstage and even up close it was awesome. So were the velociraptors, and the dread beast of Arrrgh.

No, Serge, not the bear, but "Grave Robbers". Someone (ok, they're female, but still) is standing in a vaguely appropriate position right behind the dinosaur's tail. You can't see what they're doing, but it looks mighty suspicious. Further, the dino seems to be enjoying it.

I didn't have a full view of that presentation while I was backstage, but they were well behaved when not on the scene. My wife was in the audience and made no comment about connotations of sodomy, but she did say that, while the dinos looked fantastic, the rest of their presentation was unimaginative.

Clearly, they're not illuminating their minds with Making Light.

Marilee... Or they needed a rixosous choreographer.

Geez, I go to Canada for a week and next thing you know, Rixo is infested with dinosaur sodomy...

The bells were made of sparkly fabric over light blue felt. They stay out like fins because of the way they are cut and the inherent stiffness of the felt in the rolled hem. I had expected to have to stiffen them, but it turned out not to be necessary.

Summerfair went well. More on worldcon later, I promise, and a long series of reports from Canada, starting with the strange adventure of the stateless firewood, but I'm having loads of offline fun this week and am not spending my Real Vacation (tm) sitting online!

Y'all be good now, and keep the dinos under control.

I go to Canada for a week and next thing you know, Rixo is infested with dinosaur sodomy...

Quand le chat dort, les souris dansent.

Meanwhile, I'm planning to mail the banners and the 'weapons' back tomorrow. Oh, and I've decided to keep the supports for the sun banners instead of chopping them down to kindling. Who knows? Someone may one day need them for tall banners.

Enjoy your vacation, Susan. You deserve it.

Serge, maybe you'll need to use one while standing on a bridge!

Marilee... If I dare stand on a bridge with this ( http://pics.livejournal.com/serge_lj/pic/0009499g/g2 ), even without a banner to make not aerodynamic al all, I'm pretty certain that I'll be falling off the bridge. Not that the whole assemblage is that heavy. I found that out after the con, and was more concerned with hitting someone with the lumber than with the weight.

Oh, that is more substantial than I thought, and Robin Hood would never use that.

If you combine Robin Hood and me, it's likely to result into something like that Daffy Duck cartoon where he plays the Outlaw from Sherwood Forest, but one so incompetent that he keeps knocking himself out, even against Porky Pig as Friar Tuck.

I was looking forward to Locus's worldcon report, but it was a disappointment. Not only are there no photos at all of the masquerade, but the report itself mentions it only briefly and only lists the Best in Show. Bah humbug.

Serge, you should complain! Demand that all masquerade competitors be featured!

Marilee... Heck, why not? There were so few entries in the masquerade. After all these years when Locus would have had two pages for that, it feels strange that they couldn't find room for even one single photo. Of course, I know which entry they should have printed, and I am totally unbiased.

Locus used to do much better than that -- they'd have a two-page centerfold of masquerade photos. Oh, well.

The official photographer, Greg Bradt, has his photos up on the web for sale now here. There are stage shots of our group starting on page 39.

Thanks for the link, Susan.

Interestingly, that Locus worldcon report mentions some changes to the Hugo rules, especially the one involving the semi-pro zine category, which greatly upset Charlie Brown, but it barely (if at all) brings up the possibility of web sites being eligible in the fanzine category.

Well, I imagine things that greatly upset Charlie Brown are a lot more likely to get in Locus than things that don't, eh?

If there wasn't something in place to remove that category entirely, I'd be in there myself to make Locus ineligible anyway, since I fail to see anything "semi" about its professional status, and I think it's been ineligible in that category for well over a decade. Maybe two decades. If Locus is semi-professional, then David Hartwell is an amateur. Snort.

Ah hah! You belong to the anti-Locus forces that he decried in his editorial. Really, he used those words, and the gist of his argument is that his magazine is being punished for doing too good a job. I enjoy Locus, but it is professional. OK, maybe not by the standard definition. I say 'maybe' because I don't know if most of the people involved are paid anything more than a pittance. The thing though is that it is of a professional-level. And that has me suddenly thinking of the recent fracas over Star Trek's New Voyages being nominated for a Hugo.

Well, actually I'm a different anti-Locus force. A force of one; no one else seems to be using my argument. And currently I am standing down while the kill-the-semiprozine-Hugo force, which is a little more complicated than just an anti-Locus force, takes its shot.

Charlie's argument (as you present it) presumes that not having a category in which to win a Hugo is a punishment. In that case, I must point out that (1) many people and entities are equally punished (for example, F&SF, Asimov's, and Analog have been being punished for a couple of decades now, ever since the Best Magazine Hugo went away, and all the readers of this blog are being punished because there isn't a Hugo for Best Blog Commenter, and all the grips in film production are being punished because there isn't a Hugo for Grip on a Production Crew for an SF Movie and so on) and (2) the idea is bullshit anyway, since Charlie himself is still eligible -- in Best Editor, Short Form, just like the editors of those magazines are.

People involved in Locus are paid and Charlie at least makes a full-time living from it. That's a bit beyond semi-pro, which is the root of my own argument. If Locus is semi-pro, I want to know what definition of "professional" he is using.

And if Charlie Brown doesn't want to be "punished" for his success -- and he was already "punished" when they created Semi-Prozine to force him out of the Fanzine category, once Locus clearly moved beyond the scope of the average fanzine -- he should at least adopt some consistency and not accept the rewards of his success. If his magazine isn't professional, he could give it a way for free, or in trade for a letter of comment, just like fanzines do. He could work a separate day job to support it. But, uh, he doesn't, does he? So it's only professional when it comes to making money, and not professional when it comes to being considered for awards? Yeah, I find that quite a convincing position.

But that's not the argument on the table. It's the argument I'm waiting to bring to the table if necessary after the current food fight.

all the readers of this blog are being punished because there isn't a Hugo for Best Blog Commenter

I'd settle for the Hugo for Very Prolific Writer of Short Posts Many of Which Have Puns in Them.

Mind you, as for Charlie's argument, that's how I understood it. Best would be to go back to the source, as I'm not used to making long things concise. Like you said, he could get the Editor Hugo although people usually think of the latter as applying to fiction. By the way, it was interesting how many of this year's nominees had appeared in Asimov's and yet the magazine's editor lost. Maybe it wasn't a majority of nominees - or not enough of one.

When the Best Editor split was put in place, they explicitly took "fiction" out of the definition. Charlie is already personally eligible in that category.

Unless the editorial is online, I'm not going to see it - I gave up my Locus subscription years ago.

True, but the perception is that it applies to fiction. After all, how many non-fiction publications are there that deal with F/SF? I'm not even sure that SF Chronicle still exists.

As for myself, I've been subscribing to Locus since 1975 - except for a gap of a few years in the early 1990s for personal reasons. For one thing, my wife is a writer and this allows us to keep up with the state of the field. What annoys me though is that these days I'll read a review and go "Oooooooh this sounds neat!", and then discover that the book is available only in hardcover. Very annoying.

Well, the perception is wrong and people ought to read the actual text!

SF Chronicle is dead, alas. I had a Locus subscription until I got broke and had to start trimming expenses. Never restarted it. I had SFC until Andy Porter sold it, and for a little bit after.

people ought to read the actual text

"Brilliant!" the Guiness Beer's ads would say. As for myself, I never vote in the Editor category for reasons discussed elsewhere. But I am taking notes in the fiction dept, and I am already planning to put Robert Reed's novella Truth way up there in the novella category. Borrow or steal someone's Oct/Nov 2008 issue of Asimov's if you must.

Ah, Serge, you read it! Excellent, isn't it?

Maybe they'll put it online. :)

I rarely nominate in any short fiction category because I don't read much of it at all unless someone forcibly puts it in front of me. But I'm making an effort lately to at least read the nominees once we have them.

Marilee... Excellent, yes. But harrowing.

Susan... I seldom voted until this year because, before 2007, I didn't read much short fiction outside of anthologies. That's when I started subscribing to various magazines, which means I had already read many of the nominees. And, as you pointed out to AJ in another thread, most of the nominees are now online. And here is a link to Truth:


Serge, that's only the beginning of the piece. Asimov's knows how to hook people.

And speaking of harrowing, in the December issue, every single story is primarily about death.

that's only the beginning of the piece?


Well, when the time comes for Hugo nominations, you can be sure that they'll have the whole novella available online. Meanwhile, I notice that they didn't have a Christmas story by Connie Willis this year. Bah humbug.

I am so glad I found out it was only part one before I started reading! Let me know when/if they put both sections up!

They won't put the whole thing up unless it gets nominated for something the public can vote for. But it was a really great story. No Willis Christmas story in the December issue, I noticed that. Maybe she wouldn't write about death.

Marilee's post on the December Asimov's is on her LJ. And having read it --

Marilee, they didn't officially theme the issue or mention it editorially? Are the stories specifically about death or just full of deaths? I don't read Asimov's in general, but maybe I should make an extra effort not to read this issue!

Nope, no mention anywhere about it, but death figures majorly in every story. I don't mind stories about death and things leading to death, but I thought it was odd they didn't mention it somewhere editorially.

I skimmed thru most of that December issue. I didn't use to do that, but I've become impatient with my reading. If it doesn't grab me early on, I just say "Next!" I don't mean that it must be like the first act of an Indiana Jone movie The story can be a very quiet one, but it must resonate. With me anyway.

Is it possible it could just be coincidence?

It probably was just a coincidence that I skimmed thru most of that issue of Asimov's. There have been issues where I skimmed thru one story, but not most of them. And it's not the theme of death that made me do it, but the individual authorial voices.

Earlier today, I received an email from this year's worldcon that contained the PIN that will allow me to vote for the Hugo preliminaries. That's good. What had me perplexed is that, not long after that, I got another email from them that gives me another PIN, this one because I attended 2008's worldcon. Now, I do understand that one can vote this year if one is a member of this year's worldcon or of last year's, but am I really supposed to get TWO votes?

No, you only get one set of nominations (which is more than one in each category, of course). Presumably they'll cross-check at that stage, since they obviously didn't cross-check the lists from the two worldcons for overlap.

I figured they'd cross-check, but I was surprised that they didn't do it before sending anything out. Thanks for the clarification.

On the other hand, they'll be sending out the prelim ballots in dribs and drabs until the end of February. It's probably easier for them to do one big cross-checking after all the votes are in.

I finally framed that Denvention newsletter in which Susan's masquerade presentation was mentionned - and with a photo too. It now hangs proudly by my home office's desk.

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