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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Open Tabs

In the spirit of blogging more whatever, here a glance at my browser over my shoulder:

  • I'm really into Postmodern Jukebox at the moment. I think their formula is really brilliant. You've already heard whatever shiny accessible bubblegum pop earworm they're doing, so it doesn't require the mental effort it would take you to listen to some orchestral or jazz or klezmer original; but then they layer on top of it all this artistry, musicianship, and cleverness which usually puts the original pop number to shame.

  • That particular tune (their cover of "Talk Dirty") led me to the original Balkan-klezmer-punk Israeli band whose "Hermetico" Jason Derulo sampled for "Talk Dirty" (as Postmodern Jukebox noted)

  • ...and that got me thinking about Montreal hiphop-klezmer original Socalled (my favorite is "(Rock the) Belz")

  • I haven't read Sofia's new story yet and I'm so looking forward to it!

  • I just backed this Watership-Down-themed Apocalypse World hack from the makers of Fiasco, The Warren, on Kickstarter (in the nick of time, there are 4 hours to go), and

  • it led me to considering backing War Birds, an anthology of games about women in WWII (Shoshana Kessock's looks particularly intriguing), and

  • Downfall, which also looks amazing;

  • An email discussion on Fiasco playset covers led me here;

  • We are in Switzerland camping, by the way, and I seem to be fascinated by the cozy bucolic Swiss versions of urban blight and bridge grafitti;

  • Still pondering backing the Finnish Worldcon bid;

  • These tabs are in Chrome, my "fun" browser; I'm actually working, so there are a lot of work tabs in Firefox, my "work" (day job) browser. The Chrome tabs represent the accumulation of days of background music and breaks and whatnot. Occasionally a work thing sneaks into Chrome as well, currently the Pimp my library Scala pattern.

Mentioning the Finnish worldcon bid makes me want to add an addendum about the Hugos, in case you're interested in the whole Sad & Rabid Puppy shenanigans and how I approached this year's unusual ballot.

  1. I suppose I ought to express some gratitude to the Puppies, for motivating me to actually get a Supporting Membership and vote this year. Thanks, Puppies!

  2. Researching the whole business, I came to the conclusion that it's pretty important to distinguish between the Sad and the Rabid. The Sad Puppies "slate" was originally marked as a set of recommendations to be read and considered -- nothing wrong with that -- and the Sad Puppies as individuals seem to have originally intended to follow that line.

    The Rabid Puppies slate was absolutely a slate to be followed in lockstep, and that's how it was approached by legions of gamergate hashtag-followers who responded to an explicit appeal to troll the Hugos in order to frustrate "SJWs"; and this is why the Rabid Puppies dominated the Sad in the actual results.

    So it's misleading to say that the Sad Puppies broke the Hugos this year. The Sad Puppies a) campaigned for what they considered to be neglected works, b) shaded towards slate-hackery in some of their appeals, and c) refused to disassociate themselves from the vitriolic hate speech and fully organized hardline slatecraft of the Rabid Puppies. The Rabid Puppies hacked and broke the Hugo nomination process.

    Of the two groups of people, I'm interested in engaging with the Sad Puppies, and in side-eyeing and ignoring the Rabid Puppies except insofar as to respond by making sure to vote for things I actually like.

  3. I read everything I could, including pretty much everything freely available to Hugo voters. Most years, if I haven't read a majority of the works in a category, I skip the category, thereby deferring to the average Hugo voter. This year, with the voter pool polluted by gamergate twitterkids voting in lockstep, I couldn't do that (note that I'm talking about the Rabid, not the Sad, puppies; it's slate-manipulation that disqualifies them from being trusted with my default vote, not political or esthetic opinions).

    So this year, anything I did not have time to read lost to No Award.

  4. Predictably, I found most of the Sad Puppies slate unreadably bad. This is predictable because I have loved most of the recent years' crop of winners which have appalled the Puppies. This is largely an esthetic issue (I just couldn't take the bad writing), and where it's a political issue it's a political-esthetic one (I just couldn't take the ridiculous view of how humans work). From an award voting perspective, I have no interest in an author's politics if they're not on the page. Only when they stink up the page.

  5. There were a couple of exceptions, particularly Kary English's Puppy-nominated Totaled, which I thought was a fine story and deserved to beat both Noah Ward and the also reasonable Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer, which had quite funny bits. Edited to add: I was looking at the Puppy Slate when I wrote this bit, and decided to go read Molakesh. It wasn't actually on the ballot, and (see comments) possibly wasn't eligible. Anyway. I liked Totaled, is my point.

  6. I also could not really resist including ESR on my Campbell ballot, as The Cathedral and the Bazaar was such a crucial work for my own thinking that it cancels out a whole bunch of political disagreement (were that even relevant). I realize that CatB does not fall within the Campbell eligibility period, and that I am therefore deviating from my own Hugo-voting principles. I am large, I contain multitudes.

Posted by benrosen at August 4, 2015 03:56 PM | Up to blog

isn't "Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer" eligible for the *2016* Hugos because it was published in *2015*?

Posted by: Danny in Montreal at August 18, 2015 05:09 PM

Maybe? It wasn't on the ballot, but it was on the Sad Puppy slate. Perhaps it wasn't a valid nomination.

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at August 18, 2015 05:26 PM
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