Sunday, 19 April 2015

Get out the vote!

While the Hugo controversy rages over the Internet, there is also the minor matter of a national election in Britain. Fortunately, the parties are all so boring there is no possibility of voting on anything except policy and political strategy.

I got interested by this Guardian article about political apathy among the young because it also mentioned 3 sites which try to match your policy preferences with a party. I'd already pretty much decided who I wanted to vote for, and wondered if the sites would turn up the same answer.

Vote Match has me bang to rights, with an 81% match to my party of choice, although my second choice party has a 79% match.

PositionDial forgot to ask where I was voting from and matched me with Plaid Cymru (hello Wales!) and the SNP (hello Scotland!). It's suggested 3rd and 4th choices were the same as VoteMatch's with 84% and 80% for the same two parties in the same order.

I didn't manage to get through the Vote for Policies survey. I particularly didn't appreciate being asked me to prefer whole slates of policies right from the start. When I refused to prefer any of them, it 'threatened' me that it was going to take 50 minutes to complete the survey, then tried again to get me to pick a slate.

After all that, I get to enter the ballot box knowing the party I picked really does represent my beliefs. Incidentally, my vote will be partly strategic. I know darn well my second choice party is going to win this seat - and as my preferences are so close, it doesn't worry me much. Trouble is, I think my second choice party needs a major kick up the backside to keep them on track with their program. I'm hoping a shift towards my first choice party will either a) give them the warning they need and/or b) build the strength of my first choice party to the point where they can take over. I really don't care which.

Now, back to the more serious matter of who should receive an award for contributions to the field of science-fiction/fantasy in the shape of a small rocket.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Hugos versus Nebulas

No contest.

Darn, but the Hugos have a flat, insipid packet this year. I don't mind reading stuff I wouldn't have thought of reading by myself, but this takes the biscuit.

Oh yeah, that's because it was pre-selected for me by a sub-group(s) instead of emerging in the usual, rather more organic way. Congratulations guys, you proved that organized campaigning breaks the system in more ways than one.

The Nebula packet looks quite interesting and varied though. It even seems to have included The Three Body Problem, a book widely agreed could have united the various factions of SF fandom and won fair and square, had the Sad Puppies not done what they did.

I'm going to read the Nebula packet instead.

Since I already paid to be part of the Hugos, I'm going to vote for organized campaigning below NO AWARD.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

This week: 5/4/15

  • I think I might have done some work earlier on in the week, but what with it being Eastercon, that's all forgotten now.
    Eastercon, what was that like?!!!

    It was fun. I've learned to do cons, I just go with whatever I think would be the most fun thing to do next. Like spontaneously wandering down the road to find a hotel that still had rooms in it, after deciding that a two-hour commute across London is not fun. Actually, finding the hotel was less fun than going to the bar, to a talk, or for a chat, but it made future fun possible.

  • So, speaking of fun, on the evening the Social Injustice Warriors crashed the Hugos, I was in said hotel room with Mr Fenwick, when he suddenly announced: 'The Jews are a stiff-necked people!'

    Now, I have seen what happens to people who unwisely joke about their Jewish partners in public, so for the public record I DID NOT offer any comment on this statement, however obviously biased towards a single data point any such comments would have been. Instead, I said, 'You what?'

    'It says so in this book.'

    'Mr Fenwick, why are you reading the Bible?'

    (For so he appeared to be doing. Secretly I was shocked, because I couldn't remember reading anything like that in the Bible and I have quite a good memory. As it turns out, it was a case of mistaken identity.)

    'Because,' said Mr Fenwick, 'We are at an SF convention.'

    (Actually he didn't say that but he should have done, so being a writer, I helped him along a bit.)

    What he said is: 'They sought for things they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.'

    'What is this 'it'?' I asked, but this much must be credited to the book's thesis, that even after a detailed perusal of the paragraph, Mr Fenwick was unable to answer my question.

    The moral of the story is that if you pick a hotel at random, it may turn out to be a Mormon establishment, where you will be subjected not only to the Gideon's Bible, but also to the Book of Mormon, for example these charming passages from Jacob 4:14.

    Where's the Twitter storm, that's what I want to know?
    Oh yeah, busy with the Hugos, is it?

  • At first I thought I wasn't going to find any new people to read at Eastercon, although I knew I was going to meet Aliette de Bodard whose next book The House of Shattered Wings is already on my to-read list. Then I found a whole load of new people to read, including practically the entire list at Elsewhen Press. They're an independent publisher with a progressive approach to not killing trees print-on-demand, and a tendency to let their authors be eclectic and idiosyncratic. Also Susan Bartholomew who is going to be writing about one of my favorite legendary people, Melusine. And a bunch of free books, I know not what they are.

  • I put out feelers for interest among independent writers to organize 'something' and possibilities for what might be organized. The answer is that 'something' will almost certainly happen eventually, if and when someone inputs the right amount of energy. That someone might be me. I'm currently counting my energy reserves to see if it is or not.

  • Right now, I have no energy reserves at all, which is typical for the day after a con. I need to sit in a darkened room on my own and do nothing.

  • As at Loncon, the subject of debate which stresses me out is the one surrounding cultural property and cultural appropriation. This is because I have Views. You know how it is. Possibly, I should write them down, but it's a multi-post job and I have no energy. So that's it for now.