Daily Archives: December 16, 2007

Athena Has an Idea

Athena has been busy inventing things, like you do when you’re eight-going-on-nine, and is allowing me to share with you the following invention, called the “Sleeperly 1000,” which is for children who have a difficult time getting to sleep at night.

You start off with your standard kid-sized bed, which Athena has. But then under the notation “Parts I Need,” we have the following:

  • A big cage of glass
  • Gold colored bars
  • Screws that you can push from the inside
  • Mini-fan that has an attachment behind it, that’s like a spray bottle
  • (Fill spray bottle with sleeping mist. Invent it if it’s not real)
  • Have an on-off button for the fan.

Then you put it all together — somehow — and you have the Sleeperly 1000. Guaranteed to get kids to sleep just like that. Athena plans to sell them for $150. Let it not be said she is not ambitious. Or that she doesn’t love her sleep.

On a Hugo for Lifetime Achievement

Author Jay Lake is mulling over proposing a Hugo for Lifetime Achievement, and has been asking for feedback on the idea. I’m personally skeptical that such a thing is needed, for the reasons that people in Jay’s comment thread have been pointing out: Worldcons are already able to provide special awards that take care of this, and being a Worldcon Guest of Honor is very much like a lifetime achievement award. I didn’t see but would also add that there is already a Science Fiction Hall of Fame, for which induction is very much a lifetime achievement award. In short, this would be a Hugo without too much of a reason for existing, and the Hugo awards ceremony is already generally long enough as it is.

However, if we were going to scope out a Lifetime Achievement Hugo, just for kicks and giggles, my inclination would be to make it difficult to win; I would want it to be an award that genuinely signaled that its winner was in themselves in sufficiently high esteem, and not merely the best pick of whichever five candidates happened to be on the slate. This means that I would game the process to default to “No Award” whenever possible; winning the Lifetime Achievement Hugo would thus be an achievement in itself.

Here’s how I would set it up:

1. Nominee would need no less than 30 years in science fiction, based on their first verifiable activity (publication, editing activity, confirmed fan association, etc.). The deceased may be nominated for up to three years after their death.

2. To be nominated, nominee must have 50 nominations or a nomination number equal to 1% of the official attendance of the previous year’s Worldcon, whichever is greater. If fewer than three nominees achieve this number of nominations, the award will not appear on the final ballot.

3. For the category to be awarded, the number of voters in the category must be equal or greater to two-thirds of the number of voters for the Best Novel Hugo. If the number is less, this Hugo will not be awarded.

4. For the award to be given, the winner must be apparent by the third round of balloting, not counting “No Award” votes (or the second round if there are only three nominees). If there is no majority candidate by those rounds, this Hugo will not be awarded.

5. Winners of the category will no longer be eligible for the award.

So you see how it would be difficult to even get nominated for this Hugo, must less win it. But if you did win it, there would be no doubt that you deserved to win it. Which is as it should be in both cases, because this is for lifetime achievement.

But as I said, given my druthers, I’d pass on having this be a Hugo category at all.

Just In Case You Were Wondering

The secret to generating a huge number of comments on your blog: Write about Robert Heinlein and fanfic in the same week; each entry is at about 450 comments. By concatenation, this means writing an entry concerning fanfic about Heinlein books would come close to 1000 comments, and that writing erotic fanfic featuring Heinlein and Ayn Rand would generate so many comments that the entire power grid east of the Mississippi would collapse under the load. Given the severity of the weather at the moment, I am loath to do that. We’ll save it for summer.

I also ended up banning someone from commenting, which is something I have to do rarely (I think I’ve done it three times in the five years I’ve had comments enabled), but which, clearly, I don’t have a problem doing when necessary. I think some folks are under the impression that I’m going to tolerate their jackassery because I’m afraid of being labeled by them as a censoring jerk. Surprise! These people clearly have not read the comment policy. And in any event, it’s amazing how civil a wide-ranging and contentious discussion can be, once you’ve tossed one particular bomb-throwing asshole out the door. The point is, it’s good to have standards.