Various and Sundry, 7/4/09

First off: Happy Independence Day! Here in the US we’re celebrating the day we kicked Britain to the curb, what, 233 years ago? Sigh. We were all so different then, weren’t we. And look at us now: The US and UK, totally all “friends with benefits.” Oh, UK. We love your accents.

Now, then:

* If you were planning to vote for this year’s Hugos today, HA! You’re too late, the voting closed at midnight. And as is now apparently traditional, when I woke up the morning after the Hugo voting closed there was an e-mail waiting for me asking me if I thought I was gonna win anything. My response this year, again: Oh, probably not, and almost certainly not in the Best Novel category, where the competition is, shall we say, awesome scary. And I’m very okay with this, since as noted before when fandom says to you, “Hey, you belong in the same category as Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson and Charlie Stross,” well, honestly. How much more win do you need?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to win all three of the Hugos I’m up for, because then I could retire from Hugo competition, couldn’t I. But I sort of doubt that will happen, and if it did I would be the first to accuse me of ballot stuffing and to demand a full investigation. In the meantime, I’m not going to worry about it. It’s cool to be nominated, and it’s nice to win, and it’s also nice to see friends win, too.

* That said, I totally want to have us METAtropolis folks win Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Dark Knight and Wall-E have already got Oscars, you know? They’re taken care of. And you know you’d rather see me, Toby, Jay, Karl and eBear (and Steve Feldberg, our producer) jumping up and down like happy monkeys on that Hugo stage than to watch some stand-in accept for someone who was never planning to show up. Mind you, the sight of the lot of us hopping up and down is not a reason to vote for METAtropolis – it needed to be judged on its own merits like the rest of the nominees. But it would still be more fun. Just saying.

* In e-mail and comments, I’ve had people asking me if I wasn’t just a bit too severe with Gordon Van Gelder and Gardner Dozois regarding the proposed F&SF workshop, and asking whether I really believe either man would try to take work from workshoppers for the magazine without paying pro rates. So to be clear: No, I didn’t and don’t believe that, and I’ve said a number of times, in both the entries and the comments that I don’t think it was ever their intent. I do think it was unfortunate they were not perfectly clear about the payment angle, however, and regardless of what I thought their intentions were, it’s perfectly legitimate to note out loud that this information wasn’t out there and that its absence was not a good thing.

In the comments, Gardner Dozois notes that one could have just sent an e-mail and asked. Well, sure. On the other hand, as a writer I’m wondering why a detail that fundamental was skipped in the first place; I guessed an oversight (which it was) but it was a puzzling enough oversight to call out. Also, Gordon Van Gelder had information on the workshop posted publicly, so I’m not sure why comment about publicly available material needs to be addressed privately.

Dozois was likewise offended that his 40-year-track record was not taken into consideration when noting the issue of lack of payment information, to which I say: Well, it’s not you, Gardner. It wouldn’t have mattered who it was involved in the workshop, I would have noted the absence of information. Trust me on this. As a professional writer, payment is my hobby horse, and like Rikki Tikki Tavi, I prefer to run and find out rather than be in doubt. I was surprised the payment issue wasn’t addressed, but I also cede the point writers have slightly different priorities than editors and publishers. So I brought it up.

Be that as it may, I do regret if Gardner Dozois feels that I have impugned his integrity. His integrity wasn’t really in question from my point of view, nor it is now (nor is Gordon Van Gelder’s, while I’m at it). I don’t regret pointing out the issue of workshop story payment was not addressed, nor do I regret discussing it publicly. It has been publicly addressed now by Van Gelder (F&SF will pay for the stories), so that’s that. Glad it’s resolved.

22 thoughts on “Various and Sundry, 7/4/09

  1. And here I was looking forward to the Scalzi vs. F&SF cage match to the death.

  2. I have to beat Chang who is not Chang to this one — Wonderful picture of the Magnificent She. Cassidy, her Sister in Magnificence, who graces our house, gives a purr of approval.

  3. From a few flicks south of the Demilitarized Zone, the most heavily fortified border on the planet, an electronic message vis the Internets: Happy Independence Day, John Scalzi! That said, I can’t believe the North Koreans had the audacity to rain on your parade today, good sir. I mean, one Scud-type missile launch on the 4th of July would have sufficed, from the standpoint of the xenophobic low-brow bourgeoisie in Pyeongyang. But seven Scuds! If anyone in the world deserves a good spanking it’s Kim Jung Il. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that he didn’t wake up grumpy this morning and decide to nuke Waikiki Beach. Which reminds me, I have to find a good copy of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach.

  4. Hmm, good theory, since the North Koreans are literally eating their seed corn most years, too. I remember reading an article about bad North Korean argicultural management – it’s what keeps them coming back to the negotiating table.

  5. Report from HI: NK declines to help us celebrate Independence Day, close up. Whew.

  6. Happy Independence Day, Mr. Scalzi. I wish more people used their independence in a manner I approve of so much:

    Selling me things I enjoy. ;)

  7. Happy Independence Day to all Americans. I hope the firworks are spectacular once again.

  8. from New York state to your whole family in Ohio:
    Happy Independence Day, John.

    And I actually _read_ the story Rikki Tikki Tavi as a teenager – never expected to see you reference it :)

  9. This is the great thing about being a Canadian, we get an excuse to party for four days straight. (July 1-4)

    Happy Birthday USA.

  10. O Great Scalzi, what a superb picture of Her Most Glorious Perfect Shimmering Radiance.

    After performing a deep search of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club Archives, the Executive Committee was unable to determine if this image is in fact a duplicate.

    However, it is clear that you are making an effort, no matter how poor. And your recently expired Seal of Approval Award must be weighing on your mind.

    Well, despite your sloth, the Executive Committee, a quorum being duly assembled, has reluctantly decided to award you the coveted

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club Seal of Approval Award
    valid 4 July 2009 – 5 July 2009

    This may very well be a record for you. Keep going and you may yet earn another.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

    PS – Next time, please refrain from adding all of the irrelevant verbiage beneath the image of Magnificent She. In fact, the Executive Committee offers the constructive criticism that perhaps fewer words and more pictures on the Whatever would be a great improvement.

  11. Happy birthday to us.
    Happy birthday to us.
    Happy birthday to us.

    Happy birthday to us.

    By the way, I hummed “Oh Canada” the other day out of respect and admiration of my friends in Vancouver. It’s like talking over the back fence with your neighbor from here.

    It’s getting to the point of the day out here by the Puget sound where all the potato salad has been eaten, the grill is cooling down from it’s Herculean efforts on behalf of hungry picnickers and the watermelon seeds are spread all over the ground. Nothing to do but sprawl back in the chaise lounge, chat with friends and wait for the fireworks to start.
    I’m thinking the fireworks are about ready to start in Ohio about now.

    Happy Independence Day all, I’m going to crawl back into the chaise now

  12. All the best for METAtropolis winning the Hugo. I finished the audiobook last night and found it to be amongst the most interesting fiction I’ve encountered. I’ve been wondering how the readers were chosen; each was perfect for the story they read, and their skill in emoting the story was impressive.

    Overall, kudos for the project as a whole. I look forward to more stories in the METAtropolis world.

  13. If it makes Messers Dozios and Van Gelder feel better, they’ve brought enough pleasure into my life to earn a pass on a mid-grade (and repairable) screw up. Not all of us can say that much.

  14. METAtropolis is possibly the finest example of what good SF is (and what good SF should hope to accomplish) produced in the last decade. And the audiobook was brilliantly produced as well. I voted in (and read!) all the fiction categories for the Hugos, but if I had to limit myself to just one vote it would have been for this, no joke.

  15. While it has been made absolutely clear in subsequent posts that you believed it was a mere oversight, I have to admit, when I read the original post on the subject, your choice of language made me wonder if you believed otherwise, and were just providing them with a face-saving way of changing their minds. I didn’t take it that way, mind you, but I did wonder how many people would, since it seemed to be your kind of snark.

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