2015 Hugo Awards nominees announced

The 2015 Hugo Award nominees were announced yesterday, and the list of nominees is reportedly rife with controversy.

I wouldn’t know. I look at the list of finalists for Best Novel, do a quick mental check to see if I’ve read any of them, and then generally move on with my Internet browsing.  The list of finalists is controversial supposedly because lists were published encouraging voters who to nominate, not based so much on the merits of the work, but on the political leanings (or lack of political leanings) of the finalists.

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Some have criticized the Hugo Awards for being manipulated by so-called Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), people who believe white men have too much clout and power at the cost of non-white, non-men. SJW’s try to even the playing field by promoting, usually on Twitter and Tumblr, less deserving women and minorities over more deserving white men.

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Or maybe the women and minorities are more deserving than the white men, but the white men are getting ahead because their whiteness or maleness is just too overpowering, like too much Old Spice slapped on by an octogenarian with a head-cold.

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The main list of recommended nominees was Sad Puppies 3, published by writer Brad R. Torgersen. Many of the finalists on the Sad Puppies 3 slate made the final cut and are now in the running to be winners of the 2015 Hugo Award.

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The Hugo awards are weird. Though they said to be the most “prestigious” award in the world of science fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction. The cold hard fact of the matter is anyone willing to fork over $40 for a membership to Worldcon, can nominate finalists and vote for the Hugo Awards.

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Anyone means anyone. Technically, you don’t even have to be a fan of the genre. If you have $40, your opinion is just as important as anyone else who is voting for the Hugo Awards.

What this “controversy” really does is illustrate just how meaningless and stupid the Hugo Awards are. If you have an extra forty bucks and you’re  willing to spend it for the privilege of voting, your say is just as important as anyone’s.

As I said earlier, I mostly pay attention to the list of Best Novel nominees. With this year, I haven’t read any of the titles nominated. That’s not to say I won’t eventually. I purchased Ancillary Justice, the first book in the same series of Ancillary Sword, I just haven’t read it yet.  I also want to read The Goblin Emperor. Although I have never heard of it before, it sounds like an interesting read.

These two books that I want to read, Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Emperor did not appear on the Sad Puppy 3 slate, yet were nominated anyway. They also seem to be the only novels written by women. The other books nominated for Best Novel did appear on the Sad Puppy 3 slate.

Free Comic Book Day 2013

Tomorrow, May 4, is Free Comic Book Day, the annual event where people can go to participating comic book stores and get free stuff. Not only are there special comic books to be had, other comic book related items are usually there for the taking as well. Most participating comic book retailers also use the annual event to promote their business by having sales on back issues and other merchandise.

Over the years, Free Comic Book Day has turned into a sort of combination of Black Friday and Halloween for nerds.

Hagerstown is of course without a comic book shop since the city condemned the building in which it resides. That means anyone in Hagerstown who wants to enjoy Free Comic Book Day must travel to Comics World in Chambersburg or Brainstorm Comics & Gaming and Beyond Comics, both in Frederick. Yes, that’s right. The city of Hagerstown doesn’t have a comic book shop while the neighboring city of Frederick has two. They also have a Costco while we don’t, but we do have a nicer Sam’s Club. Yes, that’s right, Frederick has both a Costco and a Sam’s Club. No wonder people in Frederick think they’re better than everyone else in Western Maryland.

I probably wont be attending any Free Comic Book Day events tomorrow as my schedule for tomorrow already looks as though it’s already full.

Brian Bolland threatens me with legal action

This morning I found an email in my inbox from an attorney claiming to represent comic book artist Brain Bolland. The return email address along with his signature shows that he is from the Chicago law firm Klafter & Burke. Their website shows that they specialize in real estate and taxes.

Evidently they are expanding their legal scope into the lucrative world of comic book convention commissioned sketch law.

Yesterday this same person attempted to post two comments to my blog. He didn’t identify himself yesterday as a lawyer representing Brian Bolland. In fact, he claimed the complete opposite. He claimed to not speak for Brian Bolland.

His comments were automatically held for moderation because WordPress misidentified them as spam. He attempted to post numerous links within his comments. I have WordPress configured to identify any comment with two or more links to be spam.

This all stems from a post I made on my blog almost two months ago concerning a commissioned sketch Brian Bolland did for a fan at the 2007 New York Comicon. I found the image of the sketch while looking for photos from the convention. The fan (also named Brian) wrote that he paid $150 for it.

The sketch measured approximately 3 by 4 inches.

I believed Brian Bolland overcharged the fan for the sketch. In fact, I wrote that he “ripped off” the fan.

Evidently Brain Bolland Googled himself last week and found my post. He twice responded to what I wrote. His comments seemed good natured and not the least bit snarky. It seemed that he was admitting that he overcharged the fan for the commission. He wrote, “I feel particularly upset that I’ve shafted a fellow Brian.

How can he admit that he “shafted” the fan, but then have his lawyer send a threatening email to me demanding that I remove my post? Isn’t shafting someone worse then ripping them off? I’m no wordsmith, but it certainly seems so to me. Maybe it’s just me, but the expression shafted seems to have a pseudo-sexual connotation to it that the phrase “ripped off” just doesn’t have.

If Brian Bolland wanted me to remove my post, why didn’t he just ask me himself? Why engage the services of a lawyer? The truth is that if he had simply asked me nicely to remove the post when he first discovered it, I probably would have done so. I had no malice or ill will towards him.

All that changed though when he decided to threaten me with legal action. I don’t particularly like being threatened. Then again, who does? Not that I have any malice for him now.

I now don’t particularly feel like removing the post.

UPDATE: My hosting provider asked me to remove the Cease and Desist letter sent to me by Brian Bolland’s lawyer, Christopher M. Caira of the Klafter & Burke law firm. Caira threatened legal action against my hosting provider unless the C&D letter was removed. Caira claimed that the letter disclosed private information including personal contact information. Oddly enough, it’s the very same “personal contact information” published on the Klafter & Burke website. I thought it was important to include the C&D letter to show what steps Brian Bolland and his lawyer were taking to silence critical speech.