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Killer D

Well, that wasn't the most exciting of SuperBowls. Certainly not a patch on the Giant victories over the Patriots in SB42 and SB46, or last year's thriller in Arizona when the Seahawks snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with the Worst Play Call in NFL History. The game was sloppy, with way too many turnovers, and a dearth of heroics on the offensive side of the ball.

The defenses, though... ah, those were a joy to watch. And the final result proved that even in this age of high-flying aerial circuses, one old truth still holds water:

Defense wins championships.

Peyton Manning has had a great career, and it was nice to see Eli's big bro walk off into the sunset with another ring (I do hope he has the sense to go out now, on top, rather than hanging on the way Unitas and Namath and Favre did)... but make no mistake, Peyton did not win the game. It was the Bronco D, first to last. They absolutely dismantled Cam Newton and the highest scoring offense in the NFL.

This game should be a lesson to the rest of the NFL... and especially to my own beloved New York Football Giants. When the Giants won those two SuperBowls over the Patriots, Eli Manning was MVP, and all that most people remember were his dramatic passes to David Tyree (in 42) and Mario Manningham (in 46)... but as great as Eli played, the D won those games too. The Giants pass rush terrorized Tom Brady from start to finish, just as the Denver D terrorized Cam this afternoon (especially apparent in SB42, when they held a New England offense that had been running up the score against opponents all year to a mere 14 points).

Defense has ALWAYS been a hallmark of the G-Men, since I was a kid. They had great Ds in their two earlier SB wins, under Parcells, as well... and going back to the 50s, the Giants were the first team to introduce their D at the start of games, the franchise where the chant "D-FENSE!" originated. Sam Huff, Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora... the Giants have always had a formidable D.

But of late they seem to have forgotten that. This season, the Giants defense ranked 32nd in the NFL. Dead last. Shameful. I still reel thinking of that 52-49 loss to New Orleans. How it could be possible for a Giants team to score 49 points and lose... the mind boggles.

Come draft day, I hope the Giants draft defense, defense, defense, defense. Picking up a few pass-rushers and run-stuffers in free agency would be a good idea as well. I think the Giants offense will be fine with Eli and Odell and our new coach (and I pray Victor Cruz comes back). But for the Giants to return to contention, they need a defense that scares people again. A defense like Denver's, that turned league MVP Cam Newton into a deer in the headlights.

Defense wins championships.

The Giants knew that once. Denver knows it now.

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Yet More Hugo Ruminations

MidAmericon II has opened on-line Hugo nominations, as I reported below... at least for those members who have received their PIN numbers (haven't gotten mine yet, alas). No better time for some more of my thoughts on possible contenders for this year's Hugos. You can find my earlier posts downstream, where I share some of my recommendations for the two Dramatic Presentation awards and Best Professional Artist. Tonight I am going to talk about a more contentious category: Best Editor, Long Form.

Like several of the other problem categories the Long Form Editor Hugo goes to a person, not a work... which means it is subject to the "usual suspects" syndrome that I have discussed previously. Way too many voters don't actually know what the various candidates did during the previous year. This leads to the same people winning the award, year after year after year... most often, the editors with the biggest presence at cons and on the web.

Which is NOT proof of a cabal or a conspiracy, despite what some morons would like to have you believe; it's just proof of human nature, and, well, our own innate human laziness. In the case of this particular category, the problems are exacerbated because "long form" editors -- book editors to you and me -- are not even credited by the vast majority of publishers. Tor is a notable exception, which is one reason Tor editors have dominated this award since its inception, but even in that case, the editorial credit is not exactly prominent. You have to go looking for it. Most readers, and most Hugo voters, do not bother to look. And aside from Tor, the total absence of credits on the novels themselves means nobody knows who edited anything... well, except the writers.

A little history lesson may be in order. Originally this category was "Best Magazine." That was easy to judge. If you thought GALAXY had the best stories last year, you voted for GALAXY. If you preferred ASTOUNDING, you voted for ASTOUNDING... or F&SF, or IF, or AMAZING (actually, I don't think AMAZING ever won, though it deserved to during the Ted White years). There were seldom more than ten magazines around at any one time (except during brief booms), so everybody knew the contenders and could judge accordingly. In those days, the magazines were the heart of the field.

By the late 60s and early 70s, that was less true than it had been previously. The magazines were still important, but more and more novels were being published, in both hardcover and paperback, and there was a boom in original anthologies as well (before that, most anthologies were made up of reprints). By offering higher rates than the magazines, anthology editors like Damon Knight, Robert Silverberg, and Terry Carr lured a lot of best, cutting-edge short fiction away from the magazines to "book magazines" like ORBIT, NEW DIMENSIONS, and UNIVERSE. Accordingly, the old "Best Magazine" Hugo was abandoned in favor of "Best Editor," so that the anthology editors and the book editors could also be recognized for their efforts.

A funny thing happened, though. Even though the award was no longer restricted to magazines, the magazine editors continued to dominate it, year after year, decade after decade. Ben Bova took over ANALOG after John Campbell's death, and won six. When ASIMOV'S was founded, its first editor George Scithers, took two in a row. He was followed by Shawna McCarthy, who won a couple, and Gardner Dozois, who won something like seventeen. Ed Ferman finally got a couple for his long run at F&SF, and Kris Rusch took one when she succeeded him. Original anthology editors, like Carr and Silverberg, were often nominated, but never actually won. And book editors? Forget it. David G. Hartwell made the ballot fairly regularly, but he was the only one, and he never won. Jim Baen was nominated a few times, but that was when he was editor at GALAXY. Generations of important book editors came and went without ever once appearing on a Hug ballot: Larry Ashmead, Ellen Asher, Jim Frenkel, David Harris, Victoria Schochet, Susan Allison, Beth Meachum, Betsy Mitchell, Judy-Lynn del Rey, John Douglas, Ginjer Buchanan... the list goes on and on.

Donald A. Wollheim was never nominated for a Hugo. The award said "Best Editor," but for all practical purposes, it was still really "Best Magazine."

((Of course, there was a perfectly understandable reason for this. Then as now, the book editors WERE NOT CREDITED. Unless they founded their own publishing imprint but their names on it, as with Baen and del Rey, the casual reader did not know who they were or what they had edited)).

To be sure, there were a couple of breakthroughs. Terry Carr finally won a Hugo in 1985, on the strength of the Ace Specials... the first book editor to win, I believe. He won a second in 1987, after dying in April of that same year.



In between Terry's two wins, Judy Lynn del Rey was voted a rocket after her own death... but her husband Lester refused on her behalf, pointing out that fandom had never voted her the award while she was alive.

After Carr's second and posthumous victory, magazine and anthology editors won the award for eighteen straight years (Dozois, Datlow, and Rusch). In 2006, the last year before the award was split into Long Form and Short Form, David G. Hartwell finally won, after decades of being a runner-up. Hartwell and Carr and Judy-Lynn (if you count her) were the only book editors to win "Best Editor" during the two and half decades of the award. It is easy to see why book editors would object to this set-up, and why some of them lobbied for a change in the rules... which finally took effect in 2007, when the editorial Hugo was split into two -- Best Editor, Short Form (magazines and anthologies) and Best Editor, Long Form (novels and books). Those are the rules we operate by today.

It's better in some ways, I cannot deny. But the problems persist, as I outlined above. Without credits, it is hard to know who edited what, or how much editing they had to do. Writers know this stuff (it is a small field), and other editors certainly do, but readers? Not so much. So we get the "usual suspects" syndrome, and a system that strongly favors the editors who are most visible at cons and on the internet. With smaller publishers and imprints, one can at least argue that you can judge an editor by the books that came out that year... but even that falls apart at bigger houses where a multiplicity of editors work on a long, long list of titles.

The first Long Form Hugo was awarded in 2008. It went to Patrick Nielsen-Hayden of Tor. The runners-up were Dave Hartwell of Tor, Jim Baen of Baen, Ginjer Buchanan of Ace, and Lou Anders of Pyr. The next two years, Hartwell was the victor. Beth Meacham replaced Jim Baen on the short-list those two years, but elsewise the nominees were exactly the same. After Hartwell's second victory... his third Hugo overall... David did something very classy. He withdrew himself permanently from further contention. There were other editors, great editors, who had never been recognized, and some of them deserved Hugos too. He now had three, and that was enough. David G. Hartwell bowed out gracefully.



That gesture had a profound effect on the award, I think. Though the rules may say the Long Form award is intended for work published during the previous year, in truth the category had become a sort of ad-hoc "lifetime achievement" award. And that is more or less how it has continued since, due in no small part to Hartwell's noblesse.

The following year, 2010, Patrick Nielsen-Hayden won his second rocket. Following Hartwell's example, he announced during his acceptance speech that he too was withdrawing his name from further consideration. Lou Anders of Pyr won in 2011. Betsy Wollheim of DAW won in 2012, and thrilled the crowd at the award by dedicating it to her father -- finally the Wollheim name had appeared on a Hugo. In 2013, PNH allowed himself to be nominated once again, stating that his wife Theresa had not been there to see him win his first two, and he wanted her to see him win one. Which he did. In 2014, Ginjer Buchanan of Ace finally got hers (LONG overdue).

These were all popular victories, and well-deserved... but what was most interesting to me was that the majority of these recent winners were following David G. Hartwell's example, and treating the award as a recognition of lifetime achievement, bowing out after their wins rather than trying to rack up ten in a row. With so may outstanding editors never having been recognized, I think this was A Very Good Thing, and I'd like to see it continue... so long as this particular category endures, at least.

Which brings us to last year, and the slates. Best Editor, Long Form was one of the Hugo categories swept by the Puppies; all five nominees appeared on one or other of the slates. Nonetheless, four of the five finalist were, to my mind, worthy nominees. Tony Weisskopf of Baen and Sheila Gilbert of DAW had each been nominated thrice before. In a normal year, the two of them would likely have battled it out for the rocket. Jim Minz of Baen and Anne Sowards of Ace were both new to the ballot, but they're both fine editors, and I expect both of them will contend again in future years.

Any of these four would have been a worthy Hugo winner. Alas, instead the "Nuclear Fans" and guilt by association prevailed, and No Award was given. Let me reiterate again: I voted No Award myself in several categories last year, categories in which I felt none of the finalists was worthy of a Hugo. But in categories where the finalists WERE Hugo worthy, I voted accordingly. Long Form was a case in point. Most of the editors nominated in this category had nothing to do with the Puppies. They did not ask to be slated, they were never consulted. Their work and careers speak for themselves. And while their names did appear on the slates, many many fans who were neither Sad nor Rabid nominated the same people because they were worthy of a Hugo (I nominated two of them myself).

I make no apologies for voting No Award in some of the other categories, where it was warranted, where all the finalists were sub-par. But in THIS category, it was NOT warranted. Sasquan should have given one of these editors a Hugo.

I hope we do not repeat the same mistake at MidAmericon II.

Which brings us back, after a long detour, to this year's nominations, and my own thoughts and recommendations for 2016.

Toni Weisskopf and Jim Minz of Baen, Anne Sowards of Ace, and Sheila Gilbert of DAW were the four legit finalists last year. All four could very well contend again this year. The Puppies are already rallying behind Toni, I see from SP4. I expect she'll be the favorite choice of both Sads and Rabids, just as Baen is their favorite publisher.

There are some other outstanding editors who deserve your consideration as well, however. So let me bring a few of them to your attention. Starting with my own editor, ANNE LESLEY GROELL, of Bantam Spectra.



I cannot pretend to be objective here, so I won't. Most writers love their own editors (if they didn't, they'd leave), and I am no exception. If you enjoy my Ice & Fire books, you have Anne to thank; she has been editing them since A GAME OF THRONES in 1996, and they would not be the same without her. And while WINDS did not come out in 2015, A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS did, and Anne was a big part of that as well. All that art? Anne fought to get all that in, to make the book the lavish lovely thing it was. She was nominated once before, in 2012, losing to Betsy Wollheim. She's past due for a second nomination.

And then there's Tor. David G. Hartwell has won three times, and so has Patrick Nielsen-Hayden, but there are lots of other terrific editors at Tor who deserve some recognition. DIANA PHO, who edits our Wild Cards books. MOSHE FEDER, who discovered Brandon Sanderson. HARRIET MCDOUGAL, Robert Jordan's editor who put together this year's WHEEL OF TIME COMPANION. And LIZ GORINSKY.



Liz has never won a Hugo, but she was nominee in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. She would have been a nominee in 2015 as well, but she was pushed off the ballot by the slates. Instead she got an Alfie Award. She did honor to the Alfie, and she would do honor to the Hugo as well, and she certainly deserves to be returned to the ballot. One of these days soon, I expect to be making Liz wear a cone-head at a Hugo Loser's Party.

So, okay, lots of good strong candidates right here in the US of A... but you know, there are some great choices on the other side of the Atlantic as well. All the great editors are not American, you know, and the Hugo is not restricted to US companies. A lot of British and European fans joined worldcon last year to vote for Finland in 2017. I hope that most of them will take the time to nominate... and that they will look beyond the US publishing scene and rectify a decades-long injustice by nominating MALCOLM EDWARDS of Gollancz/ Orion and JANE JOHNSON of HarperCollins Voyager for the Hugo.



For those of you reading this who are not writers or editors and maybe don't know this stuff -- Malcolm Edwards and Jane Johnson are the two giants of British SF and fantasy. You want to know what books they have edited? What authors? Start with, well, everybody. There is hardly a major writer in the field that has not worked with one or the other, or often (like me) with both. Malcolm, of course, has been a fan as well; he was GOH at one worldcon, and chaired an earlier one. Friends, and friendly rivals, they have between them helped to sustain, promote, and grow SF and fantasy for decades now. In the UK, in Australia, in South Africa and India and much of the open market, if you've been reading any SF or fantasy during the past twenty years, odds are it was edited or published by either Edwards or Johnson.

And neither one has EVER been nominated for a Hugo, let alone won.

We should fix that now. I was certain that Malcolm and Jane would finally get some recognition year before last, when worldcon went to London... but the Brits, it appears, were asleep at the switch, at least where this category was concerned.

Let's do better this year.
Ogre Jenni speaks to you! I help out at Jean Cocteau Cinema (George’s beautiful theatre) in Santa Fe.

We just received 16 awesome titles by Neil Gaiman—which he graciously took the time to sign. These books are now available for purchase at www.jeancocteaubooks.com.





Our Neil Gaiman Titles:

Smoke & Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions
Trigger Warning
Instructions
American Gods
Coraline
The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 1
Fortunately, the Milk
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
Blueberry Girl
Neverwhere
Good Omens (co-authored by Terry Pratchett)
Anansi Boys
Sandman Overture
Sandman Volume 4: Season of Mists
Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes
Odd and the Frost Giants


You can learn much more about Neil at his website!

There are limited quantities of each book, so make sure to order quickly! If you have an inquiry about international shipping, please email jeancocteausantafe@gmail.com for a quote.

-THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER-

This is Minion Raya speaking to share some exciting news on behalf of GRRM.

George is proud to be the first to announce production and progress on the official SONG OF ICE AND FIRE calendar for 2017 which will feature art by the deeply talented Didier Graffet.  Although this year has only just begun we couldn’t wait to share a preview of Didier’s fantastic work for next year’s calendar.

And here it is, the New Cover for 2017.



And this compelling depiction of the Battle of the Blackwater is just the beginning!

Keep an eye out for more announcements and updates about next years calendar.

Fun fact, the piece below we actually have hanging in our office library and also how we first became familiar with Didier’s work.  It was on display at the World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention during their renowned yearly traveling art show.  No relation to Westeros, just an outstanding painting and a good taste of what's to come.



Links to the rest of Didier’s work to get your imagination flowing.

French site: www.didiergraffet.com

English site: www.didiergraffet.com



-THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER-

Wild Cards Pubdates

HIGH STAKES -- the third and concluding volume in the current Wild Cards triad, and the twenty-third volume in the overall series -- will be released by Tor in hardcover on AUGUST 23.

This one is another full-on mosaic novel, its storylines completely interwoven to make for a six-way collaborative novel. The participating writers, and their featured characters, are:

David Anthony Durham -- Marcus (Infamous Black Tongue) Morgan
Stephen Leigh -- Barbara (Babel) Baden
John Jos. Miller -- The Midnight Angel
Melinda M. Snodgrass -- Francis Xavier Black, NYPD
Caroline Spector -- Michelle (the Amazing Bubbles) Pond
Ian Tregillis -- Mollie (Tesseract) Steunenberg

Other favorites, old and new, will also appear: Hoodoo Mama, Carnifex, Lohengrin, the Recycler, Earth Witch, Jonathan Hive, Tinker, and many many more.

Be warned: this one is not for the faint of heart. This is our horror book, and things get pretty horrible. Mayhem and madness and murder, oh my. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Oh, and on other Wild Cards fronts -- on March 30, a new original WC story will be available on Tor.com. "Discards," by David D. Levine, is the origin story of his Brazilian ace, the Recycler... who will be appearing again in HIGH STAKES. But meet him first on Tor.com.

Good Stuff to Read

With Hugo nominations now open, the question arises... what to nominate?

There was a lot of good work done last year.

A great place to start is with the LOCUS Recommended Reading List, which just came out:

http://www.locusmag.com/News/2016/02/2015-locus-recommended-reading-list/

I am sure there are some terrific stories and books that did not make the list (there usually are), but still, you can't do better when it comes to a starting place.

And please note, in light of last year's controversies, that this is what a recommended reading list SHOULD look like. Not a slate of five, with the message (spoken or unspoken) "vote for these," but rather a long long list of quality work with the message, "here's some good stuff, things we like, take a look."

(I am, of course, gratified that so many stories from OLD VENUS made the list. LOCUS has always been kind to me. I point this out lest I be accused of bias. So I cannot pretend to be a completely disinterested party, but I do want to be honest and upfront. It should be said as well that, while I often share the enthusiasms of the LOCUS editorial staff and reviewers, and have found them to be on the whole a reliable guide, I do also disagree with their assessments from time to time. We all have our own tastes).

Just for the record, before the issue is raised, let me state loudly and definitively that I do not want any of my work to be part of anyone's slate, this year or any year. But I do feel, as I have said before, that a recommended reading list and a slate are two entirely different animals.

Meanwhile, I will continue making my own recommendations here from time to time, when I have the time and the energy. Both of which I find are in short supply these days.

Hugo Nominations Open

Nominations are now open for the 2016 Hugo Awards.

You can nominate online at http://midamericon2.org/the-hugo-awards/hugo-nominations/

Those still using paper can also download a ballot and mail it in.

On-line works better, though. A mailed ballot, once mailed, is done. On-line, you can fill in a few choices now, then add or change later. The nominations are opening now, but won't close until March 31. So if you know a few things you want to nominate, and you have your PIN, put them down now. You can always change 'em later.

Of course, you do need to be a worldcon member to nominate. That is to say, a member of this year's worldcon (MidAmericon II in Kansas City), or last year's (Sasquan in Spokane), or next year's (in Helsinki). If you hold a membership in any of those you're good.

If not, though, you need to act NOW. To qualify, you need to buy a membership in either KC or Helsinki by JANUARY 31, and the last time I looked, that was tomorrow.

You can sign up at:
http://www.worldcon.fi/
http://midamericon2.org/registration/

Even if you can't come to worldcon, you can still nominate and vote by buying a supporting membership. But attending is better, if you can make it. Finland has never hosted a worldcon before, but Helsinki is a great city, so '17 should be a hoot and a half. With saunas. As for KC, MidAmericon I in 1976 was my favorite worldcon of all time, and if MAC II is even half as good, it will be terrific.

What you nominate is, of course, entirely up to you.

But please, NOMINATE. I have been beating that same drum for a decade, and this year it behooves me to beat it even louder. Nominate the stuff that you enjoyed best last year. Let your own individual voice be heard.

Yes, I have recommended some stuff I liked, in older posts below. And I will be doing more of same in the near future. But remember, that's just me saying, "hey, I liked this, you might like it too, take a look." No one should ever nominate anything just because someone else tells them to.

((This is has been a fannish service announcement)).
Ogre Jenni speaking! I am one of George's assistants here in Santa Fe.

The Jean Cocteau Cinema Bookstore just received some copies of Hunter’s Run, a science fiction story with a psychological thriller backbone, by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham.





ABOUT THE BOOK:

Running from poverty and hopelessness, Ramón Espejo boarded one of the great starships of the mysterious, repulsive Enye. But the new life he found on the far-off planet of São Paulo was no better than the one he abandoned. Then one night his rage and too much alcohol get the better of him. Deadly violence ensues, forcing Ramón to flee into the wilderness.

Mercifully, almost happily alone—far from the loud, bustling hive of humanity that he detests with sociopathic fervor—the luckless prospector is finally free to search for the one rich strike that could make him wealthy. But what he stumbles upon instead is an advanced alien race in hiding: desperate fugitives, like him, on a world not their own. Suddenly in possession of a powerful, dangerous secret and caught up in an extraordinary manhunt on a hostile, unpredictable planet, Ramón must first escape . . . and then, somehow, survive.

And his deadliest enemy is himself.


Each book is signed by all three authors, and you may purchase your copy here. There are only a handful of copies available, so order quickly! If you have an inquiry about international shipping, please email jeancocteausantafe@gmail.com for a quote.

This message has been brought to you by the Minions of Fevre River.

All Hail the Champions

Thrity-two teams started the season, became twelve, became eight, became four. After Sunday we are down to two. Congratulations to the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, who will meet in two weeks in Super Bowl L.

I watched the championship games, of course. Not much to say about them.

The afternoon game was a blowout. Must have been very painful for Cardinals fans, and a romp in the park for Carolina fans. Though I did wonder at halftime when the Panthers were only up by 17 points; the preceding week they'd enjoyed a 31-0 lead over Seattle, yet barely hung on to win. But this week Carolina decided to show up for the second half as well. I really thought Arizona would give them more of a fight. Carson Palmer looked dreadful.

The morning game was exciting. Too exciting for my taste; until that two-point pass fell incomplete, I really feared that Brady and the Pats would pull it out. Denver's pass rush was amazing. I have never seen Brady smacked around so much, even in the two Super Bowls where the G-Men beat him. Evil Little Bill made a blunder by not kicking that field goal late in the fourth when he had the chance; in hindsight, that would have been the difference.

It is always great to see the Patriots lose. And I take some solace knowing that it was losing that game to the Jets that put the championship in Denver rather than New England. It would be have been an entirely different game in Foxboro.

Anyway, the Pats are going home, and the Broncos are going on. It would be wonderful if Eli's Big Brother could end his career with another ring... but I fear that is not likely to happen. The Panthers just look too tough.

We'll see. That's why they play the games.

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This Week at JCC

We opened a cool new time travel movie last night at the Jean Cocteau:

SYNCHRONICITY

Take a peek.



We're also showing ORION: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, about a masked Elvis impersonate, and holding over THE AMAZING NINA SIMONE.

See you at the movies.

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