Awards, Rubber Rolls and Humans, Waving

So, we’ve named the type of fiction we like – stories in which the human wins, or at least goes on fighting, and in which humans in general and often (gasp) Western Culture Subgroup humans are the good guys.  Because we’re brats and pests, we named it Human WAVE to tweak the New Wave people as they drown in a morass of grey goo.

Too frank? Well, still true.  The New Wavers were the usual smug and artistic lot, and being boomers, they thought they’d be, ah, yeah “Forever Young.”  If we let them go on taking themselves way too seriously, they’ll do onto genre writing what the post-war lot have done to every other art, and then no one will read, not even us, because if we want unstructured and hopeless, h*ll, we’ll just look outside the window.

It also behooves our lot to not take ourselves too seriously, not that I think there is a terrible danger of that, given that at least the founding lot are my kind of people – i.e. more likely to pelt a boring speaker with dinner rolls than to stand at a podium and make a boring speech.  But still, you never know, we get old and stuff, and well…  you know…  we might start chewing on our gums and saying things like “I started that Human Wave Stuff and look, it’s the last word in Art with a capital aspired A.”  In which case you can point us at this blog post and remind us we’re pests and brats.

Anyway, there is an art to being brats – I’ve been doing it my whole life – and the despair of our elders – been doing that my whole life too.  My brother is ten years older.  But we don’t have much practice at being brats.  At least people my age and up to fifteen years younger (and a few of the boomers who had to put up with the A’tistic ones and who now have all sorts of eye problems, because spending sixty years rolling your eyes is bad for you) have had to be way too serious and get jobs, because the other people were being A’tistic and trying free love and tax-free pot dealing, and looking down their long noses at us for being so “materialistic”.

So, I’m here to guide you.  The first part of being a brat is to make your brattiness noticed.  Oh, sure, I’ve seen some mentions here and there.  But by and large, it’s spreading too slowly.  And we want this movement to catch on a) because it will make “a’tistic” types groan and think they’ve lived in vain, b) because we want more readable stuff, right?

Before people think Human Wave is cool and try to imitate it, we must make them know it exists.  Besides, a lot of them walked away from the fifth “and then everyone died” supposed space-opera and aren’t reading anymore.  We need to let them know we’re here.

Only right now, no one does.  We’re out in the hall and making bad jokes, but they can just ignore us.  We must get in, so we can throw rubbery rolls at the self-adoring speakers.

Yesterday I had a brain storm and I thought: Awards.  (I also made a typo, the rest of you — infants — have been having WAY too much fun with.)

Before you pelt me with rubber rolls – even two years ago, I’d have been the first to say “oh, not awards, they’re SOOOOOOO stuffy.”

But the thing is in indie publishing, and in all publishing as it moves to Amazon and other electronic venues, being able to put on the cover a little seal that says “winner of the blah blah award” (we’re not calling it a blah blah award.  No, you can’t talk me into it.) does give you a huge leg up.  Most of the readers who are rediscovering SF (or anything else) because they can finally find stuff they want to read, see the Hugo and it doesn’t say to them “Award given by small group of people who attend Worldcon.”  They see “Award” which means someone other than the author’s cat read this masterpiece and approved of – or at least finished—it.  That means they’re twice as likely to buy it.

So, what I’m proposing is Human Wave Awards.  The boy has drawn this stylized human figure that is also sort of a wave, all very art-noveau and respectable-looking, and suitable not only for engraving in cool-award-plaque, but also suitable to make into a round silvery medallion which winners can use on the cover of the book and/or their other books with Human Wave Award Winning Author till the end of times.  (And if we make a lot of money, eventually — twenty years from now? — we can give away SILVER medallions with the figure, so it will have pawnable value as well.)

This is why I propose to call it Human Wave Award and not something that would appeal to us more like The Bobby (for Robert A. Heinlein) or the Poul Anderson Memorial Viking Award.

The thing is HOW do we go about organizing, nominating, and making this look respectable – considering that between us we’re more likely to start giggling halfway through and then go out for a beer?

Well, I have a little list.  (Not THAT little list.  The entire internet doesn’t have enough room for that list.  You don’t want to run out of internet, do you?)

1-      Those of you legally minded (as opposed to the rest of us, who are misdemeanor inclined, at the best of times) could you tell me what would be the easiest way to organize?

I know becoming a tax-deductible organization is a mess of work, and might not be worth it, at least at the start when I expect there will be tops a hundred of us, and the money just about enough for the nifty looking plaque and to buy the boy an espresso for his art work.  (As for WHY we should organize, whomever we elect treasurer should not have to report the $500 [I’m wildly optimistic.  Sue me] we get as personal income.  Most of the time that wouldn’t make much difference, but if the treasurer is someone like me, with a lot of self-employed income, you’re just piling onto the self-employment taxes and penalties, and it can mean a loss in the end.  This means S corp or other pass-through income could be a pain, and besides we’ll likely have a varying – and hopefully expanding – roster.)

2-      Now, once we establish the Human Wave Committee of North America – leaving room for human wavers the world over to do their thing – I propose relatively painless yearly dues of $5 or $10, which will buy you the right to vote in the award.  Now, you know how these things go – world fantasy has (I think) a nominating committee, smaller than the general membership, which recommends books for the award, and then the members of World Fantasy Convention get to vote.  Hugo has a point system depending on how many people nominate you.  (I don’t think there’s a Hugo committee, but there might be.)  The membership of Worldcon votes. We’re doing this on a shoe string (Sonny, we’ll be lucky if we can afford shoe strings) those big cons might not be the thing for us, and hell, even the Prometheus isn’t presented with the other awards, but in a different ceremony at worldcon.  (Because if we could get ours presented on that stage it might be worth it.  Very rubber-rolly.) I propose we present the Human Wave Award at Liberty con, because if all else fails, I’ll be there to present it, or we can get my publisher to stand in, or all else failing one of the con organizers.  So, I propose to present the award at Liberty con, in July, in Chattanooga TN and for the first one to be presented in 14 (which will give us time to get our act as together as it will ever be.)

I propose that after the organization we elect officers, just so everyone knows what they’re doing:  so, a president to keep the others in line; a treasurer to make sure we have the money for our nifty plaque “suitable for hanging”; and an MC to either present the award or make sure someone is around to.

3-      And then, with some members (at least three of us!) we can vote on rules, like:

Who gets to nominate?  Who gets to vote? Who gets to throw rubber rolls?

I’d like to suggest that members of the organization get to nominate, that members of the organization plus fully paid up members of Liberty con get to vote (Though I’m okay with those two being reversed) and that everyone gets to throw rubber rolls.

I propose that for 2014 because it’s a new award, work going back five years be eligible. That work by serving officers of Human Wave Organization NOT be eligible for the term of service.  That five year thing is an option.  The other one is to do what the Prometheus does and for some years at least do a retro-award, for work published before the award was instituted.  It’s all the same to me.

Now discuss it among yourselves.  I have some (more) guest blogging to do because it would be nice to finish the guest blogging for DSR BEFORE AFGM comes out (the fifth.  If you haven’t pre-ordered, do so now!) and unfortunately health and other issues have made that highly iffy.

Who threw that rubber roll?  I see you, Mister.  Anyone have any butter?

284 thoughts on “Awards, Rubber Rolls and Humans, Waving

  1. Rubber Rolls? Nope, water balloons are better. Thrown right, the person hit by the water balloon gets wet *and* can’t throw it back. [Very Big Dragon Grin]

    1. Suitable for hanging? Oh, “forget that,” if this gets off the ground, I’ll create something in TinkerCAD or 3DSMax, and we can given them an actual cheesy 3d-printed statue made of something nice — colored soapstone if it want it artsy, sintered bronze if we get enough dues, etc.

    2. Sanford, are you suggesting the Human Wave award be a “golden noose”? 8^) Not that it might be just what we need — a symbol of what we think of “traditional publishers”. Our hostess might not be happy with that unless we have a way of excluding Baen…

  2. OK. I’ll go along with the gag, but first… I’d like to ask the Odds in the room to consider the notion of having our awards be individualistic and post-government awards, not bestowed by any kind of a bureaucracy, and utterly without official imprimatur. Maybe… drive-by awards. Dunno.Still playing with this idea.

    I’ll shut up, now.


    1. Staircase wit department:

      I’m conceiving this as a bit of p*ss taking. After all, if you set out to be a brat, you’re doing it to get attention, right. So why not go all the way and be a punk about it.

      Which reminds me, in an imperfect analogy — a flawed allegory — of the lyrics of Icehouse’s “Anybody’s War.”

      Her arms around a flag of blue
      His clours flying black and white
      She hears the voice between the lines
      He hears the warning, he turns his black

      Anybody’s war
      Who is there to catch the pieces
      Anybody’s war
      Faces we don’t recognise

      She catches every last regret
      She holds it gently like a dying star
      He stands like a small boy in the street
      Throwing rocks and stones into the crowd

      Anybody’s war
      Who is there to catch the pieces
      Anybody’s war
      Faces we don’t recognise
      Anybody’s war
      Turning round and round in circles
      Anybody’s war
      People just like you and I

      Just a little too afraid
      To take the blame that they can’t hide
      Like a frightened child who is running scared
      And they know each other well
      Through the innocence long gone
      Is the only thing they ever shared

      She’ll promise that she’ll try again
      He’ll promise that he’ll settle down
      And they will call themselves the best of friends
      But still they’re strangers, just like anyone

      Anybody’s war


    2. Look, while “the individualists failed to organize” is of course obvious, we CAN’T win this without a minimum of organization. And while this is “being bratty” (or that’s what establishment will think about us, at least) it’s real too — we need to give our own people the little seals to stand out from the crowd so more people discover Human Wave, etc.

        1. Actually, I think there may be room for that idea, as well, Mark. Challenge coins, or something similar, to be handed out by select Odds (members of The Committee (duh, duh, dunnnnn!)) for explicitly Human Wave work. I’m thinking specifically con-related. Perhaps you overhear someone waxing eloquent to a group of fen on the virtues of humanity, and see heads nodding. Perhaps someone on the panel argues well for Human Wave principals. Maybe a blog-post is especially important, and garners Human Wave some major attention (I’m thinking something like Larry Correia’s post on guns/gun control a couple months back, that saw something like a million hits, and got him onto national television). Those with the coins could pass them one. It’s not an award, precisely. More like an attaboy, Bravo Zulu, well done, good and faithful, welcome to the club, you rapscallion. Then, at the official HWA after-party, we bring all coin receivers up in front of the group and induct them, a la the Line Crossing Ceremonies aboard ship. Kiss Baby Neptune, swear allegience to Chairman Bobby, now go out and spread the good word.

          1. Hmm, we need some Latin for the coin(s). How about “Credo nos in fluctu eodem esse” ( I think we’re on the same wavelength), or “Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit” (To boldly go where no man has gone before)? Or more serious and thought-provoking… “Nitimur in vetitum semper cupimusque negata” (We always strive for the things that are forbidden and we desire the ones we are denied)

            1. “Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit” (To boldly go where no man has gone before)?

              I think the problems with that particular motto are twofold.

              Trademark infringement

              “Naughty” jokes. I can envision T-shirts with that motto becoming ironic icons.

              1. Something like “Triumph, Glory, Dead Fish”. I wonder if we could get Groucho’s quote in latin. I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. Maybe a bit wordy …

                  1. What was the thing in Theodore Sturgeon’s And Now The News? “Anytime Humanity is Diminished, It Diminishes Me.” Something like that — anyone have a copy on hand?

                    1. Hm, my search-fu fails; just brings up a nasty slur guy who quotes the whole “it tolls for thee” line to prove that Mr. Sturgeon was killed by the free markets and “Teabaggers.”


                    2. I’ve heard the clip “The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for”– maybe a variation of that?

                      “Humanity is a fine race, and worth fighting for.”

                    3. It derives from John Donne’s poem about Newman being an island and sending toll bells or something.

                      Been a long time since I read it.

          2. This sounds a little bit like a game I was thinking of sponsoring for our local con but with sticky ribbons to put on your name tag for having a great T-shirt. The ribbon would read “T-Shirt TAG – +1 CHA” or “+2 CHA”.

            I’m not sure if Challenge coins would work in the context of lots and lots of people having them to hand out, though. And I’m not sure if it would work for Human Wave activities the way it would for a cool T-shirt.

            But what about a button saying “voter” or a banner or symbol to display on-line “I vote Human Wave.”

          3. There are companies and numismatic societies that will do custom strikes.

            And I like the Clan Chattam motto for the coin: Touch Not the Cat But a Glove.
            Not so much human wave feel , but it does have cats.

            1. I don’t know any numismatists personally, but I know a guy who does. Which I suspect is what prompted the kilted one’s suggestion. 🙂

              The only problem I see with challenge coins as pay-it-forward attaboys is the fact that they are meatspace items and difficult to pass along to someone else. If we were to gather physically more than once a year it might be effective. I really like the idea, especially the pass-along aspect, but I’m not sure how well it would play out in practice. Solutions?

              1. Well, challenge coins in my understanding are generally something that is handed out for your unit or such. If you are in a bar and the challenge comes up you have to show your coin or buy the round. And if everyone has one, the one issued by the lowest level buys. You would need someone with deeper understanding than I to explain this fully.
                I suppose challenge coins could be provided when you buy in to vote, for either a certain level of votes or for a certain price to cover the cost of minting plus a bit to support the cost of reviewing entries and presenting the awards.
                Since there is talk of having stories eligible for 5 years past date of publication (well, I was talking about that) make the coins only valid for 5 years to underscore the eligibility period. At which you buy another coin or everyone wants you to go drinking with you so they have someone to automatically buy the drinks by loosing every challenge.
                IT has to do with in-group building and liquor .

                Making Silver ounce medallions is an issue, they are bigger and silver is spendy, but maybe either pewter, or an 1/8 oz troy sterling blank would be acceptable.
                1/8 is the traditional division of the Spanish reales…which is why they were called pieces of eight, and that always says pirate to me, ARRRRR.

  3. So, we’re doing a SF version of the IgNobels?

    Are you sure we can’t call it the Blah blah award? That’d be like catnip to LOL Cats…. Think ofthe free attention from internet memes! 😛

      1. I think the “blah blah blah” award should go to the worst critical review of an otherwise excellent human wave book, it should feature the southbound end of a northbound mule, with the words “BLAH, BLAH, BLAH” in an arch above the aforementioned posterior, and “Catch the Wave”//”Human Wave” beneath it. (The double slash // means a line break, for the uninitiated)

        1. Also, just to finish up here, it should be printed by a dot-matrix printer on cheap paper, and lacquered to 1/4 inch unfinished plywood, just so the award doesn’t go to anyone’s head.

          1. Ah, like the Brass Jackass award given by the CAF for the stupidest act not involving major harm to equipment or pilot(s).

            1. That’s “Commemorative Air Force”, or “Confederate Air Force” for the UnReconstructed — a group for the maintenance and flight-demonstrating of “Warbird” acft. (combat acft., particularly from WW2 — these are the people who operate the world’s only fully-functioning B-29 bomber; and their membership’s air power rivals some Third-World countries…).

    1. Okay, the last line was supposed to say “ducking and running now!”

      On a slightly more serious note, yes, getting the individualists to organize is very akin to herding cats. That pun. I am, in fact, very happy that most of my subordinates are not Odds.

      hmm. If we either bribed the website team with enough beer, or actually found a programmer, what would be the odds of adding an extra page on the Libertycon site for Human Wave nominations / voting, and an extra page on the mail in form / extra note on the comments on the paypal form? Between asking them to tally the votes as the orders came in (since they’re already tallying names and ages, genders and etc) and asking them to free up a room / stick the Human Wave award into the program, we’d probably owe some liquor or other to the ConCon as well… But that would be a way of doing it on the cheap. (Depending on the liquor.) …and avoid us having to make a completely separate organization, just yet…

        1. Yeah, the trick is finding a way to make it as easy as possible for them to do what serves us both best. If we just ask the ConCon to do more stuff to make our lives easier, it’ll fly like a led brick instead of a rubbery roll.

          I’m not there yet. Have to bounce ideas around a bit to see how to do it with the least hassle and pain, and most fun, for all involved.

  4. Sounds good. Net pages? Looks like nobody has had the time to work on yet, hopefully soon, a place where I could direct people who ask, or who might be interested, would be good. And I really like reading lists…

    And really no chance for a Memorial Viking award? I could then snicker about the attempted raids on the territories of the Finnish tribes which ended with the still living Vikings running (wimps) (until, of course, they got their act together and the kingdom of Sweden was born).

  5. By the way, will this be just science fiction? How about a sister award for fantasy? (Okay, self interest at work here, I haven’t finished any science fiction stories yet, although I am working at a few, what I do have is fantasy)

    1. I asked about different genres when she first brought up the award notion, and IIRC, it was suggested that we wait until more work is out there before splitting it up.

  6. I like the idea, and would be glad to join the group — and I’m not much of a joiner! I’d suggest one thing more, and this is really pretty tricky. I’d like something that we could put on the covers of our respective works that declare, proudly and boldly, that the author is a member in good standing of the Human Wave Writers of North America/World Association of Human Wave Writers, etc.. Just another way to stand out, get attention, and direct people to our collective work. If/When we do organize, we also need to establish ground rules for Human Wave writing other than it’s not gray goop. One suggestion I have is that somewhere is a better place because of the MC’s actions/achievements/work, and that the MC SUCCEEDS (not necessarily lives, but accomplishes the mission/saves the world/pushes back the darkness).

    I have a pet peeve, and I’d like to bring it up here about copyright. It kinda, sorta fits in here, and the organization Sarah’s proposing would be the perfect one to push it. I’ll wait for our hostess’ approval before writing it out. I can cover it in about two paragraphs.

      1. Ok, here goes: I think that manuscripts that are ONLY available digitally should have a different copyright process than those that appear primarily in print, secondarily in digital form. I suggest a greatly simplified, electronic form for digital material, the ability to list up to five different items on a single form, and a maximum cost of $25. The author must provide an electronic fund transfer (paypal, credit card, debit card, etc.,) with the paperwork, along with an electronic copy of the item being copyrighted. The copyright would be good for 25 years, with one extension of 25 years, or until the author’s death, whichever happened first. The Library of Congress would store the book in electronic format until the copyright expires, at which time it will be copied to permanent storage and shelved. The LoC would also issue a unique electronic tracking number for each work, similar to the current ISBN.

        The current system, costing $50 per filing, covering a maximum of two works, costs me more than I’ve currently made. At the rate I’m going, it will take me 15 years to break even, although I am getting a few more buyers!

    1. Awards are fine and it’s good advertising for the concept, but the only books that will stand out will be the current year’s winner (and maybe the finalists).

      We also need an “accreditation” type thingie, like Mike’s suggestion. I’d love to banner my book covers as “human wave” in some form. That way, all of us who are writing in this way can be more easily identified. (Can’t be too wordy, or it won’t be legible on an eBook cover. An easily readable graphic plus maybe HWA (e.g., Human Wave Assoc) might be best). That can live on websites, too, like the ALLI badge.


      1. Maybe the “Great Wave off Kanagawa”, from the Hokusai print featured on the 1963 Japanese stamp for International Letter Writing Week. Just the wave and the words “Human Wave” below it. Would really stand out.

      2. I disagree. Professional accrediting organizations act in restraint of trade and are about as far from a libertarian ideal as you can get. Let the market sort it out. If the author labels his/her work as Human Wave, then it is. The readers, if they are so moved, may debate ad libitum the merits of such labeling.

        I doubt you’ll get many non-HW-ers flying false flags. They’re far too likely to get blood on their shoes from the knee-jerk PC crowds’ hysterical nosebleeds at the thought of it. If it takes a certain level of gutsiness to label your fiction as Human Wave, that fact alone will tend to police it.

        Now a nice logo is fine, but I propose that Robert be encouraged to trade mark it and charge a licensing fee for its use. THAT’s the libertarian way.


        1. Keep in mind that Human Wave and Libertarian are not and should not be synonomous.

          That said, imagine the Amazon reviews accruing to anyone who slaps a HW label on their grey goo.

        2. I like this thought, and I like a lot more of what I’ve read here.

          Chiming in just so you know there are some outliers that are down with it.

          I’d flag my books for sure.

  7. I also made a typo, the rest of you — infants — have been having WAY too much fun with.

    Wait – isn’t that the kind of thing that brats and pests do? (runs – boy, the past few days, I’ve been getting my exercise running from flying dead fish around here)

    1. Wayne — I heard the boys were plotting. The next person isn’t going to get a carp thrown at them: they were going to be taken on a helicopter ride instead. About a foot over the water where the silver carp have become such a pest in Illinois and a few other states, at 150 miles an hour. The carp jump at the slightest provocation, and can weigh as much as fifteen pounds. Nasty, NASTY way to die!

  8. I think (yeah, dangerous, I know), that perhaps we could start with a small group of volunteers – 4 or 5 – to take nominations. Nominations would be accepted from any interested reader BUT 1) they have to have read the book(s) and stories in question and 2) they cannot be blood relatives or agents of the author(s).

    As for the award decision, I see two options. First, have the committee read the nominees. And put a cap on the time, say, nominations close Jan 1, 2014 for the 2013 award, and so on. That gives the committee time to sort through the nominations, compare notes, eliminate the entries that don’t fit the criteria, and then get the books and stories read, compare notes again, and select the winners (H.W. Award, first runner up, and the Rubber Roll Award for the best attempt to slip Grey-goo in as H.W.). The other option would be to have a later close date, April 1, 2014 for 2013 nominees, and to have the committee tally the number of recommendations the books and stories get, as a readers choice type award. Readers would need to explain why their nominee(s) are HW and why they are the best (which might cut down on astroturfing as well as encouraging people to read.)

      1. I was thinking the Memorial Viking Award would be well suited to celebrating our ancestors. Perhaps the RAH! for SF Human Wave published before 2009 (or whatever cut-off is used for contemporary HW nominees) with the MVA (aka, the Poul) for fantasy predecessors.

        1. +1 as well.

          Don’t other awards include a contemporary work as well as an award for something golden age?

          Maybe to avoid ridiculous proliferation of awards, do the ancestral recognitions spread out a bit… maybe an RAH one year and the MVA the next. And the ancestrals should be *particularly* representative of Human Wave.

      2. TX – I suggest the drawing I posted on Facebook yesterday, of the Viking that had just returned to Europe after discovering Texas. If you can’t find it any other way, go to my Facebook home page. I think you’ll like it.

    1. I considered an open vote, using FaceBook with a closed group and people voting via the Like button … but then I thought: FB Sucks! and so abandoned that method of voting.

      1. Not entirely unsalvageable – we might have to export to a poll put on a password-protected page, with leaving a membership name to track who voted and verify against membership.

  9. A nice statue of a rubber chicken would be appropriate for the awards dinner. Would the awards dinner be pot luck or box social? Or combine the two, all box lunches donated to a central authority and redistributed thereby, making it a box socialist (in contrariness to the socialist box most publishing wants to impose.)

    For organizational officers I suggest the titles: Catherder, Vice-Catherder, Keeper of the Kibble and Litterbox in place of pres, vp, treas, & secretive.

    It would be pleasant if dues payers got more than a vote (we do oppose vote-buying, do we not?) for their membership. Perhaps in time some e-books might accompany the privilege? (Although I am loathe to follow the Hugo en this route, as it asks authors to forego sales. One thing of HW about which I am certain is that the movement regards payment as honorable and due.)

    1. Um… perhaps nifty poster suitable-for-framing or calendar or something, but then dues would have to go up.

      I was thinking perhaps awards dinner (each self funds) at local diner, with much drollery.

      1. A calender? Compleat with scanty clad pictures of winning authors hawking their wares? Tempting but might it not skew the voting toward non-literary criteria.

        1. How about a calendar with the nominees’ book cover art?

          That could also be advertising and merchandising in one.

        2. If I should decide to write and win, the last thing you would want for an award would be my scantily clad form….. Trust me on this one….

        3. If it was scantily clad it would better be idealized fantasy version. 😀

          I could have probably posed as a Frazetta girl, I was close enough to the bit heftier ones with slightly flabby upper arms, big bottoms and thicker thighs, in my late teens or very early 20’s, but after that would look a lot better in something like period accurate SCA garb (for me, around early 10th century – er, partly chosen for the reason that there were a few, now a bit questionable but not discredited, probable female burials with swords found here from that period in the early days of local archeology. So I could justify having one on my belt if I ever got the money to buy a nice Viking era one).

  10. I just want to reiterate how glad I am that this is a thing, and to thank everyone getting involved with it. When I considered getting into SF writing, I went out and bought one of those yearly anthology collections to see what everyone else was writing and what was getting noticed. (Most of my reading had been classic SF, and I wanted to see how the craft had advanced in the last few decades.) Imagine my surprise when I got a eyeful of the grayest, goopiest, most unintelligible, politically-correct snot I’ve ever read. I seriously wondered at that point if I wasn’t just wasting my time and that anything I’d write would be destined to be seen only by friends and family. Then I heard about this Human Wave thing, and realized I’d found my kind of people. Thanks again for showing that you don’t have to be a postmodernist bore just to sell copy.

  11. … a round silvery medallion which winners can use on the cover of the book and/or their other books with Human Wave Award Winning Author till the end of times.

    You would also want one for nominees to at least put on the book that was nominated, would you not? I don’t know about having a nominee one for the author (early on, that could easily encompass all the authors in the category), but certainly one for the book.

          1. Heavy metal, weighty brass, close enough for this Deathtongue fan. (It’s a Bloom County thing)

            1. There’s a story in that, if I’m any judge. A renegade tubist summoning cthulhoid beasties of unspeakable description. I mean, a clarinetist gets eaten here or there, and nobody complains too much. The second piccolo, people applaud. But when the first chairs start dissolving and the director sprouts tentacles from his back, things begin going downhill pretty quickly.

              1. There’s a science cartoon from the UK/France based vaguely on Macaulay’s How Things Work, which features an island full of mammoths used for all sorts of things, including orchestral instruments. Traditionally concert attendees wear helmets and armor, in anticipation of the random mammoth stampede that ends every performance.

                1. Inspirat-ions sleeting through the universe rocketed through your brain and got caught in the faraday cage I call a skull. Kinda creepy, I agree, but take it up with the Author. S’not my fault. As per usual . . .

                    1. It’s post con crud, really. Went to LTUE, hung out with Der Mollusk, came home with upper respiratory nast. I’ve been dosing with vitamins, drugs, more vitamins, sleep, and caffeine. And sinus irrigation, which has long proved an excellent means of getting astonishing volumes of … matter to drain from my head. So yeah, s’not my fault snots my fault. Or something. So there.

          1. “Hello?”


            “I took a dump in your tuba?”


            [Robin Williams]

  12. May I suggest starting with a flurry of previously written recognition awards? Metals and such are quite cheap, if you are willing to use a non-exclusive design. Then design something similar with the Human Wave wording on it and register it—would that be copyright or trademark? Whatever. A logo that winner can put on their book covers.

    We need to consider whether the logo can go on only the winning books, or if the author can put it on all of his/her/its future books. “By Human Wave winning author Sarah Hoyt” is inevitable, but to use the logo, would a committee need to see at least a synopsis before the book goes to print?

    And there’s a point. If we want the idea to spread, we need a lot of books labeled as belonging in that sub-genre. Could authors submit their work, getting the stamp of approval and at the same time nominating their own book for the Big Award at Libertycon?

    1. There is a lot of merit in this concept. I’d love to have some way to find my way to fiction I’d be likely to like which is out in the marketplace. I’d never have found Sarah’s work if not for her “Inigo Montoya” post, and there’s probably a lot more already written that I’d love to know about. Some kind of “label” like this would be a help!

  13. In order to get into the bratty spirit of this, I propose that the name of the group be the “Human Wave Disorganization” and that the people that run it be the “Mismanagement committee”.
    We can have a CEO (Cheif Excrement Officer) and CFO (Chief Fraud Officer) too. And if there has to be a chairman his or her title should be stoolpigeon

    In order to get the interest up and to drive people to attend the award ceremony I recommend that the Awards be part of the AGPU (anual general piss up), the budget for which is all the dues money left over from the year…

    I like the idea of paying $10 (or $5) to join and that every paid member gets a single right to vote. I’m entirely happy with people paying to vote stuff by buying memberships for cats, children, horses and pseudonyms that they then vote. Regarding votes may I suggest not doing the Hugo extremely complex transferable vote one. I think one like this might work:
    First round is all nominations and N(5?) votes i.e. you can vote for N separate entries.
    Second round is the top N (5?) – one vote first past the post

        1. It sounds fantastic. Of course, the bazillion-selling author who wants to pump a book and buys 15,000 votes could swamp the whole thing.
          Then again, if the author is that good, there would be no need.

          Maybe you should have the Boss Tweed award and accept bids.

          1. Add the Bought Book award addendum? “Yes, we know someone paid $X,000 to get the votes for this. It is the genre, so it’s not disqualified, and hey, buying votes is good for the coffers!”

    1. Does this mean that if the voices in my head take up a collection, they get votes too?

      I know our hostess warned about getting too serious with this, but in the case of this lot, I don’t see how that’s a possibility. There’s a better likelyhood with this crew that we take this so unseriously that curious congoers are more likely to mistake us for a mass reenactment of the tea time in Alice in Wonderland than any kind of awards show. Of course, that’s only if we took all these unserious comments seriously, which you can’t be serious about.

      1. Does this mean that if the voices in my head take up a collection, they get votes too?
        If they can pony up the $$$ they can vote. Since they probably can’t drink that means more booze for the rest of us at the AGPU
        There’s a better likelyhood with this crew that we take this so unseriously that curious congoers are more likely to mistake us for a mass reenactment of the tea time in Alice in Wonderland than any kind of awards show.
        You say that like it’s a bad thing…..

      2. You have no idea how much I want to imagine going to an awards ceremony where you dress as if you’re going to tea in Wonderland and the tables are filled with mismatched bits and pieces and there are funny hats and (likely stuffed) animals sitting about.

    2. First round is all nominations and N(5?) votes i.e. you can vote for N separate entries.
      Second round is the top N (5?) – one vote first past the post

      This almost sounds like… one vote in each category and then you get (or get to buy) additional votes but fewer of them so that you can add a vote to those categories where you really think that someone ought to win… like your favorite web comic, and then you don’t get an extra vote on the categories you don’t care as much about because you’ve run out of extra votes?

  14. On the organizational thing, a word about jargon first. Non-profit – an organization that does not distribute profits to its members/shareholders. Sometimes non-profits also include a term in their organization that assets do not get distributed to members/shareholders upon dissolution either. Tax-exempt organizations, under Federal law (e.g., IRC sec.501(c)(3) etc.) are organizations which are exempt from income taxes and to whom donations may be tax deductible to the donor.

    Non profits are easy to form. Tax exempts take more work and cost to obtain the IRC grant of tax exempt status. If you are not expecting deductability to donors and are not going to handle enough funds/profits to make taxation an issue, then tax exempt status is probably not worth the costs.

    1. So assume we have $10 annual dues from 100 members, that’s $1000. 1000 members = $10,000 and to be honest I can’t see us getting beyond the 1000 member range (even with rampant vote buying) for a while. So yes a Non Profit sounds like the right idea but not, at present, a tax exempt one.

      Of course when (if) we end up with >1000 members we may want to rethink that

      1. I think the best time to reconsider going tax exempt is when we have a supporter who cares enough about getting the writeoff that he’s willing to donate the time/money needed to slog through the obligatory paperwork needed to get the status.

  15. I like the idea of a Ninja award, where we vote on someone who *isn’t* a HW member yet writes HW stuff. Doesn’t have to be awarded every year, but as every barbarian raiding party knows, you can increase your population by natural means OR by stealing 😉 And then of course we write up a long essay on exactly *why* “Blah of Blahgorath” by B. Bleah is Human Wave and spread it all around the internets. If B. Bleah asks in a puzzled tone what Human Wave is and how he got it on himself we send him a pie and blandishments. (So that’s another office we need: Pie Launcher aka recruitment…)

    I’d go for a cool logo indicating membership in Human Wave, a medallion for the *actual* award-winning book, and then taglines for other works with “winner of the prestigious and completely not made up Human Wavie!” (or whatever we call it).

    1. Oh, I missed the idea that the authors have to be members. I just figured all along that it was anyone.

    2. You really have a thing for giving out pies, don’t you?

      Not that I’m complaining, far from it, I just need to finish some stuff so I would be eligible to get something good to eat. 🙂

  16. Forming a company is easy, you just go down to the Secretary of State in your state and fill out a form and pay a fee. You can choose the type, you generally have a choice of assumed business name, domestic LLC, Domestic non-profit, Limited partnerships…there are lots of them, and each one has it’s own advantage and cost. The states generally want an address within the state to send mail, you can do this by having someone in the state be the registered agent – a lot of attorneys will do that for you for a retainer, it is part of the fee for helping you set up your corporation,often.. All mail goes there, and if you have a life like mine you don’t want legal papers getting tucked behind the monitor till they are past due. I would encourage anyone to do at least an LLC, that way someone suing you cannot come after you for personal assets. Since you have the option of being interstate, you may want to consider choosing a state that has a low- or not a minimum yearly tax or fee for being a corporation. I understand NJ and CT are cheap, but I am no expert, and I don’t know the tax situations. And there are always tax situations.
    I like the idea, it looks like a good one. I encourage you to not skimp on the corporation or having a registered agent. You will have someone on retainer to help you sort the official mail, and with a corporation they have a harder time trying to reposess your cats to cover any judgement.
    If you are going to do a medal and a logo, you may want to look into a trademarking, and I’m sure you know more about that than I do.

  17. How about all paid up members can vote, and any work receiving at least 3/4’s affirmative vote being eligible for Human Wave Roll of Honor, then those entries (tempted to say entrees) put to a new vote to chose the Rubber Roll Award. Although the actual award would be a small plaque, medallion or statue of a person breaking chains asunder. It could be called the Excelsior (anyone else like Longfellow?) for Onward and Upward.
    Incidentally, all eligible works can place a Starburst medallion on their books with the words Human Wave centered therein.
    Any takers?
    Hey! No BUTTERED rolls!

  18. I think the 5-year period is a good idea. Some books I’ve really liked took a while to get my attention, and some I get and stay in piles until I read them.
    I would love to see an award for older stuff that is:
    a) not so famous as to be a classic (so Starship Troopers doesn’t win every year)
    b) meets the definition of human wave in spite of being written 40 years too early.
    Christopher Anvil has been re-issued by Baen (and it makes me happy), but maybe stories by Murray Yaco or Randall Garrett that are out of copyright (and so available online) could have a new exposure.

  19. Bloody WordPress ate my comment. Retyping.

    Why not use Kickstarter? Set up a project each year for Human Wave Awards. Target $200. $5.00 minimum donation gets you a vote. Project closes on the day of the award at Liberty Con.

    The voting would be on-line. It will be simple to set up a system that is verifiable and immune to fraud.

    The project target should be met weeks before Libery Con allowing you to get the awards made without risking being out-of-pocket for their cost. Any cash over the expenses for the awards etc. is split between the winners (perhaps after a party at Liberty Con).

    As far as the form of the organization goes, I think that you will want to have a non-profit foundation eventually, but that may not be the best place to start. A lawyer’s advice here would be valuable.

      1. My fantasy bookstore (doesn’t everyone plan their fantasy bookstore?) was going to be called Dreadful Penny. A celebration of genre literature.

            1. My ideas tended to center on restaurants. There was The Chili Bowl, a chili buffet with various recipes colour coded for heat level.

              Then I learned such things involve a lot of work.

            2. I remember reading a fantasy story titled “Tea with the Black Dragon”. I can’t recall the author off the top of my head, but I loved the MC, Mr. Oolong. The dragon of the title who also could become a human. He found humans fascinating, and I still recall some of the story years later. He fell in love with a human woman, so it was something of a tragedy (at least from other dragons perspective.)

      1. I’m not sure if Kickstarter will accept the project — there’s no real product. One might want to check out IndieGoGo instead.

    1. Successful Kickstarter projects have certain things in common – one is a low cost product that can be easily added to/upgraded via the bonus unlock levels, another is an existing community of potential customers and also key is the ability for the project to create a sense of belonging/accomplishment for those pledging. We have several of those here but maybe not all.

  20. Is this mainly for Indie publishers? I’m thinking about how to get that little seal of HW approval onto a book cover, after it’s been out for almost a year. For us Indies, no problem. Two minutes with any drawing program and it’s on the ebooks and the PODs. But how do we get traditional publishers to add it?

    Having, as Sarah suggested, a “Human Wave Award Winning Author” emblem is good–although if the writer also writes a lot of grey goo it could be infuriating for the readers. But do we want a specific emblem for “Human Wave Story” for books that didn’t win, but were still a good read? Pre-certifying books could be extremely time consumming.

    We’d need volunteer readers, and have to decide if reading a synopsis and one-page-maximum “why this is a Human Wave story” from the author was enough to hand out the seal..

    1. From a reader point of view, yes, it would be nice if there was some system to help find those stories which fit even if they haven’t won anything or been in the running for an award. If the designation catches that will happen in time by itself, after people start referring to stories as that – “you might like it, it’s like those human wave stories you are always talking about” – but that might take time. Maybe just some place where readers could list stories and authors they think fit (and then have fights whether something really fits or not)?

      1. Sounds almost like a human wave forum. *mind boggles at moderating that*

        I would like a human wave designation. I recently picked up a free copy of a scifi author I’d heard really good things about, actually recognized the name despite never reading any books. It was put out by a publishing house, nice cover, clearly content-edited and copy-edited. And was the worst piece of “I really don’t like this piece of human trash protagonist, and frankly his whole habitat getting wiped out wouldn’t worry me.” I kept reading to the end, hoping it’d get beeter – I mean, this is supposed to be an awesome book, well-known author, so it has to get better, right?

        Nope. It ended with him still the same small-minded, trashy, lewd, crooked little blinded soul that he started, and the change he’d set in motion in the world didn’t actually sound like it was going to make anything better. I erased it thoroughly out of my kindle and account feeling cheated of all the time I’d wasted on it, and reminding myself why my reading has come to Baen/Indie and no other.

        For nonfiction, this place expands my reading lists a lot – but a site where books were nominated, and listed out, now that would be a site to expand my “I’m exhausted, can’t brain, and want a good story” nights.

        1. As tempting as the idea is, I do not consider it a good idea to create an award for Anti-Human Wave works, to be given the best works of fiction that leave the reader torn between slitting their own wrists and killing as many people as they can before slitting their own wrists.

          A Human Wave publisher award might as well be called The Baen — commemorating Jim, but I can’t think any publisher other than Baen would want it.

          A Human Wave editing award would probably be a career killer and should be awarded in complete secrecy.

          One thing to always keep in mind is that these awards would exist for the purpose of boosting sales.

          1. Oo! A bad pun comes to mind. The award statue to be a melding of the fallen caryatid as described by RAH in Stranger and the Atlas NOT Shrugging statue from Rockefeller Center, to be called the Human Baen.

            Hey! I **said** it was bad.


            ::dodging rubber biscuits::

  21. Everyone responding seems to know, or at least believe so, what human wave writing is all about. I don’t. Could someone enlighten me?

    Other than that, I have some experience with starting volunteer organizations, if that’s what this turns into.

    1. To be honest, I think that Human Wave is sort of an “I know it when I see it” sort of thing. But to me, Human Wave’s most essential attribute is that humanity isn’t the problem, humanity is the answer. (Think of it this way… does society view children as consumers and takers and parents as selfish for having them, or are they viewed as contributors and builders?)

      That doesn’t disallow villains or failures or deeply flawed heroes, but it does disallow humans and humanity portrayed as inherently damaging or uniquely evil as a species or a cancer on creation.

      The ending also shouldn’t promote hopelessness. The hero may not triumph, or even live, but there should be hope. Even if this “battle” was lost, there should be the feeling that the “war” will not be lost, in whatever context that makes sense, because humans are relentless or resilient, or simply refuse to lay down and die.

      In any case, I agree that there should be some defined guidelines so that the question of “what is Human Wave” is articulated in a clear way, but it should be inclusive and brief.

    2. Hi Marty, Sarah touched on “what it is” in this thread and has written on it in this blog.

      However, Human Wave is optimistic fiction with real people (not stereotypes) as characters. It also involves real heroes and villains not this “everybody’s bad” sort of thing.

      Oh, part of the “not stereotypes” is that a character is a good guy or bad gay not based on “what he/she is” but on what kind of person he/she is.

      For example, one of Sarah’s characters happens to be gay but he is the “good guy” not because of his homosexuality but because of his character ie factors about himself that could exist even if he wasn’t gay. Another part of him that is realistic is that while he’s the hero, he has dark streaks.

      1. Something that is total grey-goo humanity-is-a-cancer could have excellent writing without stereotypes.

        Perhaps the way to define Human Wave (at least while work-shopping a definition) is to identify what BAD Human Wave would look like and still be Human Wave. Certainly it wouldn’t win an award (!) but what would really badly written Human Wave look like? What attributes would it have that identified it as the Human Wave sub-genre, just a really poor hack piece example?

        1. While it’s not bad, it’s hack work in the sense that no one bothered to edit for internal coherence, the worldbuilding has holes that would accommodate the largest mac trucks, and the “historical” isn’t quite, etc — Simon Hawke’s Time Wars. Human Wave. (And btw fun comfort read and “solid midlist.” And I wish he’d get them on e format, as I’m still missing two volumes [when I found them, they’d gone out of print.] I don’t mean to put it down, I suspect the house wasn’t invested in them, and so they were barely edited and the issues are the kind any non-edited book will have.)

          1. I enjoyed Simon Hawke’s “Wizard” novels but they had flaws. I read all of them but almost “screamed” when they mentioned a major magical war two thousand years ago (especially when the books were set around one hundred years in the future). Still they were fun reads and he ended the series better IMO than he did the Time Wars series. I also wish his books were available in e-format.

            Oh, I agree that his books were Human Wave.

      2. while he’s the hero, he has dark streaks

        I strongly suggest that we decide, here and now, that hair dye be irrelevant to HW fiction. Dark streaks, dark roots, bad highlights — none of that should matter.

          1. No one says you can’t dye your hair, Sarah, just that it should be irrelevant to Human Wave fiction. Just as my salami and sardine sandwiches with jalapeños are irrelevant to what I write (except for the dark parts the indigestion sometimes brings out — but it’s NOT hair dye!).

                1. Doesn’t everyone?

                  Tangentially, when I was in the software industry we used to note that late projects tended to expand in scope until they included “Develop time travel” as one of their key objectives.

                  1. Pfui – time travel is easy-peasy; I have it down pat.. Sure, I only go one direction and at a constant speed, but I time travel on cruise control now.

      3. So Larry Correia’s Monster Hunters series is human wave, even though Earl Harbinger probably doesn’t qualify? How about detective stories? Robert Craig’s Joe Pike is a stone cold killer, yet he’s fiercely loyal to his friends. Tom Kratman’s El Cid is human wave?

        I guess I need some authors I’ve read to really understand. How about John Ringo’s Asteroid Forts?


  22. I think that there should be no distinction between a traditionally published novel and an independently published novel. Maybe everyone is assuming that, but I figured it should be said. Self-publishing shouldn’t be implied to be a subordinate category. Good is good.

  23. Like this: Alien Invasion Story, Human Wave style – “Wolverines!”

    Alien invasion Story non-Human Wave style – Humans deserved it, and only the dumb ones hopelessly resist a better way of life.

  24. I like the idea. I hate those “everyone dies in the end” stories. I suggest you pattern the Human Wave thing after the Libertarian Futurist Society. Somehow, despite being a bunch of near-anarchists, we in the LFS manage to collect dues, nominate works for awards, and get them voted on. And despite all that, we manage to give out GOLD awards. However, since in the military silver outranks gold (2nd lieutenants have gold bars, 1st lieutentants have silver bars), I’d go for silver for the Human Wave awards. Go for it. Count me in.

    1. Well, depending on how many people we get, we might yet do real silver (I have contacts in Portugal who make silver thingies, like statuettes and keychain fobs.)

      Okay — LFS — someone there had asked me to ask a friend to judge, but I like an idiot can’t remember the gentleman’s name. He attended Cosign in the springs.

    2. So is _300_ Not Human Wave, because the 300 get steamrollered at the end, never mind they knew that was going to be the result?

      1. I think that heroic and inevitable sacrifice is plenty HW. Anything the opposite of that gawd awful song “Imagine.” Something to die for is HW. No reason to live is anti-HW.

        (In my opinion, at least!)

        1. Besides, with ‘300’ it was shown that their deaths accomplished something positive. Now if it had been portrayed as just macho posturing and foolish pride, with the men accomplishing nothing, or at least nothing positive, with their actions, then it would definitely not have been.

          For the record, I do not like ‘300’ (do not hate it either, not really, but I got a pit pissed with how far it veered from the original story, plus I actually found it to be a bit too much macho posturing to my taste, verging on ridiculous at times). But I’d say it qualifies.

            1. Yep. There might also be a scene of their widows lamenting their stupidity or/and the useless sacrifice demanded by the state and the customs of their patriarchal society while the now fatherless children clung to their wailing mothers, weeping. (Am I getting a bit overboard here?)

              1. In Gates of Fire Steven Pressfield’s retelling of the battle at Thermopylae we are told that Leonidis selected his 300 on the basis of their women having the strength to bear the sacrifice, that it is easy for men to die for a cause yet much harder for their loved ones to go on living after such losses.

          1. I imagine John Lennon in Hell, forced to listen to Yoko singing that damned song over and over and over and …

                1. I nearly got into a nasty argument with my brother-in-law once over it. He admires the song a great deal, where I despise it from the bottom of my soul. I found that he clung to his admiration mostly by denying that the lyrics meant just what they said. He imposed interpretations he could accept onto it, denying that it was, as I put it, the Communist Manifesto put to music. When it was obvious he was not willing to read or think about it, I dropped it. It just isn’t worth it sometimes.

              1. In fairness, especially as Lennon was rumoured to have repented his progressivism and become a supporter of Reagan, he might be in Purgatory.

                Of course, in consideration of his reuted bullyragging of McCartney’s treacly sentimentalism, Imagine may have been sarcastic. More likely it is one more sin to lay against Yoko’s ledger.

      2. No. That is human wave because it’s a fight past despair thing. It is signaled well in advance, even if you don’t know history.

        The ones I hate are the ones where it’s this say planetary colonization story, then everyone goes mad and dies.

        1. The one that comes to mind for me is one where the recon team sits down on a planet, brought in this native, sat him down and plunked a “telepathy” helmet on him, and he told them they would never leave. After some bluster and such from the humans, they let him go, but things start breaking down and eventually everything made of metal is destroyed, and they never find out why. The end.

          1. If you watch Doctor Who, another great example of anti-HW is The Waters of Mars, where the Doctor lands on Mars to find the first doomed colonists (who are fated by, uh, fate, to die) and goes through hell to save them while watching them all die anyway, manages to pull a few out of the jaws of death, only to watch one of them (the most important one) commit suicide at the end (I’m convinced) just to spite him for daring to cheat fate.

            It wasn’t long after that episode that I knew I was going to quit Doctor Who.

            1. I disagree. If you assume that the “Fixed point in time” scenario (where some things can’t be changed without disastrous consequences) is correct (for that universe, not particularly for this one), what she did was to save the time stream from potentially becoming completely unglued. That IS a Human Wave-type action.

              1. My take on that episode is that it’s a warning against the abuse of power. The Doctor went all “a God am I”, tried to break the laws of the universe (he meant well!), wound up breaking the *universe* instead, and it was a plain old human, not ye mighty Time Lord, who stood up and set things right at great personal cost. I don’t know if the authors intended an Aesop about the road paved with good intentions, but it’s definitely there.

                1. But the point is that the Doctor would never have done any of that crud in the first place. Not the real Doctor.

                  My personal theory is that the Master and the Doctor accidentally mind/body melded together, and hence the sociopath/narcissist qualities that the current set of writers have added to the new show. Also, the Master who showed up in the series was a melding of the Master’s good side with the Valeyard.

                  Nope, I can’t watch the new show. Keep trying to jump back in, keep getting thrown back out.

                  1. *sheepishly* eh, weeelllll, y’see, Ineversawtheoriginalseries. (I know, I know, -10 geek cred for txgecko). So that’s probably where our disconnect is.

              2. I would be more accepting of that idea if the “fixed points in time” weren’t so arbitrary–at just the precise moments as to cause maximum grief. “You can change everything you touch, oh, but this is special and can’t be changed.” Says who? Given the nature of Doctor Who, that is a question never asked, let alone answered to any degree.

                Additionally, the purpose of that episode within the tenth doctor’s arc was to forcefully reinforce “TEH DOKTOR MUST DEIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!” to ramp up the angst heading into his regeneration.

        2. So, is Avatar Human Wave because it portrays plucky perseverance against a ravaging foe? 😉

          This batting practice fastball brought to you courtesy of RES Strawman Emporium: “When you’ve got the flamethrower, we’ve got the strawmen!”

          1. NO. It portrays idiot aliens who live in a world that talks to them through their ponytails. And Humans are inherently evil unlike these stupid idiotic aliens. And the only human who is good is the one who sides with the aliens. Human wave would be “these idiots are gormless. Let’s take the stuff we didn’t bother to really name, then bomb them from orbit. It will reduce the level of stupid in the universe.”

            1. I had a real problem with Avatar because of how it portrayed the military– as guys who are only there to bomb sh*t– (well they are but someone else has to give the orders). For instance a nuclear submarine is for bombing sh*t, but no Commander of a sub will bomb sh*t w/o orders. So I wasn’t happy about the story line– plus the only reason our guy sided with the aliens is because he got new legs… imho… And, why would someone be sent to the research site in a wheelchair? It’s like he mixed a future with the present and didn’t get it right.

            2. LOL, oh dear! I mean… I *agree* with all of that.

              I wonder what it would take to rewrite Avatar as human wave.

              1. Make it realistic: multiple warring factions of natives. The humans are human, not just charicatures of stock figures. The scarred-in-body-and-soul ex-soldier, the hard-nosed-but-golden-hearted scientist, the oorah-gung-ho-kill’em’all-senior soldier, the avaricious-but-(barely)-conflicted corporate stooge, the earth-princess. Even the REDACTED angry-fierce-honorable native betrothed, and the wise-and-barely-there beloved father. I forgot the goofy-but-loveable-takes-a-level-in-badass comic relief cum sidekick and the kinda-bitter-girl-soldier/martyr! It’s a rogues gallery of tropes, and the humans are almost entirely bad news. So, yeah: warring tribes of indigenous sentients. Maybe Mother Gaia loves them all equally, but doesn’t really get in the way. I mean, an entire planet-spanning species of peaceful predators? And all of them at a strictly paleolithic tech level? How about a storyline where an advanced nation of indigenes sneak attack the humans in an effort to steal their advanced technology/magic/medicine, and the much-reduced crew are forced to use the back-up mind-meld tech to gain the trust of the closest unallied tribe? They could work together to mine and then utilize the upliftium they originally came for to resist the attacking nation and then form a colony. An actual one: not just an eeevil mining/exploitation operation. Or just go home. How weird would that be? You could even end it the same way, with an enormous battle and the crippled human hero volunteering to stay behind and going native.

                  1. Gah! Because I need another WIP like I need a sucking chest wound. I’m going to note down all the stuff that’s hit me and store it in a bundle of places (yay! back-ups!) and get to it eventually. Eff. Or sooner. I don’t know. It might start crawling around in my skull. I think I can feel it trying to get out.

                    1. How about the hero finds out that the moon is being threatened by a huge comet (or wandering moon or something), big enough that it might destroy the whole thing, some of the corporation guys know but they just want to get as much of the unnamed stuff as possible before that happens and go home rich, some other corporation guys find out but realize it would be much better for the corporation if the moon is not destroyed but they can continue to mine long term. Then we have two factions of humans against each other and the hero has to gain the trust of the natives and get them as allies for that part of the corporation who want more than a get rich quick scheme (this might include persuading the Gaia analog that the threat exists)(and he can still fall for the catgirl in his avatar form).

                      In the end the good guys win and save the moon with the help of the stuff and some human technology but the comet/whatever has done enough damage (destabilized orbits or something) to the system that unless the humans stay, with their technology, the moon will still be in danger for the foreseeable future so the natives + their Gaia analog and the corporation have to find a way to adjust to each other for their mutual benefit.

                      Actually, my fantasy after seeing the movie was: it goes as it goes and ends as it ends, but we get an epilogue. The remaining human technology gives the hero the opportunity to do a few things, like calculate the orbits of comets and such easily, so he takes up stargazing as a hobby. After a while he finds that huge comet/asteroid/whatever and realizes it is headed straight at their moon. Not enough human technology left to do anything about that – would have been if they hadn’t driven most of the humans and the starship away, but as it is, no can do. The hero is left pondering whether he should tell his sweetheart and the other natives or not, then finds out he doesn’t have even that choice because the Gaia analog already found out and is getting frantic. The end.

                    2. Hmm. That might actually explain some grey goo stories – therapy after the writer had gotten pissed at something she saw or read.

                      Might add a few scenes to the original storyline where one or other of the ‘bad guys’ tries to tell the hero something but he will not listen… let’s assume there WERE two factions, the badbad only greedy one and some who wanted to save the moon but had to work under the greedy and seemingly in full accord with them in order to accomplish that. Hero never finds out that part, but the readers/audience do. Bwahahaha!!

              2. Hm…. not too hard, in broad strokes….

                * Make the Space Marine guys into general dehumanize-the-other/xenophobic folks going for a quick profit on Plot-Point-ium, screw everyone else. Might makes right folks.
                * Make the disabled guy agree with them, strongly, to start.
                * Make the natives kinda fatalist– make their tails the connector to the planet, and it’s all sorta symbiotic, there’s nothing that’s not a herbivore. Kinda humanoid island birds.
                * Think of a way to make them not thus morons, reasonably. Just weak, non-violent, no idea how to defend themselves,
                * Guy gets to know them, and realize they’re people, teach them to defend themselves.
                * Kick tail of quick-buck guys.
                * Extract the Plot-Point-ium in an effective way, for a fair price.

                Pretty standard re-write of the bandit with a heart of gold, especially if the aliens are kinda child-like.

                1. * Think of a way to make them not thus morons, reasonably. Just weak, non-violent, no idea how to defend themselves,

                  Got it! Technology! The Plot-Point-ium is technology from an ancient race that MADE the Dodo-humanoids– and the world they’re on. Designed them to be “perfect.” Which they are, in that they don’t over-run their giant terranium planet (thus the tail-jack) and they don’t fight (no reason for war with no shortage of anything).

                  They just can’t take care of themselves when they DO face a threat, their reproduction is totally controlled, they can’t leave because there’s no technology….

                  To be anvilicious, call the planet Utopia and have the Ancient Plot-Point-ium culture commit species wide suicide…..

                  1. Good idea – have the planet overseen by a “Peoples’ Council” made up of representatives from delegates of each of the sub-categories,such as barbers’ collective, gardeners’ collective (comprised of the lawn collective, shrubs & bush league and tree consortium) and so on. All decisions require near-unanimous agreement of the governing council, creating planet-wide paralysis as the group willing to take the most extreme views in any debate effectively wields veto power.

                    They could even have more than two sexes (sperm-donor, egg-donor, womb-provider, birthers and nursers), each with their own advocacy collective protesting against past discrimination, with the result that all children are raised in public creches, nursed by randomly assigned nursers and educated at public expense withing their assigned collective.

                    1. That would be a great way to have the Plotpoint Makers be gone– and show how their damage lives on in folks who never had any desire to be sucked into this, but were left helpless for their own betterment.

                  2. Betteer yet, after figuring out that they were designed as a socialist ideal, make a discovery that they were actually made as a terraforming advanced party: hard working, steady, stable, and easily exterminated when the job was done so the real people can be moved in. A race of arbaeiten, perfect useful idiots. The controlled reproduction – easily disrupted, low conflict – so they won’t fight back, stable – self regulating and so the design won’t be messed up with a bunch of improvisation. In short, the defects that make the whole race liable to be wiped out like an island species is a feature, not a bug.
                    So the betters can inherit the world.

          2. You mean Poca-Fern-Gully-With-Wolves? No. Just. NO. Anything that makes people want to kill themselves because their world is so terrible and can’t be improved and humans are terrible and corporations are evil and Gaia is good . . . no.

            1. I would say the “noble savage” vs “eeeeeevil civilization” meme disqualifies. Civilization has its discontents is one thing, civilization = evil is a whole different kettle of fish. (Mmmmm … Bouillabaisse.)

        3. Everyone goes mad and dies? I think that would be the beginning of the story– with two survivors… ummm… and they were inoculated … and … and. 😉

          1. What? you can’t continue a species with just two! Unless they stumble on the downed remains of a sleeper ship full of unknown-but-human meat-popsicles. A ship full of warring factions of humans, scooped up as undesireables from their planet of origin. Perhaps the madness is still contagious but weakened, and only 60-70% die. There are still hundreds/thousands available to cause shenanigans.

              1. Why would Adam and Eve need cohorts, who would they be fighting if they were the only survivors?

                1. They need cohorts because two people cannot actually repopulate the human race, unless they are genetically perfect.

                  You breed dogs, right? What would happen if you took one pair of dogs and tried to use them for your only breeding stock?

                  1. I asked Dr. Les Johnson for a book we will eventually be writing the together. The minimum breeding stock to establish a human colony is surprisingly small. I think on the order of 200.

                    1. I don’t remember. I’d have to dig out the notes. Because it’s an accidental colony and not a ship (long story) there would be no frozen ova, etc.

                    2. A 1:1 ratio seems less than optimum for rapid reignition of the population bomb. Any quantity of males more than the bare minimum required for genetic diversity entails a reduction of the supply of walking wombs wequired for wapid species weplication. Twenty males can easily serve to impregnate 180 females, and if they are not persnickety about traditional morality each man can sire a child on each woman, maximizing the genetic diversity (I will leave the math to others, and let’s eschew gasps of dismay over the proposal each woman brood twenty brats; it could be wurst.)

                      Depending on the hostility of the environment it might be best if the community Toms, Dicks & Harrys be kept in a secure location, where they can be protected from harm and be available for impregnation of fertile femmes. Does anybody know the term for a male seraglio?

                      Anybody thinking this would be a male paradise (what would be the required populace for a minimum set of breeding males and complementary 70 virgins per?) should a) keep in mind that the females are unlikely to be Victoria’s Secret models (or any close approximation) b) learn at least a little something about female group dynamics and/or c) read Wen Spencer’s novel A Brother’s Price (I think that’s the title.)

                    3. Have one with a genetic trait (such as sickle cell) who slipped through anyway, perhaps because of a desperately needed skill set (how many pilot/astrogator/nuclear engineer/surgeons do you think we have?) and the community falls ill due to an opportunistic parasite that the “defect” provides protection against.

                      Or maybe the Down’s Syndrome child who had been sterilized but allowed to emigrate as the chief medical officer’s kid demonstrates how to approach the planet’s psychoactive flora (Harrison’s Deathworld) without provoking a deadly response.

                    4. (Since there wasn’t a “reply” option at that level, starting over….)

                      A 1:1 ratio seems less than optimum for rapid reignition of the population bomb. Any quantity of males more than the bare minimum required for genetic diversity entails a reduction of the supply of walking wombs wequired for wapid species weplication.

                      Bad idea. Tempting, since it would make stuff faster and is a staple of classic scifi setups, but really bad idea– Irish wolfhounds had a few very popular sires and it did NOT do them any favors, search around for some better examples.

                      My response is based largely on cattle– yeah, we’ll have a very small number of bulls for each dozen cows (I can’t remember at the moment, but I THINK it’s well over 20:1) but we get rid of the bulls every few years. Half-siblings breeding is very dangerous, part of why we don’t keep bull calves, just heifers. (My mom even has the bloodlines for the cows worked out to a level that makes me laugh at European royalty chasers; she’ll list all the possible bulls that may be parents, not just who was SUPPOSED to breed who.)

                      It’s no more wise to limit your Y chromosome variety than any other chromosome– I’m going to stick very strictly to the genetic issues, here, since the sociological stuff would just make for even more fights– and while a male can’t give birth, he does provide more variety in the X chromosome selection.

                      Part of what always pisses me off with the “one guy and thirty women repopulate the world” setups. *shudder*

                    5. Actually, that’s more than I thought it was. I was expecting it to be 50 or so.

                    6. LOL. Remember I’m digit dyslexic. Could be 25. (No, it really could. I’m that bad. That’s what kept me out of engineering. It’s just that I don’t THINK so.)

                  2. Interestingly enough scientists believe that the gene pool for cheetahs was at one time reduced to 1-3 breeding pairs. Of course pointing out the exception to the rule pretty much proves it, since thousands of species have gone extinct when reduced to signifigantly greater numbers of breeding pairs.

                    I was using the Roman definition of cohort when I made that comment. Hopefully you were not when discussing breeding stock, or Eve would have been one busy girl.

                    1. Just so we’re clear, the cheetah is a non-viable species on its way to extinction. There are genetic reproduction flaws that render a significant % of the males sterile. This has now become a primary, not a secondary trait.

                      So cheetahs are no exception to the rule, they’re just taking a long glide path to oblivion in spite of human efforts to intervene (and in spite of lucrative endorsement opportunities hawking cheese-flavoured puffed corn snacks.)

        1. Careful, pohjalainen. This American has a wide knowledge of Cajun voodoo. Hexing and cursing should be aimed at those that deserve it. That includes Random Penguin and all their droppings, as well as a few others. (Please understand that I am NOT talking about the OTHER penguin who has been barred from the discussion… 8^)).

          1. Hey, I wasn’t going to do anything, I was just looking (just in case…). There are some fun versions in old Finnish folklore too. 🙂

            But I think I will test a few with Random Penguin since it Sarah says I won’t be getting more by Elise Hyatt in the already existing series unless she gets the rights back.

  25. All the nitty-gritty and details aside, I think this is a great idea and a good way to promote the sort of books that have that sense of wonder and adventure that drew so many of us to science fiction in the first place.

  26. My biggest issue is the nomination process. You want to keep people independent and not be a big politically correct club so how do people earn a spot on the rolls. By blog nomination, fellow writer nomination or via publisher? What makes something eligible? Who votes?

    Sci fi only, multiple categories or just any book?

  27. I like the idea and would join the group.

    I think members of the group should be able to nominate and vote, and members of Liberty Con be able to vote as well. I think it should be this way because unlike Worldcon and World Fantasy, Liberty Con is always in Tenn, and there could be members of the group that are never able to attend Liberty Con. Also, there’d have to be a deadline when someone becomes a member of Liberty Con to allow them time to vote. The organizers of Liberty Con might like this to get more members signed up sooner.


  28. Be prepared to have your award misunderstood. The Libertarian Futurist Society has been saying for years that we give the award for the book, not the author, and that we honor books that envision free societies, warn against the dangers of authoritarianism, show strategies for increasing freedom, or deconstruct works that endorse values contrary to libertarianism—with no requirement that the author be a card-carrying libertarian (even if there were a libertarian organization with the power to issue cards!). And yet it seems nearly every year we have people being baffled at why we chose some particular work to honor!

    I remember, for example, people who could not understand why The Lord of the Rings—a work that portrays the fortunate land of the Shire, under a limited government with an apparently elected chief executive, and that shows the Ring of Power as not merely dangerous to others but corrupting and addictive to the wielder, and as tempting especially through the desire of the powerful to do good—why it had anything to do with libertarianism, because it showed Aragorn becoming king of Gondor and Arnor.

    So be prepared to spell out exactly what any award you give is for, and be prepared to have people not get it. Because no statement can be made too explicit for anyone to misunderstand. But it’s still worthwhile making the effort—and I expect the LFS could make more of an effort than we do.

    1. Libertarians are special that way, have to say. Bunch of pedants.

      (Hey, I do have a card, btw… party declared on my voter ID.)

    2. Oh, I know. I also note that the moment I won the Prometheus everyone started referring to me as “a libertarian writer.” In my case it happens to be true though I certainly wasn’t advertising it back when DST was written — but I happen to know in many cases it isn’t. So I thought it was funny. Also I didn’t write DST as a libertarian opus — I wrote it as a fun space opera with a mouthy character…

    3. Being misunderstood is kind of a given, especially because it’s something at odds with the way the mainstream of the industry is today. Then again, if it weren’t, there would be no need for this award in the first place.

      And I think that most of the people who receive it will get it.

      1. It’s never been a problem with the people who receive it. Oh, Charles Stross made a mildly snarky comment about accepting the Libertarian Futurist Society’s award for best novel by a Scottish socialist, in place of Ken MacLeod, but I have no doubt that he understood the situation. And Jo Walton was completely gracious about her award. On the other hand, there are always people in fannish circles who will comment on how clueless we are to give a libertarian award to someone on the left. . . .

  29. This is a test of the email notification system. THIS IS ONLY A TEST. Had this been more than a test actual comment would have been provided.

    1. The following is a test of the email notification system. THIS IS ONLY A TEST. Had this been more than a test actual comment would have been provided.

      1. HA! He did fool you! It’s actually a cover for an Alien Zombie Squid invasion! (I think. But it might involve marshmallows.)

          1. Heh heh heh. We’ve talked about the similarities between our families before, haven’t we?

            By the way, Target: Santa was hilarious.

  30. One more thing, especially referring to the discussion of being misunderstood at first (though probably for always, really). It’s going to important to laugh at ourselves (I know, right? I’ve laughing at us as long as I’ve been alive, why stop now?) as well as those who attempt to mock us.

  31. 1. Everyone gets to nominate. 2. Everyone who pays the minimal dues gets to vote. 3. Everyone who shows up for the awards ceremony gets to throw rolls, if they want to, whether or not they paid any dues. (3a. Everyone who throws rolls shall be obligated to _personally_ participate in the cleanup of the function space. The purpose of throwing rolls, after all, is to demoralize boring and pompous speakers, not hard-working hotel maids. Some speakers would be worth throwing a roll or two at anyway. Which is why we have them.)

    Oh, and OF COURSE we can’t call it the “blah blah” award. The “blah blah” award will be the one we start giving to the worst Grey Goo novel of the year, once we get our org really off the ground. Like what the Ig-Nobel would be, if the recipients were fully expected to lack a sense of humor about themselves.

  32. Well, that was odd; reposting it….

    (Since there wasn’t a “reply” option at that level, starting over….)

    A 1:1 ratio seems less than optimum for rapid reignition of the population bomb. Any quantity of males more than the bare minimum required for genetic diversity entails a reduction of the supply of walking wombs wequired for wapid species weplication.

    Bad idea. Tempting, since it would make stuff faster and is a staple of classic scifi setups, but really bad idea– Irish wolfhounds had a few very popular sires and it did NOT do them any favors, search around for some better examples.

    My response is based largely on cattle– yeah, we’ll have a very small number of bulls for each dozen cows (I can’t remember at the moment, but I THINK it’s well over 20:1) but we get rid of the bulls every few years. Half-siblings breeding is very dangerous, part of why we don’t keep bull calves, just heifers. (My mom even has the bloodlines for the cows worked out to a level that makes me laugh at European royalty chasers; she’ll list all the possible bulls that may be parents, not just who was SUPPOSED to breed who.)

    It’s no more wise to limit your Y chromosome variety than any other chromosome– I’m going to stick very strictly to the genetic issues, here, since the sociological stuff would just make for even more fights– and while a male can’t give birth, he does provide more variety in the X chromosome selection.

    Part of what always pisses me off with the “one guy and thirty women repopulate the world” setups. *shudder*

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