Friday News: RIP Terry Pratchett, FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, Harper Lee’s intentions investigated, and George RR Martin’s Hugo nominations
Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66 – As you probably know by now, Terry Pratchett died yesterday at 66. Diagnosed with very early onset Alzheimer’s eight years ago, Pratchett refused to give up his writing, and he also campaigned for assisted suicide in the wake of his diagnosis, both of which reflect his independence of spirit and personal agency.
In addition to the standard obituary from the BBC, USA Today has compiled their top 5 must-read Pratchett books, and, of course, one of the unique elements of Pratchett’s genius was his crossover appeal, from Fantasy to Romance to comedy to children’s lit, and even to gaming. PC Gamer has a very nice tribute to the author, including an older interview and a discussion of why he was so influential to gamers:
The most prominent connection, but perhaps hardest to define, is Pratchett’s influence over PC gaming as a whole, from the people who make them to those of us who just play them. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that most comedic fantasy games have been in some way been influenced and inspired by the Discworld novels. Scroll through any gaming forum and you’re likely to find passionate discussions about his books and the fervent hope of there someday being more Discworld games. Stroll through any fantasy MMO and you’re bound to spot an avatar named Sam Vimes. Rincewind. Angua. Cheery Littlebottom. –BBC News, USA Today, PC Gamer
These are the FCC’s full rules for protecting net neutrality – Finally we can see how the FCC has reclassified internet service in order to keep service providers from a) blocking, b) throttling, and c) paid prioritization, all of which were a substantial concern to net neutrality advocates. In regard to how internet service will be treated under Title II of the Communications Act:
One of the big questions this document answers is which Title II regulations the commission won’t be applying to internet service. It turns out to be quite a lot: more than 700 rules aren’t going to be applied. “This includes no unbundling of last-mile facilities, no tariffing, no rate regulation, and no cost accounting rules, which results in a carefully tailored application of only those Title II provisions found to directly further the public interest in an open internet and more, better, and open broadband,” the order says. The idea that this proposal is a so-called “light touch” approach to regulation has been touted again and again, basically as a way to quell concerns from those who oppose regulation. Of course, it hasn’t exactly done that, and we’re still seeing plenty of complaints from the internet providers that are now having their services classified under Title II. –The Verge
One Agency in Harper Lee Inquiry Ends Its Role, Saying Author Is ‘Aware’ of Book Deal – Although it doesn’t seem that the full investigation has been completed, the Alabama Securities Commission has closed its part of the investigation into whether Harper Lee has been exploited in the process of publishing a new novel this summer. Check out the language here and see if you are convinced:
Joseph Borg, the director of the Alabama Securities Commission, which, among other things, tries to prevent financial fraud of the elderly, said his investigators had interviewed Ms. Lee and found “she has opinions and seems to be aware of what is going on with her book and the book deal.” As a result, he said, his team had closed its part of the investigation. –New York Times
For Your Consideration: Stuff Not By Me – I have to say that I’m really enjoying all the discussion people who have submitted their Hugo nominations are having about who they nominated and why. As a side note, I wonder if RWA has ever considered changing the RITA to this kind of system. Anyway, back to George RR. Martin, who (not) blogged about his nominations, forwarding Laura Mixon’s name for the Best Fan Writer award. Which reminded me that Mixon recently issued the second part of her report, a reflective follow-up, of sorts.
BEST FAN WRITER. There have been arguments in the past about what, precisely, constitutes fan writing, and who should or should not be eligible for this award. LAURA J. MIXON is a professional writer, and a very talented one, with half a dozen strong novels under her own name and her pseudonym of M.J. Locke… but this year she published on-line, in a non-professional and unpaid capacity, ‘A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names,’ a detailed, eloquent, and devastating expose of the venomous internet troll best known as ‘Requires Hate’ and ‘Winterfox.’ You can find it here: http://laurajmixon.com/2014/11/a-report-on-damage-done-by-one-individual-under-several-names/ It’s not your usual sort of fan writing, admittedly… but it wasn’t done for money, and it wasn’t published professionally, and it’s a terrific piece of journalism, an important piece that speaks to issues of growing importance to fandom in this internet age. So I’m nominating Mixon for Best Fan Writer, and I urge you to do the same. –Not A Blog
“George RR. Martin, who (not) blogged about his nominations, forwarding Laura Mixon’s name for the Best Fan Writer award.”
Amusingly, the subject of Laura’s report, Requires Hate, is losing her mind over this nomination. Not only has she written this extraordinarily sociopathic whine about poor widdle her, she has set up (yet another) twitter account just to talk about the sheer unfairness of SIX MONTHS of people failing to stop talking about her horrid little self, just because she spent ten years hurting people, never properly apologised, never acknowledged her victims’ pain, and IS STILL PULLING THE SAME CRAP!
If you delve into that twitter acct you’ll find a bunch of people with a very strong interest in protecting this abusive woman from the consequences of her own behaviour, trashing everyone and anyone who has ever raised a voice in criticism of Miss Hate (including yours truly, as well as respected SFF writer and cancer sufferer Pat Cadigan), and trying desperately to paint RH as Anita Sarkeesian’s brighter, prettier, younger and much more victimised sister.
Requires Hate’s decade long terror campaign against people of colour as well as us worthless whites, was all about ethics in science fiction reviewing, didn’t you know?
I’ve never read anything by GRRM and never felt interested in Game of Thrones, but this was a seriously Good Thing wot he done.
Oops – The link to RH’s whine was lost. It should be
It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since Pratchett was diagnosed. It doesn’t seem so long. I’m very grateful for all he did to raise awareness of the condition and, of course, for the books.
I think the only book that would make my top 5 from the USA today list would be Going Postal – apart from that maybe Guards Guards, Small Gods, Interesting Times, Jingo and The Truth?
(Which makes 6, and doesn’t include Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, so maybe not. And Pyramids made me laugh when I was in labour and they couldn’t give me anything because they’d misplaced the doctor, so it surely deserves a place on the list just for that…)
I’ve never read anything by Terry Pratchett! It sounds like now’s a good time.
I’m not a mushy or sentimental person, but the news of Pratchett’s death made me teary and choked up. His books will be classics 200 years from now. (Not all; he wrote a few clunkers).
I was reading news regarding a breakthrough Alzheimer treatment just being tested and immediately thought of maybe it would still arrive in time for him. Next thing I read is about his death. I’ll miss him. Good man, great author.
As someone who spent her entire science career in the dementia field, I report with great sorrow that no treatment is forthcoming. The breakthroughs are mostly non-invasive ways of early detection — not that they avail us much since we cannot prevent, arrest or reverse the process . Loss of self is a horrible death-before-death. I discuss dementia a bit in The Price of Threescore Years and Ten, http://www.starshipreckless.com/blog/?p=4761.
Apologies, I supplied the wrong link! Here’s the correct one: http://www.starshipreckless.com/blog/?p=9277
I referred to this:
The news about Sir Terry pretty much devastated my household. He is much beloved around here. We met him in 2007, shortly before the “stroke” that turned out to be the first warning sign of “the embuggerance,” at a relatively small local book-signing event. He was charming, gracious and funny; he took an extra moment with my partner, “a countryman.” All of us left as smitten with the man as we already were with his books. I’m glad to see a lot of people who’ve never read his work thinking about doing so — you’re in for a treat! I recommend Guards, Guards!, The Wee Free Men, or Equal Rites as good starting places.
For me the defining quality of Terry Pratchett’s writing would be the author’s sheer love of humanity. His tolerance of our foibles and sins and his joy in our potential for greatness. Thank you Terry for so many books and so much pleasure and solace.
To Drano: many diseases can easily be induced and cured in mice but the outcomes rarely carry over to humans. If they did, cancer would be entirely in our rear-view mirror.
@Athena Andreadis: I’m aware of this. That doesn’t mean this is not an extremely promising approach to something so far considered incurable.
Thanks for the Pratchett recommends and memories. I have a few of his books in my tbr and never really knew where to start. Some of the author tributes have been really lovely.
@Lada I highly reccommend any of Terry’s books with Death as a main Character. Mort being the first and Reaper Man the second both will challenge your view of the universe.
I havent come across a Dsicworld novel I didnt like but I haven’t read all of them yet.