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  1. Never mind the joke that George R.R. Martin is not on Twitter because he killed all 140 characters. The man is righteous. So maybe you knew that the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention just wound up this past weekend in Spokane, Washington. That's the venerable SFF convention that gives out the venerable and prestigious Hugo Awards. (Article about that and this here: http://www.wired.com/2015/08/won-science-fictions-hugo-awards-matters/ ) In 1976 Martin and Gardner Dozois organized a Hugo Losers' Party to cheer and console those whose works were stellar enough to be nominated but didn't manage to land the big rocket. This became a tradition, although other people later hosted the parties. This spring there was some hanky panky about the Hugo Award nominations, leading to some hurt feelings (it's covered in the Wired story and you can also find news about it in the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the New York Times, NPR -- it's a big deal). After the Hugo ceremony (which turned out better and cheerier than expected), Martin, who has been doing very well off "Game of Thrones", invited all participants to a party in a rented historic mansion nearby. There he gave rubber coneheads to the Hugo winners to wear. To others he gave out trophies, "Alfies", named after edgy early SF author Alfred Bester, made from vintage Chevrolet hood ornaments shaped like rockets. Martin presented Alfies to the people who were left off the ballot entirely due to the aforementioned hanky panky, people who in a normal year would have been in the running (The story doesn't say, but I do hope one was Eugie Foster, who died so very young last year and whose brilliant story "When It Ends, He Catches Her", a favorite for the awards and her last chance at a Hugo, had been pushed off the ballot). He also presented them to Annie Bellet and Marko Kloos, who had withdrawn their nominations when they learned they had gotten onto the ballot through others' shenanigans. Finally he presented Alfies to Eric Flint, who has been a voice of reason and calm during the whole business, and to Robert Silverberg, who is just awesome. Martin did a lot to bring cheer and celebration to a sad situation. Good for him, I say.
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