March 3rd, 2008

Conrunner Kevin

Needs to Cook a Little Longer

Examining my torn-up arm during its daily freedom from bandages when I showered, it looked to have healed sufficiently that I thought I might leave it unbandaged for a while and see how much it's toughened up. After about an hour at work, I decided it's still not healed quite enough (it's been eleven days), and re-applied ointment and bandages for at least another day or two. It is looking much better, though. If the scrape wasn't on the bottom of my arm, which I rest on things a lot, I might have been able to leave it uncovered, but as it is, I need to protect it from the weight of my own arm pressing on it when I put my arm on the arm of my chair or on my desk.

More Two-Way Axes

By now, I suspect that almost everyone who reads this regularly is aware of the flap over the Nebula Award nomination of the screenplay for "World Enough and Time," part of what is now being called Star Trek: Phase II. In one of the places the discussion continues, we alternately read that it shouldn't be eligible because it wasn't "professionally produced," and in another because it violates the copyright on the Star Trek franchise.

As I said there and elsewhere, neither reason is sufficient to bar it from the ballot. SFWA issued an official statement reported on SF Awards Watch regarding the allegations, and left the work on the ballot, but in my opinion, they needn't have tried to "rule" on what might be called the "substantial allegations," and instead could have dismissed the complaint on technical grounds, thus:

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Therefore, in neither of the two cases would SFWA have been justified in disqualifying the nomination. In essence, the Nebula Award administrators jurisdiction doesn't extend to the areas in dispute, and SFWA should have, to put it legalistically, "dismissed the charges for want of jurisdiction." In fact, I think it's a bad precedent for SFWA to have attempted to address the substantive issues, because it sets an unfortunate precedent and suggests that SFWA has to investigate the legal status of Nebula Award nominees, which they surely don't want to do and certainly shouldn't be doing.

Anyone who called for the disqualification of this work on either of the two grounds cited should be really careful about the precedent it would set. Oh, sure, you may think this case is obvious to you, but what would you have done if something you considered "professional" and/or "legal" is disqualified in the future because it doesn't live up to the administrators' standards of "professional" or "legal?"

You really shouldn't trust award administrators to make too many subjective decisions. You can't be certain they'll always rule the way you want them to rule next time.

Edit, 18:50: Added some clarification to point 2 stipulating the derivative nature of WEaT.

Edit, 5 March 10:55: Fixed grammar and punctuation mistakes.