Stan Burns (1947-2015)

Stan Burns, sometimes called “Staniel,” but never Marsdon Stanford Burns Jr. (though he was), died April 23 at his home in Riverside, CA. He had spent several months in sharply declining health due to pulmonary distress brought on by lung and diaphragm damage sustained in a 2012 auto accident.

Stan discovered science fiction at age 10 because his mother was trying to get him to read more. Asking a librarian for a recommendation, she took home a copy of Heinlein’s Have Space Suit, Will Travel. We can say — that sure worked!

He reached out to fandom and became a LASFS member in 1967 while writing a Cutural Anthropology paper for a course at the University of Southern California. Stan graduated with a BA in Psychology in 1970.

He attended his first Westercon (XX) in 1967 and his first Worldcon (Baycon) in 1968. While you always remember your first Worldcon, Stan had a better reason than most —

I had been in fandom a year and knew that the writers always gathered in the bar, so I went in. I sat down next to this woman who was softly crying, and asked her what was wrong. It was her first convention and she just had a story published, but no one knew who she was. Of course it was Anne McCaffrey. I was able to truthfully tell her that I had read and liked her Analog story. That stopped the tears. I like to think that I helped her to enjoy the convention but I think winning the Hugo probably helped too . . .

Besides reading, Stan’s other passion was photography. He became the official photographer at Equicon, Filmcon, LACon I and III, many Loscons. His photos of Star Trek personalities were published in David Gerrold’s The World of Star Trek (1973). For much of his life, he made his living repairing cameras.

Burns ST photos

I joined LASFS three years after Stan. Our shared sercon interests gave us a lot to talk about and we became good friends. He wrote many book reviews for my early fanzines Prehensile and Scientifriction. And Stan’s satire “Ten Million Clichés From Earth” was a real masterpiece. I published it in Scientifriction in May 1975. At the time I was enrolled in Theodore Sturgeon’s writing class at UCLA. I presented a copy to Sturgeon who enjoyed Stan’s humor thoroughly and read passages aloud to his students.

First meeting at the original LASFS clubhouse in 1973. Photo by Stan Burns. Back row, L to R:  Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Jerry Pournelle, A. E. Van Vogt, Forry Ackerman. Middle row, L to R:  Unknown, Harlan Ellison, Larry Niven, Wendayne Ackerman  Front row, L to R:  Unknown, Bill Mills, Ron Cobb.

First meeting at the original LASFS clubhouse in 1973. Photo by Stan Burns. Back row, L to R: Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Jerry Pournelle, A. E. Van Vogt, Forry Ackerman.
Middle row, L to R: Unknown, Harlan Ellison, Larry Niven, Wendayne Ackerman
Front row, L to R: Unknown, Bill Mills, Ron Cobb.

As the years passed, Stan felt he got less and less out of science fiction fandom, although he was still around at parties and conventions. He transferred his primary allegiance to mystery fandom, which seemed to reciprocate his love for the literature in a way sf fandom never had. He attended Bouchercons, produced a fanzine called Who Donut?, and was a loyal member of DapaEm, the mystery apa.

Stan Burns with Sue Grafton at Bouchercon in 2014.

Stan Burns with Sue Grafton at Bouchercon in 2014.

However, as I was researching this obituary I found to my surprise that Stan had resumed doing reviews of science fiction books late in life – for example, a 2011 post about Connie Willis’ All Clear.

He was also busy digitizing his slide collection. His last posts to Facebook were favorite photos he’d taken of flowers.

When Stan’s sister-in-law announced to his Facebook friends that he had passed away, she said Stan had generously arranged to have his body donated to UC Irvine School of Medicine and, later, his ashes will be cast upon the ocean.

Puppy Hunter Nemesis 4/25

aka It Was On Fire When I Lifted My Leg On it

Live from Arcadia, it’s File 770 in the middle of Saturday Night! Jim C. Hines, Eleanor Arnason, Vox Day, and other voices from the blogosphere have their say about the fate of the Hugo Awards. (Title credits go to File 770 consulting editors of the day Steve Moss and Laura Resnick.)

Jim C. Hines

Choosing “Sides” – April 25

Part of my anger at Torgersen and Correia is because I feel like they deliberately encouraged this Us vs. Them mentality in order to win support and votes. They invented an evil cabal of “Them,” then rallied people to join their side against this fictitious enemy. Which only increases the abuse and the hatred. And please note: I’m angry at them as individuals, not because they’re conservative, or because of their views on gun control, or because they might have a different religious belief than I do. I’m angry because whatever problems were out there, these two individuals actively made them worse, and they hurt a great many people in the process. Themselves included.

Fandom is not two distinct sides. It’s a bunch of people who like things in a really big genre, a genre that has guns and spaceships and dinosaurs and dragons and magic and manly men and genderfluid protagonists and grittiness and erotica and humor and hard-core feminism and sexism and racism and hope and stereotypes and anger and messages and politics and fluff and were-jaguars and superheroes and so much more.

 

Eleanor Arnason

“More About the Hugo Hooroosh” –  April 24

I was reading George Martin’s Not a Blog and noticed something. Larry Correia was up for a Campbell Award for best new writer in 2011. He didn’t get it and — per him — at a bad time at Worldcon. Brad Torgerson was up for a Campbell and a Hugo in 2012 and got neither. But you are only eligible for a Campbell for two years after you first publish. It looks as if both these guys had fast and very promising starts to their careers. (A Campbell is not chopped liver. Being up for a Hugo a year or two after you first publish is not so bad. In addition, Correia was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2011.) This is Puppy # 3 this year, which means Puppy #1 was in 2013. Okay, two years after not getting the Campbell, Correia began an attack on the Hugos, because he felt the selection process was unfair. I don’t know if Torgerson joined Puppydom in its first year or a year later. In either case, he was campaigning against the Hugo a year or two after he was first up for the Campbell and Hugo. This seems to show a huge impatience. It wasn’t as if these guys watched the Hugo process for ten or twenty years and decided it was unfair. They decided this almost as soon as they were published.

I have been a Hugo nominee once, 25 years after I was first published. When I got the Tiptree Award, almost 20 years after I was first published, people assumed it was for my first novel. No, I’d had three novels previously published, but they more or less sank like stones. It was frustrating and angering and depressing to work for 20 years before I got much attention. Did I think the award system was fixed? Not that I can remember. I thought life was unfair. Looking back, I think I didn’t write enough and my writing wasn’t a kind that got quick attention. Point is, Correia and Torgerson came into the field, were noticed at once, and decided this notice was not enough, because they didn’t win the Campbell and (in Torgerson’s case) the Hugo. The award system must be crooked.

I realize my description of my career sounds like a whine. Whining is not bad, now and then. Trying to destroy the Hugos is not good.

What I notice is how hard people work in order to succeed, and I also notice that many people work equally hard and write well and don’t pile up money and awards. I think someone should have taken Correia and Torgerson aside and told them writing is a very difficult line of work and maybe they should get MBAs.

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“A special kind of cowardice” – April 25

Sure, they claim that I am stupid, that I am an idiot, that I am crazy, that I am a badthinker, that my views are beyond the pale and unacceptable to all goodthinking people. But if they are correct, why are they so afraid of me? Why are they so afraid to simply meet me on equal terms and prove that my ideas are indefensible and wrong? Because they can’t. And more importantly, they know they can’t. This sort of thing doesn’t upset me. I just sent an email to David Pakman offering to do a second interview with him, one that would actually address #GamerGate, the game industry, and the Hugo Awards. I’m entirely willing to talk to the people on the Nerdvana Podcast too. If you’d like to see me do either, go ahead and contact Pakman or Nerdvana and let them know. But (and I cannot stress this strongly enough), I don’t care. I don’t have a media career. I’m not concerned about looking like a politician on camera. I’m not concerned about talking points or winning people over, and I neither need nor want any more platforms than the one I’ve got.

 

Karl-Johan Norén on Brasklapp

“Thoughts on the Hugos and the Puppies”

Fifth, to me the Hugos aren’t like the Oscars, who are primarily about commercial achievements in the field. I want to give the Hugos to the works that stretches and expands the field of science fiction and fantasy the most: picking up new questions, giving new tools to other authors, and so on. Sometimes, that means going over some old field again, if only to look at it with new eyes (like John Scalzi did in Redshirts). In short, the Hugos should be the science fictional vanguard of science fiction. They should be good reads, but they should stretch your mind, too.

 

Vox Maximus

“If Vox Day is a Bastard, are the Anti-Puppies Bastards Too?” – April 25

But here is the key point:  Vox Day can use the exact same reasoning as the Anti-Puppies are using today in order to justify his actions in 2016. After all, he can state that his use of the “No Award” option is being used both 1) as a sign of protest against what Anti-Puppies did to the Puppies in 2015 and also because 2) Vox Day and those that follow him in the SFF community simply do not believe that the Anti-Puppy and SJW nominated works in 2016 are Hugo worthy, thus meaning that those works can be legitimately voted below “No Award” for that year. But how can Vox Day and his followers know, in advance of the 2016 Hugo nominations, that they will indeed be dissatisfied with those nominations? Quite simply, by an inductive inference. It is, after all, entirely in accord with inductive reasoning to come to believe that if most (or even all) of what was nominated in the past by such individuals as the Anti-Puppies and SJWs was not Hugo worthy, then the works nominated by such individuals in 2016 will also be unworthy of a Hugo. So while Vox and his followers may be making a bit of an inductive leap in anticipating the Hugo unworthiness of the 2016 Anti-Puppy / SJW nominated works, it is by no means an unreasonable leap. Hence it is reasonable for him to claim, today, that he will be justified in voting “No Award” in 2016.

 

Hugos by Gary Locke

Hugos by Gary Locke

James Braid on The Washington Free Beacon

“The Men Who Started the Hugo Awards Controversy” – April 25

Correia and Torgersen’s approach to storytelling finds itself in the same position as modern cultural conservatism—fighting a rearguard action against a swelling elite consensus. Rule changes will prevent them from succeeding in stacking the Hugo ballot again, and the dominant forces of speculative fiction will once again reassert themselves. Future awards will continue the practice of judging the author first and the story second. But Torgersen and Correia have bright careers ahead of them—and both their efforts with the Hugos and their books have given the identity politickers, the social justice warriors, and the literary snobs a black eye.

 

D Jason Fleming on According To Hoyt

“Broken Hugo Fisking – D Jason Fleming” – April 25

Note that, prior to the Sad Puppies victory this year, according to “everybody” (that is, the popular establishment opinion), Everything Was Awesome except for Larry Correia’s Hugo nomination which, because Larry is a nasty non-leftist, was Too Abhorrent To Discuss. But the problem was Larry, and Vox Day, and the wrong kinds of fans getting involved in the process.

But this year, the Sad Puppies dominated the nominations before the whisper campaigns got certain authors to withdraw their works because of cooties. And while, at first, we still heard that Everything Was Awesome, that excuse just wasn’t flying anymore.

So, now, thanks to Sad Puppies 3, people who have a violent allergic reaction to any nonconformist wrongthink are admitting that, well, okay, something is wrong.

In other words, the Sad Puppies ended up both Speaking Truth To Power and Starting A Conversation.

 

On Reading SFF

“Contemplating this year’s Hugo Reading” – April 25

This year I will not make myself suffer by reading bad (this is subjective, of course) fiction. I am not sure how I will judge where to set the limit for no-awarding stories. Earlier, I was considering to use my personal impression of the quality of last year’s non-sad-puppy nominees as to what needs to be achieved by a nominated story to make my personal No-Awards cut. This might be too strict, though. I am inexperienced in terms of Hugo voting. It’s very well possible that last year’s non-puppy nominees were exceptionally good nominees. So I am currently considering to make some allowances for my inexperience and put everything that I would at least give a 3 out of 5 rating on places like goodreads or amazon above No Award.

 

Ron Collins on The Typosphere

“The First Annual Rongo Awards” – April 25

So I have looked at the trench warfare going on within these waters (if I can be allowed to mix some metaphors) from a perch fairly close by, and have finally decided that while I am probably less intelligent than I look, I am not—and I repeat, not—a total sadist. Beyond that, I completely understand my place in this world. I understand I have no real mouthpiece or plank from which to give deep commentary that would have any chance of making a difference. (I am, however, also giving myself a self-serving pat on the back for thinking myself smart enough to assume there’s not a single person in this struggle who seems capable of providing any great commentary that has a chance to actually change anything. My opinion of human nature is that once a person digs a trench, it generally remains dug.) This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. Believe me. I’ve got plenty of ‘em. I just don’t see how me pounding the table can help in much of any way.

Still, I want to do something, and I would like that something to be pointed toward the positive.

And after considerable thought on the matter, I’ve decided that the best thing I can do is to spend some time highlighting pieces published in 2014 that I’ve read and enjoyed, and that were clearly “overlooked” by the slate-based approach the Puppy tandem either (depending on your point of view) rightly or wrongly employed.

So that’s what I’ll do.

My intention is, about once a week, to use my little platform here to point out a work I thought award-worthy. I plan to do this until the Hugos are actually announced, though perhaps I’ll go on longer. We shall see. I may touch on stories that are actually on the ballot, but probably will not. I assume folks who care are already exploring those works. My intention is to use my little place in the world of Science Fiction to talk about work I would not have been surprised to see on the Hugo ballot, but were not. They will be stories that should be on ballots somewhere (and maybe even be on ballots for awards not named “the Hugos”). Because I tend to be a weird reader, my selections will likely be all over the spectrum. Regardless, I hope folks will enjoy them.

This is the best way I can think of to address this ongoing strife, and to help these stories and the authors thereof—to talk about the work, to highlight it, and to hold it up for people to see and think about.

Focus on the positive.

Focus on what I think is quality.

Given this, I shall be awarding this collective of stories I highlight the High Honor of “the Ron’s Good Reading Award,” or “the Rongo,” for short. It is an award of high acclaim indeed, and sure to grow to extreme import–certain to change the very essence of the lives of those to whom my fickle finger of fate shall at point.

Perhaps I’ll even go so far as to create a logo for them in my copious spare time. Or not. Why cheapen such a thing with a brand, eh?

 

Erick Melton on Bifrost’s Trumpet

“A Wheelbarrow of Books – My Offering for a Hugo Nomination Process – April  25

Acknowledging a body of work by awarding a less than deserving piece happens.  It’s the political overtones of the current send-up that makes it more unseemly.  And sad, too.  Because there will ALWAYS BE someone who will feel the “right” winner was snubbed NO MATTER who actually wins.  I stopped watching the Oscars in 1994 when Searching for Bobby Fischer, which I believe to be one of the best movies of all time, was only nominated for cinematography that year and didn’t even win that.  The film that won Best Picture that year was Schindler’s List.  The film that won Best Picture that year was Schindler’s List.  A selection that was, I think, motivated both by a desire to make up for previous snubs toward director Steven Spielberg and due its subject matter.

But that’s how it goes with awards.  And it’s how it’s gone with the Hugos this year.  What will make it worse is if, next year, to “restore balance” or “express the true spirit of the fandom” another slate of nominees is promoted to correct what is seen as this year’s political wrong.  If this happens, and happens again and again, we may as well fill a barrel with books and tell all the prospective nominees that the Best Novelist will be the one who can push their wheelbarrow down the track the fastest.  It will have as much to do with actually selecting a worthy piece of work as what will develop from any reactionary response.

I like this idea.  If we make it a hiking contest to the top of Eaton Canyon, near Pasadena where I live, instead, I could become the Best Writer of Science Fiction without even typing a single word.

 

Notes From Coode Street

“Episode 231: Ian Mond, James Bradley and the 2015 Hugo Novel Shortlist” – April 26

We almost completely avoid issues surrounding the ballot, and instead focus on discussing the novels and what might make them interesting to read.  Our thanks to James and Ian for making time to record the podcast. As always, we hope you enjoy the episode!

 

 

Karl-Johan Norén on Brasklapp

“Sad Puppies (filk)”  – January 11

The sound of postings on the net good fans, lock down your comment sections.
Beware they seek the deadly set that spawns objections and rejections.
Sad puppies, sad puppies! They seek the perfect screed.
Sad puppies, sad puppies! They’re very sad indeed.
Sad: the books they find deserving. Sad: their look when Hugos settle.
From bias Hugos they are saving; their pot is blacker than their kettle.
Sad puppies, sad puppies, now planning their reruns.
Sad puppies, sad puppies, you poor and little ones.

The Culture Wars Come To RavenCon

RavenCon attendees witnessed a flash of drama at Brianna Wu’s GamerGate panel on Friday evening, but it had nothing to do with the unnamed Hugo “hijackers” she publicly disinvited in a Tumblr post on Thursday. SP3/RP nominees in Richmond barely acknowledged Wu in social media during the first day of the convention.

Instead, the tweets exchanged by an attention-seeking GamerGate blogger and a RavenCon committee member throughout the afternoon promised a skirmish was brewing.

TheRalph, author of The Ralph Retort, announced on his website he was on his way to RavenCon looking for a confrontational interview with Brianna Wu. Once he arrived he continued to dispatch tweets about his plans.

The committee responded with its own ominous message:

The Ralph Retort countered —

Whoever was handling RavenCon’s social media replied with a mocking tweet that included a clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail about “the repression inherent in the system,” and it was game on.

A lot of vicarious Twitter activity followed. As more people piled on the committee explained the interview was denied because it had not been requested in advance.

The response snowballed. RavenCon sent out the text of its Con Rules, with its anti-harassment policy and other guidelines.

Come evening, TheRalph planted himself in the audience of Brianna Wu’s GamerGate 101 panel and got to work getting himself kicked out.

He wrote in the “Full Account of Big Baby Brianna Wu Having Me Tossed From Panel” —

I surreptitiously took few pictures, and decided to tweet one of them out. Now, I’m not a stupid man when not blind drunk, so I knew there was a chance someone would see this on Twitter. But, I did that shit anyway. Why? Well, I knew that they would look terrible for kicking me out over taking a picture of a panel speaker at a public convention. How big of a fucking baby do you have to be to kick out an adversary?

… Anyway, back to the story. Wu starts loudly bitching about them not having a DVI connection. Check your DVI privilege, bitch. But after that, she was looking hard at her phone. She then surveyed the room and locked eyes with me. She came up to my table and said “Are you the one who sent this?” I didn’t event try to deny it. I said yes, I was.

Wu had a member of the convention staff tell TheRalph to leave. He complied, while another person in the row behind him shot video of the episode.

TheRalph promptly retired to an Arby’s near the hotel to draft a story about this latest chapter in his epic journalistic career.

The Three-Puppy Problem 4/24

aka, We, in Some Strange Puppy’s Employ, Move on a Rigorous Line

Today’s roundup brings back Eric Flint, George R.R. Martin, Deirdre Saoirse Moen , Damian G. Walter, Alexandra Erin,  and Steve Davidson, introduces Ciaran, J. T. Glover, Jack Heneghan, and Chris Barkley, and launders a few talking socks. (Title credits go to File 770 consulting editors of the day, NelC and Brian Z.)

 

Eric Flint on The official home page of author Eric Flint

“More on the Hugos from a Dark, Dark Place” – April 23

The best estimate that you will usually encounter of how many people in the U.S. regularly read science fiction and fantasy is five million. There are probably three or four times that many who read F&SF occasionally, and there are certainly fifty or sixty million who enjoy science fiction and fantasy in the dramatic form of movies or television.

So. My solid fan base consists of about one percent—that’s right, ONE percent—of the solid mass audience for F&SF. It rises to perhaps two percent—yeah, that’s right, TWO percent—if we measure everyone who’s occasionally read something of mine against the occasional audience for science fiction and fantasy. And it falls back closer to one percent if we measure my name recognition against the entire audience (including movie-goers and TV-watchers) for our genre.

In other words, the difference between Resplendent Popular Author Me and Pitiful Literary Auteur Whazzername is the difference between tiny (one percent) and miniscule (one-tenth of one percent).

Yes, that’s what all the ruckus is about. The Sad Puppies feel that they have been wronged because Their Tininess has been downtrodden by the minions of the miniscule.

Give me a break. No matter who gets selected for awards by the comparatively tiny crowd of a few thousand people who show up at Worldcons and nominate writers for Hugo awards, they will always—and inevitably—diverge from the broad preferences of the mass audience….

Okay, now I’ll make my second point, which is briefer….

I don’t propose to eliminate any of the existing awards for short fiction. I have no objection to them, in and of themselves, and I have no desire to make those writers who concentrate on short fiction feel slighted in our genre. I simply think that the category of “novels” needs to be expanded into at least three and preferably four award categories.

 

George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Fanageddon” – April 24

What’s even more unusual — though perfectly understandable in context — is that this huge upswell is for SUPPORTING memberships, not attending. In other words, these are people who want to vote on the Hugo Awards, but have no actual interest in attending the worldcon.

But who are they? Are these new members Sad Puppy fans, signing up to vote the Torgersen/ Correia slate to victory? Are these the Rabids, the lockstep legions of Vox Day? Or is this fandom, gathering to defend the integrity of the Hugos? Pronouncements abound, but no one really knows, and no one is likely to know until the envelopes are opened. This will be the most dramatic Hugo night in worldcon history. But not in a good way.

Myself, I think it’s All of the Above. Fans on both sides — or all three sides, if you want to draw a line between the Sad Puppies and the Rabids — are laying down their money to cast their vote. I also think the votes may be way closer than some of the people on “my side” think. I am sensing way too much complacency from fandom. The Puppies dominated the nominations by mustering 200-300 votes for their slate, out of 2000; the fans seem to be counting on the “other” 1800, the voters who scattered their own nominating ballots, to outvote the Pups. And yes, 1800 beats 200 every time… but that does NOT account for all these new members.

 

Ciaran on Geek Ireland

“The Hugo Awards and Puppygate” – April 23

The current day controversies over diversity and identity politics largely come in three flavours. There’s the, you should probably let women and black people into your golf club flavour, which is generally only opposed by those for whom Pepperidge Farm Remembers memes evoke actual nostalgia. Then there are the horseshoe progressives or leftists, who tend to become so insular and extreme that they end up effectively supporting gender and racial segregation. Lastly, there are the reactionary conservatives, who believe that all they hold dear is about to crumble around them because Asami and Korra are bisexual. Both of the latter are as shallow as they are pervasive in these debates, particularly, and hilariously so, the reactionary viewpoint.

 

Damien G. Walter

“SF & Fantasy Publishing needs Industry Awards” – April 23

The Eisner’s announced their shortlists today which, low and behold, managed to be interesting, diverse and relevant to the comic book industry they represent. The Eisner’s are in actuallity what the Hugo awards are often assumed to be – an industry award. The main purpose of the Eisner’s is to serve the comic book industry in the ways such awards do, primarily by raising the profile of the industry’s best work and expanding the audience for the medium overall. On a much larger scale, the Oscars have been fulfilling this role for the film industry for decades. So why doesn’t the SF & Fantasy field have a proper industry award?

The main reason is that the Hugos, and alongside them the Nebulas, come very close to being an industry award without quite fulfilling that role. The Hugos could do, and many people seem to be working to get them there, but they won’t achieve that without becoming much more international and overhauling their voting system.

 

J. T. Glover

“The Hugos: Shenanigans & Unpopular Opinions”  – April 24

But politics are a dirty business! So indeed. The best, most thoughtful comments I’ve read along those lines come from Nick Mamatas. I have not (God help me) followed every corner of this debate, but I do think his points about “next steps” are good. Likewise, I strongly agree that the sword cuts both ways. You can’t engage in politics and then squeal when someone out-politics you. And make no mistake: “eligibility posts” are a form of campaigning, and saying anything less is hypocritical sophistry (even if one thinks, as I do, that they help to shed light on underrepresented people who and works that otherwise get lost in the scrum). Charlie Jane Anders argued after the awards were announced that the Hugos have always been political, and now they’re only political, and I very sincerely hope she’s wrong… but put three people in a room and you have politics.

Is this the end of the Hugos? I can’t count the number of people I’ve read dolefully and/or gleefully saying that this is The End for the Hugos, or that it’s The End under X or Y condition. This is nonsense. If you want it, fight for it. The Puppies figured out a way to mobilize, and so can anyone else, particularly given how few people have historically voted in the Hugos: 40-ish percent near the high water mark. Thousands of votes that don’t get cast are sitting there, ripe for the motivating/wheedling/convincing/mobilizing.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“How I’ll Vote the Hugo’s, Part 2” – April 23

The cabal of troublemakers and malcontents are campaigning strenuously against the No Award option, lumping all three variations together under a nuclear option rubric, and claiming that anyone who endorses it are guilty of discrimination, being tools of the SJW cabal, stifling the diversity of the field.  At least one full round of daily discussion has been devoted to the utter chutzpah of this last claim.  It’s truly mind boggling.  Apparently we’re not allowed to push for true diversity in the field until after we honor fake diversity by giving it a bunch of Hugo rockets.  Pointing out that this is pretty much the way things have worked up till now doesn’t really seem to penetrate.

So here’s an argument in favor of voting No Award (whichever methodology you choose) that I’ve not seen presented before:

Just as the slates proved that the Hugo award nomination process had a flaw that made it vulnerable to manipulation (but only when people who don’t care about the system get involved) voting No Award proves that the final found of voting still works, and works well and as intended.

Voting No Award not only sends a message of displeasure and rejection of nomination campaigns, it also sends a message that the awards system itself is healthy and has worked exactly the way it was intended to.

 

 

Chris Barkley on Facebook – April 24

Under the current Constitution of the World Science Fiction Society, you may nominate a work for a Hugo Award if you are a current member OR an attending or supporting member of the previous Worldcon. This amendment was passed to encourage a continuing number of members to vote every year, regardless of their status.

So, this morning I found out that some people who attend the WSFS Business meeting are floating an idea to discontinue this practice and restrict nominations and… voting only to members of a current Worldcon.

Oh, HELL To the NO!

Are you kidding me? Voting on Hugos has gradually gone UP since this amendment was ratified and now, when some idiots come along and upend our applecart, should we cringe in fear change the rules because we’re afraid they’re going to do it again?

NO, this is how the Sad/Rabid Puppies win; we conform to their actions, we react to demands and THEY WIN.

The benefits that the expansion of voting have provided FAR outweigh the risks. We, the relative sane fans who want to uphold and continue the Hugo Awards, are stronger and better than than these Puppygate (insert appropriate expletive here).

 

Jack Heneghan on exempli gratia

“My Disclaimer” – April 24

I should note that while I am interested in what is going on with the Hugos and would like for the Final Ballot to represent the best of SF for the previous year, I do not participate in the nominating process myself. My backlog of reading material is several decades long and I actually use the final ballot, or short list, to provide me some guidance for reading material for the current year. If I am able to get to a number of items on the list then I will participate in the voting in the appropriate categories.

Looking at the Hugo winners and runners-up over the years will give you good guidance to selecting a reading list. (My problem is not getting to them until the voting is well over.) It will also give you an idea of which authors were consistently honored by the community. (I am really surprised to see that Iain M. Banks only had one nomination in his career. Be sure to put Iain M. Banks on your reading list. To be confused with Iain Banks.)

 

Vox Maximus

“SJWs, a Podcast, and a Special Kind of Lie” – April 24

Because I like to amuse myself, I recently listened to the Nerdvana Podcast on the 2015 Hugo Awards (a two-part series with Part 2 being located here). Minute after minute, I listened to these individuals converse about Vox Day. They mused about his motives. They psycho-analyzed him. They called his family members “stooges”. And they just talked, and talked, and talked about Vox in quite a bit of detail (they also cried–seriously–when they thought about what Vox was “doing” to the Hugo Awards). But do you know the one thing that they did not do? TALK TO VOX DAY HIMSELF. That’s right, these individuals used up precious time speculating about everything from Vox Day’s goals to his potential financial fixing of the Hugo Awards themselves. And yet, they did not talk to him. They did not send him an e-mail with questions. They did not try to contact him on his blog. In fact, they did not even quote anything from his blog or his writings (or a bad paraphrase or two was included). Now it is their podcast, so it’s their decision whether to speak to Vox Day or not. But the point is this: How seriously can you take a bunch of people that speak about one particular individual—an individual who is readily available for comment—without even trying to speak to the actual individual himself? How genuine are the calls for “dialogue” and “understanding” when the people calling for dialogue and understanding don’t actually dialogue with the person that they are talking about and don’t seek to understand that person either. In fact, in my view, talking about Vox Day in such detail without allowing him to speak for himself is just a special kind of lie; a sort of lie of omission, for they omitted to include the very person that they were speaking of even though he would most likely have readily appeared upon request. And this just adds weight to what Vox Day says:  One way or another, SJWs always lie.

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

So, Let’s Talk About The Hugos: A Puppy Primer – April 24

So, Why Do I Care?

Simply put, when I see people making claims based on the most tenuous of intuitions and calling it hard evidence, that bothers me. When I see people trying to police what other people are allowed to write, read, and like while pretending that this is being done to them, that bothers me. I am disturbed at the idea that someone can take such exception to the fact that other people like other things for other reasons that they would reject that in favor of a conspiracy theory and then take drastic action to overturn the supposed cabal.

Basically, I don’t want to read and write in a world when a man who equates the existence of books he doesn’t approve of to false advertising is able to set himself up as some sort of tastemaker-in-chief because he throws a big enough tantrum whenever a book or author he disdains gets too popular for him to make sense of.

The original Sad Puppies initiative predates Gamergate by a couple years, but they’re both powered by the same sense of aggrieved entitlement cloaking itself in phony virtue. Some people, rather than acknowledging that an entire medium/genre will not always reflect their own personal tastes, decide that the relative success of anything they don’t like is a kind of cheat, and by golly, they’re going to do something about it!

So the stakes here are, we either label this nonsense as what it is and find a way to work around the tantrum-throwers, or we just sort of give up and give in.

 

 

Deirdre Saoirse Moen on Sounds Like Weird

“Hugo Awards: Blocs, Slates, Lists and Milliscalzis” – April 24

One of the questions when faced with bloc nominating in the Hugo Awards is this: when is something bloc voting/nominating? When isn’t it?

….So, given that Aidan [Moher] and I hang around in the same milliScalzi hood, I feel I can say about how much influence he had this year. Let’s put it this way: it only took 23 nominations to get on the fan artist ballot, and his nomination didn’t make it onto the list.

More Compelling Reasons I Don’t Consider Aidan’s List a Slate

  1. Aidan didn’t highlight his own work. Do I need to explain how the puppy slates differed in that regard?
  2. Aidan posted it on March 9th (though he’d posted novel thoughts earlier), and nominations closed less than a week later. The Sad Puppies 3 slate was posted at the beginning of February. While I could also see a case being made for people just nominating without reading, I believe the extra lead time is a significant factor.
  3. A slate with little to no effective conversions (in the marketing sense, by which I mean people taking action) is not a slate. Given that the fan artist influence didn’t push his candidate up and over, I think the “slate” argument is truly a non-starter.

 

Marsultor13 on Mars Is

“In which this ignorant ass redneck attempts to fisk one of them genius professorial types” – April 24

One such indyvidual goes by the name of Philip Sandifer. And not only is Mr Sandifer powerful annoyed at us yokels not staying down on the farm, (or trailer park as the case may be) he also happens to be a jen-U-wine professor of that there litrature. Now I did try and read Professor Sandifer’s overly long post about why I aint the write type of fan to be voting in them thar Hugo’s rewards, but wouldn’t you just know it? Afore I could even get halfway through that there know-vella I started to notice that a lot of what he was saying just dint make no damned cents.  And given that I reckon I could always use more traffic at this here blog, I decidered to take a page outta Mr. Correia’s book and do me a good old fashioned fisking. As Mr Correia always says, My words will be in bold, his’ins’ll be in eye-talics.

 

Joshua Dyal in a comment on Vox Popoli – April 24

It would be an event of deliciously hilariously irony if all of the nominations for Best Short Story 2016 were parodies of “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.”

 

Sasquan Membership Numbers Keep Rocketing Upward

Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon has gained another 1,000 members in the past two weeks, however, nearly 90% of the newcomers are supporting members.

The con now has a total of 8,016 members, including 3,517 attending and 4,183 supporting. It has gained 2,550 members this month alone.

A $40 supporting membership is the minimum requirement to become eligible as a voter in 2017 site selection or to vote on the winners of the Hugo Awards.

Here is how the new count compares to the figures reported as of April 12:

Sasquan Total Members
4/12/2015 7,016
4/23/2015 8,016
Increase 1,000

 

Adult Attending Members
4/12/2015 3,418
4/23/2015 3,517
Increase     99

 

Supporting Members
4/12/2015 3,300
4/23/2015 4,183
Increase    883

Monster Hunter Tales Anthology Announced

Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Monster Hunter International creator Larry Correia have signed a contract with Baen to co-edit an anthology of stories set in Correia’s Monster Hunter universe.

Schmidt told his Facebook readers the anthology will feature 18-20 stories. Correia will write two of them himself, including one from a monster’s POV (never done before).

Other invited contributors include Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, Jessica Day George, Faith Hunter, John Ringo, Sarah A. Hoyt, John A. Pitts, Jody Lynn Nye, Mike Kupari, Maurice Broaddus, plus Steve Diamond and John C. Wright .

Correia says the book will come out in 2017.

Horror in the Harbor

hplffla15_portalimageFans are invited to spend the May 1-3 weekend in celebrating HPL’s impact on the horror genre at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & ChthulhuCon in San Pedro, CA. The theme of this year’s con is “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.”

The sixth annual festival takes place at the Warner Grand Theatre. Guests Leslie S. Klinger, Liv Rainey-Smith, Pete von Sholly, Cody Goodfellow, Diane O’ Bannon, John Skipp, Richard Stanley, Ian Welke, Kat Rocha, S.P. Miskowski, Gary Mysers, Mike Dubisch, Matt R. Lohr and Sebastian Mazuera will be on hand.

The event is an offshoot of a festival that started almost 20 years ago in Portland, Oregon (and is holding its own edition this weekend).

The local event is sponsored by the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District (PBID), Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, Creatures & Cultures, Dapper Cadaver, Lovecraft Wines, Stone Brewing Co., Tamiza’s Treats and the Grand Vision Foundation.

N3F Franson Award Winner Named

George Phillies has won the Franson Award for 2015, given by the current president of the National Fantasy Fan Federation to a member who has shown outstanding service to the organization. The award is named for former N3F President Donald Franson (1916-2002). Outgoing President David Speakman selected Phillies “for vigorously encouraging David when it seemed needed.”

The announcement was carried in the April 2015 issue of The Fantasy Fan. The same issue called on members to submit nominations for the Neffy, which honors achievements in speculative fiction in the news or traditional media, and for the Kaymar, given for work on behalf of the club.

Don’t Invitems at RavenCon

RavenCon cranks up this weekend in Richmond, VA in a rather literal way.

Artist Guest of Honor Frank Wu and Gaming Guest of Honor Brianna Wu issued a statement disinviting six unnamed people accused of “hijacking this year’s Hugo awards” from attending Brianna’s solo Gamergate panel which is scheduled in prime time Friday evening (April 24).

Sadly, the same reactionary anger has spread into the science fiction community with the hijacking of year’s Hugo awards, deliberately sabotaging them for bitter, regressive political purposes. Many of the forums that orchestrate harassment against Brianna and other women in the game industry have avowed supporters of the Hugo hijacking, many of whom participated in the voting and strongly support Vox Day.

What makes RavenCon particularly uncomfortable for us is that a number of those attending directly orchestrated or benefited from the hijacking. We’ve heard numbers as high as six.

Frank Wu has won four Hugo awards. They are near and dear to our family. And we agree with John Scalzi, Connie Willis, George R. R. Martin and others about the travesty this has been. The hijackers have contempt for the awards while also desperately wanting the legitimacy they feel it would grant them.

To put it bluntly, attending this con makes us tremendously uncomfortable. But we agreed to attend, long before Gamergate, and we will follow through with that professional commitment.

Neither of us wish to discuss the Hugo hijacking with any person responsible for this atrocious action. Both of us would consider it a professional courtesy if you didn’t attend Brianna’s Gamergate panel tomorrow.

“Don’t invitems” is how the late columnist Walter Winchell used to describe people you should not ask to the same party. Scanning the RavenCon guest list, one could make an educated guess that Brianna Wu may feel that way about Lou Antonelli, Jim Minz, Gray Rinehart, Michael Z. Williamson, and John C. Wright, Hugo nominees on the SP3/RP slates, Wright’s spouse L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Kate Paulk, organizer of Sad Puppies 4.

The same day the announcement came out, Lou Antonelli told his Facebook readers that RavenCon has abandoned all thoughts of running a panel about this year’s Hugo nominations:

I am in Virginia getting ready to head to the Ravencon convention in Richmond. The convention had floated the idea a short while ago about throwing together a panel on the subject of the current Hugo nominations.

They’ve decided not to go ahead. Here’s the official statement:

After careful deliberation, the staff of RavenCon have decided to not host this panel due to the late nature of its proposal and the volatile nature of the subject matter. RavenCon is not the appropriate… platform for this subject matter, and we do not wish to provide a platform to any side in this controversy. If, however, panelists feel the need to discuss this matter in further detail, the bar is always open.

Love the last line…