The Invisible Fanwriter Hugo

The Hugo nominating deadline is March 31. And I was wondering if, on Easter weekend when the Best Fan Writer nominees are announced, there will be the usual cuckoo in the robin’s nest – an established pro novelist?

Over the past few years the category has been won by pro writers John Scalzi, Frederik Pohl, Jim C. Hines, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, with actual fans Cheryl Morgan and Claire Brialey breaking through, too.

Every time I approach this subject lots of you write to say, “Oh no, Mike, you’re crazy — pros can be fans too!”

This is such a very important ideological axiom – to fans. Those eager to win the argument that “pros can be fans too!” never seem to recognize that it isn’t fans who are stopping this from happening, rather, that they are trying to force a kind of egalitarianism on writers that never really takes, however interested or polite the writers may be while the award is on the table.

Because once everyone’s done marching around waving their hands as confetti falls from the rafters and the brass band blows like mad and the world has once again been made safe for fannish egalitarianism, nobody pays attention to the implicit message we get back from the pros that people were so hot to give a fan Hugo —

People who are building careers as writers do not want to identify their brands with anything that hints of the amateur.

And the Fan Writer Hugo that was a big deal for six months gets swept under the rug.

You look at their bios and here’s what you find.

The “Brief biography of John Scalzi” on Whatever has this to say about his awards:

Bibliography: It’s here. New York Times best seller in fiction. Awards won include the Hugo, the Locus, the Seiun and Kurd Lasswitz. Works translated into 20 languages.

Where is it?

The late Frederik Pohl had two online bios, one at his official website and the other on his blog, and neither acknowledges the Best Fan Writer Hugo. The pro site speaks generally of winning the Hugo “six times; he was the only person ever to have won the Hugo both as writer and as editor….” The blog says of his awards: “He has received six Hugos, three Nebulas and forty or fifty other awards, some of which he has given himself.”

Six Hugos. Did you know Pohl, in fact, won seven Hugos? The seventh was his Best Fan Writer Hugo.

Now at the time he was nominated Pohl was gracious about it, clearly understood the honor he was being paid, said “I couldn’t be more pleased,” and was unquestionably qualified to compete in the category. I still thought his response was pretty much along the lines of “if you insist” – rather like Robert Silverberg’s attitude toward winning the 1950 Retro Hugo for Best Fan Writer.

Silverberg also doesn’t list his Retro Hugo on his official page, but that comes as no surprise if you remember what he wrote to File 770 the time I left him off a list —

I take umbrage at your omitting Me from your list of winners of the Best Fan Writer Hugo who have also sold pro fiction. May I remind you that I was the (totally undeserved) winner of the 1950 Retro-Hugo in that category, beating out such people as [Walt] Willis and [Bob] Tucker? Of course I would not have won the award if I hadn’t had a few stories published professionally along the way.  But I did get the Hugo.

That’s the thing. A Best Fan Writer Hugo added nothing to the career Pohl already had, and made Silverberg feel fans must be completely clueless about what he truly values.

Then, last year’s winner, Tansy Rayner Roberts, has a lengthy bio on her website that mentions three awards won by her fiction but is silent about her Best Fan Writer Hugo. The site’s landing page does call out her involvement in “the Hugo-nominated Galactic Suburbia podcast.” Not said is that the nomination is in the Best Fancast category.

Surprisingly, Jim C. Hines bucks the trend. His bio says right in front of God and everybody

Jim is an active blogger about topics ranging from sexism and harassment to zombie-themed Christmas carols, and won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2012.

Respect to you, Jim.

Invisible little men are one of science fiction’s motifs. Invisible Best Fan Writers we can do without. Let’s do something revolutionary in 2014 – vote the award to a fan.

34 thoughts on “The Invisible Fanwriter Hugo

  1. I can’t speak for the other pro writers who have won the award, but speaking for myself, you’re reading too much into the lack of specific enumeration in that chunk of my bio. I have three Hugos; each of them is meant to be represented by the single reference (likewise I have two Seiuns, both of which are represented by the single reference).

    Likewise, I have spoken frequently about having won the fan writer Hugo and what it’s meant to me. A recent example comes from the last year, when I spoke publicly against the proposal to axe the fan-related Hugo awards. I wrote:

    “Now, let me speak personally, here. I have a Fan Writer Hugo. And you know what? I was delighted to get it. It said to me that I, who had come into fandom late and from the outside, had been welcomed into it. It was, in a very real sense, my stamp of citizenship. It meant more to me than I expect most people know. I am proud to have won it. I am proud that every year since I have won it, it has gone to a new person — and that this year, no matter who wins it, it will go to someone else new as well. For the past several years the Fan Writer Hugo has reflected the state of fan writing: Varied, vital and well worth celebrating.”

    (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/08/08/no-actually-lets-keep-the-fan-categories-at-the-hugos/)

    Likewise, when I wrote about winning the novel Hugo after this last year’s Worldcon, I made pains to note that the two previous Hugos I had won were deeply important to me. Because you know what? They were.

    At the same time, I have indeed been careful about how I note my fan writer Hugo in the context of my professional work, because I am well aware that there exist reservoirs of fannish resentment that I won the thing, and I didn’t want to be seen as leveraging a fan award for professional gain, i.e., confirming to the folks who consider me a carpetbagger (or a cuckoo in the nest) that my ONLY interest was in winning a Hugo, ANY Hugo, in order to splash “Hugo Winner” on the cover of my books.

    In other words, with regards to the Fan Writer Hugo, it seems a little bit of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” when it comes to me talking about it.

    But for the avoidance of doubt on the matter: Hell yes, I am proud of that fan writer Hugo. One, it was the first Hugo I ever won, and for that alone it has a special place in my heart. It was given to me by Rusty Hevelin, and that was a geek out moment for me. Two, it was given to me for writing on my blog, a thing I’d done for a decade at that point and which is in many ways both central to my writing life, and the means by which I entered into the sf/f community in the first place (via serializing Old Man’s War, back in ’02). That makes the award special to me as well.

    Third, it’s important to me AS a fan – that is to say, someone who wants to be part of this community and sees himself in it, if not as a natural-born citizen (because I came into it as a pro first) then as one who immigrated in. Here’s a crazy fact: I really kind of love fandom. I find it funny and exasperating and accepting and touchy and weird and comforting all at once, and going to a convention is like Thanksgiving with the family, in all the positive (and less than positive) ways. And that’s fine, because God knows I’m a piece of work, too.

    Winning that fan writer Hugo let me know I was part of that family, and especially for that reason I love the thing and hold it close. I understand some folks will never be happy I won it, but I did, and I’m keeping it.

    Now, you can think what you want about how I talk about the award in public; that’s fair comment. But if you want to suggest that it doesn’t really mean anything to me, well. No. You’re just plain wrong about that. It means more to me than you’ve imagined.

  2. Thanks for your willingness to engage me in discussion about this issue. Let me begin by explaining how the subject came up. Some of us noticed SFWA’s announcement of the new Bulletin editor identified him as the past editor of a “Hugo winning genre magazine,” a factually true statement but one that glossed over that what he won was a fan Hugo, leaving an ambiguous impression that this might be some kind of professional recognition. (And here I’m simply speaking of what SFWA did. You haven’t been an officer for 9 months and surely had nothing to do with drafting the announcement.)

    As you already know, it does gravel me when pro writers decide they can appropriate a fan Hugo. And with SFWA’s example in front of me it occurred to me to wonder — How are pro winners of the Best Fan Writer Hugo handling that on their resumes? Do they state it plainly in their bios, consistent with the pride they said they felt at the time they accepted the nomination and later when they won the award? Or did the need to cultivate a professional image lead them to disguise or conceal the fan Hugo they had won?

    I decided to look at your online bio first, because in many ways you’ve been the model sf professional of your generation, as Ellison was to his, and Heinlein was to his. If you explicitly stated you had won the Best Fan Writer Hugo then anybody else could and should do it (whether or not they had) and in that event I would just spike the idea for this post and move on.

    But it wasn’t there. The collective reference to the Hugo in your bio was not lost on me — neither was it satisfying. As with SFWA’s wording of its announcement, the uninformed reader is going to assume these were all professional awards. Not that my purpose is to protect the uninformed reader — my purpose is to say that if pros don’t want to act like they are part of the fan community by stating boldly they have won the fan awards they coveted, then please let us stop voting Fan Writer Hugos to novelists and give them to fans.

    You don’t need my advice but I will give you my opinion — you wanted to win the thing, it was important to you (I used to wonder why, but you supply the answer here), and that being so you should live according to that light. That’s my own philosophy — no matter that I can find people who think one Hugo was more than I should have won. I’m not living my life for them.

  3. I’m actually with you on this one, albeit for different reasons.

    For me the issue isn’t one of authors using the fan writer Hugo as a PR stepping stone (though I think that getting a Fan Writer nod is emerging as a pretty decent way of ‘introducing’ yourself to Hugo voters and the low nomination count makes it relatively easy for an author with a reasonable following to get the vote out fruitfully) but that it’s an award created by fans and intended for fans that has become absorbed into the professional PR ecosystem of the genre.

    There are literally *dozens* of awards that writers can win for their fiction and all of them are organised and administered by fans working entirely for free and for the sake of their sub-culture. Similarly, much of that professional PR ecosystem is similarly maintained by fans who set up blogs and write about books purely for the love of the genre and their sub-culture.

    As a sub-culture, we’re incredibly shit at recognising the amount of work that fans put into maintaining our cultural infrastructure and I think falling into a rut where the Fan Writer Hugo (one of only a tiny number of awards that fans can win purely for doing fan-stuff) systematically goes to professional authors says quite a lot about how devalued fan-related activities have become.

    I’m deeply ambivalent about industry-track book blogging in much the same way as I’m deeply ambivalent about the nostalgia and airlessness of the contemporary fanzine scene but I’d much rather see fans win fan-awards for doing fan-stuff than authors.

  4. Pro Tip (she says, ironically): Any argument regarding who classifies as an “actual fan”, and who does not, which relies on citing me as an example of an “actual fan” is so damaged by its internal irony that it ought to have been strangled at birth.

  5. In any one year, there are four categories in which a professional author can win a Hugo.

    There’s only one for a fan writer.

    I’ve suggested it before, and I’ll suggest it again. For purposes of the Hugo Awards (and *only* the Hugo Awards), if you’re eligible to be an active member of SFWA, or you are an active member, you are not eligible to win a Hugo for Best Fan Writer.

    (And I await the few fans who won’t bother to actually *read* what I just wrote, and rant about how I’m excluding people from fandom. It happened the last time I suggested that here. I’ve yet to get an “I’m sorry, didn’t read it correctly” from any of them)

  6. My guess is that a pro writer is happy to have any Hugo … whether or not he is eager to point out it is for some sort of “fanac.” You don’t have to mention that, just point to the big chrome phallus and let admirers drawn their own conclusions.

    However, I do think that there is something to be learned from the apparent trend for fan Hugos to be won by professionals, and its not the “greater egalitarian” nature of fandom. Far from it, actually. Fandom has been fairly egalitarian as far as it goes, and may even remain so, though my sense is that fewer pros today have roots in semi-organized fandom than in previous eras. What’s changing is that the mass of fandom has a different notion of what fanac is than the old-school has. They probably believe that fanac is simply any non-paid writing, publishing or art. If it doesn’t have Tor on the cover, it’s fanac, even if the content is collectged book reviews from Locus or the blatant career promotion of some on-line author. For “fanac” simply read “non-fiction,” or, since there is a non-fiction Hugo, “self-published non-fiction.” Never mind whether it makes sense, Fandom Has Spoken, and it suits the vision of the Worldcon Committees who decide what Fandom Has Said.

  7. Ed, while I like that criteria, it really should also have an equivalent for Best Fan Artist, which has in the recent past had, IMO, problems with Randall Munroe’s two nominations in the field. At the time, the only work of his anyone seemed able to point to was xkcd, which was how he makes his living (admittedly via more indirect methods than a publisher cutting him a check. Oddly enough, I’d thought him eligible this year in both Fan Writer and Artist for his answering odd science questions blog, but it’s been announced that it’ll be the basis for a book in the fall)

    While I’m hesitant to suggest YAHC (Yet Another Hugo Category), when comics pros started posting in significant numbers on Usenet’s rec.arts.comics newsgroups, we split the previous “Best Poster” category in our annual Squiddy Awards to have Pro and Non-Pro divisions, based on the realization that Pros had both better name recognition and that a pro writer is likely to outwrite someone who doesn’t get near as much practice. So perhaps the somewhat oxymoronic named Best Fan Fan Writer and Best Pro Fan Writer categories are in order. Although that doesn’t solve the potential issue of professional non-fiction writers like myself managing to get nominated….

  8. Creating new Hugo awards is pretty much a non-starter. The last real change I recall (last business meeting I attended was in 06), was the Best Editor category split. That was heavily lobbied for by several pros (among others of course). Getting a YA Hugo hasn’t worked out well.

    Of course, maybe things have changed in the last couple of years and it would be easier.

    I don’t believe it would be, any more than I believe there will be any change to the eligibility requirements for Fan Writer Hugo.

    Some parts of fandom don’t do well with change.

  9. Actually, there are at least eight categories in which a professional writer can win a Hugo, assuming one also counts “Best Related Work”, “Best Dramatic Presentation–Long Form”, “Best Dramatic Presentation–Short Form”, and “Best Graphic Story”.

  10. I think The Invisible Fanwriter Hugo should be restricted to people whose writing is published in fanzines which are printed in invisible mimeo ink.

  11. I’m a fan, and no sort of pro. I reguarly nominate and vote for the Hugos. I was delighted when John Scalzi won, and want to be able to recognise any other pro writer who makes as big a contribution to fandom.

    I think Ed Green’s proposed rule would have disqualified Dave Langford, and would also disqualify several other writers who are mainly known for their fannish work but have a few paid publications.

  12. Ed, you’ve missed a few. Best Graphic Story and Best Fancast came about in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

  13. Andrew – I’m sure there would be people excluded by my proposal who perhaps shouldn’t be. Have you a counter suggestion to address the problem?

    Tom – I stand (well, lounge) corrected. Really haven’t been paying attention to the Hugos since after 2006. And I certainly don’t hold myself up as an expert. Expressing an opinion. Worth exactly what you paid for it. Or maybe less.

  14. Perhaps Fred Pohl never got around to updating his “six Hugos” bio when he got his seventh Hugo, or forgot what it specifically said? I’ve seen lots of online bios that are outdated in that way, for various reasons.

    Langford might have been ineligible by Ed Green’s criterion the last time he won Best Fan Writer, but I believe he wouldn’t have been so the first time he won it.

  15. Mike: I’d like to take Fred Pohl’s name off the list because a) he WAS a fan and b) he certainly didn’t need self-promotion! In addition, what a lot of what his blog did was setting down for the record history much of which was fanhistory.

    But Ed Green’s rule makes good sense to me. And if you’re a member of SFWA campaigning for a fan Hugo, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  16. I’m not persuaded there’s a potential rules fix that will assure fan Hugos are given to fans. You can get one fan to agree with another when someone says “That’s fan writing,” but many a discussion with Gary Farber, among others, has convinced me there’s no objective definition of it that excludes examples produced by pros. What I have been trying to agitate for is a change in the voters’ behavior and get more of them invested in steering these awards to fans — people who are writing about fanac or doing reviews — rather than novelists who also blog (which virtually all of them must do, if they want any success).

    In hindsight, I would say it was the pros who had set the boundary — remember, Harlan Ellison refused a Best Fan Writer nomination in 1968 — and who moved it in the past decade. Don’t you imagine in the 1990s a leading sf writer like Mike Resnick could have been a Best Fan Writer nominee any number of times based on his fanhistorical articles and trip reports for Mimosa and Challenger? He simply didn’t seek it out. He presumably thought it was not something a real pro would pursue.

    Dr. Robert Forward lectured that once CERN proved antimatter existed, they considered all the corollaries (like an antimatter space drive) “just engineering.” Inevitable. We arrived at the present state of affairs with the Fan Writer Hugo due to a shift in the culture. When John Scalzi set the precedent, pointing out to his followers he was eligible for a fan Hugo, that changed the paradigm. Since then it’s been “just engineering” for several other pros, most of whom did not have anything like Scalzi’s platform.

    So until I come up with a better idea my strategy is to agitate — to make everyone more conscious about what is happening. In the case of pros, that means considering if they think having fans is helpful to their career, and leaving space for fans to win the Hugos that are aimed at fanac.

  17. The Hugos are a very large kettle of fishiness. In recent years, we have been getting voters from other universes in the fan categories. We always knew that other universes existed. There were comics fanzines and people who wrote for them. There were little magazines which existed on the borderlands of fandom. They just didn’t bother with the Hugos. There were also people who did amateur fiction/porn zines. They didn’t want publicity, and we were happy not to give it to them.

    Times have changed. We have websites, blogs, and things that go bump in the internet. People write words and other people read them. Much of this resembles the primordial slime from which life originally arose, but some of it has become self aware.

    So why is the Hugo ballot the only point of contact between their universe and our universe. That’s a good question. They could go to eFanzines.com and poke around traditional fanzines, but they don’t. We could poke around blogs and such, but we don’t for the most part. I think the problem may involve that amount of time in both universes. There is only so much of it. We use of all the time we have in our own universe, and there isn’t any time left to do more than wonder about other universes.

  18. Milt, your comments are remarkably like a letter of comment I got recently for Broken Toys! Apparently there are two fans in fandom named Milt Stevens.

  19. I’d say that pro writers who’ve received the fan writer award are very sensitive to the accusation that they’re pretending it’s a fiction award, and are not talking about it very much on that basis.

    It’s certainly a good chunk of it,at least.

  20. I’m sure if anybody did that I would join in complaining. And if any pro feels unequal to managing that perception, there’s an easy solution — don’t accept a nomination for a fan Hugo in the first place. Failing to mention the award after they’ve competed and won suggests they aren’t comfortable with the outcome. Which I consider all the more reason to focus on giving fan Hugos to fans.

  21. Folks, this horse left the barn so long ago the light bouncing off its withers doesn’t reach us for several minutes.

    The very first Hugo for Fan Writer was given in 1967 to Alexei Panshin. Ted White won in ’68, Bob Tucker in ’70, Terry Carr in ’73, Bob Shaw in ’79 and ’80. Langford has more of them than anybody — almost more than everyone else put together, actually. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Fan Writer Hugos have gone to professionals in the SF field.

    Those dirty pros have been there from the beginning; this is not in any way a new development. Changing the rules to keep pros out would be a radical change to the actual history of this award.

    That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a bad idea. But if you want to kick the pros out, be clear: they’ve been winning this category, most of the time, since the beginning.

  22. Conflict of objectives on this award: Obviously pro writers have something to gain by pandering to fans. If your living is writing science fiction, going after a fan writing award is a little like an astrophysicist entering elementary science fairs.

    If a publicly recognized pro writer wins this award, I simply assume that he or she does not, in fact, make a living at the endeavor. Anyone who made a living wage doing this would obviously and pre-emptively turn down an amateur category award.

    Probably not the PR bump the pro winners are going for with me as a reader, but their you have it. As an outsider looking in, major leaguers swooping in for amateur awards just tells me they aren’t all that serious about their stories, but they sure as heck are serious about promoting themselves for free to their core readers at the expense of fan writers.

    I mean, really, on the existing rules shouldn’t Redshirts have qualified for both fan writing and the pro Hugo? How could that possibly win the latter but not the former if pro writers are not exempt? If qualification for a pro Hugo disqualifies a work for fan writing…then what does that say about the status of the fan award? That once the pro writing reaches a certain quality, it is no longer eligible as fan writing?

  23. Andrew Wheeler, Panshin’s award was for his study of Heinlein, which was published in fanzines. His career as a pro was launched by his fan writing, not the other way around. His first pro sale occurred after his fan writing award.

    Ted White is openly and happily and always has been a fan first. Comparing him to pros “who came to fandom late” is ridiculous. Considering that his professional dip into publishing lasted about a decade of a decades long career as a fan, that’s a terrible comparison. So, the better argument is that the fan writer award has always been a potential boost to a fan looking to break in, but it is silly for established pros to accept the award. Can you imagine fan-friendly Gaiman ever once considering a nomination for amateur categories?

    His fans, and he, would be rightfully appalled.

  24. xdpaul — The Fanwriting Hugo isn’t for writing fan fiction, but for… well, fannish writing. Like you see in fanzines, or here on this blog, or on Scalzi’s blog, or Fred Pohl’s blog.

    I am a pro writer. I get paid for writing fiction, and I get paid for writing non-fiction about books on Tor.com — pro writing. But if, for instance, Alison Scott or Chris Garcia asks me to write something for their fanzine and I do, and they publish it (as has happened) that’s fan writing, and I am damned if you can sneer at me for doing it. Fannish writing isn’t junior league pro writing. Fannish writing is awesome, and its own thing. And that’s why we have a floccinaucinihilipilificating Hugo for it, for goodness sake, because we (fans) value it as its own thing.

  25. Andrew: This is a disingenuous argument. Do you think Panshin, Ted White, Bob Tucker, Terry Carr, Bob Shaw or Langford failed to acknowledge their fan Hugos? Langford mentions his fan Hugos in the very first line of his Science Fiction Encyclopedia entry (which he co-authored).

    Until this past decade, every winner of the Best Fan Writer Hugo clearly self-identified as a fan at the time he or she won, no matter how they were making their living when that happened. Ted White was selling fiction, sure, but are you aware that the year before he won his Best Fan Writer Hugo he chaired the World Science Fiction Convention? Their self-identification as fans is one of the most significant parts of their history — see the SFE entries for Terry Carr, Alexei Panshin and Bob Shaw.

    Nobody has ever argued that selling writing is mutually exclusive with doing fan writing. Harry Warner Jr. was a professional newspaperman. Gosh, I sold a story to Mike Resnick once. (If eating one foot makes you a cannibal, selling one story makes you a pro, right?)

    This post was premised on the question — If recent winners of the Best Fan Writer Hugo are cool with that self-identification, won’t that be part of their online bios, along with their professional credits and career histories?

    Since the answer was often no, it was a good opportunity to ask Hugo voters to consider whether they were more influenced by a professional’s platform than award-winning fanac. To ask them to focus on rewarding fans.

    There’s no need to turn this into the usual “who’s a fan?” argument where everybody gets to feel good by arguing for an inclusive answer. I’m fine with the inclusive answer. However, I’m very frustrated that people doing fanac who lack the platform that some recent fan Hugo winners have been rendered incapable of winning the Hugos designed to recognize their work. A couple of recent winners were even minor officers of SFWA at the time they were nominated — I don’t know how helpful that would be this year, but at the time it probably didn’t hurt. I think it’s worthwhile making a statement about what fan Hugos are intended to recognize.

  26. Jo, I wasn’t sneering at fan writing. or at pros who do fan writing. I was merely dismissing that tiny subset of allegedly pro writers who accept awards that they will soon fail to promote that are clearly designed to acknowledge amateur writing.

    In other words, had Lovecraft earned a fan hugo in 1914 for his work in amateur journalism, that would have been great, but if he took one for one for later paid nods to Smith or Howard…well, that would have made me think, “Huh, he must have hit a lean period.”

    If a pro writer can’t write for fanzines for the love of it (i.e. no pay and no awards) then I question the consistency of his career. There’s really nothing you can do about what a reader thinks.

  27. I see that no one has supported Tansy Rayner Roberts in this debate. Why does she deserve a Hugo for fan writing?

  28. She’s a great writer with a consistently fannish and interesting blog.

    You might want to look at a few samples from 2012:

    Two really good posts about books: http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/our-christmas-in-books/

    http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/pratchetts-women-ix-the-truth-has-got-her-boots-on/

    A post (one of many) about Doctor Who: http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/why-amy-pond-must-live/

    If that isn’t fannish writing, what is?

    And as well as being insightful, she’s Australian and a feminist, so she has a refreshingly different angle on things sometimes. I think she’s right up there with Panshin and Carr, a fan who is also a pro, being recognised for fannish excellence.

    Disclaimer — I haven’t read any of her published work, I do read and like her blog, she has written positively about books of mine.

  29. Tansy’s an interesting case as I feel that her output has become a good deal less interesting the more professional she’s become.

    When she first came to my attention she was very direct in her criticism of the field but since then the desire to make friends and get on has blunted her teeth and made her less interesting and less fannish.

    I don’t hold this against her, I think she’s very good at what she does but I think she illustrates the value in celebrating voices that are nothing BUT fannish. A fan can say things that a pro cannot and by failing to recognise the voices of fans we are tacitly accepting that whereof a professional should not speak a fan must not speak either.

  30. “[Alexei Panshin] His career as a pro was launched by his fan writing, not the other way around. His first pro sale occurred after his fan writing award.”

    Neither of these claims are true. As Alexei would tell you if you bother to ask him.

    Alexei’s first published stories, back in reality, were in 1964, 1965, and 1966. He’d been writing fiction since before then.

    It’s a good idea to fact-check before making such claims.

    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?44

  31. “Considering that (Ted White’s) professional dip into publishing lasted about a decade of a decades long career as a fan”

    Um, no.

    Ted started publishing fiction in 1963. His most recent piece of professionally published fiction was, I believe, in the March/April issue of F&SF of 2014.

    Say, I believe that wasn’t all that long ago. Note also other stories published in 2013. (Ted also wrote and failed to sell several novels since the 1980s.)

    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?1592234

    http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?1431

    It’s REALLY a good idea to fact-check before making claims.

  32. Gary, it’s an even better idea to have some idea of what you are talking about before trying to play gotcha with a die-hard fan. The fact that Ted White occasionally (very occasionally) gets paid for his fiction hobby doesn’t change a thing. His professional period was for a decade, several decades ago. He is a fan first, and was even then.

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