The Canine Billion Names of Dog 5/17

aka There are few things in this world that can simultaneously delight and dismay in the same manner as a Puppy dinner party.

The lead dog returns in today’s roundup which starts with Brad R. Torgersen, followed by the rest of the team, Brianne Reeves, David Gerrold, Adam-Troy Castro, Kristene Perron, Roger BW, Ace, EJ Shumak, Lisa J. Goldstein, Lis Carey, Barry Deutsch, Sarah A. Hoyt, Vox Day, and Jim C. Hines. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley & Morris Keesan, and ULTRAGOTHA.)

Brad R. Torgersen

“Fisking the broken narrative” – May 17

Someone forwarded me a copy of Kevin J. Maroney’s editorial from the April New York Review of Science Fiction. I don’t normally read Maroney’s column, and I don’t even normally read NYRoSF, but some of Maroney’s commentary screams BROKEN NARRATIVE at such a high decibel level, I thought it might be worth it to examine some of that commentary in close detail….

The only real way I see the Hugos being a “smoking ruin” is if the CHORFs fulfill their stated pledge to bork the 2015 awards by placing “NO AWARD” at the top of every category; thus no awards will be given. This will be an entirely self-inflicted wound (by the so-called devotees and cherishers of the Hugo) because clearly you have to destroy the village, to save the village. I mean, that’s just good common sense. If you love a thing and think it’s awesome, you absolutely must obliterate it — to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Because this is what open minds and open hearts do. They destroy something they claim to love, so that something they claim to love can be kept pure. Because the “wrong” people must never be allowed to have it the “wrong” way.

If there is any other way to leave the Hugos a “smoking ruin” this year, I haven’t thought of it yet.

This is not to counsel despair. But we need to be aware that the battle against the arrayed forces of assholery will, at times, be unpleasant to watch and wearying to fight. But the fight is genuinely important, and it won’t win itself.

—Kevin J. Maroney speaking for himself

Thanks for the pep talk, Kevin! I agree with you wholeheartedly! The Forces of Assholery have been trick-or-treating at my virtual doorstep for 45 days and counting. They’ve smeared me, smeared my family, smeared my friends, and smeared Sad Puppies 3. Again, clearly the way the Forces of Assholery save the thing they love and cherish, is to be complete pricks to whoever they feel like, whenever they feel like, badger and threaten and cajole and shun and shame, all that good old fashioned 12th century village stuff. Torches and pitch forks! Tie them to the stake! Burn them! Infidels!

Or maybe “your” side needs to just settle down and vote on the ballot like normal?

 

Brianne Reeves on Bree’s Book Blog

“2015 Hugo Awards and the Sad Puppies Slate” – April 9

Politicking has always gone on at the awards, to some degree or another. We’re not so naïve as to be unaware of that. Authors and publishing houses have always campaigned for works to be chosen. After all, the Hugos does provide a sales boost.

However, the dominance of a slate that advocates the blind nomination of works based on political ideology is fairly unprecedented.

Because the voting population for the Hugos is fairly small, approximately 2,000 voters for the most popular category and much fewer in less popular categories, it’s easy to skew the results of the nomination process. And, of course, when it’s derailed and by a large, but distinct minority of voters, the rest of the community is going to be upset.

Slates themselves are problematic. They reduce the number of potentially nominated works, undercut the deliberations that go into the nomination process, and potentially flood the awards with non-vetted works (read: works that have not actually been read). This means that the stories we are awarding may be extremely obscure, non-representative of the genre and its advances, or non-representative of the stories readers want to consume.

It should also be noted that slates are distinct from suggested nomination lists. Plenty of people put up lists of works they think work well in categories and suggest their readers, friends, fellow SFF lovers read the list when considering who to nominate. To me, this is a distinctly deliberative act. It allows for people to read and decide on their own without suggesting or advocating blind voting (to me the biggest problem with slates).  They are often include far more lists of works than the voter can nominate and act as a substitute longlist for readers. This is especially important for readers who want to sample and become more involved in categories like short fiction which have a much smaller readership.

The creation of a slate for political reasons is objectionable. What I will say here, is that the use of politics in this case is a limiting factor and detracts from the inclusive and representative goals we have for the Hugo. Again, they are within their rights to limit based on this factor, but I think that it suffers from a lack of consideration for new types of stories, and increasingly popular stories in the genre.

We all have limitations in our reading. Time, length, interest are all factors we have to balance. I think it is inkeeping with the spirit of the award, however, to push ourselves to read what we may otherwise ignore or not prioritize. As readers, we should always be pushing ourselves to empathize and expose ourselves to stories that are not familiar to us or that show a part of humanity we may not often see.

 

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 17

Yes, there has been pushback to the sad-rabid slates — because too much of the rhetoric from sad-rabids justifying the slates has not been about the merits of the nominated works, but about the context of the awards — the existing narrative, created by the sad-rabid supporters themselves, is that the slates are motivated not by merit, but by a political agenda. And the larger body of fandom has been appalled by that. That’s the source of the pushback. Not the mythological SJWs. Nor any other acronym of disrespect.

The Hugos are not awards for political correctness. They are not awards for any political opinion. They are awards for merit. They are a recognition of what the community deems as “best of the year.”

The awards are voted on by a large disorganized body of people — a continually evolving, changing, amorphous body consisting of whoever bought a Worldcon membership that year and felt likle voting. Sometimes you vote for a story, sometimes you vote for an author you like, and sometimes you even vote for a friend, but in general the awards represent a cross-section of the opinions of those involved in the Worldcon.

To ascribe any kind of conspiracy to a circumstance that is rooted in anarchy is to misread the evidence.

But … even more to the point, to expend so much time and energy on this effort has to be seen as an eyebrow raiser. Is this the most important thing you can be doing with your time? Reading some of the discussions, I’ve rolled my eyes so hard so many times, I can describe in great detail what the bottom of my brain looks like.

Real writers don’t worry about awards. Real writers write. (In my never-humble-opinion.) Real writers don’t worry about feuds. Real writers write. (IMNHO.) Real writers cherish their time at the keyboard as so precious that any distraction at all is seen as the enemy.

 

Adam-Troy Castro

“On the Roar of Approval For Self-Defenestration” – May 17

You’re a decent person. You really are.

Oh, sure, you have some bad habits, some irritating beliefs, some things you do that get on the nerves on people around you. But by all the low bars, you’re a decent person. You don’t molest children. You don’t attack people with broken bottles. You don’t set bombs. You’re good to your family and polite enough to people who are polite to you. In some ways, you’re admirable. Even noble. Your worst enemy, considering the way you live your life, would acknowledge it.

But then we get to the part of you that is objectionable. You’re just a little bigoted, just a little misogynistic, just a little homophobic, just a little xenophobic – any one of those four things, to some level, in some combination.

You are not any of these things to the degree of all-out, full-bore toxicity. They are trace elements, the same things that many of us have. Maybe they are a bit stronger in you than they are in some people who we would consider more enlightened – and maybe you have many compensating virtues.

As a character flaw, this is like a managed medical condition, in that it is possible for you to live with it comfortably, and for you to control it without causing too much offense to others, possibly even without them being visible to others.

But here’s the problem. You then surround yourself with the wrong people.

 

Kristene Perron on The Coconut Chronicles

“The Evolution of Cinderella” – May 17

There is one aspect of the Sad Puppies I am interested in, however, and that’s the assertion by many of their supporters that the sci-fi of old was better, purer, and more important than its modern day incarnation. Men in space ships, having adventures and solving problems with technology, that is “real” science fiction.

Anyone who waxes poetic about any kind of halcyon age makes me roll my eyes. And, when it comes to stories and storytelling, that kind of “Back in my day…” thinking is absurd. By such standards, Cinderella would forever and always be the story of a commoner marrying into royalty because the original was the “true” version regardless of social changes. In the 1600’s, the original story of Cinderella was subversive. In the 2000’s the original story of Cinderella is irrelevant.

I can and do still read and enjoy the “old time” science fiction stories, sexism and racism be damned, but my world has evolved and I expect stories written today to reflect those changes. If Crocodile Dundee was made today and the crotch grabbing scene was still included, I would boycott the movie and I would encourage everyone else to do likewise. There’s still room for stories of men in spaceships, having adventures and solving problems with technology but, given social changes, how could anyone complain that there is also room for science fiction stories of women and non-binary genders of all colours having adventures in all kinds of places?

 

Roger BW’s Blog

“Thoughts on the 2015 Hugo Awards” – May 15

But forget about the specific politics of this case. What institutional slate voting gets you, no matter how well-intentioned or how much it is aligned with your own views, is political parties. Nothing can get onto the ballot unless it’s part of a slate, so the people who run the slates become the kingmakers; any author who wants any chance at an award has to get in with one of them. (We’ve already seen popular works getting knocked off this year, and once the full nomination totals are revealed after the awards are made we’ll have a better idea of what missed its one chance at a Hugo.)

For this reason I will be voting “No Award” over any slate-nominated work this year, and I shall probably not bother to read it either. I’m glad to see that some of the slate-nominated authors have had the grace to withdraw once they found out what had been done, and disappointed that so many of the others haven’t.

In the long term, I don’t believe changes to the nomination procedure are worth it: technical solutions to social problems rarely work. Getting more people to nominate seems like a worthwhile effort. Clearly not all that many people are actually reading SF short stories in magazines any more; should Hugos even be awarded for them at all now?

 

Ace at Ace of Spades

Sunday Morning Book Thread 05-17-2015 [OregonMuse] – May 17

As we talked, I told him about Ace’s interview with Larry Correia concerning the Sad Puppies controversy in that by pursuing this strategy the publishing houses are ignoring huge markets of people willing to buy books and are cutting their own throats. He broke in saying, “I know, I know…But look…you gotta stop thinking. Just stop thinking! Thinking about all this will drive you crazy! Don’t go to bookstores, if they even still have any where you live. Don’t look at other books. You’ll just wonder how in the world this thing even got published,” and then told me some more anecdotes about how the sausage is made…

It was sad. He’s a good guy, and was just as frustrated about it all as I am, but he’s stuck fighting a bunch of Goliaths who only look for certain types of books (that support the current narrative and are framed by the postmodern cultural marxist analysis of race, gender, class) and is left trying to sneak in what stories he can, however he can.

 

EJ Shumak on Superversive SF

“WorldCon Members review GOBLIN EMPEROR” – May 17

First we will look at the positive response to this novel, comprising about 25% of the group. Bill, after reading all the other nominees, believes that this work will be at the top of his Hugo award list. He likes politically based tomes and enjoyed this iteration of that concept. Though the book was, admittedly, not what he had expected, he had a pleasant experience and was very positive overall.

Another vocal supporter had much good to say about the concept and purpose to the book. In many ways his reasons for liking the book paralleled the reasons others disliked it. He felt it exemplified white privilege imposed upon black (or Goblin) society. He felt we need to consistently look at and focus on our societal problems with racism and sexism. He felt we should examine these problems deeply, while assuming ignorance. While agreeing with another reader that the work was truly a lecture, he asserted that it was “…a lecture we need to have…”

The rest of the group was solidly in full disappointment of the work. Several people actually opined that this kind of lecture and message fiction was the best possible justification for the sad puppies’ slate. Mike loved the story through to the middle and then it overcame him to the point that he observed he could now understand the sad puppy position.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 10: Novellas” – May 17

[“One Bright Star to Guide Them” by John C. Wright.] …Tommy goes to his old friend Richard but discovers that Richard now serves the Winter King.  There’s a battle with the king’s servants, and at the chapter’s end “the smell of the sea filled his nose, and Tommy could neither see nor breathe.” We don’t get to see what happens next, either.  Instead, unbelievably, the next chapter starts with Tommy meeting another of his old friends, Sally, and telling her what had happened.  It’s as if someone had taken an entire book, cut out all the interesting parts, and published the rest.  (Amusingly, in “John C. Wright’s Patented One-Session Lesson in the Mechanics of Fiction,” included with Wright’s stories, he stresses the importance of “showing, not telling” to the narrative.) Gradually, though, the story grinds to a start.  It becomes the usual fantasy quest: Tommy has to go various places, do various things, collect various objects….

 

Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Flow, by Arlan Andrews” – April 17

As the opening section of a novel, this is great. As a complete novella nominated as a complete story, not so much. I don’t think it’s asking too much that a nominated piece actually fit its category in ways beyond arbitrary word count. This doesn’t. It’s not a novella; it’s a novel fragment.

 

Barry Deutsch on Alas

“A Quick Primer For Those Who Wonder What The Issue With Slate Voting And The Hugo Awards Is” – May 17

THREE POPULAR PROPOSALS TO REDUCE THE INFLUENCE OF SLATE VOTING

Many have suggested that all that’s needed to reduce the influence of Slate voting is more voters, that is, for a larger number of people to vote in both rounds of Hugo voting. However, since Slate Voting is a strategy that mathematically allows a collectively organized minority to overcome the preferences of a disorganized majority, I don’t have much confidence in this proposal. (Although it is a nice idea for other reasons.)

Another proposal is the 4/6 proposal, in which individual Hugo voters can only nominate four works per category, and there will be six nominees per category. In this case, rather than a successful slate controlling 100% of nominees in each category, it will only control 66% of nominees in each category. If there are two slates, then the most successful slate will control 66% of nominees, while the next most successful slate will control the remaining 33% of slots. This seems like an insufficient solution, to me.

The proposal I favor is “Least Popular Elimination,” in which voters could still nominate up to five works per category, but the votes are counted in a way that mathematically favors works that appear on the broadest number of voters’ ballots while diluting (but not completely eliminating) the power of slate voting. A detailed explanation of “Least Popular Elimination” voting is available here. While LPE voting is not as intuitive as the other two proposals, I believe it would be more effective

 

Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“The Privilege Of Not Caring” – May 17

So who am I betraying by not conforming to the baneful Marxist stereotype of who I should be? Oh, right, the SJWs. That’s okay, I’m fine betraying them. Or at least fighting them. Hard to betray what you never belonged to. And, you know, most of them, even those with exotic names and claiming exotic identities (rolls eyes) are pasty-assed white people with real privilege as defined by having money and having attended the best universities and hanging out with all the “right” people and having the “right” (left) opinions. If they knew the meaning of the word privilege, they’d see it all over themselves.

But there are more egregious definitions of privilege. You see “check your privilege” is a tool of would-be elite whites to keep competition and challengers in check, while riding to glory by defining themselves as champions of the downtrodden. (It’s an old game, in place at least since the French revolution, but it’s the only one they have. Remember they lack both empathy and imagination. And since they have more or less overtaken the press, no one on the street realizes how old and tired this “clever” gambit is.)

 

Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Sexism and ideological bias in science fiction” – May 17

TOTAL: 65.7 women have won 24.7 percent and 19 conservatives have won 7.1 percent of the 266 Hugo Awards given out since 1996. This is despite the fact that conservatives outnumber liberals by a factor of 1.6 in the USA, which means that conservatives are underrepresented by a factor of 11.3, versus women being underrepresented by a factor of 2.

Now, if the SJWs are to be believed, sexism is a serious problem but there is absolutely no evidence of left wing ideological bias. They keep repeating this despite the fact that the anti-right wing bias in science fiction is observably 5.6 times worse than the purported sexism about which they so often complain.

 

Jim C. Hines

“’Do You Wanna Take The Hugos?’” – May 16

[First of two stanzas]

To the tune of “Do you want to build a snowman?”

Brad
Larry? Do you wanna take the Hugos?
Come on let’s change the game.
I’m tired of those liberals
Like criminals
Who steal our rightful fame!
This used to be our genre
But now it’s not.
They make all the puppies cry.
Do you wanna take the Hugos?
(And also puff up both our egos…)

402 thoughts on “The Canine Billion Names of Dog 5/17

  1. Actually, it’s a little of both. Most of the YA proposals are about honoring YA as a marketing category, or according to some of the supporters a distinct subgenre of SF. From my perspective, there are two general arguments for this school of award. The first is the participation argument, which I’ve spoken against extensively already. The other is that YA is somehow fundamentally special. That requires not also that YA be somehow from the rest of the SF field, and that difference be greater then that of Military SF, Supernatural Romance, Fantasy or any of the other subgenres of SF we don’t give their own award.

    What I would seriously consider is a YA award nominated YA. That is within the spirit of the way we do the awards now, and goes beyond just carving out an award for a marketing category. I don’t know if such a thing is actually feasible, but it makes for an interesting exercise. A lot of productive fannish conversations are about throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks.

  2. snowcrash I can see a valid argument that books written for young adults would often have trouble competing for Best Novel – I wanted to get the William Gibson book on the ballot, but I can still see why a 15-year old might want the Marissa Meyer.

  3. how is a “YA award nominated YA” (by young adults, I’m assuming from context) within the current spirit of the hugos? All the other awards, including the Campbell (not a Hugo) rely on the pool of potential nominators to decide for themselves if they are sufficiently informed to nominate works for a particular category. You don’t have to be an editor to nominate for the best editor awards, you don’t have to be a fan artist to nominate for that award.

  4. Brian Z @ 8:56 PM: I think you are seriously underestimating the potential for argument in the honor system, as well as (perhaps) the strain it might put on administrators. But then, my gut feeling might be colored by my belief that YA fiction is in many ways a far more contentious field than SFF–yes, even in light of the current controversy. (There are people out there still arguing over the 1953 Newbery Medal, some of whom weren’t even born in 1953.)

  5. @kurt busiek

    “Perhaps there should be height requirements to vote on short fiction?”

    And so was born the Great Dwarf-SJW Conspiracy, which laid waste to the dreams of a hundred million puppies as yet unborn…..

  6. @MickyFinn: Which is why I believe it to be closer to the spirit of the Hugos. For the current Hugo categories science fiction fans democratically decide what is, and is not, an outstanding example of science fiction worthy of nominating. The idea of letting people who are not young adults decide what is, and is not, outstanding YA fiction worthy of nominating seems to go run contrary to those principals.

  7. @Mary Frances, yes, I can think of many ways a YA Hugo could be contentious.

    I think limiting to attending members is a good enough honor system – so what if one or two less-young adults register to vote as young adults and get away with it? Those greybeards couldn’t commit voting fraud on a mass scale without their actual ages becoming obvious.

    I’d just like to see lots of young people getting involved in the Hugos, personally, lots of YA-related authors on programming, that sort of thing… any path to encourage that sounds good to me.

  8. Chris Hensley @ 8:46pm

    a minimum age between 11 and 13. Plenty of 11 year olds can understand most YA fiction, and excluding high school freshman just seems ridiculous.

    14 might be the age to start – not that younger kids couldn’t read and appreciate what they read. I was reading SFF in a hardcore way at 11, but I don’t think I was ready yet to nominate for the Hugo Awards.

  9. Morris Keesan: I cannot help but be amused by puppy supporters vowing to vote against something they haven’t read, after all of the hysteria raised by the idea that people might vote against the items on the puppy slates without reading them.

    Right?

    And remember the howling that went up when it was suggested that they were nominating the slate blind, without bothering to read it, just blindly nominating what VD told them to nominate? How dare anyone suggest that! What an accusation!

    *facepalm*

    If Skin Game is so damn brilliant that there’s no reason to vote against it other than meanie-pants SJW politics, isn’t it worth “voting for” at the bookstore?

  10. Lol. I just realised that looking at the list JJ posted, we both drew opposing conclusions from it. Heh, subjective interpretations FtW!

  11. Brian Z: “I can see a valid argument that books written for young adults would often have trouble competing for Best Novel.”

    snowcrash: “Sure, but it wouldn’t be a good one, nor particularly reflective of recent history. Please see JJ’s post here.”

    Actually, I think it is very reflective of history, which was the point of my comment. YA Novels tend to get ignored or discounted by Hugo nominators and voters (as many of them, including me, will personally attest to you).

    I’m not supporting a YA Hugo because I’m into YA novels. I’m supporting it because the chance of me ever nominating or voting for a YA novel in the Hugo Best Novel category very closely approaches zero — and not because YA novels are all more poorly written, but because they are a type of fiction I generally don’t enjoy that much.

  12. snowcrash, J.K. Rowling is simply an extraordinary case. The other authors have dedicated fan bases for their “regular” science fiction who also bought and got into their YA stuff. Wouldn’t YA authors who do not have a pre-existing, WorldCon-attending “adult” fan base have a lot more trouble getting on the ballot?

  13. The same could be said of any type of fiction that doesn’t routinely get nominated in the Best Novel category. Check out Stephen King’s Hugo record. Horror doesn’t get nominated either.

  14. I rather like the idea of a YA category with voting limited to the under-18s, simply because I’d pay good money to watch the “grown-ups” trying to procure the requisite fake IDs in order to vote for their favorites. As for what the Puppies might do under that scenario, the mind boggles.

  15. @Nicole, @Morris

    It gets better. There’s a few comments over at Torgersen’s where people are furious that slated works may get No Awarded because they were on a slate. Apparently you should *only* judge a work on it’s textual merits, or lack thereof.

    When pointed out that that’s not really true, and voters can vote based on whatever grounds they wish, no less an illuminary than 5-time Hugo nominee* John Wright comes along and calls that a rank injustice.

    Gee, it’s like there’s a gentlemans agreement that a voter is not part of being broken isn’t it?

  16. Nick, I agree with you on this. There is a Best Novel Selected by People Who Like the Idea of Getting Scared By Stuff You Read, it just isn’t administered by WorldCon. Likewise, there are other YA awards.

    What do you think about inviting young’uns to nominate for a category of SFF chosen by young adults?

  17. I think such an award would just reflect whatever the children of current Hugo voters wanted.

  18. Brian: “inviting young’uns to nominate for a category of SFF chosen by young adults” sounds great. But it doesn’t sound like a Hugo. It doesn’t even sound like Not a Hugo.

  19. I suppose, like the Campbell Award is “not a Hugo,” it could be a YA “not a Hugo” presented at the same ceremony. The point would be that it is an invitation to young people to get involved.

    Seems OK to me if it is primarily the (attending) children of the current Hugo voters who get involved, at least for now – seems as good a place to start as any. Certainly they’ll have grown up around an awful lot of great books.

  20. Well, what’s the point of a YA Hugo? Why not an anthology Hugo, or a short fiction collection Hugo, or a song Hugo, or a Neatest Pal Hugo, or a Hugo for Special Effects or a Hugo for Best Convention or or or or or…

    What’s the particular justification for a YA Hugo? If it’s to get more people involved with Worldcon, I don’t think there’s any evidence that YA superfans would care that much. (They could vote for YA novels under Novel right now.) If it’s because YA is just soooo important, well, so too are anthologies—we’re in a golden moment of anthologies right now—short fiction collections, special effects, and everything else. If it’s because those nasty Hugo voters don’t care about YA and cornsarnit they oughta, well, good luck with that. It’ll be just another category that anyone with forty friends could get onto.

  21. Hmm. Say that at the moment there are well over a thousand eligible nominators among the young adult attendees of the preceding and upcoming WorldCons (or less if the age range is quite narrow). Would those young adults want to nominate/vote for such an award? Would it be meaningful for them? I wonder.

  22. I would totally support getting rid of the editor Hugos and replacing them with an Anthology or Collection Hugo and a Prozine Hugo.

  23. I’d be interested in that, though I suppose the book editors who agitated for a Long Form Editor category would be annoyed. It wouldn’t bother me, as it is almost impossible to tell what exactly a book editor did—it’s not always the acquiring editor who finally edits a book, and an edited book may be worse than what was acquired. Judging works is almost always better than judging individuals.

  24. I’d rather vote for best works than best people too. (I’m getting particularly annoyed with Best Author Who Also Has a Blog.)

    Best Anthology is interesting but I’d rather honor the specific works. All anthologies are at risk of having a few duds. And how much was the editor and how much was the authors (again).

  25. I really hate the idea of the YA being limited by age. Like any other category, it should be chosen by the people who are fans enough to participate and ignored by those who aren’t.

  26. Brian Z: “I’m getting particularly annoyed with Best Author Who Also Has a Blog.”

    Such as? Is there a category here I’m not seeing?

  27. JJ – He’s referring to the Dread God Scalzi and the Ghostly Cabal With Excellent Internal Security, one would presume.

  28. Kurt Busiek: “He’s referring to the Dread God Scalzi and the Ghostly Cabal With Excellent Internal Security, one would presume.”

    Seriously? Scalzi won Fan Writer once, back in 2008.

    Somebody needs to build a bridge and get over it.

  29. Kurt Busiek, I used to enjoy reading Scalzi’s blog back then (though I don’t look at it as much any more). But he’s no Susan Wood or Harry Warner, Jr.

    It was awfully hard muster to any objection to giving it to Pohl at the time, especially since he was seemingly very pleased with it.

    To follow that up with Jim Hines or Kameron Hurley suggests to me that the whole exercise is becoming a bit silly. Or Dave Freer or Cedar Sanderson, for that matter. (Though I might be persuaded to support the Vulcan’s Kittens Campaign.)

  30. Brian Z.: “To follow that up with Jim Hines or Kameron Hurley suggests to me that the whole exercise is becoming a bit silly. Or Dave Freer or Cedar Sanderson, for that matter.”

    A lot of us have a great deal of appreciation for the people who write reviews and keep us updated on the goings-on in the SFF field. I have a number of these people whose blogs/sites I frequent, and I have benefited greatly from the content they provide. A lot of other SFF fans do as well.

    That you do not, is neither here nor there. You don’t see me b|tching that the Graphic Novel category should go away, simply because I have no appreciation for it. Your solution is simple: ignore the Best Fan Writer category, and don’t nominate, vote, or complain about it.

  31. JJ, let’s try to communicate. I’ve said I’m a fan of Scalzi’s blog. I don’t follow Hines, Hurley, Freer or Sanderson all that closely, but I understand they have real platforms and followings, so I don’t mean to dismiss that.

    Would you look up the two fan writers I endorsed in my comment and see if you can understand why I feel an award given to them is different than an award given to working authors who maintain popular blogs? (Though Pohl, blogging at 90, was really a very special case.) I don’t think you have to agree with me, but I would appreciate it if you would consider what I’m saying.

  32. Susan Wood died in 1980 and Harry Warner, Jr died in 2003. They’re not writing about the SFF field now. It’s pretty hard for me to make comparisons between people who wrote about SFF long before the Internet existed and the people who write about SFF now. I read the people who are writing about it now.

    You may feel those people are more worthy of fan awards than those who are writing now. You probably also feel that the music coming out now isn’t nearly as good as music that came out in the 60s, too. You are entitled to feel that way — but expecting me to agree with you, simply on your say-so, is not terribly realistic.

  33. Sure, they’re dead and the world has changed. Of recent fan writer nominees, I think Abigail Nussbaum should have won. (I will admit that the Mark Does Stuff guy was also worthy of attention, but he seems to make a living out of whatever that is that he does, and I’m not sure I would exactly say his “writing” is his strongest suit, so that nomination didn’t quite sit comfortably with me either.)

    Hines, Hurley, Freer and Sanderson are all fine and I have enjoyed reading blog posts or commentary by all of them. But authors promoting themselves on blogs in my opinion is so categorically different than what Wood or Warner were honored for back in the day that it doesn’t make sense to me to give them the same award for it.

  34. Uh… you realize that Kameron Hurley won that Hugo on the basis of her essay “We Have Always Fought” which has little and less to do with personal self promotion, right?

  35. Brian Z @ 1:52 am- My 12 year old daughter loved Vulcan’s Kittens. She’s pestering me to buy her a Sasquan membership so she can nominate the sequel (which she hasn’t read yet) for this coming year. I told her read the sequel (The God’s Wolfling) and we’ll see.

    So you might become a campaign of 2.

  36. Brian Z, the vast majority of what Jim Hines writes about the genre of SF&F isn’t mere self-promotion. He’s also quite happy to give others a say on his blog, as the recent series on diversity in SF&F that he hosted shows.

  37. Thinking of authors who won a Hugo for best related work, there’s the example of Tom Disch and his non-fiction book The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World, which won in 1999. It’s still a great read.

  38. Brian Z, O.K. then. FWIW, Jim Hines has also been a great guest and toastmaster at cons I’ve attended and he has devoted a lot of his time and energy to fandom. He doesn’t do it to selfishly promote himself, he’s a fan too.

  39. Please consider what I said about the Fan Writer category to be in no way disparaging of the excellent blogging and contributions to the community of all of those authors, whose work I admire.

    Also, The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of is a fabulous book and everybody should read it.

  40. Thanks, Brian Z. One more thing to note about fannish authors, was back when Charles Stross had to cancel his GoH appearance at Minicon 46 due to his wife’s cancer, John Scalzi kindly took his place and had a good time as I recall.

  41. Brian Z.: “But authors promoting themselves on blogs in my opinion is so categorically different than what Wood or Warner were honored for”

    If that’s your perception of what’s being produced by the people who are being nominated for Best Fan Writer these days, then you’re not actually reading any of them. And that’s fine. You aren’t required to read them, or nominate or vote in that category, just ignore it.

    But sitting here saying “Now, in my day, Fan Writers actually wrote about SFF and they were actually worth reading, unlike the people who are writing now” just makes you sound like one of those elderly geezers who’s stuck in the past and hasn’t actually read anything written less than 25 years ago.

    You’re entitled to have that opinion if you want. Just don’t expect anyone to accord your opinion any credibility.

  42. Since Susan Wood has been mentioned as a great fan writer, here’s a pretty sharp essay from her that’s still pertinent today, on pages 68-73:

    http://efanzines.com/SusanWood/BestofSusanWood.pdf

    Let’s just say there was a good reason why Wiscon was started, and that sexism in fandom hasn’t faded away after all these years. I’m thankful for what progress there has been with respect to sexism in SF&F, and hope it continues.

  43. @David W: A question and a bit of (I believe) correct pedantry. 🙂

    1) Which essay in particular? I think i want to read the whole thing, but if there was something in the PDF you were pointing to specifically, I’d like to know.

    2) I think WisCon was founded as a regional con, that *became* the first feminist SF convention — at least, that is the story I have heard from some of the veterans of WisCon.

  44. Steven Schwartz, it’s the “People’s Programming” essay that I was referring to.

    Wiscon was founded as a feminist con after some of the participants in a women’s SF panel that Susan Wood helped to organize at MidAmericon I back in 1976 went on to start Wiscon in 1977. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a retrospective panel on the subject next year at MidAmerican II.

  45. @David W.

    Thank you! That was a very interesting read, and I will have to check my history. 🙂

    (I was, for many years, a WisCon regular, and much of how I think about What Cons Are Like comes from that environment.)

  46. @Steven Schwartz – I used to go to Wiscon most years myself, from 1993-2008, but I haven’t been to one recently. I have fond memories of Wiscon 20 in particular as being one of the most fun cons I’ve ever attended. In my experience of SF cons overall, Wiscon really is an outlier though, in terms of being much more programming-oriented with an emphasis on feminism.

Comments are closed.