Massacre at the TAFF Corral

John Coxon is the 2011 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund winner because he was the only fan still standing when the parliamentary dust cleared.

TAFF candidate Liam Proven received the most votes, more than twice as many as the next leading candidate, but failed to win because he was disqualified by TAFF’s 20% rule.

The rule requires a candidate to receive 20% of the first-place votes cast on each side of the Atlantic (excluding No Preference.) This year, that meant a minimum of 27 European and 10 North American votes. Proven received only 9 votes from North America.

After Proven the next leading vote-getter was Graham Charnock – but he was also knocked in the head by the rule. In his case, he lacked sufficient European votes.

Paul Treadway failed to poll the minimum on both sides of the Pond.

Only John Coxon – with exactly 27 European votes – survived application of the 20% rule.

It’s breathtaking to realize that despite attracting the largest field of nominees in years, TAFF would have sent no one to Renovation if Coxon had received one less vote in Europe.

How genius is that?

Unless you have a beard as gray as mine you may not remember why the rule even exists – it is rooted in the controversy about Martha Beck’s TAFF candidacy back in the 1980s. The initial idea was that it would be, one might say, a courtesy to prevent the selection of a TAFF delegate who was not wanted by some minimum of fans in the receiving country.

 As explained in Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s Taffluvia #2:

Alleviating host-country fears, no one will be able to win TAFF without making at least some effort to get some host-country support. Alleviating other possible fears, correspondingly, no one will be able to win TAFF on a campaign pitched exclusively to the host country, either

The sending-country requirement was somebody’s rider on the original rule, one that must have seemed too unimportant to object to because at the time they were able to say, “[If] TAFF had had it as a rule since day one, it wouldn’t have affected the outcome of a single election.”

Well, now it has. Fandom has finally stepped on that mine. I realize that the rule was ratified by the vast majority of living TAFF delegates at the time — it was a considered decision. But the sending-country side of the rule was not the core idea and ill-serves present day fandom where TAFF candidates are often hard to drum up.

Vote tally:

Voting Europe NA Other Total
Graham Charnock *20 20 ? 40
John Coxon 27 11 ? 38
Liam Proven 75 *9 ? 84
Paul Treadaway *10 *9 ? 19
Hold Over Funds 1 1 0 2
No Preference 1 5 0 6
Total** 134 **55 **1 189

[Via Ansible Links.]

Know Your TAFF Candidates

Four fans rode forth to save this year’s TAFF race: their names are Death, Destruction… Oops, sorry, wrong list! Though now that Jim Mowatt has immortalized Charnock, Coxon, Proven and Treadway in the latest issue of Pips (PDF file) no one will have an excuse for failing to remember their names as readily as that other foursome.

Jim’s interviews show how diverse this group truly is. On any subject you care to name you’ll find a candidate taking one side, and Graham Charnock taking the other. Consider several quotes which I have scientifically removed from context.

For example: Are they genuinely fond of science fiction?

John Coxon: I’m currently reading The Forever War by Joe Haldeman inspired by – a housemate recommended it to me and also the theme for the next Eastercon is military history so I’m trying to read military history in preparation for that.

Graham Charnock: At the moment, I’m reading a lot of science fiction – NOT! What I’m reading is a lovely book by Stephen Sondheim about songwriting because I also do a bit of songwriting in my own time.

How important do they think it is for TAFF delegates to make of use the internet?

John Coxon: I want to try and use social media to a higher extent than it has previously been used. I want to try and record – and I know Steve Green did a video blog. I want to try and build on that.

Jim Mowatt: I presume you’re going to do a paper TAFF report.
Graham Charnock: Yes, of course.
Jim Mowatt: Have you got a name for it yet?
Graham Charnock: Great American Novel, I think is the closest thing I’m going to call it because it will probably be that big.

And, do they play well with others?  

Liam Proven: I’m a very genial and easygoing chap and I get on with actually everybody.

Graham Charnock: I’m terribly nice and mild but I can give someone a rabid bite if necessary.

Altogether a fine piece of journalism. Thanks to Jim Mowatt for beating the drum and generating more interest in the 2011 TAFF race.

Fans have until April 26 to cast a vote – for more information see the official TAFF website.

[Via Ansible Links.]