Pixel Scroll 9/10/16 Scroll Long And Pixel

(1) NEW ZEPPELINS FOR OLD. After striking a gusher of controversy with its initial program plans, World Fantasy Con made a large number of changes. Jason Sanford reviewed the new offerings in “World Fantasy tries again with programming”, then concluded:

I wish WFC had started totally from scratch with this year’s program, which they obviously didn’t do. But overall these changes are positive. It appears some of these changes were taken from Guerilla WFC, which put forward a truly innovative WFC program, which is a good sign. I’m also sure Ellen Datlow had a positive effect on the changes, as did everyone in the genre who justifiably ripped apart the previous program.

Update: The new program is now on the official WFC 2016 website. Go there to see the schedule.

(2) THEN, THE BOOK. I have spent many hours poring over Rob Hansen’s British fanhistory in zine and website versions, whether researching a blog post, or simply for the pleasure of learning the stories out of early fandom. Now that material has been polished further and given book publication by Dave Langford’s Ansible Editions. You’ll find a lot of information about the project here.then-cover

THEN was published in September 2016 with a list price of $22.50 (trade paperback) or $36.50 (hardback, discounted by 10% until November 2016). There is also an ebook edition.

Rob Hansen is acknowledged in Brian Aldiss’s autobiography The Twinkling of an Eye as “the historian of fanzines”. Then is Rob’s ground-breaking history of British science fiction fandom from its first stirrings in the early 1930s to 1980 and a little beyond. Originally published in four fanzine-format volumes from 1988 to 1993, this first book edition of Then is now greatly revised, corrected and expanded by more than 20% to give a massive trade paperback – and a simultaneously published hardback – running to 454 pages and nearly 228,000 words. Besides the results of much new research, Then includes over 300 photos of contemporary fans of all eras, dozens of scans of representative fanzine covers selected from each decade, detailed source notes and a full index (not to mention a separate photo index).

This first book edition of Then also has an appreciative introduction by Peter Weston, who writes: “without Rob we would know almost nothing about British fanhistory, whereas thanks to him we know just about everything … It’s a truly amazing thing, and something of a minor miracle that it ever came to be written.” It’s an epic piece of work. What’s more, it’s alive in the current conversation, and consulted by people who care about fanhistory.

(3) WHEN THE SHOW WENT ON. Ars Technica tells “How an over-ambitious Star Trek convention became ‘The Con of Wrath’”.

In 1982, nearly the entire TOS cast gathered for a disastrous four-hour variety show….

Rose also recalled that Koenig essentially acted as the show’s de facto director, given that no one else could seem to be bothered to do it. “None of us had a script, any idea what we were doing for the most part, but we knew that Walter had written some kind of play,” he said. “It was literally that Friday night, Walter comes over to me and he says ‘you’re the main guy, here’s what we’re going to be doing.’ He wrote it out what we’re going to do, cue this cue that. I had no warning whatsoever.”

Koenig ended up simply writing out the lighting and sound cues on a piece of paper and handing it to Rose. “‘We need a house announcer,’ and he writes out on paper and handed it to me!” Rose recalled….

“The amazing thing is that none of the actors walked, they did the entire weekend as it was planned,” Nemecek told us. To this day, he continues to view the whole thing as a modern marvel. After all, he believes that if such a fiasco unfolded today, it would reverberate across the Internet and likely damage the careers of everyone involved. “It really is the most glorious failure. All the actors, the fans, the dealers, and the organizers did something to make this happen.”

 

(4) WORLDCON 76. After San Jose won the rights to host the 2018 Worldcon, they issued Progress Report Zero. In case you haven’t already seen it, you can download it here.

Is San Jose really going with Worldcon 76 as its name? That’s what’s on the PR and its website. I’d be concerned that’s it’s too easily confused with Worldcon 75, the name used by Helsinki.

San Jose also announced Guests of Honor Spider Robinson, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Pierre and Sandy Pettinger, and two Ghosts of Honor, Edgar Pangborn and Bob Wilkins.

(5) ONE VIEWER’S RECAP OF RECENT HISTORY. Nathaniel Givens overviews “Science Fiction Awards in an Age of Dragons” at The Loose Cannon.

…one of the problems with this many categories is that there’s no feasible way anyone could read all the nominated works and make an informed vote in every category. This has profound implications.

Traditionally, Worldcon attendees receive electronic copies of the nominated works and have a couple of months to read through them before voting closes. There’s a lot of material (5 novels, 5 novellas, 5 novelettes, and 5 short stories just from the core literary categories), but it’s not an unmanageable amount. It should be fairly routine, then, for a Hugo voter to end up reading works they haven’t read before and maybe even voting for one of those works. In short, the Hugos are designed as deliberative process in which a small cadre of dedicated fans try to come to a consensus about which works deserve recognition. At its worst, this means that the group is susceptible to being hijacked and/or manipulated by cliques and fads (political or otherwise). At its best, it means that we’re talking about a process that at least makes a meaningful attempt to transcend momentary popularity.

The Dragon Awards make no such pretense. There will never be packets of all the novels.15 Even if there were, there wouldn’t be time for people to wade through dozens of novels before voting. Deliberation and consensus are off the table.

(5) TRANSOM TO REOPEN. Strange Horizons has added a new fiction editor and will be re-opening fiction submissions.

We are therefore delighted to announce that Vajra Chandrasekera is joining us as a Fiction Editor, working with Lila Garrott, Catherine Krahe, and An Owomoyela.

If you’ve been reading Strange Horizons recently, there’s a good chance that you recognise Vajra’s name and if you do, I suspect you’re as excited as I am about him joining the magazine’s staff. As a book club participant, occasional reviewer and regular columnist, he has contributed some of the most insightful critical thinking we’ve had the pleasure of publishing in the last year. And as an author—with July’s “Sweet Marrow”, and this week’s “Applied Cenotaphics in the Long, Long Longitudes”—he’s contributed two wonderfully elegant and thought-provoking stories. Put another way, by far the biggest downside of him joining the magazine is that we won’t be publishing very much by him for the foreseeable future!

In organisational terms, this should mean that we will be able to re-open to fiction submissions in the near-ish future—although authors, we’ll still need you to bear with us for a few more weeks.

(6) A VERSE OUT OF TIME. Tom Becker shared this masterpiece in a comment.

This is just to say
I have taken
the time machine
I wanted to eat the plums
that were in the icebox
But I didn’t want you to find out

I took them
back a few minutes
then there were
twice as many
That was fun
so I did it again
Forward and back
Four times as many
Eight times
Sixteen times

If you were wondering
why your time machine
is full of plums
that is why
Please have some
for breakfast
I ate as many as I could
You can put the pits
in the pizza boxes

You should know
I saw a shoggoth
Perhaps it was attracted
by the time machine
If so please forgive me
The elder gods
so strange
and so cold

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh, John King Tarpinian and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes  to File 770 contributing editor of the day snowcrash.]

Puppies In Perpetual Motion

(1) We begin with some choice misinformation from Charlotte Eyre’s “Five ‘no awards’ given at Hugos” on The Bookseller.

The groups [Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies] had allegedly paid for fans to go to WorldCon to have influence over the final winners, an accusation which lead authors Marko Kloos and Annie Bellet to withdraw from the awards, despite their work being nominated.

That’s a very confused accusation, to such a degree it has to be classified as a fabrication by Eyre. The Kloos and Bellet withdrawals, of course, happened back in April. The voting for the Hugos was over two weeks before the convention, and could not even potentially be influenced by someone’s physical presence at the convention.

(2) Lou Antonelli on Facebook

Some people have said I’m mad because David Gerrold snubbed me at Sasquan. That’s not true – I’m not mad that he snubbed me, because he didn’t.

He did offer to buy me a beer, but that I guess was little more than a rhetorical flourish. I’m sure he was very busy. It think it would have made a great photo, the pair of us quaffing brews – it might have even helped show some kind of reconciliation was possible. A missed opportunity, perhaps?

Bumping into him in the hallway outside an elevator, I absent-mindedly and rather spontaneously went to shake his hand. He refused, saying “I may have accepted your apology, but I haven’t forgiven you.” Realizing my faux pas, I turned tail and took off.

That’s not a snub, that’s him exercising his personal rights. He doesn’t have to be nice to me, and he wasn’t rude, just firm. I may have other complaints about how some things were done, but a beer and handshake weren’t two of them.

(3) L. Jagi Lamplighter in a comment on “Smeagol Neilson Hayden”

Folks,

First, I think John has made it sound a bit worse than it was…but this is not his fault. I did not repeat to him all of what PNH said because I did not him to get upset during the reception. (I was afraid he would be very angry if he knew someone had sworn at his wife.)

Mr, Nielsen Hayden did shout, swear, and stomp off…but he was shouting and swearing at/about John, not at me personally and, actually, as far as swearing, he just used the phrase “tell him to shovel it up his…” You can figure out the rest.

This may not seem like swearing to many of you…many folks speak that way normally. But I do not. Nor do people normally speak that way to me.

My first thought after he stormed off was; isn’t it interesting that he yelled at the one person in the room whose only reaction is going to be to pray for him.

I was not the least upset…but I did think it ironic that, of everyone present, I was the person who got shouted at. But I suspect Mr. Nielsen Hayden knows nothing about me personally, has never read my blog, and is unaware of the irony.

(4) C. Joshua Villines – “My Thoughts On An Award I Shall Never Win”

I’m not sure how any of this helps the industry or the genre. Just because my side “won” doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the value of thoughtfully-articulated voices presenting a loyal dissent. If, no matter what the other side says, we cannot listen to what they have to say because of all of the ways in which they are “obviously” wrong, how will we ever hear the things that they have to say that are right? How can we move forward in a way that makes speculative fiction fandom, and SF publishing, as broadly representative of the interests of readers and the politics of writers as possible?

Step one, I think, is moving away from slates and treating the Hugos as a battleground. Perhaps this is easy for me to say, since I know I will never win one, but I think it is abundantly clear that this conflict did not change anyone’s mind, did not broaden the tent of SF at all, and did not establish a framework for dialogue. The agenda of the Sad Puppies is a minority one. The more actively and forcefully they push it, the more aggressively their peers and the genre’s fans will push back. The slate-stacking strategy failed everyone.

What might help is establishing open and honest conversations – with clear rules against strawmen and ad hominem attacks – around the three Puppy concerns I placed in bullets, above. The conversation around popular pulp versus literary art has a long history in speculative fiction, and it is no more likely to be resolved in SF than it is in cinema or television or general literature. That doesn’t mean we should stop talking about it. Should we give equal weight to David Gemmell, Jack McDevitt, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Gene Wolfe? I dearly love them all, but is the writing of one inherently superior to the others because of popularity, or accessibility, or literary sophistication?

We should also look at the books we read and tell others to read.  Are there litmus tests? I know I have several. I don’t recommend books, even by authors I love, even by ones who are friends, if they contain graphic rape. Lev Grossman is a kind man with a style that makes me weep with envy, but I won’t go near The Magician King. On the other hand, despite my socialist politics, I still recommend Modesitt’s Recluce books, even though I think he’s trying to subtly convert me to capitalism. Surely most of us have litmus tests of one kind or another. Let’s be honest about them, and let our colleagues tell us what we’re missing out on as a result.

Let’s also put some thought into the value, and peril, of novelty. Speculative fiction thrives on pushing, challenging, and redrawing boundaries. It is the genre of limitless horizons, of finding new questions, of challenging old answers. Consequently, I think we should recognize that sometimes it is worth celebrating when someone does something new, and does it well. Ann Leckie’s treatment of gender drove me nuts in Ancillary Justice, but I loved the questions it raised for me when I thought about why it drove me nuts. In addition, she told a darn fine story, and told it well. There is enormous value in introducing a new idea in a way that gets people talking and asking questions. We should not lose site of that. But writing is also a discipline that is inherently conscious of history and tradition, and doubly so in a genre that explicitly builds on ancient, mythic structures. There are people reading speculative fiction who lead deeply conventional lives, and who love how those old stories reinforce their conventionality. Do they deserve a voice as well? At what point does our love of ingenuity silence them? Is it better to innovate, or to excel in craft? Are they mutually exclusive goals?

(5) Chris M. Barkley on Facebook

I was required to atternd the Hugo Ceremony Rehersal in the afternoon. Rajnar Vajra had asked me to accept for him if his novelette, The Triple Sun, was honored.Our masters of ceremonies, GoH David Gerrold, Tananarive Due and the ceremony staff put us through our paces, showing us how to carry the Hugo Award, hitting our marks on stage and what to expect as the show progressed. I found out a few hours later that someone STOLE the practice Hugo! WUT????? I hope it’s recovered, sooner or later. VERY BAD things should happen to that thief!

Chris’ post is an installment of his an extensive report about his Worldcon adventures.

(6) Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas – “Back from Sasquan”

The usual suspects proved Larry Correia right as he claimed they were a tight inbred little social clique, by the way they reacted to the Sad Puppies. George R.R. Martin’s private invite-only “real” post-Hugo reception at an expensive rented historic mansion certainly clinched that. They proved Vox Day right when they nuked five of the most important Hugo categories rather than let “the wrong kind of people” win them. He said they’d do that all along, destroying the credibility of the award, and they did. They proved Lou J Berger wrong as he handed his “We are all fans” ribbons at Sasquan. No, we’re obviously not, and the people who cheered for No Awards at the Hugo ceremony proved that. I threw Berger’s ribbon in the trash as I left the hotel, along with all the others and my badge. No reason to bring home bad memories. Yes, you literary snobs, you got what you wanted. Happy now? Feel better? Wonderful.

(7) Darrell Schweitzer on Facebook

So now the Puppies are roadkill. I have to admit I predicted this, several times, right here on FB. The reason for their defeat is not, I think, politics at all, but the same reason that the Scientologist effort failed once they got Hubbard’s BLACK GENESIS on the ballot in 1987. This forced people to read it, after which there was no hope of winning. BLACK GENESIS finished sixth in a field of five, lower than No Award, which came in 5th. Sheer awfulness proved its undoing. I think that is what happened to the Puppy slate. It was clear from the Philadelphia SF Society Hugo Predictions panel (which was a No Award sweep) that fans who knew nothing about the controversy just found the material just outrageously bad. (The PSFS novel choice was THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, which I suspect will prove to have finished 2nd or 3rd.)

(8) NPR – “’Sad Puppies’ Fail To Stuff Ballot Box At Hugo Awards”

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There was no love for puppies at this weekend’s Hugo Awards. The sad puppies are a group who say the fan-chosen science fiction and fantasy awards have become too liberal and inclusive, so they nominated their own slate of candidates. And as NPR’s Petra Mayer reports, Hugo voters had other ideas.

PETRA MAYER, BYLINE: Over the past few years, more Hugo awards have been going to women and writers of color. The sad puppies – mostly white, mostly male – came together as a backlash. Right now it’s relatively easy to get a work on the Hugo ballot, so the puppy slate pretty much took over this year, causing months of controversy. But when it came time to hand out the iconic silver rocket ship trophies on Saturday night, Hugo voters chose to give no award in five puppy-packed categories, including best novella and best short story.

The night’s big winner was Chinese author Liu Cixin, whose book “The Three Body Problem” was the first work in translation to win the Hugo for best novel. Award organizers have now approved a rules change aimed at making it harder to nominate slates, though, it won’t take effect for two years. Petra Mayer, NPR News.

(10) Nathaniel Givens on Difficult Run – “Lots of Hugo Losers”

And yet the Sad Puppy / Rabid Puppy tactics obviously were a mistake. First, as I said, there’s the immense problem with The Three-Body Problem not even making the ballot. Sure, taste is subjective, but this book was really, really good. More importantly, however, it’s a book that was originally published in China in 2008. You want real intellectual diversity? Well there you go: a book that is literally off the American socio-political map. Additionally, the Sad Puppies again and again defended many of their choices (like Kevin J. Anderson’s The Dark Between the Stars) by referring to the author rather than the work. Best novel is an award for best novel. It’s not some kind of lifetime achievement award. So the repeated references to Anderson’s contribution to the genre (he’s written over 100 books) were not only irrelevant, but a real give-away that the Sad Puppies 3 slate had basically no serious thought behind it. It was just a haphazard collection of books a few of the Sad Puppies folks had happened to read last year, without sufficient regard for quality of the individual works.

As a result, the anti-puppies movement was able to easily cast the Sad and Rabid Puppies as invaders who had come to ruin the Hugos. Their hysterical accusations that the Puppies were Nazi’s were silly, but their accusation that the Puppies were ruining the awards had real validity. Sad Puppy opponents insisted that the only solution was for fandom to rise up in righteous wrath and repudiate the incursion by voting “No Award” above any and all Sad / Rabid Puppy nominations.4 This surge was quite strong. Nobody knew how strong until the votes were announced this past weekend, but–according to some preliminary analysis at Chaos Horizon–the breakdown of the record-breaking 6,000 voters went as follows:

  • Core Rabid Puppies: 550-525
  • Core Sad Puppies: 500-400
  • Absolute No Awarders: 2500
  • Primarily No Awarders But Considered a Puppy Pick: 1000
  • That sums up to 4600 hundred voters. We had 5950, so I thin the remaining 1400 or so were the true “Neutrals” or the “voted some Puppies but not all.”

(11) Matthew Bowman on Novel Ninja – “The Hugos, Now With No Mask to Hide Behind”

My take away, thus far, is pretty simple. The Puppies absolutely have a legitimate grievance, and the vile slander that came out vindicates them. Furthermore, the “No Award” campaign clearly crossed a line from a legitimate attempt to punish the bad tactics of the Puppies to a witch hunt when, for example, it No Awarded the Editor categories.

Thousands of people gathered for the convention, far more than normal; tens of thousands have been paying attention, for the first time in the Award’s history. They’ve all seen this play out. It’s made mainstream media outlets. It’s been trending on Twitter and other social sites. More and more people have found out about it.

This year’s Sad Puppies campaign was about bringing more attention to the Hugo Awards. It has succeeded precisely because the other side — which I have taken to calling the Leucrottas, after a mythical animal that hunts humans and dogs, solitary because even fellow leucrottas can’t stand their own company — have crowed to the world about how nasty the Puppies are. And so the world has seen the ugliness of the Leucrottas.

In the interest of protecting women and minorities, they have hurt them. In the interest of increasing diversity, they have clung to exclusivity.  To protect against invaders, they have destroyed their prize. To proclaim their enemies are racists and hate children, they have embraced racists and support pedophiles. All in the name of fiction; but only the fiction they approve of.

(12) Tom Knighton – “My Thoughts on the Hugo Awards”

The award ceremony itself…hoooooooooo boy.

Look, I joke on religions all the time.  Yes, including my own.  In fact, I’d share a Presbyterian joke, but none have made it out of all the relevant committees just yet.

However, the people who opposed the Puppies are the ones who scream about intolerance.  We’re allegedly so intolerant, yet who made the joke about Hare Krishnas?  Now, I’m not saying I was personally offended, because I wasn’t.  What I was is better described as “baffled”.

You see, I’m baffled by the people who would eviscerate me for a Muslim joke–the same people who objected to a proposed host from last year who might have told a fat joke–and yet are silent on a Hare Krishna joke on the Hugo stage.  What I hate more than anything is hypocrisy, and that’s what I see right now from these people.

(13) Tom Knighton – “From Me to Patrick Nielsen Hayden”

It’s simple.  John C. Wright wasn’t hiding from anyone.  He was there, he was visible.  PNH could have sought him out to have his words directly with John.  PNH is one of Tor’s editors, for crying out loud.  John, as is his wife, are Tor authors.  I find it hard to believe that if he had words to say to John, he couldn’t find a way to contact him and say them.

He didn’t.

Instead, he does it when Jagi offers an olive branch?

Look, I’m not saying he had to accept it.  He didn’t.  But lashing out at the spouse of the man you have an issue with?  Pathetic.

Had he said, “I’m sorry, but your husband has said some things that i simply can’t find it in myself to forgive,” I’d understand. Oh how I’d understand.  I think all of us who fought on the side of the Puppies understands it.  We’ve been called some horrible things too.

But that’s not what he did.  He yelled and cursed at a woman who offered remarkable little of the critical dialog that John did, or Larry did, or Brad did, or even I did.

I’m not saying that he has to forgive or forget.  I’m saying that he at least needs to be a man about it.  Say it to John, or even say it publicly, but don’t take it out on a Tor author who was trying to be a professional and bury the hatchet who isn’t responsible for any of it.

(14) Laughing Wolf on Blackfive“The 2015 Hugo Awards: Some Thoughts”

As I said, the response and results were not unexpected.  I honestly thought No Award would take at least two more slots than it did.

Where I’m not sparking is with how things were handled.  First, there was the biased and childish panel that preceded the Hugos.  Second, was the awards ceremony itself.  That one or more Hugo nominees walked out early (along with other professionals) says it all.  The deliberate and willful disrespect, and bias, shown says it all for me.

So, for me, it’s on.  For those of you ignorant enough to buy into the Social Justice Bullies lie that the Puppies were all angry white men, I simply point out that the Puppies were far more diverse than those that opposed them.  For a group of “neo-nazis” as an employee of Tor books called them (us, honestly), there sure are a lot of mutts in the group, and a lot females too.  In fact, one author attacked in this manner actually fought real neo-nazis and injustice, and has the wounds to show it.  Another author also schooled the idiots with the real deal.  I further note that only one, repeat ONE, reporter writing on the subject of the Puppies had the courage and integrity to actually interview the wonderful Sarah A. Hoyt, who is not a white male.  That Larry Correia is far more a mutt than I am, and hardly a lily-white male (unlike most of those attacking him).  That strawman Larry is not just a jerk, but an asshole and I want at least ten of the ribbons saying he is a jerk.  I could go on, but it is easy to pick apart the slanders, libels, and lies heaped upon them, Brad Torgersen, and others — for those with interest in the truth that is.

The blatant disrespect and insult offered to Toni last night is the final straw.  You attacked a friend.

So, I’m in on Sad Puppies 4.  If you want to destroy WorldCon and the Hugo awards, you will have your chance and you will own the results.  My hope, faint though it is, remains to make the awards truly relevant again as a means of promoting good writing, editing, and other efforts regardless of the message.

(15) Jay Maynard on Black Gate – “Dear Conservatives: Don’t Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out”

No more. It’s clear to me that a conservative cannot be accepted as an SF fan. One must kowtow to the leftist gods of diversity for its own sake and tolerance for only the approved subjects and equality of outcome, or else one is not a true SF fan. An author must be some oppressed minority to be considered worthy, and old white men need not apply.

Diversity? Great, as long as we all think in lockstep. Bring up diversity of thought and you’re immediately accused of only wanting to read stuff written by old white men.

I’m other things besides an SF fan. I’m a pilot, and a ham radio operator, and a computer geek, and more besides. I’d long thought that Worldcon was to SF fans what EAA’s Airventure at Oskhosh is to aviation geeks, and what the Dayton Hamvention is to hams: the premiere event of its fandom, to which any devotee should endeavor to go at least once in their life.

But I see no reason, now, to expend any effort at all to go to a Worldcon where those like me are plainly unwelcome. Oh, they’d happily take my money, but I’ve already had the experience of paying to go to a con where I was quickly made unwelcome — and that one didn’t require much in the way of travel. Paying a kilobuck to be miserable for a weekend is an experience I’d just as soon pass up.

Go ahead, fans. Hate Vox Day all you want. I am as repulsed by his misogynistic writings as you are (I’m not convinced he’s not simply trolling; to me, though, that is no excuse, as I consider trolls to be the scourge of the Internet). Don’t conflate me or the other Sad Puppies with him.

I am a conservative, and proud of it, but I also agree with the Left on subjects they hold near and dear to their hearts. As one example: I’m pro-choice. We’re not all monolithic in our beliefs.

But we’re all being treated that way, and repudiated by polite fannish society. The works we like are being held up as examples of our favorite writers’ inferiority and wrongthink to boot. “Your Taste Sucks”!

(16) Solarbird on Crime and the Forces of Evil – “and there was NO AWARDing”

Those of us who have been calling for a NO AWARD vote above any slate nominee for the Hugo have, I am told, won. We have doubled the number of NO AWARDs given throughout the previous history of the awards, and blocked the meaningful slate candidates pretty much in their entirety. We are being congratulated, and for that, I thank you.

But I cannot consider this winning. I consider it… oh, let’s call it the least bad possible disaster given the position in which their machinations put us. That’s important. It shows that the large influx of supporting members who voted were not a Puppy rush. It shows that World Science Fiction Society fandom cares about the Hugo awards quite a bit, in fact, and thank you very much. It shows that gaming the system and violating decades of voting tradition will not be rewarded. Well done, fandom.

But it is not a “win.” It is not even a victory, because it does not end anything.

(17) Frank Wu on Amazing Stories – “An Olive Branch for the Puppies”

I may not agree with everything you think but I’m big enough to let you say them. I’m not afraid of words. Science fiction should be a big enough tent for everyone.

What I am opposed to, is block voting. This is considered rude and will get you no-awarded every time.

My proposal?

What if you Puppies gave up block voting in exchange for Non-Puppies seriously considering your work for recommendation lists?

I’m defining block voting as the presentation of a finished slate, with the call or command for others to vote the slate, perhaps even without reading the pieces, for lols or to advance an agenda.

A recommendation list – and I’ve done this and been on them – is an acknowledgement that there are thousands of stories published every year, but, hey, look, I found a couple I loved. Maybe you’d like them, too, and if so feel free to nominate them. If not, whatever. One year I told everyone over and over how awesome Greg Van Eekhout’s story “In the Late December” was. Not because Greg asked me to, not because of his politics (which I know nothing about), but because I really loved that story. A recommendation list is a suggestion, not a command.

So, Puppies, my offer is this. If you send me some of your best 2015 publications – email them at FWu@FrankWu.com – I promise to read them and evaluate them on their merits. Regardless of your politics or anything else you may have said in any other venue. And if I like it (which is more likely if it has robots, spaceships, or aliens), I will add it to my recommendation list.

(18) Craig Engler’s eyewitness report of the Hugo Award ceremony — “I was there to witness the Hugo Awards (not) burn and here is what I saw”

In an especially smart (and kind) move, Gerrold asked the audience to applaud not for each individual nominee but for all the nominees in the category as a whole after all the names were read. That helped ensure no single nominee was ever booed despite the animosity of the voting process. The only time someone did let out a  boo…during a No Award result…Gerrold politely asked them not to and it didn’t happen again.

Gerrold also took on the burden of announcing the categories with No Award himself instead of having a special presenter on stage to do it. The five times no award was given, Gerrold handled it expeditiously and with no fanfare so the audience (and the nervous nominees in attendance) could move past the moment quickly. This helped focus the night on the 11 winners and not on the controversy.

For its part the audience was in tearing high spirits, applauding and cheering, laughing at the jokes and fun little skits (including having an award announced by a Dalek), focusing on the positives and spending little time on anything negative. Since there were still a lot of awards that were handed out, the night didn’t seem particularly shortened or bereft. Indeed, by the end it was full of such acceptance and good cheer that it was hard not to leave with a smile and a feeling of good will.

So, far from being “nuked,” these Hugos turned into the biggest, most well attended and most fun awards in history. They not only brought new attendees into the fold but also enticed lapsed people like me back to come together in a fantastic night of celebration. While it was unfortunate that some categories had no winner, it wasn’t catastrophic. Indeed it was fandom’s way of saying, this award has merit and needs to be earned and will never simply be given out to a slate because some people got together and mustered a certain number of voters. And if at times that means an award won’t be given in a category, that’s okay. The integrity and spirit of the Hugos is more important than that. We are not burning a village to save it, we’re simply inviting more people to the village and celebrating.

(19) Amanda S. Green – “Who should we be worried about impressing?”

To me, the only ones I need to be impressing are the readers. As I said earlier, it is clear from looking at the different genre and sub-genre lists on Amazon and elsewhere that there are more readers out there who want entertaining books than there are those who want books that put message first and story comes somewhere below that. No, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a message in fiction. Let me repeat that for those who tend to skim until insulted: It is fine to have a message in your fiction as long as you remember that your message won’t be heard if you don’t write a story that entertains and holds the readers’ interest.

So quit whinging and whining over the decline of the field. Quit whinging and whining over the decline of literary numbers. Instead, ask yourself why? Do a bit of market analysis and realize that readers — just like folks who go to the movies — want to be entertained. That is what I strive to do. That is what so many other authors strive to do. So, to all the fans, thank you for your support. To the Fans and authors who want to keep their little cliques, go ahead. Keep doing what you’re doing. I’m not going to try to convince you to do otherwise. For me, I’m going to do my best to remember that it is the fans who really count.

(20) Andrew Trembley on Facebook

Comedy gold seen elsewhere: “RequiresHoyt”

(21) Alexandra Erin on Quietly Thinking Aloud – “Unfortunately for your side George R.R. Martin was caught”

I tell you, it has been seriously amusing to watch the narrative take shape around this.

Background: George R. R. Martin has been attending WorldCon since 1971, I believe when he was up for a Campbell (new writer award). He did not win, but as no more than six people are considered finalists for this honor each year and each writer has at most two years of eligibility, he recognizes this as such a signal honor that he lists it on his website alongside his awards and other honors.

(Contrast this with Larry Correia, who seems to feel like his own Campbell nomination constituted a contract that was broken when he didn’t win it.)

A few years after that, Martin, being a frequent flyer on the Hugo ballot, instituted what he called the Losers’ Party, for all the nominees who don’t win. There are alcohol, and ribbons. It sounds like a lot of fun, and of course, it’s all in good spirit… it is an honor to be nominated, and the Losers’ Party just reinforces what rarefied air one breathes in making it to the ballot.

This year, Mr. Martin decided to hand out his own award, which he calls the Alfies, after Alfred Bester (the author, not the Babylon 5 character named after the author).

He apparently made them out of hood ornaments, which award trophies are often mockingly compared to. That right there should tell you how serious this business was.

Now, Mr. Martin is not the president of science fiction and fantasy. He does not occupy a position of leadership or authority with WorldCon. He is not affiliated with the Hugos except insofar as they are occasionally affiliated with him. This party that he instituted is a Hugo tradition, but it’s not a Hugo institution. In short, the party is no more an official ceremony than a guy who looks like Drunk Scary Santa Claus is an official presenter, which he is no more than the hood ornaments he’s passing out are official trophies.

George R. R. Martin, in his private capacity as an individual human being, thought he would have some fun and recognize some individuals he thought could use some recognition/a laugh.

And a few Puppies “caught him” doing it, and immediately started casting around for “evidence” and wringing their hands with glee over the thought that they’d found proof that the Hugo award ceremony was a scam, that the fix was in, that the real awards were being handed out by Drunk Scary Santa Claus to the people ordained by the hive mind…

It’s funny, but you know, this is the difference between the Sad Puppies and everybody else.

(22) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog – “Hugo Aftermath”

Then I hit a bump. Two bumps, in fact. Both editing categories went to No Award.

I had picked Mike Resnick in Short Form and Toni Weisskopf in Long Form, and indeed, each of them finished above all the other nominees in the first round of voting… but well behind No Award. This was a crushing defeat for the slates, and a big victory for the Puppy-Free ballot of Deirdre Moen. Honestly? I hated this. In my judgment the voters threw the babies out with bathwater in these two categories. Long Form had three nominees who are more than worthy of a Hugo (and one, Jim Minz, who will be in a few more years), and Short Form had some good candidates too. They were on the slates, yes, but some of them were put on there without their knowledge and consent. A victory by Resnick, Sowards, Gilbert, or Weisskopf would have done credit to the rocket, regardless of how they got on the ballot. (All four of these editors would almost certainly have been nominated anyway, even if there had been no slates).

((Some are saying that voting No Award over these editors was an insult to them. Maybe so, I can’t argue with that. But it should be added that there was a far far worse insult in putting them on the ballot with Vox Day, who was the fifth nominee in both categories. Even putting aside his bigotry and racism, Beale’s credential as an editor are laughable. Yet hundreds of Puppies chose to nominate him rather than, oh, Liz Gorinsky or Anne Lesley Groell or Beth Meacham (in Long Form) or Gardner Dozois or Ellen Datlow or John Joseph Adams (in Short Form). To pass over actual working editors of considerable accomplishment in order to nominate someone purely to ‘stick it to the SJWs’ strikes me as proof positive that the Rabid Puppies at least were more interested in saying ‘fuck you’ to fandom than in rewarding good work)).

(23) Otaku-Kun on Habibane.info – “Hugo Awards 2015 – the aftermath”

Make no mistake, EPH or not, it is still perfectly possible for Vox Day and whoever else to interfere with the results next year. There’s nothing I see in EPH that can forestall another wave of Noah Wards, since ultimately the outcomes are still gameable due to the small numbers involved. The time of hiding in the Shire is over – the world beyond has taken notice, and the stakes are higher.

What are the solutions?

For one thing, the Hugos were given a gift in terms of mass media coverage this year. From Wired to WaPo, Puppygate was media catnip as a proxy in the culture wars. This means that there are several dozen journalists who are now experts on Hugo arcana and who are an audience that can and should be cultivated. More importantly, all of their readers are now marginally aware of what the Hugos are, and the involvement of luminaries like GRRM also helps raise that awareness above background noise. Press releases to these journalists and direct advertising in their publications will maintain the interest.

Also, what about more aggressive marketing to Communities of Geekdom? For example, Comic-Con (and it’s satellites around the country, like Chicago’s version last weekend). AMAs on Reddit? A pitch to the writers at Big Bang Theory? How about a big party somewhere, a mass book signing of Hugo nominees?

(24) Brad R. Torgersen – “Emmanuel Goldstein is leaving the building”

4) The media — and the counter-media — see you as fodder for advancing their narratives. I’ve been talking to reporters and media people of various types for seven months. I was only ever interesting to anybody because I could help them tell the story they wanted to tell. Not the story I wanted to tell. The story I wanted to tell usually wound up on the cutting room floor. Now, in some cases — especially with the conservative counter-media — I didn’t mind too much. I agreed with what they were saying in most instances, and I was thankful for the coverage that helped me more than it hurt me. Because the negative coverage was plentiful, and too often I found myself offering the opposition-friendly press a pint of myself, for them to merely use a few drops; and then only if they felt it spun the way they wanted it too. Which was always against me and what I was fighting for….

12) You can’t control the fact that you have enemies, you can only try to make sure that they are the right enemies for the right reasons. I remember when my wife came home, bewildered, that afternoon when she first realized just how bad the opponents on campus had gotten. She couldn’t understand it. She wasn’t a threat to them at all. Or so she thought. But it didn’t matter how much she tried to mend fences or make offerings of olive branches, the enemy hated her guts. All she could do was push forward and focus on why she’d gotten into student office to begin with, and she succeeded handsomely. I do hope that of the committed enemies I’ve made — the men and women who now make it their business to spite me personally — that the dividing line between them and me, is values. It’s pretty evident that a wide gulf seperates me from the opposition; on perceived objectives. There was an Honest Opposition, because not everyone on the opposition side became an actual enemy. Only some did. And of those who did, I think it’s because my values so utterly clashed with the values of my enemies (and vice versa) that the matter was irreconcilable.

(25) Ann Leckie – “2015 Hugos”

I’ll start here: Thanks so very much to all the people I ran into over the weekend who either told me they were rooting for Ancillary Sword, or told me they were sorry it didn’t win. I love you all.

But the fact is, it never was going to win. If it seemed even briefly as though it might this year, it was because of this year’s…unusual aspects. Had the final ballot been what it ought to have been, I think ideas about AS winning would have been pretty easily dismissable. I find this pretty ironic, actually.

I knew from the start that a lot of voters were going to be thinking that I already got mine last year. And you know what? They’re right. Last year, my book did not just win a couple of awards. It stomped all over Award City making Godzilla roars as bullets bounced off its chest. That’s enough Win to last me for quite a while, and I am entirely happy to see other books and other writers get the acclaim and attention they deserve. The nomination was my win–I knew that going in, and was perfectly happy with that.

So I went to the Hugos as a nominee, with all the validation that brings, but also without any nervousness or suspense, so I could actually enjoy all of that validation. And it was awesome.

Yeah, there were some skunks at that picnic. The voters gave their very clear opinion of those skunks. And Mithras willing, E Pluribus Hugo will pass for the second time next year and in 2017 we’ll be back to ballots that are full of works the voters love. That will doubtless include some skunk favorites, but that’s as it should be. I just don’t think anyone should be able to make the Hugo ballot nothing but their own choices.

(26) Mike Selinker on Schrödinger’s Blog – “A Game Designer Tries to Fix the Hugo Awards”

Although I found the factual premises to be pretty thoroughly wrong, reading the author’s analytical process was entertaining.

[Second of five points.]

2. Don’t pay people to do things you don’t want them to do.

The above rule was coined by legendary game designer Jonathan Tweet, and I teach it to all my collaborators. At heart it requires you to look at what your game’s economy does and whether you want it to do that.

You might say, “The Hugo Awards doesn’t pay anyone!” And, Mr. Strawman, you’d be wrong. The Hugo Award has a value. Heck, even a Hugo nomination has a value. The ability to say “My Hugo-nominated novel…” is a real thing of worth. Ask anyone who has one.

So what’s the value of a Hugo nomination? I can’t say. But let me ask it like this: If I gave you a onetime chance to pay $2000 so that you could say you were a Hugo nominee, would you do it? And what if you could crowdsource the $2000? What if a mere donation to your GoFundMe of $40 could allow a friend of yours to say she helped you achieve your dreams?

And then, after all that, what if I told you that doing this can get a whole lot more of your friends nominations for no additional cost? Would you do it then?

And even if you wouldn’t do that, do you know someone who would?

Well, this analysis on the Amazing Stories site says it would work.

If it’s accurate (and I am not inside-baseball enough to know), then the problem of inequity is simply defined: the Hugo Awards are worth more to people who don’t have them than the price of acquiring them. For the price of $1600, you can suborn enough votes—in this case, 40 of them—to get a short story nomination; for a mere $6000, you can suborn the 150 votes to get a novel nomination. And once you have enough to get a novel nomination, you can get all the nominations you want.

So to solve your inequity problem, you should do one of three things:

  1. Lower the value of a Hugo nomination so that no one wants it that much
  2. Raise the price of buying a Hugo nomination so that no one can afford to game the system
  3. Be more equitable in your nominations

(27) Alison Herman on Flavorwire – “How This Year’s Hugo Awards Turned Into a Battle Over Race, Gender and the Soul of Fandom”

Blogger Chaos Horizon matched up the votes with Beale’s recommendations to arrive at his estimate that the Rabid Puppies made up about 10% of the final Hugo vote at slightly more than 500 members, with the Sad Puppies making up another 10%. During the nomination stage, those numbers were enough to guarantee five categories’ worth of all-Puppy nominees — in Best Novella, Best Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Editor for Short Form, and Best Editor for Long Form — and, according to iO9’s detailed analysis, greatly alter the makeup of the Hugo ballot.

But the Hugos ultimately didn’t go in the Puppies’ favor. In between the nomination announcement and WorldCon itself, the convention experienced a massive spike in membership. Over 11,000 people bought memberships, an all-time high, and nearly 6,000 people voted — 65% more than ever before, according to Wallace. Until this weekend’s award ceremonies, however, it wasn’t clear whether the new voters were heeding the Puppies’ rallying cry or reacting against it.

The numbers clearly indicate that most voters fell into the latter camp. Every single one of the all-Puppy awards resulted in a No Award vote; Chaos Horizon estimates that a full 2500 voters, nearly half the total voting pool, voted “No Award” across all of these categories on principle. Another 1000 voted “No Award” in at least some categories, indicating they were sympathetic to the anti-Puppy coalition and creating a consensus that dwarfed the Puppies’ vocal minority.

(28) Lou J. Berger on Facebook

WE are all Science Fiction.

When the fans who love the more popular Science Fictional stories abandoned WorldCon for other venues, those left behind became, by default, more literary. Literary fiction talks mostly about the human condition and is skewed to internal conflicts. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve handed out awards to many a square-jawed hero blasting bug-eyed monsters, but the overall trend has been left-leaning.

There’s nothing wrong with that, say the Puppies, until somebody notices that the Hugo awards are still labeled as the “best” of Science Fiction. And that’s when hackles raised.

We are a small community, even so, and our numbers, overall, aren’t huge. Who is to say that literary, left-leaning fiction is the “best?” Just because it USED to be the venue for handing out Hugo Awards, does it still mean that WorldCons are the measuring sticks for what is the “best” in all of SFdom? Even with it being so huge nowadays?

Our community is reeling, and it began when the Puppy movement started (rightfully) questioning the claim that Hugos represented the “best” of Science Fiction. It went off the rails when they pointed accusatory fingers and called the good people who have been attending, running, volunteering for, nominating and awarding Hugos “SJWs” and made it sound dirty.

What’s wrong with allowing others to love a type of Science Fiction not exactly like the Science Fiction you happen to love?

NOT A GODDAMN THING!

And that’s where we are, today. We have two large factions of angry people who both love Science Fiction and who both are passionate, and who both want to find satisfaction.

The mistake is assuming that we have to denigrate or push down the “other” side in order to “win” our side.

(29) David Gerrold on Facebook

Oh, one more thing. About those asterisks? Those asterisks raised almost 2700 dollars for Sir Terry Pratchett’s favorite charity, The Orangutan Foundation. Money will be delivered this week. Pictures will be posted.

(30) Steve Leigh – “Without an Obelix”

One item that bothered me about the Hugo Award ceremony was the use of the “asterisk” plaques. While I’m not at all sympathetic to the tactics of the Puppies (of either variety), the asterisks symbolize a slap in the face of every person who was nominated for a Hugo this year, puppy-nominated or not. I read the pre-Hugo comments by various bloggers about how if anyone won a Hugo this year, it should be considered as “with an asterisk” — as in, not deserved because the competition this year was changed and diluted by the packing of the nominations by the puppies.

To some degree, and in some categories, works and people who might have otherwise been on the ballot were indeed missing, but there were also deserving works and people nominated. I defy anyone to argue that Sheila Gilbert (who has been on the final Hugo ballot for three years running now in the Long Form Editor Category) doesn’t have the credentials to deserve her place there. She’s just one example… and not the only one.

For the convention to commission the asterisk plaques, and then to announce during the ceremony that they were going to be distributed to all the nominees this year is a blatant insult to every single nominee, with the sub-text being “Hey, if you were nominated, you didn’t deserve your nomination, and if you managed to win, well, your Hugo doesn’t mean anything.”

In my opinion, the creation and use of the asterisk plaques were entirely abusive and absolutely not in the spirit of the fandom that I love and consider myself part of. Shame on whomever decided that was a good idea, and those who supported it.

(31) William M. Briggs – “Social Justice Warriors! Marvel Announces New Movie At #HugoAwards”

Marvel’s new Social Justice Warriors! preview took the Hugo Awards by storm. And so did the team itself, who shocked and gratified attendees by using their mutant powers on the award ceremony itself.

Rather than hand out five major awards, which might have gone to authors who produced works of readability and quality, the social justice warriors of the Social Justice Squad slithered into action and, in an exquisitely staged show, mock-battled the Forces of Intolerance and squashed the awards.

The team snatched the best novella, best short story and three others out of the hands of judges mere seconds before they were given to deserving writers instead of favored minorities. The heroic team immediately called a press conference at which they shouted in unison, “Diversity!” And then they vanished!

Hugo Award judges who helped organize the faux-battle were quoted as saying, “This is good for speculative fiction. Our awards were in danger of being known for merit. With the help of the Social Justice Squad, everybody now knows our real purpose is inclusion and equality.”

(32) Vox Day on Vox Popoli – “What will Vox do?”

But in the interest of further demoralizing the already-retreating enemy, I’m not reluctant to reveal one of the new weapons in our arsenal. That’s right. The Evil Legion of Evil is training a corps of Amphibious Assault Otters. Armed with acid-filled squirt guns and supported by a crack squad of Attack Manatees, they will emerge from the rivers and literally melt the faces of the SJWs attempting to burn bridges as they continue to retreat. Good day, sir! I said good day!

Every Puppy Has Its Day 4/16

What European writers call the Hugo Awards “hack” is getting international coverage. Today’s roundup features quotes from Polish and German articles… or as close as Google Translate can get.

There are geniuses who are mad, writers who are mad, and fans who are mad. No wonder there’s also a psychologist trying to analyze the Sad Puppies phenomenon. And if that doesn’t work, someone else has done a statistical analysis.

One writer thinks so many are alarmed by the controversy she needs to volunteer as a bodyguard —

Vonda McIntyre on Book View Cafe

“I will walk with you” – April 15

I’m distressed to see that some folks who were planning to come to Sasquan are thinking of skipping Worldcon this year.

Because they’re frightened.

I understand why people are frightened, given the racist, misogynistic, and dishonest screeds they’ve been subjected to. It isn’t — alas — unusual for verbal abuse to escalate into physical abuse; and anyway verbal abuse is no fun to begin with.

But I was thinking about what might help counterbalance the situation….

I will walk with you at Worldcon.

I’m not very fond of confrontation. I’m a courtesy 5’1? and my 67th birthday (how did that happen?!) is just after the convention and I’m walking with a hiking pole while recovering from a hiking fall, an injury that’s taking way longer to heal than when I was a pup.

On the other hand I’m a shodan in Aikido.

On the third hand, which I can have because I’m an SF writer, shodan — first degree black belt — is when you realize how much you still have to learn.

But I’m thinking that maybe it would make folks who feel threatened feel a little safer to have someone at their side, maybe even someone with a bunch o’ fancy ribbons fluttering from her name badge, even if that person is shorter, smaller, and older than they are, white-haired and not physically prepossessing. It’s another person’s presence.

 

Lou Antonelli on This Way to Texas

Two more scalps – April 16

Yesterday two people who previously didn’t mind having their names on the list and who are Hugo nominated decided withdraw the names. They are both young and probably afraid theircareers will be hurt. Quite frankly, I think it’s a futile gesture. Their flirtation with deviancy will never be forgiven by the SF establishment.

 

Jason V Brock on Facebook  – April 15

I feel sympathy for those trapped in the scenario who did nothing wrong, yet are suffering the consequences, when they should be able to enjoy themselves.

Additionally, people who take a side against someone should reconsider from the perspective of the folks that have been honored justly, and who do good work. In other words, there are people who have toiled for years building a reputation and then have the misfortune of an angry person/group trying to exact revenge, or tarnish everything (out of jealousy, I’d say, and a warped sense of reality). It’s not fair to block or unfriend people that genuinely did nothing but stand up and say “But I didn’t do anything bad.” These are the actions of cowards. People need to have cooler heads and try to understand things better.

 

Alastair Reynolds on Approaching Pavonis Mons by balloon

“On the present Hugo mess and while I still want one” – April 15

The odd thing is – or perhaps it isn’t odd at all – is that the ongoing trouble with the Puppies only makes me feel more warmly disposed to the Hugos. I certainly should have voted. It would have taken a lot more of us to outweigh the block voting effect of the slate ballot, but that’s no argument not to have tried. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve been striving to read a lot more short fiction this year, and I already feel a lot better informed about the state of the field in 2015 than in recent years. And yes, while the Hugo award has been damaged – it’s hard to see a way around that, irrespective of what happens later in the summer – I would still like to win one eventually. I hope the award can weather this storm, and continue on as it should be – a prized part of SF’s collective heritage.

 

Marcin Zwierzchowski on Geek Blog (Polish)

“Nagrody fantastyczne jest problem”  – April 8

[Google Translate from Polish to English] The latter is the nail in the coffin of awards plebiscite. This year, it hit a huge force in Hugo, where most nominations seized authors connected with the movement Sad Puppies. The initiators of action rightly pointed out that in recent years, this prestigious award has become a mouthpiece through which the environment was manifest on the strength of its tolerance and diversity.  Instead, the text of the loudest discussed whether the nominees and the winners are more women or men, whether it is enough ethnic minorities, whether they are homosexual, etc., Etc.

 

Der Standard

“Was George R.R. Martin zum rechten ‘Hack’ der Hugo Awards sagt” – April 16

[Google Translate from German to English] In the past, it managed to get individual groups to influence the nomination lists on their behalf: Be it the followers of Scientology -Gründers and (often forgotten) SF-author L. Ron Hubbard. Be it the well-organized fandom of “Doctor Who”, which manages year after year in the short film category, to give the impression that there is nothing price worthier throughout the film, television and web video world as the British endless series. But such initiatives were always based on individual works – there has never been such a comprehensive campaign, moreover, an ideological background.

 

George R. R. Martin on Not A Blog

“On the Darkling Plain” – April 15

My friend Janice Gelb, long time worldcon volunteer and SMOF, has suggested that the only thing we can do at this point is abolish the Hugo Awards altogether. When I first heard that notion, I dismissed it out of hand. Some good will, some civility, a mutual exchange of ideas, and surely we could find a way to salvage the situation.

I am no longer convinced of that. The Sad Puppies are digging in and doubling down, and so is worldcon fandom. Meanwhile, off in the cesspools, the Rabid Puppies grow ever more rabid. Nuclear options are being seriously considered, and Vox Day has apparently threatened that if NO AWARD wins in any category, he will see to it that no award is ever given in that category again.

My first inclination was to dismiss that threat as so much toxic wind. But I am not so sure. According to FILE 770 http://file770.com/?p=21877 there have been 1352 new Supporting Memberships purchased this month, an unprecedented number. Very few of these purchases, I fear, were motivated by a sincere desire to support WorldCon. No, all these new supporting members are plonking down their money for a vote on the Hugos.

Ah, but which side do they represent? Are these members of traditional fandom, signing up to take back their awards? Are these Sad Puppy supporters, anxious to vote their slate to victory? Are these all NO AWARDers? Or maybe these are the Vox Day fans. Beale seems to have much more control over his followers than Correia and Torgensen do over theirs… the ballot actually has more Rabid Puppies than Sad ones. Could it be that Vox Day has successfully roused the GamerGate bogeyman that he was been threatening us with? No one knows. Unless…

I think it is All of the Above.

And as for me… I don’t know right now. On odd numbered days, I lean toward opting out of SasQuan entirely. Stay home, work on the book, I don’t need this grief. On even numbered days, I am determined to go… and to go BIG. Take the Hugo Losers Party back. I started it, after all. And this year, so far as the Hugos are concerned, we are all going to be losers.

 

George R. R. Martin on Not A Blog

“Joining Sasquan” – April 16

I have been going to Worldcons for a long time. My icon is a picture of me at Torcon II, the 1973 Worldcon in Toronto, where I lost the very first John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Wasn’t I cute? It was my second Worldcon, following on Noreascon I in Boston in 1971. (I missed LA in 1972).

 

Brandon Morse on EveryJoe

“Exclusive Interview With Sad Puppies’ Brad Torgersen”  – April 16

EJ: In a blog post, Doctor Who critical historian Philip Sandifer recently said that “the moral duty of progressive voices to form a blocking majority, and to loudly admit that fandom as it stands is broken, and that any work proclaimed to be the best of the year by a fandom this broken is demeaned by the association.” Do you think the outrage against Sad Puppies is ultimately because you broke the “blocking majority” that Progressives feel is their moral duty to maintain?

Torgersen: I feel like this is very much about totems. I wrote a long article today, talking about tribalism, and how Worldcon Fandom has reacted to having outside tribe(s) coming to “take away” the totem that is the Hugo Award. We’re committing near-sacrilege when we do that. But the chief problem is that the Hugos self-label as being the award for everybody while Worldcon wants to keep the total deciding process internal to itself; no out-tribe people allowed. An award for all, decided by the few. That’s the core of the problem. So, if the progressives feel a duty to keep out-tribe people from participating, I feel a duty to put a hand to their faces and say, “No, you don’t get to decide who is and is not a fan, or who is and is not worthy.”

 

Maureen O’Danu on Am I The Only One Dancing

“The Psychology of Hugo Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies” – April 16

Larry Correia’s public attitude makes it pretty clear that he felt that he deserved to win and that the Hugo he was nominated for was stolen from him, rather than simply won by another contender. (Larry denies this verbally, but one of the first rules of psychology is that when there is a conflict between words and actions, believe the actions.) The subjective nature of literary awards makes this a not uncommon problem. In any award where winning is at least partially a matter of opinion instead of mathematics, the language of robbery holds sway. “He was robbed” “She stole that award” “How on earth did he take that away from her.” From ice dancing to dressage to debate to writing, any ranked creative competition is going to generate these sorts of claims.

Correia took this further, speculating on the basis of negative comments he had received from either fans or writers (he has never specified) that he was specifically denied his award because of his political views. He has said that he believes has been specifically denied because he owns a gun store, is Mormon, is conservative, or all or some combination of the above.

It is common for people who feel entitled to look for unjust reasons for exclusion from something they feel they are owed. Afraid to look within, they will search for any confirmations they can find that someone, somewhere has unjust views of them, and then work long and hard to build a case that these views somehow formed the basis of discrimination. The logical leaps and sifting for scant evidence that make up this process are the roots of paranoid beliefs and are pretty common among lots of people, not just people who have diagnoses.

 

Nathaniel Givens on Difficult Run

“Some Sad Puppy Data Analysis” – April 14

If the last chart depicted clearly the reasons why social justice warriors are so opposed to SP / RP, this chart depicts clearly the reasons why SP came into being in the first place. What it shows is the average Goodreads review for the Hugo best novel winners (in red) and nominees (in blue) for every year going back to the first Hugo awards awarded in 1953.8 The most interesting aspect of the chart, from the standpoint of understanding where SP is coming from, is the fairly extreme gap between the scores of the nominees and the winners in the last few years, with the nominees showing much higher scores than the winners. Here it is again, with the data points in question circled:

Let me be clear about what I think this shows. It does not show that the last few Hugo awards are flawed or that recent Hugo winners have been undeserving. There is no law written anywhere that says that average Goodreads score is the objective measure of quality. That is not my point. All those data points show is that there has been a significant difference of opinion between the Hugo voters who picked the winners and the popular opinion. What’s more, they shows that this gap is a relatively recent phenomenon. Go back 10 or 20 years and the winners tend to cluster near the top of the nominees, showing that the Hugo voting process and the Goodreads audience were more or less in tune. But starting a few years ago, a chasm suddenly opens up….

Closing Thoughts

I still think that Sad Puppies have a legitimate point. Their goal was to get a few new faces out there who otherwise wouldn’t have been considered. I think that’s an admirable goal, and I think that there are some folks on the ballot today who (1) deserve to be there and (2) wouldn’t ever have gotten there without Sad Puppies. And I know that even some of the critics of SP3 agree with that assessment (because they told me so).

 

 

Eric Flint

“Some comments on the Hugos and other SF awards” – April 16

[A very long and multifaceted post – this is just the first paragraph.]

I’ve been doing my best to stay away from the current ruckus over the Hugo Awards, but it’s now spread widely enough that it’s spilled onto my Facebook page, and it’s bound to splatter on me elsewhere as well. It’s also been brought to my attention that Breitbart’s very well-trafficked web site—never famous for the accuracy of its so-called “reporting”—has me listed as one of the supposedly downtrodden conservative and/or libertarian authors oppressed by the SF establishment. Given my lifelong advocacy of socialism—and I was no armchair Marxist either, but committed twenty-five years of my life to being an activist in the industrial trade unions—I find that quite amusing.

 

Ian Randal Strock

“Foolishly jumping into the Hugo mishegas” – April 16

So, to bring this back to the Hugo Awards: we have something which a significant number of people value. And it’s something that has a set of operating instructions, which can be followed and gamed. Now, after sixty years of giving out Hugo Awards, some of the voters have realized that acting in concert gives them power within the system, and the Puppies Party has been born and instantly proven its viability.

Many people who are not part of the Puppies Party are decrying their actions, rending their garb, declaiming their love for the Hugos, and announcing their hatred for those people who would dare to “hijack” the award with concerted effort. The Puppies Party appears to have issued an ultimatum that they will keep doing what they’ve done in the future; I don’t doubt they can (I do doubt the value of doing it, but not the ability to do it).

So, to those opposed to the Puppies Party, I can only say: welcome to party politics. If you don’t like what they’ve done, you have a few choices:

1. You can do away with the Hugo Awards, simply retire them as a concept.

2. You can change the rules to make party politics impossible (though off the top of my head, I can’t see an easy way to do so).

3. You can embrace the not-so-modern paradigm and form your own political party.

You can hate the concept of politics within the “purity” of the Hugo Awards, but now that a party has been formed and started operation, complaining about its existence will be a futile exercise. The Puppies Party has the power of unity that those who oppose it don’t yet have. So, who among you is going to step up and start the conversation to form your party?

And for our European viewers, none of this thinking is to deny the validity of the parliamentary system. Perhaps the Hugo Awards may evolve into a multi-party system. Although the awards, as winner-take-all prizes, do tend to lend themselves more to a two-party system.

 

Larry Correia on Monster Hunter Nation

“I’m not Vox Day” – April 16

I cannot disown what I do not own.

I neither condone nor defend any of his public statements. I did not make them.

Of course I do not like some of the things he has said.

Do you think the existence of Rabid Puppies has somehow made my life easier?

I’m not going to burn anyone in effigy. Stop asking.

I’m not going to condemn anyone by association. Stop asking.

 

Brad R. Torgersen

“Sad Puppies: We are not Rabid Puppies” – April 16

I’ll state it again for emphasis: we are not Rabid. None of us wants to burn the Hugos down. We want the Hugos to live up their reputation as the preeminent award in the combined field of Science Fiction & Fantasy. We want Worldcon to be an actually diverse thing with authors and fans participating from across the spectrum, without having to worry about litmus tests or being in the correct groups. We don’t want people to have to be chameleons who hide who they are — or what they like or what they create — because it’s not what the “cool kids” agree with.

The objectives of Sad Puppies 3 have been simple and consistent:

  • Use the democratic selection system of the Hugo awards.
  • No “quiet” logrolling. Make it transparent.
  • Boost authors, editors, and works — regardless of political persuasion.
  • Bring recognition to people who’ve been long overlooked.
  • Get some good promotion for new folks coming up in the field.
  • Have fun!

 

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“There Hugo Again” – April 6

Claiming that being nominated because people who agree with Vox Day or Larry Correia or Brad Torgerson, or any other person you care to mention voted for their works is some kind of horrible taint is beyond the pale. The more of that kind of totalitarian secret police tactic that’s used, the more I want to stand up and shout, “I am Vox Day.” Or “I am Larry Correia.” Or… you get the point.

Because we are all Vox Day. Or Larry Correia. Or Brad Torgerson. Or anyone else who dares to disagree with the opinions of the would-be power-brokers. If we are not, then Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, Freedom is Slavery, and two plus two equals five.

 

Sanford Begley on Otherwhere Gazette

“I’m sick and tired of the Hugos”

I’m a 57 year old politically disgusted heterosexual male. I can more or less claim white. Family stories say there are a few other things in there, but none particularly show so, who cares? Now that you know I have privilege you can dismiss me and move on to a more diverse writer. Or stay if you aren’t a bigot. I’m good either way.

 

 

Miguel on Gun Free Zone

“The Hugo Awards, Social Justice Warriors and Sad Puppies” – April 16

Oh dear gods of the pantheon! You would have thought the Barbarians broke into the Vestal Temple and proceeded to rape the curtains and burn the Virgins. First came the accusations of ballot stuffing which went down in flames when it was pointed out that the rules for nominations were followed to a fault. Then it came the generalized accusations of “gaming the rules” to introduce a “Conservative, all-male heterosexual, redneck, icky” slate which died under quick examination of the slate as it was actually more varied in every concept than previous Hugo nominations. Then it came to be that the works were not true SciFi/Fantasy or did not conform to what SciFi should be, but somebody just pointed out that previously nominated works like If You Were A Dinosaur My Love and the whole cookie went down in crumbs.

But something was puzzling the SJW clique: After all the attacks, the Sad Puppies not only were not cowed, they had the balls of actually laugh at them! How dare they! So they went even stupider attacking individual authors. Larry Correia is an official White Anglo-Saxon Supremacist (I reckon that you will find the Portuguese last name in the Mayflower list), death threats were issued which is funny as hell when Larry is the size of a shoggoth, knocked down cows for fun a-lo-Mongo in his youth and is a firearms instructor with possibly more guns and ammo in his basement than many police forces in rural America…and some urban areas too.

 

Alan Davis on LewRockwell.com

“Science Fiction – The Culture War’s Line in the Sand”  – April 16

Why is science fiction–as a book genre–dying, while simultaneously conquering Hollywood, television, and video games?

Over the last twenty or thirty years, the science fiction publishing industry has changed.  Now, all of the major publishers, save one, take the political viewpoints of writers into account before publishing their works.  And if that writer happens to be libertarian, or conservative, or holds any views that don’t mesh neatly with the left-wing attitudes of the editors and publishers, then the only publisher willing to read their material is Baen.  Political correctness has become the key to science fiction, so excellent writers who don’t fit the mold are almost completely excluded from publishing and awards.

 

Ty Burr on Boston Globe

“Trouble brews in the world of sci-fi writing” – April 16

What’s at the bottom of the Sad Puppy complaint? Exclusion, it turns out. Responding to Martin’s comments, Correia blogged of his own memories of being a youthful sci-fi outcast at the Worldcon party: “The cool kids told their cool stories to the other cool kids, and lorded it over those who weren’t part of the In Joke. Honestly, it reminded me of high school, and I was the poor fat kid who had inadvertently pissed off the mean girls.” To which Martin responded, “Surely you have been around fandom long enough to realize that there are no cool kids. We’re all the fat kids, the nerds, the computer geeks, the guys who always had their nose in a book, who loved comics and played chess and couldn’t get a date for a prom.”

This isn’t really about right versus left, in other words, but feeling like you belong. And while there’s a productive conversation to be had when the volume is kept low, the voices on the sidelines, anonymous and otherwise, just pour gasoline on the flames.

More and more, I’m convinced that the Internet is toxic.

The only thing to do, I think — and I’m talking about more than just the Sad Puppies and Gamergate — is to marginalize the crazies on both sides. Which means, in practice, marginalizing the crazies on your side. We have to start making a stand for a big, sane middle and allowing everyone on the spectrum of that middle to express emotions without going on the attack. Anyone who calls names, responds from anger, hate, or fear — block them. Ignore them. Do not feed the trolls.

 

Jason Sanford

On screaming “We’re not VD!” while ignoring your relationship with VD – April 16

I don’t need Larry and Brad or anyone else to say they’re not Vox Day. I know that. Everyone knows VD is responsible for his own actions and statements.

But what many people suspect is that Larry and Brad worked with VD on all this. And based on the evidence, it’s difficult to draw any other conclusion.

For example, Brad ran this year’s Sad Puppies campaign and posted their voting slate on February 1. I can’t tell you the exact time he posted the slate, but the first comment on the post appeared at 8:40 pm, followed quickly by many more.

Vox Day posted his Rabid Puppies ballot on February 2nd. Again, I don’t know the exact time but the comments began coming in a little after 1 am. Depending on the time zone settings of these two sites, that means as little as a few hours separated the posting of the Sad and Rabid Puppies slates.

But hey, let’s be generous and say an entire day separated the launch of their “separate” campaigns. If there was no coordination between the two campaigns that means in less than a day VD read all the stories on the Sad Puppies slate, decided which to discard and which to add to his own slate, and launched his campaign.

Oh, and he also found time to contact the artist who created the Sad Puppies logo and have that artist create a similar but different logo for the Rabid Puppies. (The artist is Lee Madison, who uses the name Artracoon on his art. He even set up a site to sell shirts with both Sad and Rabid Puppies logos.)

If it’s possible to do all that in such a short time frame without coordinating the two campaigns, I’d love to hear how it was done.

 

 

Jim C. Hines on Facebook

Another Hugo Proposal:

Three Hugos for the Mil-SF and their space marines,

Seven for the grimdark-lords in their halls of blood,

Nine for Mortal Fans doomed to blog,…

One for Neil Gaiman on his dark throne

In the Land of Worldcon where the Shadows lie.

 

 

Unpaid ad from Fandom Prime:

Kitten+in+Mail

Hugo Justice Warriors If some Puppy has been calling you an SJW lately, maybe you’d rather identify yourself as a Hugo Justice Warrior. Click through to see our noble shield on a variety of products.

Proudly stand up to the enemies of fair play and quality SF&F by flaunting our shield. The Latin motto means “I will fear no puppies.” either sad or rabid.  I’m sure Heinlein, a man of principle, would have approved.

Considering the merchandise is being marketed to fans, one of the funniest parts is that T-shirts only go up to 3X….

 

Puppy and Counter Puppy

A reader of the “Puppy Roundup” says fairness requires a corresponding set of links to sites with differing opinions. I agree.

As I searched the latest posts today, I made sure to clip from the full spectrum of opinions.

We begin with the lead dog —

Brad R. Torgersen

“The fear factor in SF/F publishing and fandom” – April 2

Now, maybe I am naive, but 23 years ago (when I first dreamed up the crazy idea to get into this business) I thought the field was a chummy place with overflowing camaraderie. The anecdotes of authors like Larry Niven certainly made it seem so. Worldcon (the World Science Fiction Convention) was touted as the epicenter of all things hip and cool and fun and amazing in the field. And I believe that it once was that, perhaps at a time when people weren’t so obsessed with correctness. When having a difference of opinion was not a sin that got you sent to the social media guillotine.

But that time is over.

This is the oh-so-correct 21st century. Where one of my colleagues can be moved to tears because she is terrified of expressing her Mormon values, lest her friends and peers in our business shun and shame her for not being correct. Where whether or not you can be successful with a publishing house depends on how chameleon-like you can become, in order to reflect back to the editor(s) the ideologies and allegiances those editor(s) want you to reflect. Where “social justice” has become a banner of immunity, justifying outlandish character assassination, baseless slander, and the ruining of reputations. Think I am kidding? Look what happened to Jean Rabe, Barry Malzberg, and Mike Resnick, when they were punished for using phrases like “lady editor” in a column about the history of the field. And those three are veterans of many decades! If they can get carved up like turkeys — by SFWA, the field’s so-called union for professionals — for the tiniest of perceived infractions, what hope is there for a new person?

 

Mike Resnick in a comment on Torgersen’s post:

Since my experience with the SFWA Bulletin was referred to above — and I think we were treated rudely and unfairly — I have to point out that the only consequence was to SFWA, which “suspended” the quarterly Bulletin and has published only one issue in the past year and a half. How did it affect me personally? In 2013, having just been cast adrift by the Bulletin, I sold 6 books (all to legitimate paying markets; I don’t self-publish…not yet, anyway), and took on the editorship of a new magazine, Galaxy’s Edge, and a new line of books, Stellar Guild. In 2014, I sold 4 more books and a screenplay, edited 6 issues of the magazine, and continued editing the book line. I write this on April 1 of 2015, and I have sold 2 books already this year. I remain the chairman of SFWA’s Anthology Committee. I have been Guest of Honor or Special Guest at 5 conventions in the past two years, which isn’t bad for a supposed pariah. Which is to say, they can -try- to harm you, but if you just ignore them and concentrate on what’s important, you’ll do okay. As for the other two Brad refers to, Jean Rabe is now my assistant editor at Galaxy’s Edge, and Barry Malzberg as a regular columnist there.

 

Nathaniel Givens on Difficult Run

“Hugogate 2015 Edition: Third Time’s The Charm” – April 2

If the victory of SP3 just meant a palace coup where one clique replaced another, that would be nothing to celebrate. And so you can see that I’ve saved the best for last. I’m not a partisan at heart, and the idea of the Hugos moving away from the ghetto of political insularity and becoming more mainstream (at least as far as sci-fi goes) is great. Not everything is coming up roses, of course. Correia, Hoyt, Torgersen, and others seem to think that nothing matters other than fun and popularity. I certainly think enjoyment matters, but I don’t think it’s the only metric that should be considered. I think sometimes important works–works that deserve recognition and awards–aren’t fun or enjoyable in any usual sense. But that is exactly the kind of quibbling I’d like to see happen where the Hugos are concerned instead of this knock-down, to-the-knife, existentialist ideological struggle that is happening right now.

 

Sarah Hoyt in a comment on Givens’ post:

Can’t speak for the other guys, but in my case, oh, hells no, I don’t mean just “fun” works should be nominated. I think COMPETENT works should be nominated though. What is the difference?

Well, take The Left Hand of Darkness for instance. I disagree with its rather obvious message. (Well, I’m a libertarian so the whole communal thing gets on my nerves, and also I was raised in Portugal and the Communal Child Raising thing is not all those who’ve never experienced it think it is) On many levels it is an SJW book.

OTOH it is a GOOD book. It not only works within its universe, but it poses questions that one can think about….

Now, I’d stay away from saying “uncomfortable” books SHOULD be nominated. The most uncomfortable book I ever read was The Man In The High Castle. It’s stayed with me despite my never re-reading it. The same could be said for 1984 and Brave new World. All those are worthy books. BUT if we take “makes me uncomfortable” as “Must be important” we risk nominating the equivalent of Piss Christ or the wall of vaginas over and over again — which arguably is exactly what’s happening.

 

Chris Gerrib on Private Mars Rocket

“Yet Another Round of Sad Puppies” – March 30

So, Teresa Nielsen Hayden has heard rumors that some of the Sad Puppies will be on the Hugo ballot. She’s concerned that some of the voters aren’t voting what they like, but rather a political slate. Since that’s what Sad Puppies accuse the rest of Hugo voters of doing, I’m not sure why they get upset about it. (Well, actually I am sure – nobody likes to be called a fraud. But the whole ‘do unto others as you would have done to you’ seems to be in short supply in this debate.)

“Guns on a Rainy Thursday” – April 2

I grow weary of the Sad Puppies, especially when one of them shouts from the rooftops that he’s so scared he can barely whisper. The butt-hurt is strong in that one.

 

Aaron Pound on Dreaming About Other Worlds

“Biased Opinion – Another Sad Puppy Fails History” – April 2

One of the dominant characteristics shared by Sad Puppy proponents is the lack of historical knowledge they display concerning the science fiction genre in general, and science fiction awards specifically. Sarah Hoyt decided to opine on the subject of the Sad Puppy campaign and talked about what kind of book she thinks should win the Hugos in a post titled By the Numbers.

[Sarah Hoyt] “Take as an example of something that should have won a Hugo but didn’t Barry Hughart’s Chinese trilogy….”

But what of Hoyt’s contention that Bridge of Birds is the sort of novel that should win the Hugo Award? Well, the only way to fairly assess this is to compare it to the other novels that were nominated in 1985, the year Bridge of Birds would have been eligible. When we look to see who won that year, we find that William Gibson won with his novel Neuromancer. And this is the point where the Sad Puppy contentions collapse in on themselves. I doubt you could find more than a tiny handful of people who would seriously argue that Bridge of Birds would have been a more deserving Hugo award winner than Neuromancer. When placed in context, the fact that Bridge of Birds did not win a Hugo Award is not only not surprising, it seems almost like a foregone conclusion. So when Hoyt says it “should have won a Hugo but didn’t” she is revealing her lack of knowledge and research on the subject.

Perhaps might contend that Bridge of Birds should have received at least a Hugo nomination. To evaluate this, one must look to the other nominees from 1985. Fortunately, the Hugo awards have kept good records since the late 1950s, so we know who the other nominees for the award were in 1985. They were:

Emergence by David R. Palmer

The Integral Trees by Larry Niven

Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein

The Peace War by Vernor Vinge

Looking at this list, one wonders which book one should kick off of it to make room for Bridge of Birds. The weakest book on the list is probably Job: A Comedy of Justice, but given the pull Heinlein had with Hugo voters throughout his career, it seems unlikely that it would be bumped for a work by a first time novelist. There really isn’t a particularly good argument for moving any of the other nominees off the list in favor of Bridge of Birds – all three of the novels are at least as good as Hughart’s book, and in at least two cases, are probably better. Once again, in context it is entirely unsurprising that Hughart didn’t get a Hugo nomination, because when one looks at the actual nominees, there’s not a good argument for replacing one of them. This is a fundamental truth of the Hugo awards that none of the Sad Puppies seem to understand: There are, and always have been, many good books that never become Hugo nominees for perfectly understandable reasons. When evaluating whether books “should” have won awards or not, if you hold up a book as award-worthy without considering it in the context of its competition, you are presenting an essentially false narrative.

 

Amanda S. Green on Nocturnal Lives

“Real Mature” – April 2

Hmm, so “fandom” is worried about what the fans think are good books. How many of this so-called fandom actually read the books they nominate for the award, much less all the books (titles) that make the final ballot? Or are they simply voting based on who the author is and if they are the “right” sort of author.

 

Steve Davidson on Amazing Stories

“How I’ll Be Casting My Final Hugo Vote” – April 2

I’m going to place ANY nominee that is associated with advancing a political agenda BELOW No Award.  If that means that No Award is my top pick in one or more categories, then so be it.  (I’ll read the works in the voters pack so I can rate the works as #1 behind No Award, #2 behind No Award, etc.)

This will be a default position.  I don’t want to play the Sad Puppy’s game – nor anyone else’s who decides that they can use the Hugo Awards for purposes other than originally intended – so I’m not going to.  I don’t care what side of the political spectrum the voting slate comes from, nor what its motivations are, nor what the agenda is – good, bad or indifferent.  If a work is on a voting slate (NOT an eligibility list) then it goes below No Award.

I’m hoping that others will see their way clear to adopting this method of protesting the corruption of the Hugo Awards.  If you don’t like what Sad Puppies is trying to do (or anyone who adopts similar means), the only successful counter strategy is to not play the game the way they want you to play it.  If you offer up counter slates – they win because you had to adopt their methods, which endorses their methods.  If you refuse to read any of their recommended works on the final ballot, you’re being a hypocrite because you’re “not letting the work stand on its own merits” and are, in fact, advancing your own political agenda by conflating the work with the views espoused by the author.  If you work at trying to get these new fans disenfranchised (by who knows what means), you’re supporting the argument that there is a special “cabal” of fans, an in-crowd and a not-so-in-crowd.  And so it goes through all of the other counter-arguments.

By approaching things this way – by using a default that applies to all works and all individuals, what I’m saying is:  I will not participate in the false choices that voting blocks are offering me.

 

Michael Z. Williamson on The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse

“Who’s A Real Fan” – March 31

But according to some people, I’m “not a real fan.”

I’ve been an attendee, panelist, artist, author guest, special guest, guest of honor, filker, gopher, badger, I’ve run a dealer’s room. I’ve helped in the con suite while a special guest, because I was up early and they had vegetables they needed cut. What, not everyone takes their hand forged Japanese kitchen knives to a con in case of such an emergency?

Heck, back to my first WindyCon, the consuite needed a plastic drop cloth for the soda tub. I went to my car and got it.  Then the needed double sided tape. I had that, too.  Then they needed a screwdriver.  Exasperated, I demanded their list of material needs, went to my trunk and got most of it-poster board, highlighter, scissors, more tape, bungee cords.  I had trouble with the red marker. I only had black.

No one ever guessed it was my first con.

 

Jason Sanford

“On the Hugo Awards and dysfunctional politics”– April 1

However, to my knowledge no side every talked about totally destroying the other, or risked splitting the genre and possibly inflicting permanent harm on either Worldcon or the Hugos. Instead, different sides debated and argued using the written word. For example, when Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1960, many people were outraged about the novel’s politics and view of war. But these people didn’t try to game the Hugo nominating process to keep Heinlein off the ballot or place their own novels there.

Instead, these authors and fans responded to Starship Troopers with their own fiction and critiques. Harry Harrison wrote his famous 1965 satirical novel Bill, the Galactic Hero in direct response to Heinlein. Joe Haldeman also disagreed with the view of war in Starship Troopers and was influenced by both Heinlein’s novel and Haldeman’s own experiences in Vietnam to write The Forever War, which won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Instead of Heinlein being angry about Haldeman’s novel and starting a campaign to force the genre to see things his way, the famously libertarian author approached Haldeman after the Nebula Award ceremony and said The Forever War “may be the best future war story I’ve ever read!”

 

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

“Business Musings: Controlling the Creatives” – March 25

Right now, a visible group of people in the field of science fiction are engaged in a protracted battle about the genre’s future. Both sides are practicing a nasty, destructive campaign against the other, and not worrying about the collateral damage they’re causing on the sidelines…

I can remember mentally shouting down that writer-friend who told me I shouldn’t write fat fantasy novels.

Every time I started a new fantasy novel, I had to silence his voice. It wasn’t until I realized that I wasn’t writing to please him or the other gatekeepers that I was finally able to silence his voice entirely.

Because being creative is about flying in the face of accepted wisdom. It’s about writing what you want to write, in the way that only you can write it. It’s about taking risks and facing down the critics. It’s about using forbidden words and writing about topics that, judging by your appearance, you should know nothing about. It’s about facing down the bigots who say you’ve only attracted readers because your last name implies a certain ethnicity.

These people who are screaming at each other on forums and in the media? Those folks? They’re not your readers. They’re not the people who act as gatekeepers any longer. They have nothing to do with what you write.

What you write is between you and your keyboard.

When that writing is published, it’s done. You should move onto another project, and let the published one take care of itself.

You will always be a representative of your time. We all currently hold opinions that future generations will see as quaint (at best) or horribly bigoted (at worst). It might not be possible for you, in the position you’re in right now, to know if you even hold such opinions.

If you’re one of the screamers, back away from social media. You’re only alienating your friends and your readers. If you want to change minds, work on writing better fiction. You can explore all the different points of view in your stories and—oh, yeah—maybe you can learn to write from a point of view not your own.

 

Cora Buhlert

“Cora engages in some Hugo kvetching – and a great George R.R. Martin interview/feature” – March 28

However, Kristine Kathryn Rusch also makes a very good point, namely that writers should let one fraction or another’s ideas what is and isn’t appropriate to write about influence their own work. Now this is a point that I heartily agree with (with the caveat that a writer should also do their best not to be blindly offensive to large swathes of people), if only because I know how liberating it was for me to throw off received ideas of what did and did not make for good SFF and simply write whatever the hell I wanted to write.

But as calls for just ignoring the whole Sad Puppy controversy and focussing on one’s own work go, I vastly prefer this series of tweets by Nebula nominee Usman T. Malik: