Edmund R. Schubert Withdraws As Hugo Nominee

Edmund R. Schubert, editor of Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, has announced his withdrawal as a nominee for the Best Editor (Short Form) Hugo.

Schubert was recommended on both the Sad Puppies 3 and Rabid Puppies slates.

He previously declined a Best Semiprozine nomination for IGMS upon learning it did not technically qualify (being a professional publication).

Although both the editor and the magazine are no longer in contention, he has made available the sample from IGMS that was assembled for the Hugo Voter Packet, for reasons explained below.

The full text of his statement was published by Alethea Kontis, on John Scalzi’s Whatever, and elsewhere.

My name is Edmund R. Schubert, and I am announcing my withdrawal from the Hugo category of Best Editor (Short Form). My withdrawal comes with complications, but if you’ll bear with me, I’ll do my best to explain. I am withdrawing because:

  1. I believe that while the Sad Puppies’ stated goal of bringing attention to under-recognized work may have been well-intentioned, their tactics were seriously flawed. While I personally find it challenging that some people won’t read IGMS because they disagree with the publisher’s perceived politics (which have nothing whatsoever to do with what goes into the magazine), I can’t in good conscience complain about the deck being stacked against me, and then feel good about being nominated for an award when the deck gets stacked in my favor. That would make me a hypocrite. I can’t be part of that and still maintain my integrity.
  2. Vox Day/Theodore Beale/Rabid Puppies. Good grief. While I firmly believe that free speech is only truly free if everyone is allowed to speak their mind, I believe equally strongly that defending people’s right to free speech comes with responsibilities: in this case, the responsibility to call out unproductive, mean-spirited, inflammatory, and downright hateful speech. I believe that far too many of Vox’s words fall into those categories—and a stand has to be made against it.
  3. Ping pong. (Yes, really.) A ping pong ball only ever gets used by people who need something to hit as a way to score points, and I am through being treated like a political ping pong ball—by all sorts of people across the entire spectrum. Done.

Regrettably this situation is complicated by the fact that when I came to this decision, the WorldCon organizers told me the ballot was ‘frozen.’ This is a pity, because in addition to wanting ‘out’ of the ping pong match, I would very much have liked to see someone else who had earned it on their own (without the benefit of a slate) get on the ballot in my place. But the ballots had already been sent off to the printers.

Unfortunately this may reduce my actions to a symbolic gesture, but I can’t let that prevent me from following my conscience.

So it seems that the best I can do at this stage is ask everyone with a Hugo ballot to pretend I’m not there. Ignore my name, because if they call my name at the award ceremony, I won’t accept the chrome rocketship. My name may be on that ballot, but it’s not there the way I’d have preferred.

I will not, however, advocate for an across-the-board No Award vote. That penalizes people who are innocent, for the sake of making a political point. Vox Day chose to put himself and his publishing company, Castalia House, in the crosshairs, which makes him fair game—but not everybody, not unilaterally. I can’t support that.

Here’s what I do want to do, though, to address where I think the Sad Puppies were off-target: I don’t think storming the gates of WorldCon was the right way to bring attention to worthy stories. Whether or not you take the Puppies at their word is beside the matter; it’s what they said they wanted, and I think bringing attention to under-represented work is an excellent idea.

So I want to expand the reading pool.

Of course, I always think more reading is a good thing. Reading is awesome. Reading—fiction, specifically—has been proven to make people more empathetic, and God knows we need as much empathy as we can possibly get these days. I also believe that when readers give new works by new authors an honest chance, they’ll find things they appreciate and enjoy.

In that spirit, I am taking the material that would have comprised my part of the Hugo Voters Packet and making it available to everyone, everywhere, for free, whether they have a WorldCon membership or not. Take it. Read it. Share it. It’s yours to do with as you will.

The only thing I ask is that whatever you do, do it honestly.

Don’t like some of these stories? That’s cool; at least I’ll know you don’t like them because you read them, not because you disagree with political ideologies that have nothing to do with the stories.

You do like them? Great; share them with a friend. Come and get some more.

But whatever you decide, decide it honestly, not to score a point.

And let me be clear about this: While I strongly disagree with the way Sad Puppies went about it… when the Puppies say they feel shut out because of their politics, it’s hard for me to not empathize because I’ve seen IGMS’s authors chastised for selling their story to us, simply because of people’s perceptions about the publisher’s personal views. I’ve also seen people refuse to read any of the stories published in IGMS for the same reason.

With regard to that, I want to repeat something I’ve said previously: while Orson Scott Card and I disagree on several social and political subjects, we respect each other and don’t let it get in the way of IGMS’s true goal: supporting writers and artists of all backgrounds and preferences. The truth is that Card is neither devil nor saint; he’s just a man who wants to support writers and artists—and he doesn’t let anything stand in the way of that.

As editor of IGMS, I can, and have, and will continue to be—with the full support of publisher Orson Scott Card—open to publishing stories by and about gay authors and gay characters, stories by and about female authors and female characters, stories by authors and about characters of any and every racial, political, or religious affiliation—as long as I feel like those authors 1) have a story to tell, not a point to score, and 2) tell that story well. And you know what? Orson is happy to have me do so. Because the raison d’etre of IGMS is to support writers and artists. Period.

IGMSOrson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show—is open to everyone. All the way. Always has been, always will be. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is that people’s minds operate in the same fashion.

Consider this the beginning then of the larger reading campaign that should have been. To kick it off, I offer you this sampling from IGMS, which represents the essence of how I see the magazine—a reflection of the kind of stories I want to fill IGMS with, that will help make it the kind of magazine I want IGMS to be—and that I believe it can be if readers and writers alike will give it a fair chance.

If you have reading suggestions of your own, I heartily encourage you help me build and distribute a list.

(Yes, I know, there are already plenty of reading lists out there. But you will never convince me that there is such a thing as too much reading. Never.)


99 thoughts on “Edmund R. Schubert Withdraws As Hugo Nominee

  1. Nope. It was always possible that this kind of abuse could happen but the cost of entry to the Hugos is higher than other internet polls and the real benefit is rather low so it didn’t make much sense to do it. What no one could expect was a group committed to a philosophy that didn’t make sense.

  2. Mr. Schubert is obviously a class act. I wish he had stayed on the ballot. He would have made a worthy potential winner.

  3. It’s been heartening to see the human shields in this behaving with such class. I suspect it will put them in good stead for consideration in future Hugo nominations.

  4. R is for Run Away from the Rocket!

    Every nominee is free to make his choice, but I must admit that it is awfully funny picturing a room full of candidates in their Sunday finest, sitting on pins and needles, whispering excitedly to themselves, “Don’t pick me! Don’t pick me!”

    The Ones Who Walk Away from Osoguh.

  5. No it won’t JJ. The human shields, as you call them, will go back to being ignored.

    But come on. This is an awards ceremony, not a hostage situation.

    They are not wrong for leaving, but they are not victims either, nor are they heroes. They are people who turned down an award.

  6. xdpaul: “but they are not victims either, nor are they heroes. They are people who turned down an award.”

    No, they’re people who took a stand and said “I do not want to be part of a rigged contest. I am not going to allow the Puppies to use me and my work in an attempt to legitimize their reprehensible behavior and their disrespect for the Hugo Awards.”

    I know, integrity — it’s a novel concept for you, isn’t it?

  7. You mean like Larry Correia demonstrated in time to allow others on to the ballot?

    That sort of integrity?

  8. xdpaul, you have said before that there is no difference between the recommended-reading lists (which you call “slates”) put out by Scalzi, NESFA, etc., and the SP/RP slates (which their authors actually called “slates”), correct? Why do you think we’ve never had Hugo nominees decline their nominations on account of having appeared on Scalzi’s or NESFA’s list?

  9. And that isn’t what Schubert said. He said “ping pong.” Are to familiar with the game?

  10. “I believe that while the Sad Puppies’ stated goal of bringing attention to under-recognized work may have been well-intentioned, their tactics were seriously flawed.” ~ Edmund R. Schubert

  11. That was a moving and eloquent withdrawal. My heart goes out to Mr. Schubert in this difficult decision.

  12. Because they participated in the lists, of course. If you wanted a Hugo, you absolutely had to find your way on the traditional lists, through natural favor, politicking or publisher campaign.

    The way to the Hugo was through the old list. Some new lists come along, and the old out of favor list makers scream “SLATE!”

    They then start a game of ping pong and when the ball goes out of play, they say it has integrity.

  13. It does beg the question: how were sps tactics flawed. More attention for ignored work has been achieved, and achieved 100% in the open and above board.

    What tactics, exactly, we’re flawed?

  14. xdpaul: The Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies are the ones who scheduled the ping-pong game, set up the table and net, and conscripted unwilling human shields.

    The point of your human shields was to guilt-trip non-puppies into going along with your slate. It didn’t work. The non-puppies refused to play.

  15. More attention for ignored work has been achieved, and achieved 100% in the open and above board.

    And yet, people who have received this attention have announced that they don’t want it.

  16. It isn’t my slate. I haven’t even decided if I am going to join Worldcon yet or not.

    Again, If the old guard refused to play…then who is pong?

  17. So what, Seth. If the tactic is more attention, and more attention is achieved, and people are free to reject the attention and some do…that is a problem because why?

  18. “And yet, people who have received this attention have announced that they don’t want it.”

    It’s almost as if the tactics are plainly obvious to anyone who isn’t willfully trying to obscure them.

  19. Ha…what is funny to me about these withdrawals is to think—as I posited in my post “What if the Puppies were Middle Eastern female Muslims” (https://voxmaximus.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/what-if-the-puppies-were-middle-eastern-female-muslims/)—about how these authors that withdrew themselves from the nomination would act if the Puppies were run by, say, a group of female Muslims aiming to get more Middle Eastern and Islamic science fiction (for example) on the Hugo ballot instead of by Larry Correia, Brad Torgensen, and Vox Day. In such a scenario, I highly doubt that these withdrawals would be occurring. Nor would we see the same reaction against those kind of Puppies as we are seeing against the actual Puppies. And all this would seem to suggest that the objectionable thing is not what the Puppies did or how they did it, but who they are. And that seemed to be their point all along.

  20. xdpaul: “If the old guard refused to play”

    See, that’s your problem, right there. There is no “old guard”. There’s just a couple thousand people who love what the Hugo Awards stand for, who’ve cared enough to nominate and vote to the best of their ability over the years.

    You’ve started from a flawed premise. No wonder there are all these paranoid, irrational conclusions coming out in all your posts.

  21. “Why do you think we’ve never had Hugo nominees decline their nominations on account of having appeared on Scalzi’s or NESFA’s list?”

    Because the puppy side never harassed nominees off the ballot. The SJW side is however great at harassing people and issuing threats of career harm to those who don’t decline the nomination.

  22. What if the Puppies were our friends from Frolix 8 instead of people who blindly believe in insinuation without evidence? Then we could fight against the New Men who have used their powers to take over with help of an alien to strip them of their abilities and render them like children who will be ruled by the Old Men.

    I mean if we’re going to ask what would happen in a completely different circumstance from what is actually happening it might as well be more entertaining.

  23. xdpaul: “What do the Hugos stand for?”

    And there is your second problem. You really have no idea. I encourage you to spend some significant time reading about the history of the Hugos and Worldcon, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll finally start to understand.

    Or maybe not. It’s possible for exceptionally slow people to improve their mental faculties, but I haven’t seen it happen very often.

  24. Vox Maximus — I think drawing real world conclusions from a hypothetical where you control the outcome is philosophically suspect, to say the least.

    What if the Sad Puppies were Sad Dinosaurs (my love)? Then Sasquan would be destroyed by a giant meteorite, therefore I win!

  25. Pong was Forry Ackerman. Pong, Hoy Ping Pong. But he’s dead. And was dead before this started. But he was alive before he was dead. And didn’t have anything to do with this then either.

  26. Thanks, Steve Moss, but you may want to keep it to yourself. Emotional people may resort to calling you names, as grownups tend to do.

    In any case, I am not terribly concerned about whether or not the truth has popular support . It is what it is. The reason no one can give a logical reason for why this dastardly cheating but completely legal scheme burst forth ex nihilo from three horrible people that no one but thugs and dullards read…is because that isn’t what happened, no matter how badly a few loud and emotional people just feel it in their bones.

    I don’t expect the friends of Stross and Scalzi and the other past beneficiaries of the old way to do anything but stand by their friends and feel wronged. That is what good friends do.

    It doesn’t mean Scalzi and Stross actually were wronged, of course, but that doesn’t matter.

    What matters to me is who is pong?

  27. MC DuQuesne: “The SJW side is however great at harassing people and issuing threats of career harm to those who don’t decline the nomination.”

    There is no “SJW side”. That’s a confabulation fed to you by your “fearless leaders” as a way to rally supporters — and you were gullible enough to buy into it.

    Any harassment to people on the ballot which may have occurred would have been from individuals, not from the mythical “SJW side”. Just like any harassment which did occur to the people who withdrew from the slates came from individuals.

  28. No JJ. I know what the Hugos stand for. I am asking you what you think they stand for.

  29. I would have thought that both Schubert’s and Kloos’s withdrawal statements were so clear that nobody could possibly claim that they were harassed off the ballot by non-Puppies. But no, Puppy delusion is bottomless.

  30. xdpaul: “I know what the Hugos stand for.”

    Great. Then I’m sure you’ll be happy to share it with the rest of us. Because based on your appalling, disrespectful behavior toward the Hugos, I’m sure it’s a doozy.

  31. It is highly amusing to watch the puppets dance with go-to snark and misdirection over a very simple question.

    Ping pong has two sides taking a whack at these poor noble balls of integrity. If Ping is SP/RP…then who is Pong?

  32. What you think and what Schubert wrote are two different things, DB.

    One does not express empathy with the single party that drove you out.

  33. Broken record, fixated like a not-terribly-bright dog on a bone: “who is Pong?”

    You’d have to ask Edmund Schubert that, wouldn’t you, since he’s the one who said it? Except, please don’t. Please just leave the poor guy alone. Thanks to the Puppies, he’s had all this grief that he should never have been put in a position to deal with in the first place.

  34. xdpaul: The tactics used? Well, the SP/RP lists between them had a very limited number of worthy “recommended” stories. The limited size of the lists in tandem made it easy for their impact to be maximized with relatively few voters. The lists were such that anyone who wanted to could pretty much simply copy the list(s) verbatim.

    Given that “Vox Day”, on his list, urged anyone who valued his opinion on “matters of science fiction and fantasy” to nominate his list precisely as written, there’s an excellent chance that some nominators did just that.


    You are correct, there are tall children on all sides in this. A solid argument can be made that, given his tactics, is the most childish of the lot, which is why I called him Trelane previously.

  35. Hey, Vox Max — I have responded to you, and your warped thought experiment, over at your blog (rather than filling up Mike’s space :)). Do feel free to continue the discussion there, after you unmoderate my comment.

  36. Okay I’ll admit it, I’m Pong. My bad.

    The real question is who is the table, the net, the paddles and referee. Because if we’re going to stretch this metaphor we should really cover all bases.

    Wait, that’s a baseball reference. Damnit. Who are the MLB?


  37. I totally understand why none of you can be honest about the answer. This is not unexpected.

  38. xdpaul: “I totally understand why none of you can be honest about the answer. This is not unexpected.”

    You are asking us to put words in Edmund Schubert’s mouth. I realize this is Standard Operating Procedure for Puppies, but decent human beings don’t try to demonize others by pretending they’ve said things they haven’t.

  39. JJ you have been putting words in his mouth all thread! I am simply asking you to include one more of his words in your interpretation, and you can’t do it, for obvious reasons.

  40. xdpaul: “you have been putting words in his mouth all thread”

    No, I haven’t. You are just getting really, really tiresome. Either engage in discussion like a rational adult, or don’t be surprised when all the adults just start ignoring you.

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