aka It Was On Fire When I Lifted My Leg On it
Live from Arcadia, it’s File 770 in the middle of Saturday Night! Jim C. Hines, Eleanor Arnason, Vox Day, and other voices from the blogosphere have their say about the fate of the Hugo Awards. (Title credits go to File 770 consulting editors of the day Steve Moss and Laura Resnick.)
Jim C. Hines
Choosing “Sides” – April 25
Part of my anger at Torgersen and Correia is because I feel like they deliberately encouraged this Us vs. Them mentality in order to win support and votes. They invented an evil cabal of “Them,” then rallied people to join their side against this fictitious enemy. Which only increases the abuse and the hatred. And please note: I’m angry at them as individuals, not because they’re conservative, or because of their views on gun control, or because they might have a different religious belief than I do. I’m angry because whatever problems were out there, these two individuals actively made them worse, and they hurt a great many people in the process. Themselves included.
Fandom is not two distinct sides. It’s a bunch of people who like things in a really big genre, a genre that has guns and spaceships and dinosaurs and dragons and magic and manly men and genderfluid protagonists and grittiness and erotica and humor and hard-core feminism and sexism and racism and hope and stereotypes and anger and messages and politics and fluff and were-jaguars and superheroes and so much more.
“More About the Hugo Hooroosh” – April 24
I was reading George Martin’s Not a Blog and noticed something. Larry Correia was up for a Campbell Award for best new writer in 2011. He didn’t get it and — per him — at a bad time at Worldcon. Brad Torgerson was up for a Campbell and a Hugo in 2012 and got neither. But you are only eligible for a Campbell for two years after you first publish. It looks as if both these guys had fast and very promising starts to their careers. (A Campbell is not chopped liver. Being up for a Hugo a year or two after you first publish is not so bad. In addition, Correia was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2011.) This is Puppy # 3 this year, which means Puppy #1 was in 2013. Okay, two years after not getting the Campbell, Correia began an attack on the Hugos, because he felt the selection process was unfair. I don’t know if Torgerson joined Puppydom in its first year or a year later. In either case, he was campaigning against the Hugo a year or two after he was first up for the Campbell and Hugo. This seems to show a huge impatience. It wasn’t as if these guys watched the Hugo process for ten or twenty years and decided it was unfair. They decided this almost as soon as they were published.
I have been a Hugo nominee once, 25 years after I was first published. When I got the Tiptree Award, almost 20 years after I was first published, people assumed it was for my first novel. No, I’d had three novels previously published, but they more or less sank like stones. It was frustrating and angering and depressing to work for 20 years before I got much attention. Did I think the award system was fixed? Not that I can remember. I thought life was unfair. Looking back, I think I didn’t write enough and my writing wasn’t a kind that got quick attention. Point is, Correia and Torgerson came into the field, were noticed at once, and decided this notice was not enough, because they didn’t win the Campbell and (in Torgerson’s case) the Hugo. The award system must be crooked.
I realize my description of my career sounds like a whine. Whining is not bad, now and then. Trying to destroy the Hugos is not good.
What I notice is how hard people work in order to succeed, and I also notice that many people work equally hard and write well and don’t pile up money and awards. I think someone should have taken Correia and Torgerson aside and told them writing is a very difficult line of work and maybe they should get MBAs.
Vox Day on Vox Popoli
“A special kind of cowardice” – April 25
Sure, they claim that I am stupid, that I am an idiot, that I am crazy, that I am a badthinker, that my views are beyond the pale and unacceptable to all goodthinking people. But if they are correct, why are they so afraid of me? Why are they so afraid to simply meet me on equal terms and prove that my ideas are indefensible and wrong? Because they can’t. And more importantly, they know they can’t. This sort of thing doesn’t upset me. I just sent an email to David Pakman offering to do a second interview with him, one that would actually address #GamerGate, the game industry, and the Hugo Awards. I’m entirely willing to talk to the people on the Nerdvana Podcast too. If you’d like to see me do either, go ahead and contact Pakman or Nerdvana and let them know. But (and I cannot stress this strongly enough), I don’t care. I don’t have a media career. I’m not concerned about looking like a politician on camera. I’m not concerned about talking points or winning people over, and I neither need nor want any more platforms than the one I’ve got.
Karl-Johan Norén on Brasklapp
“Thoughts on the Hugos and the Puppies”
Fifth, to me the Hugos aren’t like the Oscars, who are primarily about commercial achievements in the field. I want to give the Hugos to the works that stretches and expands the field of science fiction and fantasy the most: picking up new questions, giving new tools to other authors, and so on. Sometimes, that means going over some old field again, if only to look at it with new eyes (like John Scalzi did in Redshirts). In short, the Hugos should be the science fictional vanguard of science fiction. They should be good reads, but they should stretch your mind, too.
“If Vox Day is a Bastard, are the Anti-Puppies Bastards Too?” – April 25
But here is the key point: Vox Day can use the exact same reasoning as the Anti-Puppies are using today in order to justify his actions in 2016. After all, he can state that his use of the “No Award” option is being used both 1) as a sign of protest against what Anti-Puppies did to the Puppies in 2015 and also because 2) Vox Day and those that follow him in the SFF community simply do not believe that the Anti-Puppy and SJW nominated works in 2016 are Hugo worthy, thus meaning that those works can be legitimately voted below “No Award” for that year. But how can Vox Day and his followers know, in advance of the 2016 Hugo nominations, that they will indeed be dissatisfied with those nominations? Quite simply, by an inductive inference. It is, after all, entirely in accord with inductive reasoning to come to believe that if most (or even all) of what was nominated in the past by such individuals as the Anti-Puppies and SJWs was not Hugo worthy, then the works nominated by such individuals in 2016 will also be unworthy of a Hugo. So while Vox and his followers may be making a bit of an inductive leap in anticipating the Hugo unworthiness of the 2016 Anti-Puppy / SJW nominated works, it is by no means an unreasonable leap. Hence it is reasonable for him to claim, today, that he will be justified in voting “No Award” in 2016.
Hugos by Gary Locke
James Braid on The Washington Free Beacon
“The Men Who Started the Hugo Awards Controversy” – April 25
Correia and Torgersen’s approach to storytelling finds itself in the same position as modern cultural conservatism—fighting a rearguard action against a swelling elite consensus. Rule changes will prevent them from succeeding in stacking the Hugo ballot again, and the dominant forces of speculative fiction will once again reassert themselves. Future awards will continue the practice of judging the author first and the story second. But Torgersen and Correia have bright careers ahead of them—and both their efforts with the Hugos and their books have given the identity politickers, the social justice warriors, and the literary snobs a black eye.
D Jason Fleming on According To Hoyt
“Broken Hugo Fisking – D Jason Fleming” – April 25
Note that, prior to the Sad Puppies victory this year, according to “everybody” (that is, the popular establishment opinion), Everything Was Awesome except for Larry Correia’s Hugo nomination which, because Larry is a nasty non-leftist, was Too Abhorrent To Discuss. But the problem was Larry, and Vox Day, and the wrong kinds of fans getting involved in the process.
But this year, the Sad Puppies dominated the nominations before the whisper campaigns got certain authors to withdraw their works because of cooties. And while, at first, we still heard that Everything Was Awesome, that excuse just wasn’t flying anymore.
So, now, thanks to Sad Puppies 3, people who have a violent allergic reaction to any nonconformist wrongthink are admitting that, well, okay, something is wrong.
In other words, the Sad Puppies ended up both Speaking Truth To Power and Starting A Conversation.
On Reading SFF
“Contemplating this year’s Hugo Reading” – April 25
This year I will not make myself suffer by reading bad (this is subjective, of course) fiction. I am not sure how I will judge where to set the limit for no-awarding stories. Earlier, I was considering to use my personal impression of the quality of last year’s non-sad-puppy nominees as to what needs to be achieved by a nominated story to make my personal No-Awards cut. This might be too strict, though. I am inexperienced in terms of Hugo voting. It’s very well possible that last year’s non-puppy nominees were exceptionally good nominees. So I am currently considering to make some allowances for my inexperience and put everything that I would at least give a 3 out of 5 rating on places like goodreads or amazon above No Award.
Ron Collins on The Typosphere
“The First Annual Rongo Awards” – April 25
So I have looked at the trench warfare going on within these waters (if I can be allowed to mix some metaphors) from a perch fairly close by, and have finally decided that while I am probably less intelligent than I look, I am not—and I repeat, not—a total sadist. Beyond that, I completely understand my place in this world. I understand I have no real mouthpiece or plank from which to give deep commentary that would have any chance of making a difference. (I am, however, also giving myself a self-serving pat on the back for thinking myself smart enough to assume there’s not a single person in this struggle who seems capable of providing any great commentary that has a chance to actually change anything. My opinion of human nature is that once a person digs a trench, it generally remains dug.) This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions. Believe me. I’ve got plenty of ‘em. I just don’t see how me pounding the table can help in much of any way.
Still, I want to do something, and I would like that something to be pointed toward the positive.
And after considerable thought on the matter, I’ve decided that the best thing I can do is to spend some time highlighting pieces published in 2014 that I’ve read and enjoyed, and that were clearly “overlooked” by the slate-based approach the Puppy tandem either (depending on your point of view) rightly or wrongly employed.
So that’s what I’ll do.
My intention is, about once a week, to use my little platform here to point out a work I thought award-worthy. I plan to do this until the Hugos are actually announced, though perhaps I’ll go on longer. We shall see. I may touch on stories that are actually on the ballot, but probably will not. I assume folks who care are already exploring those works. My intention is to use my little place in the world of Science Fiction to talk about work I would not have been surprised to see on the Hugo ballot, but were not. They will be stories that should be on ballots somewhere (and maybe even be on ballots for awards not named “the Hugos”). Because I tend to be a weird reader, my selections will likely be all over the spectrum. Regardless, I hope folks will enjoy them.
This is the best way I can think of to address this ongoing strife, and to help these stories and the authors thereof—to talk about the work, to highlight it, and to hold it up for people to see and think about.
Focus on the positive.
Focus on what I think is quality.
Given this, I shall be awarding this collective of stories I highlight the High Honor of “the Ron’s Good Reading Award,” or “the Rongo,” for short. It is an award of high acclaim indeed, and sure to grow to extreme import–certain to change the very essence of the lives of those to whom my fickle finger of fate shall at point.
Perhaps I’ll even go so far as to create a logo for them in my copious spare time. Or not. Why cheapen such a thing with a brand, eh?
Erick Melton on Bifrost’s Trumpet
“A Wheelbarrow of Books – My Offering for a Hugo Nomination Process – April 25
Acknowledging a body of work by awarding a less than deserving piece happens. It’s the political overtones of the current send-up that makes it more unseemly. And sad, too. Because there will ALWAYS BE someone who will feel the “right” winner was snubbed NO MATTER who actually wins. I stopped watching the Oscars in 1994 when Searching for Bobby Fischer, which I believe to be one of the best movies of all time, was only nominated for cinematography that year and didn’t even win that. The film that won Best Picture that year was Schindler’s List. The film that won Best Picture that year was Schindler’s List. A selection that was, I think, motivated both by a desire to make up for previous snubs toward director Steven Spielberg and due its subject matter.
But that’s how it goes with awards. And it’s how it’s gone with the Hugos this year. What will make it worse is if, next year, to “restore balance” or “express the true spirit of the fandom” another slate of nominees is promoted to correct what is seen as this year’s political wrong. If this happens, and happens again and again, we may as well fill a barrel with books and tell all the prospective nominees that the Best Novelist will be the one who can push their wheelbarrow down the track the fastest. It will have as much to do with actually selecting a worthy piece of work as what will develop from any reactionary response.
I like this idea. If we make it a hiking contest to the top of Eaton Canyon, near Pasadena where I live, instead, I could become the Best Writer of Science Fiction without even typing a single word.
Notes From Coode Street
“Episode 231: Ian Mond, James Bradley and the 2015 Hugo Novel Shortlist” – April 26
We almost completely avoid issues surrounding the ballot, and instead focus on discussing the novels and what might make them interesting to read. Our thanks to James and Ian for making time to record the podcast. As always, we hope you enjoy the episode!
Karl-Johan Norén on Brasklapp
“Sad Puppies (filk)” – January 11
The sound of postings on the net good fans, lock down your comment sections.
Beware they seek the deadly set that spawns objections and rejections.
Sad puppies, sad puppies! They seek the perfect screed.
Sad puppies, sad puppies! They’re very sad indeed.
Sad: the books they find deserving. Sad: their look when Hugos settle.
From bias Hugos they are saving; their pot is blacker than their kettle.
Sad puppies, sad puppies, now planning their reruns.
Sad puppies, sad puppies, you poor and little ones.