USA Today Weighs In On Hugos

Even USA Today has an opinion about Larry Correia and the Hugo Awards.

A guest op-ed by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, University of Tennessee law professor and Instapundit blogger, appearing under the misleading headline “Politics Don’t Belong In Science Fiction”, takes fandom to task for its response to Larry Correia’s Hugo nomination.

The Hugo Awards are presented at the World Science Fiction Society’s convention (“Worldcon”) and nominees and awardees are chosen by attendees and supporters. The Hugo is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in science fiction, but in recent years critics have accused the award process — and much of science fiction fandom itself — of becoming politicized.

That’s certainly been the experience of Larry Correia, who was nominated for a Hugo this year. Correia, the author of numerous highly successful science fiction books like Monster Hunter International and Hard Magic, is getting a lot of flak because he’s a right-leaning libertarian. Makes you wonder if Robert Heinlein could get a Hugo Award today. (Answer: Probably not.)

Clearly, Reynolds is not saying his politics don’t belong in science fiction.

Wright Quits SFWA, Torgersen To Follow

John C. Wright has publicly resigned from SFWA. Wright has a dozen published novels, one a past Nebula nominee (2006). His work has been discussed in flattering terms by John Clute in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia and is frequently praised on Vox Day’s blog.

Wright’s announcement begins, “It is with no regret whatsoever that I rescind and renounce my membership in SFWA. I wish nothing more to do with the organization and no more contact with it.”

His reasons for leaving included the following complaints:

Instead of enhancing the prestige of the genre, the leadership seems bent on holding us up to the jeers of all fair-minded men by behaving as gossips, whiners, and petty totalitarians, and by supporting a political agenda irrelevant to science fiction.

Instead of men who treat each other with professionalism and respect, I find a mob of perpetually outraged gray-haired juveniles.

Instead of receiving aid to my writing career, I find organized attempts to harass my readers and hurt my sales figures.

Instead of finding an organization for the mutual support of Science Fiction writers, I find an organization for the support of Political Correctness.

Instead of friends, I find ideologues bent on jihad against all who do not meekly conform to their Orwellian and hellish philosophy.

Wright’s resignation prompted Brad R. Torgersen, a Hugo nominee in 2012 and a double-nominee in 2014 with an assist from Larry Coreia’s “Sad Puppies” campaign, to declare that he will be leaving SFWA too:

I’ve seen a mentor slandered, attacked, and thrown out of the Bulletin, and I’ve seen my editor straw-manned and maligned by one of SFWA’s darlings and former top officers. This is supposedly “my” professional organization, but in four years “my” organization has done just about all it could to make it clear to me that my participation in “my” organization was neither desired, nor necessary.

So, I won’t be sending them a check this year. I will instead focus my time on growing my career and entertaining my readers.

Former SFWA President Michael Capobianco answered Wright’s post with a bizarre comment absolving SFWA and blaming fandom for his complaints —

I just want to note that the recent Hugo-related kerfluffles have nothing to do with SFWA. SFWA does not have anything to do with WSFS or Worldcon, aside from hosting a SFWA Suite at the Worldcon. There’s a tendency to conflate SFWA with the SF community and/or SF fandom, and it’s unfortunate, in my opinion.

Wright immediately answered that the Hugo controversy had nothing to do with the timing of his resignation. And Capobianco should know the “recent Hugo-related kerfluffles [sic]” are a reaction to something done by a pro writer — Larry Correia – who orchestrated a bloc vote to get himself and his slate on the Hugo ballot.

MyrnaSue Parmentier Dies

Gregg and Myrna Parmentier at Interaction, the 2005 Worldcon. Photo by Keith Stokes.

Gregg and Myrna Parmentier at Interaction, the 2005 Worldcon. Photo by Keith Stokes.

MyrnaSue Parmentier, aka The Dragon Lady, passed away quietly overnight on April 26. Her husband, Gregg, made the announcement on Facebook.

She was a popular longtime fan who lived in St. Paul, MN. Over the years she was fan guest of honor at Demicon, Icon, ConQuest, Contraception and Malestrom.

Professionally she was a physical therapist. Outside of fandom her interests included aviation – she was a member of the Minnesota Chapter of The Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots.

Armstrong Receives Service to SFWA Award

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have named Michael Armstrong to receive the Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service To SFWA Award. He has been working on behalf of the organization in many capacities since the 1980s.

In proposing Michael for this honor, South/Central Regional Director Lee Martindale said:

Michael’s been working non-stop, deep in the bowels of SFWA’s nuts and bolts, for at least as long as I’ve been a member (14 years). He was on the bylaws committee I chaired for six years, and was one of the most solid contributing members there. He’s also been on the Grievance Committee for at least 14 years, as Novel Specialist, and John Johnston tells me his record of successfully closing cases (as in getting our members what they’re owed) is exemplary. I can tell you, from my own six years as Mediation Specialist, that that takes a serious level of commitment to the organization and its members, and is a significant “gift” to the organization in terms of time and skillset.  And, because of the nature of the work and the conditions under which successes are achieved, it, quite literally, goes thankless. Unlike other volunteers, GriefCom folk can’t tout individual achievements.

The award will be presented during Nebula Awards Weekend in May.

2014 TAFF Vote Count

Curt Phillips won the 2014 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund race with a first-round majority. Here is a report from the fund administrators with the ballot count.


100 votes were cast in North America and 39 votes in Europe. These raised a total of $1,187.68 in North America and £266 in Europe.

The results of the first-place voting can be seen in the table below. The vote of one fan from the Rest of the World has been folded into the results from North America to preserve the anonymity of the vote.

                                    N. America   Europe   Total

Brad & Cindy Foster                     31        14        45

Curt Phillips                             54        21        75

Randy Smith                               15        2         17

No Preference                            0          2         2

Total                                       100        39        139

The 20% rule meant that each qualifying candidate required at least 20 votes in North America and 7 votes in Europe (‘no preference’ was not included when calculating these numbers).

The list of voters follows the jump.

Update 04/29/2014: Added three names to voter list at request of administrators. Update 05/02/2014: Added another name at their request. Continue reading

Tribute to Bill Patterson

When Bill Patterson died on April 21, the sf field lost its best-known Heinlein biographer and fandom lost one of its most interesting raconteurs.

Bill’s health problems dominated his Facebook page in his final days – he complained about a painful hiatal hernia on April 19, struck an ominous note about needing to “catch up enough oxygen” on April 20, and made a thoroughly alarming post on April 21: “Reaching some kind of transition — too little o2 in brain to function.” Later that day he passed away.

Bill’s sister, D. Rhonda Wallace, commented online: “He lived his life to the fullest and the way he wanted. That is all anyone could ask for! (He did it his way).”

Patterson was born in St. Louis in 1951 but grew up in Phoenix, where his family relocated in 1956. As a young man he attended Arizona State University for two years, majoring in history.

In 1969 he joined a local science fiction club at the Phoenix Public Library. Before long he was also involved with the Phoenix chapter of the Tolkien Society where a very young Patrick Nielsen Hayden met him in 1971 – “Being twelve, I was mostly ignored by all, save for a large fellow named Bill Patterson who talked to me almost as if I were human…. When I showed up for the next meeting, I found they’d changed the location and not bothered to tell me. Well, I was twelve.”

Within five years Patterson was one of many Phoenix fans working on a successful bid to bring the Worldcon to town – but only after their ambition to host the Westercon had been frustrated by an LA committee co-chaired by yours truly. Everyone was impressed with Bill’s publications for the bid and the 1978 Worldcon. They looked super professional, the text prepared with a IBM compositor at a time when the rest of us were using typewriters.

Partly inspired by the collision between these two committees of college-age fans, Patterson wrote an 80,000-word history of Phoenix fandom titled The Little Fandom That Could in which I was not held up as a good example. However, nearly all of us reconciled sooner or later. Bill agreed to participate in the 2010 Loscon program which I organized. And at the 2011 Hugo nominees’ reception I made sure to tell Bill how much I admired his work on Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve. I thought it was highly readable and a first-rate work of historianship. I respected his consistent decision to confine the narrative to things that could be established by documentation and testimony — bypassing the very many juicy opportunities for speculation and opinion-mongering, all of which were relegated to endnotes. (And they are fascinating endnotes!)

Because Patterson was Virginia Heinlein’s choice for her husband’s biographer some expected him to deliver a hagiography. He did not. Besides, even a hagiography would have annoyed Heinlein. Those familiar with the Dean of SF know he would have been irate to see all of his personal activities publicly analyzed, no matter the tone. Patterson was as frank as he could possibly be with the sources available. And they were quite extensive. He said there were 75 million words of Heinlein material in the repository.

In the 1980s Bill moved to San Francisco and developed into a Heinlein scholar. He founded the Heinlein Journal in 1997 and co-founded the Heinlein Society with Virginia Heinlein in 1998. After she died in 2003, the newly-formed Heinlein Prize Trust asked Patterson to consult with the Robert A. Heinlein Archive of the University of California, Santa Cruz’s McHenry Library to integrate new material she had donated. He was designated The Heinlein Scholar of the Heinlein Prize Trust.

Bill did a vast amount of work on the Trust’s Virginia Edition of the Collected Works of Robert A. Heinlein, locating manuscripts and writing extensive endnotes for the books.

He also helped organize the Heinlein Centennial which took place in Kansas City in 2007.

Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better by William Patterson, Jr. is scheduled for publication June 2014. Readying the second volume for publication was not as straightforward as Bill had expected. Time was spent expanding the text and dividing the manuscript to make two volumes instead of one, an idea ultimately abandoned:

In the spring of this year [2012], midway into David [Hartwell]’s first set of edits for this volume, he brought up the possibility of splitting this volume into two books, giving a three volume biography in all. There was some back and forth; ultimately David decided not to go forward with a third volume, and since he gave me the word late in August, I’ve been working ever since to cut the manuscript back to the same size as volume 1. Possibly with the idea of a third volume in mind, David had asked for an expansion of the text that ultimately accounted for about 400 pages of new manuscript. The expansion itself was not particularly demanding, as I had cut much more than that out of the manuscript in 2005 and 2006 — but it was neither possible nor desirable simply to restore the old version; the expansion incorporated all of Hartwell’s edit.

Cutting a 1400+ page manuscript back to about 1000 pages is a time-consuming and finicky process involving several passes through the entire thing.

Almost 15 years after Bill started work on the biography, with the final volume on the verge of appearing, Bill died unexpectedly. I’m so sorry he will miss the accolades he deserved for finishing this epic task.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh and Joseph T. Major for the story.]

Ed Is In The Finals!

Ed GreenCongratulations to Edward L. Green for making it to the final round of The Reel Deal. Top vote-getters in this round will be selected for the show.

Ed’s reaction is —

Never, ever, in a million years did I think I’d be able to call myself a working actor. And now I’m involved in something like this. I’m grateful for all the support my family and friends have shown me.

Over 850 actors, writers, composers, and directors completed The Reel Deal’s registration process. Of those, 151 have reached the Season 1 finals. Voting is now open – I’ll have a post here soon with details about how to support Ed’s quest to get on the air.

Jackson Tells Third Hobbit Movie Title

Peter Jackson revealed on Facebook today that the title of the third film of The Hobbit has been changed to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, superseding a couple of other titles had been registered and discussed in the media.

Green Dragon’s reaction at The One Ring gave me a laugh. He wrote:

Personally, I’m disappointed that they didn’t go for The Beorn Ultimatum…

William H. Patterson Jr. (1951-2014)

William H. “Bill” Patterson Jr., author of the Hugo-nominated Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century, Vol. 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve, died April 21, only a month before the second and final volume of the biography will be released.

Full obituary to follow.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh and Joseph T. Major for the story.]

Update 04/24/2014: Click here to read my tribute to Bill.