Memories of Tonight’s Hugo Ceremony

While I was in an elevator leaving the Hugo ceremonies, Frank somebody looked me in the eye and said “How’d you like that. That’s what you wanted, wasn’t it,” in a surly voice. Since he was being rude I told him to get off my case.

But let me answer Frank’s question now. The whole situation is a tragedy. It would have been a worse tragedy if any of these slate nominees had been rewarded with a Hugo. For that reason, yes, the outcome was what I voted for.

That should not detract from the accomplishment of Hugo ceremony hosts David Gerrold and Tananarive Due in pulling off a ceremony that was often funny, rich in creativity, and somber when appropriate (Gerrold was reduced to tears by seeing Nimoy on the in memoriam list).

Things began with a giant grim reaper figure lumbering onstage accompanied by an evil assistant. Three Star Trek redshirts, led by Due, battled with them and the lone survivor, Due, cleared the stage so that a reluctant David Gerrold could follow her out.

Some other highlights were Robert Silverberg’s “blessing of the Hugos” — a reminiscence of the “tension, apprehension and dissension” that plagued the 1968 Worldcon, including intermittent clouds of tear gas drifting up from downtown Berkeley, and to dispel similar tensions in 2015 he ended by taking out a tambourine and performing the Hare Krishna chant sung by street-roaming initiates back then.

Later, Connie Willis took a turn on stage, talking about her experience being bitten by a bat, and a mild concern about possible vampirism. Then she reassured Gerrold and Due about the challenges of emceeing the Hugos, remembering half a dozen things that have actually gone wrong at Worldcons, and suggesting a couple more that haven’t gone wrong yet but could, all of which despite being comedy seemed to leave Gerrold and Due a little more shaky than before she started.

During the introduction, Linda Deneroff of Sasquan’s WSFS Division laid the foundation for Hugo voters exercising the no award option. And it came up several times in the pro categories, as you know, though at the beginning there was a whole string of fan categories which had winners and the night seemed darned near normal for a little while.

TAFF delegate Nina Horvath was the presenter of all the fan categories. Gerrold personally handled most of the categories where there was no winner (though not ONLY those categories, so it wasn’t entirely a tell.) And for the dramatic categories he was assisted by a lifesize Dalek, which provided considerable amusement.

The acceptances were fun, best of which was Pat Cadigan reading Thomas Heuvelt’s speech from a tablet, with her characteristic asides and humorous timing. Campbell winner Wesley Chu obviously enjoyed himself, spontaneously falling to his knees before the bearer of the Campbell tiara so it could be placed on his brow.

Although I had a press seat in the balcony, the house lights were so low I couldn’t see a screen or write a note. Thus the File 770 Hugo coverage was provided by commenters watching the livestream — you all did a hell of a job, and extra credit for finding links to the voting stats and other commentary!

Definitely buying a tablet or something before I tackle another Worldcon though. This hotel computer is so limited — can’t edit or post photos, can’t copy between windows, etc. etc. But I will recharge my Kindle and be back at work in the morning.

795 thoughts on “Memories of Tonight’s Hugo Ceremony

  1. Full of Sound, and Furry on August 23, 2015 at 5:54 pm said:

    BT is editing his commenters to make himself eligible for the Best Editor Hugo next year.

    To be fair to Brad, my initial comment was full of my usual typos and grammatical incoherence, whereas the revised version was typo free and grammatical. So kudos to Brad there. I think the gist of my message may have got lost though…

  2. I have a friend who has been called up twice to serve overseas and he has never felt the need to edit someone else’s words to make it look like they are attacking him.

    And if he had? I’d take him quietly aside for a “good grief, man, what are you doing?” talk in private, because friends try to keep friends on the rails.

  3. I’ve been mostly staying away from the Hugo stuff, but have been looking around at the blogs for reaction now that the awards are over. That’s been . . . interesting. I enjoyed the irony of Torgersen’s quip about “Pravda770” that he made after replacing the text of several comments on his own blog. Now I’m curious about what people actually were trying to say.

  4. I don’t feel much inclination to be fair to Brad given there was no indication until later in the thread that he had edited comments–it took somebody pointing out that they’d received a different comment in their email notifications.

    Not that I felt any impulse to be fair to Brad even before that–he got himself firmly on the dipshit douchebag list way back during Racefail.

  5. Stobor on August 23, 2015 at 6:46 pm said:

    I’ve been mostly staying away from the Hugo stuff, but have been looking around at the blogs for reaction now that the awards are over. That’s been . . . interesting. I enjoyed the irony of Torgersen’s quip about “Pravda770? that he made after replacing the text of several comments on his own blog. Now I’m curious about what people actually were trying to say.

    Just that Brad had set up the situation himself. More on the lines of “NOBODY MADE YOU DO IT BRAD” rather than “YOU MADE US DO IT!”. Heck even the latter is Brad implying that we are obliged to vote for Toni W because he said so. In a second comment I may have mentioned that it was thousands of people who voted against his tactics – so I guess he could have changed that to “YOU MADE THOUSANDS OF US DO IT!” and I may have said something about conservatism having once been an ideology that stood for individual responsibility. I kind of like the irony of him then changing that one to “YOU MADE US DO IT!”.

    Small change really. On the scale of somewhat obnoxious and slightly self-destructive things Brad T has done on the internet this is on the low end.

  6. @Stevie:

    I was worried; your posts at the top of the page worried me because they didn’t sound like you, and it seemed as if you were stepping, or possibly jumping away.

    *virtual hugs* no worries–I was a bit zonked earlier (mostly tired, stressed with onset of school and how behind I am–it’s been a tough summer one way and another, BUT it would have been a lot worse if my brain hadn’t suddenly decided to click out of “depressed” mode in May!). No worries–I’m not planning on stepping out/back/away (was on FB under my passport name promoting the two lists where people are sharings recs of works eligible for the next Hugos, giving due credit to File 770 where I heard about them)–my partner thinks going to Finland would be fun so I may be able to make my first worldcon ever. Some of the stress is because I’m wrassling with a tough essay–sometimes it’s a tough to be both active in fandom as a fan of sff AND writing scholarship about fandom , and about sff especially when that scholarship is often about race and gender issues. I’ve been saving links about the Hugo awards imbroglio to use in an essay I have due next January which I was invited to do simply because I am one of the few people writing about these sorts of imbroglios in fandom.

    I do tend more toward squee, I admit!

    Losing a Hugo nomination says nothing about you and a great deal about the people who stole it from you. Please remember that a lot of people admire you, and your work, and we are greatly looking forward to seeing you one day getting the Hugo you so greatly deserve..

    I am a bit confused about this comment, then remembered I am one of the contributers to the Invisible anthology, and learning it had been nominated which should have totally lovely was frustrating–especially given because how much of the essays in that collection exemplify so much of what the puppies are on a crusade against. (My contribution is under another name though *ahem* my style may be fairly recognizable–but as I said to Mike earlier, my pseuds are pretty open, and I mostly maintain them so that my professorial name and some of my fan ac including the pseuds are not on the same page and easily found by students).

    Things will be better after I get this essay off, though I worry I may lose a connection or two over my analysis of the scholarship……

    Thank you for caring!

  7. @Camestros Felapton: conservatism having once been an ideology that stood for individual responsibility.

    I was raised in a Republican household, so, yeah. It changed.

    Also, I remember the 1990s where there was all this Republican discourse about how all the wimpy groups kept claiming to be “victims,” and how wrong that was, and blah blah blah, minorities…individual responsibility….bootstraps….etc.

    And now, to see all the Republicans and fellow travellers claiming to be the VICTIMS of the SJWs is…..deliciously ironic.

  8. I can’t remember what Chris G’s comment said, probably something similar: i.e. if you didn’t want these people to lose to No Award why did you nominate them in a slate. I didn’t see Spacefaring Kitten’s comment – it had already been Braded*. I red SFK’s comment and thought ‘that isn’t like them’, only to see I’d had the same treatment.

    [*that is a word now – many, many years on the net and I’ve been misquoted many times but never had my message edited to say something else! 🙂 ]

  9. Maybe I’m confused, but isn’t throwing someone under the bus to sacrifice a friend for something you’re responsible for? Like what Torgersen did to Annie Bellet? But maybe that was only gas-lighting?

    Any case, that’s not what happened with Sheila Gilbert or Toni Weisskopf.

  10. *that is a word now – many, many years on the net and I’ve been misquoted many times but never had my message edited to say something else!

    I have! Once. It was years ago in the USEnet days – mid 90s, something like that. It was on a Rush fan mailing list that arrived in daily digest compilation form. The editor/moderator started sort of going off the rails in terms of tolerance of dissent.

    I know, I know, that sounds like just the sort of thing a troll would say, right? “You just can’t stand a dissenting voice!” Only in his case, it was true. Some of the dissent had to do with his ongoing abuse/harassment/quasi-stalking of a particular (female) mailing list member (by then an ex-member) he’d taken a dislike to. I think he had anger management issues.

    Anyway, he started just deleting bits of people’s posts that he took exception to, and replacing them with his own “paraphrases” in brackets, portraying the replaced text as having been more inflammatory, unhinged, or simply stupider than they actually had been.

    I left the mailing list over it, in fact, sending my Goodbye post to the readership via Reply All (or something like that; it wasn’t actually that simple) rather than submitting it to the mailing list in the usual way in order to make sure my friends would in fact receive it. It wasn’t necessarily right of me to do it, but there was no reason to trust anymore that a message submitted to the list would actually contain my words when it reached the digest, if it was even published at all.

    The moderator retaliated by flooding my inbox with hundreds of copies of his reply, in which he asserted that I had no right to criticize his moderation style since I’d clearly never been a moderator myself.

    Great times. Haven’t thought of that incident for ages.

    Anyway, would it be “Braded” or “Bradded”? The former spelling makes it look like a homonym for what I did with my hair this afternoon.

    [Edit: Oh. I like “Torgerstamped.” Also, someone was referring to him as Brad R. earlier – persistent typo, or a reference to something I don’t get?]

  11. Oh good grief. Editing other people’s comments without permission to change what they appear to be saying is revolting.

  12. There’s a certain amusement to Brad Torgersen moving from BRAD! Heroic Defender Of White Men Against Feminazi(etc etc)Tokenism to Brad Heroic Demander That People Vote For A Woman Just Because She Is A Woman.

  13. *grin* I am in a slightly silly mood, as an antidote to my wistfully-grateful-but-also-hungover mood that lasted most of the day.

    Hey! Hey! Wait! It’s over, right? Isn’t it time for all the dramatic reveals? Isn’t somebody gonna pop off their mask and yell that they were a stealth Puppy all along? Will Brian Z finally cop to what his deal is? Will we find out what illustrious relative Peace got their middle name from? Will Kyra turn out to be PC Hodgell staging the most subtle and victorious viral marketing campaign of all time?

    Don’t leave me hanging, gang. Otherwise we’ll just have to bond over books and mutual respect or something.

  14. Fascinating: If I’m reading the novelette balloting correctly, of the 242 people who had “Championship B’tok” as their first choice, 22 of them had “The Day the World Turned Upside-Down” as their second choice. And 13 of the “Champ” ballots went to No Award as their second choice.

  15. @RedWombat

    Will Brian Z finally cop to what his deal is?

    He’s got at least one more whole year of Torgertrolling to “negotiate” with, so I wouldn’t put too much money on it.

  16. First, what Brad Torgersen is doing to comments on his blog is ridiculous and dishonorable. It’s an act sorely lacking in integrity.

    Second (and the original purpose of my posting this) as I looked at the nominations data today, I noticed something. Doubtless someone else noted this already elsewhere and I missed it, but I found it amusing, so I wanted to say something.

    The RP’s “Fearless Leader” wound up the last of the five finalists in terms of nominations in both editor categories, with roughly 160 votes (162 and 166). It’s interesting that, the further you go down the ballot, the more Puppy discipline wavers. VD was the only editor who couldn’t break 200 noms. It makes me wonder just how deep Puppy interest actually was in all this. I mean, John Joseph Adams was just 13 votes lower than VD in Short Form-without an active “Vote for ME!!!” campaign.

    I think I’ll be nominating next year for the first time in a long time. I hope a lot more people who voted this year wind up nominating next year. My gut tells me that some of the rank-and-file Puppies will be noticing squirrels next year instead of chasing their tails at dog-whistles. If so, the extra nominations, if they’re plentiful enough, may just keep a few of the Puppy stragglers off the ballot next year. I can hope anyway.

  17. RedWombat on August 23, 2015 at 7:59 pm said:

    *grin* I am in a slightly silly mood, as an antidote to my wistfully-grateful-but-also-hungover mood that lasted most of the day.

    Hey! Hey! Wait! It’s over, right? Isn’t it time for all the dramatic reveals?

    Ok, in truth you are not RedWombat but actually Brad Torgersen from a parallel reality. This was always obvious as ‘RedWombat’ is an anagram of ‘Brad Me Two!’

    Your other identity was clear from the anagram ‘Annul Rover Us’

  18. It is still amazing to me that anyone is trying to sell it as ‘They didn’t vote for the works we forced on the ballot showing we were right all along to force works onto the ballot.’ and folks are buying that. Good grief Charlie Brown. The amount of impotent rage needed to be that blind is pathetic.

  19. Jim Henley wrote:

    “We are, right now, approaching a crux in Brad Torgersen’s life and career, whether he recognizes it or not. It is painful to be rebuked for your conduct in such a public way. The natural, human instinct is to lash out, to shirk introspection and give in to rage. The hard thing to do is recognize that some rebukes we earn. Some rebukes we need.”

    How very good of Jim Henley to offer his heartfelt instruction. What a joke! Torgersen is right now in battle against ISIS. He is at a crux in his life, but not for any of the trivial reasons you talked about. He doesn’t know whether he will even survive this deployment (I am sure you think about and pray for his safety). The contempt armchair SJWs have toward soldiers like him is telling. One can only assume it feels humiliating to you to see what an actual justice warrior looks like.

  20. Jim Henley on August 23, 2015 at 8:01 pm said:

    Fascinating: If I’m reading the novelette balloting correctly, of the 242 people who had “Championship B’tok” as their first choice, 22 of them had “The Day the World Turned Upside-Down” as their second choice. And 13 of the “Champ” ballots went to No Award as their second choice.

    Yes and 24 listed nothing after ‘Champ’

    The people I really want to talk to are the 166 people who put VD 1st for Long-form editor when VD himself put Toni W first. I’d like to call them Didn’t-Get-The-Memo Puppies.

    …and on that, here is another counterfactual bit of speculation. I think Kary English got at least a 100 vote boost in 1st preference by virtue of being disowned by VD. If Toni W had been disowned by VD she would have got say 100 more votes – which wouldn’t have beaten No Award on 1st pref but would have stopped it winning outright first go…in which case the race would have continued and she would probaly have picked up all 2nd preferences from Minz, etc. Might have won even.

  21. Can someone please send Torgersen a care package filled with marajuana laced cupcakes? Man needs some weed. The guy is totally spazzing out. Likely related to the stress of his deployment. The guy is an asshole… But being away from your family for 6 months is rough.

    The guy needs a total chill pill. btw brad if you see this, I liked chaplains war alot. Ill buy your next book. You are still an asshole.

  22. I am more than happy to repost what I actually said.

    I called him a flaming hypocrite for being upset about Toni and Sheila but having no issues with blocking loads of women from actually being on the ballot.

    I also thanked him from the bottom of my cholesterol Laiden heart for the carved roast beef dinner in the Consuite last night that was largely down to the stroke he pulled.

    So that sounds just like saying they made us do it 🙂

    Seriously though. The beef was good. And the spread I’ve seen for the Dead Dog looks amazing.

  23. @Will R.:
    Any thoughts on what the Hare Krishna thing meant? I can imagine a lot of interpretations.

    Given the SFWA controversy that sort-of started all this, I tend to think of it as a sincere peace gesture among professionals. Also perhaps a reminder that culture wars have been around for a long time, and the WorldCon remains.

    (Looks at timeline) Holy crap, was it really only in 2013 and 2014 that the SFWA business went down? It feels like it was ages ago.

  24. I realized that the Puppies’ bungling toxicity reminds me of the ending of the great HG Wells story “The Stolen Bacillus”, in which an anarchist steals and drinks what he thinks is a preparation of the cholera bacillus from a biological lab:

    In Wellington Street he told the cabman to stop, and got out. He slipped on the step, and his head felt queer. It was rapid stuff, this cholera poison. He waved his cabman out of existence, so to speak, and stood on the pavement with his arms folded upon his breast awaiting the arrival of the Bacteriologist. There was something tragic in his pose. The sense of imminent death gave him a certain dignity. He greeted his pursuer with a defiant laugh.

    “Vive l’Anarchie! You are too late, my friend, I have drunk it. The cholera is abroad!”

    The Bacteriologist from his cab beamed curiously at him through his spectacles. “You have drunk it! An Anarchist! I see now.” He was about to say something more, and then checked himself. A smile hung in the corner of his mouth. He opened the apron of his cab as if to descend, at which the Anarchist waved him a dramatic farewell and strode off towards Waterloo Bridge, carefully jostling his infected body against as many people as possible. The Bacteriologist was so preoccupied with the vision of him that he scarcely manifested the slightest surprise at the appearance of Minnie upon the pavement with his hat and shoes and overcoat. “Very good of you to bring my things,” he said, and remained lost in contemplation of the receding figure of the Anarchist.

    “You had better get in,” he said, still staring. Minnie felt absolutely convinced now that he was mad, and directed the cabman home on her own responsibility. “Put on my shoes? Certainly, dear,” said he, as the cab began to turn, and hid the strutting black figure, now small in the distance, from his eyes. Then suddenly something grotesque struck him, and he laughed. Then he remarked, “It is really very serious, though.

    “You see, that man came to my house to see me, and he is an Anarchist. No–don’t faint, or I cannot possibly tell you the rest. And I wanted to astonish him, not knowing he was an Anarchist, and took up a cultivation of that new species of Bacterium I was telling you of that infest, and I think cause, the blue patches upon various monkeys; and, like a fool, I said it was Asiatic cholera. And he ran away with it to poison the water of London, and he certainly might have made things look blue for this civilised city. And now he has swallowed it. Of course, I cannot say what will happen, but you know it turned that kitten blue, and the three puppies–in patches, and the sparrow–bright blue. But the bother is, I shall have all the trouble and expense of preparing some more.

  25. Daveon, we’re heading to the dead dog party now, having scored both Round Table pizza and laundry. Clean clothes, woot!

    Save some for us.

  26. Sadly already home but saw the pictures… I am somewhat jealous but also think it’s probably a good idea that I have an early night 🙂

    There are only so many 3am bedtimes I can do and still be up for the business meeting 🙂

  27. Damnit, Camestros! You’ve ratted me out with your anagrams! Not only am I parallel universe Torgersen, I am in fact, in my true identity, the Mars Curiosity Rover! (I will not insult the intelligence of the commenters by explaining how these simultaneous identities came about, as it is, of course, obvious to all.)

    …File770 loads very slowly out here.

  28. Cedar Sanderson appears to have decided to quit the field:

    Now? I’d be afraid to go to WorldCon. They have shown how they feel, and they will treat any threats to their position with… theft, suppression of free speech, mockery, and more. There are people who will never again be able to publish traditionally because of this. And not everyone has the options to be an independent, to have the freedom I so cherish.

    I can’t be involved any longer. If it were just me… but it isn’t. I have others who need me to stay out of the fight, as much as I hate it. If I keep in the frontlines, I will become a casualty, and I have people who are dependent on me, helpless in the world if something becomes of my good name. And so I must turn away, tears in my eyes, and leave the field of battle. I am sickened, but my duty is clear.

    I cannot bay. I have been bound into silence. I bow my head, and exit…

    http://cedarwrites.com/this-puppy-has-been-muzzled/

  29. @P J Evans

    I believe she’s reacting to the bizarro-world version of WorldCon conjured up by Sarah RequiresHoyt. It is a strange old vision of reality that both claims to value free speech and to be unable to face even the possibility of mockery. You simply can’t have meaningful free speech without that possibility existing.

  30. I am a bit confused about this comment, then remembered I am one of the contributers to the Invisible anthology, and learning it had been nominated which should have totally lovely was frustrating–especially given because how much of the essays in that collection exemplify so much of what the puppies are on a crusade against. (My contribution is under another name though *ahem* my style may be fairly recognizable–but as I said to Mike earlier, my pseuds are pretty open, and I mostly maintain them so that my professorial name and some of my fan ac including the pseuds are not on the same page and easily found by students).

    I’m still trying to deal with the fact that Invisible would have been on the ballot. It never occurred to me that I could have actually been part of the Hugos that way, really. The anthology was amazing, and I feel so strongly about it, the essays, what it represents, the awareness we were trying to raise. I can’t say how grateful I was to have Jim include me in it. To have it tossed out by exactly the sort of exclusionary nonsense it was trying to raise awareness of is just so, so painful.

    I’m having many thinky thoughts on this that I will try to write up a blog post for, but right now I’m still trying to process it.

  31. Wow.
    I’d have never looked at her stuff if the slate hadn’t forced it into the packet.
    So I looked at it, and it wasn’t for me.
    End of story.
    I’m sorry she was misled by the Puppies to the point that she seems to have seriously believed she would be fast-tracked into a Hugo through their political machinations and basic bullying.
    But making people read something is not enough to make them like or consider it Hugo-worthy.
    And since no overwhelming army of previously silent disenfranchised fans turned up to support it, that was that.
    I’m not going to haunt her blog, or even, probably, remember her name next year.
    The people who like and read her stuff will still like and read it.

    But wow, that is some serious melodramatic tripe.

  32. You know, just once I would like if Brad would hold himself to the same standards he expects others to.

  33. I’m a little slow so I only just figured this part out.
    “Theft” means the Puppies were owed those Hugos, because they gamed the ballot and “won,” but then we went and STOLE them away.
    (You know, sort of like the way the slates stole the chances of those who would otherwise have been on the ballot.)
    But evidently we are all yet more reprehensible since apparently theirs was the cause of Freedom and all.
    Not clear why, but there you go.

    I’m still unclear on who she thinks will never be able to publish again.

  34. @Lauowolf

    I think that “theft” actually refers to Sasquan declining to allowing the boorishly offensive flyer produced by “Captain Comic” to be distributed from the free materials table. Sarah RequiresHoyt has been getting very worked up about this “crime”.

  35. I have long suspected that many puppies couldn’t grasp that being on the ballot and winning are not the same. Getting on there doesn’t mean you get a rocket.

    Ask our host 🙂

  36. Cedar Sanderson was not well served by the voters. After Laura Mixon and No Award took the top two spots, she was runner-up to Jeffro Johnson for third place, runner-up to Dave Freer for fourth place, and beaten by Amanda S. Green for fifth place. For whatever reason, the majority of voters transferred against her. (Maybe they read her submission to the voters’ packet.)

  37. the bizarro-world version of WorldCon conjured up by Sarah RequiresHoyt

    I thought it sounded like a different universe.

  38. Shorter Cedar Sanderson: I have only just realized how much damage I have done to my personal reputation and my writing career aspirations by having chosen to align myself with a bunch of assholes and sociopaths.

  39. I have said from the start that this situation would punish both the people who were kept off the ballot by slate voting and the deserving people who were on the ballot but would suffer from slate voting backlash. I voted in the Best Editor category myself but I can’t blame people for casting a No Award vote to essentially say “I don’t feel I can vote to present an award in this category because I feel that the choices with which I was presented are not a true representation of what nominators honestly felt were the best of the year given the influence of pure slate voting.”

    Also regarding Best Editor, after the nominees were announced, I saw more than one person claim that Toni had never won in the category because she is a woman. Found that particularly amusing given that last year she lost out to Ginjer Buchanan :->

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