Pixel Scroll 3/22/16 The Scrolls Are Alive With The Sound of Pixels

(1) MEDIA CON INFLATION. Rob Salkowitz at ICv2 says “As The 2016 Con Season Begins, Seams Are Starting To Show”.

Competition for big names is getting crazy. Every show wants the top names to draw fans, but the bidding war for A-list talent is starting to sound unsustainable. I’ve heard reliable reports that the appearance fees for the Wizard World Show in Philadelphia in June, which lists Chris Evans, Chris Helmsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie and the stars of Back to the Future, top $1 million in guaranteed money.

Well sure. Those are all the stars of what seems likely to be 2016’s biggest movie, all in one place.

But this is having a trickle-down effect. Because this is Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, the surviving original cast members and just about everyone associated with all versions of the show, are in unusually high demand. Competition to get these names on the marquee has reportedly led to cancelled contracts, bidding wars, waivers of exclusives, a shift from guaranteed revenues for autograph sales to straight appearance fees, and other cutthroat tactics.

Cons need to make that money back somewhere, and it’s coming from three places: fans, exhibitors and sponsors.

Costs are rising for attendees. Badges for 3- and 4-day events are starting to crack the $100 level, and that’s just the start. More and more events are not only adding VIP packages, which start around $195 and can go as high as $800-900, but are also requiring fans to pre-pay for celebrity photo ops and celebrity autographs in advance. SVCC even experimented with charging a $10 surcharge for admission to the Back to the Future Panel in its big room on Saturday afternoon, only to oversell the event and not have room for prepaid customers.

(2) PATHFINDER. Marion Deeds has an excellent report on FOGCon 2016 at Fantasy Literature.

Is 72 Letters Enough? In Search of the Perfect Language

I consider a panel “good” if I come away with new book titles to track down, or lots of ideas. By those two measurements, this panel was the best panel of the convention. Panelists included Ted Chiang, who took his inspiration from the Umberto Eco book In Search of the Perfect Language (The Making of Europe). The other panelists were Cathy Hindersinn and Steven Schwartz, with Michelle Cox moderating. There was another panelist but I don’t remember her name and it doesn’t appear in the program. Hindersinn studied linguistics before making a lateral move and becoming a computer programmer. Schwartz is part of the FOGCon committee and writes speculative fiction and epic poetry. He loves language and he loves to talk about language. Cox has an MA in Church History and theology and is a technical writer.

Chiang is scary-smart, articulate if a bit abstract at times, and serious, but he has a great wit, which was on display during the panel. This panel was held in the large room and, as near as I could tell, there was one empty chair. Several people were standing. The panelists were opinionated, and in some cases their passion outstripped their knowledge; the audience was the same way. It was brilliant.

Chiang used the Eco book as a jumping off point for a discussion and critique of the conceit of a “perfect” language; one that existed in the past, in humanity’s “golden age;” a language that all humans could speak and understand. There are two parts to that idea: universalism; the idea that there is one language every human on the planet can communicate in, (perhaps as a second language); and then a language that has the smallest possible divide between the signifier and the thing signified.

(3) STRANGE PUBLISHING TREND. The New Republic reports “The Mass-Market Edition of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Is Dead”.

We may never know what Lee’s will stipulates, but the estate’s first action in the wake of Lee’s death is both bold and somewhat baffling: The New Republic has obtained an email from Hachette Book Group, sent on Friday, March 4 to booksellers across the country, revealing that Lee’s estate will no longer allow publication of the mass-market paperback edition of To Kill a Mockingbird…..

That said, mass-market paperbacks have been on a precipitous decline lately, though TKAM’s success, particularly in the education market, makes it a notable exception. But many publishers are moving away from the format. Pressed for further comment, a HarperCollins spokesperson informed me that “Like many American classics, To Kill A Mockingbird’s primary paperback format will be the trade paperback edition.” That’s an important distinction: The general trend in publishing has been against the mass-market and toward more expensive (and durable) editions—many American classics, including The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath no longer have mass-market editions.

(4) THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Murray Leinster’s warning is just waiting for tech to catch up. A Logic Named Joe: The 1946 sci-fi short that nailed modern tech. 70 years later, Murray Leinster’s disaster scenario is the internet you know and love.”

The story goes on to tell how “Joe,” a rogue logic with a slight manufacturing defect, becomes self-aware and resolves to provide his owners and all other “logic” users with whatever information they require. Leinster says of Joe:

Joe ain’t vicious, you understand. He ain’t like one of those ambitious robots you read about that make up their minds the human race is inefficient and has got to be wiped out an’ replaced by thinkin’ machines. Joe’s just got ambition. If you were a machine you’d wanna work right, wouldn’t you? That’s Joe. He wants to work right. And he’s a logic, an’ logics can do a lotta things that ain’t been found out yet.

This, in turn, leads to logics around the city providing tips on everything from poisoning spouses to covering up drinking binges and robbing banks. Only when Joe is taken offline is that information hidden away from humanity and order restored.

(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born March 22, 1931 – William Shatner. The whole internet is barely big enough to contain everything there is to know about his show biz career. Google revealed to me that Shatner was on the old What’s My Line? game show in January 1965.

He was there to plug the premiere episode of his (then) new lawyer drama series For The People — which fortunately for all concerned failed in time for him to be cast in Star Trek.

(6) TODAY’S OTHER BIRTHDAY BOY

trekkie-recipe-william-shatners-cappuccino-muffins_w654

(7) RECORD STRAIGHTENER. Larry Correia has been unfairly charged with abandoning the battlefield, as he explains in “The Guardian’s Village Idiot Declares Another Career Ruined”.

I wasn’t going to write anything about SP, but it has come to my attention that a new narrative has arisen amongst the mushy headed dope punditry of fandom, because they are always scrambling for something to get their collective panties in a bunch over. This time it is that Brad and I are cowards—and are probably misogynistic women haters too—because we abandoned poor female Kate to their mighty wrath.

Well, you’ll have to forgive Brad’s cowardice, because he has been deployed by the US Army to the Middle East for the last year, supporting missions against terrorists, but that’s nothing compared to the courage it takes to have a good fandom slapfight. (And really? Scared of what? There are only so many ways you guys can send out a press release alleging that somebody is a racist).

And you’ll have to forgive me too, because I thought I had made my point in 2014 that the system was biased, and I was done. Only Brad asked me to come back to help in 2015, so I did, and after the CHORFs proved my point for me far better than I ever could—wooden assholes and No Awarding the most deserving editor in the business—I said at the end of that I was done.

Why am I out? Mostly because it was a giant time suck, and I’ve got stuff to do. Unlike most of my detractors, I actually write books for a living. I wrote a novella worth of posts on SP in public, and another one worth of emails on the topic behind the scenes. Then there is the joy of spending an hour on the phone with reporters, so that they can quote one sentence from you, and then quote paragraphs from some dolt who knows jack about the topic but belongs to the right clique.

Honestly, in the time I spent on Sad Puppies, I probably could have gotten another book out the door. Plus in 2016 I’ve got my European research trip, I have a new business venture I’ve not talked about at all, I bought a big chunk of property, and mountain fortress compounds don’t build themselves. All that’s in addition to the three novels that are coming out this year, the short fiction collection I have to put together, and the MHI anthology I have to edit.

So I could either try to prove again the point that I’ve already proven, or I can get paid more. Hmmm…. Tough call.

(8) A PUPPY SURPRISE. Apparently Jeffro Johnson was the last person on Earth to realize this was the game plan from Day 1. “Comments on Sad Puppies IV and Rabid Puppies II” at Jeffro’s Space Gaming Blog.

You know, I have to say… making the Puppies lists for Best Related Work was a real shock for me. That’s just not something that ever even occurred to me as being a possibility. Maybe it’s a bit ironic, but it’s actually humbling to have even a modest number of people think that well of me. I honestly don’t know what else to say, but “thank you.” So: thank you! 

(9) HONORED. Cheah Kai Wai (Benjamin Cheah) is also pleased to be included. See “Rabid Puppies Recommended”.

I am greatly honoured to accept such praise, and am deeply humbled by the fact that there are people who believe I am worthy of standing beside such luminaries as Stephen King and Andy Weir. Looking at the rest of the Rapid Puppies recommendations, I am fully confident that the recommendations will live up to the Rapid Puppies’ mission of making the Hugos great again.

Further, I am especially pleased by Vox Day’s inclusion of Space Raptor Butt Invasion. Science fiction is the literature of ideas, allowing radical concepts to be explored in great detail. This story is indubitably a masterwork that skilfully portrays interspecies non-heterosexual relations within a vividly-created science fictional universe, and would surely be a shoo-in for the Hugos among certain quarters.

(10) REMOVAL REQUEST. In revolutionary Boston the tea had to be thrown overboard. This time it jumped.

Emma Newman speaks “Regarding Tea and Jeopardy being included on a certain list”.

All I know is that I would like Tea and Jeopardy to be removed from this latest list. I don’t want something that Pete and I spend a hell of a lot of time and energy creating to be associated with anything like this. Our podcast has made it to the nominations shortlist two years in a row on its own merit and if we are lucky enough to be shortlisted for a third time, I want it to be because people listen to the show and are moved to nominate it. Nothing more.

Sadly, it seems that requests to be removed for the Sad Puppies 4 list are being ignored. Whilst part of me agrees that people can put whatever they like into a list on their own website, the part that values courtesy disagrees with the refusal to respect a creator’s requests to remove something from it. I’m sorry if this hurts the feelings of the people involved, but no matter what the intentions are this year, no matter the reasons why our podcast made it onto that list, I personally do not want my work to be associated with it.

(11) SECOND CUP. Peter Newman affirms the request in “Tea and Jeopardy, Hugo nominations and Sad Puppies”.

To be clear, I have never solicited the attention of this group, nor do I endorse it. I was not asked if Tea & Jeopardy could be included and I am told that requests to be taken off the list will be ignored. That said, I’d like Tea & Jeopardy to be taken off the Sad Puppies 4 list.

(12) SCHMIDT ASKS OUT. Bryan Thomas Schmidt tells Facebook readers he’s unhappy to find himself on the Rabid Puppies slate.

So apparently the abominable Vox Day put me on his Hugo list this year. First I heard if it. I have paid NO attention this year to lists, etc. I would demand removal but he clearly cares not what people think and states flat out he will not entertain removal requests. I “No Awarded” him last year and would again. I do not approve of this and see it as his attempt to do me further harm. Just going to ignore.

He’s also got an asterisk next to his name on the Sad Puppies 4 List now, too.

In fact, Schmidt says he would rather not be considered for the Hugo at all.

Although I am flattered when friends say they nominated me for the Hugo, please do not waste votes on me this year. I do not want to participate in this broken, biased process, at least until perhaps people of all creeds and levels can be fairly considered without politics ruling the day. I would decline a nomination if offered, though I highly suspect there will be no need. Instead, please consider MISSION: TOMORROW for the Locus Awards. Thanks.

(13) LIMITING DAMAGE. David D. Levine also got his short story “Damage” asterisked by asking to be removed from the Sad Puppies 4 List in a comment.

(14) SUPPORT FOR KATE PAULK. Amanda S. Green in “Cranky Writer is, well, cranky” said —

As for those who don’t want to be associated with SP4, I suggest you go back and look at what Kate has done throughout the year. The list is not something she pulled out of thin air. This is a list that is based solely on recommendations made by anyone who wanted to take part. By telling Kate you don’t want to be associated with the list, you are basically telling your readers — your fans and the people who buy your work — that you don’t value their support. You are letting fear of what a few in the industry might think of you override what should be important: keeping your fans happy. Unless, of course, you don’t give a flip what your fans think and you like slapping them in the face for daring to support your work and recommend it for what has been one of the most prestigious prizes in the industry.

(15) BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARDSHELL. Alexandra Erin brings back the field’s most insightful reviewer, John Z. Upjohn, USMC (Aspired) – “Sad Puppies Review Books: Yertle the Turtle”.

The villain of the piece is a turtle named Mack who is so dissatisfied with his place in the world that rather than climbing the ladder and making something of himself, he instead blames society for such petty things as the pain in his back and his lack of food. Not content to merely complain, he uses his extraordinary power and privilege to impose his will upon all other turtles. Lacking the gumption and will to raise himself up, he instead only tears down, and will not be satisfied until all other turtles have been brought down to his level.

(16) DELVING. Alexandra Erin’s “Nineteen Puppy Four” contains her opinion of the Sad Puppy worldview and motivations.

Well, so much for the notion that this year’s litter of Sad Puppies were kinder, gentler, or even more moderate than last year’s. Over the past weekend, when the initial reactions to their new list were still more initial, Sarah Hoyt posted a response that was… well, we’ll say “typically hyperbolic”, but also quite telling.

A lot of it follows the “BUT MOM, I’m NOT Touching Him!” school of legalism that sprouts up whenever reactionaries try to argue with or by what they think is progressive logic, but as she goes on, she eventually compares Puppy critics to such nuanced things as German citizens whipped into a frenzy of anti-Semitism by the Nazi party, only “worse” because those who disagree with the Pups are doing it of our own free will. In the same piece, she refers to those who dissent from her party line as being slaves bound in chains.

(17) NOT THE DOG IN THE NIGHT. Paul Cornell can still hear them.

(18) AND NOW ABOUT SOME BOOKS. Book Smugglers Publishing thinks you will be interested in Superheroes in Space.

Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow has earned a Starred Review by Publishers Weekly, a super great review by Foz Meadows over at Hugo Award winner A Dribble of Ink and has sold TV rights. Broken is Book Smugglers Publishing’s first novel and the opening act in The Extrahuman Union Series….

Introducing readers to Susan Jane Bigelow’s sprawling series in which Extrahumans will fight wars, overthrow governments, fall in and out of love, have life-changing adventures and travel the stars in search of a home—and their promised freedom—Broken is out now and is available as a trade paperback and ebook (EPUB & MOBI) from all major retailers online. The print book contains the novel, two illustrations from Kirbi Fagan, and a sneak peek at Sky Ranger, the second book in the series (published this June). The ebook edition also contains a prequel short story, Crimson Cadet, as well as an essay from the author and a Q&A with the artist.

(19) ET TU PENTAWERE? Scanners do not live in vain when it comes to extracting secrets from the mummies of Pharoahs.

The New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramesses III was assassinated by multiple assailants — and given postmortem cosmetic surgery to improve his mummy’s appearance.

Those are some of the new tidbits on ancient Egyptian royalty detailed in a new book by Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and Cairo University radiologist Sahar Saleem, “Scanning the Pharaohs: CT Imaging of the New Kingdom Royal Mummies” (American University in Cairo Press, 2016).

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Darren Garrison, and James H. Burns for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peace Is My Middle Name.]

411 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/22/16 The Scrolls Are Alive With The Sound of Pixels

  1. @Rev Bob

    I agree. The only easy-access thing I proposed was a cost reduction for students, and that only to increase participation in younger readers to hopefully keep them in later years.

  2. I agree. The only easy-access thing I proposed was a cost reduction for students, and that only to increase participation in younger readers to hopefully keep them in later years.

    MidAmericon offers a reduced price membership to young adults (between the ages of 16 and 26) and an even more reduced price membership for children (between the ages of 6 and 15). Child memberships don’t come with voting rights though.

  3. Hampus Eckerman on March 24, 2016 at 9:33 am said:

    So a membership of 50 dollar will help to pay for that administration cost. The one for 20 dollar will not.

    There’s more to it than that. It’s a supporting membership. That means it’s used to support the organization. So the fact that the marginal cost of administration (the cost of handling one more membership) might be quite low for an electronic-publications-only membership isn’t relevant. The purpose of selling the memberships is to raise money for running the Worldcon.

    When you donate money to a Public Television station in the USA, nobody in their right mind thinks that the premium that might be included in the donation “costs” as much as what you donated. For example, you donate $100 and get a coffee mug that cost the station $8 to buy and ship to you. The purpose of the donation is to support the station, not to buy the doodad.

    Worldcons cost money. In fact, they tend to cost more per member to run that most other SF conventions, either bigger or smaller, because every one of them is a one-shot start-up and thus can’t spread overhead costs over multiple events, and because ~5K members attending is the “wrong” size for most facilities. (Either half as many attendees or twice as many would probably work better.) So the memberships cost more.

    WSFS isn’t selling voting rights. It’s selling memberships in the organization, which include voting rights.

    Cassy B on March 24, 2016 at 11:08 am said:

    Recently re-read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    Every time I read it, I wonder if he patterned the Provisional Congress of Free Luna after the WSFS Business Meeting. They have many similarities. Fortunately, there are no airlocks out of which we can chuck particularly irritating members.

    Sean on March 24, 2016 at 11:20 am said:

    I (and many others) would argue that the prestige is not what it once was. I know opinions will differ on this, but really, it *is* an opinion, one held by a not-insignificant number of people, and not all of them “Puppies” of one stripe or another.

    Yes, and the prestige never was what it once was. The Past Was Always Better than these degraded modern times.

    Does the award still have prestige? Yes. Will it continue as so if the general populace’s tastes diverge from current/future selections? Questionable. Again, opinions will likely vary on this assessment as well as the underlying assumption that Worldcon’s tastes do not wholly represent the tastes of the populace at large.

    You seem to think it’s actually possible to produce a single award that reflects the tastes of every single consumer of SF/F genre entertainment anywhere in the world. How would you go about designing such an award?

    Also, you probably don’t know this, as you’ve only been in fandom a few years, but every thing you’re saying was old when I was new to fandom, and I showed up in 1984. “The greying of Fandom.” The “memberships cost too much.” “Voting should be free.” “The Hugo Awards are not as good as they were in the Good Old Days.” Now that I’m older and have seen what the people older than me were rolling their eyes about when I made these arguments twenty-plus years ago, I understand their reluctance to treat the arguments as a crisis. I suppose this sounds patronizing, and if it does, I apologize. I chafed at such words when I was in my twenties. I decided to get deeply involved and work to change from within. You’re welcome to do the same. But it’s an expensive hobby.

    I had an argument with a “Puppy” who wanted to burn the whole award down, if possible, or let it rot into obscurity and irrelevancy if the tastes promoted became too niche.

    The former (burn it down) is simply being a vandal because other people won’t do work for him and because he wants everyone else to think the same way he does or he’ll throw a tantrum. The latter will happen if the supposition that the tastes are “too niche” and nobody needs to “help” it because that’s just how it is. But as I keep saying, anyone who thinks there should be something better is welcome to set up their own awards. What did your puppy acquaintance say about setting up Real Awards for Real Good Stuff? Nothing, I expect. Most of the people complaining are too lazy to do the work. They want other people to do things for them. I have no respect for such people. I respect people willing to either try to change the system to suit themselves, or set up a new system. I may not agree with their goals, but I respect them being willing to work.

    As to your statement regarding the reason for why the Hugo Awards exist, again, my impression was that they existed to award the best books, not just the best books that a certain subset of people happen to like. This goes back to my branding argument.

    See what I and other have pointed out to you: there is no such thing as an objective standard of literary quality. You’re not going to be able to scan the brains of every human being who has consumed SF/F genre pop-culture works and synthesize their consensus picks, and even if we could, there would still be a massive number of people complaining that such choices were not the “best.”

    4) Create a board position…

    Okay, you’ve stumbled before you even got started. There is no Board of Directors. There is no WSFS Inc. Every Worldcon is a brand new organization, a one-year, one-shot startup convention that shuts down and dissolves when it’s over. There’s almost no permanent organization, and what little we do have has almost no resources. (Indeed, any proposal that discusses putting more resources into the tiny bit of permanent organization we have is met with massive resistance. I can elaborate if you wish. WSFS has had to set up non-profit corporation to hold its intellectual property outside of the USA because non-US government registries don’t grok unincorporated associations. Even setting up Worldcon Intellectual Property has been fraught with challenges at times due to the inherent skepticism of any permanent Worldcon structures. Oh, incidentally, I’m Chairman of WIP/Chairman of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee.)

    The closest thing to what you’re suggesting might be the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee. (Yes, I’m a member of it. Most of what you see on TheHugoAwards.org front page was stuff I wrote.) We do what we can, but we have almost no resources, either money or people. What you’re proposing probably would take a fully-funded position and someone willing to do the work.

    Incidentally, WSFS style is to call it “Worldcon,” not “WorldCon” although that doesn’t affect its service mark status.

  4. @Sean: “The only easy-access thing I proposed was a cost reduction for students,”

    Really? So why did you write it here as…

    2) A third tier as suggested by Lee (with no packet and a reduced cost) would also encourage participation. It might be a good suggestion that it be offered (possibly exclusively) to students to encourage participation in a more under-represented age group.

    That’s pretty unequivocally “more participation by lowering cost barriers” first, with “only for students” a distant second. On top of that, you also said:

    As to [JJ’s] statement regarding the reason for why the Hugo Awards exist, again, my impression was that they existed to award the best books, not just the best books that a certain subset of people happen to like. This goes back to my branding argument.

    See above for my response regarding the value of the Hugo Award vs. divergence from popular opinion. If WorldCon’s tastes become niche, so does the award.

    That sure looks like a preference for Greatest Hits over Best Of to me, as do your exhortations in later paragraphs in favor of broadening the voting pool and advertising to attract newcomers, such as:

    4) Create a board position (if one does not exist already) dedicated to drumming up new participants from untapped or underutilized sources such as: college related organizations (campus newspapers, clubs, creative writing faculty, etc.), major bookstores and online retailer participation (I know B&N does this somewhat by providing a “best of” list but I didn’t observe much of a push toward actual award participation), media outlets with even tangentially related interests, and I’m sure that smarter people than me can think of others.

    Words have meanings, Sean…

  5. Sean on March 24, 2016 at 1:19 pm said:
    JJ

    Thank you for offering insults while everyone else offered discussion.

    And now, back to work.

    I do not appreciate your singling out and isolating JJ as a target.

    Perhaps I missed something particularly egregious in JJ’s comments, but it looked to me like he was being reasonable about his views.

    Nor do I think the comparison to “everyone else” is proper. It smacks of trying to pick one target and isolate and shame him.

    Possibly I am being prickly. These are trying times.

  6. @Rev Bob Words have meanings, Sean…

    You’d think Fans and authors would understand that. Words are what books are made up of after all.

    You know I’m getting tired of people telling Worldcon fandom how to do things who haven’t bothered to read Worldcon.org to understand how things work.

    How can they possibly judge The best SFF if they don’t have a grasp of basic English?

  7. There are times JJ has been sharp and dismissive and very much “not suffering a fool gladly”. (Nor are they the only Filer of whom this is true, myself included).

    This discussion has not been one of them. Unless I missed something, and after that, i skimmed back to look at JJ’s last remarks to be sure, and I didn’t see anything obvious.

  8. @Rev Bob

    I believe you do me a disservice. First you quibble over the way I suggested a reduced price for student members… Really? Out of everything I wrote, your going after semantics? Thanks.

    Second, as to your “Greatest Hits” argument, it’s not terribly clear, but you appear to be arguing that increasing participation (even without a mention of lowered price) is somehow cheapening the Hugo Award. If I got that wrong, please correct.

    In case there’s a misperception, the four suggestions I made were not a, “THESE MUST ALL PASS OR THE HUGOS DIE!” type argument. I think they’re good ideas but not all necessarily good together. You seemed pretty quick to pounce and I hope that’s not what you were pouncing on because it’s not what I meant.

    In general, my suggestions were aimed at two goals: (1) increasing participation in the Hugo Awards in general, and (2) making it easier for new-comers to participate. I want to boost the signal.

    Why? Well, it’s personal really. For decades I had no idea that I could be included in the Hugo process, included in giving out awards to Science Fiction and Fantasy, something I’ve loved, lived, and breathed since childhood. Then, low and behold, someone tells me all I have to do is pay $40 and I get a chance to award authors I’ve loved for years.

    I know I’m no special snowflake and that there are dozens like me out there who grew up flying spaceships and fighting dragons (and avoiding jocks). So, I want to boost the signal so that people who care will come participate.

    Quibble over my wording, doubt my intentions, do as you please, but my reasons are what I stated above. The rules allow for anyone who loves science fiction and fantasy to celebrate the works they love if they buy a membership. I want people to know they at least have the opportunity to do so if they are willing to invest the time and money needed to read books and buy a membership.

    Yes, words have meaning, and I mean all the words I just wrote.

  9. I do owe JJ a huge apology. I am deeply sorry. The comments were coming from another poster, stating that I was showing up with a “big bag of ignorance” and was “woefully ignorant.”

    I won’t name names because apparently that’s not polite.

    I am very sorry JJ. You did not deserve that.

  10. @Sean
    But all you had to do to learn you could vote in the Hugos was do a little research on them. Even before the Internet I’m pretty sure the information wasn’t difficult to find. Post the Internet if you were interested in the Hugos you just had to Google to learn.

    Who is supposed to fund this outreach you want to see? You want to lower the cost of entrance and spend money to get new people… Geez I feel like I’m talking government budgets now… Where is this money to come from?

    And again why would more voters make the Hugos better? I’m not convinced they would be. Do you think the Goodreads People’s Choice awards do a better job at picking the best SFF novels? They have tens of thousands of voters. I don’t see publishers rushing to reprint books to note it’s won that award. So I’m not convinced more voters solves anything except possibly keeping slaters from overwhelming the ballot. But that rarely happens and we are changing the rules, as we have in the past, to deal with the issue.

  11. @Tasha

    Life gets busy, and as I stated previously, I stopped paying attention to the Hugo for quite some time, since my late teens actually. Most people don’t just wake up one day and go looking for awards to participate in, so it took authors (writing excuses et. al.) boosting the signal before it ever occurred to me to look.

    As to the rest, even with a boosted signal most people aren’t going to cough up $40 unless they are invested and love SFF. Those people aren’t wanted?

  12. I think everyone involved with the Hugos would be happy to see some expansion (and there has been some, even before the slates started); the question is to what extent. Twice the current number would be good; twenty times, not so much. But some people, including but not confined to Puppy supporters, do seem to think that an increase of that level is required if the Hugos are to be truly legitimate.

    Personally, I would much rather not be a voter, or at least a nominator, though I feel forced to be one by the slates. I would be rather be one of the audience to whom the Hugos are addressed, and let people more knowledgeable than me pick out stuff to recommend to me. So it’s not fear of my vote being diluted that makes me want to keep the voting body relatively small.

    Also, I just want to clarify that my endorsement of a third tier of membership was meant to apply only to students or other specially designated groups, not to all and sundry.

  13. @Sean: “First you quibble over the way I suggested a reduced price for student members… Really? Out of everything I wrote, your going after semantics? Thanks.”

    First, semantics are how we communicate. Fail on that and you fail, period.

    Second, as I cited, you did not merely suggest a “student price” – you suggested a reduced price with the added possibility of restricting it to students.

    I believe you do me a disservice.

    I quoted your post and held you to what you wrote in it, rather than accepting your claim that you said something else. If doing so is a disservice, so be it.

    Second, as to your “Greatest Hits” argument, it’s not terribly clear, but you appear to be arguing that increasing participation (even without a mention of lowered price) is somehow cheapening the Hugo Award. If I got that wrong, please correct.

    Let’s consider an extreme example for a moment.

    In theory, Worldcon could have increased participation this year by putting a write-in line on U.S. presidential primary ballots and extending the franchise to millions of people. Do you think that would have given good results? I don’t. I think that would render the awards meaningless, contaminated by the votes of droves of people who neither know nor care about the field. Wouldn’t you agree?

    The way I see it:

    1. The Hugos have always been Worldcon’s award, chosen by its membership.
    2. The Hugos have attained prestige as a “best of” award. They have a reputation for selecting quality work.
    3. You wish to increase participation, explicitly by using publicity and reduced costs to attract “new participants […] with even tangentially related interests.”
    4. If successful, that tactic would tilt the results toward popularity instead of quality.
    5. Rewarding popularity is counterproductive to the stated goal of maintaining or increasing the prestige earned by decades of picking “the best.”

    Therefore, I reject your strategy as unwise. I prefer the current method, where people who are sufficiently driven to participate need to do a little legwork to find out how. Such people are more likely to judge on quality rather than popularity, which means their goals are a better fit for the purpose of Maintaining The Hugos’ Prestigious Reputation – or, as I prefer to think of it, Giving Awards To Good Stuff.

    I mentioned Fifty Shades of Grey earlier. I don’t think either of us would deny that it is both hugely popular and badly written. You may notice that it hasn’t won any awards. (Okay, the movie got some recognition for its soundtrack. Not the same thing.) That strikes me as how things should be. Your proposals appear to favor works like that (popular/bad) over the reverse (obscure/good). I think that’s a Bad Idea. If it were a plan, it would probably result in the loss of hats.

    Would I like to see more people voting in the Hugos? Depends on who they are, honestly. If they can’t tell good writing from bad, I’d rather they stayed away. If they read half a dozen books per year, maybe they lack the necessary breadth to judge the wider field. On the other hand, if they read enough to know good storytelling and structure when they see it, if they can distinguish between “I like it” and “it’s good,” and if they’re determined enough that they’ll dig in and find the really-not-secret-at-all requirements to participate – step right up, with my blessing!

    Maybe that makes me an elitist. Well, the goal is to reward The Best. That’s an elite purpose. I’ve known for years that Worldcon picks the Hugos, but I never wanted to participate. Why? Because I tend to read stuff that’s no longer eligible, and I would rather let those who read a wider array of newer works speak to that. They have more of a handle on The Best Of The Field than I do; I am better off listening to their opinions than venturing my own… especially if my voice might negate theirs. (And with the 5% rule, it can!)

    You want to advertise everywhere to attract every casual reader and reward popularity. I’d prefer reaching out to dedicated fans so they can reward quality. Picking quality works year after year results in a body of winners that can justly be called classics. Popularity… well, that fades, and quickly. Ask Tito Jackson.

  14. @Sean …As to the rest, even with a boosted signal most people aren’t going to cough up $40 unless they are invested and love SFF. Those people aren’t wanted?

    I don’t know. As I said I’ve seen what’s voted over on Goodreads for years. I’m not sure adding tons more voters is going to help the Hugos rather than hurt them. If what gets voted simply becomes what’s on the bestselling charts that year what do you need an award for?

    Hugo voters are people who take time to search out and look for more. To read more. To get outside their comfort zone. Are the new voters your proposing bringing in those kinds of readers? Or are they grabbing what’s on the SFF bestselling list and front tables at B&N?

    What has made the Hugos prestigious is the kinds of books a small group has voted on year after year.

    And sorry for being practical but again where is the money coming from. Do you have any idea how much out-of-pocket money the typical bid to host/put on a Worldcon cost people? Do you know what it cost to put on a Worldcon and to run the Hugos? Do you know how little, if any, money is left over after paying the bills?

  15. The fact that a small group of people vote on the Hugos each year has also made them incestuous as well, with the same TV shows, authors, editors, and fans showing up on ballots year after year. Does that increase or decrease the prestige?

  16. @Sean:

    You actually answered your question within the question.

    Pretty much from their inception, the group voting has been small and there have been names appearing regularly on the ballot. If that quality had a negative effect on the award’s prestige, it would have never built up the reputation it has built.

    What you point out about a small group voting has been part of the process all along.

  17. @Sean
    I see your going to ignore how to fund increasing the voters. Typical. But ok.

    The fact that a small group of people vote on the Hugos each year has also made them incestuous as well, with the same TV shows, authors, editors, and fans showing up on ballots year after year. Does that increase or decrease the prestige?

    It’s been something which has been happening since the beginning. There is a place on Worldcon.org to see who the nominees/finalist were for every year. So I’d have to say based on our history it helps.

    For the most part many of us don’t understand the editor categories. I don’t believe increasing the number of voters will fix the problem there. Kevin Standlee is making a few proposals at the business meeting this year. We’ll see how that goes. Only attending members get to vote on business meeting items so a very small number of WSFS members get to decide on items.

    This year a number of new resources popped up to help people learn about eligible items. I have a list of 15-20 resources which I either wasn’t aware of or didn’t exist prior to this year to help with the problem of the same people showing up every year. For all we know this will hurt the prestige of the Hugos because it’s going to change them.

  18. Rev. Bob:

    I mentioned Fifty Shades of Grey earlier. I don’t think either of us would deny that it is both hugely popular and badly written. You may notice that it hasn’t won any awards. (Okay, the movie got some recognition for its soundtrack. Not the same thing.)

    You’re being unfair here. The movie got some awards – in fact it received no less than four Razzie awards: Worst Actor, Worst Actress, Worst Screen Combo, and a tie with Fantastic Four for the coveted Worst Movie.

    (Which really just proves your point.)

    On the subject of more voters, it’s worth noting that getting involved in Hugo voting is easier today than for most of the award’s history. Before blogs and social media knowledge of the award process was less accessible to anyone not involved in convention-going fandom. And before online voting people had to mail in their ballots. If it’s really true that the award have lust its lustre the last decade, it seems to me that weeding out voters by making it harder to participate – for example reinstating mail-in ballots – is a more logical response than advertising for more voters.

  19. Sean: Does that increase or decrease the prestige?

    That’s been a subject of debate since the Sixties.

    Of course that’s not a real problem in the flagship categories — like Best Novel, dubbed “the Big One” by George R.R. Martin — which are for works of fiction that have only one year of eligibility.

    But be fair — if the Hugo electorate grew by an order of magnitude do you think it LESS likely that Game of Thrones and Doctor Who episodes are going to get nominated?

  20. Tasha Turner on March 24, 2016 at 5:10 pm said:

    For the most part many of us don’t understand the editor categories. I don’t believe increasing the number of voters will fix the problem there. Kevin Standlee is making a few proposals at the business meeting this year.

    Probably not. While I think they are good ideas and having George RR Martin as a co-sponsor does not hurt, there are two reasons against my proposing them this year:

    1. Another crowded agenda, including what I expect to be a long, drawn-out, and contentious debate over the ratification of EPH.
    2. I’m chair of the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki. I would of course have to recuse myself from presiding over the ratification consideration of any proposal for which I’m one of the proponents. That was bad enough this past year when I had to step out of the chair for the debate on Popular Ratification, but having to do up up to six times? I might as well resign from chairing Helsinki’s meeting.

    At the moment, the earliest I can see proposing those six items is 2018.

  21. @Sean,
    It was some years ago that I discovered that I too could nominate and vote in the Hugo awards by becoming a member of the WSFS and paying its dues. I discovered this online, and while online, also availed myself of the large number of easily findable resources to educate myself on the workings of WSFS, Worldcon & the Hugo awards. That’s how many of us come to participate. Through this small amount of effort, I have become informed, so when you suggest changes to the WSFS, Worlcon & the Hugo awards that betray your lack of knowledge, it’s not surprising that your suggestions are not being taken seriously. If you can’t make even the minimal effort to find out, why should I bother to listen to you?

  22. JJ: Okay, I see the distinction you’re making here. I still don’t agree with it, but it’s a reasonable argument. However, my statement about the problem of this for people on fixed incomes still stands. I’d be willing to contribute to a hardship fund, to which people could apply for financial assistance — but I don’t think that solves the problem either, because (1) someone would have to administer it and (2) it would be subject to all the same means-testing issues as any other kind of financially-based assistance program, which is something I don’t think we want to get into.

    Kevin: Thank you for the update — I wasn’t aware of that. Okay, that means my idea is dead in the water. x_x

    Andrew. Allow me to remind you that the packet is a relatively new development. A nice one, I’ll grant you — but as recently as 10 years ago, every one of us had to spend our own time and money hunting down the nominees that we hadn’t already read, and we handled it just fine.

  23. Lee on March 24, 2016 at 5:50 pm said:

    Andrew. Allow me to remind you that the packet is a relatively new development. A nice one, I’ll grant you — but as recently as 10 years ago, every one of us had to spend our own time and money hunting down the nominees that we hadn’t already read, and we handled it just fine.

    Furthermore, there’s no guarantee it will continue. Worldcons aren’t required to do it, and rights-holders are not (and cannot possibly be) required to give free access to their works. It’s a boon granted by Worldcons and rights holders, not an entitlement.

  24. The fact that a small group of people vote on the Hugos each year has also made them incestuous as well, with the same TV shows, authors, editors, and fans showing up on ballots year after year. Does that increase or decrease the prestige?

    It certainly hasn’t reduced their prestige, since that’s the way the awards have been since their inception. Once again, you’re trying to solve a problem that doesn’t really exist.

    Your premise isn’t very well backed by reality either. From 2003-2013, for example, 32 different authors received nominations for Best Novel. The other fiction categories were similarly diverse in author representation. 16 different television shows received nominations for Short Form Dramatic Presentation (with 8 more nominees that weren’t part of a longer television show). Fan Writer and Fan Artist are less diverse, but they had 18 and 12 different nominees over the period in question (and had become remarkably more varied in the later years in this time frame). Editor wasn’t split into two categories until 2007, but from 2007 to 2013 Short Form had 9 different nominees and Long Form had 13.

  25. Sean:

    Rather than continuing to rebut the same arguments you keep making again and again — especially since others have done so — I’ll just say this.

    1) Your impression of what the Hugo Awards are intended to be is mistaken. Lots of people have told you this, but you keep insisting that the Hugo Awards must be changed to fit your mistaken impression of what they are.

    2) Yes, I absolutely believe that when it comes to picking the works that Worldcon members feel most worthy of recognition, Worldcon members believe that they are more qualified to do so than the general public. You call this “obscurity”. I call it “the people who have created the awards program and nurtured it for 60+ years deciding who should get the awards”.

    3) Your insistence that more nominators would consolidate around the best quality choices runs contrary to well-established history. It wouldn’t make the Hugos less gameable by slates. It would merely increase the length of the Hugo nominations’ long tail; the current process would still be just as vulnerable to a group of bad actors like the Puppies.

    5) If, as you say, the number of Worldcon members who believe as you do that the Hugo Awards should be changed to a general popularity award rather than an award for quality given by people who are widely-read in SFF and take the nominating process very seriously, then you should have no problem at all getting them together in a virtual group, drawing up your proposals for changes to the WSFS Constitution, publicizing those changes to successfully garner widespread support by Worldcon members, and going to the morning Business Meetings at MidAmeriCon II and persuading the vast majority of attendees to vote for them.

    I can pretty much tell you right now how that will go — this thread is a microcosm of the response you’re going to get. But far be it from me to discourage a Worldcon member from attempting to make what they perceive to be positive changes.

     
    Sean: I had an argument with a “Puppy” who wanted to burn the whole award down, if possible, or let it rot into obscurity and irrelevancy if the tastes promoted became too niche. I did not want either outcome as it is an award I have loved and appreciated in the past

    The Puppies don’t have the ability to do either of those things, so you can rest easy on that count.

  26. In the last year I heard Kendrick Lamar’s “We Gon’ Be Alright” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” I should absolutely be voting on the most prestigious hip-hop awards this year. Only having people who heard a lot of new hip-hop last year vote on what song was best would be elitism.

  27. @Kevin Standlee At the moment, the earliest I can see proposing those six items is 2018.

    Very good reasons. I’m not as unhappy as I would have been 6 months ago as I’ve figured some of the editor stuff out. I’m still in favor of your changes and hope to be well enough to be attending Worldcon then to vote in support.

  28. @Sean – The rules allow for anyone who loves science fiction and fantasy to celebrate the works they love if they buy a membership. I want people to know they at least have the opportunity to do so if they are willing to invest the time and money needed to read books and buy a membership.

    Sean, I think you’re trying for an organizational fix and ignoring the possibility that you can, all by yourself, start a change. For instance, the rules do allow for anyone who loves SFF to vote for the works they love. I have had times in my life where $40 would have been a huge barrier to entry (and represented about twice my annual book buying income), so I’m pretty sensitive to the issue of cost as it affects others. However, I don’t think reducing the cost of a supporting membership is the way to go, because WSFC is already a lean organization.

    Con or Bust offers a good model of an alternative approach, one that operates independently of any particular con organization. SF fans are, so far as I can tell, a very generous group, if given the opportunity. So, how about setting up a scholarship and then fundraising for it?

    If you want more people to know they have the opportunity to nominate and vote, why not get the Wikipedia entry changed so that information is included? The entry already has problems, so it might not be difficult to enlist an editor’s help, if this isn’t something you feel able to do.

  29. @Mark (Kitteh): Groovy, I’ll try the e-sample for London Falling. Thanks for the rec!

    @JJ: Thanks for the offer to lend me the ebook, but it looks like I may not need it, with the info you gave me. The first “Jonathan Hamilton” link on the Cornell page still works (the story from Fast Forward 2), and . . . huh, I have the next two stories on my computer (a PDF and an EPUB) – maybe from a Hugo packet?! I tend to keep the short fiction till I read the stories, which may take forever, granted. Anyway, I’ll start with these three, thanks!

  30. Spam, Spam, Spam, eggs, pixels, and Spam.

    I put the ebook of a New Yorker humor collection called Fierce Pajamas on my wish list. Today I saw a used paperback of it for $6, and didn’t pick it up (well, I did, but just to thumb through it) because if I buy it, it’ll just end up in the middle of a grouping (I won’t say “pile” — working too hard to make that not so) somewhere that will never be read. At least if it’s a file I never read, it won’t add to the fuel load of my house.

    So much stuff we don’t need. So hard to pare down the load of books we have. I don’t want to saddle my daughter with the task of having to dump them all some day.

    Hey, that turned depressing fast. Cheerier subject: ebooks from Gutenberg and Archive.org. And memory isn’t expensive now.

  31. @JJ: Isn’t it odd how Worldcon members are the best at picking “works that Worldcon members feel most worthy of recognition.” Why isn’t this obvious to everyone who thinks the Hugos need “fixing”?!

    (Edited to fix typo; I should’ve copied/pasted when quoting you, whoops.)

    @Sean: Re. confusing JJ with someone else – well, all commenters do look type alike. 😉

    All this stuff about the Hugos has been discussed before here, BTW. There’s nothing really new here, including the reality-free claim that the Hugos “are meant to” (or should, or do) represent anyone other than who they do (Worldcon members who vote). So I’ll say “yeah, that they said” to 95% or more of what’s been said.

  32. Kip W. – Shouldn’t that be “Scroll, scroll, scroll, eggs, pixels, and scroll”?

  33. Scroll, scroll, scroll your page, gently down the stream
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a pixel

    /god-stalk

  34. Sean,

    I definitely understand that you feel the Hugo process has been opaque; that’s there’s a gap between how many people respect the Hugo, and how many people understand that it’s open to their participation.

    I’m 100% behind the idea that Hugo, and its nature, being better-known. But, I think it needs to be understood that its nature is complex.

    The Hugo is obviously not a juried award, but it’s not your standard popular award either. It’s a particular blend between the two, which has evolved over time, and it’s part of what makes the Hugos unique (and prestigious). Camestros described this well, saying the Hugos “work more like a juried vote, but with a very large jury.” To some extent, what those $40 are for are to say, “I want to be part of the jury for this one.”

    You have a sense of how a judge on a juried award should be doing his job – he should read lots and lots, he should learn the rules and intricacies of the awards, he should understand the spirit of the award he’s judging, what qualities the award is trying to recognize (or, if not “understand,” have a strong view of, which is not too far off from that of the rest of the jury and the readership).

    Similarly, I think that Hugos and Worldcon enthusiasts have a strong sense of what they “expect” from Hugo nominators and voters. It’s not a juried award, and those expectations aren’t anywhere near as high as they would be for a “real” award judge. But it’s also very, very far from positing an ideal of “everybody with an opinion should vote.” As you say, what we want is participants who care. And what we want is participants who understand the system, who care – not about one particular author, but about what the Hugos are and what they’re trying to do.

    (Circular? To be sure. So it goes.)

    Here’s an observation which, to me, is very much “what the Hugos are about”: To me, the least important thing about the Hugos is who winds up taking home the rocket. The Hugos are an imperfect mechanism; I’m never going to love everything on the shortlist and I might not like the winner at all. Sometimes, the actual winner is the piece that has the most consensus, the lowest-common-denominator on a shortlist whose individual works may be very niche.

    But the shortlist… the shortlist is great. Because I get a huge number of things to read, and those pieces get an immense amount of attention, reviews, and discussion. And what I really love is the nomination season – because that’s when people are reviewing and discussing and looking for undiscovered gems. Even if I wind up hating the entire Hugo ballot, all I need is a couple of bloggers whose tastes I do like, because they’re going to be devoting lots of attention to reviewing things that are to my taste.

    And that’s a dynamic you just can’t get anywhere else. A juried award’s discussions are closed; there’s no community involved. A popular award is broad, nobody’s going in-depth because no depth is expected from the voters. But the Hugos let you join the jury, let everyone who wants to join the jury. And being there, discussing things you love, comparing reactions and spotlighting favorites — that’s something really special.

    This, I think, is part of what us Filers are saying when we say you’re trying to fix something that doesn’t need fixing. We’d like greater participation, sure. But it needs to be participation of the right kind. That’s a delicate balance to achieve – and hey, look, we’ve pretty much already achieved it.

    People have been saying the Hugos are broken for basically forever. That the wrong works are being recognized. YAY! — that’s part of the discussion. And if they’re pointing out what’s being neglected and missed, and they’re doing so well, and people are persuaded — YAY! that kind of stuff will get more attention, whether expressed in rocket awards, or otherwise.

    The Hugos work. They’re not perfect, they’re not to everyone’s taste – but then, they can’t possibly be. But they’re a magnificent focal point for a community of engaged, enthusiastic readers – which anyone can join, be it with membership and voting, or even just by joining in on the discussion.

    And if that sounds awesome to you, then: Welcome in!

  35. @Standback
    Well put. I think there is one added piece of confusion. When people first tell someone about the Hugos they frequently use words like anyone can vote. I’ve had this said to me and heard/said it to people at conventions where it’s likely the person is an active SFF reader. I’ve seen it said on SFF blogs also where again it’s a safe assumption this is a person who seeks out SFF. In both cases one assumes* the people they are addressing will become active in Worldcon fandom online and/or in person if they take the steps to become a WSFS member. For many of us once we’ve taken the first step within a year or two we’ll seek out online spaces to discuss Hugos because nominating, eligibility, and voting is more complicated than our recruiters led us to believe.

    *yeah I know don’t assume. Literature changed hands at conventions where I’ve seen it said/said it for people to learn more.

  36. I had an argument with a “Puppy” who wanted to burn the whole award down, if possible, or let it rot into obscurity and irrelevancy if the tastes promoted became too niche.

    I want to say, as a philosophical point, that it is okay if the Hugos (and WorldCon) fade away. Some people seem to be so concerned that something that they like remain around forever. They do not seem to understand or accept the fact that the future belongs to someone else. Rev. B and Jim Hines mentioned the music analogy–I, like many aging people, think that a large percentage of the music “kids these days” listen to is crap. But that’s okay, because my music is the music of the 1990s and earlier. The future of music doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to today’s tweens and teens.

    Thousands of people today enjoy participating in WorldCon. If, as those members age out and die, they aren’t replaced and the Hugos and WorldCon dies out with them through attrition, that is okay, too. Only the present and past of WorldCon belongs to current members, not the distant future. If the adults of the future don’t want WorldCon and prefer their own types of conventions and awards instead, that is okay, because the future belongs to them, not to current members

    I wonder if the idea among the puppies (and some non-puppies) that WorldCon must have outreach and tradition must be maintained comes through (apparently) a majority of them, at least among the visible leadership, belonging to one evangelical branch of religion or the other, where constant recruitment is central to the beliefs.

  37. @Darren: That’s a very good point. A lot of what we’re saying is, let the Hugos succeed or fail on their own merit. If the Hugos lose their relevance, they’ll have done that by being what they are, not by trying to please everybody and chase the crowd.

    That being said, your musings about evangelical religion strike me as very condescending. That’s two-cent psychology, and very unflattering at that.

  38. It’s a good point.

    I think the confusion is more likely to come from people seeing the awards/Worldcons as a business (partly because winning a Hugo has become a thing in the publishing business). If people are used to talking about how to publicise their books to get more readers and make more money, they might apply the same reasoning to the Hugos. Increase the market by increasing the voting membership! Quite apart from the fact that this may actually make the Hugos less prestigious (people have brought up the Goodreads awards), its missing the point of the awards.

    The Hugos are the awards given by Worldcon members to the things they like. If Worldcon members and the wider public have different tastes, that is not a problem for the awards.

  39. That being said, your musings about evangelical religion strike me as very condescending. That’s two-cent psychology, and very unflattering at that.

    I don’t see how, unless you are using a very restricted definition of the word “evangelical.” The word “evangelical” and the word “religion” do not need to be coupled, it just happens that the most populous evangelical groups in the West are religious ones, and the sad puppy leadership largely belongs to notoriously evangelical ones. An evangelical group is a group where the individual members actively solicit for new membership, often (but not always) aggressively, and often (though not always) as a key interest of the individuals and groups. I’m evangelical about book recommendations, for example. People caught up in their webs are evangelical about MLM schemes, for another example. I stand by what I said absolutely 117.5%.

  40. If the adults of the future don’t want WorldCon and prefer their own types of conventions and awards instead, that is okay,

    That is a good point. And I’d like to add: Changing to survive brings you into the grandfather’s axe paradox: If all parts of the axe have been replaced since my grandfather owned it, is it still my grandfather’s axe? If Worldcon changes beyond recognition, is it still Worldcon that’s being kept alive?

    If Goodread’s Reader’s Choice becomes a more prestigious award than Hugo, then so be it. That doesn’t mean the Hugo must become just like it to compete.

    And as for the comment from the puppy about letting the Hugo rot into obscurity: If the puppies shifted to a strategy of ignoring the Hugo in an attempt to let it become obscure, I think the rest of fandom would only be happy.

  41. Anne Sheller
    It could have been, but at the hour I was writing, I felt like Spam was the way to go. I like Spam! I’m having Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, scroll, eggs, pixels, and Spam!

    Dang, it’s hard to avoid earlier inspiration with these titles. Looking back at threads from before I joined in, I fear that having seen something from September, I’ll suddenly come up with it tomorrow and think it’s new. I try not to look too closely.

    Meanwhile: Shake, rattle, and scroll! Laissez les bons pixels scrouler! Keep on smurfin’! I mean scrollin’.

  42. Darren Garrison – Yes. That was my reaction to the Oscars this year – they’ve become irrelevant to the way dramatic entertainment has evolved. Time to just fade away.

  43. @Standback further up thread,
    So the Hugo awards are about discussing books? What a very Filerian view!
    Actually I agree with your excellent comment; the Hugos are like a juried award except with a much bigger jury and with much of the jury discussion public & open to participation.

  44. So the Hugo awards are about discussing books? What a very Filerian view!

    Hey, that’s what I get out of ’em. 😛

  45. It sometimes seems like some among the Puppies expect fandom to be so ferociously attached to the idea of the prestige of our traditions that we could be shamed into unethical behavior in order to scrabble to preserve the tattered heritage of respectability of our traditions rather than let things fade with time if they become irrelevant.

  46. Lee:

    Andrew. Allow me to remind you that the packet is a relatively new development. A nice one, I’ll grant you — but as recently as 10 years ago, every one of us had to spend our own time and money hunting down the nominees that we hadn’t already read, and we handled it just fine.

    Sure; but the packet has allowed the Hugo votership to expand. Taking it away in the course of promoting further expansion seems very strange. If the point of the reduced rate membership is to benefit financially disadvantaged people, then making them pay for the books seems counterproductive.

    And yes, I know it’s not guaranteed. That’s actually relevant here; a really massive increase in the number of voters would almost certainly endanger it. It depends on a bet by publishers that the new readers they will get by a possible win is greater than the number of people who will get the packet. It fits in with the idea of the award as a recommendation, which implies that awards come quite early in a book’s life cycle, before the majority of people read it. If we lose the packet, I think we either go back to a more restricted group of voters, or have a lot of people voting on things they have not read, voting only for the one thing they are a fan of.

    I remain mystified by the idea that a greater number of voters would increase the variety of winners. Goodreads shows that this is not so. It would increase the variety of things that are in consideration, but the most popular would keep winning – unless some kind of randomiser were introduced; then greater variety of nominees would indeed lead to greater variety of finalists and winners.

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