A report from the battlefields of science fiction. Some are declaring victory, others are in pain.
“On Anger, Power and Displacement in the Hugos (part one of possibly several)” – April 22
Americans hated the [Vietnam] war, so when the soldiers returned home, they displaced their anger onto the soldiers, reviling them, spitting on them and calling them baby killers.
Then, over the course of the next few decades, we grew to understand that we’d made a terrible mistake. So when next group of soldiers came home from a war that many Americans didn’t support, we didn’t spit and we didn’t call names. We’d learned that it was wrong to displace our anger onto the easy target. We said “Thank you for your service” even if we disagreed with the war.
But I don’t think we’ve learned that in the SFF community yet because we’re displacing our anger all over some of the Hugo nominees.
Vox Day spoke our names without our consent, and because of that we have been bullied in the news media and all over the internet. The women among us have been reviled as misogynist men, the minorities have been reviled as white racists, and the QUILTBAG authors and allies have been reviled as straight homophobes. We have been called assholes, bitches, mongrels, yapping curs, talentless hacks and so many more things that I can’t even name them all. I have seen at least one suggestion that all of us should be euthanized, a euphemism and allegedly funny word for murder.
There’s a trope made famous by Anita Sarkeesian that in the game of patriarchy, women aren’t the opposing team, they’re the ball. There’s a contingent that’s going to be upset that I’ve name checked Sarkeesian, but her comment is applicable to the Hugos, too. In the Hugo debate, the nominees aren’t the opposing team. We’re the ball.
We’re being kicked and bullied and savaged all over the internet.
And it hurts.
Brad R. Torgersen
“Why do it?” – April 21
That the field’s betters went full-force destruct-o-matic on me — because I invited the proles to the democracy — was not a surprise. They (the betters) had a media apparatus tailor-made for their bogeyman narrative, and they used this apparatus according to the playbook. Sad Puppies 3 got unceremoniously shoved into the role of Black Hat, and myself along with it.
But it’s worth all the drama, because the betters don’t “own” this field. If they ever did? When David Gerrold holds forth from his Fandom pulpit about “no forgiveness” and all that dire talk, he’s speaking to — at best — a collection of maybe one thousand people. Perhaps the pool of total Keep-Us-Pure-And-Holy-Fans is not even that large anymore? It’s difficult to say. A lot of them are passing on. They’re being replaced by new kids who seem obsessed with identitarian politics — which, not ironically, makes them a perfect fit for the Holy Church of the Peoples Republic of Science Fiction — but the replacement rate may not be enough to make up the difference.
Ultimately, the consumer market votes with its collective wallet. You can’t herd those cats, no matter how earnest and pure your motives. Nobody likes a preachy scold. And right now, that’s pretty much the only face being presented by Gerrold and the sundry opponents of SP3: preachy scolds. Dolores Umbridge!
Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – April 21
If several of the people you thought you were benefiting by your plan to game the Hugos start withdrawing themselves from consideration, saying they don’t want your help and don’t want to be associated with it, then maybe the explanation is that it’s not at all helpful.
Maybe you’re not right. Maybe you’re not helpful. Maybe you’re not constructive. Maybe the room is trying to stop you before you embarrass yourself further.
Or maybe it’s all of a sign of the great big SJW conspiracy and you’re the world’s last correct man.
They did laugh at Galileo. They did laugh at Einstein. They did laugh at Jonas Salk.
But really: they also laughed at Peewee Herman.
Adam-Troy Castro on Facebook – April 22
“If No Award wins in any category, it will prove the SP3 contention that the Hugos are being gamed, and that the bullies have won.”–Arlan Andrews
Really, Arlan? Really?
It can’t mean anything else?
Like the votership deciding that the slate had promoted a group of largely subpar fiction?
Like the votership rejecting this very ballot as being gamed?
And if a Sad Puppy story wins, how does that prove, by your logic, that bullies haven’t won?
Jeet Heer on Storify
“Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, and Personal Taste” – April 17
10. The Sad Puppies slate & the Rabid Puppy slate are political lists by their very nature, not reflections of personal taste.
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) April 18, 2015
Adult Onset Atheist
“The Once and Future Hugo” – April 21
The 2015 Hugo awards are an attack on a secular future because they attack our ability to communicate what we think of a future. Even if that future is far in the past in some alternate universe.
What can be done? If the ballots are rigged using shadow voters then Worldcon should use some of the money that the new voters spent on membership fees, and validate that these new members actually exist. We could call on publishers to ignore the 2015 Hugo awards. A couple nominees, and one presenter, have declined their invitations to participate; we could ask more presenters and participants to refuse to participate. In any convention the exhibitors are a big factor in the event’s success, we could ask exhibitors to send a note of protest instead of a display. We could all also pony up $40.00 and vote for “No Award” (although I am not sure memberships are still open). One of the most damaging things this really shows is how easily Hugos can be bought. The cost of the 2015 Hugos will end up being less than the marketing budget of a small Finish-based close-to-vanity press publisher like Castalia House. If the Hugos turn into a bidding war then Worldcon should do something amazing with the extra revenue; like build a space ship or even a future where everyone is really smart and good looking, or just a talking cloud of pulsating colored energy.
I would suggest that Worldcon make a time machine, but I do not trust them to use such an awesome super power for good, and they already have one. For the past couple years Worldcon has awarded retro Hugos for items published before there were Hugos. They call them “retro Hugos”. In alternative 1939 (2014) Ayn Rand’s novella titled “Anthem” was nominated for a Hugo. It did not win, but solidly beat “No Award” by about 100 votes in the 5th round of voting. In real 1939 few people read, and fewer liked, Rand’s dystopian novella. In alternative 1939 it was one of the five best novellas. I’ve always wondered why, when people time travel back to the beginning of world war II, they can’t go and kill Adolph Hitler.
John C. Wright
“Do presently lose all desire for light” – April 22
A man with a PhD in English holds forth on my hidden neofascism:
“If you got John C. Wright drunk at the bar, you could get him to admit that he thinks transhumanism and black people are ugly for the same reason.”
Actually, I am a teetotaler, and I always tell the truth, and I have absolutely no inhibitions about telling the truth requiring the seduction of wine to overcome. It will come as a surprise to my adopted daughter that I am a racist, I assure you.
Someone who pretends to know me well enough to discern the secret and yet strangely always discreditable workings of my hidden heart would know those two things about me.
This is the way of evil. Evil lies because no one is attracted to evil when its nature is clear. The lie serves only limited use, and must be extended and expanded in order to maintain credibility. The lie metastasizes, and grows to a point when no sane man can believe it any longer.
Geek Lady on The Care and Feeding of Geeks
“On ‘Publication’ As Defined By the Hugo Awards” – April 22
All of these situations constitute “first presentation to the public.”
Other people are publishing serially these days, especially during the NaNoWriMo events. When does that become ‘published’? Serialized fiction is nothing new, but publication is (I think) dated to the compilation of the whole work. But if you’ve posted each section of your novel to your blog as you write it, does it become compiled, and hence published the minute you post the last section?
This is a level of granularity that is impossible to monitor. The Hugo Awards Committee, consisting of mere men, cannot possibly monitor every avenue of publication under their very own definition of what constitutes published. It doesn’t even matter whether malfeasance is involved or not. Things will inevitably fall through the cracks in their omniscience, which makes their definition functionally useless.
Now, I’m a helpful sort of person, and I would be remiss if I sat here complaining about something’s inherent stupidity without providing a possible solution, so here is my idea:
Let date of first publication be set to the first association of an ISBN, ISSN, or registered copyright with a specific work.
This provides a simple, verifiable, and (most importantly) unarguable date of publication. It is accessible to any method of publishing: traditional, indie, or self publication. And it would put an end to the pointless bickering caused by wishy washy subjective guidelines.
Kevin Standlee on Fandom Is My Way of Life
“Worldcon Supporting Memberships Aren’t Pure Profit” – April 22
There are people on all sides of Puppygate who are talking blissfully about the vast sums of money that must be flowing into the coffers of Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention?. By the look of some of the comments, you’d think that the committee must be building Unca Scrooge’s Money Bin on the banks of the Spokane River. Y’all need some perspective. I do not speak with inside information for this Worldcon on this subject. I speak as someone who chaired a Worldcon and had to sweat over a budget.
1. Despite what you may think, a Supporting membership is not 100% “profit” to the convention selling it. You may think, “Oh, it’s money for nothing at all!” (which is the argument people use to say it should be $5 or free), but it does cost the convention resources to service the membership. This is what’s known as variable cost: the amount the convention’s costs go up every time they sell a membership. That includes paper publications and postage expenses for every member who requests them, and that’s not trivial. In fact, for non-US-based members, it may well exceed the revenue realized on the membership. Another cost not considered is what the convention’s payment-processing system charges per membership. There are others. So while in most cases, a Supporting membership does help support the Worldcon by helping to pay some of the huge fixed overhead cost, it’s not like sending them $40 means $40 “profit.”
dfordoom onThe Politically Incorrect Australian
“why Sad Puppies (and Rabid Puppies) matter” – April 21
One thing that both Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies were very careful to do was to play strictly within the rules. Their intention was to demonstrate that the leftists controlling the awards had been bending the rules for years in order to ensure that only leftist-approved authors could win, so it was obviously essential for Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies to be scrupulous about not breaking any rules.
And despite the unhinged claims of the leftists that the Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies were aiming to ensure that only evil white heterosexual patriarchal males would get nominated both the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies included works by women, blacks and even (gasp!) liberals among their recommendations.
The assumption behind both the SP and RP campaigns was that the leftist bullies running the Hugos would hysterically overreact to any threat to their cosy little club. Which is of course exactly what happened. The leftists responded with a vicious hate campaign, with intimidation of moderates and will libelous personal attacks.
You might be wondering why any of this matters. It matters for two reasons. Firstly, the whole affair has been a superb microcosm of the culture wars, revealing in a very clear manner the lengths to which leftists will go in order to keep control. And secondly, while this might be a very minor battlefield on a very obscure front of the culture wars it’s one of the very very few battlefields on which conservatives are actually taking the offensive.
Alex Lamb on The Tinker Point
“On Ostracism” – April
Is there a solution? I am biassed, of course, but I would propose that the US borrow one from Britain: derision. By which I mean satire, mockery, teasing and all other forms of social reconciliation through mirth. It is not a surprise that social institutions like the Daily Show have become so valued in American society of late. They are badly needed and in short supply.
I believe that both sides in the Hugos debate, and in American society at large, need to set down their sense of outraged affront as rapidly as possible and start mocking each other instead. Mocking and accepting mockery in return. And if we find ourselves able to laugh at our own side from time to time, then we know that the healing has started. And after healing comes the potential for real, cohesive social change.
"Non-US Fandom Survey: Perspectives on the Hugo Awards" — https://t.co/SOOw93t1sj (From @shaunduke). Spread the word!
— Skiffy and Fanty ? (@SkiffyandFanty) April 22, 2015
PZ Myers on Freethought Blogs
“A musical interlude, courtesy of Owl Mirror, on the Hugos” – April 22
[First two of seven stanzas]
They sentenced me to Less-Than-“No Award”-dom
For trying to game the system from within
I’m coming now, I’ll show them “No Award”-dom
First we take their rockets, then we bite their shins
I am guided by a voice from out of Heaven
I’m guided by my hatred of their sins
I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons
First we take their rockets, then we bite their shins
As I've been asked – yes, my Patreon for doing nothing is entirely serious. I am asking you for money for nothing. https://t.co/muoEp07U7k
— Damien Walter (@damiengwalter) April 22, 2015