[Editor’s Introduction: Cora Buhlert shares her photos from the Hugo Losers Party at Dublin 2019.]
By Cora Buhlert:
[Editor’s Introduction: Cora Buhlert shares her photos from the Hugo Losers Party at Dublin 2019.]
By Cora Buhlert:
George R.R. Martin presented Jane Johnson and Malcolm Edwards with Alfie Awards for Editing at the Hugo Losers Party last weekend.
Jane Johnson said, “Such a wonderful honour. We editors work in the shadows, and that’s how it should be, but it’s lovely to receive such recognition.”
Johnson is the British editor for George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, and Dean Koontz, and was for many years publisher of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Malcolm Edwards recently left Hachette UK after 43 years at the company. He will join Welbeck Publishing in September to serve as publisher of André Deutsch.
Martin created the Alfie Awards in response to the impact of Puppy slating on the Hugo Awards. Named after Alfred Bester, winner of the first Hugo Award ever, Martin gave his awards at his Hugo Losers Parties in 2015 and 2016. The Alfie trophy design is inspired by the 1956 Hugos, which were rocket-shaped Oldsmobile automobile hood ornaments. Each Alfie is an individualized trophy featuring a salvaged and beautifully refinished rocket hood ornament.
Martin didn’t give Alfies in 2017. One Alfie was given in 2018 to John Picacio for the Mexicanx Initiative.
Update 08/20/2019: Added 2018 Alfie, based on correction in comments.
[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.]
(1) WORKING. Global News reports “Majel Barrett may voice ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ ship computer”.
Majel's voice is recorded phonetically, &we're working to get her voice for things such as Siri, maybe voice of the computer on #STDiscovery
— RODDENBERRY (@roddenberry) September 4, 2016
But wait, you’re thinking. Barrett died in 2008. How is that possible?
It turns out that just before her death, Barrett recorded an entire library of phonetic sounds for future usage. It’s so thorough that it’s already been used, most recently in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot. Technically, Barrett could be the voice of Starfleet for eternity.
(2) UNDERSTANDING EPH. Karl-Johan Norén writes: “Not that it matters that much now that things are settled for another year, but I wrote down a walkthrough how EPH works: http://kjn.livejournal.com/65023.html Hopefully it can help fen understand better what EPH sets out to accomplish and how it goes about it.”
Right now I see a bit of pushback against the newly ratified E Pluribus Hugo rules (see eg Jed Hartman and Rachael Acks). In part this is because the test runs on prior Hugo nominations didn’t yield as good results as some may have hoped for, another might be that many fans do not feel they can exactly understand how EPH works. FPTP may be unfair, but it’s simple to understand. At its core, E Pluribus Hugo isn’t about selecting the works with the most “support”. It’s more about selecting the set of works that generates the most voter happiness, where happiness is defined as “getting a work onto the final ballot”. I think this framing has gone missing from the discussion. But in order to help with understanding, no, grokking how EPH works, here is my manually run example…
(3) PAWPROOF. In a comment, Lee calls our attention to software designed to detect when your SJW credentials are using your keyboard, which can then prevent inadvertent posting, expensive unintentional eBay purchases, or data destruction: Pawsense.
When cats walk or climb on your keyboard, they can enter random commands and data, damage your files, and even crash your computer. This can happen whether you are near the computer or have suddenly been called away from it.
PawSense is a software utility that helps protect your computer from cats. It quickly detects and blocks cat typing, and also helps train your cat to stay off the computer keyboard.
Every time your computer boots up, PawSense will automatically start up in the background to watch over your computer system.
Even while you use your other software, PawSense constantly monitors keyboard activity. PawSense analyzes keypress timings and combinations to distinguish cat typing from human typing. PawSense normally recognizes a cat on the keyboard within one or two pawsteps.
(4) FANHISTORY. Petréa Mitchell noted in a comment that in honor of Star Trek’s anniversary, Revelist has a surprisingly well-researched article about early Star Trek fandom.
Long before becoming part of a fandom was as easy as starting a Tumblr account, female Trekkies (or Trekkers, as some older fans of the series prefer) not only dominated the “Star Trek” fan community but helped to create that community in the first place.
“It redefined the classic nerd to be much more inclusive. There were more women involved,” Stuart C. Hellinger, one of the organizers of the first ever fan-led “Star Trek” conventions, told Revelist. “The entire show was diverse in many ways, including the people that worked on the show. You had women writers and women story editors, and that wasn’t as common back then. A lot of different areas were opened up because of Gene [Roddenberry]’s vision, and a lot of the fannish community took that to heart, which is a very, very good thing.”
The framework that these women and men and wonderful weirdos put into place not only extended the legacy of “Star Trek” into what it is today, but became the basis for many aspects of fandom that modern people take for granted.
(5) EDITING AN ANTHOLOGY, STEP BY STEP. Joshua Palmatier, author, and editor of anthologies including Clockwork Universe, Temporally Out Of Order, and Aliens and Artifacts, has started a series of blog posts on “How to Create an Anthology.” The first entry is about finding a good concept.
This is the first of a series of blog posts that I intend to do in order to show how I create the anthologies for Zombies Need Brains, the small press that I founded in order to produce anthologies. It’s basically a behind-the-scenes look at the process, which will be covered in multiple parts. Obviously, this is only how I produce an anthology and there may be other roads to follow in order to produce one. Keep that in mind. So the first step in creating an anthology–at least a themed anthology, like the ones Zombies Need Brains creates–is to come up with a concept. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Ideas are a dime a dozen and can be found on every street corner. The problem is that not every idea will actually work as an anthology theme. There are some key aspects to the idea that need to be present in order for the anthology to work.
(6) MIDAMERICON II PROGRAM. I’m a big fan of con programming, which also seems the hardest part of the Worldcon to find out about afterwards. All those smart and creative people, all the different topics. Seems like once missed, it’s gone forever. Except for Jake Casella at PositronChicago blog who has posted recaps of numerous MACII panels. You’re a lifesaver, Jake!
(7) A DIALOGUE WITH GIBRALTAR APES. Kate Paulk scientifically proved the Worldcon is dead, and has always been, in a Mad Genius Club post “Worldcons and Hugos by the Numbers.” But standing out from the anti-Worldcon comments she elicited was Ben Yalow’s personal testimony about what he gets from his continued attendance. It made me want to stand up and cheer, as someone said in an old Frank Capra movie.
…The Worldcon was still full of those magic moments, despite being an enormous amount of work.
But watching a real astronaut accepting the Campbell for Andy Weir bubbling about how he got the science right was magic. And looking at the original typewritten correspondence between the previous KC Worldcon (in 1976) and Heinlein (the GoH that year). And walking into the exhibit hall, and seeing Fred, our 25 foot high inflatable astronaut — knowing it was named Fred because the funds to get it were donated by a Texas club in memory of Fred Duarte, a friend of mine for decades, and Vice-chair of the first Texas Worldcon, who died much too young last year. And having a video of a panel from 1976, with Jon Singer showing how a mimeo works by kneeling on a table and having the other panelists crank his arm. And watching the Business Meeting tie itself up in knots, and going through a long parliamentary routine, so as to let Kate Paulk ask Dave McCarty (this year’s Hugo Administrator) to state his opinion on the wisdom of EPH at a time when that question wasn’t in order (and, as expected, he was able to answer that he was opposed). And seeing Robert Silverberg at the Hugo ceremony, realizing that he’s been to every one of them since the first one in Philadelphia in 1953. And — I could go on for a long time, but won’t.
And watching, and being part of, a team of volunteers from around the world get together to make it all happen. We agreed on some things, we disagreed on others — but it all happened, and lots of people went home with their magic moments. And that’s what’s important to me.
(8) WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT ALFIES. George R.R. Martin writes about his first Hugo Losers Party, and its latest sequel, in “Our Kansas City Revels”.
The night before, at the awards ceremony, I had lost two rockets (one to Larry Niven, one to Roger Zelazny, fwiw). The affair began as a modest little party in a modest little room, with some peanuts and cheese curls and whatever booze we had been able to scrounge from other parties. But as fate would have it, my room was next to the pool deck, which allowed us to overflow the confines of my double, which we soon did, to become the loudest, largest, and most memorable party of the con. Gardner Dozois was our ‘herald,’ announcing each guest as they appeared, and naming them either a winner or a loser. Losers were cheered and welcomed, winners were booed and cursed and pelted with peanuts… unless they told a good story about they were really losers. (Which Alfie Bester did most memorably). Thus did that first Losers Party pass into fannish legend.
Martin’s next post details the Alfie awards ceremony – “Losers and Winners”. Here’s part of his commentary about the Alfies given in the fan Hugo categories.
Aside from two ‘committee awards’ (I am the ‘committee’), I do not choose the Alfie winners. The fans do, with their nominations. The Alfies go to those who produced outstanding work in 2015, but were denied a spot on the ballot, and thus the chance to compete for the Hugo, by slating…..
One of my special ‘committee awards’ went to BLACK GATE, which had 461 nominations in the Fanzine category, second among all nominees and good for a place on the ballot. But Black Gate turned down the nomination, just as they did last year, to disassociate themselves from the slates. Turning down one Hugo nomination is hard, turning down two must be agony. Integrity like that deserves recognition, as does Black Gate itself. Editor John O’Neill was on hand to accept the Alfie.
Our Alfie for BEST FAN WRITER went to ALEXANDRA ERIN, whose 213 nominations led all non-slate nominees in this category. (I note that I myself got 103 nominations in the category, good for thirteenth place. What the hell, guys, really? I thank you, but… I know professionals have won in this category before, but I’m really more comfortable leaving the Fan Writer awards for fans).
JOURNEY PLANET, by James Bacon and Christopher J. Garcia, had 108 nominations for BEST FANZINE, and took the Alfie in that category. Have to say, I loved Bacon’s enthusiasm (and he’s the calm, quiet, shy one of the two).
(9) NEW EPIC SUPPORTED BY PATREON. Two authors launch a vast fictional project, which they hope readers will back with regular contributions.
Authors Melissa Scott and Don Sakers had always wanted to collaborate on a project, but each attempt produced sprawling ideas and enormous casts of characters that couldn’t easily be confined to a conventional series of novels, much less to any shorter format. As electronic publishing opened up new formats and lengths, it became possible to imagine serial fiction again — and not just serial fiction, but the kind of serial fiction that would allow novelists to explore the sort of expansive, elaborate universes more commonly seen in comics. For the first time, Scott and Sakers could work at the scale their story demanded, without sacrificing character, setting, or idea. What’s in the story? Pirates. Judges. Weird physics. Desperate refugees. Struggling colonists. Missing persons and a mystery ship. A quest for human origins in a pocket universe. A thousand individual stories that together create a much larger tale.
Thanks to websites like Patreon to handle payments, and open-source website building tools like Drupal, the sprawling serial space opera The Rule of Five launches in September 2016, taking full advantage of the enormous canvas available on the web. Each month, Scott and Sakers will post an episode of at least 2000 words — a solid short story. All subscribers will be able to see each month’s episode plus the previous episode. Subscribers at higher levels can get a quarterly ebook compilation, access to all past episodes, and even a print editions containing each completed Season, as well as public acknowledgement for their support. For readers joining the series in progress, quarterly and seasonal compilations will always be available to bring them up to speed.
Taking advantage of change, The Rule of Five offers a new kind of serial science fiction, borrowing structure from comics and series television, but firmly grounded in classic space opera. The prelude is open to all at http://donsakers.com/ruleof5/content/prelude. Readers can subscribe to The Rule of Five at http://patreon.com/ruleof5.
[Thanks to Rogers Cadenhead, JJ, Petréa Mitchell, Karl-Johan Norén and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Mark-kitteh.]
(1) WELL WISHING. James H. Burns, the frequent File 770 columnist, is in the hospital – keep him in mind.
Hey, folks: Quite unexpectedly, I’m in Mercy Hospital, in Rockville Center, at least through the weekend. Cards and visitors welcome! Room 245A.1000 N Village Ave.Rockville Center, NY.11570
(2) NEW BEST FANZINE FINALIST. Lady Business acknowledged its nomination in “Hugo Ballot Finalist Announcement, or More Ladies and Queers on Your Ballot”.
We at Lady Business are excited to announce that we have accepted a place on the final ballot for Best Fanzine in the 2016 Hugo Awards.
This is a strange year to be be a Hugo finalist. If you’ve been following the Hugo Awards, you know that the last couple of years have been controversial. We prefer not to dwell on the controversy here, but if you’re unfamiliar and would like a summary, Fanlore has a good overview. After the 2016 finalists were announced, one of the original five Fanzine finalists, Black Gate, withdrew from consideration. The Hugo administrators contacted us to let us know that we were next in the voting tally, and offered us the open slot. After some conflicted deliberation, we decided that we wanted to acknowledge the people who voted for us in the nomination phase, and we accepted a place on the final list….
(3) KRITZER ON SHORT STORY NOMINATION.
I am delighted and honored to announce that "Cat Pictures Please" is a Hugo Award finalist. https://t.co/T3JgRP1XoQ
— Naomi Kritzer (@NaomiKritzer) May 6, 2016
— Naomi Kritzer (@NaomiKritzer) May 6, 2016
("Cat Pictures Please" isn't in either but THAT is free online at Clarkesworld! https://t.co/zimEnRPYq1 )
— Naomi Kritzer (@NaomiKritzer) May 6, 2016
(4) PARTY PLANNER. George R.R. Martin welcomes “The Replacements”. And contemplates their impact on the Alfies.
…((Though I am curious as to whether these two new finalists were indeed sixth. It seemed to take MAC a rather long time to announce the replacements after the withdrawal, something that could presumably be accomplished in minutes just by looking at the list and seeing who was next up — unless, perhaps, there were other withdrawals along the way? We’ll find out come August)).
Short Story and Fanzine were two categories where the Rabid Puppies had swept the field, top to bottom. Accordingly, they were also two categories that I had earmarked as being in need of Alfies. But the withdrawals and replacements broke the Rabid stranglehold, leaving me with a decision to make — do I still present Alfies in those categories, or no?
I am going to need to ponder that for a while.
(5) KNOCK-ON EFFECT. With SF Signal’s announcement fresh in mind. Adam Whitehead discusses “Blogging in the Age of Austerity” at The Wertzone.
…For bloggers who do have day jobs and families, it’s become clear that the lack of material reward for blogging means greater pressure to step away and spend that time instead with loved ones or doing other things. And that’s why it’s easy to see why the guys at SF Signal decided to step away. If I get one of the several jobs I’m currently going through the recruitment process for, the amount of blogging on the site will have to fall as I devote time to that instead.
Is there a way around this? Should there be? Kind of. For a lot of bloggers, blogging is a springboard into writing fiction and once they make that transition, the blogging is left behind. For me, I have no interest in writing fiction day in, day out. I may one day try my hand at writing a short story or a novel if a story demands to be told, but I’m never going to be a career fiction writer. I much prefer writing about the genre as a critic, but the paid market for that is much smaller. After over five months doing the rounds with my agent, A History of Epic Fantasy has failed to garner as much as the merest flicker of interest from a professional publisher, despite the people nominating it for awards (and in any year but this one, it might even have stood a chance of making the shortlist) and clamouring for the book version (look for an update on that soon). But even if that takes off, that’s just one project. Being an SFF critic isn’t much of a career path these days, especially with venues drying up (even the mighty SFX Magazine seems to be in financial trouble and may not last much longer)….
(6) WITHOUT MUMBLING. At Fantasy Literature Sam Bowring takes up the perpetual challenge — “Coming Up with Fantasy Names: A Somewhat Vague and Impractical Guide”.
One of the hardest aspects of writing a fantasy story, I find, is conjuring a bunch of made-up names that don’t sound like I spilled alphabet soup on a crossword puzzle. It’s important to get names right, of course. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has flung away a potential read in disgust because the blurb said something about a protagonist called ‘Nynmn’dryhl of the Xyl’turym’. Can I buy a vowel, please? I’m also guessing this is one reason why so few fantasy worlds include any equivalent of telephones, for everyone would be forever spelling their names over them.
That said, personal appreciation of fantasy names is about as subjective as it gets. One person’s ‘Nynmn’dryhl’ may be another’s ‘Bilbo Baggins’. It would be arrogant for me to sit here (I really must get a standing desk so I can sound more authoritative when I type) and tell you what does or does not make a good fantasy name, especially when I myself have created names I know for a fact that others find cringe-worthy. One of my good friends, for instance, never lets me forgot that I named a place ‘Whisperwood’. ‘Whisperwood,’ he will say, years later, out of the blue, shaking his head in dismay.
Thus instead I’ll merely tell you about general approaches I find to be useful. One such, which I imagine is a common starting point for many authors, is to simply diddle around with various syllables, rearranging them in different ways until striking upon a pleasing combination. I do not own the patent for this, and mind altering drugs are optional. Losara, Olakanzar, Lalenda, Elessa are all the results of such a ‘process’, as we shall kindly call it…
(7) SCIENCE TOO. The Traveler at Galactic Journey begins “[May 6, 1961] Dreams into Reality (First American in Space)” by connecting the dots.
I’ve been asked why it is that, as a reviewer of science fiction, I devote so much ink to the Space Race and other scientific non-fiction. I find it interesting that fans of the first would not necessarily be interested in the second, and vice versa.
There are three reasons non-fiction figures so prominently in this column:
1) I like non-fiction;
2) All the science fiction mags have a non-fiction column;
3) Science fiction without science fact is without context.
(8) SENSE8. From SciFiNow, “Sense8 Season 2 sneak peek photos give a look at what’s to come”.
Sense8‘s co-creator Lana Wachowski shared a tonne of brand new Season 2 production stills on the show’s official Tumblr page recently (sense8.tumblr.com if you’re bored…), and they are absolutely delightful. They also look potentially spoilerific, so browse through the above gallery with caution.
(9) TRIBAL THEORY. Damien G. Walter takes up the topic “Have the Locus awards been hit with ‘myopic sexism’” at The Guardian.
Taken as a whole, the Locus awards were broadly representative of a sci-fi field that is continuing to grow in diversity: 18 female to 17 male writers, with many upcoming writers of colour among the voters’ top picks. Placed in that context, the way the YA category has turned out seems less like myopic sexism, and more indicative of the older demographic of readers who read Locus magazine and see the YA genre from their own preferences. When I caught up with Joe Abercrombie, nominated twice in the category for his Shattered Seas trilogy, he agreed.
“I think this has much more to do with adult SF&F readers voting for the authors they recognise, and tending to read YA that crosses over into SF&F territory.” Abercrombie’s popularity among adult readers has carried over to his YA books, which in America have been sold and marketed as adult fantasy; it’s that adult readership, who recognise Abercrombie as one of their tribe, whose votes count in the Locus award. “I’m pleased people voted for me,” he says, “but I don’t think it’s ever a good thing when someone’s on the same shortlist twice.”
(10) SF IN PORTUGAL. Luis Filipe Silva’s new entry on Portugal for the Science Fiction Encyclopedia chronicles the past century of sf/f there. The focus is on fiction, as one would expect, with this being the only comment about the interaction between literature and national politics:
Nevertheless, if utopia bewitches the faithful, it frightens the unbelievers. A decade of political and social turmoil, following the Regicide in 1908 that turned Portugal into an uneasy Republic, inspires some highly pamphletary Dystopian fiction: in A Cidade Vermelha [“The Red City”] (1923) by Luís Costa, the misguided Portuguese people welcome a full Republican/Communist government, only to see the country devolve into absolute chaos; it is not surprising that the people then cry for the return of the unjustly deposed monarch, who comes back from exile and sets things right again. Amid such strong ideological trends, any text that pictures an ideal future based solely on the workings of science and technology becomes a rarity: in the landmark vision of Lisboa no Ano 2000 [“Lisbon in the Year 2000”] (1906), Melo de Matos (years) turns Lisbon into a major world economic hub thanks to advances in Transportation and Communication made by Portuguese Scientists.
I was curious, after reading many posts by Sarah A. Hoyt.
(11) COMMONWEALTH SHORT STORY PRIZE. Locus Online reports a speculative story by Tina Makereti is one of five winners of the 2016 Pacific Regional Commonwealth Prize.
The 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize judges have announced this year’s five regional winners, including the speculative story “Black Milk” by Tina Makereti (New Zealand) for the Pacific region.
…The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded to the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English, and short stories translated into English from other languages (stories may be submitted in their original language if not in English). Five winning writers from five different Commonwealth regions receive £2,500 (USD $3,835), and the overall winner receives £5,000 ($7,670)….
(12) BLAME HARRY. Fantasy causes brain damage, according to a school headmaster in the UK — “Nailsworth teacher claims Harry Potter books cause mental illness”.
A headmaster has urged pupils not to read Harry Potter – claiming the books cause mental illness.
Graeme Whiting also said other fantasy titles such as Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games and Terry Pratchett encourage ‘difficult behaviour’. He told parents to steer clear of JK Rowling’s ‘frightening’ books and they should read classics like Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley and Shakespeare. Writing on his blog, Mr Whiting, head of the independent Acorn School in Nailsworth, Gloucester, thinks that people should have a ‘special licence’ to buy fantasy books. He wrote: “I want children to read literature that is conducive to their age and leave those mystical and frightening texts for when they can discern reality, and when they have first learned to love beauty….”
(13) AFTERMATH. Anne Heche and James Tupper have been cast as the leads in Syfy’s forthcoming post-apocalyptic series Aftermath. Deadline reports the former Men in Trees co-stars will reunite on screen as a married couple who “have to contend with supernatural creatures as well as their own teenage children after a series of natural disasters finally sticks a fork in life as we know it.”
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]
I started this Scroll yesterday before taking off in my time machine, and have just kept on adding. While I don’t plan to divide the Hugo news from other Scroll topics very often, it makes sense to do it today.
(1) QUICK WHATEVER. John Scalzi’s “Quick 2016 Hugo Finalist Thoughts” from Whatever on April 26.
Thoughts on this year’s Hugo finalists (the list of which you can find here):
* First, as part of my new gig at the Los Angeles Times, I wrote an analysis of this year’s ballot there, so head on over there if you want to see it (Note it’s geared toward a general audience, so there a lot of explanatory stuff in there folks here will likely already know). As I’ve already written substantially on the Hugos there, what I write here will be brief.
* Overall, the nominations in several categories look pretty decent to me – Best Novel is particularly not bad at all! At least a couple of categories are a tiresome shitshow, however, thanks to the Puppies, again.
* Which we knew might happen again, remember? Fixing the slating issue was a two-year process. This is year two. Keep working on it, folks.
* The Puppies are once again trying to troll a bunch of people (the Best Related Category is one particularly obvious troll) and while I don’t mean to downplay the basic craptasticness of their actions, I’m finding it all that difficult to get worked up about it. I mean, I know the Puppies are hoping for outrage? Again? But as noted, we’ve seen this act before, and this time it’s just boring. Yes, yes, Puppies. You’re still sad little bigoted assholes screaming for attention. Got it, thanks.
Bear in mind I’m a direct target for their nonsense; at least two of the finalist works go after me in one way or another. I’m very specifically someone they’re trying to get worked up (and to tear down). And yet I just can’t manage it. I’m pretty much over the Puppies. There’s only so many times a toddler can throw a tantrum before you just shrug. You still have to clean up after the toddler, mind you. But you don’t have to let the toddler dictate the terms. Pity these particular toddlers are grown humans
(2) MAN OF HIS TIMES. John Scalzi’s first piece for the LA Times, “The Hugo finalists: John Scalzi on why the sad puppies can’t take credit for Neil Gaiman’s success”, posted April 26.
This year, once again, the two Puppy groups announced slates (or in the case of the “Sad” variant, a “recommendation list”) of people and works they wanted to see on the finalist ballot. Once again, many of their choices made the cut. But where last year’s slates were filled with nominees primarily of interest to the Puppies themselves, this year’s Puppy slates included works and authors already popular with science fiction fans and tastemakers, and (as a subset of both of these) Hugo voters.
Works the Puppy slates included that made the Hugo finalist list include the novel “Seveneves,” written by Neal Stephenson, a past Hugo best novel winner and multiple nominee; the graphic novel “The Sandman: Overture,” by Neil Gaiman, also a multiple Hugo winner; the novella “Penric’s Demon,” by Lois McMaster Bujold, who has won four best novel Hugos; and the film “The Martian,” a best picture Oscar nominee (and controversial best comedy Golden Globe winner).
The Puppies will no doubt be happy to take credit for the appearance of these works and others on the finalist list. But, as with “Guardians of the Galaxy” last year, their endorsement probably doesn’t count for much in the grand scheme of things.
(3) MORE ALFIES. George R.R. Martin saw the new season of Game of Thrones kick off, then rode off to his own dynastic wars – “The Puppy Wars Resume”.
The record turnout seemed to have no impact. Fandom nominated in huge numbers, but it would appear that they did not nominate the same things. They scattered their nominations among dozens, perhaps hundreds, of possible choices. We won’t know the full story till we see the complete list of nomination totals on Hugo night… but I suspect (unless MAC cuts the list short) that we’ll see many more titles than we’re used to.
The same thing happened to the Sad Puppies. By shifting from Torgersen’s slate to Paulk’s list of recommendations, they suffered the same fate as many other recommended reading lists, be it the LOCUS list or the Nebulas or my own recommendations. They had almost no impact on the ballot. The Sads did get works on the ballot when their choices overlapped with the Rabids, to be sure, but very few works that were “sad only” made the list. SP4 was a non-factor. (And before someone else points this out, let me be the first to admit that the Sads had more impact than I did. As near as I can tell, I batted .000 on my own recommendations, which just goes to show that all this talk of about my immense power is somewhat exaggerated. No wonder I never get invited to the meetings of the Secret Cabal).
The big winners were the Rabid Puppies, whose choices completely dominated the list…
One last point. The Rabids used a new tactic this year. They nominated legitimate, quality works in addition to the dross. Works by writers like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, Alastair Reynolds (Reynolds went public well before the nominations asking NOT to be slated, but they slated him anyway), Andy Weir, and several others. Some of these writers are apolitical (like Weir), while others are known to oppose everything that VD stands for (Gaiman, Stephenson, King). One has to think they were deliberately targeted.
In some of the online comments I’ve seen, these writers are being called “shields.” I’ve even read some people calling for them to withdraw, simply because they were on VD’s list.
Withdrawing is the LAST thing they should do.
I urge them all to stand their ground. They wrote good books, stories, graphic novels, they did NOT take part in any slate. In some cases they were largely unaware of all this. In other cases they explicitly denounced the slates ahead of time (Reynolds, again). Punishing them… demanding they turn down this honor… simply because VD listed them is insane….
(Oh… and yes, for those who were asking. This does mean we will need a second set of Alfies).
(4) SALADIN AHMED.
back in my day when we were nominated for a Hugo we sat there and watched the world not give a shit and we LIKED it
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) April 27, 2016
(5) RAY RADLEIN.
Went to File770 and my browser crashed. #ThanksObama
— Ray Radlein (@Radlein) April 27, 2016
(6) ADVICE TO THE BOOKLORN. Tim Hall is swimming in the mainstream, in “Booky McBookface, by Noah Ward”.
I’m not a Worldcon member, but that’s not going to stop me giving unsolicited advice. So here’s my off-the-top-of-my-head recommendations.
First, ratify E Pluribus Hugo. This is ought to be such a no-brainer than anyone that attempts to argue otherwise is not to be trusted. It won’t fix everything, but it will make it harder for any well-organised minority to swamp the ballot.
Second, think very hard about the wisdom of repeating last year’s block no-awarding everything tainted, throwing good people under the bus in an attempt to preserve the purity of the awards. That stank when they did it to people like Toni Weisskopf last year. The garbage from VD’s cronies you can no award to oblivion if it’s as awful as it sounds from the titles. But remember that burning down The Hugos is VD’s goal, and no-awarding deserving nominees like Toni Weisskopf or Alastair Reynolds gives him what he wants.
Third, recognise that the Sad Puppies and the Rabid ones are very different things, and try to build bridges with the some of the first of those groups, or at least avoid rhetoric or behaviour that further deepens the divide with anyone who’s not an actual acolyte of Vox Day. The mass no-awarding of last year did not help in that regard.
(7) MORE GOOD ANSWERS TO WRONG QUESTIONS. Abigail Nussbaum responds with “The 2016 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees”
… In most of the categories dominated by puppy choices, we still have an actual choice between nominees, not just a winner by default because everyone else on the ballot is terrible. Most importantly, this year’s Best Novel ballot is one that we can look at without cringing, with only one blatant puppy nominee. It may sound like I’m lowering the bar, but to me this is all a sign that things are settling down, and that in the future–and especially if the anti-slating measures adopted in last year’s business meeting are ratified–we’ll start seeing this award return to normal.
Of course, I’m leaving out one important point, which might cast a pall on this year’s more acceptable raft of nominees–the fact that most of them were puppy choices. In some cases, these were nominees that probably would have made it onto the ballot without the help of Vox Day and his ilk–things like Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves in Best Novel, The Sandman: Overture in Best Graphic Story, and Strange Horizons in Best Semiprozine. In other cases, the line is more fuzzy. Daniel Polansky’s The Builders, for example, was a plausible nominee in Best Novella, coming from the strong, well-publicized Tor Novellas line and garnering a great deal of praise, but did the puppies’ influence help to push it past equally plausible nominees like Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall and Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps? We won’t know for certain until the nominating stats are released after the Hugo ceremony (and perhaps not even then), and in the meantime this year’s ballot is a lot less clear-cut than last year’s.
To the puppies, this no doubt looks like a winning gambit. To those of us who are adults, it’s just more silliness. We are neither as stupid nor as rigid as they keep insisting that we are, and are perfectly capable of parsing these nuances. And if this year’s Best Novella shortlist is a lot less exciting than the one I had hoped for–and which I think had a good chance of coming about–well, that’s how I feel about the Hugo most years. I keep repeating this, but it really needs to be said again and again: despite the puppies’ ridiculous claims, the Hugo is not, and has never been, an elite or rarefied award. If the puppies’ main accomplishment this year is to have pushed middling but not-awful work onto the ballot over better, more deserving nominees, well, then they’re no different from the majority of Hugo voters….
(8) QUICK AND THE DEAD. Damien Walter also has a few quick “Thoughts on the 2016 Hugo Awards”.
H P Lovecraft somehow managed to get nominated for a 1941 Retro Hugo, despite having died in 1937. Clearly some supernatural forces were at work…or some petty racists voting in revenge after Lovecraft’s erasure as the face of the World Fantasy Awards for being…a petty racist.
(9) LOVE. Aaron Pound’s thorough analysis of the “2016 Hugo Award Finalists” is rounded off with a compelling conclusion:
Both of the Puppy campaigns were built on spite. Larry Correia has openly admitted that he started the Sad Puppy campaign out of spite. Throughout the existence of the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns, the barely suppressed rage of its adherents has been readily apparent, and in some cases (such as during Brad Torgersen’s not infrequent frothing meltdowns over the last year or so), the rage has been quite openly expressed. Because of this, the Pups will always fundamentally misunderstand actual fans, who love what they love not out of a desire to spite someone else, but out of actual love for the thing. In the end, the Pups will fail because they are founded on the false premise that they can change what people love about genre fiction by force.
(10) ALLUM BOKHARI. At Breitbart: “Sci-Fi’s Hugo Awards Swept by Anti-SJW Authors – Again!”
This year, the Sad and Rabid Puppies have done it again. Ten out of fifteen Hugo Award categories have been completely dominated by Puppy-endorsed nominees — double what the campaigns achieved in 2015. The Puppies have also secured three out of five nominations for Best Novel, three out of four nominations for Best Short-Form Dramatic Presentation, and three out of five nominations for Best Long-Form Editor.
In total, the Rabid Puppies swept six categories on their own, while a combination of Sad & Rabid puppy nominations swept a further four.
Some of the Rabid Puppies nominations this year — such as a My Little Pony episode for Best Short-Form Dramatic Presentation and a porn parody in Best Short Story — seem clearly intended as troll options, a demonstration of the Puppies’ power to exert their will on the awards.
(11) AGAINST VANDALISM. Kayleigh Ann at Bibliodaze offers “We Have Always Been Here &Y Always Will Be: On the Hugo Awards and Cultural Vandalism”.
…Science-fiction and fantasy will move forward. It will continue to evolve and tell amazing, strange, radical and highly political stories, as it has always done, and the Puppies will cheer false cries of victory regardless of the outcome of the Hugo Awards: Their choices winning will be a sign that the industry agrees with them, and another No Award sweep (which is my predicted outcome) will simply be proof that they’re downtrodden underdogs who stood up against “Outrage Culture”. The truth is that nobody wins in this scenario because we end up having to participate in their Us Versus Them mentality in order to show a sturdy opposition to their nonsense.
Eventually, they’ll be left behind as the voices who have always been there refuse to participate in their cultural smudging. This particular kind of vandalism hurts us all, but those voices who needed the amplification of the Hugos will suffer the most, so it’s up to the rest of us to ensure that doesn’t happen. They’ll be left behind, but they still need to be called out and condemned for the dangerous vandals that they are. Get out your wallets, your microphones and your pens. We’re not going anywhere. We’ll always be here.
(12) STEVEN POORE
i have a 3am theory that the #HugoAwards reflect today's 'Murica. want better Hugos? get a better America. (unfortunately, very unlikely).
— Steven Poore (@StevenJPoore) April 27, 2016
(13) VOX POPOLI. Vox Day did a reaction roundup of his own, “Making the Hugos Great Again”.
Of course the Sad Puppies can’t take any credit for Neil Gaiman’s nomination. The Rabid Puppies were responsible! As for whether Gaiman would have been nominated without RP support, they like to claim that sort of thing, but we’ll have to wait and see what the numbers say. Given their past record of ignoring popular, bestselling works, that’s hardly a given. In any event, as we proved last year in Best Novel, even when we don’t control the category, we still have the ability to decide who will win and who will lose when the SJWs don’t No Award the category.
In other news, we have a runner! Tom Mays belatedly decided to go the way of Marko Kloos. Not the brightest move; the time for virtue-signaling is before the nominations are awarded. It’s no big deal, not everyone can take the heat, although I suspect Tom is simply more of a Sad Puppy who hasn’t woken up to the cultural war yet. I was more interested to see that Black Gate caved and decided to accept their nomination this year; John O’Neill is a smart guy, he knows perfectly well that the nomination is well-merited, he grasps the genetic fallacy, and I suspect he has come to terms with the fact that the Rabid Puppies are not going away any time soon.
(14) CHAOS MANOR. Jerry Pournelle posted a reaction to his nomination at Chaos Manor.
I seem to have been nominated for a Hugo. “Best Editor, Short Form”. The only work mentioned for the year 2015 is There Will Be War, Volume Ten” released in November. It is of course a continuation of the There Will Be War series which appeared in the 1980’s and early 90’s, of which the first four volumes were recreated with a new preface during 2015; the rest are scheduled to come out in the next couple of years. I’ve edited a lot of anthologies, starting with 2020 Vision in 1973 (I think it will come out in reprint with new a introduction and afterword’s by the surviving authors next year. I did a series of anthologies with Jim Baen that was pretty popular, and one-off anthologies like Black Holes and The Survival of Freedom, amounting to more than twenty over the years, but this is the first time anyone has ever nominated me for an editing Hugo – and actually the first time I ever thought of it myself.
When I first started in this racket, Best Editor Hugo usually meant one for the current editor of Analog or Galaxy. That spread around over the years, but it meant Editor in the sense of someone employed with the title of Editor, not a working writer who put together anthologies, sometimes for a lark.
I used to get Hugo nominations all the time in my early days, but I never won. My Black Holes story came close, but I lost to Niven’s “Hole Man”. Ursula LeGuin beat me for novella. There were others. Our collaborations routinely got nominated, but again usually came second, so at one point I was irked enough to say “Money will get you through times of no Hugo’s much better than Hugo’s will get you through times of no money,” and put whatever promotion efforts I had time for into afternoon and late night talk radio shows and stuff like that. Which worked for sales, but not for Hugo awards. I’m unlikely to get this one – I’m a good editor but that’s hardly my primary occupation – but I admit I’d like to. I was already going to Kansas City this August, so I’ll be there, but I doubt there’s much need to write a thank you speech.
(15) COUNT HER OUT. Rhiannon Thomas refuses to repeat last year’s experience — “The Hugos Turn Rabid” at Feminist Fiction.
So… what now? It’s hard to take seriously any award with Vox Day’s “SJWs Always Lie” on the ballot. And unlike last year, I’m not going to soldier through the crap to weigh up its merit. I’ll probably read most of the novels, and pick up the non-puppy nominated shorter works, along with the ones by big name writers, because I’ve found that the nomination lists can lead me to interesting reading I would have missed otherwise. It’s basically my job to read endless piles of YA, and this gives me a focussed reason to finally pick up those other recent books too. But do we have to pretend that “Safe Space as Rape Room” is something worthy of serious critical consideration? The Puppies howl out for attention, and they’d hate nothing more than if everyone just ignored them. So let’s just pretend that their troll nominations don’t exist.
Of course, this approach isn’t without casualties. It’s obvious to anyone with a passing knowledge of fantasy and sci-fi that Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King are worth checking out, slate or no. But smaller writers? Not so much. Thomas A. Mays has already withdrawn his Hugo-nominated short story from consideration because of the slates, turning what should have been a moment of pride and victory into heartbreak. If we take the “slate works don’t exist unless they obviously have merit” approach, innocent writers still building their career get dragged down into the muck too. At best, they don’t receive the consideration they deserve. At worst, they get linked to Vox Day in everyone’s minds. And unlike big-name writers, they don’t have enough of an established reputation to shrug it off. It might appear that they need to withdraw to save their reputation, even though the Hugo nomination should have been something that would build their reputation in the first place.
And that sucks. But I, at least, can’t take another year of reading through piles of offensive and poorly written crap in search of potential specks of gold that may have been lost in the mix.
(16) CHUCK WENDIG. It isn’t lost on Chuck Wendig that “We Have A Problem”.
Like I’ve said in the past:
Dinosaurs squawking at meteors. Shaking tiny, impotent arms at the sky. The Empire, wondering where the hot hell all these goddamn X-Wings came from. Shitheel harasser assholes wondering when the world stopped listening to them and their diaperbaby bleats.
The other side of me thinks this is something deeper, darker, a vein of bad mojo thrust through the whole of the culture. Sepsis, toxic shock, an infection in the blood resistant to antibiotics.
But then I look and I think how thirty years ago I didn’t know what transgender meant. How three years ago I didn’t know what genderqueer was, and now it’s in the dictionary. I think about how we’re maybe on the cusp of having our first woman president. I think too about how social media has made the assholes louder — but it’s also amplified the voices of the non-assholes, and how conversations happen, tough as they are, across an Internet that moves fast and furious with both enlightenment and ignorance. I don’t know where we are or what’s going to happen next, and I know that I ping-pong between feeling optimistic about tectonic change and pessimistic about what that change has wrought.
I also know that no matter what we can’t just sit idly by. We push back. We vote no award when shitbirds nest in our award categories. We stand by those who are harassed by the worst of our culture. We stop sheltering the monsters and start protecting the victims. We amplify voices. We close our mouths and try to listen more. We master the one-two-punch of empathy and logic. We try to be better and do better and demand better even when we ourselves are woefully imperfect. I speak to geeks and I speak to men when I say: we need to get our house in order.
We have a problem.
But I hope we also have solutions.
At the very least, let this be a call that we need to do better by those who need us. Out with the bullies. Out with the terrorists. Gone with the ticks. We find those ticks and we pluck ’em out. Then we burn them, toss them in the toilet, rain our piss upon their parasitic heads, and say bye-bye as we flush and fill the bowl with clean water once more.
(17) AGAINST NO AWARD. Eric Flint, in “BUT FOR WALES?”, argues against voting No Award.
Theodore Beale and the people who follow him are idiots. They are petty chiselers and pipsqueaks whose notion of “the righteous battle against leftist wickedness and social justice warriors” is to try to hijack a science fiction award.
A science fiction award? Meaning no disrespect to anyone who cares about the Hugos, but the very fact that Beale and his gaggle of co-conspirators think this is a serious way to wage political struggle should tip you off that they’re a bunch of clowns with delusions of grandeur.
So treat them that way. This time around—remember, it’s 2016, not 2015—don’t hyperventilate, don’t work yourself up into a frenzy, don’t overact. Just treat the nominations the same way you would in any other year. Ignore who nominated who because, first, it’s irrelevant; and secondly, if you do you will be falling for a hustle by an idiot like Beale—which makes you an even bigger idiot.
Is anyone who’s planning to vote for the Hugos so ignorant or so stupid that they really think authors like Neal Stephenson, Jim Butcher, Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Alastair Reynolds and Stephen King need a slimeball like Theodore Beale’s approval to get nominated for an award? Are they so ignorant or stupid that they think editors like Toni Weisskopf, artists like Larry Elmore and movie directors like Joss Whedon and Ridley Scott are in the same boat?
Grow the fuck up.
Just vote, that’s all. Take each category for what it is and vote for whatever or whoever you think is most entitled to the award this year. Do NOT use “No Award” unless you really think there’s no work or person nominated in a category who deserves it at all.
(18) YOU CAN ASK BUT WILL HE ANSWER? Chuck Tingle did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” today — “I am Dr. Chuck Tingle, 2016 Hugo Awards nominee for my book Space Raptor Butt Invasion. AMA!” He did it in character, so although the Hugos are mentioned once or twice, it’s basically played as farce. If you squint real hard (which I’m sure he would approve) at his comment about Vox Day, it includes the phrase “scoundrels never win.” Someone read that quote on FB and ran out to order ribbons….
(19) THE OTHER TINGLE INTERVIEW. Chuck Tingle was more forthcoming about scoundrels to Lauren Sarner at Inverse.
Do you know about the Sad Puppies, a group of people who try to disrupt voting for the Hugo Awards every year?
Don’t know about any puppies but it’s BAD NEWS BEARS if you want to disrupt awards. That is a scoundrel tactic and probably part of Ted Cobbler’s devilman plan. Ted Cobbler is notorious devil and has been seen using dark magic to control puppies around the neighborhood. I do not support the devilman agenda but i think that Space Raptor Butt Invasion proves that LOVE IS REAL and no scoundrels can stop that. Especially not some dumb dogs.
(20) NOW ON SALE. Two overnight sensations. One is satire. At least.
(21) SUNIL PATEL. Sunil Patel is still figuring it out.
"Space Raptor Butt Invasion" is a Hugo nominee for Short Story but a Hugo acceptance speech was a nominee for BDP Short Form SO WHO KNOWS.
— Sunil Patel (@ghostwritingcow) April 27, 2016
(22) FOUR MORE. John Scalzi illustrates “Four Things About the Hugos” with Chuck Tingle’s cover art at Whatever. But it’s not all fun and games.
Fourth off, one of the finalists for Best Short Story, Thomas May, who was on the Rabid Puppy slate, has left the ballot, for admirable reasons. All respect to him for a difficult decision. I don’t believe this should be a signal for folks to hint to other finalists that they should follow his example, for reasons I outline above, i.e., this year’s slates were filled with people and work the Puppies put in for their own strategic ends, and are essentially blameless for an association that is unintended and/or unwanted. If you’ve got a mind to pester people about this, please consider not. Let them do as they will, just as you do what you will when it comes time to vote.
Filers will agree it’s a damn shame he didn’t have a fifth point!
(23) THE CASUALTIES. Katherine Jay chimes in at Stompydragons.
I am angry for the people who got knocked off the ballot because of the RP tactics. I’m particularly frustrated for the Campbell candidates who will never have another shot at that award because they’re out of time. Andy Weird was an RP pick, and I’m pretty sure he would have made it on the ballot anyway, but there are still three RP picks who are on that list and probably wouldn’t have been otherwise. Three slots that are denied to great writers who may never get another shot, because someone is playing silly games with the system.
I’m frustrated that seeding the RP ballot with a small number of works that would have been nominated anyway adds new kinds of dilemmas for many voters. Angry that many good works got bumped by crap VD was pushing. If you need any proof that his campaign has nothing to do with which works he thinks are genuinely good, take a look at some of the titles he picked, or look at what he said about one of the novels he chose (Seveneves).
Last year, after a lot of consideration, I voted No Award to all the puppy-related picks because I couldn’t condone slate nominating tactics. I still can’t support them.
But this year, if I do that, I’m also punishing works and writers who would have been nominated anyway, and I can’t make myself do that. Hell, I can’t No Award something I nominated–Bujold’s novella, The Martian–because that also makes a mockery of the process.
(24) SHAMUS YOUNG.
Apparently "Fan" is broadly interpreted.
— Shamus Young (@shamusyoung) April 27, 2016
(25) GREY GRIPES. Grey The Tick (Grey Carter) is the author of Hugo-nominated Erin Dies Alone.
Like I don't have any delusions about deserving to be on that list, but now I can't even joke about being a Hugo nominee.
— Die Another Grey (@GreyTheTick) April 26, 2016
(26) PHIL SANDIFER. Phil Sandifer will fight them on the beaches, in the fields, he will never give up.
First, as predicted, the Sad Puppies were a non-entity. That’s a little tough to judge given their new “we’re just a recommendation list” sheen of pointlessness, but it’s notable that the most conspicuous omission from their list, The Fifth Season, got a nomination in best Novel, and that in Fan Artist, a category where they had four picks, three of which were not on the Rabid Puppies slate, none of theirs made it on. Indeed, at a glance I can’t find anything that’s on their list, wasn’t an obvious contender anyway, and made it. These were Vox Day’s Hugos, plain and simple.
Second, let’s not have any silliness about pretending that what was picked reflects any agenda other than Vox Day’s spite. He’s been unambiguous that his sole goal this year is to disrupt the Hugos, not even making an effort to pretend that he was picking works on merit or because there’s actually some body of quality sci-fi he thinks is being overlooked by the awards. His only goal was to ruin things. The nominees exist only for that purpose. They are political, yes. Avowedly so. But their politics does not have even the barest shred of a constructive project. This is fascism shorn of everything but violent brutality – political in the sense of an angry mob kicking a prone body.
And so once again, the course is clear: we must resist. With every tool we have, we must resist. The highest priority, of course, is passing E Pluribus Hugo, the repaired nomination system that will serve to prevent this from happening again. Also important is No Awarding.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Fugue.]
(1) Disney has optioned the movie rights to Ursula Vernon’s childrens book Castle Hangnail for an adaptation to be produced by Ellen DeGeneres.
DeGeneres will produce with Jeff Kleeman, her partner at A Very Good Production banner.
The book tells of a 12-year old witch who shows up at a dark castle that needs a master or be decommissioned by the bureaucratic Board of Magic and its many minions, such as a hypochondriac fish and a letter ‘Q’ averse minotaur, dispersed into the world. She projects confidence as she tackles the series of tasks laid forth by the board but underneath lie several simmering secrets, including one of her being an imposter….
DeGeneres and Kleeman are busy in the television world but Hangnail is their second notable move on the movie side and keeps their feet firmly in the fantasy field. Earlier this year the duo set up Uprooted, the novel from Temeraire author Naomi Novik, for Warner Bros.
(2) A magisterial essay by Ursula K. Le Guin at Tin House, “’Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?’”.
American critics and academics have been trying for forty years to bury one of the great works of twentieth-century fiction, The Lord of the Rings. They ignore it, they condescend to it, they stand in large groups with their backs to it, because they’re afraid of it. They’re afraid of dragons. They know if they acknowledge Tolkien they’ll have to admit that fantasy can be literature, and that therefore they’ll have to redefine what literature is.
What American critics and teachers call “literature” is still almost wholly restricted to realism. All other forms of fiction—westerns, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical, regional, you name it—are dismissed as “genre.” Sent to the ghetto. That the ghetto is about twelve times larger than the city, and currently a great deal livelier, doesn’t bother those who live in ivory towers. Magic realism, though—that does bother them; they hear Gabriel García Márquez gnawing quietly at the foundations of the ivory tower, they hear all these crazy Indians dancing up in the attic, and they think maybe they should do something about it. Perhaps they should give that fellow who teaches the science fiction course tenure? Oh, surely not.
To say that realistic fiction is by definition superior to imaginative fiction is to imply that imitation is superior to invention. I have wondered if this unstated but widely accepted (and, incidentally, very puritanical) proposition is related to the recent popularity of the memoir and the personal essay. This has been a genuine popularity, not a matter of academic canonizing. People really do want to read memoir and personal essay, and writers want to write it. I’ve felt rather out of step. I like history and biography fine, but when family and personal memoir seems to be the most popular—the dominant narrative form—well, I have searched my soul for prejudice and found it. I prefer invention to imitation. I love novels. I love made-up stuff.
(3) “The Call of the Sad Whelkfins: The Continued Relevance of How To Suppress Women’s Writing“ by Annalee Flower Horne and Natalie Luhrs in Uncanny Magazine #7 uses Joanna Russ’ text to diagnose some critics’ responses to Ancillary Justice.
I snorted. For the past week, Natalie Luhrs and I had been discussing the book in the context of the ongoing fight for the soul of the science fiction community, most recently played out in the failed attempt to take over the Hugo Awards. In HTSWW, Russ uses an alien species called the “whelk–finned Glotolog” to illustrate the methods by which human cultures control women’s writing without direct censorship (4). These days, the tactics the so–called “sad puppies” use to paint themselves as the true heirs of science fiction, bravely holding the line against the invading masses, are the very same tactics Joanna Russ ascribed to the whelk–finned Glotolog in 1983…
False Categorizing of the Work She wrote it, but she isn’t really an artist, and it isn’t really art. (HTSWW)
False Categorization is, essentially, bad faith. It allows the critic to shift the focus to something else—usually something trivial in the larger context, so as to dismiss the whole. So once again, we’ll look at the pronouns in Ancillary Justice. By focusing on the pronouns, the sad whelkfins are able to dismiss the entire work as nothing more than a political screed against men, as turgid message fiction that doesn’t even tell a good story.
That’s a massive tell to anyone who has actually read the book—because while the pronouns do take some adjustment, they’re a small part of the novel’s world–building and not a major source of plot or conflict. They just are, the way there is air to breathe and skel to eat.
(4) “Updates on the Chinese Nebula Awards and the Coordinates Awards” at Amazing Stories has the full list of award winners (only two were reported here on the night of the ceremony). Since Steve Davidson is able to reproduce the titles in the original language, all the more reason to refer you there.
(5) Liu Cixin participated in “The Future of China through Chinese Science Fiction” at the University of Sydney on November 3.
— Sydney Ideas (@Sydney_Ideas) November 3, 2015
(6) Crossed Genres Magazine will close after the December 2015 issue reports Locus Online.
Co-publisher Bart Lieb posted a statement:
Two primary factors led to this decision. First, one of Crossed Genres’ co-publishers, Kay Holt, has been dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for more than two years. It’s made it extremely difficult for her to help with the running of CG, leaving the lion’s share of responsibilities on the other co-publisher, Bart Leib, who’s also working a day job. Magazine co-editor Kelly Jennings, ebook coordinator Casey Seda, and our team of first readers have all been heroic in their volunteer efforts, but we’ve still been unable to keep from falling behind.
The second factor is simply that the magazine has run out of funds to continue. In April 2014 we ran a successful Kickstarter to keep CG Magazine going, but once another year had passed, roughly 90 percent of those who’d pledged to the Kickstarter chose not to renew their memberships….
(7) Today In History
(8) Today’s Birthday Monster
(9) Today’s Belated Birthday
(10) Today’s Yodeling Marmot
(11) “Transparent Aluminum: IT’S REAL!” at Treehugger.
Remember Star Trek: The Voyage Home, where Scotty talks into a computer mouse and then instantly figures out keyboards and gives away the formula for transparent Aluminum? And remember Galaxy Quest, where Commander Taggart tells the Justin Long character about the ship: “IT’S REAL!”
Mash those two scenes together and you have Spinel, described by US Naval Research Laboratory scientist Dr. Jas Sanghera as “actually a mineral, it’s magnesium aluminate. The advantage is it’s so much tougher, stronger, harder than glass. It provides better protection in more hostile environments—so it can withstand sand and rain erosion.” He likes it for the same reason Scotty did, according to an NRL press release
(12) Arlan Andrews told Facebook friends that Ken Burnside has answered the Alfies.
So, today I received this 3D-printed crashed rocket ship, titled “The Wreck of the Hugo” as created by artist Charles Oines and commissioned by Ken Burnside. Others went to Kary English, Mike Resnick, and Toni Weisskopf. According to Ken Burnside, the official 2015 Hugo voting tallies showed each of us recipients as runners-up to the 2500-vote NO AWARD bloc that wrecked the Hugos this year in many categories. I gratefully accept the gifted award in the spirit in which it was given, and sincerely hope that no future Hugo nominees are ever again voted off the island in such a fashion.
(That last part resonates strangely, at least in my memory, because “I accept this award in the spirit in which it is given” was Norman Spinrad’s answer when handed the Brown Hole Award for Outstanding Professionalism in 1973. And he was right to be suspicious.)
(13) Meanwhile, the curator of the Alfies, George R.R. Martin, is already making recommendations for the Dramatic Presentation categories in “Hugo Thoughts”.
In the past, I have usually made my own Hugo recommendations only after nominations have opened. But in light of what happened last year, it seems useful to begin much sooner. To get talking about the things we like, the things we don’t like. This is especially useful in the case of the lesser known and obscure work. Drawing attention to such earlier in the process is the best way to get more fans looking at them… and unless you are aware of a work, you’re not likely to nominate it, are you? (Well, unless you’re voting a slate, and just ticking off boxes).
Let me start with the Dramatic Presentation category. Long form….
(14) Damien G. Walter does best when the target is as easy to hit as the broad side of a barn. “Gus. A Case Study In Sad Puppy Ignorance”.
Firstly, is Gus actually asking us to believe that Frankenstein : A Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the famed early feminist icon, daughter of philosopher and political activist Mary Wollstonecraft, wife of romantic poet and political radical Percy Byshe Shelley, close friend of paramilitary revolutionary Lord Byron, and author of seven novels (many science fictional) and innumerable other stories, essays and letters, all of them revealing a life of deep engagement with political and social issues of gender, class, sexuality and more, that this same Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote Frankenstein : A Modern Prometheus (a subtitle explicitly invoking the mythical act of stealing fire from the gods as an opening rhetorical reference to the risks of scientific endeavour) as, and I quote, “the sole purpose of…macabre entertainment”? Because I would suggest, on the basis of all available evidence, including every single thing ever written about Frankenstein, that Gus is in a minority on this one. In fact, I will go so far as to say that he is utterly, absurdly and idiotically wrong.
(15) John Thiel’s responses to Steve Davidson’s queries about “trufandom” appear in “The Voices of Fandom” at Amazing Stories.
Steve’s introduction notes –
I posed a series of interview questions to members of the Fan History group on Facebook. I thought it would be a good place to start because that group is made up entirely of Trufans.
Today, I present the first in a series of responses to those questions and I should point out that, in typical Fannish fashion, the answers are anything but monolithic. Apparently Fans have as many different ideas about what it means to be a Fan as there are Fans, which just serves to point out how difficult it is to get a handle on this question.
Five decades since she first appeared as Emma Peel in The Avengers (1961-1969), fans of the show still approach Dame Diana Rigg to express their gratitude. Rigg joins BFI curator Dick Fiddy to reflect on the influence of Peel on real-life women and acting with Patrick Macnee and Ian Hendry.
(17) Jon Michaud reviews Michael Witwer’s Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons in The New Yorker and accuses the biographer of shielding Gygax rather than exploring more deeply the controversial topic of his religious views.
Dr. Thomas Radecki, a founding member of the National Coalition on TV Violence, said, “There is no doubt in my mind that the game Dungeons & Dragons is causing young men to kill themselves and others.” In her book “Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society,” Tipper Gore connected the game to satanism and the occult. All of this prompted a “60 Minutes” segment in which Gygax rejected these myriad accusations, calling them “nothing but a witch hunt.”
What was largely unknown or omitted from this brouhaha is that Gygax was an intermittently observant Jehovah’s Witness. This startling fact crops up about halfway through Witwer’s biography, when he notes that Gygax’s “controversial” game, along with his smoking and drinking, had led to a parting of the ways with the local congregation. Up until that point, the matter of Gygax’s faith had gone unmentioned in the biography, and it is barely discussed thereafter. (The book’s index does not have an entry for “Jehovah’s Witness” or “Gygax, Gary—religious beliefs.”) Given the furor that D. & D. caused, the absence of a deeper analysis of Gygax’s faith is a glaring omission. In a recent interview with Tobias Carroll, Witwer acknowledged that Gygax “was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness. He would go door-to-door and he would give out pamphlets. He was pretty outspoken about it, as a matter of fact.” The reason for almost completely excluding it from the biography, Witwer says, is that “I couldn’t find it [as] a huge driving force in his life.…I didn’t want to be too heavy-handed with that, because I’m not clear that, especially with his gaming work and even his home life, how big a factor that was on a day-to-day basis. But I do know he was practicing.”
(18) Galactic Journey visits the year 1960 where young Mike Glyer’s favorite TV series, Men Into Space, is still on the air, and there’s even a tie-in novel by Murray Leinster.
“Men Into Space” consists of short stories following the career of Space Force officer Ed McCauley:
As a lieutenant, McCauley makes the first manned rocket flight.
As a captain, McCauley deals with an injured crewman while piloting the first space-plane.
As a major, McCauley deals with a potentially-fatal construction accident while in charge the building of the first space station.
As a colonel, McCauley deals with a murderous personnel problem while overseeing the establishment of a series of radio relays to the moon’s far side, then deals with a technical problem aboard a rocket to Venus, and another personnel problem on a Mars mission.
Lots of nuts and bolts details about ballistics, rocket fuels, radiation, the van Allen belts, and so forth. And with each story, McCauley deals with progressively more complex human problems as he moves up in rank.
Although 7-year-old me would have loved the tie-in novel, 35 cents would have been a king’s ransom in my personal economy….
(19) Here’s a photo of the Cosmos Award presentation to Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Planetary Society 35th anniversary celebration on October 24.
Before the award was given to Tyson, Nye reminisced about meeting Tyson through the organization. Nye then showed a photo of what Tyson looked like in 1980, when he was a wrestler (Tyson wrestled in high school and college), and Tyson joked that he kicked some serious butt.
Tyson had come prepared, and showed a photo of Nye in 1980, in a “Coneheads” costume, with a silver ring around his head.
(20) The Red Bull Music Academy website has published David Keenan’s “Reality Is For People Who Can’t Handle Science Fiction”, about the influence of SF on French progressive rock from 1969 through 1985.
In 2014 I interviewed Richard Pinhas of Heldon, still one of the central punk/prog mutants to come out of the French underground. I asked him about the influence of the visionary science fiction writer Philip K. Dick on his sound and on his worldview. “Philip K. Dick was a prophet to us,” Pinhas explained. “He saw the future.”
It makes sense that a musical and cultural moment that was obsessed with the sound of tomorrow would name a sci-fi writer as its central avatar. Indeed, while the Sex Pistols spat on the British vision of the future dream as a shopping scheme, the French underground projected it off the planet altogether.
When Pinhas formed Heldon in 1974 he named the group in tribute to sci-fi writer Norman Spinrad’s 1972 novel The Iron Dream, conflating his own vision of a mutant amalgam of Hendrix-inspired psychedelic rock and cyborg-styled electronics with Spinrad’s re-writing of history.
(21) At CNN, “Art transforms travel photos with paper cutouts”:
That’s what happened when Londoner Rich McCor began adorning pictures of British landmarks with whimsical paper cutouts and posting the results online.
Originally, the 28-year-old creative agency worker intended the photos for the amusement of himself and friends.
Then he got a lesson on the impact of “viral” when Britain’s “Daily Mail” publicized some of his photos.
[Thanks to Rob Thornton, Mark-kitteh, Will R., Michael J. Walsh, JJ, Janice Gelb, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]
(1) A postcard from the Baen beachhead at Dragon Con.
— Ray Radlein (@Radlein) September 5, 2015
(2) The Stanley Hotel in Colorado inspired Stephen King’s novel The Shining, a connection the hotel’s operators have used to market the resort for years.
But unlike King’s fictional Overlook it never had a hedge maze – until this summer when the owner had one built to placate his customers.
Missing from the experience, however, has been the hedge maze that Mr. Kubrick used as the setting for the film’s climax….
At a colleague’s suggestion, Mr. Cullen [the owner] opted to hold a contest for the design, a move that amplified the public-relations potential. A panel of judges received 329 entries from around the world, and the winner was a New York architect named Mairim Dallaryan Standing.
Mr. Cullen chose to form the maze from juniper trees that grow to just three feet high, making the Stanley’s maze far less imposing than the 13-foot labyrinth in the Kubrick film. Mr. Cullen said he was concerned about losing children in the maze.
This summer, that decision has caused some disappointment….
The owner of the real hotel builds a maze to please King fans, who then are not pleased because it doesn’t match the source. How fannish is that?
(3) John O’Halloran’s Sasquan photo album – mainly the Hugo ceremony.
(4) Lou Antonelli on Facebook
I’m going to write an alternate history set in a world where cloning was perfected in the 1920s and by the beginning of the television era in the 1950s entertainers are able to license copies of themselves for live performances.
The clones of bigger stars are more expensive than the clones of lesser ones. One man has to settle for a Teresa Brewer clone, but he bemoans the fact that he couldn’t afford a clone of the star he REALLY wanted.
The story will be called…
“If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love.”
(5) The works of Karel Capek are being celebrated at a festival in Washington D.C. Celia Wren penned an overview in the Washington Post.
Prepare for rebellious automatons, a 300-year-old opera singer, and a pack of newts taking a page from Ira Glass. These and other inventions will unfold locally this fall courtesy of the Czech writer Karel Capek (1890-1938), with help from other artists.
Capek is the focus of the Mutual Inspirations Festival 2015, led by the Embassy of the Czech Republic and offering films, theater pieces, lectures, art exhibits, and — for children — a Lego Robotics Workshop. Now in its sixth year, the festival pays tribute to an influential Czech figure, such as Antonin Dvorak (2011), Vaclav Havel (2013) or Franz Kafka (2014).
Running from September 3-November 21, 2015, the festival highlights events at select venues in the Washington area, such as the Kennedy Center, the Gonda Theatre in the Davis Performing Arts Center at Georgetown University, the Avalon Theatre, and Bistro Bohem. Highlights of this year’s festival include a jazz-age evening of music and dance, theatrical readings of the new work R.U.R.: A Retro-Futuristic Musical, the world premiere of War with the Newts adapted by Natsu Onoda Power, a robotics demonstration and lecture with Czech robotics expert Vladimir Ma?ík, a panel discussion on R.U.R. and the Rationalized World, and a Lego Robotics Workshop for children facilitated by the Great Adventure Lab. Additional noted speakers include Templeton Prize-winner Tomáš Halík, art historian Otto Urban, and theatre/ interactive media arts scholar Jana Horaková. The festival incorporates a variety of events, including theatrical performances, film screenings, a concert, lectures, and exhibitions. With over 30,000 people attending the festival over the last three years, the festival strives to reach a wide audience through its vibrant programming.
(6 George R.R. Martin, in “Awards, Awards, and More Awards”, encourages the Puppies who are talking about starting an award of their own.
He discusses how many different awards there are in the field and includes lots of pictures – which is easy because George has won most of them.
A great many of the awards discussed above were started precisely because the people behind them felt someone was being overlooked by the Hugos and/ or other existing awards, and wanted to give an “attaboy” to work they cherished.
There is no reason the Sad Puppies should not do the same. Give them at Dragoncon, give them at Libertycon… or, hell, give them at worldcon, if you want. Most worldcons will give you a hall for the presentation, I’m sure, just as they do for the Prometheus Awards and the Seiuns. Or you can rent your own venue off-site, as I did with the Alfies. Have a party. No booing, just cheers. Give handsome trophies to those you think deserve it. Spread joy.
That’s what awards are supposed to be about, after all. Giving some joy back to the writers and editors and artists who have given you so much joy with their work. Celebration.
Since RAH is already taken by the Heinlein Foundation for its own award, maybe you should call them the Jims, to honor Jim Baen, an editor and publisher that I know many of you admire. If you launch a Kickstarter to have a bust of him sculpted for the trophy, I’ll be glad to contribute. (It may surprise you to know that while Jim Baen and I were very far apart politically, we shared many a meal together, and he published a half dozen of my books. Liberals and conservatives CAN get along, and usually did, in fandom of yore).
A prerequisite of a stable democratic society is being a good loser.
If your definition of “democracy” boils down to “I get what I personally want or else the entire process is wrong and corrupt,” then you have reduced yourself to the spoiled child who throws a tantrum and overturns the table when s/he loses at a board game.
Could it be that our society’s over-emphasis at “win at any cost” and “second place is the first loser,” and a complete de-emphasis on learning how to be graceful in defeat is undermining the entire democratic process? After all, if you’ve been conditioned to think that Winning Is The Only Thing and that losing gracefully is for suckers and wimps, how can you possibly live with yourself when your “side” loses a political election, even if the process was demonstratively fair? In such a situation, you almost naturally are doing to insist that the process itself is wrong, because you’ve built up a self-image that requires you to win.
I’m also worried that we’ve overly emphasized not hurting people’s feelings when they are young by pretending that they can never lose. When they reach the real world where not every corner is padded for them, they can’t handle anything other than “I showed up, so I need to win.” I admit that possibly I’m just being old and crotchety about Those Darn Kids.
As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m disappointed that Popular Ratification, into which I invested a lot of myself, lost at the ratification stage. But I can see that the process was fair, and I neither consider myself a moral failure because my cause lost nor do I consider the entire WSFS legislative process invalid because I got outvoted. I get the feeling, however, that a whole lot of people out there can’t live with the concept of losing.
(8) Didact doesn’t care.
I really can’t make it any clearer than that, unless the good people over at File770 want me to break out a pack of crayons and draw them a picture. And I don’t speak any dialect of dipsh*t, so even that probably won’t help.
Didact, Vile Faceless Minion #0309, repeats:
WE DON’T CARE whether or not our nominees won awards. Not this year, not next year, and not in any other year. It matters not the minutest quantum of a damn for us. As far as I, personally, am concerned, the Hugo Awards have lost their point and purpose and need to be torn down and replaced wholesale.
I don’t know why I have such a hard time getting it through my thick skull that they don’t care. Really. It’s just embarrassing. As many times they’ve been forced to repeat this. Think of all the time they could spend on something they do care about if only I would just get it. All my fault. My bad. So sorry.
(9) And dammit, Jonathan M has uncovered another of this blog’s deepest secrets.
— Jonathan McCalmont (@ApeInWinter) September 6, 2015
(9) Great photos from a vintage computer exhibit.
At the beginning, this is how I approached The Original Series. Despite how much everyone wants to talk about Star Trek‘s progressiveness in 1966, you can tell just by a quick glance at the costuming that womankind is not going to be treated as equal, with all the rights and responsibilities pertaining thereto.
But around the end of season one, I couldn’t help but become a little bit invested in the world of the Federation. I was always happy when Lieutenant Uhura was given real lines in an episode, because she was just what you’d want in a starship officer of the future—brave and serious, but with a human side, too. Nurse Chapel was also welcome—she had gravitas without being robotic and cold.
Of course, for every Uhura or Chapel there was the endless supply of one-off Kirk foils planted on every strange new world, waiting for a strong-jawed spaceman to rescue them. Sometimes they were decent characters, like Edith Keeler in “The City on the Edge of Forever,” one of The Original Series’ most famous episodes. In it, Kirk and Spock end up in the 1930s and a depression-era charity worker—Keeler, portrayed by Joan freaking Collins—preaches futurism to a group of unenlightened hobos. (And then Kirk falls in love with her. Because of course.) Other characters were worse—you need only search “Women Star Trek Original Series” to find the lists of the show’s hottest, most vacant babes.
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Mark and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day James H. Burns.]
(1) I encountered this oasis while researching today’s scroll — Nelson Lowhim’s clever story “Sasquan, worldcon and the science fiction convention”
…Leaning back and inhaling the sterile convention center smell, I realized that I’d sat on a book. I pulled it out from under me and examined the cover: on it a gallant woman rode a chariot being pulled by naked men. They were headed to a shining light at the end of the road.
It was thin, the book, and so I read through it, the writing clean enough for me not to stop and the premise interesting enough for me to flip the pages. When I was finished, unsure with the ending, I threw the book on the table where it collided with the sculpture.
It was then that I noticed a shift in the atmosphere and the smell of something like rotting feet. Out from the shadows in a corner stepped a large man. I froze. For not only was he large, not only did he wield a large sword, but he moved with the kind of nimbleness that signifies a specifically potent violence.
“Treat the book with a little more respect, small man.”…
(2) Marko Kloos – “My Sasquan Weekend”
So we were at the Hugo Losers party, mingling with old and new friends and generally having a good time, when GRRM had a special surprise for us. He brought out a table full of trophies made from 1950s hood ornaments which he called the Alfies, after Alfred Bester, the winner of the inaugural best Novel Hugo in 1953. George started giving them out to various people who would have been on the ballot without the slates, especially in those categories where the nominees all came from the slates.
And then he awarded one to Annie Bellet, who withdrew her short story from the ballot the same day I withdrew my novel…and I thought to myself, “Self, he may call you up there too.” The room was packed with people, many of them authors and editors of works you’ve probably read, and I basically had two or three minutes to think up something to say that wouldn’t make me look like a giant jackass.
(3) Angela Blackwell on Bull Spec – “The Exploding Spaceship Visits Sasquan – Worldcon 2015”
Panel organizers appeared to try to bring diverse authors onto panels but like many conventions could really have used some oversight from a diversity coordinator. Many “diverse” authors were on panels with topics which had nothing to do with the type of writing they do. It looked as if someone said, “Oh, we need diversity on this panel so let’s randomly pick a diverse author we used somewhere else instead of broadening our panelist pool and finding a diverse author who fits the topic”. Also “diverse” authors need to be put on panels about the subgenres they write about not just on generic panels….
Next year’s Worldcon will be in Kansas City. We hope their panel organizers learn from the many comments on Twitter and Facebook as well as at the convention about how different authors were placed on panels and what panel topics were chosen. All the members of the community need to feel welcome and none should be stuck in a “diversity” box, or a “minority political opinion” box.
(4) Ellen Datlow has over a hundred photos from Sasquan, many from GRRM’s Hugo Losers Party, posted here.
(5) Lou Antonelli on Facebook
Thought for the Day: In light of the way he depicts social occasions in his fantasy writing, I was rather surprised anyone would accept an invitation to a private event from George R.R. Martin. (wink)
(6) Campbell nominee Rolf Nelson – “Sasquan post, obligatory”
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect being totally ignored, but that’s largely what happened. No offers of being on panels. No interviews. Nobody to introduce me. No packet available that was supposed to be ready for me. No open attacks on me. No large shows of support for the puppies. (Some background on the puppies here: http://sfauthor.net/burning-down-the-house/ ; I was a “rabid puppy” nominee. Five second recap: the insiders worked the nominations and voting in back rooms and parties for years, and didn’t like it when an outsider did the same thing, out in the open, and better, shutting them out of a lock on the awards). Normally new writers are loaded up with panels and shown around and introduced to folks. For me and most of the non-TOR-books nominees? Nothing. So I wandered around, watched, listened, talked to a lot of “average SF con attendees.” They were mostly nice, and most knew little or nothing about the whole puppies thing. Most who knew something had a warped left-wing version of events in their heads. I managed to line up 3 interviews of my own by walking down to the press room and asking “want to interview a rabid puppy?” including one with Amy Wallace of Wired (http://www.wired.com/2015/08/won-science-fictions-hugo-awards-matters/ ) who talked to me for 20 or 25 minutes, but didn’t use any of it (flatly contradicted what I said, in fact, perhaps because I was recording the interview, too, so she could not out-of-context sound-bite me).
(7) Melinda Snodgrass – “There Is and Was No Conspiracy”
So now I have to address the boatload of idiotic conspiracy theories that have sprung up from the fervid brains of the Puppies both Sad and Rabid.
No, George did not know in advance who had won and who had lost. He had to wait for the pink sheet that detailed the Hugo nominations before he could figure out who was going to receive an Alfie. I know because I had to check in with him when thing were running late for presenting the awards, and he told me in harried tones that he had had to wait for the breakdown to come out and everything was running late.
No, George did not buy 3000 memberships and tell them how to vote. Has anyone looked at fandom? Herding cats wold be easier. And seriously — George is the guy who loves this award. He would never, ever game his beloved Hugos.
No, the Puppy votes were not “discounted”. It’s the Australian ballot. It’s confusing. Here’s a link where Ranked Voting is explained. Try to understand. So you don’t get your money back.
No, you can’t sue. You have to show harm before you can get into court, and you have to have standing to bring a lawsuit. If someone calls you a banana that might hurt you deeply, but the court will not provide a remedy for your pain. You voted/you lost. If your argument had merit I’d be suing over the 2000 election. Let it be noted that I didn’t.
(8) Jim Hensley on Unqualified Offerings – “Social Engineer-ing”
Ken Burnside writes the best “pro-Puppy” retrospective on the Hugo Awards that I’ve seen. It’s frank about the pain he felt from the way some people treated him during the controversy but impressively free of bitterness. The piece is long, but what interests me most is something he doesn’t quite say, and possibly doesn’t quite realize. Here’s what he does say, about what he identifies as the “Heroic Engineer” genre, also known as competence porn:
Heroic Engineer Stories drive a lot of sales. Nearly every SF author I know who doesn’t need a day job writes an action-adventure series, where the Heroic Engineer/Officer/Competent Protagonist Solves The Problem. They sell, and they sell to a male demographic, often current or recently retired military, and that demographic skews conservative.
Let’s zero in on the last sentence. It states that SF competence porn sells to people who see themselves in the protagonist. They are pleased to read stories in which they recognize people like them.
Which is exactly what gets called affirmative-action “box checking” when the protagonist is female, non-white, queer or some combination of those. Often, particularly when Puppy advocates are writing, when readers derive pleasure from seeing themselves in those protagonists, they are accused of favoring representation over quality, even though representation can be a marker of quality.
I remember when I first saw Apollo 13 in the theater, my overwhelming, thrilled reaction was: “My people!” Those very clever, very white nerdboys in Mission Control, trying to save the lives of the astronauts via kitbashing and pedantry reminded me of myself and my friends in a way hardly any screen protagonists had heretofore. And you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. And there’s nothing wrong with an ex-service-member deriving pleasure from stories about guys kinda like him saving the world with shop tools and shaped charges.
But there’s also nothing wrong with a black woman deriving pleasure from stories about black women on Mars, or gay men enjoying stories about gay men dealing with unexplained phenomena. This even goes beyond the issue of representation-as-quality – that stories with people of color, LGBT folks and women of agency better reflect the world as we know it and our plausible futures. While the old stereotype of science-fiction and fantasy as nothing but wish-fulfillment stories was unjust, wish-fulfillment remains an element of much fiction, and most adventure fiction. There’s simply no case that non-white, non-straight, non-male readers’ enjoyment in seeing themselves reflected in fiction is somehow less legitimate than the pleasure that “a male demographic, often current or recently retired military” takes in the same phenomenon.
(9) After Chris Meadows meets Michael Z. Williamson at the gun show, he reviews and approves Kate Paulk’s plans for SP4 – “Whether Sad Puppy or opposed, fans are people, too” .
That’s a much better way to approach the matter than coming up with a slate with just a small number of candidates, the way Brad Torgersen did last year. As Paulk points out later in the livestream, Torgersen didn’t fill every category on the Sad Puppy slate with five candidates, but its having fewer than five left room for the Rabids to come in and piggyback on them by putting five on theirs. It also resulted in some candidates that Puppies might have nominated, such as the Heinlein biography, getting left out because Torgersen didn’t know about them to put them on the slate. Listing all suggested nominees will make a lot more sense.
More importantly, it’s also the way that a lot of other places make Hugo recommendations. That’s how John Scalzi’s “Fans Award Recommendation Threads” work, for example—people plug stories they personally think are worthy and recommend that others read them. And people have historically been fine with that kind of thing. There’s no attempt there to make a specific list of just a few works in each category. There are also people out there attempting to list and discuss every possible eligible work for 2016, so people will know what’s available.
Torgersen might have meant the 2015 slate as a list of recommendations for things people should read and then nominate if they liked them (though he wasn’t really very clear about that in the original announcement), but the problem with a list that has just a few candidates on it is that a lot of people will choose to nominate it as-is without actually bothering to read the works on it. They might not feel like they have the kind of time it would take to read everything, but that list is right there and it’s easy to copy and paste. Hopefully more people will be moved to nominate stuff they actually read this year.
(10) Elton Gahr on Life, the Universe, and Sci-Fi – “My Controversial Opinion on the Hugo Awards”
I know I’m a bit late commenting on the Hugo awards, but the recent Hugo awards controversy annoyed me enough I wanted to comment with my own super controversial opinion on the Hugo awards. I apologize before I tell you because I know that it’s going to surprise and possibly upset some people, but the award for the best science fiction story, novel, etc should go to the, wait for it… Best story.
Basically what I’m saying is that most of the people involved in the argument are wrong regardless of which side you’re on (though I’ll admit if it makes you feel better that some are more wrong than others). If you’re voting for people instead of the work of fiction they wrote you’re wrong. I can understand not voting for someone if you really dislike them simply because you don’t want to support them. But voting for someone because they are a white male, a black Hispanic woman or an aboriginal Australian when you don’t believe their story is the best is just wrong and it doesn’t really matter why you’re doing it. Ignore the author and vote for the story you like the best. That’s what the award is for….
I have no problem with people putting together a list of stories that they think are the best though it seems clear that isn’t going to be a good idea. I’m also very pleased that more minorities and women are writing science fiction. Part of the reason I read science fiction is to see the world from the point of view of people who see it different from me. And if they write the best science fiction story in their respective categories they deserve to win, but honestly anyone who votes for them because they are a minority or a woman when they don’t believe it’s the best story is voting wrong.
So that’s basically it. My controversial opinion about the Hugo Awards is that the rabid people on both sides of this are idiots. If I heard someone saying that women or minorities shouldn’t be involved in science fiction I’d have a hard time not punching them in the face. It’s 2015 and we are supposed to be past that type of thing. But I really don’t feel much better about the people on the opposite extreme. If you won’t vote for someone just because they are a white male then there is no difference at all. If you assume someone is racist because they disagree about what the best story then you need to consider that they might just like something different than you and that’s O.K. and if you vote for someone who didn’t write the best story to make a political point you’re helping to prove the people on the other side right.
(11) Jonathan Jones in the Guardian – “Get real. Terry Pratchett is not a literary genius”
It does not matter to me if Terry Pratchett’s final novel is a worthy epitaph or not, or if he wanted it to be pulped by a steamroller. I have never read a single one of his books and I never plan to. Life’s too short.
No offence, but Pratchett is so low on my list of books to read before I die that I would have to live a million years before getting round to him. I did flick through a book by him in a shop, to see what the fuss is about, but the prose seemed very ordinary.
I don’t mean to pick on this particular author, except that the huge fuss attending and following his death this year is part of a very disturbing cultural phenomenon. In the age of social media and ebooks, our concept of literary greatness is being blurred beyond recognition. A middlebrow cult of the popular is holding literature to ransom. Thus, if you judge by the emotional outpourings over their deaths, the greatest writers of recent times were Pratchett and Ray Bradbury. There was far less of an internet splurge when Gabriel García Márquez died in 2014 and Günter Grass this spring. Yet they were true titans of the novel. Their books, like all great books, can change your life, your beliefs, your perceptions. Everyone reads trash sometimes, but why are we now pretending, as a culture, that it is the same thing as literature? The two are utterly different.
(12) Damien G. Walter – “Sorry Jonesy, but I can write for the Guardian and love Terry Pratchett”
I never had the good fortune to meet Terry Pratchett, but I’ve been reading his books since I was eleven. My favourite Discworld tomes – Mort, Small Gods and Going Postal – have been read a half dozen times each at least. I also hold a Masters degree, have been a senior university lecturer, and am a columnist for The Guardian, the very same bastion of middlebrow values that Jonathan Jones penned his opportunistic attack on Terry Pratchett. Unlike Jones however, I see no conflict in being both an intelligent educated human being and loving the fuck out of Terry Pratchett’s discworld books.
(13) Christopher Priest – “You Don’t Know What It Is, Do You, Mister Jones?”
Finally, the works of Sir Terry Pratchett. I have been provoked to write this essay today by an article in the Guardian’s blog, by the newspaper’s arts correspondent Jonathan Jones. As a display of closed-minded prejudice, and an astonishing willingness to brag about it, there have been thankfully few precedents. Here is how Jones starts:
It does not matter to me if Terry Pratchett’s final novel is a worthy epitaph or not, or if he wanted it to be pulped by a steamroller. I have never read a single one of his books and I never plan to. Life’s too short. No offence, but Pratchett is so low on my list of books to read before I die that I would have to live a million years before getting round to him. I did flick through a book by him in a shop, to see what the fuss is about, but the prose seemed very ordinary.
Unsurprisingly, the online comments on this pathetic piece of ignorant journalism have swarmed in (at the time of writing, just under one thousand), and for once almost all of them agree with each other. I will be surprised and disappointed if Mr Jones retains his job with the Guardian, at least in the capacity of an arts correspondent. I have rarely seen a letter of resignation so overtly and shamelessly revealing as this. I was forcibly reminded of a letter my old friend John Middleton Murry wrote to the Observer many years ago on another, not dissimilar, matter: ‘I note your organ does not have a reporter in Antarctica, and suggest that this would be a suitable posting for Mr Martin Amis.’
I should add that Terry Pratchett and I were respectful colleagues rather than personal friends. We knew each other better in the days when we were teenage hopefuls, trying to get our first stories sold. The years went by, we found our publishers and we went our separate ways. I doubt if Terry ever read my books – I read only a few of his. Terry does not need me to defend him – Jones’s article is contemptible.
But I would say that of all the writers I have ever known, or the books I have ever read, Terry Pratchett’s seem to be a dead cert for long-term classic status.
(14) Scott Lynch on Storify – “That awful, awful SJW message fiction”
(2) It's wall to wall female characters mixed in with male characters. Even in the military. Even the INFANTRY. This is treated as normal!
— Scott Lynch (@scottlynch78) August 31, 2015
(15) OK. Now it’s been said.
We got a great Best Novel in #hugoawards from the ISS but disappointed nobody said "No Award them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure!"
— Robot Archie (@RobotArchie) September 1, 2015
(16) Angelique Trouvere has a request:
I’ve attached the photo you included [in Toni Lay’s obituary] of the group shot from the early Trekcon with George Takei and I had a question that I hope you may be able to help me with:
There is a woman sitting next to Elyse on the far left–she’s wearing a red jacket and a white top with dots – she’s an old friend from the cons who moved to L.A shortly after that pic was taken. I visited her there but lost contact with her. It’s been so long that I can’t be sure if her first name is Barbara or Sharon. This photo was also published in Joan’s book, “The Making of the Star Trek Conventions” but it’s a grainy b/w. Would you know her or know someone who might?
If you have the answer e-mail me at mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com and I will pass it on to Ms. Trouvere.
(16) The one true reason why people are writers:
I have decided to give up writing and take up… umm… become… errr… yes, well, I guess writing it is, then.
— Kameron Hurley (@KameronHurley) September 1, 2015
(17) Just what do the Orks want anyway? Multiplexer gives this neglected sociological question extended thought at Critical Hits.
Generic evil for the sake of being evil is boring. The most banal and dull of demi-humans benefit from a bit of motivation, incentives, history and background. Why are the Orks in the dungeon? What do they get out of being in the dungeon? Did they come from a village? How is that village? Can the PCs learn anything about this culture while killing things and looting their stuff? Maybe they have something and the local magistrates want it more?
No one is what they seem and everything has little pull-able threads that unravel into a tapestry of background, story, and tale.
Or maybe the Murder Hobos only want to roll bad guys and take their stuff.
(18) We end today with this highly scientific excerpt from io9 – “Archeologists Tracked Lewis and Clark by Following Their Trail of Laxatives”
Eventually, researchers came across some information that helped clarify things… and that information came from their latrines. Lewis and Clark were fairly well-equipped and well-trained, even if only by the standards of the day. Given what those standards were, it’s surprising that they only lost one person during their trek. According to their own records, they bled people who were feverish, they gave purgatives to people who felt weak, and they administered potassium nitrate (a preservative substitute for salt) to people suffering from heat stroke and dehydration. They also brought along the wonder drug of the day, mercury chloride (otherwise known as calomel), as a pill, a tincture, and an ointment.
Calomel was often used to treat those with syphilis (mercury does work against the bacterium that causes syphilis, but it takes out the host as well, so don’t try it at home) along with nearly everything else, including constipation. And an expedition that ate mainly the game they could catch along the way would have suffered from constipation regularly. In their journals, Lewis and Clark regularly make note of someone having to take one of Dr. Rush’s Bilious Pills (because constipation was thought to be caused by an excess of bile) and spending the day purging.
If you know that you and your men are going to spend a day expelling everything they’ve eaten for a week, you make sure to dig a latrine. Most of the mercury that the men ingested went out of the system again, which means that over a century later, historians and archaeologists were able to pin down where Lewis and Clark had stayed by testing old latrine contents for mercury.
[Thanks to Paul Weimer, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek, with a signal boost by Shambles .]
(1) Steve Rzasa on Speculative Faith – “Puppies v. Trufans: Civil War”
My short story Turncoat, set in the Quantum Mortis sci-fi universe and written with a very specific aim, was nominated this way: Last spring, Vox Day approached me about writing a short story for the Riding the Red Horse anthology. He saw it as a successor to Jerry Pournelle’s There Will be War. Since I had a genuinely good time writing the Quantum Mortis books, I agreed. Over the next few months, I brainstormed concepts, and wrote Turncoat in July.
Fast forward to December 2014 and Turncoat was released as part of Riding the Red Horse. The first I learned of the Rabid Puppies thing was when I saw Turncoat on Vox’s slate or list or helpful suggestions round-up — whatever you want to call it — in February. I thought that was nice to be considered for such an award, and vaguely read over what Rabid Puppies’ aim was. Frankly, I didn’t think they had a snowball’s chance. But then again, I knew next to nothing about the Hugos and absolutely zero about the previous Sad Puppies efforts.
Whatever the goals of both Puppy groups are/were, they were not, from my perspective, pursued with Christian views in mind. The campaigning on both sides was, in one word, brutal. Even supposing the Puppy groups were correct that they were persecuted and disregarded when it came to science fiction awards, the whole fracas is in direct violation of Paul’s admonitions in Romans 12: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them… Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
The Puppy vs. Trufan war was not conducted in this fashion. There were some on both sides who conducted themselves well, but name-calling and threats dominated. I’m sure a lot of people outside the debate now think there’s a ton of crazy people reading sci-fi and fantasy.
But don’t kid yourself: this showdown was not about faith. It was about message.
(2) Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt – “Fauxtrage”
Mary Three Names, whom I don’t mean to impugn, because it’s becoming clear to me that she has an impairment that prevents her from understanding written language but has nonetheless managed to win three Hugos, leapt to a conclusion probably caused by her impairment and decided “Chicom” was a racial insult.
Now, I understand some of the younger people and those who didn’t grow up in Europe during the cold war might NOT know that Chicom is a contraction of Chinese and Communist. Not a racial slur under any way or form, but a way of specifying these were CHINESE communists, you know, not Russian Communists or Feminist Communists (you know, Mary, Femcoms, you might know some) or any other form of the repulsive ideology.
3. I assumed that @SarahAHoyt knew the full context of the word and that she was using it as a deliberate racial slur.
— Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) August 28, 2015
4. I apologize to @SarahAHoyt for assuming ill intent in her choice of words. She says it was not her intention, & I will trust her on that.
— Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) August 28, 2015
(3) True dat.
Some people vote No Award in certain categories every year because they think the category shouldn’t exist. It’s always been a protest vote.
— Catherynne Valente (@catvalente) August 27, 2015
(4) Vox Day on Vox Popoli – “Directly over the target”
And wait, there’s more! The SJWs are also engaged in a charity drive so that John Scalzi will read it for the audio version.
As you can see, this is a masterful rhetorical response that totally proves the falsity of the Second Law of SJW: SJWs Always Double Down. One of my friends sent me an email last night that I think aptly describes the situation. “WTF, are you PAYING these people or something?” And just to ice the crazy cake, we’ve now officially gone meta as there are now fake fake reviews being posted. And while I’m not surprised by the nature of the reaction of the science fiction SJWs to the book, I am amazed by the vehemence behind it. They are absolutely furious to see that a book unmasking them was not only published by me, but is riding the very wave of media attention that they themselves created to success. That’s the importance of the parody in their minds; if it can become even more popular than SJWs Always Lie, that will disqualify it and render it harmless, thereby relieving the stress they are presently feeling.
(5) Dave Langford in a comment on Whatever at 1:39 a.m.
$50. I’m too deaf for audiobooks but will imagine this one in my head. WITH SOUND EFFECTS.
You rock Dave!
(6) Walt Boyes on Facebook
[This is a long post, as is the Burnside post that follows. All the excepts can do is suggest why I found them of interest.]
I am neither a Puppy nor a Puppy Kicker. But as a working editor, I am appalled that an award in which nearly all the professional categories requires the services of an editor to be a successful work, something like 2400 votes were cast in opposition to ALL the editor nominees. There were several worthy nominees who were beaten by NO AWARD, in my opinion, unfairly. One comment I have seen repeated several times was that if they were worthy, they’d have won. Maybe they’ll get nominated again sometime. That’s bullshit. They WERE worthy, and they got shat upon. All you have to do is to notice that Toni Weisskopf got four times the number of votes that the winner has in the last five years to see that. Mike Resnick had the same experience in the Best Editor-Short Form category…..
Revenge attempts won’t work, and in the long run, counter-revenge attempts like the slate voting of NO AWARD (Yes, it was a slate, and there is proof that is widely available). In fact, nothing will work. The Hugos are legally owned by the WSFS Trust, and they don’t want the rest of us.
They. Don’t. Want. Us.
I don’t think the Hugos can be saved. At least, I don’t think that the puppies movement will change things. WSFS owns the Hugos. Legally, to change the Hugo system you have to change WSFS. I don’t see that happening.
At Kansas City, amendments to the WSFS constitution will be proposed (please don’t ask me how I know) that will make it even harder to inject an outside nominee into the Hugos than the amendments passed in Spokane do. The Spokane amendments will almost certainly be ratified in Kansas City, as WSFS works to make it harder to “steal” their awards. The amendments made in Kansas City will be ratified in Helsinki, at what will may possibly be a very small Worldcon. Note how few people attended the WSFS business meeting in Spokane. And only people who attend the business meeting have the right to vote on the constitution. No Award will always win in a contest of wills. It isn’t right, but it is the way the rules are rigged. Remember, WSFS _owns_ the Hugo Awards outright. It IS their football.
What is going to happen, basically, is the WSFS Hugo Committee will be given the power to reject any ballot for “wrong think” of any kind. If the puppies campaign in 2016 has legs, WSFS will react by making their control tighter. They will create a “nominating committee” which will prepare a slate (I know, Irony, thy name is WSFS) of nominees for the ballot, from a “suggestion list.”
The SMOFs, the Nielsen-Haydens, and the other PuppyKickers have the numbers and the staying power to do this. The puppies, I am afraid, do not. In order to change this, and keep it from happening, the puppies will have to deliver 300-500 committed puppy voters to Kansas City and Helsinki, in person. $50 supporting memberships won’t help here. You have to have an attending membership, and then you have to show up for the business meetings. There were on the order of 300 people attending the WSFS business meetings in Spokane at some point in the proceedings. This year, the outsiders couldn’t deliver enough votes to take the Hugos. They certainly aren’t going to be able to deliver actual butts in chairs at two successive Worldcons.
The other thing that happened this year, and will happen again, is that the PuppyKickers controlled the media. This is not because of some gigantic left wing media conspiracy. That’s bullshit. Something like six companies, all led by conservatives, and 277 conservative executives control nearly all of the media outlets in the United States. If you don’t think so, look at how comparatively right wing CNN and MSNBC have gotten in the past six months. It’s because of the fact that Nielsen-Hayden and friends knew how to issue a freakin’ press release, and did so regularly. You can see the evidence for this in the fact that all the articles online and in print kept using the same phrases and sentences over and over. That’s because they got press releases, and used them as source material. To my knowledge, the puppies didn’t issue any. They waited for the media to come to them, and by the time they did, what passed for objectivity was the Wired article last weekend….
After the money, it is all about the culture war. There are people who believe honestly and strongly that women, minorities, and sexual issues are not being addressed to their satisfaction in science fiction and fantasy. They believe that there is too much white colonialism in science fiction. Folks, the way to change people’s minds is to understand where they are, be sympathetic to their position, and slowly move them to where you want them to be. It is way too late to do that. There is a crop of writers, mostly women, some women of color, and quite a few men, both white and non-, who are committed to changing what they see as bias toward white only culture.
This is not necessarily wrongthink. Nor is it necessarily the gods’ own truth. Stop telling these young writers they are wrong, or dismissing them as some sort of weird Marxists. Some of them are amazingly gifted writers. The ones that are, write brilliant stories where their bias against white colonialism culture really doesn’t show—it is about the story, and their bias isn’t the plot, and it certainly doesn’t affect the action….
One of the puppy kickers has regularly said, “Go start your own awards.” Despite the snark and the down-nose-looking deprecation, it really is good advice.
I fully expect to be run out of here on a rail for what I’ve said.
It is hard to be neutral in this thing. My sympathies lie with both sides, but my efforts lie in getting good writing, regardless of politics, and writing well myself. I got the trebuchet from David Gerrold after the awards, because I mildly pointed out that I didn’t support, “applause is okay, booing is not.” And I mean mildly. And Gerrold and I go back a ways. I am sure there are more people on the other side (Mike Glyer for one) who think I am an unmitigated Puppy asshole. I am not, and never have been, a Puppy.
Just a note: Walt Boyes has never been mentioned in a post on File 770 before, and only in two comments, neither of which expressed any opinion about him at all.
I went to the INB Theater, sat in the front row and waited. The long discussion of the Official Hugo Asshole Disks led things off. The Sasquan chair reminded people that “No Award” was an option. David and Tananarive did a lovely job, and covered for a few gaffes from script pages not turning, and tried to keep it fun. I’ve been a master of ceremonies; I’m not going to rag on them for it.
Best Related Works came up. It went to No Award; I expected that. I didn’t expect the loud and raucous cheering, which, frankly, pissed me off.
Then Best Short Story came up. It also went to No Award. The cheering was even louder.
Then Best Editor, Short Form went to No Award and the cheering was deafening. There were several people who said “Fuck this…that’s not right…” when that happened, down in the nominee area. David heard it; he quickly looked over the orchestra pit to see what was going on.
Then Best Editor, Long Form went to No Award, and the cheering made the floor tremble. Several people (myself included) started booing. David said “booing is not appropriate” and I came about a half-second away from standing up and jumping on the stage to grab the mic. Bryan Thomas Schmidt DID get up and curse loudly. Toni Weisskopf apparently never went to the ceremony at all; per Bryan the two of them commiserated for a few hours after the ceremony.
Best Novelette went to an actual winner, best Novella got No Awarded (but with less cheering), and Best Novel got a Hugo. I made a point of personally congratulating all of the Hugo winners when I found them on Sunday.
Words cannot describe how furious I was at the outcome at the time. I sat in the theater after the lights came up. I had a brief conversation with political pundit (and fabricator of the Hugo Asshole Disks) Jim Wright. He agreed with why I was angry: Cheering for No Award (and cheering loudly) was beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior.
For a ceremony that promised to be about inclusion and “we’re all fandom,” having the master of ceremonies feed off the cheering for No Award? That’s very easy to take as hypocrisy of the first order. I’ve also been told, multiple times that SF readers are NOT FANDOM…and that’s part of the problem. Seeing “No Award” blow out candidates who were clearly meritorious, like Mike Resnick and Toni Weisskopf? With cheers that rattled the rafters and made the floor rumble?
I felt so very included in Fandom then. Really.
(8) Meg Frank discusses why she resigned as a Sasqan committee member in response to the handling of the Antonelli letter to the Spokane cops and what he wrote about Carrie Cuinn.
It is common knowledge at this point that Lou Antonelli wrote a letter to the Spokane PD. It is also known that he went on Sarah Hoyt’s podcast and bragged about it. While many were rightly focused on David Gerrold’s reaction, the simple fact is that he wasn’t the only person harassed and intimidated, and he wasn’t the only one to report it. As the Co-Director of the Hugo Ceremony I reported my fear directly to my superiors. I did so several times – initially rather timidly because I didn’t want to make a fuss, but later rather firmly in a way that could not be misunderstood. One of the vice-chairs, Glenn Glazer, attempted to guilt me into not pursuing the complaint, and one of the Operations Division Heads, Robbie Bourget told me flat out that I hadn’t been harassed. When I pointed this out to them, I was told that I hadn’t ever made an official harassment complaint and lots of sarcasm that wasn’t in any way close to appropriate.
Senior members of the Sasquan committee responded to a member reporting harassment and asking for help with guilt trips, denial, victim blaming, sarcasm and dismissal.
In the interest of avoiding a he said/she said situation, I have PDFd all of the emails in this conversation and placed them in a Google Drive folder here:
[Frank has since created an alternate address because people said they could see all the emails — https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-XkKq2NGWUZfkEzMlNwMGl3amVndzZ1MmxmakhHUHpEdzJRNG1BOVNRYlBJZEZsd1dPT00&usp=drive_web.]
After a fair bit of crying, some time spent on the phone with Jill, and lunch with a good friend, I decided to resign. I cannot ever in good conscience support a committee that treats its members this way. Any member, including committee members and staff, should feel able to report violations of the code of conduct and be taken seriously.
(9) Cat Valente sets the record straight in a comment on File 770:
I can knock this one down:
>I saw George R.R. Martin declare that all Puppies were Rabid at his party, and hoped that his alternate awards would’t be needed in the future, and more or less cheered for fandom holding off the barbarians. You know, people like me.
I was at the party, and as usual there is a tiny bit of truth in the wreckage of honesty on display.
George did indeed talk at length in the lead up to his announcing the Alfies. Most of it was on the history of the Hugo rocket as a hood ornament and the early days of the Hugo Losers Party that, you know, he invented. When it came time to say something about why he went and dug up old hood ornaments to make awards out of, he did say that he hoped the awards would be the first and last Alfies given out–because he hoped that next year would be a normal Hugos with a fair ballot. He absolutely did not say “all Puppies are Rabid” or anything of the kind. And he did not “more or less” praise fandom for holding off barbarians. You can tell by the “more or less” that this part is complete bullshit.
George Martin has advocated against No Award since day one of this mess. He was sad and hurt and astonished by the vitriol like we all have been, but he in no way presented the No Award result as a victory, (why would he, since he didn’t want No Award to take the night) nor the Alfies as the “real award” in any way. Rather, he emphasized that this was all his opinion and his party and his decision, his “grand and futile gesture.” His exact words were: “And yes, there are committee awards, but I am the committee.”
(10) This sounds terrifying.
This just in: @UrsulaV will be host of the Corny Awards. My scarecrow army is collecting her now. YOU'RE ALL NOMINEES.
— Seanan McGuire (@seananmcguire) August 28, 2015
(11) Gary K. Wolfe in the Chicago Tribune – “Hugo Awards: Rabid Puppies defeat reflects growing diversity in science fiction”
Following the official awards ceremony, Martin hosted a huge party in a landmark mansion, during which he presented his own “Alfie Awards,” named after science fiction writer Alfred Bester, to several candidates who, according to the final vote tallies, would have been on the Hugo ballot but were bumped by the Puppy slates. The Alfies, made from actual old automobile hood ornaments (which earlier Hugo trophies were said to resemble), also went to Puppy-slate authors who had withdrawn their own nominations, giving up a chance at a Hugo rather than being associated with the Puppies and with slate voting, and to Eric Flint, a novelist who — although he is popular among many Puppies — had posted insightful critical commentary on the controversy during the summer.
Martin clearly viewed the Hugo results as a dramatic victory for fandom and for the science fiction community at large, and made the point, shared by many in the aftermath of the awards ceremony, that in the end the controversy—inevitably dubbed “Puppygate” — represented not a divided science fiction community, but rather a surprisingly united one, and one which chooses to celebrate diversity rather than to view it as a conspiratorial threat. The Puppies themselves — some of whom have since claimed victory simply by forcing the “no awards” votes — may or may not return next year, when Worldcon is in Kansas City. But some estimates have them at no more than 10 percent to 20 percent of this year’s voting, and since the huge membership of the Spokane Worldcon — over 11,000, including non-attending members — provides an enormous base for next year’s nominations, it likely will be more of an uphill battle against a broader community that has already rejected them once and that will not as easily again be taken by surprise.
The final irony in all this is that the Hugo Awards, while more diverse and international in recent years, have never really disdained the kind of adventure fiction that the Puppies claim to champion. I met the winning novelist, Cixin Liu, when he was in Chicago earlier this year, and he made it clear that his idols are classic writers like Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. “The Three-Body Problem” itself concerns communications with an alien race, the Trisolarans, whose plan is to invade the Earth as a refuge for their own endangered civilization — surely one of the oldest plots in science fiction. John Scalzi, who became one of the chief targets of Puppy vituperation, is a white male who won the Hugo in 2013 for “Redshirts,” a space opera adventure with knowing references to “Star Trek.” Among the novellas bumped off the ballot this year by the Puppy slate was Nancy Kress’ “Yesterday’s Kin,” a well-written tale that begins with an alien spaceship parking itself over New York harbor.
The problem, I suspect, is that none of these works are only about revisiting these favored old tropes. Sometimes they satirize them (as with Scalzi). Sometimes they introduce political themes (as with Cixin Liu, whose novel opens with a harrowing account of China’s Cultural Revolution). Sometimes they focus on character and family relationships (as with Kress). What seems to threaten the Puppies is not that science fiction has forsaken its origins (which it clearly hasn’t), but that readers have come to expect more and to welcome different voices. The old-fashioned modes of space adventure and military science fiction still have substantial markets, but it’s probably true that such works show up less on Hugo or Nebula award ballots than their supporters would like.
(12) Olivia Geng on the Wall Street Journal – “Cixin Liu Becomes First Asian to Win Hugo Award for Science Fiction”
Chinese author Cixin Liu last weekend became the first Asian to win the Hugo Award for best science fiction or fantasy novel. Yet to hear the Shaanxi native tell it, making history pales in comparison to the importance of ensuring science fiction’s future in China.
“I don’t really have any special feeling about it,” Mr. Liu said by phone from his hometown in Yangquan, Shaanxi province, when asked about becoming the first Asian to win the prize in its 62-year history.
“The Hugo Awards are not well-known in China,” he added. “It still cannot change the recent receding popularity of science fiction in China. All I can do is try my best and write as many good sci-fi works as I can.”
(13) R. S. Benedict on Unicorn Booty – “Sorry, Sad Puppies: Science Fictuion Has Always Been Political”
If Mary Shelley was science fiction’s mother, its father was probably H. G. Wells. His many works have been imitated, copied and adapted over and over again. Were H. G. Wells alive today, the Sad Puppies would probably despise him. He was a socialist who believed in racial diversity — a very controversial view in the 19th century.
But, the Sad Puppies might argue, as long as he kept his politics out of his writing, it wouldn’t be a problem. The problem with sci-fi writers is that they insist in letting their politics shape their stories.
Bad news, guys: H. G. Wells’s works were all about politics.
The War of the Worlds was Wells’s reaction to Western imperialism. Unlike many of his countrymen, he believed that Great Britain did not have a God-given right to invade and conquer other nations in Africa and the Pacific. The War of the Worlds was his way of saying to England, “How would you like it if someone did that to you?” He explicitly spells out his point in the novel: ….
(14) Aya de Leon – “The Hugo Awards, Social Justice, and the Psychoanalytics of Genre”
In many ways, the Hugo battle has been inevitable. It’s been coming since the US ended the era of legal racial segregation and began to question strict gender roles. In the latter case, young women have historically been pressured to read materials that reinforced their domestic roles. They weren’t supposed to be concerned with what happened outside their door in this world, let alone be concerned about what was happening in other worlds. But in the 70s and 80s, women SFF writers have developed a strong body of work in the genre and beyond, exploring issues of gender and developing wide readership.
For people of color, prior to integration, SFF was for white people. However, in the 70s and 80s, an early vanguard of black SFF writers began to integrate the genre. During that time, a relatively small number of people of color would read SFF (sometimes—prior to the internet—they were completely unaware of the POC who were writing it). The readership was primarily those of us with white friends, at white schools, or in white communities. Not surprising that SFF themes of alienation or actual aliens spoke to many of us.
(15) jaythenerdkid on The Rainbow Hub – “The Hugo Awards Controversy and Sci-Fi’s Diversity Problem”
The Sad Puppy vision for the Hugo Awards is one where nominations are a meritocracy (where people who write innovatively about gender, sexuality, race and other social issues are considered without merit). The Sad Puppy method of achieving this vision involves harassing everyone who doesn’t agree with them, because their arguments can’t actually stand on merit. They’ve even run afoul of George R. R. Martin, who is about as establishment as it gets in contemporary fantasy (I mean, one of his heroines is a literal white saviour in a land full of brown savages, yikes!), which means they’re now very much persona non grata in the SF/F community, something they’ve decided is a badge of honour rather than a damning condemnation of their beliefs and tactics.
That’s all well and good, but the fact that the Puppies got as far as they did – completely rigging five categories so that the only nominees were of their choosing, and skewing several others so there were very few choices who weren’t theirs – says a lot about a community that’s always inhabited a curious place halfway between insular and inviting, inflexible and innovative. It’s strange to think that the Hugo Awards, which have honoured legends like Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia Butler, were turned into a farcical man-child temper tantrum by a bunch of jilted former nominees who wanted to ruin everyone else’s fun. At the same time, it makes perfect sense coming from a community that can accept the War of the Roses with dragons, but not making a fictional god female. There’s always been this element in the fandom of people – mostly men, mostly cis, mostly straight, mostly white, mostly middle-class, mostly college-educated – who think escapism and adventure stop being fun once politics that don’t agree with their own are introduced. (They’re fine, of course, with the hard-right libertarian politics of works like Ender’s Game or the oeuvre of Terry Goodkind.) The internet has enabled these squeaky wheels, giving them wider platforms and the ability to organise their bullying and harassment.
(16) Joe Vasicek on One Thousand and One Parsecs – “The Decline and Fall of Fandom and the Hugo Awards”
Can the Hugo Awards be saved? I seriously doubt it. The “truefans” will jealously clutch it to their chests until they die, and with the graying of fandom, that will probably be accomplished fairly soon. But just as the Renaissance rose from the long-cold ashes of the Roman Empire, so too I hope that something good will eventually come out of all of this. Because really, there is a place in fandom (lower-case f) for everyone, and that has never changed.
(17) Creative Bloq – “Hugo Award-winning artist reveals her secrets to success”
Here, Elizabeth reveals her top tips for fantasy and sci-fi artists who want to get noticed…
Search out art communities, locally and web-based. We are a reasonably small set of artists in the grand scheme of things and it becomes really easy to see all of the connections and overlaps.
Personally, I highly recommend ArtOrder. Jon Schindehette is a huge advocate for artists in general and ArtOrder is his baby.
Be professional. Always, always, always make deadline. READ YOUR CONTRACTS.
03. Exceed Expectations
Strive to make your art director look awesome through giving them great work. One of the bits of advice I follow is do not create illustration you feel simply reflects your payment.
Always try to exceed their expectations. It may only be a $100 contract, but your work should look like you were paid $500. The internet is forever. Your work is you.
(18) Natalie Luhrs on Pretty Terrible – “No More Memory Holes”
So remember how Sasquan decided that even though Lou Antonelli violated their Code of Conduct they weren’t going to enforce the Code of Conduct because David Gerrold didn’t want them to? Turns out that Gerrold wasn’t the only one feeling harassed and intimidated–and he wasn’t the only one to report it.
Meg Frank, the Events Deputy Division Head also reported same against Lou Antonelli and was told by the head of operations, Robbie Bourget, that she had not been harassed and one of the vice-chairs, Glenn Glazer, attempted to guilt her into backing down. Instead of backing down, Meg Frank resigned a week before the convention. Frank has provided a PDF of emails to back up her assertions.
I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not. Here are a some screencaps from the Journeymen of Fandom group on Facebook in which it is clear that Robbie Bourget sees the rehabilitation of offenders back into community as a higher priority than attendee safety….
(19) Juliette Wade on TalkToYoUniverse – “My new SF/F Reading Journal for next year’s Hugos”
I have been inspired by this year’s Hugos.
It’s become clear to me, as perhaps it has to many others, that entrusting my opinions of the latest genre works to others to nominate for awards is not enough any more.
One might ask: why haven’t I done the active, thorough job I wanted on nominating? Easy: life. The biggest factor in my failure is my faulty, distracted, non-eidetic memory.
Therefore, I’m starting a reading journal.
Essentially, I am a very busy person (as many are), and I can’t always call to mind every story I’ve read in a year, even the good ones. From now on, every time I read a story in the field, or a brilliant article, etc. I’ll be writing down title, author, and publication
(20) Cat Rambo on The World Remains Mysterious – “My Report from Sasquan: Mostly Glorious and So Many Thank Yous”
Met up with Mike Resnick, who has appeared on the Hugo ballot a breathtaking 37 times, winning 5, after the panel. We ventured out into the hazy afternoon along the riverwalk to talk about some SFWA stuff and came out of that excited about some prospects. I’m a longtime fan of Mike’s, not just of his excellent work, but of the way he helps newer writers, consistently extending a hand by collaborating with or publishing them. As SFWA President, I’m trying to make sure that the org’s moving forward in a way that makes (almost) everyone happy, so I wanted to talk about how we could use some of SFWA’s new marketing resources to help with the committee that Mike has ably headed for so long, the Anthology Committee. I’m looking forward to working with him on the SFWA projects we discussed.
[Thanks to Mark Dennehy, Ann Somerville, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links.]
(1) Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club – “Yet Another Hugo Post”
I was going to mine the Intertubes for Nazi quotes that the Puppy-Kickers could have said if they’d been about Puppies or white men rather than Jews, but alas, even in translation Hitler and Goebbels are so much more articulate the comparison would be utterly unfair to the Puppy-Kickers (and remember, these are writers and editors – but the Nazis beat them on all fronts when it comes to articulating points of view. I suppose I should be relieved: pointing and shrieking tends to be rather less than effective as a means of converting the undecided).
Oh, and for those who are wondering? The reason I didn’t use quotes from Mao, Lenin, or Stalin was that an awful lot of Puppy-Kickers would be flattered to be compared to such luminaries of the world’s most lethal ideology.
So, let’s call them for what they are. Nasty, petty, bullying socialists who would fit in just as well with the Nazis as they would with their equally murderous Communist cousins. They even have a racial agenda, and while they’d deny it, they’re so US-centric it’s hilarious (as well as sad).
And what’s even sadder is this pathetic collection of power-hungry little Hitlers have destroyed what was once a genuinely respected award. Whether it can be resurrected by the Campaign to End Puppy-Related Sadness or not, I consider the cause to be worthy.
Anonymous (who else?) in a comment on fail-fandomanon
Oh, dear. I hope the popcorn harvest this year is bountiful; looks like we’ll need it.
Kate Paulk in a comment on “Yet Another Hugo Post”
It’s not Godwin’s law if the comparison is legitimate, Mr Brandt.
(2) Mark Judge on Acculturated – “Political Correctness Puts Science Fiction on Trial”
John C. Wright losing to “No Award” is like the Rolling Stones losing to “No Award” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s a disgrace.
The blackballing of Wright brings to mind, yet again, the concept of punitive liberalism. The phrase was coined by James Piereson in his brilliant and groundbreaking book, Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism. Punitive liberalism, unlike classic liberalism—which was tolerant, thoughtful, and popular in America during most of the history of science fiction—is a product of post-1960s identity politics, is against free thought, against virile men of action (like the swashbucklers found in a lot of the Sad Puppies’ stories), against sexy ladies in pulp fiction (or anywhere else for that matter), against fun, and focused like a phaser on race, class, and gender.
It’s why John C. Wright, one of the best science fiction writers alive, is not sitting at home polishing his five Hugos.
(3) Sanford Begley on Otherwhere Gazette – “Congratulations to the winner”
The Hugo awards for 2015 are over. The clear winner is Vox “Machiavelli” Day. He pretty much got everything he wanted. He wanted Three Body Problem to win and it did. He wanted the Hugos to No Award everything and it mostly did. He wanted to help the SJWs in general and the powers behind the World Science Fiction Convention to look like screaming idiots and it happened. And he was given so much help that a casual observer has to wonder how many of the people he was destroying were secretly his minions.
Before I go into how thoroughly he won I would like to offer condolences to Laura Mixon, Guardians Of The Galaxy and the others who lost because of his machinations. Yes I said lost. You see, they will be forever tainted by the actions of the body bestowing the award. They will be the winners of the Year of the Asterisk. For those who don’t know it, a vanishingly small body by now, the asterisk is both a sign that they weren’t real winners and a symbol known in SF circles to represent the common asshole. The work they did was certainly deserving of being on the ballot, the way they won will forever brand them as not good enough to win honestly. And the fault lies not with them. The fault lies in the machinations of a clique of mostly old, mostly white, mostly male morons who could not stand the idea that they were not the all powerful force they thought they were. Well, them and Vox Day.
(4) John Carlton on The Arts Mechanical – “Scalzi And Who’s A Jerk”
He [Scalzi] starts out saying that the puppies acted like jerks. As if somehow the puppies created a world wide media smear campaign to smear the clique that ran world cons. Or pressure authors to withdraw their nominations. Or derided fans who nominated the “wrong books” as “wrong fans.” The puppies did all that? Actually no. That was Scalzi and his friends.
His primary complaint is that the puppies created slate. He’s all angry about that. As if this was the first time that anybody had a campaign to nominate books. As if He, himself had not campaigned to get his stuff nominated. Or maybe it’s because he wasn’t this year. Did he really think that he was ENTITLED to award nominations every year? I guess so. Anyway, Lets look at his list and maybe get a grasp of the truth here.
(5) Tom Knighton – “What Puppies Want From Awards”
Awards should be indicative of quality. We have maintained that the Hugos haven’t had that for a long time.
You want to know something though? We can change that perception without anyone having to surrender.
This year, Three Body Problem won for best novel. It wasn’t on any of the lists, but that was because none of us read it at that time. However, a number of people on both sides of the divide read it and loved it. It won not from just anti-puppy support, or puppy support, but from both camps loving the book.
Was that love universal? No. No book is universally loved, and 3BP has detractors. Every book does.
But what matters is that this one book had enough support from two different groups that it won. It’s proof that this world I dream of, where the good stories win regardless of anything else, can exist.
(6) Jay Swanson – “The Hugos as a Microcosm”
Hugos – How it Could Have Been
My real experience with the Hugos began last Saturday, even if I voted months beforehand (and only on like two things because I was too late to vote on most). So I’d like to address what I saw. I do think it was important, considering how everything had escalated, to send a message that said “It is not OK to hijack the Hugos.” That is a fair statement to make, and the “No Award” handed down as a result was not unfair. It was in how they were handed down that mattered.
It’s important to realize that real people were sitting in that auditorium, their hearts in their throats, their hopes burgeoning that maybe, just maybe, they would win something that night. It’s hard enough not winning an award. It’s doubly so when people applaud the fact that no one won it.
Rather than applaud (of which I’m guilty on a few counts), it would have been more appropriate had I simply nodded quietly in approval. In the same moment, it would have been good to reach out and offer comfort to one of the nominees if they had been nearby. Just to say, “Hey, I realize this sucks, but there’s always next year.”
(7) Jason Clark on Your Nerd Is Showing – “Kicking Puppies: The Promise of Sci-Fi vs. Anti-Inclusivity Brigade”
And then the No Awards began. This article is not a definite list of the winners. The Hugos have that themselves as well as many far more respected journalistic establishments. I’m only going to tell you the sweeping emotion that began to take me as I started sending messages to friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to tell them the results. I was taken by the solidarity of the thing. There were many tolerable candidates on the Sad Puppies slate, but still, the voters hold firm. They would not negotiate with what they felt were bigots or terrorists. They would not put up with the kind of people who would leave a stack of vile papers on the freebies table, hoping to insult as many groups as possible while referring to the SFWA as the “Socialist Fiction Writer’s of America.” Overall, five No Awards were announced that night, bringing the total of No Awards given in the history of the Hugos to five. The Sad Puppies were almost entirely shut out, with the singular exception of “Guardians of the Galaxy” winning long form presentation. It was a category completely full of Puppy nominees and yet, enough voters had intended to vote for it regardless, that it still won. It struck me, sitting there, as the Sad Puppies’ greatest loss. It was the one that proved that voting weren’t just there to spite them. They were protesting the Puppies’ methods and tactics, certainly. But they weren’t beyond voting for a option that they agreed with.
(8) CiaraCat Sci-Fi – “Tell me about the good SFF you’ve read/watched in 2015!”
So, now that a record number of fans have shown up to prove that the group barking “You are a tiny clique trying to block us completely out of the Hugo Awards” were, in fact, the tiny clique who themselves were trying to block everybody else out of the awards…. Let’s move on to what new SFF has been coming out!
(9) Miles Schneiderman on YES! Magazine – “Sci-Fi Fandom Declares Victory After Reactionary Nominees Lose Big at the Hugos”
Aside from Guardians, the Hugo voters took every opportunity to award nominees not supported by the Puppies. And despite a deck stacked against women and people of color, the voters rewarded both. Chinese author Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem won for “Best Novel,” becoming the first translated novel ever to win a Hugo. The award in the “Best Graphic Story” category went to the first volume of Ms. Marvel, the comic book that features a teenage Muslim girl as its heroine. Julia Dillon won her second straight Hugo for “Best Professional Artist,” beating out four Puppy candidates. Meanwhile, Lightspeed Magazine beat two Puppy nominees for “Best Semiprozine,” and one of Lightspeed’s editors, Christie Yant, began her acceptance speech with a sardonic, “I’d like to thank the patriarchy.”
One of the most interesting winners was Laura J. Mixon, who won “Best Fan Writer” over four Puppies for her exposé on the notorious Internet troll known as Requires Hate. Mixon’s chances of victory had been uncertain, despite her exclusion from the Puppy slates, because Requires Hate turned out to be a left-leaning woman of color who had been nominated for the Campbell award in 2014. She earned her reputation by viciously attacking and bullying authors she perceived as misrepresenting her race and gender, and had been cited by the Puppies as a glaring example of leftist extremism. Mixon exposed and denounced her, and as a result, many anti-Puppy advocates were also anti-Mixon.
In her acceptance speech, Mixon stressed the importance of being inclusive, and while she didn’t explicitly call for the Puppies to be accepted into the fold, that sentiment could clearly be heard. She ended, however, by advocating for the powerless instead. “I stand with marginalized groups who seek merely to be seen as fully human,” Mixon said before leaving the stage. “Black lives matter.”
(10) Eric Offill on GonnaGeek – “World War Geek: Contemplating The Hugo Fiasco”
The Hugo organizers needed to listen to the dissent and try to answer the claims they are voicing. They need to create avenues of trust with those readers who feel marginalized because their taste in sci-fi isn’t trendy. Because whether they believe it or not, they can’t afford to lose these fans or the one these fans will generate. Larry Correia’s work (which I actually think is pretty good) matters. Orson Scott Card’s work matters. And if you don’t think that their voices aren’t trying to be silenced by the progressive side, ask yourself if Starship Troopers were written today, would it have even been nominated not to even mention win?
That said, the Puppies need to stop acting like victims of the establishment. Bear in mind while Sad and Rabid Puppies are two separate groups, the old adage still goes that if you lie down with dogs, you get fleas. You associate with unsavory individuals, align yourself with news outlets of disrepute, not only do you have to fight the battle you picked, but you have to fight the appearance of malice. You can’t proclaim to be taking the high ground and get into the mud with your opponents. If you truly are interested in being the voice of the marginalized, start acting like a reputable activist and you’ll find allies. Otherwise you’re letting your opponents paint you as a petulant child throwing a tantrum, and they could be right.
But neither side has an excuse for the “No Hugo” reaction. This is beyond embarrassing to EVERYONE. Whether you agree with the nominees or not, they are still nominees and DESERVE to compete for an award and not to be denied simply because the voters didn’t like the choices.
(11) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog – “The Hugo Losers Party”
Not all the losers were there, to be sure. I had a pocket full of invitations throughout the con, as did Parris and my minions Raya and Jo and Tyler, but even so, we missed people. I never saw Mike Glyer, who I was especially eager to invite, since he had attended the first Hugo Losers Party in 1976, and had done such a great job of covering Puppygate in File 770. But we did get Liza and the LOCUS crew, and it was Charlie Brown and LOCUS who named that first party the best at Big Mac. I looked for Toni Weisskopf at the Hugo ceremony, but never found her. I saw John Joseph Adams at the ceremony, but he somehow escaped me during the picture-taking afterward, and my efforts to track him down at the KC bash came to naught. I never found Jo Walton, though I got messages that she was looking for me. There were others I missed as well… and some who were not invited. NO ASSHOLES, the invite warned. We had a small list, and no, I won’t tell you the names on it… but we wanted this party to be about joy and celebration and togetherness, not division, anger, and ugliness.
In that we succeeded. We had a great crowd. Old and young, fan and pro, male and female, gay and straight and trans, losers and winners, editors and publishers and artists and writers, all dancing and laughing and drinking and having fun. It wasn’t as crowded as that party in Denver, no, but there were probably more people; the Glover is a lot bigger than Rusty’s suite was.
And yes, a number of the guests were on the Puppy slates, and yes, the losers included people who lost to No Award, which has to be an especially hard way to lose. Maybe the party helped in some small way. I have to say, if there is any hope at all of reconciliation with the Sad Puppies, it is much more likely to be accomplished with drinks and dancing than by exchanging angry emails over the web.
(12) Lou Antonelli on This Way To Texas – George R.R. Martin Thinks I’m An Asshole”
I ran into George at the “official” reception, and asked him about a non-Hugo related subject, an article I did last spring regarding his donation of a rare first edition of “The Hobbit” to the Texas AQ&M University Library System. He essentially blew me off; I realize now he was only there to find his chums and hand them the private invites. Of course, I had no idea what he was up to. And of course, he didn’t stop to hand me an invite. But I mean, if you read his blog post – I hardly think I would have been happy there. In his blog post, at one point he says: “Some who were not invited. NO ASSHOLES, the invite warned. We had a small list, and no, I won’t tell you the names on it… but we wanted this party to be about joy and celebration and togetherness…” Jeez, George, I may not be the smartest kid in class, but it’s easy to tell my name was on your Asshole list. You know what? At least I didn’t forget my working class roots.
(13) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog – “What’s It All About, Alfie?”
And this year, thanks to the slates, we had more losers than ever before. This year, indeed, we were all losers. Some lost the usual way, finishing behind an eventual winner. Others lost to No Award, an especially galling sort of defeat. (Which also created five losers in those five categories instead of four). Even the winners lost, since their victories will always bear as asterisk in the minds of some because they triumphed under such unusual circumstances, over a weakened field, or whatever. (I don’t necessarily endorse this viewpoint. I think some of this year’s winners deserve an exclamation point rather than an asterisk. But I have heard a fair amount of the asterisk talk even on Hugo night itself). The Hugos lost: five No Awards is an occasion for mourning, not cheers. The genre lost: I don’t buy that even bad press is good, and we sure got a lot of bad press this year. Fandom lost: division and discord poisoned our annual celebration of love for SF, and left wounds that will be a long time healing. The nominees who withdrew from the slates lost; they walked away from a Hugo nod, a painful thing to do, and were abused for that decision. The nominees who stayed on the ballot lost; they were abused for that decision too, and some, who were NOT Puppies and never asked to be slated, saw their Hugo chances destroyed by the Nuclear option. Some nominees managed to catch flak from both sides.
And there was another class of loser, less visible, but still very much a victim of the slates. Those writers who produced outstanding work in 2014, and who, in a normal year, would have almost certainly received Hugo nominations. Some might even have won rockets. But this was NOT a normal year, and the usual word-of-mouth buzz and fannish enthusiasm that generally carries a story to a place on the Hugo ballot could not and did not prevail against the slate-mongering of the Sad Puppies and the lockstep voting of the Rabids. These were the invisible losers of the 2015 Hugo season. Losing is a part of life, and certainly of the Hugos… but it is one thing to be beaten in a fair contest, and another to be shoved aside and denied the chance to compete.
It was for those ‘invisible losers’ that I decided to create the Alfies. If one accepts that the Hugo has value, these writers had suffered real harm thanks to the slates. There was no way I could hope to redress that… but I could make a gesture. In the door of my room in KC in 1976, Alfie Bester told us that winners can become losers. If so, losers can become winners too. I would give my own awards… and of course I’d name them after Alfie. So that’s how the Alfies came about.
(14) Patrick S. Tomlinson – “One Final Thought on the Hugos”
The whole SP/RP phenomenon is a microcosm of this inability to recognize and cope with shifting attitudes and preferences within the fandom community. They simply refuse to believe that the silent majority really has moved on to new things, so they concocted a narrative to explain their failures where some secret cabal is somehow stacking the deck against them. How this is accomplished, considering both the nomination and voting processes are done through public ballot, is never clearly explained.
And much like the Wisconsin voter fraud case above, the Puppy slate voting was a coordinated attack (although within the rules of the award at the time) meant to counterbalance the SJW conspiracy locking them out of the nomination process. But just like the WI case, there was no conspiracy. There was no attempt to lock them out. They just weren’t that popular among the people who follow, vote for, and attend the Hugos. They thought they’d awaken a sleeping populist dragon that would swoop down and defeat the small clique of elitists holding them back. But the beast they awoke turned on them instead.
That’s a tough pill for anyone to swallow, but the ensuing results should make it very clear where the sympathies of the actual silent majority of modern fandom lay. Now, the question is, will the SP/RP’s take the time to do some self-reflection and learn from this lesson, or will they double down and comfort themselves with even more extreme conspiracy theories? Only time will tell.
(15) George R.R. Martin on Not A Blog – “The Alfies”
Two more Alfies went to ANNIE BELLET and MARKO KLOOS. Added to the slates without their knowledge or consent, both of these talented young writers found themselves on this year’s Hugo ballot, Bellet for her short story “Goodnight Stars” and Kloos for his novel LINES OF DEPARTURE. It was the first Hugo nomination for both of them, something that every science fiction writer dreams of, a day to be remembered and cherished forever. And yet, when they discovered the nature of the slates and the block-voting that had placed them on the ballot, both Bellet and Kloos withdrew, turning down their nominations. I cannot imagine how difficult and painful a decision that must have been. Bellet’s story actually had more nominations than any other short story on the ballot, regardless of slate, which suggests that she might well have been nominated even without the ‘help’ of the Puppies. And it was Marko Kloos’ withdrawal that opened up a space on the ballot for Cixin Liu’s THREE-BODY PROBLEM, the eventual winner. They lost their shot at a Hugo (this year, at least — I think both of them will be back), but their courage and integrity earned them both an Alfie.
The last Alfie of the night had… surprise, surprise… nothing to do with the slates, the Sads, the Puppies, or any of that madness. I wanted to give a token of recognition to one of the giants of our field, a Hugo winner, Hugo loser (if you look only at the fiction categories, he has lost more Hugos than anyone, I believe), SFWA Grand Master, former Worldcon Guest of Honor, and Big Heart Award winner… the one and only Silverbob. The coolest Alfie of all (the half-lucite one that lights up) went to ROBERT SILVERBERG, the only man among us to have attended every Hugo Awards ceremony since 1953. There has never been a Hugo given out without Silverberg watching. Just think of that!
Chinese sci-fi fans were ecstatic when they learned that the Hugo Awards, one of the most prestigious science-fiction awards in the world, went to a Chinese novel for the first time.
The Three-Body Problem, written by Chinese sci-fi novelist Liu Cixin, beat out four other finalists and was announced the winner of the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel in Seattle on Saturday night local time.
The book’s translator Ken Liu accepted the award on the author’s behalf.
As one of the key international awards for the sci-fi genre, the Hugo Awards have been recognizing the best science fiction or fantasy works published in English since 1953.
The Three-Body Problem is also the first Chinese sci-fi novel that has been translated to English. Ever since it was first serialized in a Chinese sci-fi magazine in 2006, The Three-Body Problem, now a complete trilogy, has captivated millions of people in China for its magnificent space philosophy, and was unanimously hailed by sci-fi fans as “China’s best sci-fi novel.” In 2014, the English version of the trilogy’s first book was published in the US.
The second book, The Dark Forest, is planned to hit stores this summer, and the finale, Death’s End, will be out in January 2016, according to the trilogy’s publisher Tor Books.
(17) Don’t show this to the Gallifrey One committee!
Man, sometimes I wish I gave a shit about the Hugo awards. But how good can something that Stephen Moffat wins all the time be?
— Jon (@accordingtoJonD) August 27, 2015
(18) Makes me feel better about my own copyediting —
— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) August 27, 2015
‘As You Know’ Bob in a comment on File 770
Three days after losing “Best Editor” to “NO AWARD” ….Beale self-publishes a book with TWO Chapter Fives?
Is there anyone in the entire universe who continues to question the collective wisdom of the Hugo voters?
Now a bestseller:
by Theophilus Pratt (Author, Editor)
Just look at these glowing comments:
ByTechnoLadyon August 27, 2015
Brilliant and, in all modesty, possibly one of the great works of the 21st century. I especially liked the Chapter layout and how they were sequentialized. This groundbreaking tome once and for all settles the matter of the perfidious John Scalzi’s popularity! This book actually has THREE bonus Chapter Fives, unlike some other lesser works which give you barely two. This NEEDS to be nominated for a Best Editor award next year!
Even the object of the parody admires the product:
— Supreme Dark Lord (@voxday) August 27, 2015
And John Scalzi responded to File 770 commenters’ request that he voice the audiobook by dangling this bait – “Charity Drive for Con or Bust: An Audio Version of ‘John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular’ Read by Me”
Short version: To benefit Con or Bust, a charity which helps fans of color attend science fiction and fantasy conventions, I will make an audio version of John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels, a parody of an actual book by a certain obnoxious bigot who is obsessed with me, if $2,500 is raised for Con or Bust by 11:59pm (Eastern), Sunday, August 30, 2015. You can donate to Con or Bust here. To goose the giving, I will gift-match for the first $500 in donations.
(19) A tweet from a celebrity Hugo presenter.
— Dalek Rainier (@DalekRainier) August 27, 2015
(20) Bringer Tom on Metafilter
There was a period in my life when my fondest dream was to be a professional science fiction writer. All I can think now is that I dodged a huge fucking bullet when that didn’t work out.
(21) You can check out any time you like….
Got lost in file770's comment section, time to leave the house and see light
— Angry Beard (@xehtfodrol) August 27, 2015