The Canine Billion Names of Dog 5/17

aka There are few things in this world that can simultaneously delight and dismay in the same manner as a Puppy dinner party.

The lead dog returns in today’s roundup which starts with Brad R. Torgersen, followed by the rest of the team, Brianne Reeves, David Gerrold, Adam-Troy Castro, Kristene Perron, Roger BW, Ace, EJ Shumak, Lisa J. Goldstein, Lis Carey, Barry Deutsch, Sarah A. Hoyt, Vox Day, and Jim C. Hines. (Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editors of the day Jim Henley & Morris Keesan, and ULTRAGOTHA.)

Brad R. Torgersen

“Fisking the broken narrative” – May 17

Someone forwarded me a copy of Kevin J. Maroney’s editorial from the April New York Review of Science Fiction. I don’t normally read Maroney’s column, and I don’t even normally read NYRoSF, but some of Maroney’s commentary screams BROKEN NARRATIVE at such a high decibel level, I thought it might be worth it to examine some of that commentary in close detail….

The only real way I see the Hugos being a “smoking ruin” is if the CHORFs fulfill their stated pledge to bork the 2015 awards by placing “NO AWARD” at the top of every category; thus no awards will be given. This will be an entirely self-inflicted wound (by the so-called devotees and cherishers of the Hugo) because clearly you have to destroy the village, to save the village. I mean, that’s just good common sense. If you love a thing and think it’s awesome, you absolutely must obliterate it — to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. Because this is what open minds and open hearts do. They destroy something they claim to love, so that something they claim to love can be kept pure. Because the “wrong” people must never be allowed to have it the “wrong” way.

If there is any other way to leave the Hugos a “smoking ruin” this year, I haven’t thought of it yet.

This is not to counsel despair. But we need to be aware that the battle against the arrayed forces of assholery will, at times, be unpleasant to watch and wearying to fight. But the fight is genuinely important, and it won’t win itself.

—Kevin J. Maroney speaking for himself

Thanks for the pep talk, Kevin! I agree with you wholeheartedly! The Forces of Assholery have been trick-or-treating at my virtual doorstep for 45 days and counting. They’ve smeared me, smeared my family, smeared my friends, and smeared Sad Puppies 3. Again, clearly the way the Forces of Assholery save the thing they love and cherish, is to be complete pricks to whoever they feel like, whenever they feel like, badger and threaten and cajole and shun and shame, all that good old fashioned 12th century village stuff. Torches and pitch forks! Tie them to the stake! Burn them! Infidels!

Or maybe “your” side needs to just settle down and vote on the ballot like normal?


Brianne Reeves on Bree’s Book Blog

“2015 Hugo Awards and the Sad Puppies Slate” – April 9

Politicking has always gone on at the awards, to some degree or another. We’re not so naïve as to be unaware of that. Authors and publishing houses have always campaigned for works to be chosen. After all, the Hugos does provide a sales boost.

However, the dominance of a slate that advocates the blind nomination of works based on political ideology is fairly unprecedented.

Because the voting population for the Hugos is fairly small, approximately 2,000 voters for the most popular category and much fewer in less popular categories, it’s easy to skew the results of the nomination process. And, of course, when it’s derailed and by a large, but distinct minority of voters, the rest of the community is going to be upset.

Slates themselves are problematic. They reduce the number of potentially nominated works, undercut the deliberations that go into the nomination process, and potentially flood the awards with non-vetted works (read: works that have not actually been read). This means that the stories we are awarding may be extremely obscure, non-representative of the genre and its advances, or non-representative of the stories readers want to consume.

It should also be noted that slates are distinct from suggested nomination lists. Plenty of people put up lists of works they think work well in categories and suggest their readers, friends, fellow SFF lovers read the list when considering who to nominate. To me, this is a distinctly deliberative act. It allows for people to read and decide on their own without suggesting or advocating blind voting (to me the biggest problem with slates).  They are often include far more lists of works than the voter can nominate and act as a substitute longlist for readers. This is especially important for readers who want to sample and become more involved in categories like short fiction which have a much smaller readership.

The creation of a slate for political reasons is objectionable. What I will say here, is that the use of politics in this case is a limiting factor and detracts from the inclusive and representative goals we have for the Hugo. Again, they are within their rights to limit based on this factor, but I think that it suffers from a lack of consideration for new types of stories, and increasingly popular stories in the genre.

We all have limitations in our reading. Time, length, interest are all factors we have to balance. I think it is inkeeping with the spirit of the award, however, to push ourselves to read what we may otherwise ignore or not prioritize. As readers, we should always be pushing ourselves to empathize and expose ourselves to stories that are not familiar to us or that show a part of humanity we may not often see.



David Gerrold on Facebook – May 17

Yes, there has been pushback to the sad-rabid slates — because too much of the rhetoric from sad-rabids justifying the slates has not been about the merits of the nominated works, but about the context of the awards — the existing narrative, created by the sad-rabid supporters themselves, is that the slates are motivated not by merit, but by a political agenda. And the larger body of fandom has been appalled by that. That’s the source of the pushback. Not the mythological SJWs. Nor any other acronym of disrespect.

The Hugos are not awards for political correctness. They are not awards for any political opinion. They are awards for merit. They are a recognition of what the community deems as “best of the year.”

The awards are voted on by a large disorganized body of people — a continually evolving, changing, amorphous body consisting of whoever bought a Worldcon membership that year and felt likle voting. Sometimes you vote for a story, sometimes you vote for an author you like, and sometimes you even vote for a friend, but in general the awards represent a cross-section of the opinions of those involved in the Worldcon.

To ascribe any kind of conspiracy to a circumstance that is rooted in anarchy is to misread the evidence.

But … even more to the point, to expend so much time and energy on this effort has to be seen as an eyebrow raiser. Is this the most important thing you can be doing with your time? Reading some of the discussions, I’ve rolled my eyes so hard so many times, I can describe in great detail what the bottom of my brain looks like.

Real writers don’t worry about awards. Real writers write. (In my never-humble-opinion.) Real writers don’t worry about feuds. Real writers write. (IMNHO.) Real writers cherish their time at the keyboard as so precious that any distraction at all is seen as the enemy.


Adam-Troy Castro

“On the Roar of Approval For Self-Defenestration” – May 17

You’re a decent person. You really are.

Oh, sure, you have some bad habits, some irritating beliefs, some things you do that get on the nerves on people around you. But by all the low bars, you’re a decent person. You don’t molest children. You don’t attack people with broken bottles. You don’t set bombs. You’re good to your family and polite enough to people who are polite to you. In some ways, you’re admirable. Even noble. Your worst enemy, considering the way you live your life, would acknowledge it.

But then we get to the part of you that is objectionable. You’re just a little bigoted, just a little misogynistic, just a little homophobic, just a little xenophobic – any one of those four things, to some level, in some combination.

You are not any of these things to the degree of all-out, full-bore toxicity. They are trace elements, the same things that many of us have. Maybe they are a bit stronger in you than they are in some people who we would consider more enlightened – and maybe you have many compensating virtues.

As a character flaw, this is like a managed medical condition, in that it is possible for you to live with it comfortably, and for you to control it without causing too much offense to others, possibly even without them being visible to others.

But here’s the problem. You then surround yourself with the wrong people.


Kristene Perron on The Coconut Chronicles

“The Evolution of Cinderella” – May 17

There is one aspect of the Sad Puppies I am interested in, however, and that’s the assertion by many of their supporters that the sci-fi of old was better, purer, and more important than its modern day incarnation. Men in space ships, having adventures and solving problems with technology, that is “real” science fiction.

Anyone who waxes poetic about any kind of halcyon age makes me roll my eyes. And, when it comes to stories and storytelling, that kind of “Back in my day…” thinking is absurd. By such standards, Cinderella would forever and always be the story of a commoner marrying into royalty because the original was the “true” version regardless of social changes. In the 1600’s, the original story of Cinderella was subversive. In the 2000’s the original story of Cinderella is irrelevant.

I can and do still read and enjoy the “old time” science fiction stories, sexism and racism be damned, but my world has evolved and I expect stories written today to reflect those changes. If Crocodile Dundee was made today and the crotch grabbing scene was still included, I would boycott the movie and I would encourage everyone else to do likewise. There’s still room for stories of men in spaceships, having adventures and solving problems with technology but, given social changes, how could anyone complain that there is also room for science fiction stories of women and non-binary genders of all colours having adventures in all kinds of places?


Roger BW’s Blog

“Thoughts on the 2015 Hugo Awards” – May 15

But forget about the specific politics of this case. What institutional slate voting gets you, no matter how well-intentioned or how much it is aligned with your own views, is political parties. Nothing can get onto the ballot unless it’s part of a slate, so the people who run the slates become the kingmakers; any author who wants any chance at an award has to get in with one of them. (We’ve already seen popular works getting knocked off this year, and once the full nomination totals are revealed after the awards are made we’ll have a better idea of what missed its one chance at a Hugo.)

For this reason I will be voting “No Award” over any slate-nominated work this year, and I shall probably not bother to read it either. I’m glad to see that some of the slate-nominated authors have had the grace to withdraw once they found out what had been done, and disappointed that so many of the others haven’t.

In the long term, I don’t believe changes to the nomination procedure are worth it: technical solutions to social problems rarely work. Getting more people to nominate seems like a worthwhile effort. Clearly not all that many people are actually reading SF short stories in magazines any more; should Hugos even be awarded for them at all now?


Ace at Ace of Spades

Sunday Morning Book Thread 05-17-2015 [OregonMuse] – May 17

As we talked, I told him about Ace’s interview with Larry Correia concerning the Sad Puppies controversy in that by pursuing this strategy the publishing houses are ignoring huge markets of people willing to buy books and are cutting their own throats. He broke in saying, “I know, I know…But look…you gotta stop thinking. Just stop thinking! Thinking about all this will drive you crazy! Don’t go to bookstores, if they even still have any where you live. Don’t look at other books. You’ll just wonder how in the world this thing even got published,” and then told me some more anecdotes about how the sausage is made…

It was sad. He’s a good guy, and was just as frustrated about it all as I am, but he’s stuck fighting a bunch of Goliaths who only look for certain types of books (that support the current narrative and are framed by the postmodern cultural marxist analysis of race, gender, class) and is left trying to sneak in what stories he can, however he can.


EJ Shumak on Superversive SF

“WorldCon Members review GOBLIN EMPEROR” – May 17

First we will look at the positive response to this novel, comprising about 25% of the group. Bill, after reading all the other nominees, believes that this work will be at the top of his Hugo award list. He likes politically based tomes and enjoyed this iteration of that concept. Though the book was, admittedly, not what he had expected, he had a pleasant experience and was very positive overall.

Another vocal supporter had much good to say about the concept and purpose to the book. In many ways his reasons for liking the book paralleled the reasons others disliked it. He felt it exemplified white privilege imposed upon black (or Goblin) society. He felt we need to consistently look at and focus on our societal problems with racism and sexism. He felt we should examine these problems deeply, while assuming ignorance. While agreeing with another reader that the work was truly a lecture, he asserted that it was “…a lecture we need to have…”

The rest of the group was solidly in full disappointment of the work. Several people actually opined that this kind of lecture and message fiction was the best possible justification for the sad puppies’ slate. Mike loved the story through to the middle and then it overcame him to the point that he observed he could now understand the sad puppy position.


Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 10: Novellas” – May 17

[“One Bright Star to Guide Them” by John C. Wright.] …Tommy goes to his old friend Richard but discovers that Richard now serves the Winter King.  There’s a battle with the king’s servants, and at the chapter’s end “the smell of the sea filled his nose, and Tommy could neither see nor breathe.” We don’t get to see what happens next, either.  Instead, unbelievably, the next chapter starts with Tommy meeting another of his old friends, Sally, and telling her what had happened.  It’s as if someone had taken an entire book, cut out all the interesting parts, and published the rest.  (Amusingly, in “John C. Wright’s Patented One-Session Lesson in the Mechanics of Fiction,” included with Wright’s stories, he stresses the importance of “showing, not telling” to the narrative.) Gradually, though, the story grinds to a start.  It becomes the usual fantasy quest: Tommy has to go various places, do various things, collect various objects….


Lis Carey on Lis Carey’s Library

“Flow, by Arlan Andrews” – April 17

As the opening section of a novel, this is great. As a complete novella nominated as a complete story, not so much. I don’t think it’s asking too much that a nominated piece actually fit its category in ways beyond arbitrary word count. This doesn’t. It’s not a novella; it’s a novel fragment.


Barry Deutsch on Alas

“A Quick Primer For Those Who Wonder What The Issue With Slate Voting And The Hugo Awards Is” – May 17


Many have suggested that all that’s needed to reduce the influence of Slate voting is more voters, that is, for a larger number of people to vote in both rounds of Hugo voting. However, since Slate Voting is a strategy that mathematically allows a collectively organized minority to overcome the preferences of a disorganized majority, I don’t have much confidence in this proposal. (Although it is a nice idea for other reasons.)

Another proposal is the 4/6 proposal, in which individual Hugo voters can only nominate four works per category, and there will be six nominees per category. In this case, rather than a successful slate controlling 100% of nominees in each category, it will only control 66% of nominees in each category. If there are two slates, then the most successful slate will control 66% of nominees, while the next most successful slate will control the remaining 33% of slots. This seems like an insufficient solution, to me.

The proposal I favor is “Least Popular Elimination,” in which voters could still nominate up to five works per category, but the votes are counted in a way that mathematically favors works that appear on the broadest number of voters’ ballots while diluting (but not completely eliminating) the power of slate voting. A detailed explanation of “Least Popular Elimination” voting is available here. While LPE voting is not as intuitive as the other two proposals, I believe it would be more effective


Sarah A. Hoyt on According To Hoyt

“The Privilege Of Not Caring” – May 17

So who am I betraying by not conforming to the baneful Marxist stereotype of who I should be? Oh, right, the SJWs. That’s okay, I’m fine betraying them. Or at least fighting them. Hard to betray what you never belonged to. And, you know, most of them, even those with exotic names and claiming exotic identities (rolls eyes) are pasty-assed white people with real privilege as defined by having money and having attended the best universities and hanging out with all the “right” people and having the “right” (left) opinions. If they knew the meaning of the word privilege, they’d see it all over themselves.

But there are more egregious definitions of privilege. You see “check your privilege” is a tool of would-be elite whites to keep competition and challengers in check, while riding to glory by defining themselves as champions of the downtrodden. (It’s an old game, in place at least since the French revolution, but it’s the only one they have. Remember they lack both empathy and imagination. And since they have more or less overtaken the press, no one on the street realizes how old and tired this “clever” gambit is.)


Vox Day on Vox Popoli

“Sexism and ideological bias in science fiction” – May 17

TOTAL: 65.7 women have won 24.7 percent and 19 conservatives have won 7.1 percent of the 266 Hugo Awards given out since 1996. This is despite the fact that conservatives outnumber liberals by a factor of 1.6 in the USA, which means that conservatives are underrepresented by a factor of 11.3, versus women being underrepresented by a factor of 2.

Now, if the SJWs are to be believed, sexism is a serious problem but there is absolutely no evidence of left wing ideological bias. They keep repeating this despite the fact that the anti-right wing bias in science fiction is observably 5.6 times worse than the purported sexism about which they so often complain.


Jim C. Hines

“’Do You Wanna Take The Hugos?’” – May 16

[First of two stanzas]

To the tune of “Do you want to build a snowman?”

Larry? Do you wanna take the Hugos?
Come on let’s change the game.
I’m tired of those liberals
Like criminals
Who steal our rightful fame!
This used to be our genre
But now it’s not.
They make all the puppies cry.
Do you wanna take the Hugos?
(And also puff up both our egos…)

402 thoughts on “The Canine Billion Names of Dog 5/17

  1. Aw geez just what I needed. As if and A Teaspoon and an Open Mind (Doctor Who fanfic) wasn’t enough of a timesuck. I think I will just note that Wattpad exists and ignore it til I’m finished my Hugo reading.

  2. @cmm But honestly, they get all the “awards” they want in real-time, via page views and likes or whatever. Saying the word “award” would probably make us look like Mr. Howell from Gilligan’s Island to them. (If they knew who that was. Their equivalent.)

  3. @cmm Save yourself–I’m a goner already. You go on. I’ll try to hold them off with short-story collections, movie tie-ins, and crossovers. I kid, because really, it’s like a sci-fi story itself, almost, the seething, unfiltered, roiling output of it all. It’s really quite a force. There’s good stuff in there and there will be a lot more in time. Fiction is going to change dramatically. It already has.

  4. Amina: If there’s a movement to get Welcome to Night Vale onto a Hugo ballot, let me know because I want to join it. 🙂

  5. @Nick Yep. And almost certainly only the beginning.

    Even our quick Hunger Games discussion here makes me see how hard it’s going to be soon to write anything that doesn’t reference some of the major stories/universes that people are following, if you care about anyone reading it.

  6. Will.
    Mike summed things up very well, but I think a little elaboration might make it clearer.

    First, virtually all of the professional end of fandom were fans themselves before they went pro – especially among the real top dogs.

    Second, most everyone understood that fandom came first and everything else second. (MMV, just my experience). This included those Pros mentioned previously.

    Which is to say that a difference I see between then (my ‘then’ is a bit more recent than Mike’s ‘then’ is) and now is that a good percentage of people with influence did not “come up through fandom”, and therefore, perhaps are more willing to play in the gray area and not be as respectful towards unspoken but well-known traditions.

  7. I give up. Because why?

    Because jet fuel can’t steal melted Hugos. Duh.

  8. It has been said that Frankenstein is a metaphor for adolescence. I think all teenagers go through a phase where they feel they have been put together with the wrong parts.

  9. @Steve — thank you. I am finding this stuff really fascinating. To use a baseball analogy (sorry…old dude again), it sounds like the “feeder” system isn’t there somehow now. Would you agree? How come?

  10. I remember even as recently as the 90s/early 2000s people were cautioning those who wanted to be “real” writers to stay away from fanfic. I never understood that — I understood that you couldn’t publish it (especially not back then, pre 50 Shades of Gray) but how could learning nuts and bolts of storytelling NOT hone writing skills? But there was a real mindset against it.

    Now…I think to some extent the organized fanfic groups and sites (with the editors and beta readers and such) ARE becoming the feeder system. And the creators of the original works are getting a lot less freaked out about it as well. The current gang running Doctor Who all came up through a form of (edited, approved) fanfic and quite a few authors have basically said, hey, it’s kinda flattering, have at it, just understand that I can’t read any of it and you can’t make any money off it.

  11. John Seavey on May 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm said:
    Amina: If there’s a movement to get Welcome to Night Vale onto a Hugo ballot, let me know because I want to join it. 🙂

    I suspect there will be. And one for AO3 (which deserves it in my opinion). That Tumblr post has garnered 225 notes, i.e. likes and reposts, in just a few hours. But it would be really awful if an influx of young women were met with mockery. I hope it’s possible to include them in a beneficial way.

    I don’t read Wattpad. But there is an astonishing amount of well-crafted works on AO3 (bearing in mind the genre requirements of fanfic.) Which means there are a lot of discerning readers and writers out there. You could do a lot worse for a source of Hugo voters.

  12. cmm ~ A friend of mine who writes media tie-in fic for tabletop roleplaying games describes that writing as professional grade fanfic. She’s also a fanfic writer of many years long duration who is currently working on her first original novel hopefully for publication so…yeah. Honing craft is honing craft.

  13. @cmm I agree. Look at Amazon’s “Worlds” or Hugh Howey telling people to have away with Wool. It’s the future. It flatters the stories. I’m not nuts about it myself because really, I get bored too quickly with the same old universe (I mean, I’ve read all six of the original Dune books several times through, but that’s my limit, and that was exceptional stuff). But I’m the outlier now. You cannot have too much material in a given universe. In fact, more and more, I see people who don’t even want to read a standalone book because they think, If I like it, there might not be anymore. We are dinosaurs. (I’m tempted to add “my love” every time I say that word now.)

  14. I’m not the first by any means to point this out, but whenever I see the term “CHORF,” my reaction is, “But…but…you guys are describing yourself with that…”

    Cliquish? You bet.
    Holier-than-thou? Yep.
    Obnoxious? In spades.
    Reactionary? They’re objecting to an imaginary progressive cabal. They’re defining themselves as reactionary. Heck, they’re the ones defining their enemies as objectionable progressives.
    Fanatics? Uh-huh.


  15. @Nate Harada: ‘The Investigators’ might be out by then, too. We saw it live at the Pantages Theater, and it was incredible.

  16. @ Mary Frances,

    I don’t necessarily think a YA or Juvenile Hugo will get more people in the doors of SF fan cons like WorldCon, and that isn’t why we should be doing it anyway.

    What I want is for more people to read SF/F and to my mind the best way to do that is to hook them early. If the promotional value of a Hugo can help encourage young people to pick up SF that is all I ask. Plus, writing for young people is a skill in of itself, so rewarding that is a worthwhile goal in my book.

  17. Milt Stevens: “Hugo nominated novels from the last 20 years that might qualify as YA.”

    I haven’t read the Brin, Swanwick, or Simmons books, but I’ve read all the other books on that list, and I don’t see how you can possibly call any of them “YA”.

  18. Nick Mamatas: Tor has plucked some self-published authors.

    Including one named Scalzi.

  19. Kurt – I’m not the first by any means to point this out, but whenever I see the term “CHORF,” my reaction is, “But…but…you guys are describing yourself with that…”

    I feel the same when I see the SJW term thrown around. Usually they mean a group of people using social media to promote a political agenda by reacting to things typically out of the context they were meant. The only difference between the people throwing the SJW term around and those they target with it is usually just the political agenda they represent. It’s weird to see them be the exact thing they complain about.

  20. Mary Frances: “For those of you who are proposing a YA Novel Hugo, in the belief that this will make young readers more interested in fandom… I don’t think it would help all that much.”

    I’m not proposing it for that reason. I’m proposing it because I think there’s a whole set of fiction which is being ignored by the Hugos while having a lot of worthy contenders.

    Jim Henley:

    “It is problematic – for a start what is YA fiction?”
    We have two good guides here:
    1. Whatever is marketed as YA fiction.
    2. Whatever the attending and associate members filling out nominating ballots deem to be YA fiction.
    If we don’t define SF beyond “whatever enough nominators deem to be SF” – and we don’t – why do we need to be more precise about “YA”?

    Exactly. Just as when we say that SFF is whatever Hugo nominators say it is, and a Related Work is whatever Hugo nominators say it is.

  21. A short, non-comprehensive survey of YA fiction nominated in Best Novel in the last 15 years:

    Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban (2000)
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2001, Winner)
    Graveyard Book (2009, Winner)
    Little Brother (2009)
    Feed (2011)
    Deadline (2012)
    Blackout (2013)
    Parasite (2014)

  22. Regarding tehnakki’s tumblr post: We just ran a webcomics tournament on ComicMix where people could buy additional votes for charity, winning nothing but bragging rights.

    We raised $2530 without even trying hard.

    I have no doubt that if fans of Homestuck or Night Vale want in, they will easily dominate.

  23. @ Kurt Busiek “I’m not the first by any means to point this out, but whenever I see the term “CHORF,” my reaction is, “But…but…you guys are describing yourself with that…”

    “Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.” — Wikipedia

  24. Rcade and Matt Y,

    I found The Hunger Games to be a amazingly ‘more’ish read, that only dropped in my estimation when my brain kicked in to question the world building. That being said it ranks highly for both readability and characterisation in my opinion so it is still a read I recommend.

  25. @Chris Hensley:

    Mira Grant’s work is quite good, but under no circumstances would I call it YA. “Medical horror” is nearer the mark.

  26. @Kurt Busiek ““CHORF,” my reaction is, “But…but…you guys are describing yourself with that…””

    Projection. It’s not just a river in Egypt!

  27. @Tintinaus – I concur on Hungrr Games. The genetic engineering and strange traps in the last book seemed more like something a mustache-twirling supervillain would come up with rather than a practical defense. It took me out of the story a bit… But man, what a story! Lots of great characters, believable motivations, effective prose. Good stuff!

  28. Here’s my list of short fiction to nominate next year, of what I’ve read so far:

    “The New Mother” by Eugene Fischer. Asimov’s, April/May
    “The Thyme Fiend” by Jeffrey Ford.
    “The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society” by Henry Lien. Asimov’s, June
    Short story:
    “Damage”, David D. Levine.
    “A Beautiful Memory” by Shannon Peavey. Apex Magazine
    “Monkey King, Faerie Queen”, Zen Cho. Kaleidotrope

  29. My hero, Robert Sheckley, never got a Hugo; were I feeling cranky I could claim that this proves Hugo voters hate comedy and people who write tie in books.

    However, having reread ‘Lord of Light’, I am not feeling cranky, and since I’ve just about got time to start the first chapter of ‘Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming’ before midnight strikes I will maintain my non crankiness just fine.

  30. It’s not an original thought–but Logan’s Run, the novel, not the movie, is a YA novel (especially with the “turn age X, badness happens” theme of YA novels seen upstream)

  31. Sorry to be extraneous – but I just came across this Jane Austen snippet (unaltered):

    “I think him a very handsome young man, and his manners are precisely what I like and approve — so truly the gentleman, without the least conceit or puppyism. You must know I have a vast dislike to puppies — quite a horror of them.”

  32. I see Ted Chiang has a new short story!
    The Great Silence.

    ObPuppy Reposting a comment from that James Nicoll link upthread (a 2011 discussion of the 1971 Hugos at

    “Such silliness, really. (Though with real costs to people.)” — Rich Horton

    Plus ça change…

  33. I found The Hunger Games to be a amazingly ‘more’ish read, that only dropped in my estimation when my brain kicked in to question the world building. That being said it ranks highly for both readability and characterisation in my opinion so it is still a read I recommend.

    Oh yeah, I’m not saying it isn’t worth a read. Just that when I’ve presented issue with YA books like that and others I’ve had people excuse it because it’s YA fiction (not that anyone here has done so) and that bugs me about the term.

    I think the movies do a great job with the material also (at least the first two, haven’t seen the final parts where to me the book kind of flies off the tracks)

  34. JJ on May 18, 2015 at 2:45 pm said:
    Milt Stevens: “Hugo nominated novels from the last 20 years that might qualify as YA.”

    I haven’t read the Brin, Swanwick, or Simmons books, but I’ve read all the other books on that list, and I don’t see how you can possibly call any of them “YA”.

    I know less about YA now than I did at the beginning of this interchange. I used to think the Heinlein juveniles were what YA were like. I added the sort of book I might recommend to a teenager at LASFS. You now tell me J. K. Rowling isn’t even YA. I give, I have no idea what YA might be. So how do you define YA for the purposes of a Hugo category?

  35. Milt: Why, they define it the same way they define most of the fan categories now — “What I am pointing at that I want to have win the Hugo.”

  36. Hello from a lurker, 1st time Hugo voter and 1st time nominator for next year!

    Someone in some thread along the way observed that the problem with nominating is that it feels kind of homeworky – you have to keep up with all (or some part of) the work coming out. So thanks for the short story recs. Here’s an anthology rec in return: The End Has Come, post-apocalyptic short fiction. It ties to earlier anthologies but I haven’t read those and the stories work just fine without the earlier ones. I’m not done yet, but several stories have stuck with me.

    For novels, I’m still mostly working on 2014. Current reading, the First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – great stuff. I’ve read the latest Foreigner novel by Cherryh (Tracker?) – yay they’re back in space! – but for the Hugo it suffers from being number the umpteenth in a long running series. Liu’s The Grace of Kings was a big disappointment to me. Anyone have better luck? I’ve got Novik’s Uprooted and Stephenson’s Seveneves arriving tomorrow (ebooks), looking forward to those.

    On another topic, I also check out mystery awards for reading suggestions. The Anthony Award shortlist was recently announced – it’s given by Bouchercon, which bills itself as the World Mystery Convention. Only full-time attendees get to vote – the shock! the horror!

    And since this is turning into an omnibus 1st post, here’s an article by mystery writer Val McDermid on “Why crime fiction is leftwing and thrillers are rightwing”: Not sure if this maps in any way to subgenres of sff.

  37. And Mike’s answer is why I am against a YA Hugo. There is nothing inherently wrong with letting the nominators and voters decide what does, or does not qualify as fitting within the genre. The problem is that the average age of the Worldcon membership is in the 50’s and even if we see a significant amount of new participation by young adults we can hope to drop the average age down by a decade, tops. It would be a YA award where a group of older adult fans is selecting what qualifies as Young Adult fiction. That’s condescending, and is going to do the opposite of attracting younger voters. I oppose the Worldcon giving any award where older adults like myself are the ones dictating to young adults what is, and is not, young adult fiction.

  38. @JJ: “Exactly. Just as when we say that SFF is whatever Hugo nominators say it is, and a Related Work is whatever Hugo nominators say it is.”

    Vigorous regreement. I mean, hell, catch me in the right mood – except it might be the wrong mood from the listener’s standpoint – and I can talk endlessly about how Paul Theroux’s The Mosquito Coast, a Pulitzer-Prizewinning novel with zero “speculative” content, is the most science fictional book that ever science fictioned. And dammit, you should agree with me!

    And yet, if you say, in response, “Not only does it have no speculative content, Jim, it was not published as ‘science fiction’,” I will be forced to concede that, yeah, there is that.

  39. There were some very serious discussions about which episodes of Welcome to Night Vale were sufficiently science fictional and most accessible to new listeners, with the idea of positioning it for a Hugo win.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how close the consensus episodes made it to the ballot. If Puppy nominees pushed it off we might see a whole new fan base energized about Worldcon and the Hugos.

  40. Consider there’s a growing hoax bid for a Night Vale Worldcon already…

  41. Eve – I’m right now reading the Southern Reaches Trilogy but have 15 Lives waiting for me to get done so I’m glad to read it was good. Playing catch up as well with missed books from 2014. Southern Reaches is a pretty quick read and is good so far, but it’s heavy on the emotional state of the characters and I’m more interested in the outer landscape of Area X than the inner landscape of the explorers so far. Glad I’m reading it but it’s also not my cup of tea (that I’ve carefully stowed in a cabinet on this spaceship).

  42. Happyturtle: @cmm: I have yet to see Brad Torgersen explain how the SP slate was chosen, other than insisting it was democratic.

    I’m sure it was democratic – in the Vetinarian sense of the word.

    Pterry is sorely missed, and not least for comments he might have made on the Puppy debacle.

  43. And as regards tie-in novels, IMHO the novelization of “The Abyss” by Orson Scott Card was surprisingly well-done, particularly in shedding light on the motivations of the aliens and humanizing the main villain to the point of feeling sorry for him. This was from 1989, mind, and I don’t know whether my later distaste for Card’s politics would have colored how I would read it now.

  44. Matt Y – I read the Southern Reach trilogy over the Christmas break – also not my cup of tea, ended up admiring it more than loving it. OTOH my son (age 23) *loved* it – but his tastes run darker than mine.

    Kalr Five’s fussing over china was one of the small details that sucked me right into the book.

  45. I like the idea of a YA Hugo, but since this is my first year participating, I think I’m ill-equipped to back up that “I like it” with anything much.

    I do think that people are doing the usual internet definition thing of “how much can we jam into this definition?” until it’s not useful any more.

    Just because a book is suitable for teens doesn’t mean it’s YA, any more than anything edible by kids is therefore part of the Kids Menu. Is it aimed at them as the primary market? That’s the real dividing line — YA is a publishing and marketing category that denotes target audience as much or more than specific content. There are whole YA imprints, promotion campaigns, bookstore sections, and so on.

    So. ENDER’S GAME would not be under consideration for a YA Hugo, because it wasn’t published as YA when it was eligible for a Hugo. It has since been republished as YA, but it’s no longer eligible so that doesn’t matter.

    The Heinlein juveniles were published as juveniles, so if a YA Hugo had existed when they were eligible, I would assume they’d have been eligible for it, even if the voters would have been unfamiliar with the term “YA” (or “Hugo Award,” for the first half of that period).

    The Harry Potter books did get “older” as they went along, but I think they always debuted as YA books at least in the US, can’t really say about the UK.

    There are books simultaneously packaged as YA and adult — THE GRAVEYARD book is the first that comes to mind — and there’d have to be some kind of policy to handle them. Maybe that anything published as adult fiction gets treated as adult fiction, whether it’s simultaneously published as YA or not, since adult fiction would be the more expansive category.

    But like I said, I really don’t have the experience with any of it to know whether it’s worth pursuing. I just like the idea, mainly because the YA category is full of energy and creativity these days, and as a recognizable category that’s doing cool things, it’d be nice to see it honored. [It’s probably a lot more energetic, in terms of attracting readers, than, say, the novella category.]

  46. Eve,

    “First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” needs more love if you ask me. It is a brilliant take on a SF topic that should have felt overused. 🙂

    For the YA Hugo….

    So how do we define YA? Rely on the publisher – right. They would market in whatever way they think they can win the most of. Locus makes a pretty good job of splitting but – that’s not really a way for an open nomination. Someone mention “Among Others” as YA and my answer is “no way”. The book relies on knowing the genre – it cannot work as a YA. On the other hand – if a book is strong enough, it can make it in the Hugos on its own. And if it is not? Well – should it win a hugo?

    And then will come another problem. As the rules stand a work can fall in a single category. So if you nominate in the wrong category, it can be moved properly (if there is space on your ballot). Some of the YA novels are shorter (not short enough not to make it into novel but short enough to trick someone to put them into Novella). So where does it get moved? In YA Novel or in Novel? And what happens when a novel gets more nominations than anything else and do not make the ballot because it is split between the two categories?

    Anything that makes a work eligible in two different categories will lead to a lot of headaches…

  47. Matt Y

    While I don’t condone the attitude of dismissal “It’s a Kids XYZ” meaning “It’s crap by young people are to dumb/inexperienced to know better”*, sometimes a book(or whatever) will speak to an age group, when even a couple of years later they might bounce off it. Even with (and perhaps because of) the suspect world building, Hunger Games I think would open young readers to examine what is wrong with Panem and so question our society too.

    I also worry that I may tend to judge too harshly/look down on products designed for a younger audience because I do see the flaws and have seen it done better. 40+ years of reading SF will do that to a person. That shouldn’t be how I judge a YA work.

    *I stole the distillation of this idea from JesuOtaku and her review of The Cat Returns by Studio Ghibli

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