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. >> 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.>>

    I doubt that. They’d market in whatever way they think they can sell the most books. Being on the right shelves in the stores is much more important, I’d think, than being in a favorable awards category.

    >> 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? >>

    Was it published as YA or as adult SFF?

  2. The Patrick Ness series, which starts with The Knife Of Never Letting Go, just gets stronger, and darker, in each book – oh and The Knife Of Never Letting Go shared a Tiptree win as well.

    Thank you for the reminder! I picked up The Knife of Never Letting Go at a local library sale, devoured it, loved it, but let it slip off my radar before hunting up the sequels. Thanks for putting it back on.

    re: Wattpad?

    Wattpad is where I first read Kary English’s “Totaled.” It made me tear up at the end. I clicked the happy little “follow” button so I could read more by her when she posts it.

    It’s not that “Fanfic” doesn’t begin do Wattpad justice; it does Wattpad the opposite of justice, because it’s by far not the only thing getting posted to Wattpad. I follow quite a lot of authors posting original fiction there. (I post a bit myself.)

    re: Nominations for next year

    I am so behind on my reading – only things I’ve read that were published this year are some fiction of various lengths at (Must fix this soon. Keep the recommendations coming, everyone.)

    But I just saw the new Mad Max movie. It wowed me pretty good and hard. It absolutely will get my nomination.

    Matt Y and others: Here’s another voice praising the Southern Reach trilogy. I adored it and I find rereading it to be addictive.

  3. Milt Stevens: “You now tell me J. K. Rowling isn’t even YA.”

    If you saw my list, then you saw the Rowling books listed there.

    Kurt Busiek: “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.”

    I don’t think “being published as YA” is an acceptable criteria. You’d have to ask, “according to…???” the Publisher? Locus? Amazon? I think the criteria is “whatever Hugo nominators say is YA”.

    I was shocked when I finally read Ender’s Game a couple of years ago. I’d heard so many adults rave about that book, perhaps my expectations were too high. But I found the writing and plot extremely simplistic — and it is what I would call a children’s/tweenager book, not even necessarily YA.

    Eve and Annie Y:

    The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was my Number One Hugo nominee. I’m going to be gutted if it was one of those knocked off by the Puppy slates.

  4. >> I don’t think “being published as YA” is an acceptable criteria. You’d have to ask, “according to…???” the Publisher? >>

    That’d be my choice.

    >> Locus? Amazon?>>

    They’re not making up their own minds, are they? They’re getting the info from the publisher, I’d think. Amazon, for sure.

    >> I think the criteria is “whatever Hugo nominators say is YA”.>>

    The trouble with that is that it works fine as a definition of SFF, but not so much as a definition of, say, “novella.” Which is why novella is defined in a way that separates it from other categories.

    YA Novel would seem to need a definition that separates it from the other categories (those categories being both short fiction and adult novel, at least) to avoid confusion. On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t.

    Maybe the solution would be that any work that gets nominated as both YA and adult gets put into whichever category it got more nominations in. Then again, would that mean you lump all the nominations together, effectively moving them into the “proper” category? And would that result in the moved votes giving that particular voter more picks than others? Then again, that probably happens when a story is moved from one length category to another too…

  5. Since we’ve got a lot of new comes let me recap the history of the YA Hugo.

    – The idea was first put before the business meeting in 2011. It was hotly debated, both online before the meeting and on the floor. The YA Hugo supporters showed up in force but the amendment failed to pass. The maker of the motion, Chris Barkley, vowed to try again until it passed.

    – Sure enough in 2012 another YA Hugo amendment was brought before the body. It was basically the same motion, with the same heated arguing and the same result. It failed to pass.

    – 2013 the YA Hugo amendment was brought for the third time. It was killed in the preliminary business meeting by an Objection to Consideration, a parliamentary procedure which prevents even debating the amendment and requires a two-thirds majority vote. The 2013 proposal was not substantially different then the previous two proposals, and the makers of the motion had no new arguments for it. A lot of the people who had come out to vote for it were new members, not familiar with the last two plus years of discussion about the YA Hugo. A new motion was drafted to create a YA Hugo Committee to look into the proposal and come up with something that was different enough to warrant the meeting looking into again.

    – By the 2014 business meeting the YA Hugo Committee didn’t have a proposal ready. They had outside life issues. It happens.

    – This year. The YA Hugo Committee is still a thing, and the hope is that they will have a proposal to present to the BM. My money is on something similar to the Campbell Award, that seemed to be the most popular option going around a couple of years ago and deals with some of the objections to the original proposal. If the committee does present a proposal, it will need to be passed this year and ratified next year in Kansas City.

  6. >> My money is on something similar to the Campbell Award, that seemed to be the most popular option going around a couple of years ago and deals with some of the objections to the original proposal. >>

    So, a separate, non-Hugo award — the Dalgliesh? No — that would not prevent any YA nominees from also being considered for Best Novel?

    It’s got simplicity going for it.

  7. If they go that route t will be informative to see what name the committee decides upon. Of course the BM could then change it if they so desired.

  8. Saquan has released the voter’s packets. I finally got to read “A Single Samurai”.

    I loved it.

    Also, Baen not only provided the short story, but it’s entire “Baen Big Book Of Monsters”. So I’ll have a lot more to read when I finish all of the Hugo packets. 🙂

  9. Kurt Busiek,

    I doubt that. They’d market in whatever way they think they can sell the most books

    We are saying the same thing though (“win the most of” in my post does not mean win awards. Sorry if that was not clear)

    Was it published as YA or as adult SFF?

    And we are back to relying on the publisher. Just look at the urban fantasy/paranormal romance split and how often publisher mis-categorize – especually books that can go either way. YA/Adult can get as tricky.

  10. As a long-time member of the fanfic community, I’ll say:

    I do think it’s becoming more and more of the pro SF/F “farm team”. This means, going forward, that we can expect to see:

    – more women writing and reading sf/f. The fanfic community is at least 80% female

    – more queer (=non-straight and/or non-gender-compliant) writers & readers, and *even more* queer characters than writers. Not every fanfic fan is a slash fan, but it’s a huge part of fanfic culture.

    – social justice as far as the eye can see. The Puppies feel that “their” genre has been “invaded” by outsiders already, they’re going to have, um, *kittens* at the next wave.

  11. >> We are saying the same thing though (“win the most of” in my post does not mean win awards. Sorry if that was not clear)>>

    I guess the difference is that I don’t see it as a problem. YA is a marketing category, about aiming for a particular audience. If publishers publish books as YA because they’ll get the best response if they aim at the YA market, then they’ve accurately categorized the book.

  12. I am just saying that the publisher’s decision how to market a book does not make a book YA or not (and some publishers annoyingly change their mind now and then).

    Other from that – it’s not a problem – if this is how the book got sold better, more power to them. 🙂

  13. I look forward to giving Theodore Beale more time in the ballpit…

    Milt Stevens list of YA is… interesting.

    I actually read a book that started on Wattpad. The Cellar by Natasha Preston. It wasn’t anything special, but I it kept my interest long enough to finish it.

  14. >> Reminder, folks: there’s already a non-Hugo YA award handed out at the same time, the Golden Duck.>>


    I think rule one of awards creation should be to name the award something that’ll sound positive when attached to the winner. I can see where children’s librarians might think a Golden Duck award is a useful thing toward selecting picture books, but telling a 15-year-old, “This one’s good, it won the Golden Duck!” is probably a non-starter.

    Then again, for YA titles it’s the Hal Clement award, which is better. Though it’s a juried award from an organization whose website is at least two years out of date, which is bad…

  15. Also, I’m very much looking forward to the Night Vale novel. Out this fall!

  16. >> I am just saying that the publisher’s decision how to market a book does not make a book YA or not>>

    I think it’s a pretty good guide. They’re the ones who know who the book is aimed at, and there’s a lot of self-interest spurring them to aim it correctly.

    >> (and some publishers annoyingly change their mind now and then).>>

    Sure, but it presumably came out as one or the other.* Changing their minds afterward wouldn’t affect things.

    *books like THE GRAVEYARD BOOK aside, that is.

  17. Silly names? Kurt, we come from a place where people aspire to win a Harvey Award.

    And we won’t even get into the names of our characters…

  18. Getting back to Rick Moen’s question on May 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm on The Left Paw of Darkness, I had a little time to think about it today.

    I suggest young adults be invited to submit nominations for a Best Young Adult Novel. The ballot includes the five works young adults have identified as the best novel-length works of the year.

    Rick asked:

    Would your proposal ask Worldcons to collect specific ages for joining members claimed to be under some maximum age? Would your proposal require Worldcons to verify those claimed ages? (If so, how?)

    Yes, it seems like a lot of hassle, but it might still be worth thinking about since the benefit of hearing from young people would be very great.

    One way is to limit the nominations to attending young adults. (And if you are under 21, say, and you’d like to spend fifty or sixty bucks to support WorldCon and SFF fandom, we’d probably rather that you do it by buying books you like, not by taking out a Supporting Membership.)

    On the other hand, the dire consequences of adults dishonestly sending in nominations pretending to be youths don’t seem to me to be so alarming that an unhackable age verification system for supporting members is called for either. I suppose you might ask them to upload/mail a document with date of birth when registering, so there is a paper train in case fraud is suspected.

    What do others think?

  19. Brian Z.: “What do others think?”

    This other thinks you would be well-served to go back and read all the relevant posts in this thread, rather than expecting everyone to repeat things they’ve already said.

  20. Currently over on Beale’s Bodacious Blog, we have the Ilk falling over themselves to talk about how they refuse to vote anything that only has an excerpt in the reader’s packet, and that obviously that publisher didn’t want the book to win.




    Hate to tell you guys, but last year the winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel was Ancilliary Justice. It’s publisher only provided an excerpt. It seems not all of the Hugo voters feel they’re entitled to free copies of things…

    We won’t even go into the guy who thought that Jim Butcher is the “obvious front runner”.

  21. To all discussing a possible YA Hugo: One of the things that hasn’t come up yet (though it may be in people’s minds) is that SFF has long been an age-stretch of a genre, so much so that at one time it wasn’t unheard of for books to be published as YA hardcovers (for library sales, mostly) and then–usually a year later–as Adult paperbacks. The only example I can remember at the moment is Patricia McKillip’s Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy, but I’m pretty sure there were others. So . . . defining “YA SFF” is going to be even more difficult than defining “YA” in general, I suspect, just because of the history.

    That’s why–although I do approve of the concept of a YA Hugo–I always get stuck on the definition, and the need to differentiate between the Adult Best Novel and the YA Best Novel. I just don’t think that “I know it when I see it” or “use the publisher’s designation” is going to work very well, long term. A non-Hugo special award for YA Best Novel might be a way to solve that dilemma; you’d still need a definition, but I don’t think you need to worry so much about overlap. Something like SFWA’s Norton, perhaps, but following Hugo nomination and voting procedures?

  22. It seems not all of the Hugo voters feel they’re entitled to free copies of things…

    I bought ‘Ancillary Sword’ and ‘The Goblin Emperor’ back in February, and read ‘Three Body Problem’ as a library book.

  23. Brian Z, why do you think there should be an age limitation for voting? Adults read YA books, also.

  24. alexdvl: “Currently over on Beale’s Bodacious Blog, we have the Ilk falling over themselves to talk about how they refuse to vote anything that only has an excerpt in the reader’s packet, and that obviously that publisher didn’t want the book to win.”

    Remember that Puppy lapdogs were persuaded to part with $40 in two ways: 1) a cheap opportunity to “stick it to the SJWs”; 2) a way to get a whole bunch of free books for $40.

    They were told all sorts of lies, including that they could expect to get all the books for free. Whether the head dogs knew this was actually a lie is pretty much an academic question at this point.

    “the guy who thought that Jim Butcher is the ‘obvious front runner’ “

    What is that GRRM quote? “Oh, my sweet summer child.”

  25. JJ, considering that last year 3 of the 5 novel nominees were excerpted… I’d say anyone paying attention knew it’d happen again.

  26. JJ, up until now you’ve typically harried me for my alleged “puppydisease.” Well, my comments on the YA Hugo verifiably include zero “puppy talking points.” Be happy.

    Mary Frances, what if we kicked the age limit up a bit, let’s say 16-25? Invite everyone in that age range who has an attending membership at the previous Worldcon or purchases an attending membership for the next Worldcon before the nomination deadline to cast their own special ballot for Best YA Novel?

    I think that’s a great message: we value the opinions of young people and want to honor the works they deem most important. Get young people involved in the ceremony itself. What if it led to more YA authors coming to Worldcons? And fans following? Wouldn’t that be great?

  27. Er, but there’s only an excerpt of Skin Game, too.

    Orbit’s three novels last year, of which only excerpts were provided, came in 1, 2 and 3, ahead of the other two nominees, whose publishers included the entire series.

    Not that the pups have much of a grasp of history….

  28. Who runs the.Golden Ducks? By the way, that is a terrible name. Anynody who plays cricket will tell you that a GD is the ultimate indignity(out first ball faced).

    The SFWA does the Andre Norton award. Ajury award, yes, but at least something.

  29. They overestimate the importance of the Hugos. The decision to include excerpts or not reflect the publisher’s overall business strategy.

  30. As a relatively YA reader (I just turned 27) I detest the idea of a separate award.

    There are plenty of 17 year olds whom would answer Borges and Salinger if asked the favorite thing they read last year. Does this then count as YA because a young adult liked them?

    So you’re defining YA not as the book but as the person reading it?

    When I was a young adult I would not want to think my interests were somehow “young adult”– I was a reader and I could hold my own with any adults, thank you very much

  31. Brian Z: “up until now you’ve typically harried me for my alleged ‘puppydisease’. Well, my comments on the YA Hugo verifiably include zero ‘puppy talking points’. Be happy.”

    I’m quite able to make my own decisions as to what should make me happy, thanks.

    You are demonstrating the same lack of courtesy and etiquette to others here that you’ve repeatedly been demonstrating over at Making Light.

    If you’re going to participate in an Internet comment forum in good faith, then you take the time and effort to read what everyone else has said on the subject before chiming in, rather than expecting them to repeat things they’ve already said. Some of these things occur in The Left Paw of Darkness thread, starting with alexdvl’s comment and reading forward. A lot more of them occur in this thread.

    And if you’re not going to participate in this Internet comment forum in good faith, then you shouldn’t be participating here.

  32. If there was a YA Hugo, then there shouldn’t be age limits to vote on it — as noted it’s an award for the book, not the reader, and young adults may read adult fiction and old farts read YA just as easily.

    Perhaps there should be height requirements to vote on short fiction?

  33. Learned,

    There are plenty of 17 year olds whom would answer Borges and Salinger if asked the favorite thing they read last year. Does this then count as YA because a young adult liked them?

    So you’re defining YA not as the book but as the person reading it?

    That’s a great point. I also read primarily books marketed to adults when I was a young adult.

    I do think YA for this purpose could be defined as the person reading it, not as a marketing category. If most 16-25 year-olds (to pick an arbitrary age cut-off, and a different cut-off might be much better, I don’t know) chose to nominate works by Marissa Meyer and Veronica Roth, then those would be represented on the ballot, but not exclusively.

    The advantage I see is that we would be saying to young people: you are the fans of the future. In addition to telling you what we think are the best books, we’d also like to honor the science fiction and fantasy books that you choose as the best, whatever they are.

  34. Or signal that intention in the name of the category: Best Novel Selected by Young Adults? Something like that.

  35. I’m a fan of splitting the difference. Let the entire membership vote on the Award, but only allow YA members to nominate.

  36. I just don’t see how having a YA category—which is qualitatively different than all the other categories as it deals with a type of story rather than a form—celebrates YA, rather than diminishing it by giving it a special category. The implication is that YA cannot compete in Novel despite occasionally being nominated or even winning.

  37. Chris Hensley, that’s an interesting way to do it. I wasn’t sure which would be the best way to go.

    Settling on the age range of young adult is an issue though. 14-18? 16-21? Include early 20s?

  38. Nick Mamatas: “The implication is that YA cannot compete in Novel despite occasionally being nominated or even winning.”

    I’d say that implication is pretty well-supported by the evidence.

    2012 – Among Others – Jo Walton – winner (YA status disputed)
    2010 – Wake – Robert J Sawyer – nominee
    2009 – The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman – winner
    2009 – Little Brother – Cory Doctorow – nominee
    2009 – Zoe’s Tale – John Scalzi – nominee (YA status disputed)
    2001 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling – winner
    2001 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling – nominee
    after that, I have to go back to
    1979 – The White Dragon – Anne McCaffrey – nominee

  39. P J Evans

    Brian Z, why do you think there should be an age limitation for voting? Adults read YA books, also.

    I tend to agree with Nick Mamatas just above that honoring one particular marketing category (YA) and not others doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’d be more interested hearing from actual young people what they’ve been reading that they thought was really great.

  40. @BrianZ: As a practical matter I would error on the side of an overly broad age range. Too small a nominating pool and the system breaks down. I would go with something around 25, but definitely less then 30, with a minimum age between 11 and 13. Plenty of 11 year olds can understand most YA fiction, and excluding high school freshman just seems ridiculous. Just look at what they are reading in school at that age.

  41. And how on earth would you keep track of every nominator or voter’s age? Honor system? That seems like asking for complaints. And anything else–well, we’re back to the question of “how much work will it make for the Hugo administrators”? Just for an example of the kinds of IDs people might suggest and why it won’t work, YA as a publishing category usually starts with 12-14 (honest), and readers that young won’t be driving yet . . . even if they wanted to send that much personal information off into the aether for the privilege of voting for an award. So we limit the award to people who have IDs they are willing to share and–nope. Can’t see it.

  42. Brian Z.: “I tend to agree with Nick Mamatas just above that honoring one particular marketing category (YA) and not others doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

    What’s being discussed is not honoring YA as a particular marketing category. What’s being discussed is recognizing YA as a type of fiction which is different from the fiction recognized in the Hugo Novel category.

  43. How will kids be buying their supporting memberships? Mother’s purloined credit card?

  44. >> And how on earth would you keep track of every nominator or voter’s age?>>

    Beyond that, Best SFF Novel As Chosen by Young Adults is not the same award as Best YA SFF Novel.

  45. I really disagree with the notion of a YA Hugo.

    1. YA books compete well enough in terms of quality and reputation with non-YA books
    2. I dislike the ghetto-isation that this implies – strikes me as being similar to when the Oscars came up with Best Animated Movie after Beauty & The Beast made it as Best Picture nominee.

    Also, I’m sure the old hands can correct me, but isnt’ this similar to the whole creation of the Semipro-zine category? ie, from what I recall on GRRMs blog, he said this was to stop LOCUS from constantly winning Fanzine?

    3. Limiting voting/ nominations by age would be far more trouble than it’s worth, esp considering that currently there is no age verification at play.

    4. YA is a category with very blurred edges.C’mon – how old were you when you read Lord of the Rings? Dune? Foundation?
    You can stick to publisher categorisations, but still seems verrrry iffy to me.

  46. Mary Frances, Nick Mamatas, encouraging teens or even college students to buy supporting memberships might not be a good idea. Better if they spend their allowance, salary from summer jobs, etc., on books. But the attending young adults from the previous year plus the pre-registered young adults from the coming year is a pretty decent set of potential nominators, assuming they are interested in participating of course. If voting is limited to attending members, the honor system shouldn’t be much of a problem.

  47. I cannot help but be amused by puppy supporters vowing to vote against something they haven’t read, after all of the hysteria raised by the idea that people might vote against the items on the puppy slates without reading them.

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