The First Ever Call For Hugo Bloc Voting

Sad and Rabid Puppies are spending unlimited effort to find old Hugo recommendation lists in order to prove with geometric logic that people were trying to manipulate the awards before they came along.

Allow me to spare you further digging!

I now provide definitive evidence that the earliest appeal to organize bloc voting for the Hugos occurred in the very year the awards were invented.

What may surprise you is that the appeal came from the Philcon II committee itself. See the second paragraph below from the August 1953 Progress Report.

Philcon2r4-03 CROP

116 thoughts on “The First Ever Call For Hugo Bloc Voting

  1. But that was before history began.
    Neither “side” in this debate considers anything so old to be relevant.

  2. Except those Science Fiction Achievement Awards, while they would later become the Hugos, were a one off at Philcon II, not the annual award that began two years later (there weren’t even awards the next year because the traditions were so weak) in 1955. As such, they operated under vastly different rules. No preferential ballot, straight vote of the membership, and no nominations. The current Hugo voting and nomination rules (and the agreement to not do straight bloc voting or campaigning), even in their earliest iterations, wouldn’t come until later, when the awards became an annual event.

    Oh, and sarcasm.

  3. I think we’re missing the important fact that there was a group trying to force us to mutilate our Number 3 Reports. I don’t know what communist country these Mutilators hail from, but they thought wrong if they expect us to take this lying down. To arms anti-mutilators!

  4. “Neither “side” in this debate considers anything so old to be relevant.”

    I beg your pardon, Mr Major, but your comment is not merely untrue, but unjustified.

    Speaking for myself, the whole point of my involvement in the Sad Puppies extravaganza is that the history of the Hugos had been demeaned by its modern gatekeepers, and that a return to the virtues known of old was overdue.

    Nothing I have said or done has stated, or even implied, that I regarded the past as irrelevant in this controversy. Indeed, I regard what Mr Glyer has done as having given a signal victory to my side, and advanced our argument in the eyes of any reasonable and honest onlookers.

  5. Jared Dashoff: Your sarcasm lamp may be lit, just the same I would like to keep from confusing people who haven’t looked into Hugo history before.

    The Philcon II (1953) progress report #3, speaking of the awards, said “…a new tradition in the annals of science fiction will be established…”

    Chairman Milton Rothman said in the Program Book, “It is our hope, of course, that this year’s event will be successful enough to merit it become an annual affair.”

    The only people who ever claimed not to know the Hugos were initiated as an annual award were Coles, who chaired the next year’s Worldcon.

    I once interviewed Ben Jason, who was on the 1955 committee, and he, too, was adamant that “everybody” knew this.

  6. Really nice job, Mike, as always. I’ve only been regularly following your zine for about a year, and have gone through some of your archive, and, of that relatively small sampling, I’ve got to say that over the past several weeks you are really hitting a peak in your service to maintaining and illuminating both current issues and the history of SF. And that is saying a lot: you have a knack for uncovering relevant stuff and presenting it fairly, even as you (understandably) have your own opinion about all things SF.

    This may be taken as unwelcome compliment, but oh well: I will be recommending File 770 for a Hugo nomination in 2016.

    And no, this isn’t a scheme to inspire you to decline it pre-emptively! 😉

  7. xdpaul: In response to some of the strained interpretations I have been reading, I set out to document the award culture the Hugo’s inventors meant to create.

    Darned if I didn’t find it.

  8. “…this is….a scheme to inspire you to decline it pre-emptively.”
    I just skimmed until I was offended. Mischief Managed!

  9. That is an interesting find. I said it in a prior thread, but the WSFS has done an outstanding job of record keeping. If my wife lets me, I intend to geek out and read the minutes of past meetings this Sunday while consuming a six pack of micro-brew yet to be determined. It what little I’ve seen so far, there is a treasure trove of SF/F history and humor out there.

  10. So when did the pivot away from the ConCom telling people how to vote and sharing the status of the ballot happen?

    I’m assuming there’s probably that documented somewhere too?

  11. Because nothing says ‘progress’ and ‘future’ like looking to 1953 for how to do things in 2015 eh? 😀

  12. “Darned if I didn’t find it.”

    I am pleased to be informed that both Sad and Rabid Puppies are operating entirely in line with the time-honored traditions of Worldcon. I trust everyone can now relax, stand down, and carry on with the awards process without further drama.

  13. Andrew Trembley on April 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm said:
    I love that Forry was already an “old timer” in 1953…

    When I first met Forry in 1959 I thought he was incredibly ancient. I now realize he was only in his early forties. He had been of the board of the Science Fiction League in 1934 which made him as old as fandom itself.

  14. Daveon: The 1955 Worldcon publications don’t address the voting culture at all. Proving a negative is always so much more difficult.

  15. It looks like they’re talking about bloc voting specifically in the final vote, not the nomination process? At least, given the date of the deadline, that looks like a final vote to me.

    Or did these Achievement Awards not *have* nomination process–or rather, the nomination process was the final vote also in a first-past-the-post kind of way?

  16. Cat: The nominating round was introduced in 1959. Before that it was a direct vote on the winners.

  17. A slate?! Oh Noes! Quick, bring the smelling salts; I feel an attack of the vapors commencing!

    Or Not.

  18. Joshua: Live and learn. The 1959 committee has always taken credit for that innovation. What did the 1957 and 1958 committees do?

  19. There were slates. There will be slates.

    And the more slates, the more the curve smoothes until it approaches the state of non-slatedness.

  20. I lol’d.

    One would hope Daveon and Rcade now walk back their rhetoric. I don’t expect it will happen.

    It is _extra_ funny that they were keeping a running tally which would result in increased partisanship. HUGO’S RUINED IN 1953!!!

  21. Of course, Mike did publish the slates for this year here…quite a few (which was rather nice and I did make use of them) and even called them slates…which has stopped no one from claiming that only the puppies had a slate.

  22. ’53 was a bit before my time (’58), but I was interested early in FanHistory, and my impression was/is that the major early attempt to inject Mundane Politics into s-f was by the Michellists, who wanted us to back the Communist Party USA, back sometime in the ’40s. They got told to fuck off, and Politics joined Religion and Sex as things that didn’t mix with s-f. (Ummm… sex somehow seems to have slipped through, fortunately, in a few years, but the others… )

    Sure, the Puppies are right about the Politics of the Hugo selections — since back in the ’40s, when I started reading s-f, it was mostly “Liberal” — practically every story, back then, had some (favorable) character whose name ended in “-sky” or was oriental or possibly black. There were even some pretty strong female characters. I wasen’t aware if it at the time, but that’s probaby part of the reason I liked s-f.

    And hey, someone whose research i admire recently mentioned that “Vox Dei” had condemned Kim Stanley Robinson as one of those incompetent female writers. As it happens, don’t think Mr. Robinson is either incompedent or female (or that female writers are any worse than male ones, who are sometimes Really Terrible), but then I’m not nearly as Important as that guy who implies that he’s the “Voice of God”.

  23. Those who really value blocs as time-honored traditions should really go all the way and send their nominations through the mail. Don’t be half baked about it, go all the way! Be the real hardcore fans!

  24. It looks like the 1956 progress report contains ads for competing 1957 bids. Apparently the site selection cycle was shorter back then. The London ad trumpets “Blog in the Fog”. What?

  25. The 1957 LonCon committee went back to a single, direct ballot, so their publications show.

  26. So did the 1958 Solacon committee. So no wonder the 1959 committee treated it like a “new” tradition.

  27. “As it happens, don’t think Mr. Robinson is either incompedent or female (or that female writers are any worse than male ones, who are sometimes Really Terrible), but then I’m not nearly as Important as that guy who implies that he’s the “Voice of God”.”

    It’s really tough for you socially challenged individuals when people don’t telegraph their jokes and follow them up with emoticons, isn’t it.

    Also, follow the Latin into Greek.

  28. Mike: Blog is jargon for a party punch with random ingredients. rich brown says Liverpool Fandom invented the term, and while he doesn’t say when, it would have been decades before the internet. Probably a takeoff on “grog.”

  29. “Any other traditions from the 1950s we can carry on?” Well, once we put the women and the coloreds and the swishies back in their place, it’ll be a SP/RP Utopia.

  30. “One would hope Daveon and Rcade now walk back their rhetoric.”

    Because of something that happened in 1953 when the Hugos were still new and the rules and norms were being established? You and any other Puppy trying to make a serious point about this find are grasping for straws.

  31. And so, dear readers, it begins.

    Note how we change from, “IT NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!!!” to “THE 1950’s WERE THE BADZ!”

    Also remember that everytime someone says this:
    “Well, once we put the women and the coloreds”

    That we nominated women and that Brad is married to a “coloreds”. They never pause to think how dehumanizing they are being.

    And yes Vox the Kim Stanely thing above was priceless. Even though I like _him_.

  32. Nothing I have said or done has stated, or even implied, that I regarded the past as irrelevant in this controversy. Indeed, I regard what Mr Glyer has done as having given a signal victory to my side, and advanced our argument in the eyes of any reasonable and honest onlookers.

    – John C Wright

    It’s really tough for you socially challenged individuals when people don’t telegraph their jokes and follow them up with emoticons, isn’t it.[SIC]

    – Theodore “The Galloping VD” Beale

  33. So what shines through for me here is that they were very obviously trying to get more participation. they want more votes, more voters, more controversy. There’s no calling other people stinky bad poopy heads for daring to participate. There’s no division into Trufen and Wrongfen.

    “We’re sitting in a neutral corner hollering only ‘May the best fans win!'”

    Which is every single thing that the puppy supporters asked for.

  34. I think one of the big positives coming out of this mess is that a lot of people from outside normal fandom are getting interested in the history and traditions of WSFS.

    I was browsing last year’s minutes and I noticed that they approved presenting to the Sasqaun members a proposal to allow supporting members greater voting rights. One of the concerns expressed is that the WSFS needed to reach out and generate more fan interest and involvement in WSFS and the WorldCon.

    As an aside, I can’t make Sasquan due to work commitments, but our wives have given my brothers and I to attend Kansas City next year. I’m bringing my 12 year old daughter, who’ll doubtless nominate whatever Rick Riordan book is out.

  35. Oh you guys. You crack me up.

    Tradition. We did it this year is a tradition :). sweet.

  36. ‘Uh, what the anti-new slate people don’t realize is that they are whining.’

    I’m rubber and you’re glue uses less words than what you wrote and conveys the same message.

    Is who whined first the new circular argument until it’s shifted to some minor semantic point? Because y’all whined about SJWs taking over awards for a convention Vox at least claims not to want to participate in or be part of the community of and awards they not care about at all. Until he cares about the history of it.

  37. Daveon: “Tradition. We did it this year is a tradition :). sweet.”

    You probably had something specific in mind. However, you are also right about one of fandom’s hilarious tendencies. We set such great store by tradition. And anything done once is a tradition. Elst Weinstein and I used to joke about that all the time at the Hogus.

  38. @Steve Moss – Rick Riordan writes better fantasy novels than the vast majority of authors of adult fiction. He belongs on a ballot, teen series or not.

  39. @Mike, so what you’re saying (sure, putting words in your mouth, and it’s a position I agree with) is that, regardless of individual real-world politics, convention “fandom” as a collective is actually conservative…

    …which means, in context, the puppies of various pathologies are progressive social justice warriors?

  40. @Fred Davis: Thanks for making the point.

    I don’t care about boards or blogs or puppies or SJW. I just want something that is worth reading.

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