Patrick Richardson’s post “Not a real fan” at the Otherwhere Gazette is getting a lot of eyeballs today because fans love the thrill of terror they feel whenever there’s a fresh reason to believe anyone thinks they don’t really belong in fandom. Richardson believes he has found two and, in a bitter riff on all the sf he’s read and watched, he punctuates every example from kindergarten thru today with the refrain, “So I’m not a real fan.”
The first reason for this self-contradicting rap is:
You see, according to the Anti crowd I can’t be a real fan because I don’t go to cons. I’ve only been to one you see, not out of lack of desire, but lack of funds.
So I’m not a Real Fan.
Is his failure to attend conventions enough to disqualify Patrick as a Real Fan? For an in-depth analysis I turned the question over to File 770’s consultants on fannish purity. Here is their response.
- Fanzine editor: All those examples and he never mentions the importance of reading fanzines? Not a fan.
- Club member: What club does he belong to? How can you be in fandom if you don’t join a club?
- Collector: What Star Wars action figures does he own? He doesn’t say. A real fan would say.
- Filker: Has he ever been in a Bardic Circle? His failure to mention filk strikes a false note to me.
- Costumer: He doesn’t say anything about cosplay. A lot of people think they’re fans who don’t do any more than put on clothes in the morning.
As you see, con attendance is not the only area the panel believes Patrick’s fannish credentials are sadly deficient.
Seriously, though, the fear of not really belonging afflicts fans everywhere on the culture war spectrum, not just the part Patrick complains about in his second reason for saying he’s not a Real Fan.
See, to be a Real Fan, you have to agree with the liberal orthodoxy. You have to believe that SF is all about teaching us lessons, not about having fun. You also, apparently, have to go to cons and beat your breast about “privilege” and “diversity” and apparently apologize for having testicles.
Completely ridiculous stuff, on the other hand, I guarantee at this very moment there’s a liberal taking Patrick’s criticism in a personal, literal way and letting it tap into their own fears of Not Being Allowed To Belong. It’s common for humans to fear being excluded.
And I can’t fix a fundamental human fear with the comments I’m about to make — if I could, I’d start by fixing it in myself. How embarrassing to admit I have written whiny posts of my own. But I’m going to say these things because it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
- You are a fan in proportion to the effort you make to attach yourself to fandom.
A friend of mine, now deceased, used to attend every Worldcon business meeting, sit in a particular front row seat, and drive people nuts with his idiocyncratic contributions. When he passed he was missed primarily because people recognized he shared their extraordinary passion to be part of this community.
- You don’t need someone’s permission to be here.
Who are you looking to for permission anyway? There will always be somebody whose own brokenness requires that they try to be the gatekeeper, and the only way a gatekeeper can advertise their power is by excluding someone. If you’re on the wrong side of their gate, that says more about them than about you.
Naturally we want to be in a community with others who value us for who we really are, however, we’re never going to be a perfect fit with everyone. Don’t go out of your way to give someone else the power to deny your beliefs and aspirations. And if you’re trying to exercise that power, ask yourself why?
You are absolutely right: I don’t need anyone’s permission to be a fan. But thank you for your contribution laying out the components of permission to be a fan, which I don’t need.
In as much as permission is not required, however, you may, with all due respect, bugger off.
To Keith and Vince: thanks for the info. I think I’d made my point, which was that the Australian voting system usually awarded the victory to the candidate with the most first-place votes. There are some exceptions; I am reminded of Jim Gifford complaining that his Robert A. Heinlein: A Reader’s Companion got the most first-place votes but still didn’t win.
Thanks to Vince and Kevin for the details. But I think I made my point, which is that the difference in final outcome isn’t that much of a difference.
What does this mean? It sounds very much to me like, “Because there aren’t more people who think JUST LIKE ME!”
Then why are so many of you bitching about the fact that we’re flooding the Hugo voting with more people who do, in fact, think like us? Larry brought in a few dozen voters last year. Now we’re bringing in a few hundred more.
You want more people? Fine. We’ll give you more people.
Preamble: If your comment is visible, you can assume the following observation doesn’t apply to you.
The people who are leaving comments with obscene abuse will have to be satisfied that I have read it. I am not posting it.
Mike: Thanks for the moderation. I hope I don’t ever give you cause to have to use it on me.
VD: You want more people? Fine. We’ll give you more people.
Yep, go ahead. What many of us object to is the implication that people should nominate/vote for things without reading them, because it will make the Bad People Cry. Even more annoying to me is the implication that those of us who have been voting have been doing so for Evil Political Reasons, not because we like the works involved. This strikes me very much as an argument made by people who have so little empathy that they can’t believe any rational person would like things other than what they like, and therefore the only reason things they don’t like win is because of the system being borked by Evil People.
If you don’t win, it doesn’t justify saying, “Unfair!” The Hugo Awards system is not designed to reward narrow-but-noisy minorities.
Joseph T. Major: You’re right that most of the time, the initial leader goes on to win. But the times it doesn’t happen, it’s usually the system working as designed: to prevent narrow-but-noisy minorities from dominating.
I don’t have the detailed breakdown (embarrassing because I was one of the administrators), but I seem to recall that in 1994, Harlan Ellison had a Novella that led after the first round but finished last overall. A polarizing work is unlikely to win because it will only get placed first or last, and unless you can actually swamp the system for a “knockout” win (first round majority; it happens now and then), you’ll end up losing in the end.
You do a lot of inferring and assuming, Kevin, of things none of us have actually said, while doing a great deal more ignoring the things we actually HAVE said.
For the record Sad Puppies is not about “slate” voting, it’s about putting forth some additional choices that voters may not have considered, and asking them to read and vote for the ones they like.
I note it is not our side which has called Jim Butcher, no conservative he, a “Nazi” for even being on the slate. Note too, this is not the Republican slate, there are moderates and liberals on the suggestion list.
WE are not the ones suggesting that an author be excluded because of his personal views, no matter how odious. Were that the case then every award Marion Zimmer Bradley ever won should be rescinded, as she appears to have been a rather despicable human being.
“Then why are so many of you bitching about the fact that we’re flooding the Hugo voting with more people who do, in fact, think like us?”
Because the puppies’ slate really isn’t a suggested reading list, but a suggested Hugo nomination ballot, which is intended to give relatively few nominees a bigger impact on the Hugo process than their actual numbers would otherwise give them. The unfortunate result is that some otherwise deserving writers who don’t quite make the Hugo nominee short list get left off, which is a detriment to what the Hugos are supposed to be about.
Oh, and as for the puppies’ slate being a “suggestion list”, baloney. It’s a slate because it’s short and targeted. Compared to the lengthy Locus recommended reading list, it’s clear that it’s not trying to game the nominations like the puppies are.
Ah, so we’re lying liars who lie, when we tell you flat out our goals, but ya’ll are all truthy and stuff all the time.
Er, make that “nominators” instead of “nominees” in the first sentence of the first paragraph.
Yep, go ahead.
What many of us object to is the implication that people should nominate/vote for things without reading them, because it will make the Bad People Cry.
The rules were established last year when the other side declared they did not have to read our works to vote on them. Obviously, if they don’t need to, neither does anyone on our side. Very few of you were condemning them for that last year; my good buddy John Scalzi even came under fire just for stating that people should read everything and then vote as they saw fit. How can you condemn us for nothing more than following by the example they set last year?
Even more annoying to me is the implication that those of us who have been voting have been doing so for Evil Political Reasons, not because we like the works involved.
We were being generous. If you actually think mediocre hackwork like Redshirts and Ancillary Justice and If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love represents the best of science fiction today, I feel pity for you. If you were supporting that sort of thing for Evil Political Reasons, at least I could understand that. If you simply like wallowing in literary excrement, well… that is your prerogative.
This strikes me very much as an argument made by people who have so little empathy that they can’t believe any rational person would like things other than what they like, and therefore the only reason things they don’t like win is because of the system being borked by Evil People.
Speaking of a lack of empathy, or even simple observation, I find it very difficult to believe you are seriously still trying to pretend that Larry, Brad or I expected to win anything. Hell, the only disappointment was that Larry didn’t pick up a 6 of 5 award too. I still lord mine over him.
If you don’t win, it doesn’t justify saying, “Unfair!” The Hugo Awards system is not designed to reward narrow-but-noisy minorities.
When have I ever said “Unfair”? When has Larry? The pinkshirts have been legally manipulating the rules in the Nebulas since at least 2001 when the already forgotten The Quantum Rose won Best Novel, and the Hugos since John Scalzi was nominated for Old Man’s War in 2006. There is nothing unfair about what they did then or what we’re doing now. We’re simply going about the process of methodically making the other side the minority.
Just remember, we have been reliably informed that crying “unfair” will be unjustified.
Patrick: Scalzi takes you down much better than I ever good, but that’s not surprising; he’s a professional writer, and I’m just a computer programmer. (OMG, someone with a degree in a Hard Science!)
Mr. Richardson, snarking instead of explaining how the puppies’ slate is merely a suggested reading list (like the lengthy recommended reading list from Locus is) isn’t fooling anybody.
Er, sorry, Mike. I didn’t know the tags didn’t work.
“The unfortunate result is that some otherwise deserving writers who don’t quite make the Hugo nominee short list get left off, which is a detriment to what the Hugos are supposed to be about.”
Obviously they weren’t deserving. Are you crying “unfair”? I am reliably informed that is unjustified.
Look, the Hugos are no longer about what they are supposed to be about, or professional authors published by SF’s largest publisher would not be nominated for “fan” awards. Mediocre and derivative fan fiction would not be winning Best Novel awards. A mediocre debut novel would not be the most-awarded science fiction novel of all time.
Like it or not, we are not the disease. The cancer was there before we showed up. You didn’t deal with the problem when you should have, so now you get to deal with us. You can either work with us or you can burn your own house down. And frankly, I don’t give a damn which option you choose.
There is only one test for the measure of a Trufan: if you read SF. If you do, you aren’t. It happens occasionally, for nostalgia’s sake, by accident, to check whether the state of the field is really as dreadful as you have suspected for twenty years, if a particular work that everybody mentions is truly as dreadful as it sounds (that was the reason veteran fen read Neuromancer), or because you have taken a shine to a particular author (the last is completely divorced from the genre or medium he/she/it is working in). The SF – well, SF-related – content of the magazines became irrelevant for fandom when John W. Campbell died in 1970, because everyone wanted to know what crazy theories he would push; the fandom-related content in the magazines fell by the way when Ted White left Amazing. This phenomenon is international; it includes the whole of Europe, China, Russia, even England (no true fan has ever admitted to even looking at Interzone). There are fan cycles there, but they follow the rules of Trekdom, Star Wars fans, or the Harry Potter crowd, where different rules apply (notably that of taking notice of the works in whose name you don your proppelor beanie).
I don’t attend many cons, it’s true. That’s because I’m too busy putting on a con every year. And even though I showed up at the screening of the new Star Trek movie in my Lt. Unhura costume (o.s.), I can still easily name short SF&F stories and essays I’ve read. So wossname Glyer can kiss my fen patootie when he claims I’m “not a real fan”
–because I support Sad Puppies. Power to the people!
The silly and on-going culture wars certainly make me wish I was not a real fan at times. I don’t want to be associated with either side.
Carbonel: I don’t see where Mike told you that you were not a real fan. He said:
You are a fan in proportion to the effort you make to attach yourself to fandom
You don’t need someone’s permission to be here
Where does that say you aren’t a fan? What did I miss?
(For the record, I’ve worn costumes, run conventions, published fanzines, organized clubs, written/directed/appeared in amateur Doctor Who movies, and otherwise embraced a lot of different aspects of fandom. Oh, and yeah, I read the stuff, too. And when I showed up, there were people disdainful of my lack of trufannishness. To heck with them. I stuck with it anyway.)
So Mike said “You are a fan in proportion to the effort you make to attach yourself to fandom.” and “You don’t need someone else’s permission to be here.”
And the Sad Puppies are *still* not happy. What a surprise.
They don’t just want to ride in the car and poke their heads out the window. They want to steer.
@Kevin Standlee: Being a programmer does not imply OR require a “Hard Science” degree, aka a STEM degree. Being a programmer means you can code: no more, no less. One of the best coders I’ve ever known got his Bachelor’s in English, and his master’s thesis was on themes in Victorian Poetry.
Just saying. . .
No, cat. They get to steer if they gather the numbers. That’s simply the reality of the system. Just as past voting blocs have steered when they had the numbers.
“They don’t just want to ride in the car and poke their heads out the window. They want to steer.”
Exactly. We don’t like where you guys have been driving. So, we’re taking the wheel. Better get used to it.
VD: And if you don’t like where the car is going, you’d rather drive it off a cliff so that nobody at all can drive it, eh?
That’s just a weird projection, Kevin. It makes no sense. Even John Scalzi believes that the Puppies have every right to take the wheel and drive it any way they see fit. That’s how the Hugos work.
“VD: And if you don’t like where the car is going, you’d rather drive it off a cliff so that nobody at all can drive it, eh?”
(laughs) No, not at all. We have no intention of driving the car off the cliff. We want to save science fiction from the award-winning SJWs who call Robert Heinlein “racist as *fuck*” and Joseph W. Campbell “a racist, sexist ass-hat of the first water”. Do you agree with those statements, Kevin?
But admittedly, some of us will certainly laugh at you if you drive the car off the cliff in an attempt to keep our hands off the wheel. A few of us even expect it.
“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate” Where’s Struther Martin when you need him?
Folks – the SP slate is problematic because it is based on ideological grounds. There IS a difference between a list of works that appear under political screeds and a list of works that are eligible.
Furthermore, “fixing” the Hugo awards is not the goal and so arguing point by point with proponents of this latest of all cults is pointless. What they are really saying is “the world is changing and people who look like me no longer dominate it (and therefore I must do whatever I can to stop this nefarious tide of diversity, inclusion and wider exposure of people who do not look like me, otherwise I might discover that I’m not as important as I once thought I was)”; it is evident that what they are screaming about is not the issue, as every single one of their points have been subject to logical scrutiny and have been found wanting.
We’ll just go round and round, patiently trying to get them to understand logic and reason, while they’re playing the bait and switch and move the goal posts game.
It’s largely pointless.
Everyone knows (acknowledged or not) that the Hugo Awards are open to participation by anyone who joins Worldcon. Everyone knows that their vote goes into a bucket and winners come out. And everyone knows that the only way to effect change is to join, participate and hope that your arguments are persuasive enough to gain majority support.
These are the facts and giving the SPs time only takes time away from our enjoyment of the genre and fandom.
Ideologically based? you’re a fool. There’s a ton of works on that list whose authors are far from conservative.
The works suggested are works which the Sad Puppies crew thought people would enjoy, that’s it.
Everyone has the right to participate in the Hugo Awards. Anyone has the right to criticize the tastes of the other voters. That includes the SP criticizing anyone who they perceive as destroying SF, and that includes people criticizing the SP because they are perceived as promoting a slate of candidates solely on ideological grounds.
If you define “driving the car off the cliff” as “voting for anything but our slate of candidates,” then you can’t possibly lose: If your slate wins, you’ve “proven your point.” If they don’t, then you’ve “proven your point” for a different reason. I suggest that your position is equivalent to religious faith, in that it is non-falsiable.
If all the SP are trying to do is swamp the Hugo ballot with their favorites, I actually don’t think it will do significant harm, any more than any other bloc votes in the past have done. The Hugo voting system is designed to resist any narrow, noisy group. They can get things nominated (as many of you know, the SP isn’t the first group to do something like this), but they can rarely get anything to win that doesn’t have broad support of the entire electorate. Perhaps this is why at least one of the commenters here wants to replace Instant Runoff Voting (which tends to reflect a broad consensus of the electorate and rejects polarizing candidates) with First Past the Post (which is susceptible to noisy minorities).
Whether we’ll see any specific proposals submitted this year to change any aspect of the Hugo Awards is an open question. Nobody has actually submitted anything, but of course it’s months before the filing deadline; it’s rare for anything to actually get submitted until after Westercon. (One of the reasons it picked up the name “the Summer SMOFCon.”) I will treat every proposal administratively equally, which, as those of you who have had to work with me know, means I’m likely to be nitpickingly precise with everyone. Remember, I’ll help people draft proposals in the correct language even if I personally object to the proposal, because I would really prefer the debate to be over the substance of any proposal rather than derailing technical arguments. We only have a few hours of business meeting time, and I’d rather use it efficiently.
(There’s one proposal up for ratification that I co-wrote. For that one I’ll have to recuse myself for the ratification debate. It’s the proposal to require changes to the WSFS Constitution to be submitted to the entire membership for ratification after they clear the hurdles of the Business Meeting.)
“If you define “driving the car off the cliff” as “voting for anything but our slate of candidates,” then you can’t possibly lose: If your slate wins, you’ve “proven your point.” If they don’t, then you’ve “proven your point” for a different reason. I suggest that your position is equivalent to religious faith, in that it is non-falsiable.”
You’re almost comically wrong. That’s not even close to how I define it. My position is not merely falsifiable, it is in the nature of a scientific experiment.
It’s probably worth noting (and I do apologize if this was pointed out earlier) that Richardson is not the author of the offending piece. Richardson is the operator of the site. Lehman was the author.
Actually, Brad I WAS the author of the piece they’re complaining about. Lehman is the author of the one Scalzi flipped his shit over.
“We’ll just go round and round, patiently trying to get them to understand logic and reason, while they’re playing the bait and switch and move the goal posts game.”
There is no “bait-and-switch” game. There is no “move the goal posts” game. I didn’t game the nominations last year. Larry never expected to win anything and he wasn’t crying about not winning last year. Every single one of our points have not been subject to logical scrutiny and they have been found wanting. Virtually nothing you people say is true.
Here are two questions for you, Steve Davidson: 1. Do the Hugo Awards purport to reward the best science fiction or fantasy works of the previous year? 2. Was Redshirts truly the best science fiction novel of 2013?
Having read that piece again, boy, they certainly are given to self-pity over there in Sad Puppy land, aren’t they?
If someone tells them they’re not a real fan (can’t find where anyone *has* but Sad Puppy whining has seriously degraded the signal to noise ratio on any Google search that might turn it up) they can just refer said person to Scalzi’s post about who is a real geek.
Liars gotta lie. First, it was claimed that we do not read things. Larry blew that up seven ways to Sunday (I’ll note my post calling out the lie was deleted and contained no bad language). Then the old lies about expecting to win. Then they again claim to be inclusive but get mad when we show up. Then the driving over the cliff comment, which, given the state of the industry is several levels of absurd.
Why do you feel it necessary to lie so much?
GK: When somebody using a dead man’s name, who registers here with a fake e-mail address, says anything about lying, all I can do is laugh.
Its called anonymity Mike and a “pen name”. Writers have done it for centuries. Someone involved with writing should be aware of that. If you don’t want me commenting here say the word. But do stop the lying. You made an agreement you still haven’t fulfilled.
GK: Asked and answered already today: I posted Larry’s clarification here on February 10.
And I followed that excerpt with this statement: “I don’t have to say this but I think he means it. If the rest of the people behind Sad Puppies 3 take his statement to heart, and don’t just treat it as some kind of dogwhistle, they will end up enriching the award’s representation instead of merely doing a hack on it.”
You will either stop commenting here in bad faith, or your commenting privilege will be terminated.
What’s more, here is the link to Larry Correia’s book bomb, posted a little while ago, encouraging people to buy the Wright and Kratman works recommended by Sad Puppies, and get a free copy of the Arlan Andrews Sr. story.
The Hugo Awards reward the best science fiction or fantasy works of the previous year in the opinion of the members of the World Science Fiction Society.
> Was Redshirts truly the best science fiction novel of 2013?
It was the SF novel that the members of WSFS who exercised their right to vote thought was the best of 2013. That’s all it can be. There is no such thing as objective “best” when it comes to something as implicitly subjective as literary taste.
Complaining that a given SF work that received the Hugo Award isn’t the “best” because most SF fans (defined as broadly as possible) didn’t say it was is like the specious claims (made after every US presidential election by people of whichever party lost) that the next President “wasn’t elected by the majority of the people.” It’s true (low voter registration, low voter turnout; it seems unlikely that any modern President will ever have a majority of the votes of every adult citizen of the USA), but pointless.
The winner of the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture isn’t always going to be what you or I or any individual personally thinks was the Best Picture last year. The Oscar goes to who the majority of the Academy members who voted thought was best, just like the Nebula goes to what the majority of the members of SFWA who voted liked most. WSFS just has a lower barrier to entry and a voting system that tends to converge on consensus candidates, not extremes.
I don’t object to anyone of any stripe buying memberships to vote for the works they personally like the most. I object to ideologically-driven campaigns, that’s all.
“You see, according to the Anti crowd I can’t be a real fan because I don’t go to cons”???
Since fandom is older than cons, that is impossible. There couldn’t have been “real” (snicker) fans to go to the first couple of cons.
But if you think collecting dolls makes you a science fiction fan, I disagree. If you think turning a pleasant social aside into a mania which requires total devotion (when did “Bardic Circle” get capitalized?), I don’t think you understand that science fiction fandom is.
But I got into hot water thirty years ago saying that if you spend an entire day of Worldcon standing in line to see movies which are being shown opposite the Hugos, you don’t belong at my Worldcon.
So keep pubbing and pay no nevermind. Being broke *is* fannish!
“But I got into hot water thirty years ago saying that if you spend an entire day of Worldcon standing in line to see movies which are being shown opposite the Hugos, you don’t belong at my Worldcon.”
Hey, look at this way … their memberships help the financial well being of the Worldcon.
No, Mike. As you should know, their memberships paid to air condition the clubhouse the previous LACon had paid for.