Zimozi Natsuco Guest Post: The Hugo Awards’ Evil Fall is a Watered-Down Affair, and Certain Issues To Watch Out For

“The Wreck of the Hugo” created by artist Charles Oines in 2015.

INTRODUCTION: Zimozi Natsuco is an ordinary sf fan from China. He is studying at a Chinese University majoring in literature. Zimozi Natsuco attended 2023 Worldcon and the business meeting.  Several of his non-fiction works are submitted in WeChat account SSSZJU2009, including News and Newspapers Summary on Science Fiction.

NOTE: A Chinese-language version of this post follows below.


By Zimozi Natsuco: We have now seen the great inflammation of overseas public opinion on the Hugo Awards. Considering that the English version of this article will be aimed at overseas readers, I have no intention of repeating well-known events and facts that have already been stated over and over again. Instead, you will hear unique observations from Chinese science fiction fans.

Throughout the two “nomination announcements,” the lack of information and access to Chinese readers was jaw-dropping. The voting data was not publicized through any of the official social media outlets for the Chengdu 2023 World Science Fiction Convention in mainland China – although those outlets have only a handful of followers and post lackluster promotions. Even the first announcement of the final results came just after a heated attack on the Hugo Awards by a Chinese internet influencer ”Ma Dugong”[2], which was completely off-color, and the organizing committee still avoided presenting its own tally to set the record straight. The second nomination result was even more ridiculous, with no official report from the Chinese Internet on the matter. The only official Chinese website with the results in small print has restricted access for possible reasons of economy – and hopefully for the sake of Glasgow2024.

If this is the case, we will have to point out to our Chinese and foreign friends the extreme absurdity of the facts. Even as Western sci-fi fans are furious at being fooled, their Chinese friends can’t help but envy them. Chinese sci-fi fans are completely excluded from the Hugo Awards’ “openness and transparency,” and some on the organizing committee apparently believe that pleasing and satisfying foreigners with any request, whether reasonable or absurd, takes absolute precedence over being honest and open with the people of their own country, who have spent the most money and effort supporting them. All Chinese sci-fi fans need only become cash cows for some on the Chengdu committee: a few hundred dollars for voting, a few thousand dollars for attending, and thousands and millions of dollars for developing Chengdu’s sci-fi industry under the command of the committee.

I have nothing to say except to feel ashamed when such a post-colonial magical scene occurs in a socialist country committed to independence and autonomy!

The post-colonial tragedy cannot go unrecognized. Further, the irresponsibility behind these two reports needs to be exposed more clearly. The release dates of the two reports were made public against deadlines. If we did not look at the title, we might have insisted that this is made by a lowest-ranking student. May I ask if this is a disgrace to the WSFS constitution? Is this an insult to the 80-year glorious history of World Science Fiction Conventions? Is this an insult to 120 years of Chinese science fiction history?

Some people in the organizing committee don’t care about these questions because they have no sense of shame. Naturally, we can’t expect such people to be able to fabricate data that conforms to the statistical laws seriously, explain the correct reasons for nominating and rejecting nominations, and correctly interpret the vote-counting mechanism. It’s not just that they don’t have the moral integrity to do so, but it’s also related to the lack of competence of these people: lacking a sense of responsibility and identification with science fiction, how can we expect them to have the competence and enthusiasm to learn how to run a good science fiction convention and judge the Hugo Awards?

This irresponsibility must be taken a step further by grasping the complexity of the facts in Sino-Foreign relations. It is not our intention to defend the arrogant, haughty, and insolent Dave McCarty, yet while he was the target for the most firepower, some bugbears masquerading as Chinese were stealthily making their way through the organizing committee. They were never science fiction fans in the first place; they were not a part of fandom. a couple of media company executives had somehow gotten involved in the convention, taken over everything, including the Hugo Awards, used their few contacts in the media world to make a big splash in the press and in government hospitality receptions. Then they passed the job of external surrender to McCarty, who would bend over backward with small favors, and the job of internal repression to the Chinese workers who had to be be forced into surrender through the use of intimidation. In the midst of everyone’s uproar, they will go into hiding, saying a few words to the government’s enthusiastic civil servants, “Who understands this, my family?”[3] say a few words to the big corporations, “Go begging, bro!”, and then they’ll become a glorious page in the history of Chinese science fiction literature, a shining convention[4]. Why do they get all the good stuff?

So, if such people oversee the Hugo Awards and then exclude those who are truly responsible and educated, how can the Hugo Awards not be evil? It’s a matter of water under the bridge, and I urge my naive foreign friends to accept this little Chinese shock!

Annotation:

[1] Evils fall: イビルフォール, 恶堕, which is always used to describe the process in which a character forced into evil.

[2] Here is ma’s video:

https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1eN411L7eU/?spm_id_from=333.999.0.0, with the title of “I am not afraid of the slated Hugo; I am just afraid that it can be sorry to Three Body Problem”. Ma holds the opinion that the award is unfair due to speculation from Chinese sci-ci companies, but none of these companies, like 8 light minutes which he criticized the most, took part in it.

[3] It’s a meme sentence used in Chinese Internet to satirize someone self-centered and with no attention to public rules.

[4] “shining convention” is the word said by Chen Shi in about February 2023.


The Chinese text follows the jump.

雨果奖恶堕是水到渠成之事:及需要注意的某些问题

现在我们已经看到了海外舆论对雨果奖的大炎上。考虑到本文的英文版本将面向海外读者,我无意重复一些已经被反复说明的事件和事实。接下来各位将听到来自中国科幻迷的独特观察。

纵观两次“公布提名结果”,中国读者了解消息能力和渠道的匮乏都令人惊掉下巴。这些投票数据没有通过成都2023世界科幻大会在中国大陆的任何官方社交媒体——尽管这些媒体的粉丝屈指可数,其发布的宣传文章乏善可陈——进行公布。甚至第一次公布最终投票结果刚刚遇上了中国网络大V马前卒对雨果奖完全不着调的激烈攻击,组委会仍然逃避拿出自己的计票结果澄清事实。第二次的提名结果更是荒谬绝伦,在中文互联网完全见不到关于此事来自官方的正式报告。唯一一个用一行小字标注提名结果的官方中文网站出于节约经费——但愿是为了格拉斯哥——的考虑还限制访问。

如果这样的话,我们将不得不向中外朋友指出极端荒谬可笑的事实。即便西方科幻迷对被愚弄感到气愤不已,中国朋友甚至不得不羡慕他们。中国科幻迷被完全排除在雨果奖的“公开透明”之外,组委会一些人显然认为讨好和满足外国人无论合理或者荒谬的任何要求是绝对优先于对花了最多的钱和心血支持他们的本国人民坦诚相待的。中国科幻迷只需要成为成都组委会某些人的现金奶牛就好了:献出投票的几百元,献出参会的几千元,献出发展成都的科幻产业的几万几十万元……

在一个社会主义的、致力于独立自主的国家发生如此后殖民的魔幻主义场景,我除了汗颜实在无话可说的很!

后殖民主义悲剧不能不被意识到。进一步地,这两份报告背后的不负责任也需要更加明白清楚的揭露。两份报告的发布日期是卡着最后期限公开的。请问,这是不是对WSFS宪章的羞辱?这是不是对八十年世界科幻大会光辉历史的羞辱?这是不是对120年中国科幻史的羞辱?

组委会某几个人对于这些问题毫不在意,因为毫无廉耻之心嘛!自然我们也不能指望这样的人能够认真地编造出符合统计规律的数据,说明正确的提名和拒绝提名理由,加上对计票机制的正确解读了。不仅仅是他们没有廉耻道德,更与这些人的能力缺乏相关:缺乏对科幻的责任和认同感,又如何指望他们拥有办好科幻大会、评好雨果奖的能力和学习热情?

这种不负责任要进一步地把握中外关系中的复杂事实。我们无意为自大、傲慢和无礼的戴夫·麦卡蒂辩护,然而当他集中着最多的火力时,一些伪装成中国人的虫豸正在组委会中隐身。他们本来就不是科幻迷,也不可能是科幻圈的人:几个媒体公司的高管以莫名其妙的方式介入大会中,接管了包括雨果奖在内的一切事物,用自己在媒体界的人脉在媒体和政府招待中大出风头,然后把对外投降的工作推给施以小恩小惠就能俯首帖耳的麦卡蒂,把对内镇压的工作交给用恫吓威逼不得不附逆的中国打工人。然后他们自己在所有人的沸反盈天中美美隐身,对政府的热心公务员们来几句“家人们谁懂啊”,对大企业说几句“又要到饭了家人们”,然后就成为中国科幻文学发展史的光辉一页,闪亮大会了,怎么天底下的好事儿都给了他们?

所以这样的人来掌管雨果奖,再把真正负责、有学识的人排挤出去,雨果奖怎么能不恶堕呢?这是水到渠成的事情,我劝天真的外国朋友要接受这一点小小的中国震撼!

32 thoughts on “Zimozi Natsuco Guest Post: The Hugo Awards’ Evil Fall is a Watered-Down Affair, and Certain Issues To Watch Out For

  1. This is a wonderful piece of writing, and I’m so glad someone with an insider view has come to tell this to us. ??

    (dangit, I can’t get “xie xie” to show up.)

  2. Pingback: The 2023 Hugo nomination statistics have finally been released – and we have questions | Cora Buhlert

  3. Ghu. Everything that we realistically were guessing from the outside confirmed. Not the government, but connected companies. They ignored the small firestorm over the Raytheon banner at the previous Hugos, and just blew it off…

    To actual Chinese sf fans, my condolences. More than the rest of fandom, you were srewed over big time by the execs who managed to get control.

  4. The post I wrote that some said that was potentially problematic and caused me to be Ineligible was in fact in the wake of Raytheon.

    This perspective is very valuable. thank you.

  5. I don’t quite understand what ‘the two “nomination announcements”’` or ‘reports’ refers to: First the finalist list, and then the EPH nomination tables? (Bilibili seems to have no date for the video accessible, in plaintext or machine.translation.)

    But I did get to enjoy the rhetoric (masquerading bugbears!).

  6. I don’t quite understand what ‘the two “nomination announcements”’` or ‘reports’ refers to: First the finalist list, and then the EPH nomination tables? (Bilibili seems to have no date for the video accessible, in plaintext or machine.translation.)

    Jan Vanek jr.: I think your review is right. It is not easy to distinguish EPH and finalist in Chinese. The committee used similar Chinese words to describe the two different things. In addition, I have just found out that the documents of the EPH and Finalist were all removed from the official website. It is shocking.
    As to the video, Ma Dugong posted it on December 3rd, 2023 (GMT+8), just one day before the documents came out. I am willing to provide more details of the video. He tried to review the plot, holding the opinion that the work is just an Orientalism copy of some popular Hollywood movies. He said that Hai Ya had a close connection with 8 light minutes, which joined the work of Worldcon and promoted the cinematography of Hai’s works seeking profits. He also criticized the mechanism of Hugo allowed giants to brush tickets and make a ballot rigging with a small amount of money, advising that publishing companies in China should appeal to their readers to select great works to join the competition.
    However, his criticism is not appropriate. Hai’s work seemed to win Hugo accidentally and fairly in an unfair Hugo. 8 light minutes cannot hold the meeting just like what I said in my passage; Chengdu Business Daily cannot tolerate it.

  7. @Jan: The finalists were announced, then that post was quickly dumped down the memory hole, and the final finalists were announced in the next day or two.

  8. With all these statements of money flowing, and suggestions I have seen that guests and others at the convention were paid, perhaps somebody will exercise the right under the wsfs constitution that says every wsfs member has the power to inspect all books and financial records of the worldcon and report back to us.

  9. @Brad Templeton – Semi-related, go back and look at some old comments here between me and Zimzi Natsuco, I think it was the post about the release of Chengdu PR2.

    IIRC he pointed out that there’re a load of details about some of the contracts online, still were as of yesterday e.g. the one shown here:

    https://mastodon.social/deck/@ErsatzCulture/111827384352330217

    Unfortunately (most) Chinese sites are a nightmare for sharing URLs, you have to go and search for stuff yourself. I have rough notes on a bunch of them though.

  10. “…that says every wsfs member has the power to inspect all books and financial records of the worldcon…”

    Are you kidding me? You will get nothing from China. Why are you making statements like this?

  11. Richard Man: Not just China — that rule has been on the books a long time. I’d like to hear about any Worldcon committee that has honored a request made under it. First, there’s the resistance to disclosing financial information. Second, it would take a lot of a volunteer treasurer’s time to pull that material together. And there could be multiple requests.

  12. @Mike Glyer, I’m specifically saying that this is like the last thing we will get “from China”. If there are more stuff coming out, it will not be the “transparency stuff” that western fan want.

  13. Richard Man: No disagreement with your conclusion. I did think it needed to be said that particular rule has historically not been the lever for extracting info from committees it might appear.

  14. Zimozi Natsuco’s post is enlightening. I feel for the Chinese ordinary SF fans. They deserved a better first Worldcon in their country.

  15. “…that says every wsfs member has the power to inspect all books and financial records of the worldcon…”

    @Richard Man: I wonder if it is common that financial records are widely reviewed in a worldcon. Or, financial records are always asked to promote before a business meeting.

  16. @Zimozi
    “I wonder if it is common that financial records are widely reviewed in a worldcon. Or, financial records are always asked to promote before a business meeting.”

    It’s typical for worldcons to submit SUMMARIES of the financial records to the Business Meetings, but other people will have to chime in whether any worldcon’s financial record has been under extensive review.

    Now in US, a non-profit organization is required by law to make their financial records available to the public, and US worldcons are usually run by non-profit organizations.

  17. It’s typical for worldcons to submit SUMMARIES of the financial records to the Business Meetings, but other people will have to chime in whether any worldcon’s financial record has been under extensive review.

    I did send an email about the financial record to the committee before the business meeting. And they informed me that the committee decided to send the necessary report to the meeting.
    They did do this.

  18. “the job of internal repression to the Chinese workers who had to be be forced into surrender through the use of intimidation. In the midst of everyone’s uproar, they will go into hiding, saying a few words to the government’s enthusiastic civil servants, “Who understands this, my family?”
    Thoughts on this part?

  19. I fully understand the expectation that the Chengdu con might refuse the request to inspect their records that is required under the WSFS constitution. As well as very specific requests to learn wages. Should they choose to disobey the constitution in this regard, it seems of possible interest to have that be explicitly declared. The article above indicated that there are many Chinese fans interested in how the money flowed and why, and they may be willing to put in the effort; they may not. You don’t have to do a full audit to find interesting things unless you are dealing with people who are masters of making cooked books.

    I simply point out that, if people are asking questions about the finances that drove all of this, we do technically have the right to see all of them.

    It has been suggested that foreign guests were also paid. On-stage guests are often paid appearance fees at other conventions. I myself in the past made my living from such fees, there is nothing wrong with it, but it means you serve the one who is paying you. Worldcons have traditionally done no more than travel expenses for official guests and refunded memberships for staff and program participants. If this con was different, it is of interest.

  20. @Brad Templeton
    They’re probably not done figuring them out. It can take months to get all that information put together. (Noreascons have taken as much as a year to put out their final reports. Surely you’re familiar with those.)

  21. We should exercise the audit power that is within the WSFS constitution. If there ever was a situation it was intended for, this is it. If we don’t look at Chengdu’s books, it sets a bad precedent.

  22. I feel sad for those Chinese fans who had nothing to do with the mess and had such high hopes for the first Worldcon in their country. Sigh.

  23. @Brad Templeton Unfortunately, I have some interesting materials about the finance at Chengdu Worldcon. Maybe @John S / ErsatzCulture have noticed it, but I cannot provide more information about it due to the present situation. The only thing I can say is that it is quite interesting to look through the financial report submitted in the business meeting.

  24. I’ve said it before in other places, and I’ll say it again in other places, I’m a senior translator (unofficial rank since I’m not directly employed by any danwei) who regularly does work for a Ministry of Foreign Affairs owned publishing house. My name is listed as translator on at least one report to the UN and one of my publications was written by a dean of the Central Party School.

    When a prestigious nonfiction popsci writer with enough money to pay me USD 10,000 out-of-pocket to translate his (could use polishing but not actually bad) first novel into English got in touch with me via the American Translators Association, I assumed he had a publisher lined up. It wasn’t until I was 70% finished that I found out otherwise and tried using my connections (made via US fandom) with a woman who is arguably the most famous Chinese SMOF. She was willing to try to put us in contact with the “right people ” in “Chinese SF fandom” so that he could get published…. and that was it; we were completely stonewalled.

    Forgetting either of our credentials, that someone with that much money and a desire to actively participate in the creation of SF didn’t so much as get a pat on the head and directions to a writing workshop (which his fiction, to be perfectly honest, could use) should tell you everything you need to know about the fandom that put on the Chengdu WorldCon.

    If it doesn’t, I could go on about how “cosplay isn’t fandom” and “wuxia isn’t sf” in terms of why I’ve been told my province doesn’t have “any” of what they consider to be science fiction fans or why the wealthiest (and most prolific) translator I know gave up years ago on getting the Chinese SF in English places to consider him.

    Actual government censorship in China comes in two forms: the directly and openly acknowledged, and the subtle and hard to identify without massive amounts of data, time, and an intent to figure it out.

    The Hugo controversy is neither and my opinion of the groups that make up official Chinese “fandom” is such that, while this might be a “China thing”, I don’t think it’s a “Chinese government” thing.

  25. Pingback: Breaking Down the Chengdu Hugo Awards Ineligibilities - WWAC

  26. They ignored the small firestorm over the Raytheon banner at the previous Hugos, and just blew it off…

    Did Discon 3 ever disclose the amount of money Raytheon Intelligence and Space paid for the sponsorship, or the charity given the same amount of money by the con, a promise made by chair Mary Robinette Kowal as part of an apology?

  27. Pingback: The 2023 Hugo Awards: A Report on Censorship and Exclusion - File 770

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