A different modest proposal

Now while I’m aware that Johnathan Swift’s proposal comes under the heading of ‘It’s for the children’ and therefore naturally a good idea, I had an entirely different idea in mind, and one which would probably bring about similar outraged shrieks… but it might actually work if anyone took it seriously.

You see Amazon is evul. Not quite as evil as the evil league of evil, but working on it. I am sure the story Jeff Bezos rubs his forehead every morning to feel if the nubs of the horns are yet protruding is a nasty slander put about by the same jackasses who think (well, parrot, thinking requires functional brain cells) that we’re fascists (I know, I know. Logic is patriarchal oppression). Reality is there are large flocks (No: wrong collective noun. what about ‘a shriek of parrots’?) of Amazon Derangement Syndromers out there. I think the sheer volume does lend a degree of exaggeration to their numbers, but hey, there are at least 900 (they signed the Amazon are condemning poor James Patterson to a slow death by starvation open letter), plus of course all the staff at traditional publishing houses, and some camp-followers. Anyway, we have a couple of thousand people, not all of whom are idiots, who believe that at all costs Amazon must be opposed and brought to heel or Traditional publishing, and possibly all the gains of the last 1000 years will be for naught, trampled underfoot, and literature will go to the dogs.

Woof.

But, besides the possibility that we’ll be reduced to eating small children by Amazon, they feel that, well, a monopoly would be a bad thing.

And for once I actually agree with them. Now I know, and you know, that Amazon only approaches a near monopoly on sales where traditional publishing, distributors and their friends Barnes and Noble and Books-a-million and many other fine bookstores have either refused to carry the book, refused to reprint, refused to restock when copies are sold. In other words Amazon only has a near monopoly on books by Independents, or unfortunates like moi published by Baen (thank you, Barnes and Noble for your ‘support’ with Dragon’s Ring, Rats, Bats and Vats (“Rats, Bats and Vats Series” Book 1)
– and your ongoing help with a re-order system which sees so many of my books still selling away… only from Amazon.) Otherwise it has maybe 60% of the market. That’s still a lot. But unlike the behavior of our dear little friends in traditional publishing, who had a near total de facto monopoly and monopsony (as an oligopoly/oligopsony they worked as a de facto cartel, raising prices together, setting indistinguishable purchasing terms, and dictating roughly the same material be bought. They swapped staff frequently, and swapped information on a scale not occurring elsewhere in business – and the DoJ did them up for collusion for it. Most of the bought off, but Apple didn’t, was found guilty — thereby, as you can’t collude on your own, as near to a guilty verdict as you’ll get), Amazon have paid authors well (70% royalties as opposed to about 17.5%), with transparent accounting and timely payments every month with a two month delay – instead of 8-18 months publishers managed.

Now, as the gates of the internet are harder to hold (there being billions) than the gates to a handful of retail book-chains that the traditional publishers maintained their monopolistic control over, I for one think that if Amazon gets too greedy, competition will come and eat them. In the meanwhile they’ll have to very greedy indeed to make terms as bad as those we got from Traditional publishing. Still, competition is a good thing for readers and for Authors. Middlemen, (especially with too much control) are at best necessary evil, and at worst, will destroy the entire business. So I gather that the existing (but being disintermediated) middlemen (traditional publishers), plan to start their own e-book at least store.

I know. I know. The size 60 left boot store (that’s all that they have on the shelf). Shopping a la Soviet Union command economy. Given that they’ll be actually facing competition and they don’t have the infrastructure to do physical books, or to do anything very well, even if you are a one legged wanting size 60 left boots, they won’t supply, and won’t be in business long. They won’t offer the range of goods or the delivery or the service Amazon do. They certainly won’t stock Indies, which are very popular. They certainly won’t offer the research and algorithms to match ‘you might also like’ that Amazon offer. It’s not something they have any skills to do, the desire to learn (they’ve had 50 years of opportunity, and real need in the last 10). It’s worth pointing out that Amazon is the internet ‘anchor tenant’ to retail. It draws a vast number of people, simply because it is the place to get anything, and the prices are good. 7% of what it sells is books. If you fondly imagine Harper Collins being able to that, I would strongly advise you to find another supplier, and to find professional help.

But there is a modest proposal possibility to find just that – a rival retail anchor tenant, which has great search algorithms, does a good job of ‘you might also like’ for me, and the prices are competitive. That’s eBay.

When you stop laughing, try thinking it through. You can already buy p-books on eBay. It would not be a large stretch to see electronic media sold there – downloaded through the supplier. It’s got a good payment system in place, and it is in direct competition to Amazon. They could even put limited quantity eArcs up for auction.

Curiously enough I did a quick fee calculation, and publishers – if they didn’t cut a special deal (possible for volume) would end up losing the same 30% more or less that they do to Amazon. And yes, there would undoubtedly be those upstart indies. Independent sellers are eBay’s bread-and-butter. They’re not going to lose them for the small value that tradpub would add. But if I was old Pietsch and his chums I’d waste less time trying to snowjob readers and writers, and go and chat to eBay. But then they’re not literwerwe, and probably would lower the tone of literatchure, with chainsaw parts and rifle scopes as also boughts… (okay, maybe that’s just me)

Various people have sounded off about the Hugos – My only real comment is ‘Pyrrhus’. Look, the point being made by Larry Correia about the Hugos was the award was not for the best SF/Fantasy of the year, but for the most popular among a small left to far-left bunch of the WorldCon attendees. What he did was to make make this proposition (now established as fact) known very widely and publicly. As the reading population, logic states, is a reflection of the demographics of the total population, and maybe 10-15% of that group could count as left wing. Stretch to 25% who will put up with it… still leaves 75% who are unrepresented, for whom the Hugo Award was at best meaningless or actively signaled a book they would not want to read. Now, obviously, even if you personally are further left than Pol Pot or Kim il from-too-much-caviar or Stalin, as an author signalling that 75% do not want to read your book is not a win. By Larry making this bias obvious, by having to recruit nominations, despite being a very very popular author… The previous Hugo winners, the current nominees, the normal greying crew of voters, the WorldCon organizers and the Hugo organizers were caught in a trap. The only way to win (to establish that this was NOT true, there was no left wing bias) was to LOSE. To have a right wing, (or several of them) author (or editor) win (no matter how good the various proponents were. It was like an international road-race which somehow only Germans won… once this was publicized, even if the best runner was German – if he won, your race’s credibility was in the toilet, now and always) That would re-establish the credibility of the award as essentially picking ‘best’ rather than left wing flavor of the month lose and 75% of your sales. It was kind of a lose or lose badly equation for the left wing of sf/fantasy, lose and have a Damian in tears surrounded by exploding heads, or ‘win’ and lose badly by destroying your credibility. The best option would have been to divide and rule and get behind say Toni Weisskopf and Brad Torgersen. But that would take brains.

Well: The sweep of the board by the usual suspects, the ‘anything but’ votes… they were certainly victorious against the Romans – which was exactly what was predicted -and the worst possible outcome for the shriek, and the authors concerned, and the award itself.

Heh. As we used to say ‘lelik is niks, maar fokkin stupid!’

78 comments

  1. I can just imagine a scenario where someone sets up an e-book competitor to Amazon, complete with venture capital funding and a blizzard of publicity from the Big 5 and traditional publishing in general. It launches to widespread acclaim from the usual suspects, with Amazon Derangement Syndrome changing overnight to Anti-Amazon Triumphalist Syndrome . . .

    . . . then Jeff Bezos buys a majority of the shares on the open market, and folds it into Zazzle.

    😀

    1. Peter, Given the fact that all the big five are not used to competition or real business, I just can’t imagine they can win against hard-scrabble business. I don’t think it would be worth buying, unless the authors were entrapped in truly evil contracts, as it would have no other assets. I also imagine that the time will come when Amazon could play real hardball with the 900. And they could, it’s just not been worth it so far.

  2. “Damian in tears surrounded by exploding heads”.

    *SIGH* Would have been sweet. But the results were not really unexpected. Which is part of the problem.

    1. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that you want to see such an example of tolerance of other viewpoints and generosity-in-victory in tears. Next you’ll tell me you haven’t read his great novel?
      Oh
      Wait….

  3. If the Big 5 were that afraid of Amazon, why are they so determined to make sure Amazon has to sell their products? I mean, they could pull all of their books from Amazon’s inventory if they chose. But they won’t.

    Instead, they’ll complain about how horribly Amazon treats them and try to make themselves out like they’re the poor victims.

    Cry me a freaking river.

    1. They want — as they always had — to have their cake and eat it. And they are aware that ‘victim’ (rather bunch of exploitative scumbags who have screwed authors, and reading fr their own short-sighted interest) gets more sympathy. Which is very strange ;-/

  4. Bad enough the big publishers can’t figure out how to modernize. One suspects that’s because they’d have to have to upgrade their inventory, sales, and accounting to something that could easily be checked for, umm, accidental underpayment of royalties.

    But on top of it, we’ve got a sizable chunk or writers turning out SFF with limited readership appeal, which hurts all SFF writers. Really, the number of times I hear “I used to read SF but . . . “

    1. What worries me is that it actually is being read. Or at least bought.

      This morning, I decided to check the Amazon rankings for the Kindle version of Ancillary Justice and Warbound.

      AJ was 5,174 and was on at least three top 100 lists on Amazon.
      Warbound was 14,593 and not on any of those lists.

      Now, could some of that be a Hugo bump? Entirely possible. However, it does look like people are reading this mess…and that’s even more alarming.

      1. Most of Loncon was pulling for Ancillary Justice; that was very obvious in each of the panels I attended.

        But despite the Damiens of the world, I note that the so-called “fascist” writers were generally held in higher regard than I expected. The Heinlein Society had a booth that was fairly well attended, Orson Scott Card wasn’t treated like the boogeyman he is in the US these days, and the Titan Books booth had a really hard time keeping Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet books in stock (to name just a few things I observed). Clearly the Left hasn’t brainwashed everyone.

        1. Oh, absolutely.

          However, I wonder if we’re going to start seeing more self segregation among many readers. Leckie won’t get read by most right leaning readers, and Correia won’t be read by most left leaning readers.

          The real battle is for those in the middle who don’t care about the politics one way or another.

          Just my own rambling thoughts…and I’m definitely a writer I don’t see the left enjoying. 🙂

          1. I agree with you on this. The battle is (and always has been) for the center/don’t really care. Look at typical elections (and bear with me if the numbers sound odd) The guaranteed vote for either wing is actually 10-15% OF THE TOTAL ELIGIBLE POP. You can look back a long way, and find neither side ever drops below those numbers. The largest single ‘party’ is inevitably ‘did not bother to vote (i.e. will accept and moan about whoever comes along)’ and the next largest party is ‘if you peeve me enough I’ll vote for the other guy.’

            What has changed, slowly but steadily, is the pretense that literary establishment actually were not biased and that political bias didn’t form the basis of their selection. It’s open and overt now, which means… hmm, lets work it out. From the left-wing author POV 1)As a declared current darling you get 10-15% of the possible market. Now that’s a still a fair number of books, but its virtually no gain to Leckie for example by coming out as left wing darling, because, duh, the left knew she was left anyway.
            2)They get some of the don’t care. That’s pretty neutral anyway in terms of sales gain. They had some anyway.
            3)They lose a large part of ‘if you peeve me’
            4)they lose all of the right.
            from the right-wing or even centrist author POV. By coming out as non- left:
            1)they gain all of the right,
            2) The hysterical shrieking actually gains them readers in don’t care – exposure is good, even bad publicity.
            3) They gain in the ‘peeve me’ crowd, who enjoy punishing the people who did.
            4)they lose the left… which they never had in the first place.

            Moreover, looking longer term, I believe a pendulum swing away from modern liberalism (which isn’t liberal or progressive, but that’s another subject) is near inevitable. Having declared for left is probably not going to good for your career in that scenario.

      2. It doesn’t surprise me that Ancillary Justice is widely purchased. It’s probably the one single book that I’ve seen the most advertisements for on the net for the entire year. I think I’ve seen an ad for it at least once a week since it came out. The company selling it has been marketing the heck out of it.

    2. Pam, their record-keeping, and accounting are a disgrace. They know that: it’s a game that plays in their favor, and they have had nothing to gain by changing it. Amazon’s biggest counter to them is that their records and accounting are transparent and immediate. It’s obvious that to compete, this is what have traditional publishers need to improve A LOT. Yet not one of them have blinked on this. Ever wonder why (no it is NOT the expense, which is not very large)?

      “I used to read SF but…” Sing it, sister – I’ve heard that thousands of times. I also hear from a lot of younger (the 20-40s) who read a lot ‘Oh I don’t read SF/Fantasy). Now perhaps that’s the kind of people I tend to know/meet/like – who tend to be either hardworking blue-collar artisans or technicians, hard scientists, engineers, geologists — who almost all read, they just don’t read sf or fantasy. I’ve got a fair number to read my books – and made fans of some. And they all say ‘oh but that’s not like SF/Fantasy.’ Yes, my books are. Just not what is appearing on a shelf near you.

      1. Hrm.

        For the younger 20-40yr olds, of which I am one, I believe we got square in the middle of the lefty takeover push. I’m thirty-four, and I can remember going from Tolkein and Heinlein to “where’s the REST?” I can also remember my longer days when I was much shorter. And may have just been me, but a bloody *lot* of those older fellows, the blue-collared mechanics, farmers, and yes a few engineers and doctors, were the ones who pointed me at those books I enjoyed so much (and still do).

        Heck, even Robert E. Howard’s Conan was first handed to me by a much-scolded uncle (can’t recall what he did for a living off hand just now). Nowadays? Well, I can say I’ll have a few little gems written a bit more recently to pass off to my godson’s generation *now…* But for a good while there, the issue was rather in doubt.

        Heck, one of my good friends I work with at the farm on weekends just heard about MHI from me day before yesterday and sounded interested (my copy never did come back last time I lent it out). I may lend him Stardogs after that and see what he thinks.

        It’s a good time to be a reader. Most folks may not realize that yet, but things’ll come around.

        1. Dan, go for it. I encourage lending ;-). Jim Baen was right. First fix is free. And I believe you’re right. I think some folk are going to find writing is actually too hard (now they can sell their books easily, but its hard work and they don’t sell much) but that others – the guys who write good stories – are going to flourish. Which will make it a good time to be a reader.

        2. I’m a year behind you. Growing up my school libraries and to a lesser extent local public library were primarily stocked with the classics. After mostly giving up on random ‘mainstream’ SF in the bookstore as hit and miss and mostly the latter, I spend most of highschool and the early part of college having retreated to the comfortable mediocrity of Star Trek novels. Fortunately a few of my new friends were better read SF fans and pointed me to authors like David Weber, David Drake, and Eric Flint. That in turn, eventually lead to the Free Library, the Bar, a whole bunch of other good authors, and a vacuum hose leading from my bank account to Jim’s (and later Toni’s) money bin.

  5. Over here, dmm.com, which started as a DVD rental service and went online with streaming video, is now into games and seems to be expanding their offerings rapidly. I could easily see them getting into the ebook business. Perhaps America should look at netflix — isn’t that the online video store? Adding ebooks to their offerings seems like a natural growth pattern. Although I think both of them see media as rental properties more than sales. Maybe they would set up the electronic libraries of the future?

      1. Sorry, finally caught up and realized we aren’t really looking for alternatives. Teach me not to skim. Anyway, I think there are plenty of alternatives — the problem is, the publishers like to think they are all the competition Amazon has, and don’t see the vast array of others, such as eBay. Wonder how the publishers would react if eBay and others started offering ebooks? “They’re evul! How dare they sell OUR STUFF! Don’t they know we own this market!” Sounds like an old mob movie, with the young toughs moving in on the territory of the Godfather, doesn’t it?

        1. Yes, and as more people start selling software by download, I can see that as a possibility. And the trouble is instead of exploring these possibilities, they’re trying to wall them off, just like they were trying quash e-books to protect hardcovers. It won’t work. That’s why this was a satirical post, but I seem to be the only one who noticed 😉

          1. Just an early morning connection that probably means nothing, but what if we pointed out to the SJW and others that hardbacks, paperbacks, and other paper-based products are endangering the environment, due to the destruction of the rainforests and other vegetation needed to produce paper? Therefore, clearly, it is our social duty to get everyone using ebooks as quickly as possible. Save the rainforest, buy an ebook! Kindles are good for the world! Do it for the trees!

            1. Don’t forget to add in the cardboard boxes, the wood to make the shelves, and the HUGE fuel costs associated with transporting dead-tree books. Hmm…leaving more trees for beavers to gnaw… (Gnaw man, beaver real!)…and the abundant resources triggers the next evolutionary beaver stage!

  6. David, there is this small specialty publisher that made a valiant attempt at a retail e-book web presence a while back. I believe they actually started way back before Kindle and Nook and iPad when your only real option was to read the blamed things on your computer screen.
    Of course this small house is run by a rather sketchy bunch. They’ll even stoop to such evil tactics as giving away some of their product just to get folks hooked. And I heard a vicious rumor that they sometimes charged exorbitant fees for bootleg advance reader copies of their most popular authors for fans desperate to see their favorite writer’s latest work.
    They are certain to fail dismally as I understand they have some silly problem with DRM and insist on releasing their e-books naked to the public.
    Had the name of that publisher right here a minute ago, and a link to their web store. I’ll dig it out and post later.

    1. You wouldn’t be talking about that Baen crowd would you? Oh dear, NO! I couldn’t possibly let my books be published by them. Why I might as well get a leper’s bell and walk through cons shouting ‘unclean unclean’. Seriously, the SJW crew (including their representatives in publishing, retail, and distribution) have done their very best to hurt, ostracize, damage the careers of Baen authors (I’ve been on the receiving end a few times) and Baen books. They haven’t stopped them, but it has meant the equivalent of you, Baen author you will run this race in these lead boots and hobbles. You, SJW darling, have a nomination to skip the race entirely, and if that fails, we’ve got good running spikes for you. And still they don’t do very well.

      1. It’s ‘cuz they’re lame, ye see.

        Hard to run with all that Politically Correct baggage they’ve got to carry with them. And it wouldn’t do to actually *win,* because then someone would have to just *lose* then wouldn’t they? Of course, those Baen authors, we just give ’em No Award. Or send them directions to the local sewage processing plant with a helpful multicultural (and multicolored, every one represented!) sign saying “Race Start Here!”

        1. Yeah. I know that sewage processing plant well. I’m the bloke down in the hole scooping the product into buckets and handing them to feller at the top of the hole. (‘Cause I don’t take shit from anyone ;-))

  7. The lose-lose aspect of left-wing political block voting is something which was utterly lost on all of those who triumphantly trumpeted their intent to deep six the Sad Puppies slate. I think Dave said it best: if you “win” you demonstrate your enemy’s point, thus you actually lose. If you lose, and the enemy wins the award, then you have to stomach seeing the enemy have a rocketship, which was obviously intolerable. So, given a chance to make the Hugos either more or less relevant, the left-wing block voters chose “MOAR IRRELEVANCE, TALLY HO!” And thus the deck chairs on the Worldcon Titanic we rearranged properly and in accordance with correctness.

    1. Brad, I think you’re underestimating the damage: The Hugo – which shaped reading choices for me as a young monkey, had long since slithered down to irrelevance. Moar irrelevance would have been pretty close to a zero sum game. What they have actually done is make a Hugo award a sales (and money) loser to the author winning it by polarizing readers. It now actively puts off a sector of the reading population. That’s not really a win for anyone, but is a bigger lose for the current, past and future winners. I have no desire to see this happen, and I would have liked the desire to ensure credibility and a win for SF in general over-ride the partisanship. SF is a big church, and their really is space (and readers) for people of all types and viewpoints, even ones which I may personally find obnoxious.

      But that requires longer term thinking.

      The part I find funniest however is the ‘you’ll suffer for being on that slate, We’re going to hurt your career’, threats of discrimination. Most of the people on the sad puppies slate would -despite being bestselling or writing great stories, would never be nominated otherwise. It’s been a case of ‘we’ve never bought or supported your work, and done our best make you as obscure as possible in the past and would have continued that ad infinitum, but NOW in the future we’re never going to buy or support your work, and make a great noise about you to stop others doing so. Well, noise is better than obscurity, especially when it comes from people that many love to hate.

      1. So the truth comes out. Back when traditional publishing was the only game in town they quite literally had life or death control over both an author’s career and what ideas actually reached the public. E-books, and Amazon, and Baen changed all that. No wonder the real haters react so violently to a modest request to share the wealth, do things that would benefit everyone, enhance the bottom line for all, expand the readership, grow the genre. It’s really not about that at all. It’s about them having total control, not just being a big fish in a small and crappy pond, but being the only fish even if it destroys the pond in the process.

        1. Yeah, the loss of power really seems to gall them to the core. If you think about it, publishing has always been a second class financial choice, but oh the control, the power, the ability to enforce your worldview, and the influence and status… If only we uppity serfs would right-think and get back into our place and kowtow properly with suitable respect. I like your fish analogy. They’re destroying their own ecosystem by insisting on being the only kind of fish, but if they can’t be that, well, then it not worth living in the pond.

  8. Brad…yes. Exactly.

    Now we have to find what will replace SF fandom. it’s happened before, and it’s happening again.

  9. Enter The Guy With A Foot In Each Fandom.

    With all due respect to Mr. Correia and the rest of the “slate”:

    Complete, utter, total, abject, absolute RUBBISH.

    The success or failure of Correia’s effort was entirely irrelevant to the “politics” of the voters; the fact is: Whenever a Worldcon is held outside the US, US authors get “wog-stomped” by a larger-than-normal contingent of Non-US Voters. Go here: http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/ and look at the winners for each of the last five Non-US Worldcons (2014; 2010; 2009; 2007; 2005); how many American winners in those? Loud silence, ain’t it?

    (Oh, by the way: Most of the Hugo Fandom had no idea what Correia was up to — or for that matter knew who he was. Also, the Best Novel winner? Mil-SF.)

    Look, I know the Hugos are geared towards those with Literary Pretensions — I live among them; that the Literary Types shade left is also known to all. However, when the Worldcon is held outside the US, the dynamics change entirely. Correia’s Quixotean Tactics proved exactly *NOTHING*; the results would have been the same had he not bothered in the slightest.

    So, I propose a more-relevant test: Next year, at Dragon*Con, hold a vote for “Best Novel” (etc.), using as the nominating and voting base the whole of the D*C attendees. If, at the end of the con, the “Dragon-Con Awards” produce a set of nominees and winners entirely different from Teh Hugoz, then maybe there is a point to all this. (Be sure to use “Australian balloting”; we wouldn’t want the vote-counting method to introduce error.)

    Just because Scalzi is acting like a fucking four-year-old, and Patrick Nielsen Hayden is establishing “two airliners weren’t enough”, is no reason to start acting like them.

    1. CF, how does your theory explain that four of the five pro fiction categories were won by Americans this year? A great desire by non-US voters to “wog-stomp” the dastardly Americans doesn’t seem to cover this year, does it?

  10. We had this space-race thing, and it was REALLY exciting and the Russians might win it and then we would all die with our baby sisters.
    And then we went to the Moon, and then quit.
    So, while the space race was happening, and in the years of technological advances leading up to that, the form of the Hugo award was determined to be a rocket ship.
    Do the lefties LIKE rocket ships?
    Maybe the lefty award needs a different shape.

    1. The Left knows that rockets are phallic symbols pure and simple, and have no other reason to be shaped like that. It’s not like function matters or anything, since the idea of ‘function’ is just another way for the racist sexist imperialist cisnormative patriarchy to stamp its privilege upon the parameters of discourse and suppress alternative modalities.

      The upshot is that while the Left will accept phallocentric Hugo Awards, it only accepts them ironically. Hipsters FTL, in more ways than one.

  11. Dave–

    Re: “The 75% who are unrepresented, for whom the Hugo Award was at best meaningless or actively signaled a book they would not want to read…”

    I have bought and read–and enjoyed–all of your stuff. But if you have not read or watched “Ancillary Justice”, “Time”, “Equoid”, “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, and “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, “Gravity”, or “The Rains of Castamere”, you are missing things that are real treats. Excellent, all of them. And if you are using the fact that they won Hugos to justify not reading/watching them, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

    And I do think that it is a shame that the sad-puppy slate vote for Vox Day’s “Opera Vita Aeterna” pushed the excellent “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” by Ken Liu off the ballot. He deserves more readers, and the attention a Hugo nomination gets you attracts them…

  12. Dave–

    Re: “The 75% who are unrepresented, for whom the Hugo Award was at best meaningless or actively signaled a book they would not want to read…”

    I have bought and read–and enjoyed–all of your stuff. But if you have not read or watched “Ancillary Justice”, “Time”, “Equoid”, “The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, and “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”, “Gravity”, or “The Rains of Castamere”, you are missing things that are real treats. Excellent, all of them. And if you are using the fact that they won Hugos to justify not reading/watching them, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

    And I do think that it is a shame that the sad-puppy slate vote for Vox Day’s “Opera Vita Aeterna” pushed the excellent “The Litigation Master and the Monkey King” by Ken Liu off the ballot. He deserves more readers, and the attention a Hugo nomination gets you attracts them…

    1. Thank you for making my point for me — tastes of course differ, but the voting tactics of the Hugo crowd have essentially made dead certain that LESS people will now read these stories. It’s like being an affirmative action appointee — the person in question might be a hard working and skilled and bright but they now wear that label. Look, try and grasp this: if these stories and their authors are truly good in open competition and not just the most popular among a non-representative subsection of readers, it was in the authors (past, present and future), and the genre and readers best interest to establish clearly and beyond doubt that awards and indeed nominations are representative (not ‘inclusive’- representative) of the wider reading population. Thus and ONLY thus do the awards have credibility. Had the situation been reversed and the Hugos been a right wing popularity echo chamber, I would have encouraged the participants to look really hard at finding a popular left wing author to nominate and vote for. If by some bizarre chance _I_ had been on the best Novel list _I_ would have said ‘please vote for Correia not me, his book is better, and I personally will be voting for it, and urge you to do the same’ — because that way the nomination at would have credibility and value. Blind Freddy* could see what was needed here. The authors in question, the various loud commentators – surely not all all of them can be that stupid? Well, yes, I know there is Damian who only opens his mouth to change feet, but otherwise?

      As for ‘pushing people off’ – it’s a self-admitted popularity contest masquerading -falsely – as voting for the ‘Best’. Very occasionally the two are the same. Even the pompous ass from the Hugo committee was eventually forced to admit that. There are literally tens of thousands of better stories that never see the Hugo ballot, and considering the negative taint the Hugo has acquired, perhaps Ken Lui should be grateful. He probably isn’t, but that’s because instead of the reward of wide readership and the money that brings, the Hugo now provides ‘recognition’ – from a rapidly shrinking pool.

      *Sir Fredrick Pottinger (who was not blind, but merely so completely incompetent he gained the nick-name – which has given rise to the expression meaning ‘a most unperceptive person’.

  13. This is all Harlan Ellison’s fault. He said science fiction was a ghetto, and he was leaving, and now all the precious ones have rushed in to prove him wrong. “We’re NOT a ghetto!” they squeal and stamp their precious feet. “We’re real, and we are relevant, and oh-so avant-garde!” And a precious little tear trickles down their marble cheeks…
    Yeah. This is Harlan’s fault., The little shit didn’t even write REAL science, just bogus meandering dystopias. His one screamingly fantastic talent was coming up with some of the most memorable titles EVER. Other than that, the nasty little man could dance like a sumbitch. But that’s it. And all the rest of this, the Hugo trivialization, mainstream publishing vs. indies: it’s Harlan’s fault. I mean, we are talking about the ultimate small-man attitude-dude, so he has to act so tough, and the little creep hoarded (hoards? is he dead yet?) manual typewriters. Beware of short little punks with glasses. They’ll sit in a bookstore window, fast-punch out a short-story, and act like that’s a big deal. Heck, that’s a millionth of a Shakespeare monkey act, that’s all that is.

    1. Heh, I think it has more roots than Harlan. And i am a short punk, and as I get older I have to wear glasses to type. Admittedly I don’t spend much time in bookstore windows, and rather a lot on small boats and crawling on my belly in long wet grass, and some very slowly typing novels.

      1. Right, but you didn’t say science fiction was a ghetto and you were getting out of it. Which is what the short little schmuck did.
        Heck, the only ghetto thing about SF was Harlan, because he’s a pimp. He wrote for ‘The Flying Nun,’ and he was the first putz to sue because his digital rights had been infringed.
        I just checked it out, and Stubby is still alive at age 80. I hope he doesn’t read this blog, because the insane little f*** would whip my butt.
        How the shrimp got so many women (MILLIONS) to get dreamy-eyed over him is a mystery to me, unless it’s due to his dancing abilities. He’s like a cross between James Brown and Nijinsky, except for being four feet tall.
        Anyway, Harlan Dwarf Ellison is the reason the Hugos are screwed. Larry Niven sent fans to Harlan’s room with the rumor that he was giving all his Hugos away since science fiction was a ghetto. They all got apple-cheeked when they found out it wasn’t true, and there ya have it.

  14. What’s wrong with this is the blithe assumption that the rest of the world – where most of the electorate live – is just like the USA. The “left-wing” is not 10-15%, because what that’s being used to mean is “people who think ‘right-wing Baen author politics’ are insane”; and in Europe, that constitutes the overwhelming majority of people who identify as conservatives, let alone the rest of us.

    Corriera lost because he’s not even remotely as good a writer as Leckie, simple as that.

    (Nothing against Baen as a publisher. I am quite sure I have more print Baen books than any other publisher, thanks to the Free Library and their enlightened DRM policy; and I certainly have more Baen ebooks because I have at most half a dozen from everyone else put together.)

    1. Corriera lost because he’s not even remotely as good a writer as Leckie, simple as that.

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      It’s never “simple as that”. I’m sorry, but I found Leckie’s novel to be tedious and boring, while I’ve read everything Correia’s published a couple of times already and could easily read it a few more times.

      You may prefer Leckie. So be it. But it’s never “simple as that”.

    2. Dear Lord, grant me patience. David Damerell, I am not American. I have never lived in America, and I make no pretense of understanding its politics at the level of the citizens, let alone the intelligent and informed ones. So where you get your ‘blithe assumption’ from is beyond me. In fact I think it’s beyond anyone.

      Political affiliations anywhere in the world are described by a bell curve – where the center over time wobbles to favor one extreme or the other. 10-15 percent is a reasonable assessment of the ‘tails’ who do not change their political affiliation, regardless of events (‘100 million dead? That doesn’t mean next time Communism won’t be better’). Please remember that electoral participation in the UK, US and most countries besides Australia (where voting is mandatory) often drops to under half the electorate, which effectively makes the 10-15% seem larger than they are.

      Larry’s point, made repeatedly for years (and by other less well known authors, including myself) was NOT that Baen American right wing authors don’t win. It was this: NO AUTHOR FROM ANY COUNTRY, OF ANY ETHNICITY OR ORIENTATION, who is _openly_ anything but left wing can get onto the ballot, let alone win and that this situation has persisted for the better part of the last twenty years, by the most generous interpretation. Look back in the Hugos for the last 20 years – you’ll find that openly, noisily, left to far left-wing authors are common, in fact far more common than those who make no overt political position. Remember that the probability of them being such by pure chance is about 0.15 (out of one, or 15%). Now remembering that the probability that the next nom will be is also 0.15 — so there is around a 2% probability of that happening by chance, and then start running the probabilities for twenty years. Find ONE from ANY country (to blow your argument about just American crazy) who is as outspoken as Meiville, or Stross or Leckie or Jemson – to name only a few – for even moderately right-wing. Now try, if you get your head around it, to imagine if the boot was on the other foot. If no author who had even expressed publicly the possibility of voting (in the UK) for Lib Dems or Labour, or the Democrats in the US got onto the Hugo slate for the last 20 years (and yes, that is the level of this discrimination). Can you imagine the reaction? It wouldn’t be the gentle mockery of Correia but howls of outrage and boycotts, that’s for sure.

      I’m a statistician by virtue of my long ago training. The Australian system of voting sucks for a ‘best’ – as it tends to give victory to the least generally unpopular. What it does do very well is reveal tactical voting. It affected not just Larry, but very mild-spoken people like Brad Torgersen. Shrug. I could run a probability analysis for it, but there slightly more chance of nuclear warhead tipped missile turning into a large surprised sperm whale than the outcome ‘by chance on perceived quality’

      The bowl of petunias adequately expresses the improbabilities of the year-after-year dominance of 0.15. And while opinions differ as to who should have won any category on merit (as I didn’t like Leckie’s book at all, and on sheer quality would have said Brandon Sanderson was head and shoulders above the rest) my comment, specifically, was not ‘why didn’t Larry win’ but that the fact that only outspoken leftists won in all the categories the ‘sad puppies’ were in was a total Pyrrhic victory, nullifying any argument that ideology didn’t trump quality, no matter how much you liked x or y’s work. It was an outcome which is bad for the Hugos (again) the genre, and readers.

      1. Of course there was tactical voting _this_ time. It was widely known that an organised group was willing to try and fix the nomination process and hence likely to vote politically as well; it should be completely unremarkable that other voters (regardless of their political views) felt that that strategy should not succeed. (I think it’s a great pity that Weisskopf was tainted by association with the ballot-stuffers).

        I still think there’s a shifting definition of “left-wing” here. When Corriera says it, he means “not the American right”. In fact, that’s most of the world and it’s not that remarkable that they keep winning, or that most authors with outspoken politics fall into that category. It’s only by starting from the premise that “If Corriera can’t get a Hugo, it must be a conspiracy” that we conclude there must have been a conspiracy when Corriera doesn’t get a Hugo. The alternative explanation – that Corriera’s just not all that good – is the simpler one.

        Now, I labour under a disadvantage here, because you seem to think many more authors are outspoken about politics than I do. Before Loncon, what I could have told you about Leckie was her name.

        But really, the last 20 years? Because it seems to me that Brandon Sanderson, member of the LDS, opponent of gay marriage (and this prominently stated on his blog), a “staunch Republican”, etc. was on the ballot this year without any support from the ballot-stuffers. He won a Hugo in 2013. Writing Excuses, which he collaborates on, has been up for four Hugos and won one. He was nominated twice for the Campbell.

        That’s not the only one, it’s just the first example I can find. It is simply not true that “NO AUTHOR FROM ANY COUNTRY, OF ANY ETHNICITY OR ORIENTATION, who is _openly_ anything but left wing can get onto the ballot, let alone win”. With minimal effort, I could find an American Republican, trivially identifiable as such, who has won in the last two years.

          1. I detect the sound of goalposts moving. Sanderson is openly so, which was the criterion set above. He blogs about his beliefs, just like Scalzi. If more people read Scalzi’s blog and so know what he thinks, well, maybe it’s more interesting.

            1. Sanderson may be openly Republican, but not outspokenly so. Yes, he may have made a blog post or two, but out of how many years he’s had that blog up?

              FWIW, I reread the above post. Yes, the term “outspoken” was used. It’s not moving goal posts to point out that you didn’t meet the original criteria.

            2. You mentioned Republican from America. In a response to Dave’s comment that mentioned outspoken.

              Do you refuse to supply cites as to Sanderson a) getting a Hugo or equivalent award inside of two years b) being an outspoken partisan of the GOP prior to said award?

        1. David Damerell math is obviously not your strong suite.Before you post a reply again, here is a direct question which will take some research from you and a venture into probability maths: given that political affiliation is distributed according to a normal bell curve, and that writers are distributed on that curve: it is equally likely that left and right wing writers would be nominated were there no bias. The politics of at a glance the novelists nominated from 2004 – ten years will do – many of them are extremely outspoken, not all are American. It isn’t hard to identify. Now remembering the chances of one fitting the profile say of Brandon Sanderson (as your choice on the right) or Charlie Stross, China Meiville, Iain Banks, Scalzi, Valente,Jemisin (to name the one that jumped out at me) on the opposite extreme is 0.15. – so given 20 nominees – 3 would be left wing and loud about it, and 3 would be right and loud about it, The other 14 would be neutral. The chances of getting 2 in a year would be 0.15 x 0.15, 3 in a year 0.15x 0.15 x 0.15 and so on. Now start working out what probability
          of repeating each year. Come back when you have a figure for how probable yet another radical left-wing author.by pure chance is. And then tell me oh it was only this time ;-/

          The point I was making and Correia made, and I made in the initial post and I made again above… is not that there is a vast ‘conspiracy’ (although there were probably dozens of little ones) but that the vote is ideologically driven This was his stated public repeated over and over intent: to show there was tactical voting to exclude people on the basis of ideology. Anyone who didn’t know that must be massively disconnected from fandom. Which was my point – the only way for the Hugo award winners, the supporters of the system, the people who have driven that massively improbable bias to claim it was all fair… was for SOME (if not all) of the sad puppies to win. They were in a lose, or lose badly situation. The one thing they could _not_ do was vote tactically, be seen to conspire (the collection vile slanders that Larry has amassed is truly nauseating – including that that he beats his wife, is a homophobe who wants to see gays dragged behind trucks (I might be mistaken – but i have a feeling that came from your friend Leckie? – for a guy who latest book has a gay hero) and so on) and accusations of ‘ballot stuffing – which you just made which are pure bullshit. Larry did PRECISELY, to the letter, what John Scalzi did last year (and many others have done for years) — canvas his fans for noms, and put up his slate of possible noms, He didn’t buy them, or break a single rule – or do it in secret. But he did what they did. Not a whisper of ballot stuffing then was there? Did you complain or vote tactically against Scalzi? No.

          Like a dog who knows if it jumps up on the kitchen table and steals the Sunday roast it is going to be in dire trouble… and still does it, because it wants that meat now describes the decision of those ‘tactical voters.’ If someone wants you to vote tactically to prove his point, and you know that and you _still_ do it, what is that – besides arrogant or stupid that is?

          So given that you (and others) by your own admission voted tactically against someone who you’ve accused falsely of trying ‘fix’ the nominations — which was precisely what he publicly predicted would happen — do now understand why I describe this as a Pyrrhic victory, which will result in the Hugo awards having a negative impact.

          1. Dave–

            I can’t help thinking that you would have a much better case if I thought that “Opera Vita Aeterna” were one of the five best things in its class published in its year, and if I thought that “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” was not. Since I do, I think you have a problem here…

            Yours,

            Brad DeLong

            1. Think of an urn of otherwise identical marbles varying only in color and density. Suppose that the variation in density is evenly distributed between colors.

              If you have a mechanism that purports to sort out the heaviest or lightest marbles, and you have a bunch of marbles sorted from the urn, one marble that fits the ‘weight sort’ and the ‘color sort’ model does not make any sort of case.

            2. Brad – there are 10s of thousands of better stories than either that never get nominated. The point was bait was put out. You were told it was bait. You could choose what to. You still swallowed it. Not much use saying ‘oh if it been a different flavor’ is there?

                1. Sigh. Brad -Take your fingers out of your ears, stop singing la la la, and re-read what I said about a Pyrrhic victory. Everyone else, bar David Whatsisname, here and on the repeat of the same point on MHI (it was quoted there) seems to get it. So that’s 2 of about 2500 (here alone – many times that on MHI) who miss the point- which says it is not exactly obscure or difficult to understand. But for your benefit I will explain in more detail on Monday.

          2. I see goalposts moving again.

            Yesterday, “NO AUTHOR FROM ANY COUNTRY, OF ANY ETHNICITY OR ORIENTATION, who is _openly_ anything but left wing can get onto the ballot, let alone win”. This situation had “persisted for the better part of the last twenty years, by the most generous interpretation.” It was comparable to “no author who had even expressed publicly the possibility of voting (in the UK) for Lib Dems or Labour” being able to win.

            That’s not just wrong, but laughably wrong. I don’t even have to go back to 2012 to show it to be wrong.

            So now we’re done with the rhetoric, we have a much vaguer assertion, replete with assumptions; basically, you get to make up the proportion of the population of the SF-reading world that is left-wing, assume the population of authors is typical of the overall demographic, decide which authors count as “outspoken left-wing” (Stross, Banks, and Mieville I’ll grant you, but as far as I know the focus of Scalzi’s politics is mocking dudebros – not that he might not be a leftie as well, but that’s what he’s always on about when I’m reading him) and which are right-wing (and remember, until today you’d failed to notice that a 2013 winner was an unequivocally identified “staunch Republican”) – and surprisingly, the answer comes out to the one you wanted to get.

            Someone who didn’t start with a conclusion in mind, I suspect, would conclude that left-wing authors have done quite well recently and for some reason the lunatic wing of the American right doesn’t have wide international appeal, neither of which seems very remarkable.

            I think the argument that the ballot stuffers just did what everyone else is fatuous. (Yes, I know Scalzi says differently; I think he’s wrong). There is a world of difference between an author trying to get nominations for their own work from their own fans, who might reasonably be expected to have read and enjoyed it, and an author trying to get nominations for a slate of works from people who might never have read them for the purpose of trolling.

            Tactical voting because it was known that another group had already been willing to fix the nominations does not, of course, demonstrate that there is tactical voting on the basis of ideology.

            I said nothing about how I voted; I can say, however, that – unlike some people – I’ve never nominated anything for the Hugos I hadn’t read.

            1. I still do not see that you have made a good case for moving goalposts.

              Staunch might refer only to voting habits. Open might refer to how easy it is to discover. Outspoken is the stricter test.

              You have yet to give any reason here why Sanderson might be considered outspoken prior to 2013.

              Can you point to any candidate endorsements? Speeches? Political essays?

            2. “Someone who didn’t start with a conclusion in mind, I suspect, would conclude that left-wing authors have done quite well recently and for some reason the lunatic wing of the American right doesn’t have wide international appeal, neither of which seems very remarkable.”
              Hey, I think you’ve hit upon something there! With your truncheon. Now stomp on it with your boots and toss it in the cooler.
              It’s not ‘appeal’ that is measured by the Hugo awards. Appeal is measured by sales. The current Hugo awards measure obedience to thought control.

            3. David Damerell – let me make something clear. This is not a public forum, it’s our group blog, and this is my post on it. When I say this:
              “Before you post a reply again, here is a direct question which will take some research from you and a venture into probability maths… Come back when you have a figure for how probable yet another radical left-wing author.by pure chance is. ”

              I mean precisely that. Post again without acknowledging first the Hugo nominee slate (without the sad puppies) as as having several million to one against chance of being there sans bias, and I’ll delete it if you’re lucky, or add your post into the Askimet spam list if you’re unlucky. This is your one and final warning.

              Secondly I am going move your goalposts a little bit more. You’re libeling Larry Correia. Look up ‘Ballot stuffing’. Your second statement will be a full apology for falsely accusing him of fraud. Got it?

              Thirdly you will post no further unsubstantiated statements about Larry. If you want say ‘he rigged’ produce evidence, and choose your language very carefully.

              1. There’s a number of big problems here. First, probability has nothing to do with who gets nominated for a Hugo. Hugo shortlists aren’t a random draw – they are (by definition) a selection of popular works of a given type in a given year. Emphasis on “popular.”

                Second, you’re misunderstanding probability. The larger the sample size, the more likely it is to represent the population as a whole. In that case, with over 3,000 ballots (the largest ever double the previous number) the odds are that this vote is *more* representative of SF as a whole rather than less.

                Third, random draws don’t necessarily product random-looking results, as the guys who run the roulette tables in Las Vegas will tell you. Yes, flip a coin and the odds are 50/50, but actually flip a coin 10 times and it would be surprising if you got 5 heads and 5 tails.

                Fourth, you’re defining “radical left-wing” as something like 70% of the electorate – namely everybody who’s not “conservative.” Scalzi (not that he was on this ballot) is by American standards pretty mainstream and by non-American standards probably center-right.

                Lastly, regarding “ballot stuffing” – recruiting a hard core of 60 or so fans (which is what it took to get Vox on the ballot) may not be “stuffing” but it’s pretty obviously tactical voting, which makes complaining about more tactical voting pretty rich.

                __________________________________________________________
                Chris: Congratulations (of a sort) on Winning the Mad Genius Oguh Award for the worst reading comprehension of 2014, and getting shortlisted for the worst grasp of maths!
                Dave

                1. This comment was just too rich and rare not fisk in its entirity – my reply in Bold

                  There’s a number of big problems here. First, probability has nothing to do with who gets nominated for a Hugo.
                  ?Hello which planet are you calling in from? Probability stats can be applied to literally anything. Try to get your head around this. They do NOT merely apply to random events. They apply to everything. They’re used in just about everything. Every single aspect of your life is touched by them, from the electric razor you used to shave before work (the engineers would have calculated – among many other things, the probabilities of various safety aspects) — to the bank you went to (where the price of credit is affected by risk – which is calculated by p-math, to the price you paid for your dinner (where price of grain and meat sold on futures exchanges is a direct product of probability maths). It is possible to calculate the probability of you farting in the next ten minutes. That is not a random event. Neither is the outcome of a demographically representative Hugo award.

                  Hugo shortlists aren’t a random draw – they are (by definition) a selection of popular works of a given type in a given year. Emphasis on “popular.”
                  I’m deeply impressed by the emphasis. ‘Popular’ wonderful. So if I put a picture of Elvis (very popular) on the head of a coin, and a cat-litterbox on the tail, it will always land heads? Try, please, to realize that there is no reason, no possible reason, no imaginable reason, why ‘popular works’ would only come from the left, the right, or the center. Historically they have not. In a system with no bias, not in availability, or of voters, or any other aspect, the political distribution of authors of ‘popular works’ will be Gaussian (that’s the tinfoil hat picture). The same thing holds true of ‘unpopular works’, or even just ‘works’ If it is not (within sufficient level of confidence — as you can’t handle simple probability I won’t go there), the hypothesis ‘there is no bias’ is false. Look, don’t trust me, although there is no benefit in my lying. Go and ask any other statistician.

                  Second, you’re misunderstanding probability.
                  Dear lord. Spare me. I dedicated considerable time and effort to explaining sample size and how probability works at a level that kindergarten kid could grasp. Do you understand what a fisheries scientist does? One of the two of us ‘misunderstands probability.’ Here’s a clue for you. It’s the one who has trouble with elementary reading comprehension, and that isn’t me. Can you work it out or do you need help?

                  The larger the sample size, the more likely it is to represent the population as a whole.
                  ! you really really don’t know much about this do you? Let me give you a simple example. A one direction concert costs 200 dollars a ticket. 5000 teens go. While those teens are large sample of teenagers with $200 who like that sort of music, they’re not a representative sample of humanity. 3000 one direction fans is a better sample than 20 one direction fans AS A SAMPLE OF WEALTHY TEENS WHO LIKE THAT MUSIC. Not of humanity. Likewise LonCon Hugo voters are neither a representative sample of humanity, not sf readers. It’s a fairly narrow set of filters, which people like you make claims are representative of readers. The point of the sad puppies was, in large part to prove it was not. If it was, the distribution of nominees would be a close approximation of the Gaussian distribution.

                  In that case, with over 3,000 ballots (the largest ever double the previous number) the odds are that this vote is *more* representative of SF as a whole rather than less.

                  I’m tired of playing instructor for you Chris. Look it up. There are huge numbers of studies both on the best statistical analysis techniques for various sample sizes and what the improvement in result quality is with increases in sample size. At the coarseness we’re operating here, 1)the difference between 1500 and 3000 would not justify the expense. 2) The hypothesis ‘there is no bias’ requires a Gaussian distribution in the results. So your point is yes, the votes clearly demonstrate there is a bias in the non-representaive subset of WorldCon Hugo voters. Which, duh, is what we predicted. And your point was?

                  Third, random draws don’t necessarily product random-looking results, as the guys who run the roulette tables in Las Vegas will tell you. Yes, flip a coin and the odds are 50/50, but actually flip a coin 10 times and it would be surprising if you got 5 heads and 5 tails.
                  (sigh) Reading comprehension. Or maybe straight reading. I explained this at length. I explained that it is possible to predict how often you’d get 4:6, 3:7 etc. I was trying to avoid explaining standard deviation from the mean, which going on your non-understanding of the really simple stuff is just as well. I actually bothered to take 10 years of novel data. 50 events. If they’d been with 95% confidence levels, I’d have said ‘no bias’. A quick glance at the other categories shows an equally unlikely distribution.

                  Fourth, you’re defining “radical left-wing” as something like 70% of the electorate – namely everybody who’s not “conservative.” Scalzi (not that he was on this ballot) is by American standards pretty mainstream and by non-American standards probably center-right.

                  (Rolls his eyes to heaven) I suggest you read Jonathan Haidt, the Righteous mind– as a starting point, as to how insular the left’s understanding of what every else’s politics are. Scalzi may be mainstream in that distant alternate universe where Stalin is a right-winger. Secondly, I am not American. I have kids living in Cambridge, UK, I grew up and lived in South Africa (where I had several brushes with the security police as a supposed leftwinger opposed to apartheid), I live in Australia. I have a far better grasp of world politics than most, and I hold viewpoints across a number of divides. If anyone in this debate doesn’t know left from right, it’s you. You’re discarding the roughly 30-50% who do not vote for starters. That’s you ‘center’ really. Finally. You’re quibbling about things which make a trivial difference. Try with as harsh a standard possible, to find an equal outcome for far right and far left. On the hardest possible setting. The sad puppies were there by openly stated intervention, so take the previous 10 years and only take communists and Trotskyites. I suppose your average right wingers by your definition – the numbers should still be matched by roughly equal number of Neo-nazis… oh. They seem to be absent. Look the harshest possibly setting is 50% (ridiculously harsh) – which I ran too for this year. No sane person could define any of the 5 writing winners as center, let alone right of center. It’s close to infinitely improbable as a ‘bais free outcome.’ Chris, you’re making excuses, in denial or stupider than rock. There actually isn’t another choice.

                  Lastly, regarding “ballot stuffing” – recruiting a hard core of 60 or so fans (which is what it took to get Vox on the ballot) may not be “stuffing” but it’s pretty obviously tactical voting, which makes complaining about more tactical voting pretty rich.
                  Patience: Ok last time… 1)Unlike your friend Scalzi, unlike all the others who canvassed votes (and it goes back for many years. I’m an old geezer and I know a lot of older geezers. Scalzi was just exceptionally blatant) the sad puppies made no secret of it. They made no secret of disapproving of the process, and wanting to show it as shameful, creating bias. Their purpose was to highlight a shameful practice to show in public what had happened in secret, and that it could be done. Larry explained this several times. Your little friends did this for their benefit and to detriment of the award’s credibility. Larry tried to something for the genre’s and award’s credibility – in the process rubbing the lobby-crew’s nose in it. So he’s the bad guy, because he wasn’t like your darling doing it for his own benefit. Makes sense in your world, I’m sure. 2)He predicted that the result would be frantic collusion to see they didn’t win. And that is precisely what happened.

                  1. I will retract one comment – probability does have something to do with a Hugo win. However, your population and sample size are horribly wrong.

                    SF Signal has been tracking the number of books released monthly in our genre for the past few months. They are running just shy of 300 per month. Now, some of those aren’t eligible for the Hugo novel, so let’s cut that down to 200 books per month. That means 2400 books a year are eligible to short-list, meaning each book has a 0.2% chance of making the short-list. (5 / 2400)

                    Any attempt to get a valid statistical sample of a population of 2400 by looking at 5 individuals will not result (except by random chance) in an accurate representation of the total population. It will produce wild swings.

                    Secondly, your analysis fails to consider the fact that the entire population changes each year. In other words, after we’ve looked at this year’s slate of potential candidates, we not only shuffle the deck, we go out and get a new one. Again based on statistics, there should be no correlation between this year and any other year.

                    Elvis (very popular) on the head of a coin, and a cat-litterbox on the tail, it will always land heads? – irrelevant. We’re not randomly tossing coins, we’re actively looking for ones with Elvis on the head and carefully displaying them heads-up.

                    sample of teenagers with $200 who like that sort of music you do realize you don’t actually have to go to Worldcon to vote – supporting (AKA voting) memberships cost about $40.

                    10 years of novel data. 50 events – that’s 10 events, not 50, looking at 10 entirely different population sets.

                    1. Chris, I’ll give you a useful bit of advice that took me a while to learn. The first thing to do when you’re in a hole is to stop digging. You’re actually displaying your ignorance further, and having been wrong every step of the way, have just made a couple more real howlers, including confusing ‘possible’ with ‘probable’ There are -as I explained in next weeks’s post which – because you commented on it, you’ve read, a number of filters in the selection process, just as there are in people who can nominate. It took some effort to get deeper than telling a non-American how non-Americans think because you as an American, know non-Americans far better than they know themselves, repeat and rinse with stats, etc. etc. But you’re doing it well. Mind you, I should expect it -after the long list of wealthy white ‘liberals’ (an offense to that term, I’ve been called an old fashioned liberal of the I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it variety. The modern so called ones fail to grasp that tolerance means tolerance of people you don’t like who don’t share your views,) who were calling a Hispanic from real hardscrabble origins a racist and saying he should check his privilege!

                      Give up the futile denial. There is a problem, If sf and thereby the Hugo Awards want to flourish it needs as many readers as possible, which means across the demographic spectrum in rough proportion to what is out there. That, in anything but the very very self-centered and short sighted view means it needs conservatives and centrists too. Sales of sf are down year-on-year. Mine are up, so are Larry Correia’s, but we’re not stupid or greedy self-centered enough to kid ourselves that having as broad a church as possible isn’t best for the future, for the genre we love. Make up your mind where you sit – defending the indefensible or looking for at least 50% of what you would call extreme conservatives (and anyone else would call mildly right) to put on your nomination list. Because sf needs a balance, and it needs to be seen to have one. If the boot was on the other foot I’d be looking for at least 50% left-wing noms, but then I don’t tell rocket scientists they’re wrong about rocket science.

                    2. Are you deliberately attempting to misunderstand, or perhaps acting like you don’t understand? This is not a facetious question; I cannot tell whether you are missing the point in an attempt to make a different point, or if you simply do not comprehend the reasoned argument David puts forth.

                    3. If I may – Chris Gerrib has a history of being like this. We see / used to see it a lot in Jordan179’s livejournal. The tendency of his talking about something else entirely or false equivalences is one of the reasons why I refuse outright to engage him in discussion. I don’t expect him to play fair, while portraying himself as trying to have a discussion and posing as ‘reasonable’ for the “other side” with “infinite patience”. Whatever points the opposition brings up aren’t his.

                      And yes, I’m aware that making this statement will make it seem like I’m mudslinging, but I like Dave and Drak and to me they’ve given Chris a fair go.

                    4. *I have decided to put in some to stop any ignorant soul getting confused – my comments in bold marked with * This will be last reply to this topic. It’s nearly 2 weeks old and I have work to do.

                      I will retract one comment – probability does have something to do with a Hugo win. However, your population and sample size are horribly wrong.

                      *er. No. You just have no clue.*

                      SF Signal has been tracking the number of books released monthly in our genre for the past few months. They are running just shy of 300 per month. Now, some of those aren’t eligible for the Hugo novel, so let’s cut that down to 200 books per month. That means 2400 books a year are eligible to short-list, meaning each book has a 0.2% chance of making the short-list. (5 / 2400)

                      * This falsely assumes that because a book is published it can make the Hugo ballot. I have already explained this in detail in the post entitled ‘A very surprised looking sperm whale and a bowl of petunias.’ It’s like saying ‘there are 2400 fish in a pond. You have a six inch mesh net. You can can catch 2400 fish. Those fish go into another pond, where you have a 10 inch net. According to Chris Gerrib you will catch all 2400 fish again. You will then put those in another pond and with a 20 inch mesh and catch 5.’ This will only work if there are no fish smaller that 6 inches wide
                      You can’t actually do that. You can only catch first pass the fish that won’t fit through a 6 inch stretched mesh. The vast majority of those books sell too few copies to be caught in the ‘mesh’ of the first layer of selection – you obviously have no idea what the median sales of those books are, or -without an orchestrated campaign of support (which, duh, is what various left wing authors have done, and the sad puppies did) what the ratio of sales needed:worldcon attendees is to get possibly to know them. The sad puppies hitched a ride on one of few ‘big’ right wing authors.) The second mesh, the quality of the books and the number bothering to nominate reduces the number still further. BTW the SFSignal estimate is not high enough. *

                      Any attempt to get a valid statistical sample of a population of 2400 by looking at 5 individuals will not result (except by random chance) in an accurate representation of the total population.

                      *oh boy. You really really don’t understand this do you? let’s run your statement through normal politics – According to Chris Gerrib. Any attempt to get a valid statistical sample of a population of 300 million by looking at 435 representatives will not result…*

                      It will produce wild swings.
                      So… imagining the silliness above was right – where are they? Swings don’t consistently happen one direction. If they do, it is called ‘bias’ Which is rather the point, isn’t it.

                      Secondly, your analysis fails to consider the fact that the entire population changes each year. In other words, after we’ve looked at this year’s slate of potential candidates, we not only shuffle the deck, we go out and get a new one. Again based on statistics, there should be no correlation between this year and any other year.

                      *Except as usual you’ve got it completely and totally bassAckwards. Repeat after me and write out 100 times. ‘The joint probability of two independent events is P(A) X P(B).
                      If the events were dependent the probabilities would be a lot lower, depending on how dependent they were…

                      Elvis (very popular) on the head of a coin, and a cat-litterbox on the tail, it will always land heads? – irrelevant. We’re not randomly tossing coins, we’re actively looking for ones with Elvis on the head and carefully displaying them heads-up.

                      You really don’t get it do you? There is no reason why left wing heads would be selected out of proportion to demographic representation, except for bias. So unless you’re agreeing there is bias, your comment makes no sense. I am beginning to spot a pattern here…

                      sample of teenagers with $200 who like that sort of music you do realize you don’t actually have to go to Worldcon to vote – supporting (AKA voting) memberships cost about $40.

                      Are you being deliberately obtuse? The point is that Hugo voters are selected subset, not accurately representative of sf readers or the population.

                      10 years of novel data. 50 events – that’s 10 events, not 50, looking at 10 entirely different population sets.

                      that’s 50 nominations. Each one is termed an event in p-math.
                      I’m sure I get time off in purgatory for this…
                      It’s like trying logic with a toddler. The statute of limitation on comments on this blog is 3 days guys. It’s WAY closed. Even my patience is at an end.

        2. “Ballot stuffers?” Excuse me? Are you seriously alleging electoral impropriety at WorldCon, or are you just mindlessly slinging unsourced and unverified slime at those who happen to not share your political views?

          Slime and slander? Utterly typical left-wing mud-slinging – got a touch of the communal hive mind, have you?

          *please envision my middle fingers – both of them – extended contemptuously in your direction*

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