Defeating the Anak – a Dave Freer Blast From The Past from 9-2013**

* Where Dave Freer mocks the hugos well before Larry — which of course means Larry time traveled to order him to do so.  Naturally — SAH ** who is digit dyslexic and who picked this post, and who should take the blame if you don’t like it.*

I’ve been following with vague amusement the latest doing of the world of sf/fantasy, or at least its loud and public arms. Rather inevitably that involves John Scalzi, his deep hurt that he’s being teased about his dresses and his Hugo award for ‘Redshirts’, a rather mediocre joke about a TV serial, not precisely the caliber of Lord of Light or Dune. It goes with the turf (well, the lawn) that seems, especially when you’re known for taunting the (safely*) tauntable. Push even the safely tauntable’s buttons for long enough and sooner or later someone may respond. The outrage about how successful he was and how big his lawn was because he worked hard was really funny. If it was down to hard work, a lot of near starving authors would be billionaires. If it was down to talent, so would a lot authors who never ever got a publishing deal. What the man does well is self-promote, and choose the path of least resistance (the easy setting – which may be how he is. It’s still the easiest choice), which is to sing the publishing establishment’s tune. Loudly and often. That is the route to success in traditional publishing, outside of Baen who still buy all over the show, and from complete unknowns who do not sing their tune. (Baen have authors from across the political and religious spectrum. Good on them, support them, buy their books.) Otherwise, if you want traditional publishing push and you have the misfortune to be a white male, I suggest you establish a loud internet presence and embrace feminism, and squall loudly about the lack of diversity and how bad white males are. It worked for Lord Haw-Haw , and Vidkun Quisling with the establishments they wanted into. It could work for you.

And then we had John Ringo actually daring to taunt back, which as it lacked the safe part, was rather good. The defense by the queen bee of Tor that the Hugos are the most fair of the SF/Fantasy awards was interesting. It’s probably true, in the sense that the one legged centipede would still win the Miss Lovely Legs competition in the land of the earthworms. Actually, all it is, is a popularity contest – which thus comes down to either your book is widely read and loved, and/or you network and self-publicise well, or your publisher/friends do so for you. As the point of any literary award is to TELL readers what a great read is, using it for books where the publicity is already great is fairly pointless. If the award was actually fair it would be split more or less on demographic English reading lines (which would mean the left wing would win… about ?a quarter of the time, centrists of various shades half and the right at least as often as the left.) publishers would be represented more-or-less by sales share. I doubt if this holds true, having looked at the list.

Of course those of us who have no real talent for self-promotion, but may be great writers (the two do not have to go together), are really the ones the awards should target. But that’s not happening, and probably won’t. We really do need a better, alternative system. I don’t see exactly how it can work. Do you?

*As in permitted by the PC rules (break these and your publisher and the left wing self-elected enforcers of various ‘fail’ will prosecute you without due process, appeal or mercy), and also those whom the probabilities show are extremely unlikely to respond at all, even less likely to do so violently, who are powerless to affect your publishers and who will out of a sense of fairness you never display to them, still try to judge your books on merit. And where you can claim victim points if they do much as mock you. Because you’re so bwave. Those who mock the Taliban, or tease the high gods of PC are brave. The rest play the game on the easy setting.)

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Defeating the Anak – a Dave Freer Blast From The Past from 9-2013**

  1. mobiuswolf

    “We really do need a better, alternative system. I don’t see exactly how it can work. Do you?”

    Maybe we need Hun awards, voted on by Huns. IT would probably catch on if it were strictly meritorious.

  2. Christopher M. Chupik

    “Larry time traveled to order him to do so. ”

    Is there no end to this man’s perfidy?

    • Sure there is. At the sound of irritated spouse, he either stops, if he’s one who caused it… or, if it’s someone else, Larry transforms into the entire Cobra army.

      But given the limited range of things that can truly upset the lovely Mrs. Correia, this should inspire terror in SJWs with any trace of survival instincts left.

  3. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

    Any award is a popularity contest. That’s just the way it is. You can’t change it, so you have to live with it (or quit – which I don’t regard as a valid option).

    Wayne

    • Wayne, perhaps (no, strike that, I am) I am too idealistic, but what an award is, depend on what the award is for, and its title should reflect that. The Hugo Award claims to be for ‘the best’. Not ‘what Worldcon attendees who bothered to vote found least unpopular in the nominated works which in no way represent the best or even the available choice’ – an accurate reflection of what the Hugo is, and with which I’d have no quibble at all. It would be worth just about what it is now too. If you take the purpose of Awards idealistically (as only an idiot like myself could) they could be created to serve the genre. Now, what would serve that master best? Why logically that the award should assist in the process of bringing the very best to the attention of readers of the genre, and to those who could become that. Now best is not necessarily ‘most popular’ because most popular is based on most widely read – which in the modern context equals most effectively distributed and marketed. In a world without those distorting factors, most popular would logically equal what most readers thought best. But this is not that world. Now, wine experts – whose living depends on finding popular wines – can sometimes manage a fairly good finding of very minor cellars produce as deserving of awards for quality. Why can’t that work for books? (it doesn’t because the book equivalents of those wine experts have agendas besides making popular choices).

      • mobiuswolf

        Exactly! Though I never did put much stock in the Hugos, ever.

      • Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

        Dave,

        Problem is, this is the real world, and while I agree that the description of the Hugo Award doesn’t meet ‘Truth in Advertising’ standards, it is what it is.

        Most writers, no matter how good, won’t win a Hugo unless they have a huge fan club following them. That’s just the way it is.

        But hey, working at changing things is a good idea. Idealism rules in my book. I prefer people who are willing to stand up for what they think is right, even if I disagree with them.

        I kind of half agree with you, and half disagree. I’d like to see something that is more open (most people will never attend a WorldCon). But at the same time I have no idea how you could come up with a better award system.

        Any award system has to have a way of picking the judges. The Hugo system uses WorldCon attendees. The Nebula system uses SFWA members. How would you suggest we pick judges?

        One option might be to pick anyone whose name was attached to a published work. Another might be to pick people who attended any SF, Fantasy, Horror, or Filk con.

        There’s a million other possibilities – which the creative bunch here can add to my two suggestions. But who picks which one?

        Sarah Hoyt made the suggestion of an award for SF books written in what she called a ‘Human Wave’ style. Maybe having awards for certain specific variations would be a better idea (but again, who picks the variations like Human Wave, Dystopian, Space Opera…) And once the variations are picked, who gets to vote? Every person who bought the books on Amazon, or every customer of Baen (or Tor)?

        I was involved with some of the early discussions for the Filk Hall of Fame Award. I didn’t like the method chosen, but I’m also not certain I could have come up with a better one.

        Guess what I’m saying is that if you can come up with a decent idea, I’ll back you, but that I have no idea what to suggest!

        Wayne

      • Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter

        I’ve been thinking. This is a dangerous thing to do in -40 Celsius weather, if you hear a loud explosion, it was probably my brain.

        But here’s what I thought of:

        Methods to select novels/short stories/whatever:

        1) Author (and only author) enters work
        2) Publisher and only publisher enters work
        3) All works tagged as SF (or Fantasy, or whatever) automatically entered
        4) Fans only enter work
        5) All of the above, using TOR for anonymity

        Each of the above has issues. Personally I like 5. Worst thing that happens with it is a work doesn’t win.

        Voting methods:

        1) Publishers only
        2) Writers only (based on having their name attached to a work covered by an ISBN)
        3) Convention attendees only
        4) WorldCon attendees only (any WorldCon, any year)
        5) Fans only (of course most writers are fans)
        6) Members of SFWA, HWA, or any other professional association only
        7) All of the above
        8) All of the above using Tor for anonymity (ballot box stuffing heaven!)

        What did I miss?

        Wayne