To my friends who are going to vote No Award at the Hugos this year

(This is a guest post by long time MGC reader and SF/F fan Phil Sevetson. When he asked if I would be interested in letting our readers see how a fan is reacting to the Hugo controversy, I jumped at it. After all, fans are the ones who we ought to be listening to, not our small cliques of like-minded writers. It is the fans who pay us by buying our work and by telling their friends if they like what we are doing or not. — Amanda)

To my friends who are going to vote No Award at the Hugos this year:

This is your right. You’re going to be voting out some good people and some bad ones without regard to which is which, though.

But if you’re going to do this, and make any claim to having integrity, you need to nominate works for next year’s Worldcon when the noms open next year (purchasing this year’s supporting membership entitles you to do so). It wouldn’t hurt you to buy a supporting membership and vote next year, too.

Worldcon is dying of old age, and failing to recruit younger fen. They’re going, instead, to places they find more congenial — Dragon Con, Gen Con, SDCC Comic Con, NY Comic Con, Salt Lake Comic Con, all sorts of other places. I have my own opinions about why this is happening — mostly about exclusive behaviors exhibited by the longterm fans when the Wrong Kind of People show up, or have differing political opinions. (For any who don’t know me after all this time, I’m liberal/populist, with a big side order of Freedom of Speech.) You don’t agree with me about the reasons, or you wouldn’t be voting No Award.

If you don’t get involved, then you’re complaining about your choices without doing the work required to have more choices. Get on it, people. If you don’t like what’s happening, get involved to make positive changes. Don’t just firebomb the people who are already trying, according to their best lights.  Because firebombing/flaming/downvoting this year’s Sad Puppies3 and Rabid Puppies nominees won’t help the Worldcon, unless more people start getting involved as a result; without a large influx of new people, WC will be dead in less than a generation.

If this doesn’t matter to you, then you have no business registering or voting. Put your time where your mouth is.

226 Comments

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226 responses to “To my friends who are going to vote No Award at the Hugos this year

  1. emily61

    Be interesting to see what the response is to this.

  2. Indeed — were Worldcon and the Hugos healthy, the Puppies (Sad or Rabid) would have been but a drop in the bucket of votes. The impact was huge because so few fen were attending Worldcon or voting on the Hugos in the first place. Any restrictions on voting will only accelerate the decline of both.

    And it’s not that science-fiction fandom is dying. Science fiction is gigantic. It’s that the attempt by the SJW to exclude the “wrong” sort of fen is driving the newer ones away from science fiction books — and talented new authors from the genre as a whole.

    In a way it’s ironic that what they want to control are the Hugos. Hugo Gernsback founded and encouraged the growth of science fiction as a separate genre; the SJW’s are trying to discourage its growth because they fear losing control of its content.

    • Someone on Larry’s blog tried to say that actual fandom is only 50,000 people worldwide. Of course, several of us piled on and pointed out how SLC Comic Con and NYC Comic Con each boasted around 150K people, DragonCon had 60K the year I went, and so forth. No way that just 50K people worldwide are all of fandom.

      SFF is HUGE, like you say.

    • Lea

      And it’s not that science-fiction fandom is dying. Science fiction is gigantic.

      Indeed. Who was it the other day who said they didn’t see any female authors in the science fiction section at the airport? It’s probably because they skipped YA and anything romantic because those don’t count.

  3. mjkerpan

    Worldcon is plenty healthy. Loncon was the largest Worldcon in 30 years. When Worldcon is in a reasonably accessible location, it routinely gets around 5000 attending members. While a couple thousand more people would be nice, the Worldcon community doesn’t WANT it to be a giant commercialized megacon along the lines of Dragoncon or SDCC. Instead it wants to be a good-sized gathering of devoted fen.

    • Your last two words seem to be the sticking point. What are “devoted fen” and who should be allowed to vote for the Hugo?

      • And just who gets to decide who are ‘devoted fen’ and who aren’t? And who gets to pick those who decide?

        • I can just see it now. 1000 questions on the new WorldCon signup sheet.

          1. Do you own a Filthy Pierre Songbook?
          2. Do you print an APA or Fanzine?
          2a. Did you start it before laser printers were available?
          2b. Did you duplicate it with a mimeograph?
          Not 2b. Did you hand-write it?
          2c. Do you still have a complete run of it, extending at least 5 years?
          3. Do you have an original Tribble? (Anything produced past 1975 does not qualify.)

          And so on, and so on….

          • Actually, I used to HAVE a Filthy Pierre Songbook. But it got stolen, along with all my OTHER songbooks, when someone broke into my car, 1996 or so. . .

            And I remember Filthy’s OTHER contribution to Fandom: that tiny-print listing of All Known Cons in North America. . . .

            . . . both of which I purchased from Filthy at either Castlecon or Balticon, forget where. . . 1992-93, as I recall. . .

    • MJkerpan, then perhaps the goals and interests of the devoted fen would be better served by releasing the Hugo Awards, allowing (or even encouraging) a totally separate entity to manage the nominations, candidate selection, and voting for the Hugos. It would save the traditional Worldcon fen the headaches of dealing with an excess of people who are not as familiar with the organization’s traditions and desires.

      [No, I am not being a sarcastic smart @ss. I offer this as an option to consider for those “devoted fen” who would prefer to keep Worldcon an older, less media-focused con.]

    • Here’s the deal. when I first was going to cons 40 years ago, Worldcon that year in Toronto had 2900 members. My own first Worldcon, in Phoenix in 1978, had 4700. Noreastcon 2 in 1980 had 5800. LA Con 2, about 8,900, setting the record — in 1984. It’s never gotten close to that since.

      The most recent WorldCon I’ve attended was Denvention 3 in 2008. Around 3800. I spent much of the con happily chatting with Agberg.

      When SF has had the massive growth we’re seen over that 40 years, that doesn’t indicate a healthy “World” Convention.

      • emily61

        OT: LA Con II was great!

      • We didn’t know each other then! Seems impossible. I spent the con running around immense empty spaces to make panels which had nothing to do with what I wrote, despite my having given them my bio and what w as working on. Sigh.

        • overgrownhobbit

          It’s going to be interesting to see what if anything, Sasquan puts me on. Usually I get children’s programming, but you never know.

    • Mike

      MJkerpan’s comment illustrates the disconnect between fen who are comfy with the status quo and Phil. There has been growth in the voting numbers for the Hugos for several years. That these numbers are much, much smaller than the corresponding figures for the megacons is not a fault, it is a feature (in their view).

      For the record, if you are in an industry which is exploding (SF&F) and you are experiencing single digit growth…yeah, that is not success. That is accelerating irrelevance.

  4. Menno

    Is it really the “SJW’s” though? I’ve read Scalzi’s stuff, and Hines, and Flints and they’re pretty clearly not throwing everyone who disagrees with them into a bucket of being the “wrong kind of people” They’re not the ones who throw a label on everyone who disagrees for any reason, and the don’t write off those opinions as being “rightest garbage” like I see people writing off “SJW’s.”

    Comicon is huge because it’s a multi-media event, not something just about comics and graphic novels. Studios release trailers for movies, game developers showcase their events. That’s why they’re so popular. They’re attracted to the spectacle.

    I’ve been called a SJW for months now, so whatever, I’ll own the term. But I’m not the one arguing for the “purity” of science fiction and fantasy. I’m not excluding a book from the genre because I don’t like the message. I may not read it. I may call it out (if I read it) as being troubling, but I’m not going to say it shouldn’t be called SciFi.

    The sad puppies, ARE making that argument. So, who’s being exclusive?

    • The sad puppies, ARE making that argument.

      Citation, please.

      • Their use of “Message fiction” for one.

        Or this post:
        https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/sad-puppies-3-the-unraveling-of-an-unreliable-field/

        Specifically passages like this:
        “The book has a spaceship on the cover, but is it really going to be a story about space exploration and pioneering derring-do? Or is the story merely about racial prejudice and exploitation, with interplanetary or interstellar trappings?

        There’s a sword-swinger on the cover, but is it really about knights battling dragons? Or are the dragons suddenly the good guys, and the sword-swingers are the oppressive colonizers of Dragon Land?”

        Or perhaps this nicely summarized paragraph from the same piece:
        “Our once reliable packaging has too often defrauded our readership. It’s as true with the Hugos as it is with the larger genre as a whole. Our readers wanted Nutty Nuggets because (for decades) Nutty Nuggets is what we gave them. Maybe some differences here and there, but nothing so outrageously different as to make our readers look at the cover and say, “What the hell is this crap??””

        Where he is complaining that he’s no longer able to judge a book by it’s cover because it might not actually be Science Fiction that he loves, but instead an imposter “claiming” to be SciFi by using a manipulative title/cover/summary.

        This idea is also present in the comments to that post, on twitter, and in the countless blogs of people complaining about how the left is “ruining” science fiction.

        • Oh, so lamenting the loss of the kinds of fiction so many of us love is the exact same thing as wanting to ban the crap you like?

          WRONG!

          But it’s cute that you think they’re the same thing.

          • Those things are clearly not lost. Unless you’re implying that Larry, Brad, and Vox are now forced to sell message fiction to make money, which they clearly aren’t.

            He’s complaining that books about a rocket ship aren’t aways about what HE considers to be Sci-Fi. Implying that sometimes they are. He’s saying that there’s “fake” sci-fi since that rocket ship is (to him) not always sci-fi.

            Maybe you should read his post again.

            • Why? You’re the one with the poor reading comprehension. Lamenting the loss of something doesn’t mean it no longer exists, just that it’s harder to find.

              More importantly, however, you have still failed to show were Brad or Larry have said anything about eliminating message fiction.

              Meanwhile, Tor[dot]com is the place that is trying to tell us all what to include in our stories.

              http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/01/post-binary-gender-in-sf-introduction

              • He’s not lamenting a loss. he’s saying that he can no longer tell if it is Sci-Fi, or something pretending to be sci-fi. Even if you didn’t read the piece, the bits I quoted make that pretty clear.

                if he was lamenting the loss it would be “I go to the bookstore and the science fiction section is filled with nothing but message fiction” he clearly cannot say that because those shelves have “monster hunter” on them.

                • So, because he didn’t phrase things the way you would have, it means something completely different?

                  And we should take you seriously? Really?

                  Once again, you have failed to show ANYWHERE where he actually says he wants to see an end to such fiction. Anywhere.

                  And I know you won’t be able to either.

                • He’s not lamenting a loss. he’s saying that he can no longer tell if it is Sci-Fi, or something pretending to be sci-fi.

                  No, he’s saying that an interesting cover no longer can be counted on as an indication that there is a good story on the inside. Where the inside, instead of being an exciting adventure (which might, indeed, carry a message about some social aspect that the author wants to examine in the context of the story setting), is actually a treatise on whatever the message of the day is, loosely wrapped in the trappings of a science fiction story.

            • You do realize that you’re arguing that asking for, urging, more variety is exclusionary, right?

              I mean, like, consciously?

              You are conscious that’s your argument?

              • Uncle Lar

                It has been my observation that conscious and logical have no place in the lexicon of a committed Social Justice Warrior. A poo flinging butt monkey strategy seems more their style.

            • Or, perhaps you could read his post again, and try to understand the actual point.

              He wasn’t claiming that they weren’t Science Fiction. He was stating that the science fiction was merely incidental to the message that the book was beating the reader over the head with.

        • If you go back and read everything Brad has written about Sad Puppies, I think you will find that he isn’t against “message” being in SF or fantasy. He, like many of us, is against fiction of any sort where the message is takes precedence over the story. We don’t want to be beaten over the head with a message, any message. We want to be entertained and a good author can weave the message into the story in subtle ways that will make us think while still entertaining us.

          • Uncle Lar

            Precisely so. We’ve been discussing this extensively here and at both Brad and Sarah’s blogs. The consistent complaint I’ve heard is that much SF&F and nearly all the recent Hugo and Nebula winners and nominees have been heavy on message and light to the point of non existence on entertainment. And that like it or not has damaged the reputation of both those awards with the true fans. And by true fans I mean folks who pay good money for every and all forms of science fiction and fantasy be it traditional print, e-book, graphic comics, movie, TV, all the new formats. Except for anime and furry, those are just evil. (Is joke, my 13 YO grand daughter lovers her some anime, and I have friends seriously into furry)

          • Lea

            He, like many of us, is against fiction of any sort where the message is takes precedence over the story. We don’t want to be beaten over the head with a message, any message. We want to be entertained and a good author can weave the message into the story in subtle ways that will make us think while still entertaining us.

            IOWs, he is against bad writing.

            And from the discussion of the cover, he is for truth in advertising. Which is not exclusionary.

      • ::facepalm::
        No, wait. That’s not enough.
        ::headdesk::

    • Angus Trim

      Have you read Scalzi’s latest hit piece on Correia and Brad? Don’t forget how he disses the Sad Puppies.

      Hate to say things, but you got things backwards. Its obvious Scalzi has a grudge against that ass kicking that Larry gave him last year over the martial arts training to prevent rape thing.

      But to attack Brad that way? And the timing of that piece just means that all of the SJB’s are in lockstep.

      The good thing is, he tried to jab a stick in Vox’s eye again too. I’m sure Vox will remember.

      Now, before you leave, make sure you leave your two digit alpha characters and 11 digit numerical characters so we can report your failure to convince anyone to the Borg queen.

      • And calling me a Borg kinda reinforces my argument that it’s not I trying to insist on the “purity” of the genre. Notice how you just throw all people who disagree with you into a bucket as an automaton. The implication being that anyone who thinks would agree with you.

        That’s a really convenient way to keep you “club” pure.

        • Considering the attacks most of us here at MGC have come under, not to mention Larry and particularly Brad, it is difficult sometimes to maintain a moderate tone. You are the one who came in and claimed that all the SPs are being exclusive, after all. Funny how you can claim that when we are the ones saying to read the entries on the ballot, all of them, and it is the other side saying to not even bother but to vote No Award ahead of anyone who might have appeared on the SP or RP “slate”. How “inclusive” is that? And how fair is it to the authors and artists who found themselves on the RP slate and did not know it until after the fact?

          • That’s because so many people we’re dealing with expect US to play nice, but place themselves under no such restraint.

            The thing is, I’m done playing by their rules.

            • Uncle Lar

              Thing is they have a set of rules we are expected to follow while their internal rules come straight from a guy named Alinsky. Now that we’ve started responding in kind they cry foul.

              • It’s like the schoolyard fight where one kid bites, kicks in the groin, pulls hair, etc., but the very moment the other kid does the same thing…

                Yeah, I’m done with their rules. I’ll play by my own. It’s more fun that way.

          • I was replying to someone who claimed that anyone who disagreed with RP/SP was being exclusionary.

            And both sides are flinging mud. but if I say that one “side” is throwing everyone into a single box to exclude them, and a person replies that I am a member of the borg.. That helps their argument how?

            That’s not even a good insult. I feel terrible for those authors who got on the ballot without knowing what they were getting into. I’m not sure if I’ll vote pure NO-award. But in a field where there is absolutely no option but a slate author? I am voting no-award. Because those people are competing with a slate, and slates are wrong. They run completely counter to even larry’s point of bringing more people into the process because it is not giving more voices, it is giving one voice a megaphone.

            If the category has non-slate people, I’ll read all the entries. If it’s all slate, it’s no-award. I’d do the same if next year the entrants are from a “SJW” slate.

            • Nathan

              Considering that Chaos Horizon has pretty conclusively debunked the straight slate Sad Puppies vote, I doubt your narrative and your claim.

            • “I feel terrible for those authors who got on the ballot without knowing what they were getting into.” – That sentence alone damns your whole argument and ideology. They shouldn’t HAVE to have worried who recommended them. It is supposed to be about the writing, not the politics/identity of the writer. That is what SP/RP has been fighting this whole time.

            • Peter O

              See, the rest of us saw the SP/RP slates being called “misogynistic, racist white males” and thought it was the non-SPs doing the grouping.

            • You do realize, that on the basis of the evidence (go read Nostradumass and Madam Bugblatterfatski) there actually hasn’t been a non-slate award for, probably, many years. Of course, no objections from the shrieking voices this year – because they were all on the previous slate. It’s not about their being a slate. It’s about it not being their slate.

        • Angus Trim

          Actually, I feel you’ve proven my point. Here you are spreading more of the stuff that TNH wants you to, doing things a good Borg would do.

          Your comments and arguments are Orwellian and repetitive.

          Please leave your serial number at the door on your way out.

      • I confess: I haven’t visited Scalzi’s blog in . . . years? Two, maybe three? Scalzi’s blog is like the magic mirror from Snow White. Carefully shaped and crafted to reflect back to Scalzi what a magnificent and beautiful human being he is. And if ever the mirror goes off-script, he merely deletes the offending comment and replaces it with something snarky of his own devising.

        • Mike

          This. OTOH, you have to give him credit for being time efficient. The asinine dsmvwlng at ML must take a lot of time (unless NH has a script for that).

      • Reziac

        Where can I viewthis ass-kicking? It was before my time in the Pound, and I feel woefully deprived of fine entertainment. 😀

    • Ahem. Science Fiction and Fantasy are multi-media now, and have been since Star Wars, and really, Star Trek.

      I was a reader, even back then (got my start with books from the old Scholastic book sales they had via flyers, back in elementary school in the late 1960s). I had a subscription to F&SF at age 10, and had moved to ANALOG by 16. .

      But since that time, SF magazines have shriveled in circulation, and yet we have multiple categories of short fiction in the Hugos, but no games. And the primary written SF vehicle now is the Novel. That’s the reality of the market in 2015

      The Hugos are, for the most part, frozen in time in the mid 1970s or so.

      I’ve been to one Worldcon, BucConNeer, Baltimore, 1998. I’ll be generous, and call the vast majority of the attendees middle-aged. I was 36 at the time, and, while not the youngest attendee, far more were noticeably older than noticeably younger.

      I saw pictures from NASFIC and Worldcon last year. It looked positively geriatric compared to 1998.

      My point ? The “multimedia” cons are drawing both far larger numbers AND the full spectrum of ages of attendees. Worldcon is greying, and as the Sad Puppies argue, stratifying, and even petrifying.

      SFF is about the future. And the way things look, the big “multimedia” cons are the future of fandom. . .

    • James Schardt

      Are you talking about their books or their blogs? I’ve read both Hines and Flint and they are pretty good. Larry Correia has said Scalzi can write as well but I’ve never read his stuff. However, on their blogs, there is no comparison between Flint and the other two. Flint has done his best to stay out of the fray and, when he did enter it, made a polite, well reasoned, post. Scalzi is one of the primary pushers of the “No Award” crowd. Actually, Vox Day has advocated that for next year so the only real difference between Vox and Scalzi is the timetable. (Yeah, I went there). I have no idea what Hines is saying but I’m pretty sure it is a lot closer to Scalzi than Flint. Not only are not Hines and Scalzi in the same boat as Flint, I don’t even think they are on the same river.

      Scalzi has been a jerk about this. He is telling his followers to vote “No Award” without reading the stories. I have no idea how this is going to help anything but it doesn’t even give the authors a chance to be heard. Instead of voting for the nominations, he wants people to vote for the nominators. That’s just not right.

      • And Scalzi is also repeatedly called out by them as an example of someone who got awards because he was part of the perceived “elite.” He’s had multiple run-ins with Vox before this whole hugo debacle. He’s been labeled by them as everything that is wrong with the modern hugo community. You really expect him to stay out of the fray?

        And Vox is urging no award because he wants his people to win. Scalzi (and others) are arguing no award to send a message against slate voting.

        • After the Great Cultural Revolution had run it’s course, Jiang Qing ended up committing suicide in prison.

          John might want to consider this seriously.

        • James Schardt

          So, because some people think Scalzi’s book which won a Hugo didn’t deserve the award it got, none of the books they nominated could possibly be worthy of a Hugo. Is that how this works? It’s not like anyone could take it away from him.

          • No, I don’t care if they are hugo worthy (I personally loved Skin Game)

            But slate voting is wrong. It’s saying “you have no choice but to choose that this is best” and it’s not a group of people making that decision. It was two people (SP/RP, mainly RP) that created the list of what to listen to. How many people slate voted without reading the pieces? It was easy to do so, like like party voting. You see 1-2 pieces you like and vote yes on all, or even worse, you vote yes to keep others out.

            A lot of people (myself included) are eyeing no award because of the slate, no matter who made it.

            • It’s saying “you have no choice but to choose that this is best” and it’s not a group of people making that decision.

              The more I read your comments, the more I’m convinced that you didn’t even try to understand Brad’s post that you quoted above, nor did you try to understand what Brad’s “slate” was. Nowhere is it even implied that people have “no choice” except to vote the slate. Instead, he put up his list of, “Here’s the things I liked. If you like them, too, maybe you’d like to vote for them”.

            • Matthew

              You do realize that the RP slate was published *after* nominations had closed, so that it had exactly zero impact on it, right?

              I have to say that Vox pulled off one of the most epic trolls I’ve ever seen.

            • All of these “a slate is wrong” parrots are incredibly irritating. It was a LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS. I don’t personally know of anybody on Sad Puppies who “voted a slate” as you keep repeating ad nauseam. Everybody that I’ve heard from said they read the books and voted for the ones that they liked. How is that different from what anybody else did? Yes, I heard that Vox Day said something different. So you should be making this incredibly boring “voting a slate is wrong” complaint over there =>

              Of course I’m not convinced that there is anything really to this “voting a slate is wrong” bullshit. The way it comes across to me is that you’re objecting to the “out group” voting at all. A natural human tendency to protect the in group, but one which you really ought to struggle against instead of indulging to the max.

              You may indignantly deny that there was any kind of slate in your in-group, but there didn’t need to be. It was a group of like-minded people who talked to each other in overlapping social groups, who tended to see things the same way. So they end up voting for similar things without there being an explicit plan.

            • Lea

              How many people slate voted without reading the pieces?

              How many non-slate people voted without reading the pieces? How many people voted for friends and colleagues or people whose last book they liked?

              You have no way of knowing. As always. This is not a good reason not to vote for a good author.

            • You mean “slate voting is wrong if it’s the wrong people who make up the slate.” There have been recommended nominees and recommended works by many people for many many years, and, for that matter, condemnations of “slate” votes off and on when the Wrong People won.

              In the mean time, there’s increasing reason to suspect, circumstantially, that a bloc vote by people whose memberships were being paid for by their employers has dominated some Hugo categories for some years.

      • Scott

        The difference between Scalzi’s “No Award” and Vox’s “No Award” are the difference between “Open Fire” and “I will return fire”. One is assault and the other is self-defense.

      • VD

        Actually, Vox Day has advocated that for next year so the only real difference between Vox and Scalzi is the timetable.

        Vox Day has not advocated that for next year. Vox Day has not even advocated anything for THIS year. Vox Day merely pointed out the obvious to people who are clearly too stupid to realize that No Award is not a monopoly.

        I have no problem at all with the SJWs nuking this year’s awards. As every single member of the Evil Legion of Evil knows.

        And Scalzi is also repeatedly called out by them as an example of someone who got awards because he was part of the perceived “elite.”

        John Scalzi himself suggested that he was given the Hugo because he was part of the little group.

        “The voters LIKE ME AS A PERSON and thought that I might like a Hugo, so here, they said, have one.”

    • Is Eric Flint a SJW? I don’t recall him ever being called that. He’s a Socialist, and he’s STRONG on unions, but I never heard anyone term him SJW.

      • James Schardt

        Me neither. I think they are trying to drag him in, make this something it isn’t.

        • I saw many, many people dismissing his post on the Hugo’s as just another SJW piece. moreover, Breitbart tried casting him as someone “hurt” by the “SJW cabal” and he quite clearly called them out on it.

          • Lea

            Funny, I’ve read quite a few articles and comments the last few weeks and didn’t see that.

            I myself disagreed with his opinion on some things, but liked some of his points about categories and series.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            What I read Flint call out Brietbart for was mistaking Flint for a libertarian or a conservative.

            Flint is absolutely not a SJW. SJW is a recent term, and does not describe his leftist activism.

            When Flint would preach on the streets, he was sometimes beaten up for attracting police attention.

            He worked as a machinist, and moved around trying to form unions.

            Quite a lot of Sad Puppies are Barflies, or former Barflies, hence are pretty familiar with his politics. I haven’t seen any category error of that sort from them.

            I have seen the claim that, essentially, if there had been, say, at least twenty thousand Hugo nominators and voters over the past twenty-thirty years, he probably would have at least gotten a nomination.

      • Matthew

        I imagine that his opinions on SJWs would be.

        Well, not unprintable, but scathing and derisive.

      • tocoons

        Flint doesn’t think SJWs exist, except as a right-wing shibboleth. Or so he said somewhere in here: http://www.ericflint.net/index.php/2015/04/16/some-comments-on-the-hugos-and-other-sf-awards/#more-6225

      • Mike

        In Flint’s blog he states that he doesn’t like the term, but that if it is a thing, then he is one, and proud of it (citing his decades of pro-union activism and education).

        • I don’t know anything about SJWs. But I was 16 years old in 1969, and worked in downtown Atlanta, at Peachtree and 10th (Roy Rogers Roast Beef), So I know a little about hippies. The only people claiming to be hippies were the ones who weren’t. SO my read on this is that Eric Flint is Eric Flint, and that all the SJWs want to be Eric Flint.

    • So far as I know, the only book anyone associated with Sad Puppies has said wasn’t SciFi was “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love”, which didn’t have, you know, any actual SciFi elements in it. I’m sure you’re welcome to disagree with that assessment, but you would need to point out some specifics and explain how they could be classified as SciFi.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Oh, it is totally Sci Fi /and/ Fantasy. It is just you have to read between the lines.

        The story takes place in a grim dark future where space wizards have eliminated racism.

        Racism comes from certain portions of the human capacity for social interaction and cooperation. To eliminate racism, you also have to eliminate much of the capacity for trust and a lot of the ability to distinguish people from another.

        Needless to say, things dissolved into an orgy of violence when folks lost the ability to see that another person was not a threat needing to be dealt with.

        Civilization was only able to rebuild when small bands were able to form very weak social bonds using behavioral mannerisms the space wizards hadn’t erased the capacity for. Yet these groups are very fragile.

        What Swirsky translates as paleontologist is actually a discipline dedicated to recovering the mental capacities that humans had that are not present in the future populations. The man’s specialty involves studying social bonding in his own population, and involves subtleties of physical control beyond any of our actors. It does not develop physical strength or fighting ability.

        He makes a mistake, is unable to pass as in the group, and is promptly beaten most of the way to death. This exact situation is the major danger of his profession.

        The mob uses those terms precisely because as future post humans they have lost the capability to make a distinction between them. For them, the words only mean ‘thing to beat to death’. Likewise also the viewpoint character’s racist and classist speech.

        Dinosaur is another poetic translation, it actually refers to a man of our era.

        So ‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love’, is actually a paean to racism as an essential and fundamental part of the human experience.

        I don’t really care for that message, but me not caring for something is no disqualification for the Hugo.

        • So, it was an aggressive act by the space wizards to prevent our eventual ascension to total dominance of the galaxy? Diabolical!

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            They also may have been SJW or motivated by a strange alien compassion. The text leaves that up to reader interpretation.

            ‘Space Wizards’ is simply the most probable understanding. Nyarlahotep may have been offended by the ‘going mad’ microagression against people of the three-lobed eye persuasion.

            See T. Boone Pickens’ “The Problematic Nature of Call of Cthulhu’s SAN Stat and Sanity Checks” in November’s SJW Magazine.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              I feel I must apologize to Mr. T. Boone Pickens. I’m not even sure if I have spelled his name properly. To my knowledge, he is an energy speculator who has advocated wind generation. I otherwise know nothing of his politics or personal habits. He may have done good work in Oil and Gas.

              The only defense I can muster is that thanks to personal stress, my judgement and creative energies are not at their peak.

        • Matthew

          ((slow clap))

          Bravo, sir. Bravo indeed.

    • Draven

      You need to read John Scalzi’s Twitter remarks, including the ones he has deleted.

      Your theory on why Comicon is so big doesn’t quite apply to DragonCon. Keep trying.

    • overgrownhobbit

      Mennon, I was going to ComicopCon back when you could buy a membership at the door, and I mainly went because of the unparalleled opportunity to pick up a replacement Bill Siienkevitz New Mutants ish. So I get what you’re saying about how it is now.

      Which, if you’re honest about your confusion, and this isn’t another disingenuous Alynski-ite troll, is why I’ll try to answer what seems to be your question (and you can blame a woman and scifi writer who got subjected to a Three Minute Hate for the crime of using a southern colloquialism, “us girls” on a con panel for my willingness to give you the benefit of the doubt)

      And I’ll try to put it in the language that I know Justice Warriors (the “social” prefix implies social media poser, the kind of person who never brought diapers or served Easter brunch at the local woman’s shelter) appreciate.

      When you can play “spot the dirty racial epithet” consevative/libertarian/”white male” in any nominated Hugo work, and it’s always *you*. When the SF&F art you love never gets a nom because it doesn’t preach a message that currently interests the SJW/ “insider” clique (Jim Butcher anyone?), when you, personally, have no love for the Morman religion or for atheism, but you can and will promote great spec fic by either, and you notice that no work by Mormon author gets promoted or recognized, but atheist works will, when you watch in bemusement as you favorite author goes from darling of Locus Mag. (makes the cover!) to persona non grata after he converts to Cathocism, but (because you read them in MS) you know that the work being ignored was written while he was an anti-dumbass-godbotherer-proseletysing atheist, when you realize that no great piece of explicitly conservative OR religious SF writing will make a Hugo nom, if you look around and realize the current world con fandom, including the puppies are so clueless their graphic works noms ate an embarrassment…

      You un-GAFIAte and become a sad puppy.

      And you root for these guys, not only because the idea of denouncing a writer or a publisher for wrong think makes you want to puke (I’ve sat on a panel with a self-avowed communist) but because you know that if you go to Kate Paulk and the puppies next year and say, “what about those graphic works and art awards? Can we raise the bar and include more of the great stuff being done that the clueless clique is ignoring?”, they’ll listen.

      But maybe, I’m wrong. maybe you self professed SJWs will react to the “one good thing” of the SP imbroglio and reach out to enmbrace diversity. We’ll see.

  5. “But I’m not the one arguing for the “purity” of science fiction and fantasy.”

    I challenge you to give a single example of SP or even RP stating they want to exclude any type/slant of SF/F except that which is poorly written.

    • And they define something as “poorly written” if it has a message they disagree with that’s “obvious” to them.

      Convenient, that.

      • Actually, there’s a difference between fiction with a message, and a message with a thin veneer of fiction tacked on. The point is, was it an enjoyable STORY. . .

        • And your own personal biases for worldview will make certain things stand out to you as well.

          Take the perennial nemesis Scalzi. Where in Redshirts is this “thinly veiled” message? Yes, it’s an entire book about a Scifi injoke but where is he beating you over the head with his progressiveness? I mention this book in particular because I keep seeing it come up as en example of a book that only won because of the evil “SJW cabal.”

          • Matthew

            Well that’s an easy question to answer. The message was “Star Trek is dumb, and anyone who enjoys it is a moron.”

            The condescension was absolutely dripping from the pages.

            • Right, which is why Scalzi and Wil Wheaton are such great friends, right? People who LOVE Star Trek are the ones who embraced the redshirts meme.

              • Wil Wheaton earned recognition and money from Star Trek. From what I’ve seen, he’s more a fan of board games and geek culture.

                The fact that John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton are friends has no connection to “Redshirts”. at least that I’m aware of. From all indications **I** have seen, WilW is more than a bit tired of Trek, as evidenced to his usual reaction to “Shut up, Wesley!”. . .

                • Then you haven’t seen the books he’s published about it, or the blogs where he talks about how much he regrets not embracing the gift he had of being on that show with so many people he now admires.

                  And Wil Wheaton was the narrator for the Audible version of Redshirts (and did a fantastic job at it IMO) That’s the connection.

          • James Schardt

            I have never heard anyone say “Redshirts” is message fiction. Fanfiction, yes, but never message fiction.

      • No, they define something as “poorly written” when it is just that — when the craft is bad or the story poorly constructed. That can include a story where the message is more important than plot or character development. But it doesn’t mean if we don’t agree with the message, we will automatically discount the story. If it did, there are a number of authors I would never have read, or reread.

        • But poorly written (on some level) can be subjective. I think that most would agree that Twilight was terribly written, but I know people who swear that Dan Brown is a wizard with the pen (even though I personally can’t stand him)

          I started reading “Pale realms of shade” and can’t get past the “you’re dripping” comment (used to describe blood). But people felt it was Hugo Worthy. I find I’m more willing to forgive writing issues if I like the story, but if the story is bad/I disagree, the flaws glare. I’d argue that many people do the same thing.

          • Lea

            I think that most would agree that Twilight was terribly written

            I would chime in that anything that sold a bazillion copies cannot truly be terribly written (ie, something in it was done right), but I attempted to read fifty shades last summer so I’m not sure where I fall on that anymore. Granted I never made it past the first chapter. Several people assured me ‘it gets better’.

          • dougirvin

            And Homer was a hack storyteller, in it strictly for the shekels the crowd tossed him. I’ve said before in other fora – the only real distinctive to judge a story’s worth is how the crowd buys it.

            Look, the worst story Robert Heinlein ever wrote was For Us, The Living – which he intended to be a ‘message story, And yes, it is a fairly bad example of Heinlein’s ability. But later, after he came to the realization that he enjoyed the writing more than the preaching, he produced Lifeline, And two years later made Pro Writer GOH at Denvention (3rd WSFC). I’m taking this from the Intro Spider Robinson made in the book.

            The point is, Heinlein was a terrible message writer, but a great fiction writer, and his messages pervaded his writing in a pleasant and welcoming fashion. I’m not against message fiction per se; I do draw the line at all message, no fiction. If I want a moral homily, I’ll seek a minister. They do a much better job.

            Give me a story with a message, and you’d best make sure it has a compelling storyline in true SF&F style. Dangle a bare hook, and the fish will never bite.

      • dgarsys

        Love how you phrase that – the condescension fairly drips.

        Also the willful ignorance.

        Larry, Brad, Hell, even Vox, have actively praised and promoted works that had wordlviews and messages that we/they disagree with.

        So one failure on factuality.

        Two – “obvious” – wow. Ya must really think you’re so much smarter than us.

        Lesson in life. before you start talking like the people in front of you are stupid, you may want to spend some time learning if it is so, and what they know.

        Forex – my library includes roman and greek history and mythology, philosophy, political science, and engineering. I’ve got political tracts ranging from Ann Coulter to “Fortunate Son” and Michael Moore. I’ve studied film and storytelling in my spare time, and have made a living as a nuclear mechanic, a programmer, an AC repair tech, and an instructor.

        But you think me, and the many people who hang out here, at Larry’s, at Sarah’s, and even at ESR’s and Vox’s, many of who’m I find scary-smart, are only able to see the message when it’s sufficiently “obvious” – and that we’re lying when we say good things of works who’s view we disagree with?

        You’re being childish and rude.

        • dgarsys

          I see from a reply that I missed that I may have misunderstood you. Now I’m not sure if you think it’s only “obvious” when we disagree with the message, because we can’t recognize our own message… again thinking we’re stupid or something and not believing us when we say it’s not about the message as the story.

          Never mind the message fic we agree with that we think is poorly written and can’t stand. (There are reasons I don’t read the Sword of Truth books…)

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Agree. Message fic is awful, even when I agree with the message. Heck, especially then.

            • Reziac

              Yeah, it’s just as annoying if not more so. The one is “Stop hitting me over the head with how superior you are!” and the other is “All right already, I get it, can we move on?” If anything, the latter also fails under “really obviously pointing out the obvious”.

              Do I want to read either one? No.

  6. Jonna Hayden

    Well, Menno, I’d disagree with that…I can’t stand message fiction, no matter what spectrum it’s from. It’s dull. I don’t much care for misleading cover art and blurbs, either–it’s sloppy marketing. Brad makes a good point in that excerpt above–we’ve been offered what ostensibly is one thing, and then gotten in a chapter or two to lectures, poor writing, and gimmicky tricks layered on top of tired tropes. That’s the kind of SF I find tedious. And unfortunately, that’s what’s been winning Hugos…Sorry thing, that. What I enjoyed this year with the SP suggestions is how many great authors I hadn’t encountered before were on the list–Marko Kloos?? Annie Bellet? Terrific writing, great stories. After reading them, I had nary a problem with them being nominated. I guess I don’t get why everyone on the “other side” are having such kittens. It seems pretty silly, really. Good works got nominated. Not the usual multiple award winners– but stellar writers who’ve been doing good work for a while now. And a bunch of new voters showed up, with money in hand to play in the sandbox. Why do they keep getting sand kicked in their faces? These are people who have supported the genre for decades, have paid good money to buy books, and have been told unequivocally that they’re 1) Not true Fans 2) Uneducated and incapable of voting “correctly” 3) Being lead around and voting “lockstep” with a slate (amusing, considering how varied the responses all over the internet seem to be from this bunch) 4) Misogynist mormon white men 5) Haters. Because a stack of readers decided they wanted to play, too….and they have different opinions than the dominant paradigm. How dare they, really. I suppose it’s easier to tar anyone who decided to join in with all those epithets rather than just noticing that “hey, maybe, just maybe they have a point”…
    I haven’t nominated in years. I *love* the Dresden Novels. A BUNCH. I was delighted for the opportunity to show that love by putting Mr. Butcher on my ballot. Apparently that makes me all kinds of evil, because I got the idea from Brad. Is that really how you see anyone different from yourself? Are you incapable of seeing that it’s not a bloc…but a bunch of people who love SF just as much? Because *I* do…I just like different things than you.

    • I loved Skin Game. I buy every dresden book as soon as it comes out, I’ve read the codex alera and look forward to his next series.

      I do not have an issue with people voting what they love. I have an issue with people saying “Vote for these people to get them on the slate to send a message” because that means people casting their vote (sometimes, not always) for things they don’t feel is the best out there, but rather something that has the best chance of winning.

      The number of ballots required to place in nomination slots increased dramatically, meaning that an unusual number of people were voting for the same pieces over and over again. So while You personally might’ve avoided the lockstep, the number of people who didn’t is clear. THOUSANDS of books were released last year.. You except me to believe that hundreds of people just happened to choose the same exact list of books for each category?

      • Another brief summation:
        Sad Puppies 1 was initiated by Larry Correia to prove bias in the process; he predicted that if bias was in play, none of the Slate would be selected. He was correct.
        Sad Puppies 2 was initiated by Larry Correia to attempt to get conservative writers on the ballot. None of the slate won an award.
        Sad Puppies 3 was initiated by Brad Torgersen FOR AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT REASON. It is an attempt to get recognition for authors, REGARDLESS of ANY criteria other than story.
        So: object all you want to, on the basis of ideology, about SP1 & SP2. But SP3 has no ideology in common with SP1 and SP2; what it does have in common is good story.
        In retrospect, maybe Brad should have changed the name to Chicken Sandwiches or Granola Bars.
        But the ONLY basis people have for snarfing against SP3 is the fact that it WON, and it’s not like they didn’t have any warning.
        Screw all this stuff. I’m going to go read and review.

        • And it was a SLATE. Which is why I have an issue with it. I don’t care about what reason made it. It was a SLATE.

          Yes, people are mad that it won, but many people (including the devil Scalzi himself) are mad that any slate won because slates completely ruin the spirit of the awards (individuals voting on what is best)

          If he had said “I want to recognized best author, here are 50 books that my readers felt deserved recognition” that might be different. But he didn’t. His recommendations were less than (or equal to) the number of spots on the ballot. That’s a slate.

          • Nathan

            And yet the math proves that Sad Puppies voters considered the “slate” as recommendations, not a straight vote.

            • Hey now, facts like that just get in the way.

              • Murgy

                We expect mere facts to sway his opinion? Careful, I may bust another rib, laughing.

                • Honestly, I don’t expect any such thing.

                  After all, Menno’s shown himself/herself as someone who sees what they want to see. After all, Brad’s complaints about the state of the genre somehow means “exclusion” despite the fact that he never said any such thing, so why should we expect facts to matter? They’ll just make up their own once again.

                  • Jonna Hayden

                    Keep telling yourself we all did the slate thing, Menno…because then it’s easy for you to dismiss all the evidence to the contrary. It’s not a slate when it’s a bunch of insiders pushing Ancillary…but it’s a slate when it’s anyone outside that bunch. It’s not a slate when Scalzi makes recommendations, but it’s a “slate” when Brad does the exact same thing. Brad made a point of taking suggestions, unlike Scalzi. Scalzi actively pimps lists for years–but that’s just fine. No one blows up and loses their minds when it’s been happening for years, they only lose their nuts when it’s the “wrong” folks. It’s been downright hilarious watching the gyrations. And really, the work you’re doing to keep convincing yourself of your rightness is getting amusing as well. You can scream “SLATE VOTING!! AAAHH BADEVILBADBADBAD” all you want. Doesn’t make it so.

          • Scott

            And it would have diluted all these evil new votes so that the SJW slate with their concentrated votes would have won again. Let’s not pretend that you have any other motive here but to keep control of the Hugo’s in the same hands that have been destroying its credibility for the last decade or so. Let’s not pretend either that you disaprove of “SLATES”. You are just fine with them if they don’t carry the one a Puppie label. You sirah are a concern troll and (congratulations) a successful one.

          • “And it was a SLATE. Which is why I have an issue with it. I don’t care about what reason made it. It was a SLATE.”

            Yeah, I know people who are like that about spiders.

          • Christopher M. Chupik
          • dougirvin

            You do realize that Brad did not come up with the list on his own? He took suggestions from a lot of people, compiled the ones which received multiple mentions, and thus posted the listing.
            And what’s with this “I have an issue with a slate” monologue? You don’t have an issue with the slate the original bunch were putting up. Just because you agree with their message? And that makes Sad Puppies bad? That’s really hypocritical, you know.

            And no, I did not bad mouth you and call you a hypocrite – I said what you are practicing is. I leave the possibility open that you are acting in ignorance.

      • Reziac

        Nope, but very often people don’t remember something exists unless reminded, in this case by “someone else’s list of stuff the liked”. I suspect there was a great deal of that, because people who consume a lot of books and short stories very often do forget what they’ve read. (Which is why some of us wind up with multiple copies of stuff… as one who often reads over 300 books per year, I can attest to all of this.)

        No doubt everyone, were they to sort through “everything I’ve read in the past year,” could readily choose different works to nominate. But if those works don’t come to mind, they won’t get nominated. That reminder is one of the functions of suggested nominations. It does mean other works perhaps more worthy will be forgotten, but that’s the nature of the beast… unless you want to make everyone log and rate everything they read.

      • overgrownhobbit

        You think that when the word went out to us Untouchables; “Hey guys, the Hugo’s are more democratic than you think, you can vote, too” the Butcher and Anderson fans didn’t say “hot damn!” Their sales records are enough to get us involved.

        So then we go out and read the other recommended SP stuff. Some of it is gob-smackingly brilliant (Wright’s short fiction. Full confession: I am a longtime fan girl, but everyone I’ve given his stories to has loved them) some surpisised me into nominating them in spite of myself.

        There were hundreds of us quietly responding to the call: the Hugo claims to be for all of us, if we’re just willing to be involved, so this is your chance to light a candle! Are you so asonished that there was enough overlap to get most of the suggested works on the ballot?

        I’m still bemused by the guilt by association function. For every “rabid puppy” who voted the straight VD slate on the grounds that everything on it was at least as good, if not better than the last few year’s noms (not a huge bar to clear, granted) there’s a sad puppy supporter (technically, I voted the manic-depressive puppy slate. It really is herding cats) there’s folks like me. Why is it more important to punish the “bad fans” than to allow people like me the chance to see Butcher win a Hugo?

  7. Im a former soldier and currently a professional historian. Bias in a source, whether in an intelligence source or history, is something Im very familiar with. I havent read Red Shirts so I wont comment on it. But, I assure you, when the message, any message left or right, gets in the way of enjoying the story, I wont finish the book and likely wont read the author again. Those on Hugo lists of the last 10 years that I have read mostly fit that definition. Those books I have loved that came out in the same period never appeared on the lists. This is not, of itself, conclusive but it is indicative. Combined with other circumstantial evidence and, if this was a counter-terror op instead of the Hugos, it would warrant a direct action hit.

  8. mjkerpan

    Amanda: Everybody who is at least a supporting member of Worldcon is welcome to vote for the Hugos; we just think the whole system works better if people nominate and vote according to their own preferences rather than according to a slate. You’ll notice that some of us in traditional fandom are quite annoyed by the no award push and, like the article hear, are urging people not to go down that road. As for what I mean by devoted fen, I’m thinking of people who go beyond reading/watching SF/F and who have at least some connection to/interest in the traditions and culture of fandom.

    • Jonna Hayden

      And guess what…a bunch of us who nominated…ARE familiar with the traditions and culture of fandom, and have and DO participate. Perhaps you haven’t noticed, mjkerpan, how very many of us have pointed that out.

      • I’m voting No award for (most) categories because I abhor slate voting. I’d do the same if there was a “SJW” slate.

        To me, the message the group isn’t the big issue, the method is.

        • Tully

          So to you the politics are more important than the works. That to you the political message sent by you voting No Award is more important than any actual merit contained in anything actually on the ballot, indeed, more important than the awards themselves. Got it. Thank you for proving the point.

        • James Schardt

          So you are voting for the nominators rather than the nominees. The wrong people nominated them so “No Award”. Go ahead. Just don’t try to claim this isn’t political when you didn’t give some of the authors a chance.

          • It’s not political, because the authors and the nominators politics don’t factor into it. I draw issues with SLATES.

            So no, I am not going to give authors in slate locked categories a chance because the people who voted them in didn’t. They said “The only way this piece will appear is if we lockstep vote for it and make sure that it’s not competing against anyone we don’t choose.”

            • There’s more kinds of politics than the things that get argued by pundits.

              Inter-fan politics are still politics, and those are the politics you’re putting front and center.

              • It has nothing to do with the fans, or the nominators, or the nominees. It has to do with the method that was used to nominate them. Again, it has to do with the fact that it is a Slate. I’m not sure how much clearer I can be with that.

                • Did you take lessons to suck this badly at reading comprehension, or does it just come natural.

                  Fannish politics — which your hatred of slates falls into — are still politics. Again.

                  I’m not sure how much clearer I can be with that.

                • Angus Trim

                  What’s you’ve made clear is your taking your orders from Making Light. Independent thought be damned.

                • MC DuQuesne

                  How do you define a slate? What makes Scalzi’s begging for awards over the years any different than brad posting his recommendations?

                  Is it the unproven and nigh unprovable assertion the Sad Puppies voted without reading the works they voted for?
                  Is it the get out the vote effort that makes it unacceptable?
                  Is it the lack of previous Hugo Winners being suggested?
                  Does the racial and sexual diversity of the selected authors make you uncomfortable?

                  What makes Brad’s choices an evil slate, and other people pushing their chosen works perfectly acceptable?

                  Because barring any objective metric, it sure sounds like your definition of slate is “books liked by people I don’t like”

                  • It’s especially amusing when someone like Menno claims slate voting is the problem despite Brad explicitly saying to vote for them if you chose to and Larry Book Bombed all of them he could just to make sure they were read.

                    And all of those works shot up in their respective categories, so they WERE bought.

                    But nope, they’d rather argue that we just voted for the slate as it was without any evidence that actually happened from ANY Sad Puppies supporter.

            • Menno. . .

              Took a look at your blog (which has had no entries since 2011). At least several years ago, you noted you were having problems security well-paid, interesting work ?

              Might I suggest the Central Intelligence Agency ? Because, since you obviously have the ability to read the minds of large numbers of people you’ve never met, and divine their innermost motives, The Agency would pay pretty good coin for that. . . .

              (Sarcasm level set to “11”)

              • And the last time I logged in on a wordpress site was around that time as well. I have a different blog now, I intentionally didn’t use that login because I knew that stuff like this “research” would happen and it adds nothing to the conversation.

                And I don’t have to look at their motives. To borrow from Brad and Larry, I’m just looking at the numbers.

                • “research”.

                  Hmm. Clicking on your name, and seeing what happens is “research”. And why would you worry about someone trying to see where you’re coming from ? Afraid someone is going to Doxx you ?

                  1. That’s not the way we play, Of course, it’s been mentioned on the “other side”, most recently on Scalzi’s blog last night.

                  The current version has been edited:
                  http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/04/20/keeping-up-with-the-hugos-42015/#comment-781315

                  However, the original was screen-capped:

                  2. Looking at the numbers ? The numbers haven’t been released, and won’t be released UNTIL after the Hugo Awards ceremony. So, where, pray tell, are you getting the information from ?

                • Uncle Lar

                  Many of us here come from a background in mathematics, engineering, and the sciences, so we are very familiar with numbers and statistics and probabilities. We’ve looked at the numbers for the awards going back years now and it is painfully obvious that a slate of nominees has existed for quite a while. A very exclusive little group has been gaming the system and now they’ve been caught out. Busted with their hands in the cookie jar.
                  You don’t like that Sad Puppies was a slate? Sure it was, how else do you counter what the numbers say had to be a quietly agreed to behind the scenes ongoing slate that had turned what used to be fan awards into an incestuous and really rather boring and predictable rewards program?

                • You would be wise to follow your own advice. Also read the research Dave Freer has posted on this very blog. The numbers are not in your favor. Read Larry Correia’s analysis of the results in (actually read it rather than skim until offended). The numbers do not support your claim. Read the comments sections and see how many people actually flat out said they voted for some of the suggestions but not for others. Look at the numbers of ones who said point blank they hadn’t voted for pieces of the ‘slate’ they hadn’t read the book in question. Contrast that with the sight unseen ‘No Award’ crowd, which you, yourself have proudly pronounced yourself to be a part of repeatedly in this blog. This is quite disingenuous of you.

                • Reziac

                  So you’re against slates? which is to say, any strong suggestion as to who deserves your vote??

                  Well! Here are three I happened to have instantly to hand:

                  http://whatever.scalzi.com/2008/01/03/the-2008-award-pimpage-post/

                  http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/01/05/the-2010-award-pimpage-post/

                  http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/01/03/the-2012-award-pimpage-post/

                  So, what are his motives, hmm? how do they differ from Brad and Larry making suggestions of “Stuff I think deserves your vote” ??

            • Great, so I’d like to see your posts and publications from last year, where there were a number of other slates.

        • And a hearty fuck you, you sniveling, cowardly twat. You are everything that is wrong with the Hugos.

          • The problem with the WordPress comment threads is that it’s easy to lose track of who’s replying to what. Bassmanco, I’d be interested in _who_ you were insulting with that last. My money’s on Menno or mjkerpan, but … was it a particular quote?

            • Phil, I was replying to Menno: “I’m voting No award for (most) categories because I abhor slate voting. I’d do the same if there was a “SJW” slate.

              To me, the message the group isn’t the big issue, the method is.”

        • Paul Beard

          I am a new voter this year and not involved with puppies beyond enjoying their books,I registered to vote because I abhor this block voting of No Award.

        • overgrownhobbit

          It’s far, far more important to punish the bad fans for their crimes (real or imagined) than to allow amy fan to have the unprecedented joy of seeing their favorite, long ignored author have a chance at winning the Hugo.

          Because fairness. And justice.

      • mjkerpan

        I don’t for a moment think that all puppies are evil or out of touch with fannish tradition. In fact, on the Sad Puppies side, I suspect that a huge majority were genuinely motivated by a desire to get recognition for people and work who seldom get nominated. I even agree that the small number of nominations in some categories (most notably Short Story) has led to a situation where an informal clique of people mainly interested in slipstream fiction with an academic “literary” bent has dominated those categories for years. However, the talk of secret liberal conspiracies turns me off, as does the method chosen by the Sad Puppies to advance their goal. A NESFA-style reccomendation list would have been a tactic I could get behind, though, and if Sad Puppies 4 takes that form, I think that nobody will complain. I certainly won’t.

        • Nathan

          Unfortunately, the freakout last year over one or two recommendations per category argues against that.

        • Good. Then you agree with every substantive point that led to the Sad Puppies suggestions. Thanks, we’ll now include you in the list of Sad Puppies supporters.

    • So, just because someone doesn’t like crowds or can’t afford to travel to a con, they don’t qualify? How inclusive of you.

      I also love how you, and others, seem to think that the rest of us can’t vote without being told what we ought to vote for. I looked at what Brad recommended. Agreed with some of it and disagreed with some of it. I didn’t even look at what Vox put out there, which is why I didn’t know I was on the RP list until after I received word that I had made the short list.

      • mjkerpan

        Amanda: not liking crowds or being able to travel is fine. You don’t need an attending membership to nominate/vote; the people who suggest that voting should be tied to attending membership are a tiny minority and they will get nowhere. What I DO hope will get somewhere are the efforts to increase ballot diversity and weaken ALL slates, both known and hypothetical. The 4/6 proposal should help a lot (each nominator gets 4 nominations per category, while the final ballot contains six works per category.

        • Honestly, I think we all want the numbers to be so large that slates are irrelevant.

          • Tully

            Tom — exactly. Until recently the “turnout” rate on nominations has been no more than 10% of those eligible to nominate. Even with all the noisy kerfuffle this year it didn’t reach 15%. Last year, with LonCon having a record-breaking 10K members, it took less than 100 nominations to get on the ballot for Best Novel, 43 to make Best Short Story, and only 38 to make the ballot for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form.

            If half the people eligible to nominate did so, there would would be no problem. It’s the pathetically low “turnout” rate in nominating that enables logrolling of any kind. Boost the turnout rate and that issue diminishes or vanishes.

          • newjerseybadger

            +1

        • And again, we see that you in fact agree with the Sad Puppies, who wanted to get more diversity into what appeared to them to be a narrowing set of nominees.

      • Lea

        or can’t afford to travel to a con

        Or would rather spend their money going to aruba or something…

    • “…we just think the whole system works better if people nominate and vote according to their own preferences…”

      Exactly. So do we. We just think that “preference” should be based on the actual written work, vs. the author merely being a close personal friend. (N.B. None of the Hugo nominees this year are my close personal friends.)

      Just as an experiment, imagine that people *did* vote according to their preferences this year. Would that change your feelings? If there is one thing that unifies SF fans (note lowercase) is we tend to be people who rebel against coloring in the lines. We *make stuff up*, in public, because we *want* to. I’d rather try to herd a thousand kittens whacked out on catnip and No-Doze than get a bunch of SF readers to quote vote a slate in lockstep unquote.

      Yes, there have been some intemperate comments on the Sad Puppies sites. Some of these people feel like they have been slapped, hard, by those who should be on their side. Keep reading, though. You will see a very sad trend of those who say “I didn’t know I could nominate and vote for the Hugos!”, and worse, “I stopped reading SF because it wasn’t fun any more.”

      Ignore the Puppies (sad and rabid). Ignore the Hugos. Never mind Worldcon. That last statement ought to send chills up your spine. It’s the equivalent of “funny, I don’t remember that mole being there, and it’s getting bigger.” Let’s not bicker about ‘oo nominated ‘oo when we’ve got our survival on the line, eh?

    • Yeah, tell me another one. I could use some cheering up this morning.

    • I did my first con in 1975. At age 13. I’ve been a supporter of numerous Worldcon bids, the last one being the Millenium Philcon. I **ran** cons.
      Small cons, but still cons. I’ve been to cons on three continents.

      And yet, apparently, I’m not a “devoted” fan, because raising a family gafiated me for ~15 years.

    • Lea

      who go beyond reading/watching SF/F

      Call me a non ‘truefan’ or ‘fen’ or what have you, but I’m still not clear on why reading in a culture ostensibly devoted to books (or watching in one devoted to related works) would not be enough. Do you not want any new people?

      This has been the weirdest thing to me about this whole thing. Before I read up on all of this, I thought interest in the subject itself was what bonded people going to conventions. Apparently instead you are supposed to be interested in fandom itself. Strange.

      But then, i’m only a ‘reader’.

      • “Do you not want any new people?”

        Honestly, I think they don’t. When it’s a small group, it’s easier to be the ‘big fish’. Get more people in, and your influence is ‘diluted’, and you’re not going to be able to sway as many people to vote the way you’d like them to.

        The idea of a whole bunch of new people would seem to give them the shuddering horrors…

        • emily61

          I know of a con (long dead) that limited the number of people who could attend even though it was popular. I think it was capped at 200 and it wasn’t first come first served, it was (ostensibly) by lottery. I think it was also by who you knew and how hooked into the network she was. Yes it was a con primarily attended by women.

          Their insane attendance policy irritated me enough that I never considered attending a con like that ever again. The con died soon after of self inflicted wounds. I think that the organizers and many of the attendees were SJWs.

        • overgrownhobbit

          Mmmm… It’s more that the gate keepers have finally purged the group (much easier to do if it stays small) of the+++ungoogthink people. They can finally breathe a sigh of relief and get on with the business of creating salons named after KGB tropes and really fretting down to the process of creating a gender queer worker’s transracial paradise. And then the €>|\”!? Puppies show up.

          I get it. It’s how I feel every time I think we’ve finally gotten the wannabe censors out the door so we can just get back to doing library stuff. It never ends.

          The difference is that intellectual freedom is a core characteristic of American libraries. I’m not so sure about fandom. I’d like it to be, but quite a lot of fandom disagrees. We’ll see what happens.

  9. Christopher Maddox

    People keep using the term “devoted” or serious fen. I would like a clarification. Do we in the SF/F consider somebody who typically doesn’t attend Cons as “not real”? Because I can say I’ve never been to a convention or any of that sort of thing in my 40 some years. But I would challenge the notion that I’m not a fan.

    • emily61

      Some people define devoted fan as someone who attends and/or works on a literary con.

      • Uncle Lar

        Fine, more power to them, but they then do not get to turn around and claim that their tiny exclusionary awards have any association with world wide SF&F fandom.

      • Reziac

        I have known people who were devoted fans of congoing, but weren’t interested in SF/F otherwise.

  10. Hmmm…has problem with a bunch of independent minded sods voting for works they like (which may, or may not, be on anyone’s recommended list) but apparently has no problem with CHORF personal and professional assassination of anyone who disagrees with them. Hypocrite much?

    • I have no problem with people voting for works they like. I have no problem with recommended lists. I have problems with slates of people voting for a locked number of pieces (including stuffing the ballot with a single author, and publishing house owned by the guy making the slate) pushing everyone else out and then getting pissed when people say they won’t vote for it because it’s manipulative.

      And I’m not seeing the part where I am defending assassinations of any kind. Though, for what it’s worth, Vox does a good job of pointing the gun at himself, he doesn’t really need any help.

      • Nathan

        Can you legitimately argue that a group of 200-300 people, given a set of recommendations, yet showing voting results variances of 70-190 votes between high and low was voting slate? Because the Hugo results are inconsistent with your claim of lockstep slate voting. So, from a hypothetical standpoint, if those 200-300 people used a recommendation list as a starting point in voting for works that they like, why do you have a problem with our recommendation list?

        • Can you legitimately argue that a group of 200-300 people, given a set of recommendations, yet showing voting results variances of 70-190 votes between high and low was voting slate?

          Legitimately, no.

        • Robin Munn

          His mind is made up; don’t confuse him with facts!

      • dougirvin

        And yet you keep insisting that SP3 was a slate – while Brad and others keep pointing out that it was a recommendation. Who taught you logic, anyhow? This whole reasoning of yours is as twisted as a pretzel. Without the salt crystal to add flavor.

      • So, Menno, I don’t get it. Clearly, mathematically, people were not voting a slate. And you condemn them. Yet you, yourself, are going to vote the ‘No Award’ slate and consider that correct behavior.

        I really do not understand this.

        Yours,
        Tom

  11. This one is for Menno,

    As others have noted, merely noticing that the contents aren’t aligning with the cover, is not calling for exclusion. It is a call for the field to start delivering what the audience wants, before so much of the audience has walked away, the field no longer exists as a financially sustainable literary project, but instead retreats to the subsidized “contributors copies” world of the college lit journals, and academia.

    We’re not yet at the Schwarzschild Radius, but we may be soon. When the entirety of literary SF/F vanishes into the singularity of its own navel (its own anus?) and leaves the commercial universe entirely.

    I consider this to be an unfortunate possibility. I’m hoping publishers do too. Certainly Baen is trying to give people what they want.

    CHORFs, obviously, will disagree. Like the Futurians, they see lit SF/F as mainly a political application, for changing society to fit whatever utopian ideal is popular with progressives this week.

    That’s not how you draw crowds. That’s not how you light the imaginations of teenagers on fire.

    Adventure and exploration. These are the “horse” while the message and deeper meaning are the “rider.” Too often these days, the rider is freighted with the horse. Wrong orders. You put the horse on the ground — make the adventure and exploration the vehicle — and put the rider in the saddle. Most of the timeless classics get this order correct.

    The audience is like cats — the audience refuses to be herded. And the more the know-betters of this field try to herd the audience (with horses stacked on the backs of riders) the more the audience turns away, and finds something else to love.

    • HerbN

      Truth…until I discovered indie recently 60%+ of my fiction reading was detective and mystery and 20% of the remaining was what you would broadly define as “mainstream” but not literary. The remainder was evenly split among the fantastics: horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.

      In the later category I’d been reduced to two authors who I would 100% buy new books by without even reading the blurb and both write mainly in a slum, urban fantasy. Those two were Jim Butcher and Carrie Vaughn. Notice one qualifies, to a degree, as detective. The other began her series with a strong radio show element. Having done a lot of community radio those notes rang true and locked me into the series.

      Tim Powers is a close to buy unseen but he isn’t getting as much material out.

      The Hugo and Nebula are no longer buy unseen signals. I won’t claim they are “don’t buys” because they aren’t. They are non-entities. I would think that should concern anyone who values the Hugo…that the awards are non-entities to the buying public. That is worse than being a no-buy sign to some. After hate is the flip side of love, not its opposite.

      Indifference is the opposite of love and until last year that’s what I felt about the Hugos.

    • dougirvin

      And the secret of herding cats is simple. Give them what they want, and they’ll willingly follow. I got the tuna – anyone have a can opener handy?

  12. Yeah, and all that stuff can bite me, because I just had to do a review, which meant I had to read the work again, and I wish I could erase it from my memory bank. I read stories to my children and now grandchildren, and “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” has been a favorite ever since it came out in 1985. So I just reviewed the 2014 Nebula winner and Hugo nominee “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love,” by Rachel Swirsky, and it’s almost as if she …never mind, the two examples I came up were too repellant to put on screen.
    http://habakkuk21.blogspot.com/2015/04/if-you-were-dinosaur-my-love-by-rachel.html

  13. So to get the taste out of my mouth, I had to do another review. Just a GREAT author, writing a GREAT book, and I hope she sells a million. I did mess up the header, but the link takes you there. http://habakkuk21.blogspot.com/2015/04/i-received-my-copy-of-this-book-as-loan.html

    • sabrinachase

      When my readers are happy, I’m happy 😀 I do hope Moire and crew restored your will to live after the dinosaur incident. Thanks for the review!

    • Murgy

      Thanks to you, I now know that “Pig & Pancake” is a different story than “Pig & Party”.
      Having now learned one new fact today, I can go back to viewing ‘1 Million & 1 MicroAgressions for the Straight White Male’. Or Not. 🙂

  14. Tim McD

    To your friends who are going to vote No Award. If you do, I am joining with Vox Day next year and will No Award everything. If you want to burn it to the ground, I can bring my matches and gasoline too.

    • Attitudes like yours, Tim, are why I hope for a lot more participation from my friends of all stripes. In a con setting with a high volume of participation, no faction would have the power to do this. You’re not helping anyone with this crap, and you sound like a troll.. To the extent that you’re serious, you _are_ a troll.

      • Tim McD

        Let me make sure I understand your contention. You and your friends can threaten to nuke the awards with No Reward, and that is hunky dory, but if I threaten to retaliate next year, that is beyond the pale. Yeah, attitudes like yours are real helpful. And let me tell you. I am serious. Y’all want to play MAD, don’t whine when your opponents launch their strike.

        • Tim. . .

          Phil is on the side of the angels, here. The whole point of Sad Puppies is to RESTORE the Hugos to the position of the World’s Best SF. And thus, the more that play in the selection, the better the selections will be.

          Small vote pools and CHORFs go together. We’re doing our damnedest to expand the Hugo Nomination and Voting pools, so people like the “Noah Ward” advocates this year are utterly lost in the noise. . .

        • newjerseybadger

          Sorry, I should clarify. I am the author of the post (original post at the head of this column) to which you are replying. I will be voting for those of the SP3 slate whose work I like, and my original post was to people who (say they) are voting No Award this year.

  15. Uncle Lar

    I grew up reading comic books, got my kid’s library card in third grade, and graduated to full library access at the age of 13. That would have been back in 1964. My personal dead tree library contains over 3,000 books, at least half of them science fiction or fantasy. My e-book repository contains some 34,000 files. I have attended SF cons all across this country, even a world con once.
    But I am not a Fan, I don’t toe the party line. I don’t kiss up to the “right” people. I don’t denigrate those who do not follow the proper narrative. But being excluded from the inner circles of Fandom has allowed me to lurk the fringes, watch the shenanigans as they have unfolded, joined with those of like mind and interest and damned if we haven’t made our own way and carved our own niche over in the ghetto that is Baen, and Indie, and the interweb because as someone famously said not so long ago, “you can’t stop the signal!”
    I wrote the following and posted it over on Larry C’s blog a bit ago. My cut at what appears to be going on from the perspective of a knowledgeable outsider looking on. Knowledgeable simply from 50 years of reading and loving good science fiction, starting way back in the last days of the golden age. This is for those who have not been following the action and for a few friends outside the SF&F community who were wondering how old Uncle Lar spends his free time these days.
    – – – – –
    Just to summarize the facts, a small select ever so special exclusionary clique managed to game the Hugo process, not by controlling the votes, but by controlling the nominations. They used the Hugo to award each other and those few writers who delivered the messages they in their infinite wisdom approved of.
    Had this been all that they did the rest of us would have probably simply shrugged and if we thought about the Hugos at all it would have been remember when they meant something. But just owning the Hugos wasn’t enough, they had to make the claim that the Hugos still represented the best of the best of F&SF, and the majority of the uninitiated believed them. So new and budding readers would pick up the list of nominees and winners and expect quality entertainment. What they got instead was poorly written message fiction with massive agenda and precious little entertainment.
    So, a few folks in the fan community saw the situation and determined to set things right. Thus the birth of Sad Puppies. And that elite clique acted exactly as expected, just like spoiled brats caught with their hands in the cookie jar. They deny, deflect, cast spurious blame on their accusers, act all butt hurt when presented with the simple truth, and threaten the lives and families and livelihoods of people who just want a bit of fairness.

  16. Mik

    FWIW, I did not register, so obviously I did not vote…but for the whole “VOTING A SLATE” meme that Menno keeps pushing…is there a straight ticket option on the ballot?

    I mean, the only way to prove that people voted “A SLATE” rather than their individual choices just happen to match the SP recommendations is for “Sad Puppies” to be an actual ballot choice a la the straight ticket D or R on the second Tuesday of November.

    If that is not the case, and I highly doubt that it is…your arguments that people “VOTED A SLATE” are just ludicrous. But by all means, please vote “No Award” in any category whose nominations offend your sensibilities.

    It will just give SP4 and RP2 that much more fodder for next year.

    -Mik

  17. Darth Toolpodicus

    Menno is obviously innumerate.. The mere mention of things such as Variance appears to be rocketing past his head, let alone understanding *why* the numbers plainly show that his “slate-locked voting” is simply not happening. This year. The number plainly show it happened in previous years, for the “in crowd’s” choices.