“…competition crazy, though you wear the dunce’s cap…”
“Answerable to everyone, responsible to all, publicity dissected
Brain cells splattered on the walls of encyclopedic knowledge
May be barbaric but it’s fun, as the clock ticks away a lifetime
Hold your head up to the gun of a million cathode ray tubes
Aimed at your tiny skull
May you find sweet inspiration, may your memory not be dull…”
Jethro Tull – Quizz Kid (Too Old to Rock and Roll: Too Young to Die)
We’re in the final run up to Sasquan, and the Hugo Awards. The weather’s looking promising so I’ll probably be off fishing, because even to a cook of great ingenuity, the dietary value of a plastic rocket-ship is not high, and even sf-writers must eat. Anyone wanting to give me a ‘GW’ Prize AKA green folding stuff, which pays for the basic food-groups needed to go with fish and chips to sustain life, is a different matter. I mean I’ve learned to make ketchup and grow or make most of the essential ingredients, but alas, I have failed with coffee and chocolate. Now if it was a chocolate rocket then we could argue about meaningful things (like what percentage cocoa), but plastic…
Seriously, global warming has given us a bitterly cold and windy winter (Yes, I believe Al Gore did visit Australia recently. I am sure he came by solar sail-plane, entirely made from environmentally friendly carbon-neutral hessian.) with it blowing enough for air-borne cow pats for, it seems like, months (and before that we were hammering in stakes to tether the sheep, and fitting lead boots to the cows) if the swell is not too big I’ll be out on the wild and wasteful ocean, not paying attention to a very far away award. Best of luck to the nominees, I hope you have a great evening.
I am curious, I admit, to see the vote shares (no, I really don’t care at a personal level. I care about sf. I care about making enough money to continue to enjoy my Islander life, with sufficient coffee, chocolate and life’s other necessities like a new skinning knife, and maybe luxuries like a GPS/Fishfinder. That’s not a big ask, so I’m a lucky writer.) The Hugo Awards need some cachet – books popular with a vast number of readers — before they can go back to adding any real value, besides administering to the vanity – or pissing off the people who didn’t win but felt they ought to.
Someone asked me a few days ago – as they’d never heard of this whole circus, or in fact the Hugo awards, but did read sf – which side they’d be likely to support. They’d answered their own question, of course. But it inspired me to put together a puppy/puppy-kicker list. Pick A or B (whatever is closer,) and keep a tally.
1) What are the Hugo Awards?
a) The most prestigious Award in Fantasy and SF.
b) I dunno. Should I care? Wait up… didn’t Dune win one? Good book that!
2) Do you know who Mike Glyer is?
a) Yes he runs File 770, for which he has over 50 Hugo nominations!
b) Um. No. Only Mike I can think of is Mike Rowe. What does he act in? Pornos?
3) You read some sf and fantasy, and have for years. Are you a fan?
a) NO! Fans are people who go to Cons, participate in Cons, move in the right circles, and who know the relevant SMOFs. It’s not just _anyone_!
b) Yes. You enjoy reading the genre.
4) Heinlein or Scalzi?
a) Scalzi! He’s a great feminist and anti-racist and homophile! Heinlein is a heterosexual white male and therefore a sexist, racist homophobe.
b) Heinlein. Pity he’s dead. He wrote good stories. Some might have had women as men’s equals, characters of various races and orientations and sexual arrangements, but who noticed? Who cared?
5) While we’re asking about authors have you read anything by Mack Reynolds, Andre Norton or CJ Cherryh?
a) No. They’re dead conservative white men who wrote racist, sexist homophobic crap.
b) Yeah! I’ve got a few books by them (I got them from Dad/grandma/ Uncle Ted). Have you read ‘Black Man’s Burden’? Andre Norton… she did great space opera.
6) So do you think that sf/fantasy should be a literary genre, addressing social issues, educating readers, used for Modern English Literature courses?
a) Yes. Absolutely! It’s worthless otherwise.
b) If I wanted you to hold my head down the toilet and flush it, I would tell you so. I read for pleasure.
7) Talking of literary darlings… Marion Zimmer Bradley – Tor.com had praise paean to her some time ago. All things considered: Do think they should have?
a) Absolutely. No matter what, she was an icon of feminist empowerment and alternate sexuality! They should! Well done Tor!
b) Wasn’t she the woman who sexually abused and tortured her own daughter? The gay one with a pedo gay ‘husband’? Eugggggh! Aaaaack!
8) Moving away from that. Have you ever worked with your hands and/or held a job for reasonable length of time that was not in the arts, administrative or at most IT? If it was ‘white collar’ was it in a practical, pragmatic science, or commerce, and or military?
a) No. Those sort of jobs are for stupid red-necks. I have a liberal arts degree from an Ivy League College/rich partner/ trust fund/ work for the government/ live with my parents –who are not in need of my care/ scrounge to support my socially important writing on Patreon.
b) Yeah, I grew up on a farm/ visited Uncle Ted on the farm/cut lawns and now I’m in the Army/a geologist/write software/am an accountant. I fix my own car, and do DIY and cook. Or raise my kids. That’s real hands on work.
9) Ever volunteered or donated to people who are not in your chosen circle?
a) I’ll have you know I’m an activist for social justice. I took part in Occupy Wall Street, and every gay pride march. I support great books on Patreon. I don’t give to that white homeless man begging outside the coffee shop I write in. The government provides shelters and should help him. Besides he has white privilege. I work hard dealing with wrong people on the internet.
b) I help out at the animal shelter/firies/volunteer ambos, and my church does a soup kitchen I cook for. I gave money for the fire disaster in the next state, and that cyclone in that foreign place. I usually give that poor bastard begging a few bucks, even if I know he probably spends it on booze. I’ve been down on my luck too.
10) Do you believe that comments that disagree with you should be censored, or disemvoweled?
a) Yes. We’re protecting the freedom of speech and expressing tolerance. How can we do that if just any old redneck can say what he thinks? We’re looking for a vibrant diversity of opinion just like ours. You won’t get that if you let the scum talk. They need to be deprived of a platform, any platform!
b) No. Give them a fair crack of the whip at least. Ask ‘em to be civil, maybe. And if they can’t be they can go and spout it somewhere else.
11) Do you think the traditional publishing establishment is doing a great job?
a) Yes, except for Baen. The others do a wonderful job of bringing more disenfranchised voices to educate the public. Not enough, of course, but they’re rewarding women and minorities, seeing the end of boring hetero-normative binary sex in books. We’ve got to keep these great editors in control of SF, and get rid of the vile upstarts threatening our new golden age. History is on our side!
b) No idea who publishes what. But hell, I can’t find anything fun to read, outside of the Baen Books site. No wonder book sales are down.
12) Are all the sad and rabid puppies racist, sexist, homophobic Mormon men who gamed the system because they’re deservingly unknowns whose work is not good enough to win a Hugo (which is a popularity award, by fans)? (question offered with pictures of various puppies, their spouses, their names.)
a) Yes, that’s dead right. They’re neo-nazis too.
b) No idea. (looking at names and pictures of puppies) Sarah Hoyt. Hmm Great racks on these Mormon men. And look this racist seems to have a black wife… Oh. Jim Butcher. Larry Correia undeserving unknowns who’d have to game the system…. R…I…I…I…G….H….T! You got that stuff from ‘The Guardian’, did you?
13) Patrick Neilsen Hayden – Editor at Tor books – 15 Hugo Nominations
John Scalzi – SF author, blogger – 9 Hugo Nominations
Charlie Stross – SF author, blogger – 15 Hugo Nominations
Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant (same person) -10 Hugo Nominations (5 in one year)
Mike Glyer – blogger running File 770 – 50 + Nominations.
These people have multiple Hugo nominations, and are virulently opposed to the puppies, and have done their level best to trash them. Do you think they might possibly have vested interests in a status quo that has rewarded them richly?
a) (hyperventilating) I can’t even… You’re a racist, homophobic misogynist who hates diversity! Hater! Hater! Hater!
b) 50? Sheeee…it. So, um, in this diversity thing, do they have to be different women or whatever or can you have the same one over and over? Or does it count as two if she writes under a pseudonym?
14) Bernie should go far!
a) YES! But not far enough with our ideals.
b) Yes, Siberia. But that might not be far enough.
Okay this one was below the belt, politics not of my own country, and also politics I’d rather not use this post for. None of my business. But, seriously there seems a divide between far left, and everyone else. There are left wing pups, but there seem to be no puppy-kickers who aren’t far left.
If you answered a) to all questions: You are a puppy kicker. What are you doing here? You must be lost. Go straight back to File 770. You’ll feel right at home there. If you answered a) only to most questions I suggest you run and hide from them, because the ideological purity brigade will find you out, and declare you subhuman like the puppies. They may even get Rachael Acks to invite you to fuck off, which would probably upset you terribly.
If you answered b) to some or most of the questions… stick around, willya? We’ll answer questions as best we can.
If you answered b) to all questions… have a beer, kick the kid out of the chair, sit down, call the cat a bastard. You’re home. Read any good books?