Old friends

Congratulations to all the Dragon Award winners. It is good for sf as a genre, and the award, and for winners and the short-list nominees to have an award being won by popular authors with a large, broad-spectrum readership. I’m sure all the usual suspects at File 770 are howling about their lack of literary merit and political correctness – but the truth is: neither of those things sell much – and an award’s value to authors and the genre is determined by at least some winners being real (as opposed to publisher faked, purchased NYT bestseller slots, with no major long term sales proving their actual popularity).  Then an award starts to say ‘Buy me!’ rather than ‘Avoid me!’ to the numbers we need to make sf thrive.

Back in the dark ages when fax machines and dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was just entering University, I was participating in that defining ritual of evolved civilization: the orderly queue, to register. Being a graduate of South African Military School of ‘hurry up and wait’ I was well prepared. I was wearing trousers that had magazine pockets on the thigh, got into the queue and hauled out a sf novel, and settled down to read and wait. The young blonde-haired bloke behind me sighed. “I wish I’d thought of that.”

So being a kind, outgoing soul, and also not wanting someone to talk to me while I read, I offered to lend him one of the other two books, from the opposite thigh-pocket. And thus, reading, in companionable silence, a long friendship was formed. As it happened Pete and I were registering for almost all of the same subjects – he ended up in entomology and I was at the bludgeoning edge of Ichthyology – but as undergrads we shared most of subjects – and taste in books, and depraved senses of humor.

Life took us off in separate directions, but it was one of those friendships where you might not have seen each other for five years, but it was as if the other had just stepped out of the room for five minutes. We disagree on as many subjects as we agree on, but manage to still talk, argue, and like and respect each other. He married a girl ideally suited to him (even if she is a microbiologist) that we highly approved of, and they were God-parents to one of my sons, and we are God-parents to their daughters.

They were the last people we saw when we left South Africa, and, while my sons have seen them since, that was seven years back. Pete’s wife is coming across to visit after a conference on tick-borne diseases on the day this post is due, so I’m getting this done – and thinking about old friends in the book world.

There are a lot of common traits with ‘old friend’ books and ‘old friend’ people, many of which are very important to an author – or at least to an author who wants to make a living at this. You want, badly, your readers to regard you (or rather your books, but to them, you are your books – which is why when a reader meets or talks to an author whose books they love, and find that author a jerk – you lose that reader) as that old friend. New and exciting and dangerous is all very well, but you always find time and money for old friends. I don’t know about you, but things have to be fairly good before I feel like venturing on a new author. However, old friends – there’s never a bad time for a Weber, or Correia or a Lee and Miller or Louis L’Amour… I may not enjoy all of the new offerings as much or agree with all of the ideas and themes. But I know I’m not going to hate them, and I know it’s very probable I’ll really love the book. Trust me: I know the lit’ry world says you want to be unique just like everyone else, and startling and shocking and pushing the boundaries… if you want to sell well, reliably, you want to be that old friend.

So: what is it about those old friend authors? I dunno. You tell me. Different authors are ‘old friends’ to different readers. I would say ‘trustable’ was definitely near the top of the universal list, however. Some authors – and I am probably one, are very ‘hit-and-miss’ with readers. This is probably more likely if (like me) you write all over the place – anything from high fantasy to hard sf – which is why it is so essential to signal with your covers and blurbs just what the reader is getting. I have a fair number of readers who will read it if I wrote it, but there are others who are specific fans of certain genres and styles – and telling them, up front, may lose you a few short-term sales, but it says they can trust you.

Secondly: I’d say ‘old friend’ authors go out of their way to treat their readers with respect. The fashionable attitude in much of  our genre is very much that the rubes who buy your books are idiots – especially if they dare disagree with you.  You’re one of the ‘cool kids’ according sycophantic respect to your publisher, praising every word they say – but quite happy to label people who paid for your book/s as morons or bigots — if they don’t agree or like your opinions. Well. I won’t be back as a reader easily if I get treated like that. Readers have value. Publishers… and politicians and their positions (unless they run in concord with most of your readers, don’t.

Finally old friends make you feel better and leave you feeling better – so you long to see them again.

And now I plan to go and spend time with this old friend. When they leave, I’ll turn to a book… by an author who is old friend, too.

 

93 Comments

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93 responses to “Old friends

  1. Well if I were to discover that the author of books I like is a jerk, I can still like the books, but I might start buying them used so they won’t get a royalty. 😉

  2. TRX

    > customer

    *You* aren’t their customer. Their editor is their customer, the one they turn handsprings to please, the Bestower of Royalty Checks.

    You? You’re some part of the faceless mass so far down the chain, they can’t even see you. They attend conventions or run blogs, but that’s purely so people can tell them how wonderful they are, which is glaringly obvious to All Right-Thinking People, but nice to have affirmed by strangers anyway.

  3. Old Friend books and book-writers are 1) going to give me a story that doesn’t leave me feeling worse than when I started, 2) not going to preach overtly, 3)going to tell a story old enough to resonate but new enough to keep me curious, 4) going to introduce me to new friends [characters] to cheer for and villains to hiss at, 5) and are not going to tax my brain like the jacket-copy of a new fantasy novel did. The first two-sentence paragraph had English verbs and some conjunctions, and the rest was book-language words. I was put off instead of intrigued. There are times I want to meet new potential-friends and be challenged, but there are times I just want an early Weber, or Susan Cooper, or Wynn-Jones, or early Lackey, or Pournelle. Or Freer. 🙂

  4. Sanford Begley

    I must mildly disagree. I know a number of authors that are various shades of jerk. I still read them. Well not Scalzi, and not Gerrold if he ever manages to write something. There is a publishing house that I won’t read, no individual authors

    • Second attempt:

      There is someone who’s a known jerk, and then there’s someone who’d a jerk to you. There’s a profound difference there. I remember a local election where I was undecided – until one candidate made some unwarranted jerky remarks to me in an attempt at humor. I went into the polls and voted for his opponent.

      This is why you always put on your best PR face when meeting with the public, even if you dang well don’t feel like it. Odd are I’ll never make enough sales to ever meet a fan, but I have spent over thirty years working with the public, and it’s not unusual to meet someone in a store or somewhere who remembers you, but you, having only met them once amid many, have no idea of who they are. But you never tell them this. You greet them with your PR face, no matter how inconvenient that may be at the moment, because ultimately your income depends on them.

      This is especially true for authors. You p*ss off a reader, you’ve lost a sale. Simple as that. You p*ss off a fan, you’ve lost a repeated sale. That’s bad business.

      True, there’s known jerks you’ve never met who can rise to the point where they lose sales, such as Flat Cats, and yes, you can do so for political reasons, and so forth and so on. But being a jerk weighs more heavily that politics or religion or anything else. You can be, at least on the surface, a nice guy and have readers from all walks of life. But if you’re a jerk, you’re going to find you won’t have near as many sales.

      • Uncle Lar

        You p*ss off a fan, you’ve lost a repeated sale. That’s bad business.
        Fans congregate and associate with each other. Piss off enough for it to become a known pattern and you will experience the joys of word of mouth, for a very twisted definition of joy.

      • Exactly – and I have also worked in public affairs/marketing, and have the rottenest memory for names ever bestowed on a modern human. But I do have excellent recall of faces, and yes – always-always-always be cordial to readers. Especially of they are repeat readers.

        • Sorry to be a jerk, but I have that signal dishonor. Took me nearly a week to finally remember the name of one woman that I was seeing nearly every day.

          Although I have managed to hold onto that memory for nearly 35 years now.

    • I’ve never read any of Scalzi’s novels, at this point I don’t have any intention to, either. Gerrold has written some excellent ST novels, but I haven’t read any ST since 90’s, and I’ve never seen anything not ST of his in any of the bookstores or libraries around here.

  5. Most of my ‘old friend authors’ are dead. But I’m still finding new to me works by Louis L’Amour, Charlotte Macleod and Isaac Asimov to read. My NEW ‘old friend authors’ include Correia, Hoyt and Ringo. One of my favorite fantasy authors has been a jerk to people with differing political views all over FB and told me not to buy anymore of his books. But since he holds no actual control over me, he can suck wind as I buy his books used. And as demonstrated a couple of years ago, publishing houses can also become ‘old friends’ or toxic waste.

    • There is an SF/F author I really liked who essentially said he didn’t want people like me as a reader. I took him at his word, and haven’t read anything he’s written since.

      For books from controversial authors, I go to the library. They don’t take up space, and I don’t line their pockets. There was one book, the title of which shall remain nameless, where I violated this rule, and immediately regretted it. It was worse than cr*p, because cr*p at least makes the grass grow over the septic tank, but this couldn’t even do that.

      • Draven

        Yes, Kevin, if an author says that, then i don’t need to spend my money on their books whether they are bought new, bought used, or bought at the salvation army (which means someone gave them away… which is sometimes appropriate for these people’s books.)

        • adventuresfantastic

          This. I’ve stopped buying books both from a certain publishing house and certain authors. One threw a series of hissy-fits online after the election last year and said they didn’t want anyone who voted a certain way reading their books. A pretty stupid position to take, if you ask me, but if that’s the way they want it…

  6. Christopher M. Chupik

    “I’m sure all the usual suspects at File 770 are howling about their lack of literary merit and political correctness”

    Believe me, they are.

    • Including or not including Wonder Woman?

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Didn’t see anything at Vile, but I saw this on Twitter:

        “Esteban LV‏ @es7ebanlv 15h
        15 hours ago

        More
        When #PokemonGo wins “Best #SciFi #Fantasy Mobile Game” & #WonderWoman best movie from @DragonAwards, you know those awards are irrelevant.”

        • Zsuzsa

          But I thought Wonder Woman was this great statement of feminism and proof that superhero movies can be just as good with female leads.

          Are they hating it just because it won the Dragon, or did I miss a memo about how Wonder Woman is really sexist/racist/homophobic/cissexist/[your complaint here]?

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Could be either one, really.

            I saw someone on Twitter complaining that Wonder Woman started WW2 by defeating the Germans.

            Yeah.

          • Zsusa said: “Are they hating it just because it won the Dragon, or did I miss a memo…”

            Yes. ~:D The Dragons are dirty/bad/no good/cheating cheaters, AND you missed the memo that Wonder Woman is a tool of the hated Patriarchy. Oh, and also racist. Yes, despite all the trouble they went to, injecting black, Muslim, Indian and other races WHERE THERE WEREN’T ANY, the Wonder Woman movie was racist.

            And yes, the reason Lefty blogs and websites delete comments is so that people like us don’t point out that the Turks were the enemy in WW1, and there were -zero- of them fighting for the British side. Also that there were nearly-zero black men out there in the trenches fighting. Oh, and no Indians to speak of. Maybe some in with the Canadians.

            To be clear, because I know the type of idiot that lurks here hoping for gossip (looking at you, China Mike,) the number of other-than-White men at the front in Europe was -small- compared to the number of men. Meeting one would be extraordinary. There were also essentially -zero- other-than-white-Belgian civilians. Because it was Belgium, in 1918, and that’s who lived there. Belgians.

            I’m not saying that was a good thing or a bad thing, I’m saying its a fact. People can argue the merits of the situation, they can’t argue that it happened that way. That would be like arguing there were black men present in Japan during the Edo period. Or in Scotland, fighting at Culoden.

            But, thanks to the legions of vacuum-headed SJWs on social media, a major motion picture HAD TO PRETEND there was this rainbow of races present in Belgium in 1918, and the movie still got called racist anyway.

            Oh, and the Dragon Awards are a vehicle for White Supremacists. Thus spracht Grog Hullblender, of Rocket Stank Rack. It’ll be interesting to see if Grog shows his face around here after that beauty.

            Yes, I’m a bit salty today, thanks for asking. >:)

            • Salty :-). I like it, even if it makes me reach for the beer. The more desperate they get, the more they chant the magic words. Racist isn’t working that well any more so they’re going the new power words ‘white supremacist’. If they say that at things or people they don’t like they will disappear. Chili is ‘white supremacist’. Fred who is black but disagrees with them is ‘white supremacist’. And they wonder why it doesn’t work.

              • Gotta say I’m getting a bit torqued off at the casually tossed off NAZI!!! accusations flying around the last little while. My uncles actually fought those bastards, I’ve heard the stories. The only people out there right now even remotely approaching the Nazis are ISIS, none of these little SJW turds have the stones to even mention that lot.

                As well, Big G turning up below acting all holy and pure, meanwhile posting more and more accusations of impropriety and screams of NAZI!!!11! directed at the Dragons, that’s raising my temperature a bit. His comments section is like a study of National Socialist propaganda.

                Imagine, all this uproar because some nerds voted for the books they liked in a free and open contest. The mind boggles.

            • Eh. The question of “how many non-whites were there on the Western Front” is…complicated, because the US had a few black infantry regiments (which were detached to the French when they asked for some American infantry units), the French had a lot of troops from their colonial possessions, including units recruited from the native populations of North and West Africa, and Indochina, and the British stuck some troops from India onto the line until they figured out that soldiers who’d spent their whole lives in the tropics didn’t do well in Belgian winters.
              The plaint has more substance behind it than the whining about Dunkirk, but, especially considering that the trench scene happened in the British sector of the line, really falls flat.

              • Story from my old Girl Scout buddy, who was the child of a career Army NCO, who had served in WWII and Korea – and whose grandfather had served in the US Army in France in WWI. Grandfather’s unit had a man in it who was a full-blooded Sioux Indian … who had a very primal approach to total war. (Of course, this is a story at third- or maybe fourth-hand…) The unit sent the Sioux guy down the line a couple of times as a prisoner escort. He kept returning in very short time. Queried about this – the soldier retorted that he was there to kill enemies, not baby-sit them. He was not sent alone on prisoner escort detail after that… As I said – this account is at least three-times removed.

                • Day late and a dollar short Miss Celia, but that story has filtered down much the same to this generation, from my own great grandfather (his older brother was in France at the time). Great grand was a teller of tales, but there was always a nugget of truth in there somewhere, so it’s possible that one may have someways happened.

              • “The question of “how many non-whites were there on the Western Front” is…complicated”

                Not really. The answer is “a few.”

                Of particular note, I see no one objecting to the lack of non-white soldiers on the -German- side.

        • (Blinks) So…what would have been more ”relevant” than Wonder Woman?
          Star Wars: Rogue One is the only movie I could see even placing.

    • Luke

      I voted for nearly none of the winners, and yet I don’t feel cheated.
      That’s a marvelous feeling.

      Most of my reactions are “OK, I can see that”, with an occasional ” Hmm. I’ll have to check that out”.

  7. Santa

    I was at a convention in 1979 where Harlan Ellison was guest of honor. He was so incredibly rude that I have not bought one of his books new since then. I buy them used so that he won’t get any of my money.

    • Wow. So naughty Santa won’t even give him a lump of coal!

    • It’s my understanding that Ellison cultivated that “angry rude man” thing as a performance piece. I got that info from reading Isaac Asimov’s autobiography. Asimov himself cultivated the ‘dirty old man’ image, and a girl I once dated, briefly and without distinction, met him at a convention and was wondrously alienated by it, whereas she had been a fan in the past.
      My youngest son, the Moose, met Larry Correia this weekend at DragonCon, and Larry was exceptionally kind to him, and they chatted briefly about the every-day carry pieces used by the characters in the Monster Hunter series. Moose was already a fan-for-life, but that brief encounter turned him into ultimate status.

    • TRX

      Ellison wrote something after 1979?

  8. Mike Glyer

    “Oh, please, please, Mike, pay attention to me!”

    Okay. I did. Not sure why it’s so important to you.

    • Luke

      You aren’t that important.
      Or even interesting.

    • ChinaMike the dishonest puts his usual spin on things. No, Mike Glyer, we don’t care if you or your little camp-followers pay attention or not. We were using you as example of irrelevancy. Now go play with your Chinese bots. They care. We don’t.

  9. Mike Glyer

    Oh, so you’re just virtue-signaling when you drop my name. Carry on.

    • Projecting again Mike? Nope, I’m just using a known example. As white as snow, as slippery as soap, as irrelevant to readers and sales as file 770. Now run along and play.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire . . .

    • So, are you trying to get more traffic from here in order to try and get your clicks from the United States to a higher percentage of your visitors than 5%, or are you just deliberately misunderstanding things in order to be obnoxious?

      • Mike Glyer

        No special effort needed from me to get that result. Dave mentions my blog in practically every post. A point you seem to have missed.

        • Glyer the liar at work again. You want try the numbers loser? Go on. We can count my posts – and mentions of your festering little blog. ‘Practically every’ post should be easy to prove – but you’re a liar. Mentions of this blog or me BY you and your little click comfortably exceed the inverse. Go on, put up the numbers and proof or be banned. After your last attempt at self-aggrandizement failed spectacularly when you put your Chinese bot traffic and showed how utterly irrelevant you are – you think you’d be less stupid. But perhaps that is too hard.

          • Mike Glyer

            September 4, July 27, June 19 — oh geeze, Dave, you missed a month there! My mistake!

            • Let me see if I’ve got this right, three out of 14 posts is nearly every one?

              • This is Mike “I posted a screenshot to try and refute a point that no one made and forgot to clip the part that blew my refutation out of the water” Glyer we’re talking to, here.
                The answer is, yes.

              • Jasini – And that was only that high because the Chinese Bot incident happened in the middle of it. He cherry picked. Again.

            • Mistake my ass, Glyer. You lied. You always do. You knew you lied. Even now you’re trying your normal selective quotation of facts, and spin. Even in your selective quoting you can’t manage ‘practically every’. I post 4-5 times a month, loser, not once. You assumed you’d get away with it. You didn’t. You’re banned. Bye.

        • You sure about that, Mr. Glyer? I mean, we could post that screenshot of yours…

        • snelson134

          A lie by you that proves you’re deranged.

        • Trying again, as my comment ended up in Moderation Hell.

          Since you decided to play ghost at the banquet, Mikey, let’s see you defend yourself a bit. You’ve been giving a lot of space to people saying things like:

          “They know their faves are not actually amazing, that they are actually inherently problematic, superficial, simplistic, dumbed down, and NOT award worthy.” Megan AM, Shadow Clarke Jury.

          This person really went to town on “USian” SF fans, according to her we all need to shut the hell up.

          Then there was this great Dragon bit here:

          “Annalee Flower Horne condemned the proceedings out of hand, as did Lady Business’ Renay, and D. Franklin.

          I’d say “The Dragon Awards are a joke,” but this shit isn’t funny. It’s racist and sexist, and so is treating this like it’s a real honor.

          — Annalee (@leeflower) September 3, 2017

          The Dragon Awards are something Dragon*Con ought to be ashamed of having associated with them

          — D Franklin (@D_Libris) September 3, 2017″

          I checked those threads, “white supremacist” and “misogynist” was as polite as they got.

          And of course this beauty from you:

          “rcade: True, but the weak administrator model employed by the Hugos isn’t always a strength. Our administrators could have saved the awards a lot of time, aggravation and lost prestige by throwing out the bloc votes the first time they filled the entire ballot with their choices.
          I know some people will be aghast at that scenario, but I regard it as a better one than letting that entire year’s Hugo ballot be forever spoiled and seeing fairly chosen nominees left off the ballot entirely.”

          “Mike Glyer: I argued that’s what should be done. As stewards of the award, the Worldcon committee has implicit authority to resist the efforts of someone who has set out to destroy the Hugos — in this case, had publicly announced that as his goal.”

          That’s very classy, Mikey. Just shit-can the votes of PAID MEMBERS because you don’t like what they picked. Super supportive and inclusive of you.

          Basically, going by the above, you don’t think we should be allowed to like what we like and say what we want to about it, and we should not be allowed a fan-voted Dragon Award that disagrees with Holy WorldCon. That seems to be the gist of your opinion.

          There’s also the very strong implication by you that the Dragon administrators didn’t give the awards out to the books with the most votes. Again, very classy, particularly as it is based on exactly nothing.

          But hey, I guess it keeps your stable of flying monkeys supplied with red meat.

          • snelson134

            ““rcade: True, but the weak administrator model employed by the Hugos isn’t always a strength. Our administrators could have saved the awards a lot of time, aggravation and lost prestige by throwing out the bloc votes the first time they filled the entire ballot with their choices.
            I know some people will be aghast at that scenario, but I regard it as a better one than letting that entire year’s Hugo ballot be forever spoiled and seeing fairly chosen nominees left off the ballot entirely.”

            “Mike Glyer: I argued that’s what should be done. As stewards of the award, the Worldcon committee has implicit authority to resist the efforts of someone who has set out to destroy the Hugos — in this case, had publicly announced that as his goal.””

            You know, I really wish they had done that, since filing charges of fraud both criminally and civilly against Worldcon as a convention and every administrator personally would have been vastly entertaining…. not to mention how productive discovery would have been on details. Then we could explore whether Worldcon counts as a public accommodation.

            • It might have been nice to see the big cheeses do a perp-walk, but for long-term damage five No Awards and the wooden arseterisks was nuclear-level destruction. Then there was that fricking skit at the beginning of the ceremony… and the cheering for Noah… and the booing every time a Puppy pick was mentioned… and now that the Sad Puppies are not participating, they STILL CAN’T SHUT UP… yeah baby. Stick a fork in it, its done.

              I’d say the WorldCon community has gone out of their way to step on every land mine they possibly can. Even the worst leadership ever would have missed a few, but the dedicated morons of the rank-and-file have sought out and tripped over every last one. Ka-pow.

          • Draven

            His attitude toward us and ours is exactly the kind of person that makes me look forward to putting 2200 miles between me and LASFS. I’ll be glad to never have to run into you at a con again, you self-serving sanctimonious bottom-feeder. (tirade cleaned up for MGC)

        • Luke

          No one cares that much about you.

          It could be that your narcissism is a coping mechanism, but I’d really advise taking on the responsibility of a pet, instead.
          It tends to have better outcomes.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Why not both?

  10. MattB

    Well, that was an attempt at snark.. on a good day, with a following wind and both engines redlined. *snerk*

  11. vavu2009

    I guess Mike’s trolling is a way to cover for the fact that the Dragons got almost twice the number of votes as the Hugo’s and that’s just in its second year. Also, all the winners (none of which were on the Hugo list) are extremely popular with large followings. Meanwhile, Hugo votes dropped by half. So yeah, he has a lot of pain to cover.

    • Ben Yalow

      Technical correction:

      This depends on your definition of “Hugo votes”. For final award voting, there were 3319 ballots this year, as compared to the 3130 cast in 2016.

      For nominations, there were 2464 nominations ballots this year, and 4032 last year.

      So nominations were down significantly from last year, although not quite by half, and final ballots were up by about 10%.

      • Ben -If you’re going to make technical corrections try and get them right: I make that just on 6% up. So if you’re going to inflate that to 10%, I’d say calling your nominations halved would be as accurate. Honest rounding is down, I suggest you call that near 5% if you’re moving in 5% units. But it’s neither here nor there. The 189 voters different might seem vast compared to ChinaMike’s non ‘bot readership, but really, well I sometimes get more readers here than you get voting in the Hugos, let alone that trivial difference. Sarah probably averages 3-5 times that. Larry will probably get considerably more. There are a lot more people at least with partly discrete audiences who were not enemies of WorldCon or the Hugos (not friends, but not foes) who now will miss no opportunity to piss in WorldCon’s Cheerios and will actively not attend and discourage their fans attending, or using the Hugos as anything but a ‘don’t buy’ label. What you administrators and ‘trufen’ thought to gain with the way you managed this is something of a mystery to everyone. Personally I suspect some of you realize that. But I don’t see any way back for you.

        • Kate Paulk

          The Hugo administrators aren’t the WorldCon administrators who in turn aren’t necessarily the “trufen”. There’s some overlap but from what I’ve seen it’s a long way from 100%.

          Just as it’s wrong to conflate you with Larry Correia (and don’t we all wish we got Larry’s sales) or with Sarah, or Vox, or… (you get the idea), it’s not good for anyone over here to conflate the Hugo admins (quite a few of them spoke out against the so-called anti-slate proposals last year, but they are bound by the membership vote however much they agree or not) with the WorldCon admins or the loudest and most obnoxious self-proclaimed trufen.

          The Hugo administrators have nothing to do with the award ceremony – and the egregious nastiness of two years ago isn’t anything to do with them.

          Please, lay blame where it belongs, not with the people who have – as far as I can see – been following the rules as faithfully and honestly as they can despite any misgivings they might have about how beneficial those rules might be.

      • Andrew

        An award that’s been in existence for two years has more votes in its second year than the Hugo has had for most of its existence.

        But lets quibble over over the math used, because that’s the important thing to take away from this discussion…

        • Kate Paulk

          Actually, it does help to be accurate. I could see taking six and a smidge percent and rounding it to the nearest factor of 10 as “up by about 10%”. It’s not strictly speaking accurate, but it give order of magnitude reasonably well.

          And the point of the correction is that you can’t simply lump nomination ballots and award votes together. Nominations did drop by around half. That isn’t a good sign. Award ballots increased by a small percentage. That is a reasonable sign without being especially good.

          • Robin Munn

            When I first looked at those numbers, I ballparked 3130 into “about three thousand”, and then 3000 to 3300 is indeed a 10% increase. So I got it wrong exactly the same way that Mr. Yalow did. But in fact, 3150 is halfway between 3000 and 3300, so a 5% increase is a far more accurate number.

            And Mr. Yalow, as far as I have ever seen, has been trying to be fair and do an accurate job of counting the ballots; I have seen nothing but indications of good character from him personally. But he did slip up here: if you’re going to correct someone’s numbers, you do need to do better than a mere ballpark estimate.

            • Kate Paulk

              I believe Mr Yalow was more pointing out that it was a bad idea to conflate nomination ballots with final ballots by showing the different sets of numbers for them.

              • Kate, I am less generous than you. I think that Ben was trying to minimize damage. If you bought a supporting membership, you got to vote that year and nominate the next IIRC. So: for an honest, not ChinaMike statistical answer, you would compare the trend in voting numbers for two years previous, and last year and the nomination numbers from last year, and this year – which I suspect would show a near 50% in both. What the large number of noms represented was people ‘using up’ their nomination privileges, in a year in which they did not vote. I expect the nomination numbers to stabilize (back to around what they were before SP1) and continue to drop steadily as WorldCon continues to shrink and grey, and the Hugo continues to lose credibility, because the ‘choices’ are not popular with the wider market of readers. (if they were they’d roughly demographically representative of those readers – in aspects from sex to politics).

                Coarsely speaking at $50 for a supporting membership (which is very low cost mostly profit for the con), Sasquan and the conduct of its ConCom, the Hugo Admins and their failure to act in a neutral and unbiased fashion, and the actions of Trufen – using Gerrold and Martin extreme examples has cost subsequent WorldCons just short of $80 000 each just in supporting memberships – probably in excess of $100 000 a time – if you consider those who might actually have attended. They made enemies out of a lot people who might not have been their friends, but didn’t hate their guts. What did they actually get out of it? They pleased a publisher who uses the awards as cost saving on paying authors. Unfortunately, a publisher heading into its own financial troubles, but they were pleased. They pleased a clique of around 80 -log-rollers and their friends. Almost none of the rent-a-mob who made the awards ceremony into a shit-show have returned – because they’re not into sf, they just came to play social justice warrior. The SP supporters – who ARE sf readers who they could have recruited… won’t attend again. It’s a losing equation. And now you have some of them realizing that, and saying ‘well it wasn’t OUR fault.’ It was all of their faults. We’re not doing them any favors by giving some a soft pass. If they want to save their con and their award, they need us to kick their butts, or they won’t learn.

  12. vavu2009

    For what it’s worth, a smaller Hugo voting pool will make it cheaper for Tor to buy N. K. Jemisin her 3rd Hugo.

  13. So who won?
    For the books, I have added the publishers. Note the wide range, including one independently published book.

    2017 Recipients

    BAEN – Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)
    Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge, by Larry Correia and John Ringo

    CREATESPACE – Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel
    Iron Dragoons, by Richard Fox

    ORBIT – Best Science Fiction Novel
    Babylon’s Ashes, by James S.A. Corey

    DISNEY-HYPERION Best Young Adult / Middle-Grade Novel
    The Hammer of Thor, by Rick Riordan

    DEL REY – Best Alternate History Novel
    Fallout: The Hot War, by Harry Turtledove

    TOR – Best Apocalyptic Novel
    Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow

    Spiegel & Grau Best Horror Novel
    The Changeling, by Victor LaValle

    Best Comic Book
    The Dresden Files: Dog Men, by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Diego Galindo

    Best Graphic Novel
    Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card, by Jim Butcher, Carlos Gomez

    Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series
    Stranger Things, by Netflix

    Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie
    Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins

    Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game
    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, by Nintendo

    Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game
    Pokemon GO, by Niantic

    Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game
    Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, by Avalon Hill

    Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game
    Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon, by Wizards of the Coast

  14. I have seen a report that there were about 140,000 nominations. Note that appears to be nominations, not nomination ballots, so if a typical person nominated in ten categories, that is around 10,000 people doing nominations. I don’t remember if you could nominate several works. It would have been a good idea. Surely for the Neffy awards we will allow more than one novel nomination per nominator. After all, there were something like two thousand published novels in 2016.

  15. Again, three cheers for the winners. Robin, Thanks. I gather that there were about 140000 nomination votes, so at a guess 10-20 thousand nomination ballots (I am blind-estimating in how many categories someone would typically nominate). At one nomination per ballot, my initial estimate of 10,000 would be low.

  16. Am I the only one here who remembers when there was a controversy as to whether or not Edgar Rice Burroughs fandom had worked vigorously for a Hugo award for their author or one of his series?