Four Things About the Hugos, 4/27/16

First off, gaze upon Chuck Tingle’s latest story, above (and for sale here). That’s kind of awesome.

Second off, I see some people here and elsewhere swearing they’re going to put anything that was on the Sad/Rabid slates or recommendation lists below “No Award” this year. Bluntly, you’ll be foolish if you do this. As I noted in my LA Times piece yesterday, the Puppies this year slated things that were already popular outside their little circles, like, for example, The Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman.

Come on, folks. Does anyone really think Neil Gaiman holds active membership in the Puppy brigades? Or Stephen King? Or Alastair Reynolds (who specifically asked to be dropped from the Puppy lists, and was ignored)? Or Lois McMaster Bujold? Or, for that matter, probably Chuck Tingle? I mean, hell, someone put me on the Sad Puppy recommendation list for a while*, despite the fact I rather publicly dropped out of consideration for awards this year, and the fact that many people who identify as Sad Puppies wouldn’t piss on me if I were on fire.

Don’t give credit for the Puppies slating already popular work and then acting like they got it on the ballot, or for dragooning unwilling and unwitting people onto their slates for their own purposes. That’s essentially victim blaming. Rather, use your common sense when looking at the work and people nominated. The Puppies would be happy if you didn’t do that, mind you. I’m hard pressed to understand why you would oblige them so.

(But then the Puppies win! Yeah, folks, about that: They’re going to proclaim victory no matter what; they did that last year when they got their collective asses handed to them at the Hugo Award ceremony. We totally meant to lose! It validates everything we did! Well, fine, whatever. Personally, I’m going to ask what I always ask: Is this work worth giving a Hugo to? That’s a question that has an answer irrespective of any Puppy “strategy.”)

Third off, and on the subject of victim blaming, I do see a number of people exclaiming that because the Puppies have stuffed ballot boxes yet again, it’s the Hugos that suck and are horrible, etc. Folks, no. The Hugos are a nice fan/industry award, and didn’t do anything to deserve the nonsense that’s happening to them, except to have an exploitable flaw in the nominating process that previously no one really exploited because no one wanted to be that asshole. The people who are currently exploiting that flaw in the process are the ones who suck and are horrible, and the ones being assholes. They’re targeting the Hugos because the Hugos don’t actually suck or are horrible, and because they know that doing so hurts other people, and they like that, because, again, they’re assholes.

So, please, differentiate between the two, would you? It’s actually kind of important to make that distinction. And as a bonus, making the distinction gives at least some honor to the people who are working behind the scenes of the Hugos, this year and last year, who have had to deal with malignant trolls fucking with a thing they love. Giving them that tiny bit of honor would be nice, too.

Fourth off, one of the finalists for Best Short Story, Thomas May, who was on the Rabid Puppy slate, has left the ballot, for admirable reasons. All respect to him for a difficult decision. I don’t believe this should be a signal for folks to hint to other finalists that they should follow his example, for reasons I outline above, i.e., this year’s slates were filled with people and work the Puppies put in for their own strategic ends, and are essentially blameless for an association that is unintended and/or unwanted. If you’ve got a mind to pester people about this, please consider not. Let them do as they will, just as you do what you will when it comes time to vote.

Thanks.

(* Yes, I know the Sad Puppy recommendation list was open to all to put things on it. I also suspect, perhaps uncharitably, that the Puppies know their own and used the recommendation lists with that fact in mind. This is why I suspect I wouldn’t have gotten many votes out of that “recommendation” in any event. This is also why I’m not entirely convinced it wasn’t used for slate-y purposes (and a further reason why I’m not inclined to hold a work being on that recommendation list against it). That said, and as with last year, the Sad Puppies were a sideshow to the Rabids, who straight up slated.

I also recognize that many Sad Puppies don’t like being conflated with Rabid Puppies, but, you know, it was the Sads that brought the Rabids to the party, and I expect there’s still sufficient overlap in goals and strategy to tie them together, so, yeah, color me not entirely convinced. If the Sads want to really differentiate themselves, a change in branding would be the very smallest start.

With all that said: Be aware my point of view re: the Puppies also comes from being a direct target of their ire for several years running. Your mileage may vary.)

91 thoughts on “Four Things About the Hugos, 4/27/16

  1. I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU WERE BORED BY ALL THIS SCALZI

    I’m bored with the Puppies, yes. But as someone who actually cares about the Hugos, and science fiction fandom, I’ll still have thoughts on the Hugos from time to time. I mean, yeah, hopefully less than last year, since a lot of this is basically last year’s nonsense on repeat. Even so.

  2. Chuck Tingle has some important words to say:

    “Don’t know about any puppies but it’s BAD NEWS BEARS if you want to disrupt awards. That is a scoundrel tactic and probably part of Ted Cobbler’s devilman plan. Ted Cobbler is notorious devil and has been seen using dark magic to control puppies around the neighborhood. I do not support the devilman agenda but i think that Space Raptor Butt Invasion proves that LOVE IS REAL and no scoundrels can stop that. Especially not some dumb dogs.”

  3. Now, now. I’m sure the Sad Puppies would be happy to piss on you if you were on fire.

    Just, you know, not the actual part of you that was on fire …

  4. Pfff, puppies. Sack, stone, pond: problem solved.

    Neal & Neil nominated though: that’s good. Neil should win his category; Neal’s has some equally strong contenders.

  5. I read the first few pages of Tingle’s magnum opus and I gotta say I loved it’s surrealism. He’s got a good writer’s voice.

  6. Over on the Tumblr, David “reddragdiva” Gerard had mashed up a word favored by neoreactionary types with the structure of a Chuck Tingle title to produce his tag for NRx-related posts. As a result of Tingle’s nomination, I finally grok in fullness the meaning of “cucked in the cuck by my own cuck”. That is all.

  7. And, just like last year, I’ll read everything,* vote for the ones I think deserve a Hugo and “No Award” everything that doesn’t. I am uncomfortable with punishing an author just because of who supports them.

    The Hugo is not irrelevant. Attempts to strike it down will only make it more powerful — if we stick by it.

    *start everything really, I reserve the right to stop reading once something reveals itself as terrible.

  8. Yes, a main plank in the Pups agenda is to set things up so that no matter what happens, they can claim it as a victory – the anti-Kobayashi Maru.

  9. And by the way, it is no coincidence that the two categories most negatively subverted by the Puppies are the Best Short Story and Best Related Work – it is in these two categories that the record high non-Puppy voters would be most divided up among a LOT of worthy candidates, while the Puppy voters remain focused on a narrow slate.

  10. Absent better evidence, I’m not convinced that the Sads were organized enough to make a nod-and-wink slate out of their recommendation list. It feels to me like they were asked to not list five-and-only-five works, and they didn’t. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and put them in the “cranky-to-vicious fans I don’t agree with” box (which is a large box, by the way).

    It’s true that better branding differentiation would improve things more, but honestly, I doubt that would happen. Too much like defeat, and no one likes to be defeated.

    If we’re looking at who’s threatening the quality of the award, the Sads are a diversion and a nuisance, not a serious problem this year. Better to focus on the real problem: the Rabids. (Though even then, their “poison pill” attempt has meant that we can have more meaningful awards this year.)

    All IMHO, of course; I get that the mileage of someone who has been more systematically and viciously targeted may vary rather a lot from mine.

  11. @Ellen, I’ll be doing the same (haven’t bought my MAC2 membership yet – hoping exchange rates improve) – read, and vote accordingly.

    The exception is for any works by Castilia, where I intend to ignore all 13 items from them and place them directly under NA. Since it, and it’s principles, have decided that they will consistently treat the Hugo’s as a publicity-seeking device, I have no qualms about responding to their actions with prejudice.

    This may change in the future, but for now, that’s my approach.

  12. If SRBI is good, there’s no reason not to give it a Hugo. If nothing else, just think how John C. Wright’s head would explode to see it getting an award when he himself was no-awarded last year and not even nominated this year. Especially if Tingle sends the cover model to deliver the acceptance speech :-)

  13. @Ellen and @snowcrash I’ll be doing more or less the same, reading and voting accordingly. But I won’t be spending money on RP picks, particularly anything by Castilia, so if it isn’t in the voting packet or my library, I won’t be reading or voting for it. I reserve the right to stop anything on page one if it’s really awful or offensive.

  14. I’m very sad (though not canine) at the lockout of the story categories, and especially Best Related Work. I so very much enjoyed Letters to Tiptree, and there were some amazing stories published this year that deserved recognition. If I were a better artist type, I would create a shiny little rocket GIF that anyone could mail/email/tweet/etc. to the creators of the work they wish were on the ballot. If someone else were to do that, I’d use it.

  15. Come on, folks. Does anyone really think Neil Gaiman holds active membership in the Puppy brigades? Or Stephen King? Or Alastair Reynolds (who specifically asked to be dropped from the Puppy lists, and was ignored)? Or Lois McMaster Bujold? Or, for that matter, probably Chuck Tingle?

    Well, no, but that’s not the point (at least as I understand the point). When I No Awarded a bunch of stuff last year it wasn’t to punish the author but to register that I believed those works were nominated in bad faith. In my opinion as a Hugo voter, If Stephen King’s writing wouldn’t have made this year’s shortlist without being a slate’s “poison pill” then Stephen King’s writing should place below No Award.

  16. Jake Kerr writes:

    John, someone posted a sad puppies satire in Chuck Tingle style. Discovered it on reddit’s r/fantasy.

    I’m losing the thread here. The Wikipedia article for Chuck Tingle describes Tingle as an anonymous of nich erotica, but the list of his titles include titles that are frankly no weirder than other niche erotica titles and others that appear to be self referential jokes. His Amazon biography is pretty tongue in cheek. Are these titles actually erotica, and are they meant to be erotic, or is the whole thing a giant parody, or both? Then Jake posts a link to a story with a cover that I gather is meant to satirize Vox Day. Is Chuck Tingle the creation of someone with an axe to grind in the great Hugo kerfluffle, and whose axe is it? Are we in Poe’s law territory?

    John writes:

    Does anyone really think Neil Gaiman holds active membership in the Puppy brigades? Or Stephen King? Or Alastair Reynolds (who specifically asked to be dropped from the Puppy lists, and was ignored)? Or Lois McMaster Bujold?

    I don’t follow Vox or what he’s up to but I’ll offer the folowing observation:

    1. Seveneves is legitimately fiction in the Sad Puppy wheelhouse. There doesn’t have to be any secret plan, nor does the author have to be on board, for this to be the case.

    2. We know from last summer’s unending blogathon that many Sad Puppy bloggers revere Jim Butcher, and many write favorably of Gaiman and Bujold.

    I certainly remember a blog post or two along the lines of:
    “Why do the Puppies like Bujold; are they too stupid to realize how progressive her work is?”

    Yet others took exception to Larry Correia’s (or was it Torgersen’s, I forget) praise for Seanan McGuire’s writing.

    There actually is an underlying literary taste in play here.

  17. Yes, a main plank in the Pups agenda is to set things up so that no matter what happens, they can claim it as a victory – the anti-Kobayashi Maru.

    AKA: “Pigeon chess”.

  18. 1) The Hugos are not a public, commercial award. The Hugos are a private award of WorldCon, created and maintained for the express benefit and pleasure of their members who ponied up to attend the con, should those members wish to participate in the entertainment of the Hugos. In addition, the WorldCon raises some extra operations cash by allowing those who can’t come to WorldCon to still donate to it as cheaper supporting members and as a reward, they get to participate in the entertainment of voting in the Hugos, if they want. This has become easier to do thanks to the Web, but still appeals only to a small group of people.

    WorldCon is a non-profit, international, mobile written fiction event, hosted by medium sized cons all over the world. It deliberately limits attendance so that it can focus on written fiction (mostly unillustrated,) and so its host conventions can better attempt to accommodate the WorldCon event. WorldCon is happy and healthy and the cons that host it are happy and healthy. Nothing is happening to WorldCon and WorldCon will continue to provide its members with the entertainment and opportunity to salute their favorite works through the Hugo Awards, said favorite works being voted on by a different set of members each year, from Tokyo to Chicago. Its members will decide how they want the Hugo Awards to be run, following the procedures WorldCon has set, some of which are voted on by attending members, including whether to have supporting memberships or not and how things are nominated. There is nothing wrong nor has ever been “wrong” with the Hugo Awards.

    If you are not a supporting or attending member of WorldCon, the Hugos aren’t yours and what you think about them is irrelevant. You are not the self-appointed king/queen of the geeks gatekeepers of the Hugo Awards. If you are, you get your vote and if you attend, you get your say in the business meeting, if you go to it. And that’s it. It’s a convention, not the United Nations.

    More to the point, if you’re whining that the Hugos are degrading, you are saying exactly what the Puppies say, with as little foundation, and exactly what Teddy Beale wants you to say. You have a right to follow Beale’s orders if you like, but then I also have the right to then view you as an auxiliary Annoying Whiny Neo-Puppy. Because you are following his playbook and treating the people involved with WorldCon like children.

    2) Sad Puppies 4 was run by Beale. Last year, Beale quite publicly laid out a playbook for 2016, which was that the Puppies should either put some popular, supposed “SJW” authors on their slate (the Rabid Puppies) or throw the slate open to all comers, which would then cause some popular, supposed “SJW” authors who the Puppies hate to get on their ballot recommendations (which is what the Sad Puppies did this year.) If “SJW” authors who ended up on the new “open, non-political” slates did not object to being there (possibly because they didn’t know they were as the Puppies don’t tell them,) then Puppies could claim responsibility for getting them nominations, even though they had little to do with it, and say that those authors were hypocritical, greedy and scheming. If the “SJW” authors did object to being included and wanted the Puppies to take their names off the list, the Puppies could refuse, and claim that those authors were ungrateful, hypocritical and mean. And that’s exactly what the Sad Puppies did this year, right down to the letter of Beale’s playbook. They have not separated from him and his strategies at all.

    Beale came up with this playbook because of the No Award votes last year. If people were going to vote No Award on Puppy choices (mostly because they were awful,) he hoped to have them punish the very authors (who are not awful,) that the Puppies want to punish — to take a political stand with no intelligence to it that the Puppies, both Sad and Rabid, can claim proves that people with liberal civil rights views are political zealots who will destroy everybody to get power, regardless of merit.

    Beale and his supporters and the Sad Puppies and their supporters don’t care about the Hugos (except for one or two authors who wanted to snag a nomination as a trophy, and Beale getting some publicity for Castiglia House from it.) They want to have an impact where they can manage it — they want to cause a reaction. So if you vote No Award without looking at what the works actually are, you are doing exactly what Beale told you to do for this year. You are taking marching orders just like the Sad Puppies do and you are supporting their stances that you’re just a political zealot who doesn’t care about SFF.

    Which is entirely your right to do. It’s your vote which you paid for; your entertainment from WorldCon. If you want to do what Beale tells you to do, you can. But it’s not going to send any message to the Puppies other than they have successfully manipulated you in their eyes, that you are their minion, and that they should keep trying to do it because they don’t think you’re very bright. Just like them, you’re making the Hugos your chew toy, instead of what it is — a private convention award for the people participating in the convention to thank authors they like for their work as part of the fun of the convention itself.

    And anybody trying to pedal the game that the Sad Puppies have nothing to do with Beale now is selling snake oil. They did exactly what Beale told them to do. They acted like shits to upset authors they shoved on their list, same as they did before and as Beale told them to do. They made the same wild and contradictory accusations towards authors and WorldCon as they did before and as Beale told them to do. And they danced around in victory that they got angry reactions, same as they did before.

  19. I suspect Bujold is off the Puppies’ “like” list after Gentleman Jole. She might even have had that secondary benefit in mind while writing it…

  20. I just recently found out that the author of one of my favorite blogs, Shamus Young, was put on the rabid puppy slate under “Best Fan Writer”. Apparently he didn’t know about the whole slating business so now he’s got a couple of people on twitter explaining to him that he was nominated by a bigot.

    I’m not a WorldCon member, but fo those who are, please give him a fair shake. He didn’t ask to be put on a Slate and he is an excellent writer.

  21. So there is a funny story about the Tingle nomination. After VD announced his full slate we looked at last year’s nomination numbers. Deciding that yes, he would pack the awards again this year we decided to create a protest slate, which also mocked the Puppies open homophobia. A group of us created an entire slate of Chuck Tingle nominees named “The Tingler”. And by slate, I mean limiting ourselves to one nominee per category. Passed it around Facebook and had a good laugh. Well, when nominations opened we again we stumped for our slate. I even made a promotional poster using photoshop and one of the original ads for the Vincent Price classic “The Tingler”. Well, one of our conspirators passed it along to Chuck, and he posted it on his Twitter. (https://twitter.com/ChuckTingle/status/702934805919305728). We had another good laugh and then slapped ourselves on the back. A few days later Vox announced he was adding “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” to his ‘recommendation list’.

  22. “WorldCon is a non-profit, international, mobile written fiction event, hosted by medium sized cons all over the world.”

    Actually, the vast majority of WorldCons are produced by groups organized specifically to run WorldCon. Only a few have been associated with any existing, on-going conventions.

    “It deliberately limits attendance so that it can focus on written fiction (mostly unillustrated,) and so its host conventions can better attempt to accommodate the WorldCon event.”

    No. WorldCons most definitely do not limit attendance. In fact, most of they put in a lot of effort to bring in members.

    John Lorentz (Treasurer, Renovation–the 2011 WorldCon)

  23. Mike wrote:

    Seveneves is legitimately fiction in the Sad Puppy wheelhouse. There doesn’t have to be any secret plan, nor does the author have to be on board, for this to be the case.

    I have to agree–Seveneves was disturbingly anti-government, complete with a strawman version of Hillary Clinton to be the villain. There was maybe 30% of a great book there, though, interspersed between the really boring bits.

  24. uleaguehub:

    I suspect Bujold is off the Puppies’ “like” list after Gentleman Jole.

    I did encounter some anti-Jole commentary from the Rabids.

    Whether or not Bujold is “off the list”, that particular work doesn’t strike me as a likely Puppy candidate because almost nothing happens; it’s a character study.

    fancywabs writes:

    I have to agree–Seveneves was disturbingly anti-government, complete with a strawman version of Hillary Clinton to be the villain.

    Is “disturbingly anti-government” how you decide whether a work is apt to be viewed by Puppies?

    I have trouble imagining Neal Stephenson even looking up from his attempt to synthesize Sumerian myth, Goedel’s Theorem, and Pop Tarts into a science fiction novel long enough to even learn that there was a Hugo Kerfuffle.

  25. Not to pick on Stephenson, but:

    a) yes, the villanous feminist president abandons her post and conspires to save herself rather than anyone else or (I dunno) try and save the world by using the rather extraordinary amount of firepower owned by the USA and friends and capable of being delivered into in cislunar space? Much less
    b) how does a novel with a lead sentence that states: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” even count as anything approximating science fiction?

    Kessler syndrome in LEO, okay, theoretically possible and certainly an operational issue in astronautics that should be addressed as an element of all satelitte decommissioning practices; but – the Moon? That big and yet mostly sedate silver thing in the sky, three days away? I mean, it’s not a planet but its also not exactly a NEO, either; fairly impressive celestial body, all in all:

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/moonfact.html

    It’s like that series where (for no discernable reason) physics and chemistry suddenly “change” and prevent explosive reactions, but not flame …

  26. The entire ‘slating’ thing seems to have been stolen from South Park:
    Step 1. Collect underpants.
    Step 2. ?
    Step 3. PROFIT

  27. Looks like there is some good stuff nominated. Go to it fans.

    Next year there should be two anti slating measures that get passed this year and that should help give the award back to the fans.

  28. John Lorentz:

    Actually, the vast majority of WorldCons are produced by groups organized specifically to run WorldCon. Only a few have been associated with any existing, on-going conventions.

    It’s still a non-profit, international, mobile written fiction event, hosted by medium sized cons all over the world. Whether they’ve been organized specifically to host the WorldCon event or existed before and turn themselves into WorldCon for one year isn’t particularly important, but I thank you for adding more details. :)

    The point is, the Hugo Awards belong to the members of the WorldCon for the two year eligibility period, and no one else. It’s a sub-event of an event in which members can participate if they like. It is their choice and their pleasure, not some responsibility to the field of SFF. Others are always going to disagree with what the members of a particular year chose. Some members are always going to get stuff into nominations that most others don’t like and the con is held in different countries as well as the U.S. That the Puppies found ways to play with the supporting membership contingent does not destroy the Hugos nor degrade them into useless awards. Its “use” is to be of interest to the members of WorldCon. Any other uses are not its job.

    No. WorldCons most definitely do not limit attendance. In fact, most of they put in a lot of effort to bring in members.

    They did limit attendance because they decided to focus on books and written fiction, with only nods to film/t.v., allowing some gaming, cosplay and some comics involvement in the con and sticking mostly authors and written fiction fans on panels. Instead of being a multi-media exhibition con which would bring in Hollywood actors to promote film/t.v. stuff, which swells attendance considerably.

    They also deliberately limit attendance by being a travelling con event that takes place in cities all over the world and North America, instead of just in one place and drawing on a reliable repeat regional base. When WorldCon takes place outside of the U.S., its attendance numbers usually go down. WorldCon is okay with that because its goal is to be a true international event. They also have deliberately limited attendance in terms of the venues that can only hold so many people. When WorldCon takes place in a city and within a venue that its organizers that year can get that is fairly large, its attendance tends to increase. When the venue isn’t as big, it’s less large. WorldCon is okay with that too.

    The Puppies kept trying to claim that the Hugos had become decrepit and barely got any participation because WorldCon was supposedly decrepit and failing. And WorldCon was supposedly failing because it is not a non-mobile, multi-media pop culture exhibition with tons of Hollywood people promoting a main focus of t.v./film like DragonCon or the San Diego ComicCon, and drawing 80,000 to 100,000 or more attendance in giant venues. WorldCon is an entirely different type of con from those multi-media expos and while it does try to draw enough people to at least break even and while it wants to engage lots of people in written fiction and other geekery and nice gift buying, it is not trying to be DragonCon. And that it is not does not mean that WorldCon or the Hugos are sickly.

    The first WorldCon was 200 people in 1939. For nearly twenty years, the con was only in North America, then it went to London. It didn’t crack 1,000 in attendance until 1967 in NYC. It didn’t crack 5,000 in attendance until 1980, so that golden period that the Puppies keep idolizing was actually just a handful of people voting on the Hugo Awards. It has increased its attendance both in the non-North American conventions and the North American ones and has been relatively consistent with under 10,000 attending, but sometimes edging towards it, depending on the city. MidAmeriCon II this year will probably be about average sized, and the next one in Finland will probably be smaller but be a lot of fun. WorldCon is as healthy as it has ever been.

    And the supporting memberships, which have also swelled slowly over the years that they’ve been offered, they are also increasing. But the number of supporting memberships is unimportant and are not going to affect the survival of WorldCon or the Hugo Awards. The event is the thing and the Hugo Awards are the chocolate sauce. And the Hugo Awards have always been decided upon by a small group of a few hundred and then a couple of thousand people — the people the Awards were created for, for their fun, not the rest of us.

    So the idea that the Hugo Awards are suddenly worthless to those people going to WorldCon — whose awards they are — because the Puppies managed to attack some of the categories through the supporting memberships option and/or because WorldCon is not like DragonCon, that is both a highly presumptuous claim, first off, and a ridiculous one, secondly. And while I don’t expect the Puppies to stop making it, as it’s all they’ve got, I would really like to stop hearing people who aren’t Puppies bleating the same. (And yes, that includes George Martin who did it last year and should have known better, but I think he was just shocked.)

    But I’m not queen of the geeks either, so I can’t stop you. :)

  29. P.ineapple

    Stephenson seems to regard science as if there’s a conspiracy to prevent him from writing stuff and claiming that it’s science; it’s actually pretty scary to have a guy who completely disregards science nominated as the writer of the best science fiction novel of the year…

  30. A suggestion for this year’s Worldcon committee, if one of them happens to be reading: should Mr Beale win his long-coveted Hugo, suggest he can either pick it up from the con in person, or from the IRS office nearest to the con hotel. If nothing else, it’s a win either way, and a tactic he should find familiar. (Not that he’ll like it, of course – bullies never like it when their own tactics are used against them.)

  31. Chuck Tingle better win Short Story. He’s the Stephen Colbert of erotica. If you want diversity in the awards/selections, there it is.

  32. Understood; Stephenson has written some phenomenal work, but celestial bodies – especially more or less inert ones like the Moon – don’t just go “boom!”.

    One could come up with a “race against time/extinction level event” macguffin that is actually physically possible and gives you the Stapledonian time frame, but the exploding Moon idea pretty much was too high a bar for me. There truly are stranger things in heaven and earth, but a combustible natural satellite of Earth is not one of them.

  33. “I also recognize that many Sad Puppies don’t like being conflated with Rabid Puppies, but, you know, it was the Sads that brought the Rabids to the party, and I expect there’s still sufficient overlap in goals and strategy to tie them together, so, yeah, color me not entirely convinced. If the Sads want to really differentiate themselves, a change in branding would be the very smallest start.”

    So I guess what you are trying to say is that, in spite of their lamentations and rending of garments, the Republican establishment paved the way for Trump to become the nominee by having courted the tea party nutzoids for so long and so intensel… ooops. Wrong thread. (or is it?)

  34. Gus:

    I understand that Lois Bujold is not happy about being on the RP list & requested to be taken off it, without success.

    Both the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies refused to remove authors’ names, because that was part of Beale’s public playbook — refuse and punish and castigate the authors. It’s a pretty standard tactic and they used versions of it before.

    When I first heard about the Puppies, my only objection to them was that they should notify and get the consent of the authors they wanted to put on their political protest slate before they put them on the slate. And that they should not lie to the authors about the publicly stated goals of the slate. They didn’t do that, and now they’ve gotten worse this year. This whole thing has never been about SFF and supporting it.

  35. 1. Seveneves is legitimately fiction in the Sad Puppy wheelhouse. There doesn’t have to be any secret plan, nor does the author have to be on board, for this to be the case.

    Seriously? A novel in which the entire human race is reduced to seven women who then rebuild it without the help of the MENZ??

  36. I think that I am persuaded to purchase a Worldcon membership this year so that i can read the works and make a reasoned decision. Thank you, Scalzi!

  37. how does a novel with a lead sentence that states: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” even count as anything approximating science fiction?

    Depends on how it goes from there. “No apparent reason” suggests a hidden reason and the attempt to find out what it is could be pretty interesting.

    Unless, of course, the point is totally ignored because everyone is too busy dealing with meteor showers and the abrupt absence of tides, which could be disappointing.

    Butchers current work was ignored by the literary SF awards. It is an example of what someone who enjoys more action-oriented SF sees as an “overlooked quality work.”

    I think this point might not be getting the attention it deserves because of all the vote rigging and outrage. Not that I ascribe it to some kind of political conspiracy, but there may be some degree of highbrow bias that would lead to someone like Butcher not ordinarily being considered for major awards the same way something like Avengers would never be considered for an Oscar — not because it’s not good at what it is, but because the whole subgenre it belongs to is somehow not considered awardable.

    Not that I would suggest sabotaging the Oscars in order to reform them, either.

  38. chris: there may be some degree of highbrow bias that would lead to someone like Butcher not ordinarily being considered for major awards the same way something like Avengers would never be considered for an Oscar — not because it’s not good at what it is, but because the whole subgenre it belongs to is somehow not considered awardable.

    From my point of view — and from the point of view of what a lot of other Hugo voters have said — this isn’t the reason that Butcher’s work is not recognized by the Hugos. I read Skin Game. It didn’t stand well on its own at all (I’ve not read the rest of the series), and it was fairly formulaic fantasy.

    I absolutely get that a lot of people enjoy the Dresden series, and that’s great. But in fact, I saw a lot of people who are avid Dresden fans, who said they buy the books and read them as soon as they’re released, but who also said they did not consider Skin Game Hugo-worthy, or even best of the series, and that no, it doesn’t stand well on its own.

    What I — and a lot of other Hugo nominators, apparently — look for in a Hugo-worthy work is not “Oh, this was really fun and enjoyable”. Don’t get me wrong, I love those kinds of books, and I read a lot of them.

    What I look for is a book or story that knocks me off my feet: either with a new or unusual plot, a new or unusual way of using a plot that’s been done before, innovative and groundbreaking ideas, masterful characterization and storytelling that goes somewhere no other author has gone before. Something that when I finish it, I say “Wow”, and then spend days or weeks thinking about it.

    The day that Jim Butcher writes a book like that is the day that I will happily read the book and consider nominating it for a Hugo.

  39. I think this point might not be getting the attention it deserves because of all the vote rigging and outrage.

    The people who go to WorldCon are exactly like anybody else and have just as wide a range of interests as the wider community of fans. They aren’t fancy pants looking for art. They are fans who read tons and tons of SFF adventure books. The books that get nominated for the Best Novel award at the Hugos are ALWAYS bestsellers or category bestselling lead titles, including in the last ten years. The stories that get nominated for the short fiction awards are seldom in anything resembling a literary magazine. They may have less action because they are shorter stories, but they are published in the regular magazines, online magazines, and anthologies of the SFF field. They may be liked because they are well written but poetic style authors have no more chance at the Hugos than anything else. (Even if they did, it’s the WorldCon members’ perfect right to pick anything they want for their awards.) The movies that are picked for awards are all big SF movies or blockbusters and the television shows are always the popular ones. The artists that get picked tend to be the most famous and popular ones whose names people know. And Bujold has been winning Hugos for herself and Bane Books for oodles of times without their “help.” The Puppies’ claims are complete bunk.

    Hugo award voters tend to like to nominate the first book in a series, if it’s on their radar, or standalones, or occasionally later books in a short series/trilogy. Consequently, Butcher’s new series first book was getting a lot of attention and people were more interested in it than one book in the middle of his long Harry Dresden series. (I’ve been given to understand that the Dresden novel Ghost Story almost got in the finals for the Hugo, but I won’t swear to it.) So though the Puppies might have helped his vote count — and certainly did manage for Skin Game, a not the best of the series book in the Dresden series — they can’t even really claim they got his new one on the list.

    So no, the Puppies had no point, never did, continually raise new, contradictory accusations, attacked authors they didn’t know as conspirators for no reason — and turned around and nominated some of them this year as a “psych opps”, and have been debunked at every turn by popular, knowledgeable folk in the field, including the big granddaddy of popular adventure, George R.R. Martin. The Puppies existed because Larry Correia wanted a Hugo nom and was convinced he couldn’t get one without a voting slate, and then because Beale found them useful.

    I still don’t have a problem with them having a voting slate, actually, because it’s not against the rules. But their accusing authors of malfeasance because they don’t like the authors’ supposed politics and the corrupt and nasty way they’ve treated authors they supposedly claim to be supporting — that is what makes the Puppies sick puppies. And that is also why I agree with suggesting that people not punish authors this year who are being used against their will by the Puppies.

  40. as much as i think Erin Dies Alone is a good webcomic, the authors don’t have a chance against sandman.

  41. John Lorentz said:
    No. WorldCons most definitely do not limit attendance. In fact, most of they put in a lot of effort to bring in members.

    Kat Goodwin said:
    They did limit attendance because they decided to focus on books and written fiction, with only nods to film/t.v., allowing some gaming, cosplay and some comics involvement in the con and sticking mostly authors and written fiction fans on panels. Instead of being a multi-media exhibition con which would bring in Hollywood actors to promote film/t.v. stuff, which swells attendance considerably.
    They also deliberately limit attendance by being a travelling con event that takes place in cities all over the world and North America, instead of just in one place and drawing on a reliable repeat regional base.

    I say:
    This seems like a confusion of effect with cause. My understanding is that the early Worldcons focused on written fiction because that was the predominant form of SFF at the time (certainly most of the higher quality offerings). Worldcons have continued this focus because of tradition, and because that’s what the people who had gone to previous Worldcons and organized new ones were mostly interested in (self-selective continuity). Low attendance compared to the media-centric cons that arose later — that’s a side effect, not a goal, as far as I know. I’ve certainly never heard of any plots to cap attendance!
    Same thing about Worldcon traveling: Low attendance may be a direct result of the con constantly moving, but that doesn’t mean it’s the intent, which I believe is basically just to be inclusive and fair. So I think that to say Worldcon organizers “deliberately limit attendance” is wrong.

  42. how does a novel with a lead sentence that states: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” even count as anything approximating science fiction?

    Depends on how it goes from there. “No apparent reason” suggests a hidden reason and the attempt to find out what it is could be pretty interesting.

    ———
    I may be on record in many many places of not being a fan of Seveneves :)

    I will however say the opening sentence is the best one in the book. And Chris (no relation) asks an excellent question – which Stephenson looked like he was going to address at one point, and then completely forgot.

    It read to me like it hadn’t been edited – then at the end he thanks his editor. Who is probably going “gee thanks – I tried to edit this thing, but the publisher wouldn’t let me use a V8 powered chainsaw”.

  43. So…the Judean People’s Front, The People’s Front Of Judea and the Popular Front are all at odds with the establishment and each other…sounds vaguely familiar.
    The Hugos have never really been immune from, for want of a better word…influence.
    In the olden days it may just have been as subtle as publishers promoting a novel, magazines making sure that nominated stories were identified or simply word of mouth from higher-profile fans or even authors.
    Time to take a step back from the screen.
    If you have read and enjoyed a work that was nominated better than any other nominated work in that category…well gee…vote for it.
    It doesn’t eradicate the bloc voting but at least you might feel a bit better.
    If SF thought it was ever immune to manipulation then it’s rather ironically…behind the times.
    Play nice.

  44. What TrishEm said. The Worldcon changes venue every year in order to maximize the number of people who can attend at least some Worldcons, not in order to drive down attendance. Putting Worldcon’s status as a moveable feast into the “things Worldcon does to drive down attendance” column is very odd and basically wrong.

    Kat Goodwin’s repeated insistence that Worldcons are, as a general rule, “hosted by” existing conventions is also wrong. In fact, every legal and fiscal incentive militates against any such arrangement. Were a Worldcon to be produced by the same legal body that runs the local annual convention, that annual convention could be wiped out by a Worldcon-scale budget disaster.

    So MidAmericon II, for instance, is in no way “hosted” by ConQuest, the annual Kansas City SF convention. And this isn’t just a matter of legal formalities; it’s also true in terms of personnel. Like any modern Worldcon, MidAmericon is being organized by a group of fans from all over North America and several overseas countries. MidAmericon’s staff does include a number of people who live in or near Kansas City, some of whom are part of ConQuest’s ongoing organization and some of whom are not — but entire large departments of MidAmericon are being run by volunteers from far away. And large numbers of the people who run ConQuest have little or no involvement with MidAmericon. This is how Worldcons have generally operated since the late 1970s. There is no meaningful sense, legal or operational, in which a typical modern Worldcon is “hosted by” an existing convention, and asserting otherwise just adds needless confusion to some otherwise perfectly sensible observations.

  45. Kat Goodwin’s gotten hold of a lot of weird misinformation about the worldcon. Some fraction of this misinformation looks like it’s derived from descriptions/criticisms of World Fantasy Con. Other bits are from no source I recognize. (That’s not a criticism. I just can’t place them.)

    What’s interesting is that for all its errors, Kat Godwin’s notion of how the Worldcon works is coherent and well-rehearsed. This isn’t the first time she’s discussed it, and she’s not the only person who uses it.

    So hello, paging Kat Goodwin — what is this model, and where does it hail from?

  46. I’m sorry, I’m confused.

    If we shouldn’t boycott all Puppy nominees, and instead should judge them purely on quality – a most reasonable supposition – then why is it admirable for Thomas May to have withdrawn his story on the grounds that he didn’t want the ballot to turn out this way, or for the people last year – including Annie Bellet, whose story I read and rather liked – to do the same thing? Shouldn’t they let the voters decide?

  47. I read Seveneves, and kind of thought it should have been edited better, and maybe been two books. I did actually like Butcher’s book, it is very different from the Dresden series. Much more mature. I thought most of the nominees, apart from a couple of categories, were decent.

  48. So if it’s admirable for May to follow his conscience, is it also admirable for people in his situation whose consciences are not so picky to remain on the ballot? Should our choices for the Hugo be determined by how embarrassed the authors are by having been co-opted by the Puppies? (Or, apparently more often, by how well-informed they are about the situation)

  49. DB:

    Well, in point, for the purposes of voting on the Hugos, I don’t actually worry about any of that. What I do is what I always do (and which I note in the entry): Decide whether anything nominated is worth giving the award to.

  50. Does anyone have a web page that lists the names of the Rabid & Sad Puppies (both authors and other substantial players)? And if anyone can provide a quick overview of who Chuck Tingle is and how he fits into this, it would be most helpful. I’m trying to keep track of who’s who in this Dramatis Personae. (That’s the problem with annual sequels; if you don’t re-read the prior books you can lose track.)

  51. Short thoughts since I, too, have ceased to give enough of a shit about these immature bullies to care about them or their pathetic little slates:

    1. Beale’s an asshole. This is known. He is a reeking pile of putrescent shit, bigotry made flesh in a loose approximation of a human form. He’s also got an ego larger than Ted Cruz’s, and that’s a true accomplishment given that Ted Cruz’s ego is about the size of Betelgeuse.

    2. I think that Chuck Tingle and that…whatever the fuck it is that he wrote both look/sound hilarious, but I won’t be reading because I’m a cishet white trash prude who’s not into…well, that entire genre, due to crippling fear of sex.

    3. I’m going to vote based on what I think is best. That means some of the genuinely good stuff, that the Puppies nominated in some kind of ham-fisted attempt to get anti-Puppies to vote down against their consciences, will be getting my vote. Also, it’s adorable how those sad little manchildren think that they’re being clever by nominating good stuff to try and get us to vote it down on the grounds that the ignorant little bigots touched it. It would be clever if it weren’t a trick older than feudalism.

    4. That’s all the shits I’m willing to give about the Hugos until at LEAST Labor Day.

  52. MVS: The chart you’re looking for is at http://file770.com/?p=28616

    John: OK, that’s a fair reaction, but in that case your opinion as to whether May’s action was admirable seems irrelevant. Perhaps your insertion of that opinion into your argument is what was confusing me.

  53. Thanks DB! I had no idea they had screwed up this year’s Hugo Nominations so thoroughly. Though I’m a white guy raised on RAH and Clarke, I’ll happily follow my SJW heart and vote for the best written works.

  54. I don’t know about all the rest of the stuff that got nominated, but Slow Bullets and Seveneves are both fantastic stories, and I think it would be a horrible shame if they lost to No Award out of spite.

  55. Apparently unpopular opinion: Seveneves is amazing. Stephenson engages in some discussion about what might have happened to the moon, but I think in the same way that DeLillo doesn’t explain the Airborne Toxic Event, the point is not why but what happens. I don’t see the female president as a caricature of anyone, except that it’s a parody of someone so deep in the beltway narrative that they can’t understand a situation in which America doesn’t rule in space.

    In a desperate attempt to make this not a non sequitur, I will also say that this is the sort of conversation that we should have about the Hugos. There! Nailed it.

  56. John, you know I love you, but your second point is wrong.

    Hugo voters are completely justified in saying, “While Sandman: Overture is worthy of nomination, I’m voting No Award for everything that was slated because the nomination process was corrupted. Because of slate voting, books like Saga, Bitch Planet, Chrononauts, and Kaijumax weren’t allowed to compete. It’s a fixed fight against weaker opponents.” After all, if the slate pushed off more worthy contenders, is whatever’s left actually worthy of being called “Best”?

    I expound on the topic on ComicMix: Neil Gaiman Does Not Need A Pity Hugo

  57. Mr Scalzi,
    Why do the Rabid Puppies refer to you as “McRapey”. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now and don’t understand where they got that meme. I do not participate in the Hugo voting but am a fan of your work & many others in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi community and often get new titles to read from your Big Idea posts.

    I was curious about the whole Rabid Puppy slate as the Hugo Awards are in my home town of KC this year & i’m signed up to volunteer. To my dismay I clicked on Vox Day’s “Making Hugos Great Again” blog post and was disgusted by the comment thread.

    I regualy read GRR Martin’s blog along with Sanderson’s and Wendig’s so I am familiar with the state of the Hugos these past few years….just curious why/how they refer to you as “McRapey” as you are a true voice of reason for internet social decorum and women’s rights among others.

  58. When discussing graphic novels, it would be nice if people acknowledged the existence of artists. Sandman: Overture is a joint creation of Neil Gaiman and JH Williams III.

  59. Glenn Haumann: getting Noah Ward for legitimate contenders seems to be one of the RP goals this year. Blindly voting Noah is pretty much just playing into their hands. First, it’s giving them the attention they crave. Second, it’s punishing innocent third parties that the RP are basically using as human shields for their crapfest of assholery.

    Every single year that the Hugos have been held, there have been things that made the shortlist I didn’t like. Occasionally, things have won that didn’t even make my top ten, let alone my top five. It’s never been a perfect process. But I have always judged the shortlist works on their own merits, and I see no reason to change that now. “It’s not running against the best competition” or even “the best work(s) didn’t even make the ballot” are perennial complaints of mine about pretty much every award—not just the Hugos.

    As far as I’m concerned, Noah Ward is a nuclear option for works which simply aren’t award-quality. Not for “not the absolute #1 best” because I don’t believe in the concept of the “absolute #1 best”. Tastes are subjective. If you don’t think Sandman: Overture is good enough to be a contender, then you should vote it below Noah Ward. But if you think it’s honestly good enough to be worthy of consideration, and vote it below Noah anyway, then you’re either an accidental or deliberate supporter of the RPers.

    Not to put to fine a point on it, but what you’re saying is exactly what I’d expect an RP shill to say. It’s also what I expect some people to say sincerely, so I’m not claiming you are a shill, but you might want to consider the company you may be keeping…

  60. @Mike

    Tingle’s work is genuine erotica – rougly 50% of each story is explicit sex and is genuinely erotic, if weird, if you’re into odd, often surreal gay sex. But all his work is intentionally weird and much of it is intentional satire, or at least intentional commentary; Leo Dicaprio Finally Wins His Award And It Pounds Him In The Butt is my favourite and is just genuinely, deeply hilarious.

    I think he’s really just a guy writing silly fiction he enjoys, found a niche and marketed himself really well.

    (I’m a sci fi fan, a Tingle fan and a puppy-hater who genuinely nominated one of Tingle’s other works out of love, so this has been a very weird couple of days.)

  61. so much drama around so many things lately. I think the issues get lost amid all the noise of the drama around said issues.

  62. @averyjflinders

    That’s in line with my general feelings about l’affaire Tingle. He wouldn’t be on the ballot, of course, if the puppies hadn’t slated him, but I’m much less sure he doesn’t deserve to be there. He’s got a genuine fandom who regularly spring for his stories at three bucks a pop. I’ve only read one of them for a larf (Pounded In The Butt By My Own Butt), since gay erotica ain’t really my bag, baby, but I thought it was genuinely very funny. And Funny + Erotic isn’t the easiest combination to pull off.

    I mean, our esteemed host got nominated a little while ago for a parody of fantasy writing, hard to say on that basis that Space Raptor Butt Invasion (I just really like typing that) shouldn’t be in the running.

  63. Eesh.

    1) I have not done “repeated insistence” that WorldCon uses established cons. I said that they had host cons at different locations each year, which they do. Another poster pointed out that most of these host cons are specifically organized to be/host WorldCon rather than previously established cons. I thanked him for stating this, but pointed out that whether the hostcons were established or newly constructed DIDN’T MATTER for the point I was making, which was about the Puppies’ absurd insistence that WorldCon be like stationary multimedia cons like Dragon Con and their claim that this was somehow killing the Hugos, which it is not.

    2) I did not say, ever, that WorldCon has caps on their attendance or doesn’t encourage people to come to WorldCon. I said that the membership in business meetings have made deliberate decisions about the structure of WorldCon (over decades) that limit its attendance COMPARED TO multi-media cons like Fan Pop Canada. That exhibition is a multi-media con focused on film/t.v. and games always held in Toronto, and brings in Hollywood actors and thus gets over 100,000 people. It is a different kind of convention from WorldCon and both kinds of conventions are good and healthy and both kinds of conventions have also grown in attendance.

    I’m sure that WorldCon has no problem if they get in 15,000 people, but because it is a mobile international con and because it focuses on written fiction — which is a good thing — and doesn’t bring in Hollywood actors for autographs usually, it isn’t going to draw 100,000 people. (Although, you never know down the road.) And there’s nothing wrong with that. That the WorldCon is mobile and goes to more than one country fluctuates its attendance but enhances the experience. Etc.

    The Puppies tried to claim that the Hugos were decrepit, because somehow a couple of thousand voters deciding the Hugos for their own convention was worse than a few hundred deciding the same in the “good old” days. This was a ridiculous claim. And they claimed that the Hugos had gotten decrepit because WorldCon was decrepit because it was not a multi-media con held in the same place each year and bringing in 80,000 people like Dragon Con and so they claimed WorldCon was dying. This was a ridiculous claim. WorldCon isn’t dying, it’s growing, and the Hugos are just as healthy as they were ten years ago. And the Puppies claimed that because WorldCon was supposedly decrepit, that a small conspiracy of evil SJW’s used underground slates and lying and cheating and possibly Satanic rituals, whatever, to get awful, boring liberal message fiction to be nominated and win the Hugos and so the Hugos had to be destroyed. Or rescued. Or just give them to them, please. Every one of these claims was debunked repeatedly, including sometimes by the Puppies themselves, but they still keep muttering them sometimes.

    So I agree with Scalzi that the Hugos are not stuck and horrible as the Puppies claimed that they were or as some people claim because the Puppies have been playing games with the Hugo voting process the last couple of years. My point was that comparing WorldCon to DragonCon, as the Puppies insisted on doing, was ridiculous as they are different types of conventions, and that WorldCon is perfectly healthy.

    I also agree with Scalzi that this particular year, since all the Puppies followed Beale’s playbook to try to nominate some of the very same authors they attacked last year and declare that a victory, that the vote No Award for the entire Puppies slate is not as great a strategy versus looking at the particular works individually. Because again the Puppies refused to tell authors they were being used and refused to take them off their lists when they objected. But it’s up to the voters.

    So again, my point was that the Puppies’ claims about WorldCon dying and the Hugos dying were bogus and made on a stupid comparison, and that non-Puppies claiming that the Hugos were now dying because of the Puppies I agreed with Scalzi that it’s probably not accurate or productive.

    But today I also had to agree with N.K. Jemisin that the Puppies have done damage to the Hugos this year, continuing to shut out authors from more marginalized groups in some categories. So I hope this rule change they’re voting on and which will hopefully pass through again will have some effect. Because I’m really tired of watching authors I like such as Ann Leckie and Catherynne Valente get attacked for no reason.

  64. xtifr: Me, an RP shill? Clearly, we haven’t met. I think my position on the Rabid Puppies is pretty well established by this point. And you don’t want to know their position on me.

    Beale’s already stated, “even when we don’t control the category, we still have the ability to decide who will win and who will lose when the SJWs don’t No Award the category.”

    I’m happy to help deny him that control, even if he claims he wins that way, because he will claim he wins no matter what is done. https://archive.is/njzom

    Punishing innocent third parties? Neil Gaiman has won five Hugo Awards honestly. He doesn’t need to win one by someone else cheating on his behalf. That’s like saying Tonya Harding deserved the medal after better skaters were prevented from competing.

    “Game Of Thrones” was Emmy nominated for Best Dramatic Series in 2012, but lost to “Homeland”. Would you think it fair that GOT won if a slate had kept “Homeland” and “Breaking Bad” off the nomination ballot? After all, “Game Of Thrones” was good enough to get nominated anyway. How do you think George RR Martin would feel? Would he be grateful to the slatemaker for clearing the field for him?

  65. Neil Gaiman didn’t made Sandman: Overture alone, J. H. Williams III is a very important part of it. And then you have all the rest of the team involved in making a good comic. He can’t possibly decline on his own, and saying he doesn’t need the award is saying he is the only person that could possibly care about winning.

    And I just want to add, as a person that used to be one of Jim Butcher’s fans: Ghost Story was the best thing he ever wrote. I haven’t read The Aeronaut’s Windlass, but, if it is anything like Codex Alera, then it’s very enjoyable but a few stops before good. Which is why I gave it a pass.
    If I manage to get a WorldCon supporting membership (not really sure I will, the exchange rates are killing me), of course I’ll give it my full attention. Just, possibly, not my vote. Not when The Fifth Season is the competition.

  66. I also enjoyed the heck out of Seveneves. On the idea that the female president is somehow a caricature of Hillary Clinton…I don’t see how people get there, at all. Julia Bliss Flaherty is at most in her early forties, and comes to power through the vice presidency, and is the only politician in her family. The book goes out of its way to avoid mentioning her party or ideology; someone who wanted to claim her as a Sarah Palin analogue would probably have somewhat more grounds for making the comparison, but it still wouldn’t hold up very well with what we’re told about the character.

  67. Saoki: Of course; I never mean to shortchange other comic creators. However, as far as Hugo voters go, Neil’s name is the one that will be most recognizable, and some voters may vote for Sandman just on the strength of name recognition– particularly against the field now in this category.

  68. @Glenn Hauman

    Rachel Swirsky pointed something out that I thought was a very good analysis. Theodore Beale put three types of things on his slate.

    Stuff he hopes will win. All that Castalia House dreck, for example
    Stuff he hopes will offend us. (Hi Space Raptor)
    Stuff he thinks would have gotten on the ballot anyway. (Seveneves, Uprooted, Penric’s Demon, etc.)

    The first stuff is a “what the hell maybe the horse will learn to sing” move. He loses nothing by it as long as he’s slating. The second is “I’ll show you!” and probably his main effort. But the third is, in some ways, the most disturbing; the third is a reconaissance to see if we will hand him a veto card for the Hugos.

    Suppose we no award everything on a slate. He decides he hates oh, say, NK Jemisin. We’ve just told him “keeping her work off the Hugo ballot is iffy; she might always get more nominations than you have slaters. But you know, you could always just slate everything she ever writes for the rest of your or her life, whichever comes first. Every book, every short story, every novella, every novelette. If she ever writes a Related Work or if one of her novels is made into a screenplay or if someone publishes a book of essays about her work… We’ll vote them all under No Award for you. Won’t you enjoy that?” Realistically he wouldn’t have to slate every one of them. Just the ones he sees getting buzz.

    Now we’re each going to deal with this as we see fit. I am not going to take it personally if other people who want to save the Hugos think a different approach is called for–that’s why we’re not Puppies, because we don’t take marching orders.

    But I’m going to have the “No you can’t slate yourself a Hugo” category I.e. The Puppy and Castalia stuff, which goes under No Award, and the “No, you can’t just veto other people’s Hugos” category, which gets read and evaluated the normal way. Haven’t decided yet what I’ll do about the “be offensive” stuff. Maybe No Award it generally for keeping real nominees off the ballot, but if it’s really good… I dunno.

  69. They’re at it again? Why is there still an exploitable loophole? I thought last year it was, “yes, all very unfortunate, but it takes time to change the bylaws, and it’ll be all fixed next year.”

    Did I misunderstand that? (I haven’t been following this patheticness very closely.) Is it fixable? What needs to be fixed? Are they doing anything to fix it?

    I ask because I’d like to stop ignoring the Hugos.

  70. quixote: Why is there still an exploitable loophole?

    The WSFS Business Meeting has to vote on changes to the WSFS Constitution for two years running before any change goes into effect; this year will be the second time for two proposals that might/should help, and (if passed) they would be used to determine the 2017 Hugos (we’re currently about to vote on the 2016 Hugos, for works published in 2015). Even the new proposals likely won’t solve the problem completely, though–people are still trying to come up with new ideas/solutions.

    Shorter answer: I hope you can be patient. I’m afraid it’s going to be a while.

  71. isn’t the Puppies’ whole point that the Hugo system is exploitable? I thought they were complaining that people have been promoting slates for years.

  72. sez lela e. buis: “isn’t the Puppies’ whole point that the Hugo system is exploitable?”
    No, that has not been the pups’ “whole point”. It has certainly been part of the pups’ ever-changing farrago of invective against the Hugos, but given the incoherence of said farrago, it’s far from clear that the pups even have a “whole point”.

    “I thought they were complaining that people have been promoting slates for years.”
    True; the pups have, indeed, complained that “people have been promoting slates for years”. The fact that said complaints are utterly unfounded has clearly not impeded the pups from making said complaints.

  73. Dear Abi,

    Y’know that’s mostly my take on it, too. Including the “mileage may differ.” If I were, say, in John’s shoes and a constant ‘person of interest’ to the SP’s, I’d be more than slightly dubious of the motives behind any engagement with me. But I’m not.

    As it happens, John Sandford and I were a Puppy recommendation (for Campbell)! When I was alerted to this, considerable amusement ensued in the Ctein household. Possibly Paula even more than moi. Anyway, I cc’ed the info to a bunch of friends and the best and most pertinent response came from a girlfriend who wrote: “Lordy lord they know not who you are.”

    Yeah, pretty much.

    Then another wrote to inquire if I was going to ask to be removed from the ‘slate’ and I wrote back, “No.” Another asked if I were going to at least publicly comment on it, and again, “No.” And a third asked if, in the most unlikely event I got the Campbell, I’d accept the award and slam the P’s from the podium, to which my response was, “Oh, hell, no.” That’s the kind of juvenile asshole behavior that a couple of authors I can think of would engage in, but I’m not the sort to choose to accept the biscuit and then bite the hand.

    (Since neither of us made the ballot, I feel I am freed from that no-comment thing. I shall explain anon.)

    After all that, I went and actually looked at the SP posting. It said, right up front, that it was a recommended list, that it was determined by the voting participants, that authors were not consulted before being included, and that (being readers’ recommendations) they would not be removed at an author’s request.

    So, not my problem! They’re not putting words (or ideologies) in my mouth; they’re not asserting I’m an ally. I’m just an author they’re recommending.

    I drilled deeper, to their vote tallies. It was not exactly a ringing endorsement. Well, it was a very small ring. They had a tiny number of voters. We made their Campbell list by garnering THREE votes.

    My, if it weren’t for the honor of it all…

    So, much ado about nothing.

    ~~~~

    So, back to the explanation:

    A CAUTION TO OTHER READERS: The is descriptive. It is NOT prescriptive. If you try to use my internal logics and ethical/professional decisions as a club to bludgeon anyone else, I shall be exceedingly cross with you. You will not like that. (I’m thinking of you, Guess, among others, with your unfortunate penchant for shallow and juvenile [and inevitably erroneous] armchair analysis.)

    The one thing Readers don’t get to do is put words in my mouth. That’s a biggie.

    But, I have no control over what they take from my books, or how they interpret them. That’s out of my hands. People will read into one’s works what they will. That’s the way it always has been for authors– Heinlein was vexed by being approached by hippies who took “Stranger in a Strange Land” as their manifesto. Tough luck, Bob; ya gotta live with it. Ain’t your responsibility.

    (There’s a bit of that reading-into thing here, with one person thinking the prez in Seveneves is a sendup of Clinton, and another doubtful. And, I’ve gotten some of that around President Santeros, who is absolutely, positively NOT modeled after any President, candidate or combination thereof.

    Hey, people, have you thought of actually asking Neal?)

    Similarly, except through my fiction, I do NOT, as an author, get to tell my readers what to think or do. I think it’s unprofessional and immature. My authority ends with my published work. Readers will support or reject my work for whatever reasons they hold, and it is entirely their right to do so. I may think those reasons, if they are even known to me (and usually they are not because I’m a crappy telepath) to be silly, misguided, or wrong. It is still not my place to tell them they can’t have them.

    Does that mean I might not have strong feelings about what my readers say or do? Hell yeah. But part of being (on very rare occasion) cleverly disguised as a responsible adult is that I don’t always get to act on my feelings.

    [end DESCRIPTIVE]

    There’s a corollary to the preceding which I will make prescriptive:

    If you are an author, don’t ever, ever, ever, EVER get into a fight about your work with your reader (s).

    It will end badly for you.

    Every single time.

    It doesn’t matter if their assertions are bugfuck crazy.

    Just. Don’t. Go. There.

    Unless you actually want to trash your reputation.

    We’ve seen many an author fall into that trap; it’s posibly the most personally self-destructive flavor of needing to be Right On The Internet.

    If a reader writes you with a seriously wacko sentiment about your work, just thank them for taking the time to write, tell them you will think on what they’ve said, and move on. If what they write is personally offensive, simply trash-can it. Just … don’t argue. If they post it to a third-party site that you are not engaged in, ignore it entirely. If your well-meaning friends ask you to comment on that, thank them kindly for inviting you to a game of “Let’s You and Him Fight,” but you’re declining to play.

    pax / Ctein
    ==========================================
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    — Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
    ==========================================

  74. I agree with you about not responding to reader reactions, Ctein. I’ve even talked about that myself and had discussions with authors about it. But the Puppies’ voting slates last year weren’t reader responses and had nothing to do with anyone’s actual writing. It was about creating Internet harassment, both for the authors and others they labelled evil SJWs and likely to be up for the awards or had been in the recent past, and for those authors they drafted on their slates without telling them and claimed as supporters of their political cause, who then baulked and didn’t want to have anything to do with a hate group trying to claim that the authors endorsed their attacks. In particular, this harassment campaign was aimed at female authors and others who get the brunt of Internet harassment on a regular basis. And in this case the harassment was going to be coming from the dangerous hangers-on of the gamerbros, deliberately recruited for the cause.

    So last year was not about reader relationships. It was about people trying to commit crimes and career problems for authors, directly and by proxy, ending with Lou Antonelli illegally swatting David Gerrold and the convention, trying to get the local police to come in and maybe hurt someone, and then bragging about it on the Internet. So this went beyond. It involved the physical safety of authors and the ability of female authors and queer authors to participate in the field at all. It was about scaring people and hurting them, not taking weird things away from their fiction.

    This year, Beale changed the playbook. He put “SJW” authors on his slate, so he could declare victory either way. This was another way to create harassment towards them and try to affect their careers. And he encouraged the Sad Puppies to throw open their list to all comers to vote on, which meant that again “SJW” authors would be on the Sad Puppies list from non-Puppy voters — which is what happened to you. And if those authors who then were finalists complained and wanted to opt out of being endorsed by the junior varsity of the harassment campaign, they would be refused and attacked as ungrateful hypocrites, directing the same group of harassers to come at them. And this is what they did. That it was a slate or a recommendation list was immaterial, even who was on it was immaterial — it was simply a ploy to set up a continued campaign of harassment while claiming to be victimized.

    This again in particular places women authors, non-white authors and queer authors and their families in very real danger, and also attempts to drive them out of the field much in the way that they’ve tried to drive them out of tech and electronic games. Given that we already have considerable obstacles in the field for women and particularly non-white authors (who are limited due to systemic bigoted business beliefs to 10% of the field at present,) the deliberate attempt to create more harassment for them on the Web that interferes with their abilities to do their jobs reflects much larger problems we have than simply one set of awards. Even if Beale and the gamerbros wander off in search of other pickings and if the Sad Puppies sink into the mist, these larger problems exist and affect the industry. I don’t believe that the Hugos are in danger long term or lost, but the whole Puppies issue has had nearly nothing to do with SFF or the Hugos. It has to do with going after people in marginalized groups to keep said groups from being “uppity.”

    So yes, a lot of what has happened has been funny. But that the Internet communities that openly plot to attack people now include making authors like Leckie and Okorafor have to fear phone calls from strangers threatening the lives of their children, that I don’t think we can laugh off. The Hugos were simply a tool of that; they were never the point. This isn’t something that’s going to get brushed off. It’s a long term thing that’s going to continue quite irrespective of readers because it’s going on in the wider society and every industry.

  75. Dear Kat,

    Last year was last year. This is this year.

    Please remember that I have been out and both a socially and politically active Queer for more than four decades, in Fandom.

    Nowhere in my descriptive or prescriptive remarks did I suggest that one should shrug off attacks on one’s person or career. Do not try to extend what I said beyond what I said.

    If I am attacked (and I do mean *attacked*– not just someone writing “Ctein is a poopoohead” on some site I’ll never read) I won’t take it lying down. That won’t happen.

    One particular line of yours? “And if those authors who then were finalists complained and wanted to opt out of being endorsed by the junior varsity of the harassment campaign, they would be refused and attacked as ungrateful hypocrites, directing the same group of harassers to come at them.” That entirely supports my prescription. It is just one of many examples (let us all whisper “racefail,” and then put down the can opener and step away from the worms).

    You believe the likes of moi ended up on the SP list via a plan to put us in an embarrassing position. I’m more inclined to Abi’s PoV and believe it was born of an inchoate process (three votes, after all). Meh, whatever. It didn’t manage to embarrass me at all, for both the descriptive and prescriptive reasons I gave.

    pax / Ctein

Comments are closed.