Some Final Hugo-Related Thoughts
Posted on September 6, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 131 Comments
Getting these in today because I was given five business days to be giddy about the Hugo (including Monday, even though it was a national holiday) and after that I have to get back to real life:
* In my awards speech I did manage to thank most of the people who I felt were instrumental in the success of Redshirts, but since I was a little dazed and hadn’t written down a speech, there were three people I missed, and I’d like to give them some props right now. The first is my agent Ethan Ellenberg, and the second is his co-agent Evan Gregory, who handles my foreign sales. Ethan has always been the best of agents, Evan is a close second, and I’ve always been grateful to be represented by them. Good agents can be hard to find, and great to have. Ethan and Evan are the best.
Third: Jonathan Coulton, who wrote the theme song for Redshirts and captured the essence of book in four minutes, which is pretty cool if you think about it. I’m not always a fan of book trailers, but songs for my books? Yes, please. I’m already thinking about who I might ask to do a song for the next novel.
Also, in a larger sense I would also like to thank the booksellers who got behind Redshirts and hand sold it to a bunch of folks, as I know many did. That’s the sort of advertising that in fact you can’t buy, and I think it made a big difference in the fate of the book. You guys rock.
(Edit, 12:00pm: Gaaah, I also forgot to say how thrilled I was to win my Hugo on the same night as so many of my friends, including (but not limited to!) Mary Robinette Kowal, Kate Baker, Howard Tayler, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, John Picacio, Elizabeth Bear, Cat Valente, Seanan McGuire, Paul Cornell and Mur “I won a Campbell which is not a Hugo but I am still awesome” Lafferty. I could not ask for a better Hugo class to be in.)
* In my wanderings on the Web looking at comments about Redshirts‘ win, I saw a couple of people wondering (to varying degrees of dread) if this means that I will be rushing out Redshirts 2: The Redshirtening or something similar to capitalize on the burst of Hugo attention.
The answer: No. While I reserve the right to change my mind if I’m ever confronted with a seven figure payday for it, for the moment there is no plan for a Redshirts sequel. One, I’m contracted for two different novels already: Lock In, which I’m currently writing, and the second installment of The Human Division. Both of those are going to keep me busy for a while. Two, I think Redshirts stands pretty well on its own and I’m content to let it be its own thing.
I think it’s almost certain that I will write more humorous science fiction of the sort that Redshirts is, because I have pretty good empirical evidence that it does pretty well for me, and I for it. Indeed, I already have some ideas I am kicking around for a book of that sort. But again, that’s going some time in the future. In the meantime I’ll try to make the novels I am contracted for worth your while when they come out. The way to capitalize on the Hugo is to keep writing books as well as I can. I know! Crazy idea! Even so.
* Someone asked me in e-mail where I thought Redshirts ranked in terms of previous Hugo Best Novel winners. My answer: You’re kidding, right? Dude, it’s been a Hugo winner for five days. Come back in another twenty years and enough time will have passed for a more accurate placement in the canon. Also, I’m the author of the book. I am officially incapable of being objective about it. In short, I am the wrong person to ask, and this isn’t really the right time to ask. In the fullness of time, I hope it’s ranked above They’d Rather Be Right; if it is, I’m good.
That said, you know what? Redshirts did all right in the last year. It’s sold very well, which is a thing. It also won a Hugo, a Locus and an RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award. And now that awards season is over and no harm can come of mentioning it, I’ll also note that it was nominated for a Nebula Award as well (I declined the nomination, for reasons which should be obvious when you remember which organization gives out the Nebulas and what my position in the organization was at the time). It’s also, for better or worse, exactly the book I wanted to write, written exactly how I wanted to write it.
In the fullness of time, we’ll see where Redshirts lands in the critical view of science fiction history. I’m not too worried about it; hopefully I will be on to other books. Here in the present, I am very happy with how my little book has done. I’m proud of it, and humbled that so many people seem to have taken it to their hearts.
* Out there on the Intarweebs, there have been at least a couple of snit fits re: me and Redshirts winning the Best Novel Hugo, most notably from a military science fiction writer of some note who should know better but apparently doesn’t. With regard to his snit fit, what I wrote earlier this week about these things applies saliently (see the sixth point in particular), so there’s no need to address it in any detail.
However, given the fact that this one fellow felt compelled to blather about me, at length, for three days, in an increasingly loopy manner, I felt a response worthy of his intense efforts was required. Here it is, in its totality:
There, that should do it. As a bonus, it works for several other complainers equally well.
* One final time: Thank you to everyone who has taken the time this week here, in e-mail and elsewhere, to congratulate me and otherwise send good thoughts my way. This week has been a hell of a lot of fun for me, and you have been a big part of the reason why. Thanks again.
That picture of me and the Hugo taken, I believe, by David Gallagher.
Edit: with the regard to the author who is having a snit fit about me, a request not to go slagging him or his novels here, please. I’m looking to avoid that. It’s fine to say you don’t like his work (or this specific commentary of his) and explain why. But keep it this side of unhinged, please.
Aaaand I revise my earlier statement. YOU win the Intraweebs forever, Mr. Scalzi.
I just hope people remember that photo when they’re thinking of Best Related Work nominations for next year.
Congrats, John. Redshirts was good. People voted for it. Why there is any kerfuffle is beyond me. Maybe more churro waffles would help some people.
At some point in post-history the Culture Minds will assign the correct Hugos for each year and redact the erroneous lists from the memory stream available to our soft human brains. Until then, enjoy your reified ego reassurance. I am sure you earned it as much as anyone ever has. Except for that one guy who typed everything in the snow uphill, both ways.
The picture is awesome :) Congratulations on winning.
It does seem to me that people are overthinking the award – it’s fan voted and probably every one who voted for you did so for slightly different reasons. I really enjoyed the book, haven’t read all the rest of the field but am reading Captain V’s Alliance, which comes across a little insubstantial to me – a bit retro-pulpish, almost, with the main characteristic of one of the female characters being her chest.
People liked it, voted for it, and you won. Enjoy it! Everyone else, maybe Redshirts didn’t tick all your boxes for being “worthy”, but it did for the voters, so suck it up.
Congratulations, not just for the win, but for being exactly as dignified in your response to those ridiculous posts as they deserved.
I think The Redshirtening should be a musical.
I’m also wondering, now that I’ve typed that, if you had as much trouble typing redshirtening as I did.
“Redshirts” is a difficult word. There are many ways to go wrong with it.
Sweeeeet! Though I thought you had four Hugos? Not that I’m counting …:).
Have to agree with Adam, best picture ever! You sir, are slowly turning into the meme king.
Grats on the award :)
Nope. I have a Campbell, which is famously NOT A HUGO. It’s there in the picture, along with the RT award and one of my Seiun awards (it’s the little fish and origami rocket). The other Seiun should be arriving today at some point.
LOL, OK I’ma gonna buy Redshirts now just because of that picture.
I saw several belly flops (including the one you mention) RE parsing the results of the Hugo Awards. I Tweeted:
When you bitch about who won the Hugo, the rest of us hear: “Sour grapes! Seething envy! Bitter resentment!”
When you KEEP bitching about who won the Hugo, the rest of us hear: “Feelings of inadequacy! Rampant insecurity!”
And when you just go on and on and ON attacking someone’s Hugo win, what the rest of us hear is: “Whine, whine, WHINE!!!”
Mwhahahhahaha, what makes me chuckle is reading said military SF author opining that Redshirts has little “literary merit.” At which point my coffee exited nasally, and i was heard in an odd mixture of coughing and hysterical laughing by my neighbours. Having read some of said author’s ramblings, I would say literary merit was not a concept they had a huge grasp of.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the trashy end of scifi as well as the literary end. Iain M Banks and Ursula Le Guin are/were writing gods, but i have bought and enjoyed plenty of stuff released by Baen et al too. I don’t always want to be morally challenged, sometimes i want to be entertained dammit. Hell I even have some books by said military author, though collaborations. I will even admit to a couple of Warhammer novels (because i liked the games as a kid and a couple of their authors can actually write – I am looking at you two my Dembski-Bowden and Mt Abnett).
I would say Redshirts start of as purely entertaining, and as it goes down it’s particular rabbit while, becomes increasingly literary. That is why i like it, bought it, and have recomended it to others. It was a sweet balance of fun and thought, and wheel I suspect it’s link to Star Trek may date it a touch, so for me it may not match “The Stars My Destination” in legacy, it will stand up just fine by Hugo standards.
PS to the above – my typing is bad and mac autocorrect has got a lot more aggressive recently. Mt Abnett made me laugh though.
Congratulations on your win!
I really enjoyed Redshirts and, selfishly, I’m so glad it won a Hugo because I think there should be more humorous science fiction and that might help. Personally, I really appreciate books that my kids and I can read together, especially my son. He was 13 when Redshirts came out and loved it. I’m still working on convincing him to be a reader so Thank YOU!!
I also really appreciate that your response to criticism and praise is the same: keep writing the best you can. It’s the best response, but so few of us are that rational.
Keep up the good work!
Congrats on the Hugo win. The book didn’t make me LOL – but not much does. I did go whisky tango foxtrot at one point, but I particularly loved the codas.
No worries, Owen A. I understand the writer in question has not actually read Redshirts so there’s some additional irony there.
With that said, and without suggesting Owen has gone into the deep end with this, let me pre-emptively ask people not to trash the novels of the author in question here (if you know who he is). Hard as it may be to believe, I don’t harbor any particular ill will against the fellow, beyond some exasperation that he’s got his head up his ass on this particular matter, and in a general sense I don’t find it useful to slag other writer’s books. It’s fine to say they’re not for you, etc, but much more than that is not necessary here. Thanks.
I’m just sitting here trying to figure out how to pronounce ‘Seiun award,’ and one of my attempts sounded very much like ‘Cy Young award.’ And then I giggled for a while at the mental image of John Scalzi, Science Fiction Author and Major League Pitcher.
Man, I need more sleep.
[Deleted because this was just the sort of comment I was hoping to avoid. Floored, if you can restate your complaint more politely, do so, but this was a little spun up for me — JS]
John: from my side i didn’t want to get too far into trashtalking either, apologies that i went close to the line. Like i said, i have a couple of the guy’s novels as ebooks somewhere, and within their milieu they are fine.
As a side note, i think being self-aware about what you write is a really good thing. John, one of the reasons i read your blog, and also buy your books, is you appear honest about your output. You have confidence in your writing, and some justified ego, but you have also have enough perspective on your work that your ego doesn’t demand that every word you write be seen as making Shakespeare look like a ‘noob’.
I know some people in the TV industry and I was dismayed to discover the team behind a major UK TV series I would describe as entertaining but superdramatic and unrealistic thought they were making gritty, realistic social commentary. it was quite shocking to hear them talk about it like that. On the other hand i know someone who submitted a novel proposal to Mils and Boon (incredibly long running UK romance series) who was told, incredibly politely, that they realised the person had no respect for the genre and was trying to fake it. The Mills and Boone folks knew what they were producing and they were proud of it, without having illusions about what it was. I have to say my respect for them went up hugely.
So I think you need a pinch of ego, but you also need a healthy dash of context and a slug of humility. I think the best writers have all three in balance, and I think ti comes across in their writing.
Congratulations on the win, John, I’m really happy that Redshirts got the Hugo for best novel. Not merely because I like you and your work, but like ProfMel said, perhaps this will help promote humorous science fiction. That would not come amiss.
I tried to read that Facebook entry by Ringo but it just went in circles and is sour grapes, not an analysis.
Regarding the snit fit that unsaid author had, it should merit that Bill O’Reilly meme:
“Military SciFi written by a Progressive? You can’t explain that!”
Many congratulations on your Hugo, Mr Scalzi. I have only 3 of your books so far, but I enjoy your work.
Love the award ceremony pictures, too. The one of you looking up at your wife was adorable.
Congratulations on your Hugo win, John. I’d been in a very long scifi dry spell until I picked up Redshirts (my husband, who normally takes his time reading, had blown through the book because he enjoyed it so much, which perked my interest). It was actually the first novel of yours that I’d ever read since I had come to your writing through your blog. And I absolutely devoured it – I love how the book reflects a deep affection for shows like Star Trek while sending up a lot of the *cough* tropes and glaring plot holes that were part and parcel with those series. It resparked my interest in reading scifi and why I loved the genre in the first place, so thank you for that. And getting to meet you at C2E2 to get my copy signed was one of the highlights of that convention for me. A well-deserved win, and I can’t wait to get onto reading your other books (once I finish the last 2 of NK Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy) and I really hope you write another comedic scifi novel, because you’re damn good at it.
Hah! I am very pleased with myself for immediately guessing who you meant when you said “a military science fiction writer of some note who should know better but apparently doesn’t.” He’s kind of Internet-famous for not having necessarily the greatest judgement ever. (Hell, there’s a T-shirt about it.)
And I did see the whole thing thing happen on twitter at the time and took the time to read his Facebook beef. The comments section…my god the dudebro brigade was out in force.
Bit of a shame really because I did enjoy his Posleen series (not deep or anything but entertaining at the time). I was always aware of his political beliefs but it just kept getting more and more shoehorned in. I think what finally got me to question whether or not I should continue supporting this guy was a Posleen novel that had reanimated Nazis as the Noble Warriors (my interpretation at least) and some lefties getting their just desserts. I admit it was an entertaining read but it made me feel I had to take a shower afterwards to cleanse myself and I felt bad I even got a speck of entertainment value of it. Is there some German word for that kind of feeling?
I would also like to thank Jonathan Coulton. Without him, I’d have no idea you existed. (I’ve become less of a reader as I’ve become a busy adult. Music tends to fill my discretionary hours.) But because of him, I have read not only Redshirts but the rest of your novels. Thanks for writing and I hope you continue to write novels that make you satisfied.
You can enjoy books and simultaneously have issues with the author. But yes, sooner or later everyone has a line, and if an author crosses it there’s an ick factor involved. Whether that line is for things in the book’s tex, or the author’s actions outside of it, is also an individual thing. Personally speaking, my line is pretty far out there in both cases.
Yes I’m rather tolerant also regarding a diversity of opinions and beliefs. I guess everyone has their particular comfort level and line in the sand that is drawn. That line was crossed a while ago with that guy unfortunately.
I loved “Redshirts.” Congratulations on the win AND on confining your celebratory gloating period to just a week. I don’t think I could do that!
Congratulations on the win! Let us violate cakes together! The book deserved it and on several different levels, too. I mean it was funny–riotously so–but it was also, ah, something else. It’s all about the codas. :)
As for $MYSTERY_AUTHOR, hah, his opinion is his own, fine, but hasn’t he figured out that there’s simply no earthly way not to sound like a sour-grapes whiny little pustule when you do this? I mean, unless the Hugo got awarded to something that was generated by a disassociated press algorithm, you don’t get to complain. Not if you are a writer. You just look envious. Even if you are right. And $MYSTERY_AUTHOR sure isn’t.
As an aside, I’m incredibly amused by all the tweets about how this means ‘fan fiction’ won the Hugo and isn’t that simply terrible & the end of civilization.
Congratulations on the Hugo. I’ve been recommending Redshirts to everyone who holds still long enough to listen (I hand with a lot of sci-fi geeks). I may have to pick up a loaner copy, just to get more people to read it. It’s good work, and well thought-out.
In the fullness of time, I hope it’s ranked above They’d Rather Be Right
FWIW, I rather enjoyed They’d Rather Be Right and consider it to be better than many other Hugo winners. I also note that many of the things that people deride in TRBR are also found in other Hugo winners that people don’t complain about.
The truly sad part was that I could guess the name of the “military science fiction writer of some note” even before confirming it with google. He’s written a number of his own books, and won his own awards. You would think he would be a happier person.
Thanks for writing Redshirts, even if it did cause me to miss the bus stop for my job by a full 20 minutes.
And congratulations, of course!
I am late to the party and just started reading your books this year, but I’ve never seen any “tainting” of your books with getting your own personal message out. I always thought they were just good books with good stories and good characters. “Redshirts” was a trip to read. The humor was solid, the characters were interesting, and the codas changed things up just when you thought you were settled.
And even if your books were tainted with political messaging, your primary message seems to be “don’t be an asshat”.
On the other hand…even though I enjoy what I’ve read of the aforementioned angry sci-fi writer, the only thing I *don’t* enjoy about his books are the political messaging. Usually they’re in the guise of characters saying the things and not the narrator, but well, they’re repeated enough that it’s distracting and irksome. On the other hand, I haven’t read any more of said author’s books (even though a great quantity of them are available free online) because of the absurd amount of violence towards women, and well, characters being asshats.
Hi John, I loved Redshirts and recommended it to several friends. It does feel like you’re focusing too much on negative feedback, sort of like the lion griping about the lamb. Stand tall and enjoy your moment.
Maybe there’s another issue going on as well:
From Wikipedia re: hissing non-winning author: “One of the appeals of his works is his inclusion of fans’ names into novels as “red shirts” who die gloriously.”
It seems that way mostly because what you’re seeing is only what I write here. Trust me, I am giving the gripers very little thought overall.
That said, it’s fun to poke at them a bit and watch them seethe. I am not perfect, alas.
I think it was interesting that at the same time the military sci-fi author was arguing that only liberals go to the convention and vote for the Hugos (strictly to further their liberal agenda), others bloggers were noting the lack of color and youth among attendees and some commenters even complaining about the whole thing being dominated by conservative old white men.
I suppose I’m more inclined to give professional writers the benefit of the doubt, so I went and looked at Ringo’s Facebook posts, to see if he didn’t have anything good to say.
All I got out of it was that that guy needs to take a class in rhetoric, because his “arguments” are riddled with stupid. I’m embarrassed for him.
Speaking as one of those far-left liberal hippies*, I’ve often noticed that my reaction to the conservative cry of ‘this is corrupted by liberal scum!’ is almost always ‘don’t I wish!’. Apparently there is very little space to the left of these folks before you get to ‘corrupted by liberals’.
(I can’t speak to the reverse, since I probably have biases, but I do see a wide range between ‘my views’, ‘the status quo’ and ‘unnamed author’s views’.)
* I suspect I am not a true hippie, by virtue of being insufficiently anti-GMO among other things, but it’s close enough.
John, congratulations on the win. I’m someone who’s just happy to have made your acquaintance, likes your work, and sees what you let show of your personality bleed over a bit to the page, be it serious or silly. Silly done well, with an underlying serious premise? That’s a tricky balancing act, and “Redshirts” pulled it off pretty well.
“Redshirts” is something I gifted my father with a signed copy — and he, who is not a Trekker by any stretch of the imagination, but who is an avid SF reader and thus familiar with the underlying trope, was laughing so hard by the 2nd page in that he took the time to call me, at work, barely able to talk because he was STILL laughing so hard. We talked about the book after we’d both read it, and we found we both enjoyed the theme — and the somewhat unexpected metalevels that I didn’t quite anticipate going in.
THAT is a win. Whatever awards the book has earned, whatever the sales numbers, whatever the movie rights may or may not sell for, you put smiles on faces. When we’re done, that’s the part that counts.
I found Ringo’s early Posleen books interesting and got subsequent the books as they came out. The one thing that made reject him was his first non-SF novel Ghost. I found absolutely no redeeming value in it whatsoever. This has marked the one and only time I have ever regretted buying a book.
I have to know. What were you thinking about in that picture? That is one of the best ‘You Mad, Bro’ expressions I have ever seen. It’s mocking, taunting, and smug. I’m deeply impressed and greatly amused. I’d imagine that it will become your ‘go-to’ pic for responding to certain types of people?
I read most of said military author’s rant. (Was there more than one?) As near as I can tell, he’s annoyed that a bunch of fans, who he doesn’t like, and doesn’t write for, don’t like him either, and haven’t given him an award, that he doesn’t want, and would refuse if he got. Yeah, um, okay.
I’ve read some of said author and liked what I read, *shrug*. Among other things, he introduced me to Bun-Bun, which led me eventually to Oceans Unmoving (among other epics), which was truly awesome.
I was surprised that there were less 1400 votes cast. I would think there would be far more than 1400 people who attend WorldCon. One possibility is that most people won’t read all the categories or be familiar. It might be a good idea to let people vote just for the categories they are familiar with.
SciFi/Fantasy could probably do with an award that takes votes from several cons in several countries. Could be a larger award since more people would be included. It seems that some of the same authors get nominated every time. Now I do like these authors books, but alot of that can come from a smaller group of people who vote at this conference being fans of their books. I think the genre could do with a wider variety of authors getting nominated.
To put this in perspective… Robert Jordan sold 50 million books and has 1 nomination.
This is not a knock on John. BTW, I would have voted for Mira Grant’s book.
Aargh, I’m sorry, Mr. Scalzi. I’ll be more careful about posting borderline comments in the future.
Short version, without fancy verbage: Ringo is pathetic and not worth attention. Mr. Scalzi pwns, and deserves fawning flattery and servile attention.
Congratulations, Mr. Scalzi! I still treasure the memory of discussing George Lucas with you and sharing chocolate. If I ever get to see you again at a con, I will bring more.
*sigh* Said Unmentioned Author has his problems, it’s true. He’s had many interesting life events. It is sad that he fell into the celebrity trap (he’s certainly a particular flavor of celebrity) of forgetting that just because you CAN say something doesn’t mean you SHOULD — at least, not out loud on the interwebinets. I’m sure he will be comforted by his minions, will get over it, and might even eventually think “Whoa, that was a poor choice I made there.” Or he will spout it when his minions gather at his feet on the pool deck at the next convention he attends.
This seems to be another in a long series of people in SF saying things that just maybe they should not have said out loud on the interwebinets. It is very good fodder, though, for those of us involved in discussing relatively minor events (in the world scheme) endlessly, though.
Speaking of which, have you any thoughts about the article Paul Cook published recently? http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2013/09/science-fiction-science-fiction/
Because, you know, you have interesting opinions. I’ve read some pretty good ones, but I’m just curious if you have one this time.
And, of course, John, congrats on the Hugo. Redshirts is in fact the only thing of yours I’ve read, and I didn’t actually read it, as such, but had Wil Wheaton read it to me (and my wife) on a long road trip. (He did whine a bit about sitting in the back seat the whole trip, but other than that it was a great performance.)
“Besudelt” comes pretty close or simply “beschmutzt”. I don’t think we have some really fancy word for it, but then it’s late and I’m tired, so maybe somebody else might come up with something else. *gg*
I’ve read his work. I’ve read your work. I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of his series (Aldanata and Posneen, as I recall). I stopped reading his because as he became more successful, his politics became not just obvious (it was obvious before), but it interfered with his stories. I can’t care less how an author feels about an issue, I can care a great deal if it interferes with the story-telling. Jerry Pournelle is a good example. I can see his politics in his writing. Don’t care, because it never gets between me and his writing. not the same here for Mr. R. But all that aside, I always find, “I would have won X but for cheating, and my friends promise me they saw cheating (I didn’t see it myself because I don’t care about that award and would never be there and they’re mean to me anyway and they smell like peepee!), so I know it’s rigged,” is sad. And the raw anger in that thread is surreal for an award about which no one in that thread cares one bit.
Bottom line? Sour grapes, which is odd, since he is very successful selling his books, and has a large group of avid followers. But, no matter what he says, what he seeks, obviously, is official recognition. It’s understandable, and he’d be better off just admitting it.
I enjoyed the Posleen series and would still recommend them, haven’t picked up anything subsequent. The initial Facebook ramblings were just sort of dull reductive “how could a liberal write mil-fic that people like??!?” but the later comments from him in that thread with the Hugo/liberal conspiracies were just… wow.
It’s hard to figure how you’re that successful and still have that big a persecution complex. But whatever gets you through the day, man. I’m okay with helping fund someone wiping their tears with $20 bills, it’s when they go all Card on me and I might indirectly fund oppression that I get twitchy about buying their stuff.
I think the problem is that, for whatever beliefs/issues the Unnamed Author may have had on his own, he’s in an echo chamber similar to the RSHD’s, where he has people telling him how great he is, how right he is, how much better he is, etc. When people have that kind of constant reinforcement of their wackier beliefs and an intentional avoidance of contradictory opinions, they’re drawn farther and farther away from the rest of the world and into their own little bubble world. And eventually, as in this case, no longer see or hear anything else.
Of course I’m sure his fans are saying the same thing about all of us, so….
I’m still upset that David Brin didn’t win it for The Postman, so I understand how this kind of bitterness can linger…..
Count me as a fan of both Scalzi and Ringo. As a fan, I enjoy some of the authors’ works more than others. I’m happy that Redshirts won the Hugo and I believe it was a well-deserved win.
But really, don’t we go through this same set of complaints every year? Somebody, somewhere, needs to post a rant about the general weakness of the nominees, or the process by which winners were chosen, or the conspiracy of Straczynski supporters to vote-in Babylon 5. It’s an annual occurrence, or so it seems to me.
I suggest that it’s time to collect all these annual rants into one (or perhaps more?) volumes and publish them. (I waive all rights associated with this suggestion, BTW.) Call it “Sour Grapes and New Wineskins” or something more catchy. Pay the authors the going wage. Make it a win/win for all.
If nothing else, it will put these rants into their proper historical context.
Congratulations again, Mr. Scalzi for your continued class in dealing with success and the griping that comes from said success.
I’ll avoid mentioning by name, but I did read one remarkable bit of sour-grape critique that went on and on about how “derivative” Redshirts was, and yet the person in question was at a loss to explain why Hugo-winner Galaxy Quest was most definitely not derivative. At the risk of making a political analogy, it reminds me of the folks who think Obama shouldn’t be president because he was born in Kenya yet are just find with voting for Ted Cruz eventhough he was born in Canada. (the cognitive disonance, it burns)
Meantime, illigitimi non carborundum and keep on with the awesomeness.
Well, the Unnamed Author was one of my introductions to military SF (which I discovered that I like far too late in life to catch up on all I missed), so I have cause to be moderately grateful. I have found other writers who do it better, so I wouldn’t call myself a fan of his. I don’t think much of his politics, but that’s okay. He doesn’t think much of mine.
I think I can distill said non-winning author’s post thusly:
“I’m angry because this guy whose politics I disagree with got an award, which by the way makes all conservative SF fans victims.”
It’s kind of sad that he doesn’t realize how small this argument makes him.
Oops, Posleen and Aldenata are the same. I meant Posleen and Empire of Man.
congrats once again on redshirts. I have not read it as comedy sci-fi does nothing for me, I have read your other stuff though. Anyway, I love me some Ringo sci-fi as well (maple syrup anyone?) but I do not understand his problem.
The one long time sf fan I reccomended Redshirts to really liked it.
From what little I know of that other guy’s work, I really doubt my mom would be a fan.
I think everyone involved in the whole thing is missing the point. Redshirts clearly only won the award because of the song! A musical hook that goes round and round in your head over and over? It’s so obviously supremely sneaky subliminal lobbying by Mr Scalzi.
While I have enjoyed a number of the other author’s books, and he can tell a ripping good tale, I wouldn’t even admit to my mom to reading them much less venturing far enough to find out if she would be a fan.
finished it this afternoon, John. Hilarious, but lots of twisty turny changes, just like I’ve noticed you do with other stories, like “The Last Colony”, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I liked “Redshirts”, too, and again, congratulations on the Hugo. – Joe
Said military author calling Redshirts of “little sci-fi or literary merit” cracked me up because he’s the guy who wrote and published the Ghost series.
Hey dude, if you published a series where your hero admits being a rapist and contains at least one scene of the dude getting turned on by a nine-year-old girl, I think you lose any credibility to criticize other books (that you probably haven’t even read anyway).
You deserve to own this now – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Robert-A-Heinleins-Bed-/251317839942
If the Hugo awards were about serious science fiction that tells us about the condition of humanity etc etc etc then Redshirts wouldn’t qualify.
But some people fail to realize that isn’t what it’s all about. It is a popularity contest. That’s it. It’s what books people liked, what books they enjoyed reading. And for that reason, Redshirts was extremely well qualified to be nominated and to win. There are very few books in my several decades of reading that I enjoyed more.
So first, congrats on Redshirts! I think when it came out I did the thing where you read it all night long and then finish it and then have a reading hangover/hard time at work the next day. Also, anecdotally, I’ve gotten both my parents hooked on your books, to the point where my dad calls me and bugs me to tell him what other of your stuff he should be reading.
The other thing re: the gentleman who was loud and crabby in public–it is bizarre to me, the conflation of the military with conservatism. There are plenty of liberals in the military–two of my favorite Marines are liberals who have gone onto get PhDs in engineering or work for the government in some capacity. It’s just frustrating, this conflation of one aspect of one’s life with the political. Sure, there are trends–but to assume that a small town Ohioan must vote Republican, or a gay man in New York City is of necessity a liberal–it’s closing one’s eyes to the complexity of people’s choices and responses.
OH NO, WHINING AUTHOR, NO.
Other than fallacies of logic, and a complete ignorance of reality, and making no damn sense, maybe guess he’s got a point? Nope, he’s just WHARGBL!!1!eleventy.
@Guess, the reason so few people vote is that (unlike the Oscars where personal assistants, lawyers, and other flunkies fill out the ballot) Hugo voters generally don’t vote unless they’ve read/viewed ALL the stuff. You’ll see that the number of votes varies in each category, since fen are generally honest about skipping categories that they don’t feel they know enough about. I didn’t get around to reading the Graphic Novels this year, so I left that blank on my ballot. I didn’t listen to the Fancasts either, so ditto. My BFF didn’t get through the Related Work, so she didn’t vote that category. My husband only voted Dramatic/Long, and Dramatic/Short because that’s all he had time for; he’d only read one of the novels. People who don’t bother with anything don’t vote at all.
@M.A.: Yes, we’re Schroedinger’s Cat — either it’s all old white men, or it’s some female/people of color cabal, depending on the observer. I think, if the LIBFEMHOMOMELANIN cabal was running it, Seanan/Mira would have gotten more than one, Saladin or Lois would have beaten “Redshirts”, etc. etc. Apparently, the cabal isn’t fixing things very well. Bad conspiracy, no kale chips!
@Nick(f) the OC: I would love to read that. The older ones would be even more interesting, with the passage of time now that we know how it’s worked out. Excellent title.
None of this year’s nominees were as good as THE GREATEST NOVEL OF ALL TIME. This is clearly a sign of lowered standards in the field. Furthermore, the winner didn’t have the NARRATIVE DEVICE OF AWESOMENESS that I have arbitrarily decided all great novels should have. This means it’s a mediocre novel. It seems the winner mainly won by pandering to the voters by endorsing this UNWORTHY MOVEMENT I DISDAIN. The Hugos have finally, definitely, one-and-for-all, irrevocably lost all worth in my eyes and I totally won’t be following them or commenting on them next year. Unless something else I don’t like wins again.
There, now you don’t have to read any post-Hugo gripes!
I read most of said military author’s rant. (Was there more than one?) As near as I can tell, he’s annoyed that a bunch of fans, who he doesn’t like, and doesn’t write for, don’t like him either, and haven’t given him an award, that he doesn’t want, and would refuse if he got. Yeah, um, okay.
'cos the only fans of mil-fic are the sort of people who buy his books and high-five him about how great he is, so Scalzi can't be selling mil-fic, and therefore Scalzi can't be popular, despite people like Bujold and Scalzi making bestseller lists with vaguely liberal mil-fic, and despite Redshirts not being mil-fic, so something must be rotten in the State of Hugomark, and…
At this point, my frontal lobe shut down and I didn't bother reading any more.
Bugger. I hate getting an HTML tag wrong.
I have just got back from San Antonio to the UK and had a day to recover, so I am a little late in adding my congatulations. As one of the 151 I respect the views of my fellow voters, otherwise I would not have voted myself.
p.s. I hope you enjoyed our party afterwards, I was on the lighting team.
Oh, no, no, John. The unnamed author isn’t mad that you won the Hugo. He’s just really, really concerned about your sales. Particularly with his audience. He’s just trying to have your back!
Of course, he also doesn’t seem to understand the difference between a professional organization and a union, though I suspect that’s because he doesn’t really know what a union is.
I think I fixed it for you.
<sarcasm>I’m pretty sure it was the fake-geek-girl vote that pushed Scalzi over the top.</sarcasm>
In reading the rant and the comments, I did see one comment that seemed interesting – that the Hugo’s were biased against his particular sub-genre. Looking at the awards list, they may have a point. While I don’t think any of the Ringo I’ve read should have been nominated, there really does seem to be a lack of the “clash of empires” style military sci-fi. I mean, while I can’t really ever place him as a winner, the fact that David Weber hasn’t ever scored a finalist nod seems a little odd.
In the comment, it was attributed to an evil liberal conspiracy, most likely against the military. That’s obviously bunk, or Lois Bujold wouldn’t have a necklace the size of a small moon full of awards. It’s doesn’t seem to be politics, either – there are some moderate/liberal authors who don’t get nominated either.
My current theory is that it feels more like military fiction rather than sci-fi. They aren’t stories about the future – they are stories about strategic, tactical and political problems and solving them. The sci-fi elements define the problems, but they could (and often are) just as easily be set in the past or in a fantasy world. The meat is in solving the various problems, not in exploring how those problems happened.
Disclaimer: I am a reader of Ringo as well as Scalzi.
There is some meat in his argument, but it’s more of a community makeup issue. The military science fiction fans are not the same as the main fandom community. The main fandom community throw the cons, are most of the voters in the Hugos, etc.
Considered as a sub-genre, it gets less attention than its sales numbers would argue. But so do other sub-genres (YA, urban fantasy/dieselpunk/steampunk that edges into speculative fiction away from the fantasy tropes, etc), many of which sell better than “core sf” in a lot of cases.
Baen as a publisher seems both to contain a fair number of that subgenre’s authors (Ringo, Weber) and some much more mainstream ones which are well recognized (Bujold). Baen’s staff seem not to get editor hugo noms for the more core SF stuff they do. I wonder if that’s slightly off kilter. That’s not an indictment of the process.
Ultimately, the Hugos are a popularity contest, but not with the general public or general spec-fic buying readership, more specifically with the con-going core fans. This is not wrong. It’s just true.
Oh. My. God. Sorry, John, but the best part of this whole kerfluffle is that it lead me to this. I’ve been muttering, “Oh, John Ringo, no!” to myself for the last hour, mixed with snorting and/or giggling. My girlfriend thinks I’ve lost my mind, but it’s worth it.
JS: Edit: with the regard to the author who is having a snit fit about me, a request not to go slagging him or his novels here, please.
Does that extend to taking that cheesy picture of you posing with you Proud Phallic Present, printing it on a t-shirt with the motto “How are the grapes, [redacted]?”, and handing it out at cons where [Redacted] is attending?
Not that I’d do that, of course.
“exactly the book I wanted to write, written exactly how I wanted to write it.” Awards are nice, but I think this is the most important thing, really. Well done again and keep up the good work.
George William Herbert:
The argument you suggest he offered is both a more cogent and coherent argument than he actually offered, I have to say. His actual initial argument was that I won because of kowtowing to a liberal cabal, which intersects with your revision of his argument almost not at all.
And I think it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest that milSF has had a harder time getting on the ballot recently, although I’ll note I managed to get it onto the ballot, and Bujold not only gets it onto the ballot but wins with it. Which suggests the Hugo voting audience isn’t allergic to it as a concept.
I would also note that when OMW got onto the ballot, rather a lot of people assumed, but from the genre and the content of the book, that I was a political conservative (my blog was nowhere as well known at the time). So I’m not entirely sure a political bias is as much in play as some folks would like to suggest.
At Capricon this year (Wheeling, Il), there was a panel with Eric Flint and Michael Z. Williamson with a title like, “Why do liberal SF fans read military SF?” And the basic thrust of the discussion as I recall is that both writers agreed that military SF isn’t limited to one side of the political spectrum. Williamson is on the conservative side, and Flint is on the left, and both write military SF that’s been published by Baen (Flint told an amusing story of the first conversation he had with Jim Baen, a long chat about politics in which neither side backed down but which ended with Baen more or less welcoming Flint aboard). Williamson and Flint had a very civil discussion despite any of their political differences, and they made a good overall point that military SF can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of one’s political leanings.
Bottom line, political positions don’t necessarily dictate your reading tastes, as long as someone can tell a good story. I don’t think you have to be a right-winger to enjoy military SF, and as a fairly liberal voter myself, I love David Drake’s “Hammer’s Slammers” books. So there.
And congrats again, sir, on your Redshirts win.
I mentioned this post to my husband and said “Now Scalzi has three Hugos!”
“That’s enough to juggle!”
“Kowtowing to a liberal cabal,” huh. I thought you were PART of the liberal cabal (TINC).
Is suspect that people of all different political bents read (and write) military sci-fi because milSF is exciting and fun. And if the author gets overtly political in a direction you don’t agree, well, that’s why books have pages, that you can skip!
@G.W. Herbert: Baen’s editors are popular and well-liked in the Worldcon (Hugo) community, and their parties at Worldcon are top-notch. Toni Weisskopf was on the nominees list this year. I’m not sure how they don’t get noms for the more core SF stuff they do. Unless you think the right Baen editors aren’t getting noms, or that a bunch of stuff they publish isn’t SF or fantasy.
But Best Professional Editor Long Form is a weird animal. Short Form editors are usually strongly associated with magazines or anthologies and are easy to identify and judge. Long Form requires a lot more research and reading to figure out who you should nominate or vote for.
@Scalzi 8:44: But don’t you know Bujold’s books are really just romances masquerading as military SF because military SF is so much more a lucrative market than romance?
Maybe this is JR’s real beef. He thought you were on his side, and it turns out you’re on your side (i.e. not his side). Maybe this isn’t sour grapes so much as unrequited love?
You forgot to thank your agents? Bad author, no cookie for you. :)
As for Jonathan Coulton, in some ways I love that song more than the actual book. But I love his zombie song more. The man’s a genius.
Redshirts had the impact it had because it opened up a conversation, which is what good SF and fiction does. Through amusing satire, it looked at how we process experiences and how we are shaped by them, how we think of art, how we view what the future will be, and whether or not we can change our lives and who might be in charge of them. Like Tom Holt and Terry Pratchett on the mostly fantasy side and Douglas Adams in SF, it offered a story we laugh about because it resonates with issues in our own lives. It wasn’t attempting to be a profound book (although profound tends to be an eye of the beholder thing,) but it is a reflective, meditative one that looked at some of the things that SFF fans love most.
Mr. Ringo: read some of his work, found it okay. (Didn’t have the rapist hero or pedophile.) Now he is nothing. It’s not that he’s carping about Scalzi winning the Hugo. That’s normal; everyone’s entitled to their opinion on art and modes of art. It’s that he thinks I’m subhuman, and more, advocates for the legal repression and discrimination of those he considers subhuman, decreeing everyone speaking against that legal repression “idiots”. Once I know an author is in love with old slave narratives about the world (and pretends that they are military narratives in this case,) and more importantly wants to harm me and those I love out in the real world, then I have no interest in her or his fictional worlds. There are so many more authors out there doing interesting work who aren’t gunning for me.
And ones for the Clarke, Nebula, World Fantasy Award, etc. Well done!
John, I am not going to pretend that that’s exactly what was said on the FB thread (cough). But under circumstances not directly related to grumpyness I have had that conversation with many of the people involved, over the years. This does go back a while as a pattern. I saw this in the FB thread as one of the points.
You transcended the narrower bounds of MilSF starting with the first bits of OMW, and Bujold did as well almost immediately with the first Analog articles with Miles. One could wrap a larger boundary around a bunch of more SF – Dune, Forever War, the Culture universe, Enders’ Game, parts of Stross’ Atrocity Archives and the universe hopping ones and even Singularity Sky, which is focused around a single spectacularly unsuccessful military campaign…. But they’re much more functionally core character driven ones than modern MilSF typically ends up being. There’s a fuzzy boundary, and fuzzy crossover areas of fandom. One of the most character focused fans I know is also a Weber fan, though he has no pretentions of finding deep development there.
The other main FB thread element, the alleged liberal conspiracy, I put no faith in. Neither sales nor critical acclaim nor awards seem to follow actual politics of authors. Nor is there a necessary correlation with MilSF being a conservative authors’ product. I see more of that in modern action fiction (Tom Clancy, Dale Brown, etc). I don’t know of a modern action fiction author who doesn’t fit that mold; I would say Ringo does, but the other MilSF and military topic related SF authors run the gamut…
I think it may become nigh-on impossible to win another Hugo if you go out where Card has gone, but that’s somewhat different. Ringo can write, and if he chose to focus much more on the characters than the action he could probably write something that could be in contention.
Andrew – I saw Toni on this year’s ballot, and Jim Baen was nominated in 2007, but I had to go back into the history to find his last noms (though I had completely forgotten he got a bunch as magazine or book editor in the late 70s, 80, and 81; my bad). I started in fandom in late 80s after being a reader from the 70s, and the drought of non-Tor book editors past the mid-80s in the unified editor Hugo (until it was split) makes some of that an unfair historical exercise.
I guess two noms out of … 37? total nominations since the split in 2007, isn’t completely ridiculous.
I never meant to suggest they weren’t personally liked. I have never met Toni; as I recall (sadly, vaguely) when Jim came out to west coast cons I was at he was a hugely nice guy, for the brief periods we interacted up close.
It is interesting to read your comments regarding separating the artist from the art. As a child I grew very fond of the writing of a particular pair of collaborating writers of what was termed “hard SF” without any reflection on the political leanings of said authors. I just enjoyed the devastation of my home state by walls of water and pounding mud-rain, and the conflict of humans trying to remake lives in the aftermath.
But then I re-read that particular book as an adult. I was left dumbfounded by the blatant racism and sexism, not to mention the finer gradations of libertarian selfishness and outright self-righteous judgment. It was jarring to realize how much I had missed as a teen, and I was reminded of these same authors’ reworking of Dante’s Inferno and the sad, childish swipe they had taken at Vonnegut, as well as their ill-advised attempt to equate Benito Mussolini with Virgil.
I recognize now, having read up on the genre and the writers, that much of this can be attributed to one of the two authors and his particularly virulent brand of political conservatism, but these novels have been ruined for me because of the way these authors injected inexcusable elements into their text. But I ramble.
I bought Redshirts on Kindle last night at around 11pm and finished this morning at 7:30. It has been a very long time since I have had that experience and I thank you. I will be buying more of your books and have already recommended Redshirts to several people. Keep up the good work. Also, your blog is really enjoyable.
I think that’s the first time I’d seen a photo of a Campbell award. I am mildly disappointed that it doesn’t actually say “Not a Hugo award” on it.
Also, the Hugo awards are … if I am ever in charge of creating physical awards for anything of significance, they shall be my inspiration. Because they are wonderful beyond anything else in the genre of awards. You, sir, are enviably lucky to be working in a field with such excellent awards, as well as enviably talented to be winning several of them.
Mr. Scalzi pwns, and deserves fawning flattery and servile attention.
Respectfully, Floored, while I know you were kinda kidding and much as I admire our host: no. Fawning flattery and servile attention do no one any good. That ruins people, both as artists and human beings. And, anyway, decent, good people don’t want fawning flattery and servile attention.
I suspect that whatshisface’s rants were in part throwing red meat to his clamoring crowd of protest-masculinity keyboardists. After all, when one is a doucheblogger, it’s very gratifying to have one’s personal echo chamber cheer along with whatever you say unquestioningly no matter how stupid it is, because they care less about actual truth than You Are Awesome (and, by extension, as fans, a little of that awesome smears off on them).
Did Scalzi pick up some votes because he is well known for speaking up on certain issues? Probably. He probably also lost some votes by folks who still think Gamma Rabbit is an insult. He also picked up some votes by virtue of being better known than Mira Grant or Saladin Ahmed, and lost some because he’s not Bujold. This is the nature of fan voting, it is and will always be in part a popularity contest. Is it entirely fair? Probably not, but what in this life is? It’s not like Redshirts was some horrible undeserving novel elevated far above it’s worth. And I’ll say as someone who has read almost all of that certain unnamed authors work and owns a rather full shelf of it, I’d be far more disturbed if any of his books won, or were even nominated. I may enjoy them, but I’m hardly blind to their actual merit.
Just to clarify some awkward phrasing, I totally believe Redshirts was a worthy Hugo nominee and winner.
I attended a Bujold event at San Antonio. If I understood correctly, she said her massive necklace was for pins provided to nominees for various awards. They don’t all represent wins, and they don’t all exist, because the pins weren’t a thing when she started collecting nominations and she had a couple that haven’t been added yet.
At the pannel at Capricon about why liberals read mil-SF, both Eric Flint and Michael Z. Williamson rejected the premise. Williamson pointed out that a great deal of non-SF military fiction comes from the left, if not the majority.
I find it’s increasingly possible for writer’s that I’ve read and liked to forever lose me as a buyer of their works. That’s been true of OSC for a while now even though I still think he’s written some of the best American novels of the past half century. I don’t find Lucifer’s Hammer or The Mote in God’s Eye at all racist or misogynist though I think Mr. Pournelle is pretty clearly both and several other kinds of idiot as well. If he was still writing fiction, I wouldn’t buy it. I’ve read some of Ringo’s early works and enjoyed them, though I thought his science was as laughable as his politics. I quit reading him when it became very clear that he willingly ignored known science and good plotting just to set up scenes that he thought would look spectacular on film (which ain’t gonna happen, evah). This latest rant and things I’ve discovered here about him solidifies the fact that I’ll never put another cent in his pocket. The fact that he actually thinks his books, even the ones I found enjoyable, have any literary merit pretty much boggles the imagination.
Completely off topic: does anyone else find this site to be almost impossible to navigate using Firefox on a reasonably current Mac? Using Firefox on a pc, it’s better, but with an incredibly ugly font??
Channelling Frankie Howerd: Ooooh, mustn’t _mock_ – cruel to _mock_
Thank you for this. You do a public service of displaying authors I never want to read anything from, ever.
Especially John “I didn’t risk my fucking life to have you go lesbo. All men aren’t these filth. And if you decide they are, you’re spitting on what *I* did . Because the *good* guys want to get laid, too.” Ringo.
Although parts of me wish I had never heard of the fellow.
reply to speakertoanimals – go to tools on Firefox, click on add-ons, then look for a better theme.
re Shannon Leight – “I’ve been muttering, “Oh, John Ringo, no!” to myself for the last hour, mixed with snorting and/or giggling. ”
Looked at your link. Wow, I just realized how long it’s been since I read porn! If I was 13 again this stuff might be worth a, umm, read. With interruptions…
Wait, is this post the first time we’re hearing of “Locked In,” or just the first time *I’m* hearing of it?
Gah– “Lock In.”
Speaking only for myself, I’ve usually been able to distinguish between the author and the words spoken by the fictional characters he writes. In my mind, the quote you typed were words that character would have spoken, reflecting a worldview consistent with that character’s worldview–though I do get why people might find those words offensive.
I’ve been away for a bit & actually found out about your win when a friend emailed me a link to the artificial fart noise to which you refer. I have never read his art though I knew his name. Judging from the quality of his pathetic sobbing about the Hugo my long-term plan is to not alter that omission.
His hysteria is just the worst possible example of rating works for awards, or against earlier works. buried under a mountain of butthurt is the assumption that it is possible to label any book (movie, song, painting, nose hair) as “the best”. “Citizen Kane” is often rated as the greatest movie ever made but it is not hard to find people who actively hate the movie. For some people it works & for others it misses. Look at the Oscars, no matter what picture wins there are groups of people who think it is the worst thing the Academy has ever done.
The Hugo was a vote by some people at some point in time and enough of them liked Redshirts for it to win. I couldn’t care less because I enjoyed the book (though I am always happy for a guy who appears to deserve the reward as much as you do). Had some piece of, what I can only assume given his blog postings, dreck he had written had won It would not change my mind a bit about anything. Since I often find that my tastes do not match those of the majority I guess I am used to it. My ego is not so bloated as to think mine is the only opinion and I am not so paranoid as to think that when the majority disagrees with me it must be some gigantic eeeeeevil conspiracy to destroy humanity.
“Oh John Ringo No!” Is the name of my next band. ;)
@George William Herbert
I gather that some of Ringo’s criticism in the past has been the way in which Hugo nominations and votes are counted, i.e. by volunteers without outside oversight. I can’t speak to the veracity of this claim. I know nada about literary awards and have no way of knowing if the counting volunteers are transparently accountable to anyone. But it does seem to be part of Ringo’s complaint (as opposed to your more nuanced argument). If I cared about the award in question, I would want either more transparency or an independent counting-house so there could be no question. But since awards don’t factor into my reading choices, I’m just happy John won recognition he seems to appreciate.
I’ve read a bit of JRs stuff (at a friends urging) and would have expected a less beefwitted response from him, even though his brand of libertarian fantasy porn tarted up in SF trappings isn’t for me, however skillfully rendered.
Oh well. Congrats on the win, John.
Hugo voting is one of the most transparent votes, EVER. They publish the complete breakdown of stats both on paper and online the minute the ceremony is over. I wish all vote counting was as good as the Hugo system. I’ve still got the email detailing exactly what all my votes were, and in what order I ranked the nominees. I probably have last year’s ballot somewhere in my inbox as well.
Trying to get some organized secret cabal to do anything in SF is much more difficult than herding cats — and I speak as someone who’s both worked at cons and herded cats.
Perhaps someone should consider that the reason they’ve never been so much as longlisted for Hugos is that, while people enjoy their books, they aren’t considered of lasting literary merit. There’s no shame in that; being able to consistently entertain people is an art form of its own. Whining repeatedly about something you profess to disdain is just immature.
@Nick: I will agree with you up to a point – but past that point, when an author’s different characters (and/or his narrative, depending on the voice used in the writing) begin expressing the same ideas, or behaving in the same manner, over and over, the defense of “it’s the character, not the author!” starts leaking like a sieve.
I think one of the first places I saw this defense put forward was Spider Robinson’s “Rah Rah RAH!” essay. As phrased by Spider it wasn’t bad at the time…but when the subject (Heinlein) keeps returning in his work to the idea of adult males forming romantic attachments with/hard-ons for pubescent girls, one begins to spot a trend. And go “Hmmmmm…” (tm Arsenio Hall.)
(This was not the tic to which Spider was referring in his interpretation, BTW.)
Point being: if a writer’s protagonists, or their third-person narrative, keep hitting the same points multiple times, over multiple stories, at some point it gets a bit obvious. I don’t know if this is true of JR – I honestly haven’t read enough of his work to make that judgment.
I think the Hugo for Redshirts is well deserved. I also think that your reputation as a person probably got you some votes. (Also that Bujold’s novel, while fun, wasn’t her best work…though her “not her best work” is better than most people’s peak, so that’s an odd criticism.) This happens to people a lot of other people like, like Connie Willis and LMB herself.
What are you going to do, become a jerk so your wins will be “pure”? Ridiculous.
That may be what (Beatles)/2 is doing, come to think of it.
If it hadn’t been for his rant, I’d never have heard of his work. I’d only heard the meme that bears his name, and heard it applied when he committed the ABM (Author’s Big Mistake == replying angrily to a review).
Now, however, I’ve read a writeup about one of his series, and if the quotes in that article appear in the book, it’s sufficiently monstrous that I don’t care to read anything he’s written, ever. Anything further I could say would amount to slagging, however well deserved.
I just hope I never meet this guy.
I’m not disagreeing with you; and I’m certainly not going to defend the author or his works on this thread. That was never my intention. My original point says what I meant it to say, as best I could type it.
I couldn’t tell if Ringo thought the volunteer group has simply thrown out nominees or that individual volunteers might have intentionally failed to count votes.
Is there any way to verify that the stats reflect the actual nominations or ballots, or are they counted on the honor system? Are the votes counted multiple times by separate individuals as in professional counting-houses? That would be a wise precaution against the far likelier occasional honest human error. Extra efficacy if the votes are remixed into new piles before the recount to reduce the likelihood of two counters replicating the same error, inadvertently or intentionally.
Of course full transparency, short of hiring an outside third party, would require at least two groups of volunteers, separately constituted by a completely public selection process (easy with the internet), to check each other’s tallies, ideally without the two groups talking to each other from the time they begin to the time they finish the count. That way they act as a check on each other. Give half the ballots to one and half to the other, then switch, so the total process takes no more time than it would if only one group counted the ballots. Downside is it either takes twice the number of volunteers, or the same number twice as long. Upside is it’s as close to unimpeachable as you can get without hiring a third party.
For all I know, that’s exactly how the Hugo noms and votes are counted. All I know for sure is that they use instant-runoff ballots.
I’ve no interest in joining any internet pissing matches. There are authors of all genres that I enjoy (Scalzi is one of them.), and authors that I don’t care for, some of whom have been mentioned/alluded to in this thread. Whatever, man. It’s OK.
I thoroughly enjoyed Redshirts, and I see no need to discuss its worth as a Hugo-winner. I liked the book, and a lot of other people liked it too. Certainly, a Hugo is a Big Deal, and I’m honestly happy for our host. And when you enjoy a certain level of recognition, there are going to be people who use that as an excuse to take a big steaming dump on you. Is it jealousy, is it a stiff-backed reaction to what you deem as unworthy? I don’t know. I also don’t give a shit about their motivations.
The fact is, Scalzi won a Fucking Hugo and that’s pretty awesome. For him, and for his readers. It’s an honor – for John in that he’s being recognized as a writer who’s not just crapping out keyboard-strokes, and for his readers in that they enjoyed a book that was recognized by others as being a fucking good book.
There’s no shame in liking things that other people dislike, nor is there shame in disliking things that other people enjoy. There should be some shame in being an internet-dick, however. (Or any other sort of dick, to be honest.) I read some of the comments on that other blog, and I have to say that there are fewer internet-dicks here.
@Mike: At the pannel at Capricon about why liberals read mil-SF, both Eric Flint and Michael Z. Williamson rejected the premise. Williamson pointed out that a great deal of non-SF military fiction comes from the left, if not the majority.
Possibly because if you premise it as SF, you get to set up The Noble Good Guys and the Evil Opponents, where the Noble Good Guys are Noble Militarists who are both Good and Combative, but the Evil Opponents are Evil Warmongerists who are both Villainous and Oppressive (hello, Mr Weber, I’m looking at you…)
But if you deal with real wars, such narratives collide real fast with reality. And reality has a well-known liberal bias.
I liked Redshirts. Had I been eligible to vote, my vote would have gone to another book I liked even better, but I surely think Redshirts is worthy of the award.
$UnhappyAuthor… I’m a woman, and I don’t hate myself, and I’m a liberal, and I still don’t hate myself, and books that give make liberals the villains and women the rewards that get the real human beings moving do not interest me, and short of a brain tumor or serious head injury, never will.
Yes, there might be a reason why Weber hasn’t won the Hugo…
Dear Mr. Scalzi,
I write with trepidation but also note I am coming in under the one-week deadline for offering you congratulations on your Hugo for Redshirts.
My eldest son, the game designer, turned me onto you with Old Man’s War – I, of course, turned both eldest and youngest (Sgt. Heath) on to science fiction, particularly Heinlein, from the first moments they could read – and since then I have been your biggest booster.
But all three of us sorta agreed Red Shirts (we have at least two first editions between us) is your weakest offering.
BUT among us I have been the one to always talk it up, to offer they are missing something. WELL, when I heard the other day you earned a Hugo for it, there was nothing else to do but reread it … for the fourth or fifth time. It brought me to tears, as it has on every reading. As I reread it I was savoring it. Sometimes your word choice or sentence construction pisses me off (as does some of your politics). But who cares and why should I limit myself? This is far too personal and important to me, not you.
Then I started getting mad, thinking Old Man should have won. Then I started thinking Red Shirts is a mercy Hugo, to make up for past slights.
Then I finished rereading it and found myself in tears.
Boy, howdy. Mr. Scalzi: You so deserve a Hugo for writing Red Shirts. Your creativity is beyond amazing. The book, demonstrably, is outstanding.
So now I am rereading Agent to the Stars, which I consider your best story EVER and getting pissed it did not win its own Hugo.
I am not, am not a psychophant. There is much you do that I think stupid. But Holy Cow you write the most creative, interesting, compelling stories I have run across since Heinlein. I’m in my 60s and still finding new thoughts in his juveniles.
With warmest regards, best wishes and actual love to you, your wife and your daughter,
Is there any way to verify that the stats reflect the actual nominations or ballots, or are they counted on the honor system? Are the votes counted multiple times by separate individuals as in professional counting-houses? That would be a wise precaution against the far likelier occasional honest human error.
Or, you know, we could not overthink this, and just be concerned that the process is transparent, rather than bending over backwards to set up elections-grade processes whenever somebody throws a tantrum about how he lost because CHEATYFACE CHEATERS stomp stomp stomp.
Gah. I wish I’d never read that tool’s page. Precious seconds, lost forever.
Also, anyone who’s THAT concerned about it is perfectly free to volunteer their time and effort to help administer the Hugos. That requires action, however, not just FB bloviation.
Much easier to whine from your desk for a few minutes than spend a year working with other people to get things done.
“Redshirts” was one of two new science fiction novels I purchased in the previous year (the other was “The Apocalypse Codex” by Charles Stross) out of the tiny budget I allocated myself for entertainment purposes. Most of that entertainment money was from birthday and Christmas presents, although some of it was accumulated by scraping together the “small change” from my main account. Overall, it came to less than $200 across the entire year, so I’m glad I spent at least some of the money on two books I enjoyed so much (the rest got spent on DVDs of the Marvel cinematic universe films, and was greatly aided by the Edward Norton Hulk flick being on “get this out of our godsdamn inventory” special for about $5).
When one is on a tight budget, one doesn’t take expensive risks. Given the general economic conditions in the USA these days (not to mention everywhere else) it therefore doesn’t suprise me that a book which makes people at least grin, if not outright laugh, is going to do well. “The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, let’s not forget, came out during the height of Thatcher’s Britain. People like things which make them laugh and forget the outside world when they’re feeling stressed and otherwise upset.
@Nick Of course if someone ever did collect the award complaints into a book, it should be called “Lived and Fought in Vain.”
@mythago: That too. Just the engineer in me. If I cared personally about who got book awards, I’d volunteer, which, as Lurkertype pointed out, is exactly what anyone who is should do. Like I said, I’m just happy someone I like is happy they got an award.