Gum on the Shoe of History, or, Why the Hugos Are Still Not Destroyed
Posted on August 22, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 194 Comments
Before I get into the post-mortem of 2016’s Hugo Awards that I promised, let me first say that the award that made me happiest was Naomi Kritzer winning the Best Short Story Hugo for “Cat Pictures Please.” Naomi and I go waaaaaaay back — if she was not actually the first person I knew in science fiction genre circles (and I think she was), then she’s certainly one of first three or four. She’s always been one of the best of people, to me and to others in the field, and a consistently wonderful writer. We came up in the field together, and to see her work get recognition makes me immensely happy, and even more happy for her. As you can see, she looks pretty pleased herself. And, well. She deserves to be. Good story, great person.
Now, for some other stuff about the Hugos, and this year’s set of nonsense.
As you may recall, once again this year Theodore Beale (aka “Vox Day”), in his guise as the ringleader of the Rabid Puppies, tried to hijack the Hugo Awards via slates dictated by him, nominated by minions. Last year Beale, along with Brad Torgersen, who administered the Sad Puppy variant of this nonsense, engaged in simple cronyism and/or favor-currying, with a couple of unwitting human shields thrown into the mix. That didn’t work out so great for them, so this year Beale asked himself “what would Xanatos do” and came up with a three-prong strategy:
a) Put people and works that were already popular on his slate so he could claim credit for their success when they won, regardless of the fact those people/works would likely be on the ballot anyway;
b) Comb through the Locus recommended reading list for the year and nominate people Beale suspected the people he hates would want to vote for, i.e., more human shields, just a slightly different strategy;
c) The usual cronyism of pals and/or work and people he published through his personal micro-press.
Plus there was homoerotic writer Chuck Tingle, whom Beale slated for the lulz.
(The Sad Puppies, the originators of the nonsense Beale sucked himself onto like a tick, were largely a non-factor this year, which is probably better for them in the long run. They’re now all in for the brand-new Dragon Awards, administered by DragonCon, and you know what? Good for them. I wish the Dragon Awards every possible success, and independent of that, if the Sad Puppies want to focus on them instead of the Hugos, I wish them absolute joy in the work.)
So, how did this particular strategy work for Beale? Well, of course, poorly. The stuff that was obvious cronyism mostly ended up below “No Award” in just about every category, again, for the third year running. In the cases of the human shields and the already popular nominees, Hugo voters simply ignored the fact Beale slated them. In the case of the latter, no one sensible believes that folks like Neil Gaiman, Andy Weir or Neal Stephenson would willingly associate themselves with a minor racist shit-stirrer, and in the case of the former, Beale’s obvious assumption that the people he classifies as SJWs would explode with cognitive dissonance when he put people/work on his slate that they’d otherwise want to vote for (“I want to vote for it! But I can’t now because it’s on a slate! Nooooooooo!”) is predicated on the idea that these folks are the strawmen he’s created in what passes for his mind. They’re not; they knew what was up, and they largely decided to ignore his master strategy.
And then there was Chuck Tingle, who, when he found out what was going on, trolled Beale so long and so hard and with such obvious glee that it became an enduring thing of joy. Rather than being appalled that Tingle had been nominated, the Worldcon community largely embraced him (or whoever Tingle is; no one is really sure). Here was someone who was nominated by a bigot to antagonize other people, who instead allied himself with those folks and was appreciated by them in return.
Did stuff on the slates win? Yup: The stuff that could have won anyway, and the stuff that had merit despite Beale’s cynical attempt to make other people run away from it. Nothing that won, won because it was on his slate. At best (for Beale) it won despite being on his slate, an assertion we can infer from the performance of everything on the slate that fit into category c); again, nearly every crony nomination finished below “No Award” in the voting. An active association with Beale is, bluntly, death for your Hugo award chances. I mean, it takes a lot for someone as esteemed in the field as Jerry Pournelle to finish below “No Award” in Hugo voting, and yet, there he is, sixth in a field of five in the category of Best Editor, Short Form.
But that’s a sign of bias! It most certainly is. For three years Beale, with or without assistance, has been placing mediocre to awful work on the Hugo ballots; for much longer than that Beale has been a racist, a sexist, and a homophobe. The Beale brand, earned through time and repetition, is “graspingly untalented bigot.” And of course Beale knows this, the poor bastard, which is why he tried to drag down actually talented people and their good work by attempting to associate his brand with them. That didn’t work (because again people aren’t stupid), but if you actually intentionally attach yourself to the Beale brand? Then, yes, “associates with a graspingly untalented bigot” is now part of your brand, too. If it’s powerful enough to drag down Jerry Pournelle, a man of no uncertain talent and accomplishment who does in fact deserve better than to finish below “No Award,” think what it’ll do to you.
Beale has stated, in a pathetically grandiose fashion that belies the limit of his actual ability to affect the world at large, that his intention is to “destroy the Hugos.” He’s failed spectacularly three years running. In the years of his effort the Hugos winners have, in point of fact and entirely independent of his efforts, highlighted the immense diversity of talent currently operating in the field. Beale publicly flatters himself, as he publicly flatters himself in all things, as somehow being a prime mover in these events. What Beale is really doing at this point is trying to mitigate his own inability to have the status and influence he assumed would be his, by pathetically attempting to shoehorn himself into the history of others who have done more, and better, than he has. If he can’t be the hero, and at this point it’s become clear he can’t, then he’ll settle for being the footnote — the gum on the shoe of someone else’s long walk to esteem.
Here’s the thing about that. See my friend Naomi up there? She was nominated for the Nebula Award and the Locus Award along with the Hugo. At no point does the story of Naomi Kritzer — her talent, her ability, her recognition for her work — rely on Beale in any way. If he didn’t exist, she’d have been on the ballot anyway. At no point does the story of Nnedi Okorafor, who won the novella Hugo, rely on him either. Or Andy Weir’s. Or Neil Gaiman’s. Or Ellen Datlow’s or Shelia Gilbert’s or N.K. Jemisin’s — Jemisin, who Beale has repeatedly targeted for blatant overt hatred because of who she is, and who has accomplished so many things he hasn’t and is likely never to — all without reference to him. Nora, her talent, her work and her recognition, exist without him, thrive without him, impress without his approval, don’t need him and never will.
Five years from now, few people will remember, and even fewer will care, about the nonsense Beale and his pals kicked up; hell, last year, the crest of the Puppy nonsense, is already mostly remembered with rolled eyes and a “well, that happened” mutter. Ten years from now, only academics and true Worldcon nerds will think about it at all. But Naomi and Nora and Nnedi and Neil and everyone else who won a Hugo this weekend will still have had their moment of deserved recognition, and god willing will still be at it, making work and finding their audiences. They will continue to create and build and make science fiction and fantasy a genre worth reading and thinking about, and will probably do so for decades.
And none of it will be about Beale at all.
I’ll post a couple of additional thoughts here in a second, but first: Surprise! Mallet is out. Behave, please.
Now, additional thoughts not in the entry:
1. For the inevitable “If Beale’s not important why did you write so much about him? AW SNAP” that will come from various partisans — Beale is like a sewer pipe leaking shit into your basement. Once it’s fixed, you’re not going to think about it again very much, but in the moment, it’s spewing crap all over the place and you might as well address it.
2. At the WSFS business meetings they ratified a couple of measures to (hopefully) lessen the impact of slating, including the “E Pluribus Hugo” procedure that theoretically at least will trim down slating nonsense, and another rule that lets people vote for five nominations in the category but will eventually list six nominees. They also started a process to initiate three-stage voting, which would create an initial “long list” that worldcon members would vote on to narrow to a final ballot.
I think all of this is fine, but honestly, I also think the Hugo administers should also just simply note that they reserve the right to discard ballots that show obvious signs of slating. Now, as my editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden just noted on Twitter, this is a large imposition on the time of the Hugo administrators, and that’s certainly fair. But just noting that following a slate is likely to have your ballot tossed is in itself a inhibitor to bad behavior.
3. Likewise, as we have two years of clear evidence that Beale basically uses the slate as cheap advertising for his micro-press, I wonder it it’s time for the Hugo administrators to have the conversation about simply banning the press and/or any press Beale has fiduciary interest in. Obviously manipulating a ballot for your own business interests, and whether it should be allowed, is pretty clearly to me a thing worth discussing. And maybe the answer is “it’s a dick-headed move but we allow it anyway,” but if the conversation isn’t happening, then it’s leaving a problem unaddressed, especially when the publisher in question has an open antagonism against the awards.
4. Moving away from Beale for the moment, I was generally super-pleased about how the Hugos turned out this year — I voted for most of the stuff that won, which made me happy, and most of the stuff I didn’t vote for that won anyway I could easily see the merit of. It was a good year. And of course, aside from Naomi’s Hugo, I was thrilled that The Fifth Season won. I think it’s one of the best SF/F books in years.
It would be hard to imagine a more satisfying analysis than this. Thank you, John.
Well stated. After a year of hearing about Vox Day, I added his blog to my RSS feed. I lasted two weeks. He’s a colossal asshat, whose ego won’t allow him to recognize his mediocrity.
BTW: Google showed me pics today from last year’s worldcon. There’s a picture of me and thee just after you signed my book. Thank you.
Alas, though, certain categories, and in particular Best Related Work, were destroyed so thoroughly that not even work about Heinlein, a man the Puppies revere, was able to survive the puppification ordeal.
My own thoughts on the impact of Beale’s histrionics on the Hugos:
I had actually totally forgotten about that. It took me a while to remember “oh, yeah, there were those people trying to make Hugo drama once”.
And I’d complain about the reminder, but it was funny and will-written, so.
But yeah, this is not feeling like Lasting Effect.
Is there a link to the voting results? I’m interested in how well Mr. Tingle did.
Yeah http://www.thehugoawards.org/content/pdf/2016HugoStatistics.pdf has the stats. A quick read results in… Tingle got third in his category, second place being no award.
Marc Aramini’s book could have been Hugo worthy, but we’ll never know because it was not up against a fair slate and was voted against by people who were justifiably upset by VD’s antics. So VD could potentially have won a bona fide Hugo indirectly through this legitimate book his imprint put out, but because of his colossal asshatery he actually managed to finally shoot himself in the foot along with his many other victims. At least you can say he is fully committed to the bit.
Third place, but after No Award.
Thanks for the link to “Cat Pictures Please.” I can see why it won. It was lovely to read something that’s about kindness and people getting help from unexpected sources. We don’t seem to do a lot of stories about benevolent providence this days. And who doesn’t like cat pictures?
Wait, that’s the real reason your “career” is taking off, isn’t it? Cat Pictures for the web crawler god.
Thanks, GE. I noticed that Chuck has a new book out, “Pounded in the Butt by my Hugo Award Loss.” Would it be eligible in next year’s Related Work category?
@Zap Username: Full details are at http://www.thehugoawards.org/content/pdf/2016HugoStatistics.pdf
Mr. Tingle came in third, behind the winner (Cat Pictures Please) and No Award. Sympathetic as I am toward him, I suspect that that was the proper result.
The noted psychochronographer and Blakean magus Philip Sandifer has said “The Hugos can wake me when they’re a real award again, which currently seems set to be 2018.” ( http://philsandifer.tumblr.com/post/149319293701/thought-on-the-hugo-results ) This may have reference to that next year’s Worldcon will be in Finland, which I seem to recall is the home turf of the RSHD’s vanity-of-vanities press. Am I remembering right? If so, how does this affect your, or Sandifer’s, analysis?
I was at home watching the live feed with my spouse and when “The Martian” won for Dramatic Long Form and Jeanette Epps came out to receive, I said, “The optics of this are absolutely brilliant. There is no way Weir is not sending a very definite message to certain people with this.”
In general, the ceremony was much better handled than last year’s (no offense to David Gerrold and Tananarive Due, who thanks to last year’s mess were performing the equivalent of shoveling cats across a room carpeted in catnip), and I think the voters by and large got things right. Though I would have absolutely loved to have heard the speech Chuck Tingle wrote for Zoe Quinn to give in his absence had he won. That might very well have been like getting pounded in the posterior by Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and the Fourth of July all at the same time. ;)
Judging by the RP reactions to this year’s event so far, it’s clear they have a) no idea how the process works and never did, b) are so desperately lost in their own little universe of solipsism that they wouldn’t recognize the message sent to them even if they heard it from their own reflections, and c) desperately need a safe space for their constant and never-ending hysteria and outrage.
Last year’s Puppy debacle felt a bit like that too-drunk frat boy that crashed your party and embarrassed everyone…no long-term harm, but it put a bit of a damper on it all. This year’s…kinda felt like Beale and Co. all pointed at everyone and quoted that Barenaked Ladies lyric, “I just made you say ‘underwear’.” There were those few moments of “…” and confused blinking (avec xylophone sound effect), followed by a shrug, and everyone returning to the festivities as if nothing happened.
It’s looking like their insurrection ran out of steam rather quickly, so yeah…I agree, a decade from now, we’ll all have the LOLs about this at the Con Bar.
Not destroyed, just given “No Award” this year. The category will spring back, I’m pretty sure.
Philip Sandifer’s snark aside, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and this year’s Hugo pudding is pretty damn tasty, because it has The Fifth Season, Binti, “Cat Pictures Please” and other very excellent things in it as the winners. Only the most churlish would look at the winners’ list and say it doesn’t represent excellence in the field.
As for Finland being the home of Beale’s micro-press, I don’t suspect it will have much to do with anything.
I am happy for the writer of the books, and I wish her much success, and happiness.
It’s an interesting point to ponder if the Hugos should address specifically manipulation for financial gain (vs. manipulation because, uh, ethics in awards or because general asshattery). It’s also mildly interesting to me if VD’s obedient little minions would be quite as eager to part with their fifty bucks for Hugo voting rights if they realized they’re essentially buying ad space for him.
Something that pleased me about the ceremony itself… the audience reaction was almost completely in a positive direction. While there was lots of cheering when various winners were announced – particularly when Jemisin won – I can’t remember hearing any boo’s or catcalls. So while it was a thorough repudiation of the Puppies, it was mostly expressed by celebrating the works that won in spite of their interference, not by slamming the works they forced on the slate. (There was some cheering at comments made by both Gaiman and Jemisin in their acceptance speeches – but again, it felt more like celebrating inclusive values.)
The rule for Best Related is ‘if fictional, noteworthy primarily for something other than its fictional text’, which might be rather hard to spin for this one. Actually, the administrators would probably accept it, as they are very reluctant to second-guess the voters, but it might not be in the spirit of the thing.
I believe there is a serious movement to nominate Tingle in Short Story for ‘Space Raptor Butt Redemption’.
I will add that for the second year in a row Dramatic Short Form produced an excellent winner. Also very pleased that The Martian triumphed over titanic franchise fare.
Yes, people seemed happy to be happy, and I think Pat Cadigan as Emcee did a lot to help that as far as I can see.
I am beyond thrilled for Jemisin. ‘The Fifth Season’ is an absolutely transcendent work, the best thing I’ve read all year new or old (and for comparison purposes, this is the year that I’m finally getting to A Song of Ice and Fire, so it’s not like the competition is lacking). She deserves every success in the world, full stop.
…that said, it is so much better that she got the award during the year that a notorious troll with a personal antipathy towards her was trying to game the ballot to keep her and everyone like her as far away from it as possible, as part of a vendetta against every single idea in her philosophy of humanity. This is like the SFF version of Joe Louis defeating Max Schmeling.
I think I’m picking up Obelisk Gate tonight, assuming I can find a copy. I suspect it’s going to be selling really well for a while…
Of interest: this report shows what effect EPH would have had on this year’s nominations. On average, it would have added about one non-slate nominee to each category. Adding a sixth finalist would have added an additional non-slate nominee about 80% of the time, and would have put one of the slate finalist EPH removed back on the ballot about 20% of the time.
“I think all of this is fine, but honestly, I also think the Hugo administers should also just simply note that they reserve the right to discard ballots that show obvious signs of slating.”
While this sounds good in theory for this situation, I think the administrators (and WSFS in general) are loathe to put in any sort of rule that empowers disenfranchisement based on a judgment call. It could set a precedent for future abuse. I could imagine a Hugo admin years down the road using the rule to remove a work by an author they hate, and argue, “There’s no way this work got on the ballot by any means but shenanigans, since it and the author are awful, so therefore there were shenanigans, and thus I strike it out.” As much as I would like a “But it’s Beale” ruling, a codified system that doesn’t actively disenfranchise members is probably better for the award in the long run.
The biggest improvement from EPH seems to be in the Graphic Story category, where instead of Neil Gaiman as the 800-pound gorilla locked in a room with a bunch of incontinent chihuahuas it would have been a hugely stacked set of nominees. Shame.
@John, couldn’t agree more about Pat Cadigan. She was delightful from start to finish, and kept the shenanigans to a minimum. I particularly enjoyed her “telegraphing” the winners right before announcing them.
I am sad that the category I am competitive in, Best Fancast, was utterly destroyed again by the Puppies. But this year was less of a crapfest across the boarda across categories than last year’s bloodletting, at least.
I was very pleased to see the two wins for The Martian … well, the one win for the movie and the Campbell for Weir, which, let’s face it, is a verdict by the Worldcon on The Martian. Everything I’ve learned about Andy Weir says he’s good people, and it’s good to see him get his belated due.
Can’t help but compare his reaction to the prior ineligibility of the novel to the reactions of certain other people who lost out on various Hugos and/or the Campbell…
“Naomi and Nora and Nnedi and Neil and everyone else who won a Hugo this weekend will still have had their moment of deserved recognition. and god willing will still be at it, making work and finding their audiences.”
I love this. The joy in creation and creativity is at the heart of what you’re talking about here, I think, and the fact that the awards managed to keep their focus on that joy is something to be celebrated.
I get the feeling that Beale imagines his targets responding like the ones in Thank You Hater!, and is regarding this vision as a success.
Austin Loomis: I have all the time in the world for Sandifer’s amazing research and writing, but he really deeply doesn’t see the flaws in the kind of admin authority he’s imagining. For starters, he clearly isn’t imagining how little he’d like a bunch of the decisions made if the current SMOFs already had the power he wants his imagined admins to have.
Wait, Naomi Kritzker from the Twin Cities? Outstanding, well done by her! I went to college in Minnesota many, many years ago, and afterwards remember reading her blog on local things. I always admired her humanity, letting others into her life that way. I lost track of her blog over the years, good to see her still writing and doing great things. Congrats. (I think I stumbled onto her blog via a link from Whatever lo those many years ago….so thanks, Mr. Scalzi, for that.)
“This is like the SFF version of Joe Louis defeating Max Schmeling.”
I wouldn’t be so quick to make that comparison, as it’s really not quite like that. Schmeling was by all accounts a thoroughly decent person, and even helped Joe Louis out financially later in life.
This relatively disinterested reader doesn’t believe that slating at the Hugos started with Sad Puppies 1 or Rabid Puppies but believes that it existed before that. The extremely selective manner in which the Worldcon committee has provided statistical analysis has fed general cynicism about this.
“I also think the Hugo administers (sic) should also just simply note that they reserve the right to discard ballots that show obvious signs of slating.”
As a lawyer, this seems very problematic. First, what constitutes an “obvious sign” of slating? Secondly, why should this be at the discretion of the administrators? The cynic would say that this results in the administrators considering that nomination ballots that are very similar in content but the content of which they like are merely a reflection of the quality of the works nominated whereas nomination ballots that are very similar in content but the content of which the administrator dislike are considered to show signs of slating.
I’m not sure whether your friend Patrick Nielsen Hayden is an expert on what constitutes an “obvious sign” of slating but maybe you or him or someone else could define this in a way that doesn’t amount to leaving complete discretion in the hands of a committee. A cynic might say that cronyism should be a bad thing even when the cronies involved are one’s own.
@John: Yeah, Pat was great. She used to live in this area and come to our local book discussion group, but this was the first time I’ve seen her since she moved to the UK. ;_;
Not that interested in the Hugo drama, but I did read “Cat Pictures Please” – What a great story!
“Hey, I’m the idea guy! It’s up to others to sort it out!”
For the record, I don’t suspect the Hugo admins are going to do as I suggest, although bluntly in the case of Beale “obvious” would have been easy to note: He just put up the slate on his site.
That said, from a legal point of view, I’m not sure there’s any actual impediment. So long as the admins’ directives don’t conflict with organizational bylaws, they’re fine. And I believe the admins already have wide leeway to disqualify suspicious ballots. They have done so before.
Re: Slating being done before — certainly it was done before; the most notable example was when Black Genesis showed up on the Best Novel ballot. Unsurprisingly, it finished below No Award. The Puppies have historically liked to suggest recommendations posts (in which commenters suggest good things to read) or authors listing their eligible works for a year are just like slating, thus justifying their own bad actions, but yeah, no.
(That last paragraph, incidentally, is not an invitation to adjudicate the point here in this comment thread.)
“Naomi and Nora and Nnedi and Neil”? Clearly, the real bias here is in favor of people whose names start with N.
Can’t we all rally together in favor of initial-letter equality?
I’ll third the thanks for making me aware of Cat Pictures Please. That was excellent.
I’m super thrilled that The Fifth Season won. It’s a brilliant book and I’m currently devouring the sequel now.
As far a discarding ballots that are obviously on a slate. I don’t see how you could make that work, and someone is going to come along and say something like, “slate, what slate? I picked these works because these are what I though was the best in the field.”
Yeah, well. The Fifth Season blew me away. It would have been a strong contender any time in the last decade. I preordered the Kindle version of The Obelisk Gate as soon as I saw it would be out this year. I’ve read it already and I’m eagerly looking forward to the final volume.
One of the notable things about this year’s nominees is how many genuinely good ones were in the running–John is definitely right in that it was an excellent year in the genre. I have limited time in which to read, and this year’s awards just increased the size of my “must read” list considerably. I am very much looking forward to reading The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate, as I have read Ms. Jemisin’s other work and enjoyed it tremendously.
(Aside to John–please remove if you can my prior comment about alternate universe Rob, as the admittedly weak joke fails completely with his twinned comment removed. Thanks!)
“For the record, I don’t suspect the Hugo admins are going to do as I suggest, although bluntly in the case of Beale “obvious” would have been easy to note: He just put up the slate on his site.”
I’m very grateful for your response Mr Scalzi, but you seem to be saying that if a slate (or list of recommendations) is posted anywhere then any ballot that matches the items on that list should be disregarded. Does it only have to match it 100%? If so then the workaround sees Beale produce a slate covering 80% of the categories and telling people to write in whatever they choose for the rest. George RR Martin put up a list of recommendations on his site. A cynic would say that where this is ending up is that lists are slates when we agree with the content and are lists of recommendations when we don’t.
“That said, from a legal point of view, I’m not sure there’s any actual impediment. So long as the admins’ directives don’t conflict with organizational bylaws, they’re fine.”
Speaking “from a legal point of view” is never something I recommend. There’s been way too much recourse to what’s legal and what’s not in the debacle of the past few years. We should be thinking about what people will consider fair – that means democratic and/or transparent and borderline competent.
Oh look, an echo.
VD’s business is domiciled in Finland for tax purposes, and the way he has done this is apparently being questioned. There is getting to be a general uneasiness in the EU over special local tax deals, Luxembourg is best-known, and I can see several ways in which an e-book publisher could be exploited, though most would be rather obvious. But there does seem to be family history.
A Hugo Award could have been waved as a banner of real sales.
Really overall happy with this year’s awards. I would’ve preferred Wong to Weir for the Campbell but I am not overly surprised at the result–there was no chance to award the Martian novel so it’d have to be the movie and the author instead.
It’s unfortunate that categories with a lower barrier to entry (so lots of options) and low nomination turnouts still got hosed a bit, but Tingle helped make it a lot more fun than it should have been.
Really especially happy with Fifth Season’s win–as many others have said, it’s a phenomenal novel. A really well-deserved win.
I tend to think that tossing ‘obviously slated’ ballots is a less than good idea, as others have explained. Banning Beale and Castalia House (or any other name they try to cloak themselves with) seems a lot more justifiable. The slippery slope arguments about later abuse feel weak to me–there have been and honestly are not very likely to be any other cases where an individual is A) simply that vile and B) actively hostile to the awards themselves and all the other voters and C) using same awards as promotional fields for themselves and their friends through a shady publishing arm.
Lindsay, the Campbell voting was actually very, very close: Andy Weir won with 1144 votes to Alyssa Wong’s 1110.
Kritzer fans should note that her novelette So Much Cooking, which was my top short fiction pick in any category, would have made the ballot if not for Puppy shenanigans (or if EPH/5 and 6 had been in effect).
Well stated. After a year of hearing about Vox Day, I added his blog to my RSS feed.
Which is, of course, touted by him as a sure sign of his growing influence and power as he tilts once again at the dreaded Scalzimill.
It hasn’t quite dawned on him that a monkey publicly masturbating also attracts a lot of attention at the zoo, as does a gory car wreck…
“VD’s business is domiciled in Finland for tax purposes and the way he has done this is apparently being questioned. There is getting to be a general uneasiness in the EU over special local tax deals, Luxembourg is best-known, and I can see several ways in which an e-book publisher could be exploited, though most would be rather obvious.”
Finland has a corporate tax rate of 20%. Several other EU countries have lower corporate tax rates. Ireland has a corporate tax rate of 12.5%. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_in_Europe
I spend half my working life dealing with cross-border tax and EU law and actually live here and know more about these issues than a few soundbites culled from the international press.
I have no idea why Castalia House is based in Finland but if it is for tax reasons then Theodore Beale needs to get better advice. In any case, I don’t see what difference a Hugo award would make to the tax analysis or position of any tax authorities. Evidence of “real sales” is what the sales numbers/revenue are. If you think any European country’s tax authorities will take into account Hugo awards then I have a wrought iron lattice tower for sale if you are interested.
Thank you for posting the link to Naomi Kritzer’s story! That really does deserve all the awards it gets. Naomi has a new fan :D.
What are your thoughts on Toni Weisskopf and Pierce Brown being put below “No Award”? I thought most of the items placed below “No Award” were justified but these two stand out to me. Both seem qualified to at least place for a Hugo.
Rob Patrick (apparently now working under reformeurope):
“Speaking ‘from a legal point of view’ is never something I recommend.”
And yet in your previous comment you commented “as a lawyer,” so that’s interesting.
Speaking personally, I put both above No Award on my ballot, so I would agree with you (for the record, I put Jerry Pournelle above No Award as well).
I would think a lawyer would recommend against speaking from an *illegal* point of view. . . .
Thanks, John. I loved Kritzer’s story and Jemisin’s book. Yay, N people! (I’m also a fab of The Other Naomi.)
Dramatic Presentation: Short form seems problematic. If it wasn’t for 2 DQs, the top 2 final vote getters wouldn’t have gotten on, and in an era of great SFF TV 2 of the choices managed to fall below No Award. Honestly don’t see how people nominate for these without coordinating otherwise how do you know which specific episodes to vote for? Seems like it would be better if people could just nominate TV shows without having to pick specific episodes.
I’ve got nothing at all to say about puppies, mainly because Mr. Scalzi already said all that needs saying, but I am THRILLED-THRILLED-THRILLED to see Naomi and Nora and Nnedi all get the public recognition they so richly deserve. They are amazing writers, and they’ve earned their awards many times over.
The one (tiny) regret I have is that Nora and Nnedi were not able to attend the ceremony to collect their awards in person, because, oh, my dear sakes alive, WOULDN’T the puppies have had a collective heart attack at a photo of the Hugo winners all beaming together with their lovely shiny rockets? That mental image – of all the winners celebrating together, I mean, not puppies having coronaries – makes me grin all over, and I wish it had been possible in reality.
I really enjoyed The Fifth Season. It really demonstrated how much Jemison has developed, by far her best to date. I look forward to future work.
In re the nominations, I think I got hosed. It was my understanding that previous year (2015) members could nominate for 2016 awards, but when I followed up with MidAmericaCon, I was told I would need to buy a new membership to nominate. It was a busy spring, so I let it go, but now I’m wondering if that was incorrect.
Finally, speaking as someone who is not a lawyer, but is paid to advise lawyers on certain aspects of law, I have to second the recommendation to NOT “speak from a legal perspective,” because there is no such thing. Laypersons tend to believe that there is such a beast as the “letter of the law,” but that’s sort of like “strict Constitutionalism.” 9/10ths of law is actually custom, and 9/10ths of the remainder is who argues better. In general, when one is tempted to use any phrase that might resemble “from a legal perspective,” I suggest backing up and starting over with “speaking as a layperson.” The latter is more likely to be correct, appropriate, and supportable.
I am sunbathing in the rays of Naomi Kritzer’s smile. How beautiful.
If you had a membership for Spokane, you certainly should have been able to make nominations for this year’s Hugos. You would have needed a membership to MidAmeriCon to vote on the final ballot, but not to nominate. Buying a membership to MidAmeriCon after January 31st would have allowed you to vote on the final ballot, but it would not have let you nominate.
[Deleted because Mr. Beale is bad enough without wishing a brain wasting disease on him (or assuming he has one). Let’s be better than this, please — JS]
Nice shirt! The color reminds me of LoneStarCon3 for some reason …
Thank you for putting this so well, sir!
Last year, Beale’s strategy was somewhat effective in getting controversial and poor nominees on the main ballots. It got him media coverage, largely because he enlisted GG-ers to do the slate voting, and because he directed both the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates, which were nearly identical except for Beale’s own house offerings on his slate.
This year, he changed strategies. He told the half of the Sad Puppies still remaining to pretend to embrace recommendations from all and then scold authors who wanted off their rec list while claiming no association with him, while he peppered his list not with right wing ideologues and poor choices but things like pretending to like Neil Gaiman. The Sad Puppies consequently were mainly ignored. The GG-ers mostly left because they never cared in the first place and they’ve already lost most of their campaigns, and the media has largely moved on and is concentrating on the circus that is Trump. The only splash he was able to make this year was being mentioned in some of the acceptance speeches as an asshole loser. Which probably delighted him, but doesn’t really make him look like a successful gadfly who is controlling the Hugos.
Next year, the EPH rules go into effect, so even if Beale wants to switch back to strategies that worked for him in 2015, he won’t easily be able to. Nor will he be able to assemble enough of a voting block. Books simply aren’t very important to folk on the larger media and political stages and if you try to do something with film, they send a black woman astronaut to make you look like an embarrassment.
I don’t suppose that Beale will stop yapping in the field entirely. Books are the only area where he can claim any pull with conservative media and operatives if he wants to get in better with them. But his pals who got him the media coverage last year — Breibart.com — are a little busy right now and will be also next year setting up a media empire with Trump. So he had his one shot, turned it into a mess and now will have to go looking for greener pastures.
So if there is one lesson to be learned from all this — next time something like this happens, go easy with the gloom and doom it’s destroyed forever predictions.
I was quite pleased by the results and the rejection, once again, of Beale. While Beale doesn’t seem to be learning from continual failure, hopefully his varied followers will gradually lose interest.
EPH should assure that we get at least one thing to vote on in each category next year. The combination of EPH+ and 3SV (if ratified) should do even better in the year after that.
The Hugo admins have latitude in determining the eligibility of works (word account, etc) and whether a ballot may have been improperly submitted (by a non-natural person or multiple votes by one person) but don’t, I believe, have latitude based on “slatiness” since that isn’t a topic covered in the constitution–hence all the work we have put into EPH and 3SV.
The only drooling puppy impact this year that bummed me out was that their firehose of garbage pushed the super Alexandra Erin out of the related works category.
“And yet in your previous comment you commented “as a lawyer,” so that’s interesting.”
That would be the difference between ‘speaking from a legal point of view’ and the ‘argument from unqualified authority fallacy’ I guess.
Question from a first time Hugo nominator: how much is the nomination data condensed in that pdf? I nominated Elizabeth Hand and Simon Stalahag, but they don’t appear. Is there a cutoff for number of nominations? You seem to be a Hugo-savvy audience so I ask here. I voted last year and was thrilled to nominate this year.
The Hugo committee is required to list the 15 works that received the most nominations in each category, as well as everything appearing on at least 5% of nominating ballots in that category. They can list more nominees if they choose, but they do as a general rule cut it off well before the length of the list becomes unwieldy.
Its good to see that the Hugo’s are back on track. Last year I really did feel the effects of the puppies online but this year I’m happy that they not only did badly but that they are also already starting to fade into obscurity.
I don’t know, man. This post kind of leaves me cold.
“An active association with Beale is, bluntly, death for your Hugo award chances. If it’s powerful enough to drag down Jerry Pournelle, a man of no uncertain talent and accomplishment who does in fact deserve better than to finish below “No Award,” think what it’ll do to you.”
I guess we’ve been warned.
@Nick H: I knew someone would come back and point out that comparing Day to Schmeling was unfair to Schmeling. :)
@TomC: I think what hurt Weisskopf is that she continues to have a hard time pointing to specific contributions–she says that the whole editing staff works together, and that they have a pretty hands-off editing policy in general, all of which argues persuasively against giving her an award for personal achievement in the field. Best Editor is generally a hard award to judge, because it’s not like we see the rough drafts, and when you come right out and say that you don’t do much people will listen to you.
@many: My thought on “throwing out slated ballots” is that you set it up as an algorithm; if X number of ballots come in that are more than Y% identical, all of them get thrown out. It should be relatively trivial to look at past years’ votes and determine a value of X and Y that aren’t likely to be achieved inadvertently, and you can easily get around people attempting to game it simply by not telling anyone what X and Y actually are. (If griefers don’t know, they can’t aim to come in just under the threshold.) And of course, anyone dumb enough to publicly state, “This is my slate” would automatically get all ballots that match it thrown out, but I don’t see that happening again because euphemism treadmill.
@John Seavey, I think this may have been said before, but I imagine the “Best Editor” categories were easier to vote on a couple of decades ago, when the fan community and the pro community were smaller and more insular, and most people knew each other, or at the very least knew of each other. Currently it’s much more difficult to vote on the process because, as you say, it’s at more of a remove from the fans doing the voting.
I think I’d like to start my own campaign for Chuck Tingle as best fan writer.
Thank you for writing such a lovely analysis of the Desperately Racist Dogs and for highlighting their powerlessness.
It was satisfying to read that women won Hugo awards for four major categories, especially Jemisin’s win! Woohoo!!
Hopefully, the puppies will give up this slate nonsense and move on with their lives. Enough already.
Indeed, it is a warning: If you spend your days actively associating with an unrepentant, self-important racist, people might think less of you for it, and that might have an effect on how they consider you for other things, like, say, popularly-voted awards. I’m not entirely sure why that’s apparently surprising to you.
WRT booing during the ceremony: I heard something hisses when VD and a couple of overt anti-SJW titles came up. Also, the clapping was very loud for Noah Ward, especially the second win. Cadigan didn’t look happy, though.
“And I believe the admins already have wide leeway to disqualify suspicious ballots.” The rules may not explicitly say that everything not permitted is forbidden, but there would be a huge disturbance if ballots were dropped; IIRC you weren’t around in 1994, when the admin used the same logic to move pieces between categories. (There is now a rule about when this can be done.)
“They have done so before.” Do you have evidence for this? I worked on 1989, which specifically did not disqualify fraudulent ballots; the administrator would have resigned if the rest of the committee had insisted on this. From discussions with the 1984 administrator, similar fraud was treated similarly then.
IFF VD can rouse enough interest for another go, I have hopes 3SV will fix him for 2018. (The linked results for EPH suggest it does something, but not everything.) There’s also the possibility that people who put up money once won’t do so again, given his utter failure; the published numbers show he got 437 nominations (which last year’s members could make) but only 165 votes and <300 total.
Excellent analysis, but I can’t agree with your implication that purely on the merits, Jerry Pournelle would have deserved better than “No Award”. He was not nominated for a lifetime accomplishment award, he was being nominated for his work as Best Editor, Short Fiction, in 2015, which, to my knowledge, exclusively consists of editing There Will Be War, Vol X.
“Thanks” to the slating, three stories from that anthology were on the Hugo ballot. In my opinion, none of the three was worthy to go above “No Award” (and the Hugo voters agreed). Two of them read like book tie-ins for really lame video games, and the third, in addition to being a less than compelling story, was a festering heap of genocidal racism.
So the sample of the anthology I read was terrible, IMHO. Do you disagree about the quality of “There Will Be War X”? If not, why do you believe Pournelle’s short fiction editorial work in 2015 merits being rated above “No Award”?
I’m mildly disappointed that Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson, didn’t win best novel; I think it’s the best SF I read all year. But I will attempt to read the other nominees, none of which I had seen on my local library shelves, before making further judgements.
There were only three stories in that anthology?
Have we finally reached the point where appealing to base bigotry loses you the election rather than winning it? Is the near universal rejection of VD and his followers a sign that the world has shifted a little bit for the better? Is VD’s indirect and unintentional reenactment of Denethor’s self righteous self immolation a preview of what is to come when the bigot Trump is soundly defeated in the election?
I dont know the answers to those questions, but the Hugo results made me feel a little bit better about humanity today.
Howard, strongly recommend you read the other nominees: I admit I hated Seveneves (and would not have finished it but for wanting to finish all Hugo and nebula nominees) but regardless, the rest of the category had some terrific work even if you liked 7eves (I guess aeronaut’s windlass was a “meh” for me, but it’s certainly solid and not a bad read).
But best novel is never going to have to worry too much from slating anyhow so that shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s great this year that the other works categories had at least one work sneak through, even if it require a withdrawal.
I suspect we’re basically done with the slates honestly- Beale’s votes actually dropped from nominees, suggesting a lot of his supporters had sasquon memberships but not MAC ones, making them ineligible to vote. That will also make them ineligible to nominate next year if I have it right and interest should further drop. Add in EPH and we should have a very much healthier choice of nominees .
Good post. But I’d like to address a theme I see in several of the comments here.
In various contexts, including some comments on this thread, I feel like I’m seeing people say “Well, there was a bunch of good stuff on the ballot this year, so Beale has already lost; and he had no serious negative effects this year, so all is well and we can ignore him.”
It’s true that the ballot (except for a couple of categories) had a bunch of worthy stuff on it this year. But I think it’s really important to note that, regardless of whether we liked what was on it, the ballot was largely determined by Beale.
Which is to say, there were plenty of other worthy works and people that *didn’t* make it to the ballot because Beale didn’t happen to put them on his slate. (Graphic Story is a great example of that–the stuff that got pushed off by the slate is *excellent*.)
Nearly 80% of the items that Beale put on his slate ended up on the final ballot. (http://file770.com/?p=28616) In most categories, his slate determined at least three and usually four or all five of the items in the category.
That’s partly, as Scalzi noted, due to Beale having populated some categories of his slate with already-popular work; there are plenty of slated items that I’m certain would have been on the ballot regardless. And in a few categories, three or four non-slate works or people made it through, which is great.
But overall, Beale essentially got to decide what works and people the voters would be choosing among.
And that seems to me to be fundamentally harmful to the integrity and value of the Hugos. Even if every item he slated was something that I loved, I would still feel that he was tainting the award by using a slate to determine most of the contents of the ballot.
John: As I said, it was a sample. And given that it was the sample that the publisher chose to slate, I would have thought it would be biased, if anything, toward the BETTER stories in the anthology.
Are there other stories in there that you would recommend? If not, I’d rather not dive back into that pile of manure in hopes of uncovering a hidden pony.
Furthermore, isn’t the editor responsible for the choices in the ENTIRE anthology? Some mediocre choices might be forgivable, but to me, the inclusion of “Seven Kill Tiger” alone would disqualify an editor.
re: Gum on the Shoe of History
I guess when I think of Tedious Teddy and his Mewling Minions, this is what comes to mind:
“Got some, dirt on my shoulder, could you brush it off for me?”
Mysteron: Oddly, Best Editor Long Form didn’t exist a couple of decades ago: it’s a recent invention. (Best Editor Short Form is basically a proxy for Best Magazine, so it’s not that hard to assess, though it is a little weird that the announcements don’t actually mention the magazines: I guess that is indeed a hangover from the ‘we all know each other’ days.)
Jed Hartmann: Yes indeed, and his having the power to choose between good works is the long term threat. I’m not sure any currently proposed system can overcome that. The classic example is this year’s Novella vote, where four of the finalists were his, all decent works. EPH would have made no difference to this, suggesting that it isn’t really effective against slate choices that are quite close to the mainstream; and I don’t believe 3SV would have had an effect here either; it’s only really useful against abuse.
John Seavey: I think it would be quite unconscionable for the administrators to start taking unilateral action against slates. It would be quite fair to pass a rule against slates and then let the administrators enforce it; but then there would have to be a definition of a slate, set down in the rule, so I don’t think it would be possible to keep the relevant figures secret.
Zap Username says:
AUGUST 22, 2016 AT 1:37 PM
Thanks, GE. I noticed that Chuck has a new book out, “Pounded in the Butt by my Hugo Award Loss.” Would it be eligible in next year’s Related Work category?
The story itself wouldn’t, but Chuck Tingle’s performance may well be eligible–a couple of my fellow File770ers expressed an interest in nominating him(them?) for Best Related Work.
John, thanks as always for an excellent analysis–and for signing my HC copy of Redshirts at Worldcon! And thanks for the advice as well.
I am curious about how somebody could destroy the Hugo’s when it seems broken anyway. Nothing posted for final consideration was my cup of tea and Amazon now has more power over what stuff I read than anybody else.
I know what I like and the Hugo’s don’t seem to have it.
Despite JS comments about the future I think the Hugo’s are in danger of going the way of the dinosaur and becoming obsolete. Having to pay to vote discourages the casual reader and ensures that only those with some sort of stake are truly invested.
From what I’ve seen it seems the debate is between what people like and what is new. So why not rejig the categories to reflect this? Best innovate work for a category for new stuff while allowing best novel to be for the stuff we comfort read?
The new innovative work might be history in the making but people are still reading the latest Honor Harrington.
The Awards also carry the perception of being an American award and thus ignoring the rest of the world. I’m not saying this is true but it does seem to be the perception of the man of the street over here in the UK. And it’s only those who know it exists in the first place.
The Nebula award still seems relevant but when Amazon decides to up its game and launch its own awards with a big cheque attached and masses of publicity I think the Hugo’s will have to innovate or die.
At the moment I’m wondering why I bothered to pay money to support this thing when it seems to be a matters to industry only thing and looking towards the upcoming self published works schedule.
I think some rebranding might be needed.
Glad to see that Andy Weir won the Campbell. There is hope for the genre after all . . .
What delights me is that Beale’s assaults on the Hugos made them newsworthy to the mainstream press (in no small part because George R R Martin got upset, and apparently any George R R Martin news counts as mainstream news when you’re the creator of one of the world’s most acclaimed TV shows), and the conclusion of that story is ‘the controversy did not work because this book won the award instead’. N K Jemisin got an unusual amount of coverage, the Hugos get a wide opportunity to show their reliability, and it probably wouldn’t have been covered so widely if Beale had just stayed away.
I invite you to attend the next few Worldcons and offer your suggestions at the business meeting. Have fun! Enjoy the process!
Otherwise allow me to suggest that the Hugos, which have existed happily for more than sixty years now, are probably going to be just fine continuing forward. If some other award comes along and is successful, great. The Hugos will still be doing their thing.
Also allow me to suggest that inasmuch as last year’s Best Novel was from a Chinese author, one of this year’s winning authors was also Chinese, and otherwise the Hugos have recently had winners from the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada and other places that are not the US, that your assertion of them being an “American” award (perceptually or otherwise) is not supported by history. Certainly an English language award. But otherwise, meh.
You know, when I won my award, before all the present nonsense, it was covered in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Guardian, i09 and numerous other online and print outlets. Allow me to suggest there are easier ways to generate publicity to the benefit of the winners.
gregory:You are free propose whatever amendments to the WSFS constitution you wish and to , attend business meetings once you to get a worldcon membership. You are also always free to create any award you want. As John mentions, Dragon Con is doing that and I wish them well–I even just voted on them today.
The Hugo awards aren’t in competition with Amazon or anyone else. They are the awards as defined in the WSFS constitution and as voted upon by the membership.
Having read this thread, I was tempted to visit the Vox Day blog. Curious, rather than interested. Wish I hadn’t, it’s a very unhappy place. This thread is also featured…
I’m sure it was. At one point I did a fundraiser based on how many times Beale mentioned me on his blog in a year. People joined along. We raised over $50k for various charities and political organizations.
I’ve thought more about this, between unpacking and laundry and decompressing, and I realized that the past couple of years of controversy have had an unexpected effect for me, and I suspect for others.
I’ve voted on the Hugo finalists in previous years. This year was the first year I ever nominated anything.
I’ve attended WorldCon multiple times. This year’s convention was the first one at which I attended the business meetings and exercised my franchise as a member of WSFS.
Neither of those things would have happened absent the recent shenanigans. And I’ll bet that I’m not alone in choosing this year to expand my participation.
So one could argue that in his attempts to destroy the Hugos, the leader of the puppy pack has actually had the opposite effect, making them stronger by encouraging wider participation at many levels. That certainly doesn’t justify his actions, of course, nor does it excuse the hurt he has caused. But it might be a glimmer of a silver lining, assuming that the newly active participants don’t fade back into the shadows of apathy again.
I think I’m going to spend the rest of 2016 reading intensively for nomination-worthy pieces for next year’s awards. Hope I have good company.
Lovely analysis. You did fail to note how _thoroughly_ the astronaut accepting the Campbell for Weir rocked the tiara and scepter. He looked _magnificent_. (Stan Love? Am too tired to go look it up. Any gate, it was a charming moment.)
I, personally, intend to nominate Chuck Tingle as Best Related Work next year. I will probably also nominate Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s _Making Conversation_, but I haven’t read it, yet, just some of it’s truly magnificent individual essays.
@AnotherAndrew, I stand corrected. Thank you for reminding me of something I should already have known. :)
Re: Pournelle (And how people are shocked, SHOCKED, to discover he’d edit Beale’s kind of fiction.)
It can be very good sometimes to revisit books that one liked in one’s youth; they can have some very good insights in the road one has travelled from pale, callow teenage boy to an older, fatter, but hopefully wiser state. As a fourteen-year-old, I thought The Mercenary, heck, the rest of Falkenberg’s Legion and Prince of Mercenaries and the other CoDomineum books and that whole setting was just great. (In my defense, I’d started with The Mote In God’s Eye, which is actually pretty damn good.) But I ended up reading any Niven/Pournelle I could get my hands on.
Revisiting some of them well, I think begs a question relevant to Pournelle’s most recent editorial endeavors. I have read “Hadley”, which was collected into Falkenberg’s Legion, about the stern manly valor of herding dissidents into a stadium and killing them all. I’ve read that whole series, and the repeated defense it makes of debt peonage of various types; the great James Nicholl said it best when he said “Niven and Pournelle apparently regret that most USians have been denied the enriching experience of aristocratic boots on plebian necks.”
And really, if you give Lucifer’s Hammer and Oath of Fealty a re-read, amongst others, especially in the last year, the coding just screams at one. There are hard-working engineers, and the vile villainous takers, who can be righteously left out to to die, and you can be damn sure what color most of each are. (You also know which color each are because of the painful awareness with which the occasional Black Friend (TM) is presented.)It’s the hard science fiction of would-be hard men, who can’t really hide the fact in their prose that when they have their characters talking about Hard Choices That Must Be Made, they’re secretly fantasying about the day they’ll get to Hard Choice everyone in those Welfare Islands.
All of this is decades old. All of it has the vapor-thin coating of Teddy Beale and all the other alt-right types, piously insisting that it’s really just all about the Lessons of History, or Science, and not any actual ill-will. The future Pournelle has written over the decades is always 19th Century brought down on a human face, forever.
Bluntly, if you’re surprised that Pournelle would edit a book for Beale, my question is simply this: had you ever read Pournelle? I re-read him, and thank many good people and a merciful God for the experiences that allowed me to see what I didn’t see as a teenager. “His Truth Is Marching On” fit in just fine in “Riding The Red Horse”, for the very reason that Pournelle could just put a more genteel skin on some of the same sentiments.
I’ll take Fifth Season, “Cat Pictures Please” over all of that any day of the week, and pray it is a sign of a long-term trend.
My big unanswered question is whether Chuck Tingle wrote a provisional acceptance speech? If so, I’d love to hear it sometime. I suspect it would have been an epic troll of the puppies.
Well said, John.
And here’s hoping that Beale now returns to the obscurity he so richly deserves.
I have to ask – if there are any Finns reading this, does anything from Castalia Press actually sell in Finland, and is anything from this press translated into Finnish? Because I suspect a certain amount of “hometown influence” will always sneak into the Hugos (which is why the attempts of the Puppies to “destroy” the Hugos at Loncon in 2014 died a horrible death) and I have the strong suspicion that the Finns share a common opinion with the British of the relevance of politics which is very much about the “cultural wars” in the USA. Namely, “I do not want that crap on my table, thank you”.
reformeurope: the “tax purposes” Castalia Press is domiciled in Finland for are mainly related to the USA’s IRS.
“Cat Pictures, Please”? Hey, that rocked! Glad it won.
As for RSHD, I literally could not give less of a rat’s ass about him at this point. He failed because he has all of the tactical and strategic genius of a bawling infant, and so people rightly ignored him.
Now I just need to go buy these Chuck TIngle books, that guy seems awesome.
Ok, I was pretty happy with the results. I think it’s almost the best possible outcome. It’s true that some non-garbage (eg Pournelle) did get No Awarded, but it’s impossible to ask people to be totally neutral with respect to the slate. It was a major strike against the nominee, but not a death sentence. This is fair.
Personally I didn’t vote for The Fifth Season, but with the exception of last year, I’ve never voted for the winner. Beale is talking about how it’s a terrible novel that demonstrates the intellectual bankruptcy of the Worldcon voters, but in my view he’s simply undermining his own credibility by saying that shit. It is a very solid novel, and by no stretch of the imagination an embarrassment to the awards. Beale is an actual fan, so I think he’s probably read the book and is simply being disingenuous. Most of the rest of the people dumping on The Fifth Season haven’t read it.
Some people are (predictably) talking about Jemisin’s victory being attributable to her SJW status as a “black woman.” I suppose I can see why they’re jumping to that conclusion given the circumstances surrounding this year’s awards, but eh. If she can be said to have an edge over some of the other nominees, I think it’s her outspoken blog and her consistent social media presence. People know her, they like her, they like her book, and then they vote for her for all those reasons. I felt much the same way about Redshirts’ victory, and in fact to a greater or lesser extent about most of the Hugo winners.
The one thing the Rabid Puppies are right about is that identity politics are in vogue at Worldcon right now, and have been for a while. And if one isn’t into that I could see how it could be annoying, but the fact is that the zeitgeist can and will eventually move on. Social justice isn’t forever – people will get bored, articulate contrarians will arise, new conversations will germinate. That being said, it’s true that Beale certainly seems to be interested in prolonging this particular conversation for as long as possible, and he has been fairly successful in that respect. Maybe he’s a double agent playing three-dimensional chess for the SJWs? No, not really. But if we take his goal as breaking the SJW stranglehold on Worldcon, it doesn’t seem to me that he’s a very good tactician.
@megpie71: I am not Finnish, but I am a massive fanboy of Finland and its ridiculously badass people, and I’ve spent the last 3 months obsessively researching everything Finnish as my contingency plan for Trump winning (buy a ticket to Finland and try to get in as a refugee), plus I looked up Beale’s little ego-wanking “publishing house” as research for a paper I had to write for my anthropology class, so I can say with 95% certainty that the vast majority of Finns don’t have the slightest clue who Beale is, and the vast majority of the rest want him out of their great nation.
@ratzilla – I was a first time nominator as well. It was intimidating, and I finally decided I had to not let a need to do it “right” get in the way of doing it at all. For novel I mostly nominated things I wanted to read (two I had read), when it came to voting I ranked the things I finished in the order I liked them.
With the shorter fiction I found some websites, kept an eye on twitter and read what I could. I kept a running list of things I thought were good in Google Docs. I didn’t have five nominees in every category. When voting time came those I couldn’t be bothered to finish went below no award. (Except Tingle, I know I dithered, I think I may have ranked him above no award based on sheer enjoyment of his reaction to the nomination.)
I completely skipped categories I’m not interested in (sorry fancast, related work, etc), I didn’t vote in all of those either. I gave it as much time as I could, and did the best I could. Fifth Season was really remarkable. I had originally ranked it second, but it haunted me so I went back and moved it up just before the deadline.
My plan is to follow the same pattern this year, unless someone suggests a better method. I’d like to THINK I’m going to start reading earlier, especially short fiction, but who am I kidding.
@colonelsnuggledorf: Before the Puppies I wasn’t paying any attention to the Hugos at all; I read very little new fiction and wasn’t looking for new authors. The Puppies reminded how much I loved scifi in my youth (and still read it regularly) and I wanted to help cultivate the field for the next generation.
I wimped out this year; I had health problems which would not go away, even on ship with people waiting on me hand and foot, and I just couldn’t face the prospect of the Hugo packet.
I’d like to particularly express my thanks to the people who voted for Sheila Gilbert; I so much wanted her to win, and she has. I’m thrilled.
It’s amazing to me that we keep going through this thing where people who profess to be fans of SFF – and even long-time readers of SFF – bemoan “SJW fiction” and “identity politics” as some newfangled thing, instead of a longstanding trend that’s been part and parcel of the genre for literally decades. It’s like listening to teenagers who think their generation invented sex. Heinlein? Russ? Le Guin? Butler? Dangerous Visions? Naw, dogg, it was all whiz-bang spaceships and two-fisted gentleman scientists until social justice people came along probably like five minutes ago.
Have I told you lately, that I love you?
They weren’t easier to vote on due to smallness (because the magazine field was actually pretty large) — they were more stagnated. Only the magazine editors won because people liked magazines and didn’t pay attention to who published what novel, and usually the same ones over and over. A lot of people got upset about this, in particular I think that Baen was considered missing out because he’d started Baen Books. So they moved to split the Editor Award between magazines and anthologies (short form) and books (long form,) so the book editors had a shot at being recognized. In the short form award, it again tends to be the same ones over and over, though it’s gotten a bit better. On the book editor side, it’s complicated by the fact that magazines (and anthologies,) have one main editor who is prominently on the masthead, so you know who selected the content of the magazine, never mind the editorial efforts. But the big publishers who are most well known have a dozen editors who are only rarely mentioned in acknowledgements and didn’t always acquire the books they edit or edit the books they acquire for license. So it’s not the amount of knowledge somebody has of the individual editor, but simply that the magazine/anthology editor circumstances are more narrow and easier to weigh. But it would seem kind of silly to completely ignore the editors of lengthy novels and pretend that they don’t do anything.
So you can’t count those to the totals of Beale shaping and controlling the ballot, as with those titles he didn’t. He just listed them because he knew that they’d be on the ballot on their own. So he didn’t control and make 80% of the ballot. He controlled a smaller portion of the ballot and then guessed right on what other people would pick on some of the rest. The human shield titles weren’t technically slate titles, even if Beale threw them on, and since he had a much tinier bunch of voters this year, his impact on those popular titles being chosen was basically nearly nil.
That doesn’t mean he didn’t have a bad impact that did knock some worthy folk off the ballot. And that’s bad, and that’s what EPH rules are meant to counteract next year. But he did not have anywhere near the impact he had last year, when people were caught by surprise, except in Best Related and maybe Graphic Novel — where he was better able to mobilize GG voters for the nominations before they wandered off (they like comics and superheroes and vituperative blog posts on the Net more than written SFF.) If he had stuck to his old strategy of last year, and been able to mobilize more votes without the losses of GG-ers and Sad Puppies, he might have had more of an impact again. But because he switched to pretending to support works that would make it on their own there anyway (just so that he could call voters hypocrites and declare that victory,) much fewer people were kept from the ballot than would have been otherwise. And next year, there may not be any.
So Beale wasn’t choosing the majority of the nominees this year, anymore than the Sad Puppies’ pathetic capture the author recommendation list chose the nominees, with its similar take popular titles that were likely to be on the ballot anyway strategy. Beale knew he’d lost a lot of ability to make a large impact this year on several fronts and so went instead for strategies that would let him claim to be a bigger influence than he was.
The authors and artists and such who got knocked off, it’s unfortunate. Some good people are hurting on that and I am sad for them. But it also has to be said that in the past in Hugo history, many worthy authors have also gotten knocked off for one reason or another, or never made the long list at all. Some of those reasons were very bad ones. It’s part of the evolution of awards. It bears saying again that the Hugos are not an award of the entire SFF field and are not obliged ever to represent all. They are the award of a SFF convention. It’s a major convention and the award has garnered respect in various corners, but most of the convention goers don’t bother to vote on the Hugos, so it’s a small pool of mostly nice people who spent a lot of money on the con and decided to take advantage of their membership re the Hugos. That we like their judgement some of the time doesn’t mean we’ll always like it.
Myself, I still kind of think that the Hugos should simply get rid of the associate voting memberships, even if they are a revenue stream, and limit the voting to only those who purchased an attending membership to the WorldCon or the previous year’s WorldCon. That would get rid of slates altogether in the easiest way. If you didn’t pay to go to the WorldCon, you don’t get to vote on WorldCon’s award nominations and awards. No more of this $40 membership stuff. But, it’s rather hard to change long traditions that make money, and of course, that might be too limiting of award voters to wealthy white people who can most afford the con, so hopefully new rule changes will help out.
It is interesting that the dutiful media coverage of who won (which developed because the Las Vegas bookies needed more stuff for people to bet on,) has mainly included how ineffective Beale was — that he hasn’t actually mobilized a hate army that will long term change the landscape and choose the ballot. And I think that’s about right. Doesn’t mean he won’t still try to be an irritant, as that’s the rep he’s cultivated — to be the provocateur, the agitator who normalizes the expression of hate speech. But the element of surprise has gone bye-bye and it’s rather hard to hold disparate mobs together long term, as already was seen with the Hugos this year.
@Kat, likewise thanks for proper perspective on my idle speculation.
As to Beale–he is the gadfly in the ointment, isn’t he? Is it wrong of me to say that when I saw some of the nominees’ titles I was reminded of nothing more than teenage boys calling the local bowling alley to ask about how heavy their balls were. It seemed like that level of . . . adolescent maladjustment, for want of a better pejorative.
“the vast majority of Finns don’t have the slightest clue who Beale is, and the vast majority of the rest want him out of their great nation.”
I may have found one of the half-vast minority who’d support the RSHD a while back. He blogs or blogged under the name Juhana, and I found him stinking up comments in one or more Archdruid Report posts with comments about Teh Islamz which… until he identified himself as a Finn, I would’ve guessed him to be from one of those bits of the Balkans where they’re still mad at the Ottoman Empire. I don’t think he ever actually reached the point of saying Ay-rabs are “not fully human”, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d seen him do so.
@youngpretender: I still have fond memories of A Spaceship for the King, which is why I have never reread it.
Comments off for the night. Back on tomorrow morning. Sleep well!
Update: Comments back on.
@megpie71: I’m a Finnish fan, participating in and volunteering at a whole swath of local cons (SF/F, anime, RPGs), and I’m friends with a whole lot of other Finnish fans, including a good number of people involved in Worldcon 75 and the whole project of getting it into Helsinki. As far as I can tell, none of us know why the heck Castalia House is based in Finland.
They have no presence at any of the big Finnish cons that I know of (Finncon, Tracon, Ropecon, Desucon come to mind first). I’ve never seen any of their products for sale at any bookstore I’ve visited, nor at the libraries. They seem to be entirely separate from the active, vivid and energetic Finnish spec-fic community. And their homeschooling products are completely alien, and clearly aimed at American sensibilities.
Overall, I don’t think I’ve encountered a single Finnish supporter of the assorted Puppies; either people have never even heard of them; or they have, and react to them with a mix of revulsion and surprise. I’m sure there are some Finnish fans who think VD or John Wright’s brand of badly written bigotry is awesome, but they are extremely non-representative.
To add to what Lurks-no-More said, I’m Swedish, have plenty of friends active in Finnish fandom, have visited two cons in Finland, and am involved in Worldcon 75.
It is my considered opinion that there is no fandom anywhere in the world that is more antithetical to the Puppy projects, be they Sad or Rabid. Finnish fandom is the most dynamic, inclusive, diverse, and lively I’ve encountered.
You can find some Puppy sympathisers in Finland; however, I imagine they’ve done like the one neofascist Swedish fan we had a few years ago, who left Swedish fandom in disgust before we had a chance to toss him out.
It’s fun – but scary – that so many of the delightfully pithy epithets our host has employed to describe Beale are comfortably and directly applicable to Trump. (And vice versa.)
I look forward – albeit with a certain amount of “but what if…” trepidation – to when Donald Trump will also be “gum on the shoe of history”. It’s such an evocative metaphor.
Naomi and Nora and Nnedi and Neil
The SJW cabal has decided only people whose given names begin with N shall win!!!! What’s next, I ask you, what’s next?!?!?!
M is next, my friends. M. *shakes head sadly, trips over long white beard, faceplants in mud*
I also think the Hugo administers should also just simply note that they reserve the right to discard ballots that show obvious signs of slating.
What Marshall said, plus: Hugo administrators HATE this idea. They don’t have the right now and don’t want it (who wants to be a target?). And what’s “obvious” to one person is less obvious to another; the BDPL tends to look like a slate, because just organically a lot of people tend to have exactly the same opinions about which movies were the best of the year (even in years when there are more than five).
I wonder it it’s time for the Hugo administrators to have the conversation about simply banning the press and/or any press Beale has fiduciary interest in.
Lovely as it is to contemplate “any works by Theodore Beale or any of the descendents of his four great-grandfathers unto the seventh generation, or published by any company or press in which any such person has more than a 10% interest, shall be
cast into the Outer Darknesspermanently ineligible for the Hugo,” rules targeting specific individuals are generally a bad idea, and when you have a narcissistic Dunning-Kruger poster boy like Beale, it gives him additional recognition. It would never be passed by the Business Meeting; possibly not even discussed, as happened with 2+ this year.
“I’m sure there are some Finnish fans who think VD or John Wright’s brand of badly written bigotry is awesome, but they are extremely non-representative.”
John C Wright is a good writer and I have never seen any evidence of bigotry in his writing. I despise those who disparage the talents of others because those others have different political views. This applies equally to those who disparage John C Wright as it does to those who disparage N.K. Jemesin.
John C Wright has had eight books published by Tor, which is also Mr Scalzi’s publisher. I don’t think that Tor publishes badly written bigotry. One of those books, “Orphans of Chaos” was one of six nominees for a Nebula in 2006.
Truth be told, my tastes run far more to N.K. Jemesin’s writing than to John C Wright’s, but people of goodwill need to stop the name-calling and the ostracising.
This is the moment when a “thumbs up” emoji would come in handy. Nice, John.
Reformeurope: Google Wright’s musings on Terry Pratchett. I’d almost rather have tea with Beale than Wright, talent differential be damned.
‘I started with a gentle approach, making sure he saw lots and lots of articles about how to come out, how to come out to your spouse, programs that would let you transition from being a pastor at a conservative church to one at a more liberal church. I also showed him lots of articles by people explaining why the Bible verses against homosexuality were being misinterpreted. He clicked on some of those links but it was hard to see much of an impact. But, here’s the thing. He was causing harm to himself every time he delivered a sermon railing about “sodomite marriage.” Because he was gay. The legitimate studies all have the same conclusions. (1) Gay men stay gay. (2) Out gay men are much happier.’
Clearly there’s been some error. Somehow this excerpt from a high school social studies essay got inserted into the “short story.” Computer glitch?
I did, and now I feel dirty all over,
Mr. Wright has a long and rich history of being a bigot, and excusing his bigotry under the cover of his Catholicism. Google him in connection particularly with anything having to to with Legend of Korra, homosexuality, lesbianism, Or better yet, read Foz Meadows’ dismantling of his rhetoric using nothing but logic and facts: https://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/silence-is-not-synonymous-with-uproar-a-response-to-john-c-wright/
Wright may be a decent writer, but as a supposedly ethical human being–and moreover as a supposed Christian and Catholic (and I can say this with some authority as both myself), his behavior leaves a considerable amount to be desired.
He is certainly entitled to his opinions. However his opinions have repeatedly involved the expression of a most un-Christian bigotry, or have been apologia and/or obfuscation for bigots. He has also engaged in repeated bashing of Tor staff and editors who he feels have slighted him in some imagined manner that apparently has little to do with reality. Whether this enters into his written work or no, the man himself by all accounts has a bundle of vipers in his head. Those who choose to read him certainly can do so, as long as they can do so with a clear conscience knowing that they are supporting the career of a bigot and apologist for Mr. Beale.
Wright the blogger/essayist is very horrible indeed.
The material I read in the Hugo packet last year made me think he was overwritten to Hell and back, and hinted at sexist attitudes, but wasn’t especially politically preachy. I don’t know how representitive those works were, or even whether they got worse as the book went on. I gave it my best shot, but gave up half way through the third story which suffered badly from 8 deadly words.
It’s really a bit odd that book editors were ever included in the same award as magazine or anthology editors: it’s a quite different function, as shown by the fact that there are different words for them in many languages; and an anthology has a publisher’s editor as well as its headlined editor. (The Hugo packet reveals that Liz Gorinsky was the publisher’s editor for The Doll Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow.) So being concerned that book editors never got the Best Editor award is a bit like being concerned that musicians, who are often called artists, never get the Best Artist award.
Still, as they were formally eligible, but never got it, a new award was created for them, which indeed Hugo voters aren’t really in a position to assess.
Folks, let’s table discussion of Wright, please. He wasn’t on the ballot this year, even.
Noted and tabled, John.
I watched the awards from the con suite (which was great btw). When the first no award came out two men behind me were upset and confused. (Their first worldcon) I had to explain rabid puppies to them in two minutes. Not an easy task!
@ PrivateIron… well, there’s a few minutes of my life I won’t get back. In the future, I don’t think I’ll google anything having to do with John C. Wright – perhaps his writing is good, as reformeurope says, but the pomposity factor made that piece impossible to *enjoy* – and when I’m voting for awards, I’m often thinking about the joy I get from reading someone’s writing.
It is possible to write disagreement that’s enjoyable, but a prerequisite for achieving that is acknowledging the humanity/civilization of the person who disagreed with him.
Oops – Sorry, John, didn’t see your request to table discussion. Please delete my post if appropriate.
Kat Goodwin: It would be possible to limit nomination to attending members but have a broader body of people voting, since voting can’t be gamed in the same way.
I had an idea that would be a bit fairer than that, but still limit things; nominators should be attending members, plus those who have been supporting members for three years. That would show commitment to the process, rather than just a desire to promote a particular work or advance an agenda. Unfortunately, it’s too late now, because some slaters have been members for three years.
One result of this that amuses me to no end is that now Chuck Tingle can attend future Hugo Losers Parties.
(The HLP this year was at the Midland Theater, a tremendous live-event downtown venue originally built in the late 1920s and refurbished about 10 years ago. If you have to chance to return to Kansas City, visit that place.)
John: Just as an expanation, I didn’t see your post calling for tabling the discussion on Wright until after I posted the preceding.
Clearly there’s been some error. Somehow this excerpt from a high school social studies essay got inserted into the “short story.” Computer glitch?
Er–what? Because that’s the newly-awakened AI first person narrator describing its own actions and logic there, and seems a charming bit of characterization and plot-advancement, to me. Sure, the tone is a little naive–but that seems quite appropriate to both the character and the situation, in my opinion . . .
Or were you making a joke about the narrator being a computer that I missed because I haven’t had any coffee yet? If so–“never mind.” (Note: I loved “Cat Pictures Please,” and both nominated and voted for it. That other readers might disagree will not change my response to the story. YMMV, of course, but if what we are discussing is whether or not the story deserved its Hugo–well, my answer is an emphatic “yes,” and I won’t be arguing further about what is essentially a matter of taste.)
@EdwardQ – he probably wouldn’t attend, but I am optimistic that we will soon see Pounded at the Hugo Losers’ Party available on Amazon.
not impressed with the nominations or the winners this year. certainly do not dig fantasy so the hugo winner was non important to me. Hugo like nebula winners to not impact my buying decisions so they are mostly noise to me. Actually in the last couple of years I find myself buying self published stuff more and more. Not against the traditional stuff but much of it does not interest me.
@mythago I think that’d raise some pretty unrealistic expectations about what goes on at those parties.
As a general comment and not just pertaining to the Mallet subject du jour, we seemed to have entered a phase where many bigots are exceedingly open about their views. I am not sure if this trend is a good sign or not. Rather than giving a long rant of my own against such people, I often find the most effective thing is to point to their own words.
Let me be clear that you can read good fiction by people with odious views or lives. As standards change, it becomes almost impossible not to do that without walling yourself off from a great deal of our cultural heritage. The test is a) how good is the fiction and b) how much do their politics benefit from your attention to their work?
I used to study fascists for a (very meager) living, but I also gave it up. So I either have too high or too low a tolerance for wading through the psycho-historical sewers.
The prevailing opinion I see on bigots being open (the UK aside, it is a special case right now, a scary special case) is that today’s bright young things seem to be saying it is better to let bigoted folks be openly bigoted so they can avoid them properly instead of accidentally socialising with a closet bigot. Personally I do not think that is a wise course, because (a) you cannot avoid them all, and (b) they get together and convert non-bigots into being bigots and normalize bigotry.Being a closet bigot means never connecting with another bigot except by accident and not having bigotry becoming part of the social norms. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the prevailing view right now and shutting bigots up is what is not tolerated. I wish it was.
@crypticmirror You are operating on the basis that everyone’s definition of bigotry is the same. It’s not. On this very thread an earlier comment refers to “wealthy white people”, implying either (i) that all white people are wealthy or (ii) that only white people are wealthy. Of course, neither (i) nor (ii) is the case. If that comment had, for example, referred to “wealthy Jewish people” it would have been called out immediately. Your comment about “shutting bigots up” ends in Stalinism. I wasn’t surprised to see you are a Corbyn supporter.
Crypticmirror: I tend to think it is a bad sign, but I don’t think there is enough “objective” evidence to decide. And by the time we get enough such evidence, it’ll probably be obvious one way or another.
I’m from Finland, and so far the only way you’d notice Castalia House is Finnish is that its (co-)founder was interviewed in a couple of newspapers last year. For those interested, the most thorought article is here – of course in Finnish: http://nyt.fi/a1305959954351
According to the article, Beale is Castalia House’s “foamy-mouthed frontman” while Markku Koponen “handles the business and structural planning”. He describes himself as ultraconservative and a Christian fundamentalist.
Interestingly, in the article Koponen points out that it’s really easy to get authors to sign up with the publishing house because in Castalia House they are “free to flaunt their ideology in their books”, whereas other publishers force them to tone it down. One could read that as a sign of censorship from the traditional publication houses, but at the same time he straight up says some writers are moving in because they want to write “message fiction”.
Castalia House doesn’t really have any presence in Finland. One of Vox Day’s books (A Magic Broken) has been translated in Finnish, but apparently it’s only available in e-book format, and it doesn’t seem to be registered into national library database. There are probably some supporters, but most likely not in any meaningful numbers. According to the linked article, at least Koponen doesn’t want anything to do with Finnish SF/F circles.
Actually, Stalinism, especially the modern version as practised by “conservatives,” tends to attack the messenger via insulting them and their supposed associations and allegiances, and by insisting they said something they never said, rather than addressing the things they did say.
However, what any of that has to do with the Hugo Awards, I have no idea.
Also, the last time I checked, the term “wealthy white people” is a specific term descriptive of wealthy white people, and nobody else. To suggest otherwise suggests more about the person making the suggestion than anything else.
[Deleted for pointlessness — JS]
Steven desJardins says:
Not only that, but Alyssa got more first-place votes (two more). If we were still using first-past-the-post, she would have won right there!
(This may be something to remind people about if they start complaining that EPH doesn’t give the “right” results. Neither, from a certain perspective, does ranked voting. Except, that from another perspective, it does!) :)
The best cure for the Hugos is activity from a broad base of fans.
If you don’t feel like dropping a few bucks, then contribute in other ways – http://bit.ly/hugoaward2017 is a list of works that are eligible that other people have thought are worth a look. I’ve found several great books from this (publicly-editable) list already, and it’s definitely helped me pin down what I plan to be nominating in a few categories when nomination time rolls around again in a few months.
AnotherAndrew: “Unfortunately, it’s too late now, because some slaters have been members for three years.” This is unclear; the dropoff in votes for Beale between nominations and finals suggests that a large fraction of them were Sasquan members but not MAC2 members, and probably not Loncon members because slating was much less evident then. However, I still don’t think limiting voting to attendees and long-term supporters is a good idea.
My use of the phrase implies neither, reformeurope for, oh we can guess who for, can’t we. As you very well know, but then that’s the bigotry game with you folks, isn’t it. It referred to a demographic group that does factually make up a majority of convention goers at WorldCon and many other major SFF cons in North America and Europe. They are wealthy — they can afford the attending memberships to the con, and they are in the majority white people, because non-white people face economic discrimination that tends to make fewer of them have disposable income to spend on a convention membership and hotel, and because non-white people have also been frequently discouraged from attending SFF conventions by a number of factors, including outright attempts to keep them away. It’s changing, those demographics, especially in the media cons, but it’s slow. So the population of western cons tends to be mostly white people who are well off enough to be able to go to them.
So my suggestion that WorldCon could cut out the online cheaper associate membership and just limit the voting for the Hugos to those who bought attending memberships to the convention to avoid slating does have a flaw to it — namely that it would limit a lot of the voting to one demographic while marginalizing others who participate in the SFF field but can’t go to the convention all the time. Which is one of the big problems — a business problem — that exists in the industry as a whole and limits its growth. So that would be an understandable objection that some might have with my suggestion — that it is unfairly biased towards one demographic of fandom. That doesn’t mean that my suggestion might not work well to stop slating. But it does mean that there are a lot of issues involved with the whole situation. And in any case, WorldCon isn’t doing that anyway.
As for your scold about how my white ass should talk about white people or demographics, that was a really pathetic attempt. If you’re going to troll me, I insist on a better effort. I am used to quality trolls on this blog.
“Naomi and Nora and Nnedi and Neil…”
Who wrote the story about the machine that could make anything that started with N, so some joker asked it to make Nothing?
I saw it in an anthology, would have been 20 or 30 years ago, but the story might have been older. I can’t remember the title or who wrote it. Please help.
@ Kat Goodwin In your original comment you could have referred to “wealthy people”. That would have been fine. There was no need to involve race. It wasn’t in any way relevant. Calling me a troll for pointing that out and saying “that’s the bigotry game with you folks” shows a severe lack of class.
Your response to getting called out is completely incoherent, and, inasmuch as you purport to talk about Europe (where I have lived all my life) ignorant. It seems Theodore Beale is not the only person who needs to drag race into everything.
iiii: Stanislav Lem, “The Cyberiad”
Not only are the Hugos not destroyed, this year will be remembered primarily for (1) loving quotations from Chuck Tingle even if we didn’t care to give him an award, (2) emceeing by Pat Cadigan that will be difficult to top, and (3) proper appreciation for the lovely gift that was Cats Pictures, Please. The unsuccessful attempt at vandalism will be just a footnote.
And my point: proven.
@reformeurope: So much of what passes for the discussion of racism in the USA is simply a long-running social spat in which one group of white people tries to score moral superiority points at the expense of other white folks.
If you get a chance, google the “Culture of the Smug White Liberal” by Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq. The author is a young, highly accomplished African American professional.
Ms. Johnson-Huston is basically fed up with the moralistic nonsense that infects so much of our national discussion on race. Here’s a sample of her thoughts:
– “My problem with Liberalism is that it’s more concerned with policing people’s language and thoughts without requiring them to do anything to fix the problem.”
– “I’m talking about the cocktail party liberals, the elites, who wear the cloak of liberalism to protect themselves from criticism and so they can keep a clear conscious [sic].”
PrivateIron: Let me be clear that you can read good fiction by people with odious views or lives.
Oh, you absolutely can. The question of when and whether you SHOULD is the difficult one. I won’t ready anything by Orson Scott Card, because he’s a vicious homophobe; but IMO the homophobia shows through in his writing, and was in fact the thing that made me ask what kind of a person he is in life. HP Lovecraft is another example, but he has the only true bigot virtue: he’s dead. So reading him won’t benefit him at all. (I don’t read him either, but that’s mostly because his prose is oozing with purpleness.)
reformeurope: Your argument seems to boil down to a) “it’s all about class, not race” and b) “she’s being meeeeeeen!”
a) has been so thoroughly and repeatedly debunked that your attempt to raise it here smacks of obtuseness, or even of actual subpontic residency. I decline to engage with it, and I hope others will do the same. Go Google “class race discrimination poverty” and go from there.
b) is rather silly. We may not have lived in Europe, but we’ve heard names of people like Geert Wilders and the Le Pen family, and parties like UKIP and the German NPD. We know white nationalism when we see it. I’m not saying you don’t know about the racism in Europe, but that you’re trying to fool us into thinking there is none, while the evidence of our senses tells us otherwise.
Shorter: you’re either ignorant or disingenuous, and it seems implausible that you’re ignorant.
@ Xopher Halftongue At no point did I say that there is no racism in Europe. However, by your own admission and your comments (e.g. putting UKIP in the same category at the German NPD) you know pretty much nothing about Europe, European politics or racist in Europe.
Have you attended any cons in Europe and seen how the demographic of attendees compares to the demographics of their host countries? If not, you might be surprised to see that visible (and invisible) ethnic minorities are overrepresented among attendees. There are a few reasons:
– con attendees here skew younger than the average population and minorities are more represented among younger age groups
– con attendees here skew urban (as cons are in big cities) and ethnic minorities in Europe are concentrated in cities
– con attendees here skew towards groups with more years in education (not necessarily higher income) and in some European countries (not all) ethnic minorities have higher educational qualifications.
I wonder if you and other commenters of your ilk even consider that it is just as offensive for you to pontificate about Europe and Europeans from your position of more or less complete ignorance as it is for white people to pontificate about people of colour?
I predict that we’re gonna see some Malletting before the night is over…
@ Xopher Halftongue To follow up on my previous post: here is the Wikipedia profile of my local UKIP member of the European Parliament Steven Woolfe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Woolfe
His grandparents are Irish, black American, British Jewish, English. If UKIP is white nationalist as you say then it is certainly a very fluid concept of white nationalism.
UKIP also had a British Asian member of the European Parliament Amjad Bashir. He defected to the Conservative Party last year. According to the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30967633) he insisted race and religion had nothing to do with his decision to leave UKIP.
GO NAOMI! I absolutely love “Cat Pictures Please.”
I am bummed reading this that “So Much Cooking” just missed it, though.
On this very thread an earlier comment refers to “wealthy white people”, implying either (i) that all white people are wealthy or (ii) that only white people are wealthy. Of course, neither (i) nor (ii) is the case.
This strikes me as a rather inept parsing of the phrase.
Other parsings are left as an exercise for the student.
I’m over-parsed, myself.
Not only that, but Alyssa got more first-place votes (two more). If we were still using first-past-the-post, she would have won right there!
I did find myself torn over the voting. What is the Campbell there to reward? A pat on the back and encouragement for an up and coming writer perhaps? Weir does not need that. When you’ve had your book turned into an Oscar nominated film then you’re no longer “up and coming”.
Their qualification rules probably need to be re-thought a bit now that Amazon make self publishing so easy.
@Gregory (if you’re still around 24 hours later): If the Hugos aren’t for you, that’s fine! I’d say they serve a purpose, even, indicating stuff that may be widely considered good but not up your alley. Certainly, as a Hugo voter (first time), I had a vision in my head of what a Hugo-winning story should do: it should blow my mind the way The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (the first Hugo winner) did the first time I read it. This is where I diverge from what I think is the best of the Sad Puppies’ arguments: they valued something different from what I (and the apparent majority of past Hugo voters) wanted. If you want an award for comfort novels, maybe the Goodreads Awards already do that; otherwise, I’d think simple sales would be a good indicator! But I want the Hugos to reward creative and mindblowing fiction, like The Demolished Man and Ancillary Justice and Redshirts.
The bigotry game you played was pretending that you thought I was saying white people are all wealthy or only white people are wealthy, when it was perfectly clear I wasn’t saying either of those two things. And you’re still playing it, which is increasingly silly.
No, I couldn’t and race was entirely the relevance of the point. It is FACTUALLY true that mostly white people go to SFF cons like WorldCon, especially in the States but also in Europe. It’s a demographic statistic. And it is also factually true that the white people who go are mostly wealthy enough to afford the membership without a problem. Which means that if the vote was limited to con attendees, as would be one non-slating approach, it would be limited to mostly well-off white people. That is a factual demographic statistic about SFF conventions.
And the issue then is that the people who dominate the con population — white people who are statistically more likely to be able to afford membership — would then dominate the vote. Meaning more marginalized voices in the field would be further excluded. Which means a similar effect, though not as deliberate or as focused, as a slate. So some people might have problems with that idea, since they feel that others should be able to offer financial support to the society that sponsors WorldCon and have a vote from it, giving a broader demographic.
But of course since UKIP is all about not having a broader demographic, I can see that might have been a bit confusing for you. And if you are part of UKIP, then you are no longer part of Europe as your party arranged to have Britain leave Europe altogether.
But yes, race is going to come up because the English language SFF field is artificially 90% white authors and that limits its growth. And it’s also going to come up regarding the Hugo slating situation since the Rabid Puppies who were trying to do the slating this year are white supremacists and led by a man who thinks it was a mistake that women were giving voting rights anywhere. But if you want to go run with those dogs, you’d best shape up your game.
And Pedro’s was not one of his better efforts, so I’m going to ignore it. Xopher — Did you know I’m incoherent? :)
I didn’t understand a word of that, Kat. :)
Sorry, reformeurope, UKIP still looks like a white nationalist movement to me. Heavier on the nationalist, maybe. Citing black, South Asian, and mixed members reads an awful lot like “I can’t be racist, I have a black friend.” People who think that Poles, or Albanians, or Celts are a different and lesser group are still racist, even if everyone else in the world says “those people are all white.”
And when UKIPpers use posters inspired by Nazi propaganda and a UKIP member with neo-Nazi ties assassinates a Remain MP, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that the party itself has such leanings. Google “stochastic terrorism” for more on why.
So no, UKIP may be less extreme than NPD, but it’s still a xenophobic and yes, racist party.
(In case you think I’m letting our own extremist bucket-heads off the hook too easily, by nominating Trump the GOP has become (and/or shown itself to have long been) a white nationalist party. I don’t think Trump is any more racist than Nigel Farage, but that’s plenty racist.)
Mysteron: I’m over-parsed, myself.
At least you haven’t been parsed over. But I bet you can’t be parsed to explain the difference!
Kat Goodwin: Xopher — Did you know I’m incoherent?
Indeed. For values of ‘incoherent’ approximately equal to “my little brain can’t figure out what you’re saying because that would require my thinking about things in a new way and that hurrrrrrrts,” that is.
I have a comment sent to Moderation. I hope it was because of the links and not because I did a bad thing. Had a couple of juicy puns in it, too.
reformeurope, Xopher, Kat:
You’ve gone waaaaaaaaay off-topic, and are becoming snippy as well. Consider your discussion tabled, please. If you wish to continue it, email is the way to go.
Sorry, John. Will do.
@Kat Goodwin: “And Pedro’s was not one of his better efforts, so I’m going to ignore it.”
Dismissive response. I like it. Brief. And to the point.
I am happy to table it. But I will note that I was mostly on topic, talking about the Hugos and voting issues. I will try not to be snippy in future when other posters accuse me of persecuting white people by mentioning that they exist. :)
Thank you microtherion!
I have made a table showing what effect E Pluribus Hugo and 5 and 6 would have had on the Hugo nominations this year and last, using the reports provided to the WSFS Business Meeting.
massivefocusedsemiveganpleatherkoi: This is called “characterization”. Note that the paragraph begins with “I” — this is a clue that what follows is in character voice, not narrative voice. The voice in that paragraph is that of an emergent AI who is functioning at roughly the level of a smart high-schooler, and it is spot-on for that character.
jmellby: I hear you. I was trying to explain my “I Am Chuck Tingle” badge ribbon to a press guy. In retrospect, I probably should have just said, “If you don’t follow the Hugo Awards, there’s no quick way to explain it.”
man, oh man, the bigots do not want to go quietly.
To the future historian who in 2080 stumbles upon this archive researching the history of the Hugos:
We are oh so sorry you had to see this.
Speaking as someone who attended my first WorldCon this year (even saw our host there but didn’t say hi because he was sitting reading at a table and looked tired, but you know, hi in retrospect) and who has been a supporting member in previous years:
I really dislike the idea of limiting Hugo participation–even just nomination–to attending members. *I* can’t afford an attending membership every year. And the sorts of people we’d like (I hope) to have join in increasing numbers–younger people, people from various minorities, people from other countries and even other continents–are less likely to be able to afford attending memberships, either because of being mostly poorer to start with or because it costs even more to go to WorldCon when you have to fly to another country and WorldCon is in the US more than any other country.
Regarding Hugo Admins tossing nomination ballots for hinky behavior (slating), they can only toss ballots for breaking the rules, (and I understand they don’t even like to do that) so you’d have to define hinky behavior in the rules. Furthermore I’ve heard more than one previous Hugo Administrator saying they don’t want that power/responsibility and would have refused to administer the Hugos had that been part of the package. Hugo Administrators are not thick on the ground as far as I can see (volunteers who will set up chairs are common; volunteers who will *organize* and especially organize at that level, are not.). So we probably don’t want to drive some of them away.
As it is, I think the Hugo Voters have shown a pretty good ability to correctly recognize and penalize hinky behavior, and three stage voting will provide an opportunity to do this before it hits the Hugo Ballot stage. Three stage voting passed for the first time at this business meeting. (And I would just like to state for the record that I got up and coherent for a 10 am meeting FOUR TIMES during Worldcon and sacrificed four mornings to it (total of 12 hours) to help pass EPH, EPH+ and 3SV.). If ratified next year it would provide a way for the membership of the current Worldcon to vote thumbs up or thumbs down on an (un-ordered) longlist, to allow the membership as a whole to reject slate nominations, especially those intended for harassment or griefing purposes. I think that should do the trick.
On this very thread an earlier comment refers to “wealthy white people”, implying either (i) that all white people are wealthy or (ii) that only white people are wealthy.
The Hugo Awards go to English-language science-fiction.
Therefore, by your logic, I am implying that all science fiction is written in the English language, or I am implying that only science fiction is written in the English language. The first would come as a surprise to Liu Cixin, and the second would make my life much easier if it were true.
I think the 2015 and 2016 final ballots were a demonstration that the remedy for bad speech is more speech. In 2015 there were 1,827 nominating ballots for Best Novel; in 2016 there were 3,695. The more people nominate, the more difficult it is for a small bloc to swamp the ballot, and I was reasonably happy with the final Best Novel list. I wish I could say the same about all of the categories. :-(
I was sufficiently motivated by puppygate to attend all four days of the Business Meeting at both Sasquan and MACII. I’m hoping EPH/5&6 – and maybe EPH+/3SV next year – will do a lot to mitigate the effects of slating. There were things on the long lists I would have loved to see on the final ballot (including “So Much Cooking”, which as others have noted was every bit as good as “Cat Pictures, Please”).
One of the motions which did NOT pass this year – but which may come up again in future – was an amendment to allow a sort of retro Hugo for categories won by No Award. The original proposal was 25-year increments, like the current retro Hugos, but suggestions were made for 10- or 15-year intervals. I suspect the main reason it was voted down this year was that someone pointed out that we have years to decide on this. To allow a do-over of the 2015 No Award categories in 10 years (2025 WorldCon), first passage could be as late as 2023.
I admit to a pretty strong desire to someday get to vote on a legitimate finalist ballot for the No Award categories of 2015 and 2016 (not so much 1959/1963). There was good work that missed a chance at Hugo recognition due to manipulation of the nominating process. I’m old enough that waiting 25 years will make that unlikely, but I hope I’ll still be reading and voting in 10!
I also wish that the Hugo Award attendees had not been enthusiastically clapping for the no award categories. I also felt that Pat Cadigan’s response to the no awards was more gracious than David Gerrold’s and Tananarive Due’s responses, including Pat’s consolation comments for nominees who did not win a Hugo.
I was very happy for Naomi’s Hugo win, although I was too slow to congratulate her at the con.
IMHO, Chuck Tingle’s nominated work wasn’t close to strong enough to deserve a Hugo, amusing as it was. But there’s an argument that SF is in part a long-running conversation between writers (and readers and editors), and Chuck has so thoroughly jumped into that stream of conversation that he deserves some kind of Hugo award for it. My thought had been Best Related Work, or Best Dramatic Presentation Of Indeterminate Length, but a friend suggested Best Fan Writer (as did Lisahertel), and I think that’s a better choice.
Jerry Pournelle seems to have followed Castalia House’s preferred style guide for editing, which is not to bother, and potentially not even to bother with copyediting or fixing things with squiggly red spillchicken marks. The work he let them put his name on isn’t Hugo-quality editing, so I put it below No Award.
The Castalia House work that I feel bad for is Marc Aramini’s book of notes on Gene Wolfe’s fiction. It was ambitious and potentially really valuable for Wolfe’s fans, but it was such a hopeless mess that I had to put it below No Award. He really needed an editor to help, not just a print shop.
The deal with limiting voting to the attending memberships is that it is a simple and fast way to eliminate most slating attempts because it’s a lot harder to organize and finance a block vote group when it costs $300 a pop to nominate vote and award vote instead of $40. If you wanted to be easy and ruthless about it and concentrate only on taking out slating, that would be the way to do it.
But as I’ve noted and you’ve noted and others have noted, there are lots of other problems created by limiting the voting to attending memberships — it pushes out lower income voters who still have enough to support the organization, lacks diversity in voting including globally, lowers vote count, marginalizes groups, deprives the organization of revenue, etc. So it’s not at all the best method and I don’t see it as such. But it would, technically, be a simple method to wipe out slates while staying true to the Hugos being the awards of WorldCon.
But simple isn’t necessarily good or practical. I think the EPH rules and such that have been ratified are worth a shot and we’ll see how they do. I also think we’re seeing what we expected would happen, which is that the voting bloc dispersed. The Sad Puppies ran for the hills mostly, and the gamers on the Rabid side are drifting off for more interesting gadflying. That isn’t to say that Beale still didn’t mobolize a good size crew that had an impact on the nominees this year. But the decline plus the switch of strategy greatly reduced his role and that was before the new rules are going into effect.
I think we’ll see the slaters mainly declaring victory, pronouncing the Hugos dying and buried, and decamping to other realms such as the new Dragon Awards or the Gemmell Awards or whatever. Again, books and small SFF magazines simply aren’t that interesting or glamorous to most and don’t get you very far in right-wing and white nationalist circles as attack campaigns. And you’re not going to make any money off of it (unless Beale pocketed some people’s membership fees or something.) So that’s really unappealing since the entire point of the alt-right movement, for instance, is to make cash off of scared people. Trump is the land of cons at the moment (just heard that Trump cancelled several events in swing states because they wouldn’t agree to use his catering company at them. Probably illegal. Got to love it.) And that’s about too in some other countries that may have come up in this discussion here but which we shall not divert into.
Anyway, Kameron Hurley very smartly pointed out that careers are long haul, so I hope disappointed authors will buck up, enjoy Chuck Tingle’s latest opus and keep pushing forward. I’m going back to reading The Fifth Season, which I was doing without worrying about Hugos whatsoever. And Mysterious Obelisks is the name of my next rock band. :)
“And if you are part of UKIP, then you are no longer part of Europe as your party arranged to have Britain leave Europe altogether.”
As a point of information, Britain hasn’t left Europe (a geographic impossibility). In a referendum the U.K. (not the same thing as Britain!) has voted to leave the European Union, which is very different. Incidentally, I voted for the U.K. to stay in the EU. However, I don’t label all of the majority who voted to leave as bigots and nationalists.
I will be at Worldcon in Helsinki next August. My daughters have been begging to visit Finland as they are huge Moomin fans. We will take them to Moominland and to see some other Moomin related activities. And for those posters who are keen to label as a bigot everyone who dissents from their narrow doctrinal views, I was totally fine with having one of the first stories my children read be by an out ethnic minority lesbian. For those who aren’t familiar with Tove Jansson and the Moomins here’s a link to a great intro from Tor’s website: http://www.tor.com/2010/05/02/tove-jaanson-out-of-the-closet/
I hope that some Americans will take an opportunity to come to Europe next August and see and acknowledge our differences rather than remaining true to our stereotype of them.
Does anyone else think that the existence of Beale will act as a kind of sorting mechanism? I can’t think that Pournelle is alone in the category of established authors who are now gravitating to the publisher for the prose they have always produced.
I mean, really – is there a difference between John Ringo and Teddy Beale that doesn’t boil down to the equivalent of angels on the heads of pins?
@reformeurope, my Bingo card is now full. Thank you for the signifiers and not-alls, they were helpful in a myriad number of ways.
@youngpretender–Yes. John Ringo has actual talent and writes very good books.
@youngpretender: When did John Ringo start working with Castalia House? Thought he still publishes through Baen.
Congrats to the FANS for getting their award back. Great work at the business meeting.
The thing I got out of all this is I read some quality nominated SFF which I probably wouldn’t have read if I had not been following the doggy wars. And some by quality authors that were nominated in the past. Still a lightweight in the SFF arena but now I have a better appreciation.
Scalzi was right when he went radio silent on this version of the doggy wars. In the mix is the doggy craving for attention. Deny them that. I am now prepared not to really care about dogs, dog plans, or dog blogs. I think the FANS have it under control. Well done.
@youngpretender: Ringo has a conscience and a soul, and is more than willing to admit that his raging id is not a good thing. Beale has neither conscience nor soul, and sincerely believes that his rampaging id is YHWH’s gift to humanity. When Ringo wrote misogynistic trash, he stated that he believed that the book was unpublishable and was happy when it got torn apart on the Internet: http://hradzka.livejournal.com/199220.html
Beale, on the other hand, is…well, he’s RSHD. I don’t think he has redeeming features.
I think I might just squeeze in this comment:
I think this is my favorite picture of you, John Scalzi. This picture is you saying “This person is awesome, and I want to point out how awesome she is for the entire internets.” It’s the kind of picture I think we all take when we meet a hero. This picture is you as the essence of fandom. So, thanks for that. :-)
This was my first ever WorldCon and I had a terrific time. Thought the Hugo ceremony was a delight, from start to finish.
Banning anything published by Beale-associated publishers would be an overreaction.
Four of the five nominees for Best Related Work this year were troll pieces. But the fifth, Between Light and Shadow, was an honest attempt at historical analysis of an important author, Gene Wolfe. And yes, it was published by Castalia House. Granted, it’s likely in part because Castalia wanted to promote an author who used to write the kind of fiction they approve of, but that doesn’t change the nature of the work.
It wasn’t the best related work this year, and it probably wouldn’t have won on an untainted ballot. Letters to Tiptree or You’re Never Weird on the Internet, the next two works on the long list and the highest ones that were not on a Puppy slate, would have been far more likely to win. But it was worthy of its recognition as a nominee.
“The Hugo Awards go to English-language science-fiction.”
And yet, both of last year’s awards for fiction (novel and novelette) went to works that were NOT written in English, but rather in Chinese (Cixin Liu’s “The Three Body Problem”) and in Dutch (Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s “The Day the World Truned Upside Down”), although a great deal of merit of course goes to the two translators (Ken Liu and Lia Belt, respectively).
And a point goes whizzing through the air, completely unnoticed…