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Me and the Hugos

Let me begin with the basics:

Who owns the Hugo Awards?

You know, looking back, I am probably partly to blame for some of the misconceptions that seem to exist on this point. For years now I have been urging people to nominate for the Hugo Awards, and saying things like "this is your award" and "this award belongs to the fans, the readers." I felt, and still feel, that wider participation would be a good thing. Thousands of fans vote for the Hugos most years, but until recently only hundreds ever bothered to nominate.

Still my "it is your award" urgings were not entirely accurate.

Truth is, the Hugo Awards belong to worldcon. The World Science Fiction Convention.

The first worldcon was held in 1939, when 200 fans got together in New York City. The first Hugo Awards were given in 1953, at a worldcon in Philadelphia. No awards were given in 1954, but in 1955 they returned, and have been an annual tradition ever since. Me, I was five years old in 1953, so it was some years later when I became aware of the Hugos. Can't recall exactly when. I did become aware, though... and I soon learned that "Hugo Award Winner" on the cover of a book meant I had a damned good read in my hands.

I attended my first worldcon in 1971. Noreascon I, in Boston. By then I was already a "filthy pro," with two -- count 'em, two -- short story sales to my credit, and another half-dozen stories in my backpack that I thought I could show to editors at the con. (Hoo hah. Doesn't work that way. The last thing an editor wants is someone thrusting a manuscript at him during a party, when he's trying to drink and flirt and dicuss the state of the field. What can I say? I was green. It was my second con, my first worldcon). In those days, the Hugo Awards were presented at a banquet. I did not have the money to buy a banquet ticket (I was sleeping on the floor of a fan friend, since I did not have the money for a hotel room either), but they let the non-ticket-holders into the balcony afterwards, and I got to watch Robert Silverberg present the Hugos. Silverbob was elegant, witty, urbane, the winners were thrilled, everyone was well-dressed, and by the end of the evening I knew (1) I wanted to be a part of this world, and (2) one day, I wanted to win a Hugo. Rocket lust. I had it bad.

((Never believe anyone who states loudly and repeatedly that they don't care about awards, especially if they don't care about one award in particular. Aesop saw through that okey-doke centuries ago. Boy, them grapes are sour. If you don't care about something, you don't think about it, or talk about it, or try to change the rules so you get one. The people who keep shouting that they don't care if they ever win a Hugo are the ones who want one the most, take that to the bank)).

Two years later, the worldcon was in Toronto... and I still did not have enough money for the banquet, even though I was an awards nominee. Not for a Hugo, though. That was the first year they gave the John W. Campbell "new writer" award, and I was one of the nominees. Toastmaster Lester del Rey, for reasons known only to him, presented the awards in reverse order, starting with Best Novel and ending with this new award, so by the time he got to the Campbell, the hall was largely empty except for the nominees. I lost. (But went on to sell an anthology of stories by the Campbell nominees, so in that way the award did a huge amount for me). But hey, it was an honor just to be nominated. (It really was. It really is).

The next year, in Washington DC, I lost my first Hugo. "With Morning Comes Mistfall," nominated in Short Story. The same story lost the Nebula earlier that year. (By a single vote, the sitting SFWA president told me afterwards... which impressed on me right then that Every Vote Matters). At Discon I finally had enough money to buy a banquet ticket. I sat at a table with several other nominees. They all lost as well. Meanwhile, one table over, the rockets were piling up. We all made jokes about being at the wrong table.

Then came 1975. Worldcon was in Australia. I could not afford to go, even though I was once again a Hugo nominee, this time in novella. "A Song for Lya" became my first Hugo winner, in an upset over the Robert Silverberg novella that had earlier won the Nebula. Ben Bova (editor of ANALOG) accepted on my behalf. I was sleeping when they rang me up to tell me. Thought I was dreaming. But no, it was real. The rocket arrived a few months later (Ben Bova gave it to Gordy Dickson who gave it to Joe Haldeman who presented it to me at Windycon).

I have won a few more Hugos since, most notably at Noreascon II, where I won two. That was especially satisfying. The same city, the same hotel, and the same toastmaster as in 1971, when I'd stood in the balcony lusting after rockets. Dreams can come true, I told the crowd when Silverbob gave me the first Hugo. When he gave me the second, he chided me for being greedy. The crowd laughed, and so did I.

I will always treasure those memories. One of the greatest nights of my life.

I returned to losing the next year, at Denvention. Have won a few and lost a few more in the years and decades since. But I never fail to attend the ceremonies, and I never ever fail to nominate and vote (well, okay, I think I missed a year in there when I lost track of the date).

That's the short version of Me & the Hugos, or What the Rocket Means to Me.

You will all have noted, no doubt, a common thread here: worldcon.

The Hugos belong to worldcon.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, worldcon was the center of fandom. It was the oldest convention, the largest convention, the annual "gathering of the tribes" where fans of all sorts got together. Regionals were few and far between until the 70s, and even when they became more numerous, none of them ever came near Labor Day, worldcon's traditional dates. Comics fans came to worldcon, "media fans" came to worldcon (though the term "media fan" did not exist), costumers and filk-singers came to worldcon, game-players came to worldcon (though there was not much gaming, and the term "gamer" did not exist either). In time, though, as each of these sub-fandoms grew larger, they began to split off and form their own conventions. Suddenly you had comic cons, and Star Trek cons, and costume cons, and so on. Worldcon still offered panels and tracks for these areas, but fans whose main interest was in Trek or comic books or costuming began to drift away. The World Fantasy Con was born, for those whose interest was more in fantasy and horror than in SF. "Book cons" were born, like Readercon, for the prose lovers.

Worldcon continued... but the steady growth that had characterized worldcon through the 60s and 70s stopped. That 1984 worldcon in LA remained the largest one in history until last year at London. Meanwhile San Diego Comicon and Gencon and Dragoncon grew bigger than worldcon... twice the size, ten times the size, twenty times the size... Dragoncon even went so far as to break with a half-century old fannish tradition by moving to Labor Day, worldcon's traditional date, a date that had up to then been inviolate. And why not? Dragoncon's attendees were fans, sure, they were comics fans and Star Wars fans and cosplay fans, and some were even book fans... but they were not "trufans," as that term was commonly used, and they didn't care when worldcon was.

(The term "trufans" is an unfortunate one in this argument, since some of the Sad Puppies and their supporters take it amiss, and understandly, when told they don't qualify. The term is a very old one, however, probably dates back to THE ENCHANTED DUPLICATOR, a parody of PILGRIM'S PROGRESS about the search for "true fandom." Like "SMOF," it is at least partially a joke. And if any of this paragraph makes any sense to you, you are undoubtedly a trufan... but don't worry, you don't need to know what a mimeograph machine is to be a real fan, I swear).

You can still make a case for worldcon being the center of fandom as recently as 1984... but after that, well, "fandom" began to assume new meanings. There was no longer just one fandom, there were several. Comics fandom, media fandom, etc.

That's all great. I have attended many comicons over the years (I attended the very first one, even before my first SF con). I have written for TV and film, and been a guest at media cons. I love comics, I love TV, and I love film... but most of all, I love books, which is why I go to worldcon every year. There are many fandoms now, but worldcon fandom is MY fandom.

And worldcon fandom owns the Hugos.

Worldcon fans invented them, tended them, wrote the rules, designed the rockets. Worldcon fans tradmarked the name, and defended the mark when other (non fannish, none SF) groups tried to give their own Hugo awards. And it is because of all this history, all this passion, all this care, that the Hugo has remained the most prestigious and best known award in our field.

(In my Not So Humble Opinion, anyway).

Other conventions have other awards. Wiscon has the Tiptrees. The World Fantasy Con presents the World Fantasy Awards, or Howards. The Bram Stokers are given by the HWA, the Nebulas by SFWA. Libertarians have the Prometheus Awards, though I don't know where they give them out. I just came back from Norwescon, where they handed out the Philip K. Dick Award. We used to have Balrogs and the Gandalfs, but they went away. The Japanese have the Seiun awards, the Spanish have the Gigameshs, the Czechs the Newts. Australians have Ditmars, Canadians Auroras. Gamers have Origins Awards, comic fans have Inkpots and Eisners.

I don't denigrate any of these awards. I've won an Inkpot, I've handed out an Eisner. I won a Balrog too, but it was smashed before it reached me. I have a Newt and a bunch of Gigameshs and even a Seiun. Awards are cool. Awards are fun. Or should be. I don't expect I will ever win a Tiptree or a Prometheus or a Dick, but that's fine, I applaud them all the same. Writing is a hard gig, man. Any recognition is a plus. Big or small, any award is a pat on the back, a way of saying, "hey, you did good," and we all need that from time to time.

If the Sad Puppies wanted to start their own award... for Best Conservative SF, or Best Space Opera, or Best Military SF, or Best Old-Fashioned SF the Way It Used to Be... whatever it is they are actually looking for... hey, I don't think anyone would have any objections to that. I certainly wouldn't. More power to them.

But that's not what they are doing here, it seems to me. Instead they seem to want to take the Hugos and turn them into their own awards. Hey, anyone is welcome to join worldcon, to become part of worldcon fandom... but judging by the comments on the Torgesen and Correia sites, a lot of the Puppies seem to actively hate worldcon and the people who attend it, and want nothing to do with us. They want to determine who gets the Ditmars, but they don't want to be Australians.

The prestige of the Hugo does not derive from the number of people voting on it. If numbers were all that counted, worldcon should hand the awards over to Dragoncon and be done with it. (Though I am not sure that Dragoncon would care. Years ago, the LOCUS awards used to be presented at Dragoncon. I attended one of those ceremonies, the last time I went to Dragoncon. Charles Brown handed out the awards in a cavernous hotel ballroom that was ninety per cent empty. The same ballroom was filled up standing room only for the following event, a Betty Page Look-Alike Contest. Which tells you what Dragoncon attendees were interested in. Which tells you what Dragoncon attendees were interested in... and hey, I like Betty Page too. A few years later, LOCUS moved its awards to Westercon, where they always draw a big crowd.

The prestige of the Hugo derives from its history. The worth of any award is determined in large part by the people who have won it. Would I love to win the Hugo for Best Novel some day? You're damned right I would. But not because I need another rocket to gather dust on my mantle, as handsome as the Hugo trophies are. I want one because Robert A. Heinlein won four, because Roger Zelazny and Alfred Bester and Ursula K. Le Guin and Fritz Leiber and Walter M. Miller Jr and Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl and so many other giants have won the same award. That's a club that any science fiction and fantasy writer should be thrilled to join.

Only... here's the caveat... I wouldn't want to join the club because I was part of someone's slate, or because my readers were better organized or more vocal than the fans of other authors. It is not easy to win a Hugo, and it is especially hard to win the Big One -- Hugo voters a tough crowd, one might say -- but if that honor ever does come to one of my books, I hope it is because the voters did actually, honestly believe I wrote the best novel of the year, a work worthy to stand on the shelf beside LORD OF LIGHT and THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and STAND ON ZANZIBAR and THE FOREVER WAR and GATEWAY and SPIN and...

Elsewise, hell, what's the point? I can go down to the trophy shop and buy myself all the bowling trophies I want, if the point is just the hardware.

Which brings me to the subject of campaigning, but I will address that another day, in another post. I have a couple of other things I want to discuss first.

[[Once again, comments and dissent are welcome, but I expect courtesy from all parties. And yes, that means those of you who are on "my side" as well. Let's not throw around insults, or charges of misogyny and racism, please. And Puppies, sad or happy, if any of you feel inclined to reply, please avoid the term "Social Justice Warriors" or SJWs. I am happy to call you Sad Puppies since you named yourself that, but I know of no one, be they writer or fan, who calls themselves a social justice warrior. Offending or insulting posts will be deleted. We can disagree here, but let's try for respectful disagreement.]]

Comments

( 280 comments )
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idemandjustice
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:25 am (UTC)
I'm still trying to grasp this whole situation. I'm going to try to be as polite as possible, but I am having serious difficulty understanding the POV of the Sad Puppies, just as I cannot understand the POV of Gamergaters. They don't like the books that typically win the Hugo awards, because those books sometimes deal with social issues. Is that it? If that's it, I just... don't get it. There are lots of books I've read that I disliked because I felt they were supporting something I was against (I'm being as diplomatic as possible), so I review them on Amazon saying so and move on. But they feel the need to put a stop to it, or something? What's wrong with some people reading books that have some concepts in them that some people might consider left-wing?
princejvstin
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:02 am (UTC)
I've spent a lot of time on the blogs of the Sad Puppies trying to reason and come to understanding of them.

Their contention is that there have been sub rosa and behind the scenes ballot stuffing of the Hugos for years, and they are just doing it openly and large scale to "take back the Hugos" from these groups. John Scalzi gets named a lot as a figure to contest. Teresa Nielsen Hayden seems to really be someone they hate.

The fact that these behind the scenes logrolling efforts (if they even exist) are of a political stripe and a literary style that is very much not to their taste energizes their efforts.

The typical Hugo voter until lately HAS been politically to the left of the typical Sad Puppy and typically has literary tastes very different than them. And they like each other;'s stuff and have voted that way. My own literary tastes are broad but do overlap a lot with this crowd.

But secret behind the scenes ballots? I don't think so.


(no subject) - idemandjustice - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ethereal235 - Apr. 9th, 2015 08:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - idemandjustice - Apr. 9th, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Lou Antonelli
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:25 am (UTC)
The peasants are revolting!
George, looking at it from my perspective, I say the vast majority of science fiction fans, writers and editors are decent people, but there’s cadre of snobs and elitists that has coalesced in the past 20 years and they have meticulously, one by one, insulted, mistreated and disrespected thousands of other writers and fans.

One thing the elites in literary science fiction should learn from the Sad Puppies effort to democratize the Hugo nominations is that “Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.”

Is there a genuine blacklist in science fiction literature? It’s hard to imagine as an author who been outed as a Christian and/or – horrors! – a Republican, that your work will be judged dispassionately by an editor who elsewhere decries such people in terms Nazis would have thought intemperate to use against Jews.

Whether there is an organized blacklist or not, the fact remains literary science fiction has become a boring repetition of dystopian slipstream pornography. The saddest thing is that, there probably is no need for a formal blacklist; this in-group is so small and inbred, they just all think alike.
grrm
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:48 am (UTC)
Re: The peasants are revolting!
I don't think any of that is true, Lou.

I can give you chapter and verse on the blacklists of the McCarthy Era. Who was blacklisted, for what reasons, who did the blacklisting, etc. You are going to need to provide similar chapter and verse about the blacklist you are alleging before you will persuade me it exists. Who was blacklisted? When? By whom?

I see lots of evidence to the contrary. Conservative editors publishing liberal writers, liberal editors publishing conservative writers. Orson Scott Card still seems to have a flourishing career. So does Dan Simmon. Tor Books publishes John Wright. Gardner Dozois and I, flaming liberals both, bought a story from him for our Vance anthology. And on the other side, I've had several of my own books published by Baen.



"Dystopian slipstream pornography?" Really? Is that what you see?
Re: The peasants are revolting! - yagathai - Apr. 9th, 2015 01:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - onionperson - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - Lou Antonelli - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - grrm - Apr. 9th, 2015 07:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - Alvaro Garces - Apr. 9th, 2015 09:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - catsittingstill - Apr. 9th, 2015 12:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - mkillingworth - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - edgehopper - Apr. 9th, 2015 04:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - grrm - Apr. 9th, 2015 11:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - kilgoretrout64 - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - amyura - Apr. 11th, 2015 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - nwbrown - Apr. 10th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - igotbupkis - Apr. 11th, 2015 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2015 05:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - daveon - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - grrm - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - eeanm - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - luke_jaywalker - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - grrm - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - luke_jaywalker - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - lifeonearth1 - Apr. 9th, 2015 05:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - Greg Price - Apr. 9th, 2015 07:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - Jon Glenn - Apr. 9th, 2015 05:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jere7my - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:47 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: The peasants are revolting! - konzill - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: The peasants are revolting! - nihilistic_kid - Apr. 9th, 2015 04:29 am (UTC) - Expand
pharbero
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:28 am (UTC)
Should I attend Sasquan?
I've yet to attend a Worldcon, but Sasquan being within driving distance, I was hoping to make it my first. Now I worry it will feel... tainted. I am curious whether Mr. Martin or others feel that the ballot stuffing/Hugojacking by these groups will affect the Con as a whole, or if perhaps they will remain hidden behind their computer screens.
grrm
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:51 am (UTC)
Re: Should I attend Sasquan?
It will affect the con, though in what manner I am not sure.

I have read hundreds of posts about Puppygate, on all sorts of blogs and bulletin boards, and one point I have yet to see addressed -- will any of the Sad Puppies actually ATTEND worldcon?

I don't know.

I rather wish they would. It would make things uncomfortable, beyond a doubt, but perhaps naively I still thing we might all understand each other better if we actually sat down together.

The internet makes everything worse.
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - Lou Antonelli - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - daveon - Apr. 9th, 2015 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - fosteronfilm2 - Apr. 9th, 2015 06:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - alexvdl - Apr. 9th, 2015 01:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - Thomas Monaghan - Apr. 9th, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - saintonge - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - eeanm - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - nchanter - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - glenn_glazer - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:04 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - pharbero - Apr. 9th, 2015 05:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - filkerdave - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Should I attend Sasquan? - Jerry Gieseke - Apr. 9th, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
davidgoldfarb
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:30 am (UTC)
As it happens, the Prometheus award is given out...at the Worldcon. In a separate ceremony.
kfitzwarin
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:59 pm (UTC)
I was going to double-check that - thanks for the confirmation David. As are the Sidewise awards (for alternate history), as I recall.
Jordan Ray
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:33 am (UTC)
Standards for voting and nominations
I think all of your points are valid. Maybe the answer is somewhere in the realm of making the standards for nomination more rigorous. As I understand it, one can purchase his/her right to nominate, by becoming a member of worldcon. Maybe it needs to be tougher to be a member. Maybe there's someway to prove that you're really invested in worldcon itself, rather than just buying in to push your awards candidate.
cogitationitis
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:04 am (UTC)
Re: Standards for voting and nominations
Bruce Schneier has a good analysis on Making Light, but one could either narrow or loosen the electorate. Or just wait it out. Currently, there is a move afoot to reduce the number of nomination slots from 5 to 4, while opening the number of slots on the final ballot from 5 to 6. (I don't see as how any of these measures will stop a determined slate.)

It's been pointed out that many SF groups--including one here on LJ--put out 'recommended reading lists.' How does this differ from a slate? Well, NESFA, for instance, leaves out the categories with names (editors, artist, Campbell, fan writer/artist). And anyone who suggests something puts his or her name on it. The LJ group has people's names on it as well. I'm not sure about the BASFA list. But all were put out as suggestions of things to read and look at--and most years, there are not exactly 5 items for every category. (Sometimes more, sometimes less.)

It's true that the Hugos belong to Worldcon. But who does the Worldcon belong to? All the attendees, theoretically. But in actuality, the people who go to the Business Meeting (the same 200 or so suspects, most years, many of whom also help run Worldcon & other conventions) are the ones who make the rules. But even they don't have lock-step opinions (far from it!).
Re: Standards for voting and nominations - pardoz - Apr. 9th, 2015 04:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Standards for voting and nominations - lisa_marli - Apr. 9th, 2015 08:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kevin_standlee - Apr. 9th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
yagathai
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:40 am (UTC)
George, I respect your position, but it's tough to not bring racism or sexism into an argument where the ringleader of the slate, a man whose publishing house has a plurality of nominations (in one case 4/5 nominations in a single category), who is himself a nominee for both Best Editor categories, is explicitly white supremacist and literally, no hyperbole, argues for the murder of educated woman because it will safeguard the human race. Which, again literally and without hyperbole, doesn't include black people. Yes, it seems like I'm engaging in at least a little hyperbole there, but I swear to Dog I'm not.

It's like trying to talk about southern food without mentioning fried things. You just can't.
grrm
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:56 am (UTC)
I understand what you are saying, Yags.

However, my posts thusfar have addressed only the Sad Puppies; that is to say, Brad Torgesen and Larry Correia and their slate.

Vox Day and his Rabid Puppies slate are a different matter. I don't think we should conflate him with the others, anyone than I think we should lump other progressives in with Requires Hate.

I will talk about VD and the Rabids in a later post.
(no subject) - yagathai - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smofbabe - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yagathai - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smofbabe - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:17 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - allumbokhari - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yagathai - Apr. 9th, 2015 12:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Greg Price - Apr. 9th, 2015 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amyura - Apr. 11th, 2015 03:06 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - Thomas Monaghan - Apr. 9th, 2015 11:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sephystabbity - Apr. 10th, 2015 11:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snowspinner - Apr. 9th, 2015 08:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Except no... - igotbupkis - Apr. 11th, 2015 03:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
GeekFurious
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:51 am (UTC)
Actually
I have never cared whether someone called me a "social justice warrior" or a "white knight" or the like. I have no problem being targeted by bigots. I have the moral high-ground on this one. I'm for the equality of everyone, not just the people who look or sound like me. So, they can call me whatever they like and I'll own it.
grrm
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:58 am (UTC)
Re: Actually
Fine, we will call you a Social Justice Warrior, then.

Just don't apply the term who those who don't want to own it, please.
Re: Actually - GeekFurious - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - Greg Price - Apr. 9th, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Actually - igotbupkis - Apr. 11th, 2015 03:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
luke_jaywalker
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:53 am (UTC)
I honestly don't understand why you're upset about increased participation in the Hugo Awards.

Isn't inclusion, as represented by these many new voices, meant to be a liberal value?
mecurtin
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:26 am (UTC)
Assuming that you're a Puppy (despite your icon), I have to ask: Is it your impression that everyone who voted for fiction or zines on the Puppy slate had read all the works they voted for?

Is it your impression that everyone who cast a ballot for Editor (long or short) did so knowing what an editor does, and how the people they voted for do it?
(no subject) - luke_jaywalker - Apr. 9th, 2015 02:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Apr. 9th, 2015 03:14 am (UTC) - Expand
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LOL, back atcha - igotbupkis - Apr. 11th, 2015 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Devdeep Roy Choudhury
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:57 am (UTC)
Thank you for creating awareness
Hi Mr. Martin,
I am a big fan of your work and have come to know about Hugos and the general SFF world through following your posts for years. Reading about the sad puppies case made me feel outraged that a group fueled by their jealousy for change could game the awards. Thank you for weighing in your perspective about the awards. I look forward to your posts about the situation at hand.
tuftears
Apr. 9th, 2015 01:59 am (UTC)
Not an author but I wanted to stop by and thank you for a meaningful post that expresses so well how much history is behind the Hugos and what they (should) signify to those of the future. I fully support your sentiment about wanting to win on your own merit, and I hope you do get your own Best Novel Hugo someday!
thefirstalicat
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:03 am (UTC)
Being outside of sf/f fandom (though a huge reader of the work), I knew nothing of this before your earlier post; then saw a mention of the "Hugo fiasco nomination" from a francophone (hence the inverted phrase) librarian here in Quebec, so I asked my brother, Rich Coad, who's been a fanzine stalwart for, what, about 45 years now?, about it, and he said, and I quote, " big fights between Sad Puppies and Social Justice Warriors. I want nothing to do with this new mainstream of fandom. If you want to read all about it file770.com has some good roundups. Then you can also read about how people get accused of harassment for reading a poem. Bunch of morons on both sides."

It was that bit about "accused of harassment for reading a poem; bunch of morons on both sides" that kinda clues me in to the fact that, no, I want nothing to do with any of it. Politicizing the Hugos is akin to, I dunno, enforcing a required reading list for adults in a free society - it's just wrong. And if it's happened once (as it apparently has, now), it's game over.
drmccoy
Apr. 9th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
Is that about the backer-created poem in Pillars of Eternity? Because if so, then "accused of harassment for reading a poem" is quite the misrepresentation there...
Accused of harassment for reading a poem - kinfae - Apr. 10th, 2015 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kinfae - Apr. 10th, 2015 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
kevin_standlee
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:10 am (UTC)
George, thank you so much. You have summed up many of the things that make Worldcon special to me as well, although I'm not likely to ever win a Hugo Award. (I've administered the Award three times, and I have one of the two leftover Hugo Award trophies from 2002 on account of having co-chaired the convention, and I've accepted a Hugo for someone (Bob Eggleton's first Pro Artist Award), but it's not the same thing.)

One niggle, if you don't mind: "Worldcon" is a proper noun; the name of a convention just like DragonCon and San Diego ComicCon International and all of the others. It is, as you noted, a registered service mark just like "Hugo Award." Those of us who have worked with the service mark registration have worked with some groups who used the term "worldcons" as a generic term for all of the conventions with "world" in their title, and have tried to differentiate Worldcon (the World Science Fiction Convention) from all of those others. It's not that we're asking that it always be spelled Worldcon® (we know how silly that would be, and it's needless), just that we'd like it paid the same respect as all of the other conventions' names.

Thank you for your eloquent and passionate words about the event and the Award that you and I and thousands of other fans love and respect deeply.

Edited at 2015-04-09 02:11 am (UTC)
yagathai
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:56 am (UTC)
I'm sure I'm not the only one, Kevin, who values your opinion on the Hugos more than the opinion of most people who have won a Hugo.
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Apr. 9th, 2015 02:29 am (UTC)
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strangedave
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:32 am (UTC)
I have to disagree on one thing, though. You said 'you can call it block voting', but the correct term is bloc voting.
strangedave
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:34 am (UTC)
And as one of the Ditmar administrators, I really really hope the Sad Puppies do not want to determine who gets a Ditmar.
yagathai
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:57 am (UTC)
Do you guys have puppies in Australia? And if so, are they venomous like all the rest of your fauna?
saxster
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:39 am (UTC)
I'm confused. I guess I'll wait until you talk about the 'campaigning' aspect, because I simply don't know enough about the Hugo awards process and traditions to draw any real conclusions yet.

Frank Probst
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:51 am (UTC)
Did they read the stuff they nominated?
I guess my big problem with slate voting is that I seriously doubt (and I could be wrong--if anyone knows to the contrary, please correct me) that most people voting for the slate have actually read many of the works that they're voting for. While what they're doing is totally within the rules, I think you're acting in bad faith if you nominate something that you haven't even read. I expect my Hugo Nominees packet to have five good works in each category. I generally don't even nominate in the short fiction categories, because I just don't read that much short fiction every year outside of the Hugo nominees.
mecurtin
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
Re: Did they read the stuff they nominated?
This is absolutely my suspicion, too, and I think it's in some ways the most egregious way the Puppies have broken the unwritten social contract of the Hugos.

You don't nominate what you haven't read. It may not be "cheating", technically, but it's lying, implicitly.
lefrancoy
Apr. 9th, 2015 02:53 am (UTC)
This whole thing just disheartens me and leaves me baffled. The Hugo for best novel has always been a must read for me (in the many instances where I hadn't read the winning book). And I fail to recall a disappointment using this formula.

This year's Hugos have my vote for a sabbatical (let it be 1954 again) and a rule rewrite for next year. Sadly...
drplokta
Apr. 9th, 2015 05:21 am (UTC)
I'm afraid there can't be a rule rewrite for next year. Any change that is agreed this year has to be ratified next year, and so can't take effect until the 2017 Hugos at the earliest. Or possibly 2018 -- there's a proposal that was agreed last year and is up for ratification this year to add an additional year to the process.
(no subject) - chris_gerrib - Apr. 9th, 2015 01:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
langkard
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:07 am (UTC)
I feel for those nominees who weren't consulted before being placed on the block slates.
I find the most distressing aspect to this whole mess is the effect it will have on the win chances for those nominees who were placed on either the Sad Puppies 3 slate or the Rabid Puppies slate or both without their prior, informed consent.

More than a few of those on the Puppy block slates were not asked about their approval or even notified before being included on it. The editor of the wonderful Black Gate was never contacted prior to inclusion on the Rabid Puppy block slate, nor were the people at Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine contacted by the Sad Puppy people. I sincerely doubt that Game of Thrones producers Benioff and Weiss were asked by Ted Beale if it was acceptable for an episode to appear on the Rabid Puppies slate. Many of the nominees are distancing themselves from the whole thing altogether, simply accepting their nominations graciously without reference to either block slate.

The problem arises from the inevitable "No Award" backlash against the entirety of both Puppy slates. While I am inclined to support the idea for any nominee who willingly supported being included on the block slates, I am disturbed by the fallout which will affect those who were never asked about inclusion. There are some wonderful nominations included in the block slates who well-deserve to be considered. Sadly, they may not have a chance simply because of the growing drive to list block slate nominees below "No Award" without regard to whether they wanted to be on the block slate. That would be a shame.

Will the chances of a Hugo win for the Game of Thrones episode be reduced by the "No Award" backlash against all nominees who appeared on the Puppy Slates? A Game of Thrones was included, again likely unasked, on the Rabid Puppies slate.

I don't see a painless way out of this dilemma . We don't have any way of knowing which nominees made the ballot based solely on their inclusion on one of the block slates. We don't know which of those candidates on the block slates were contacted in advance and agreed to inclusion and which were never contacted at all. We don't even know if those contacted in advance were actually given honest information about the block slates. How are we to distinguish between those who might deserve to be below "No Award" and those who are innocent? Should we even bother or should we just let it go, as some have suggested, and consider the 2015 Hugo an aberration? Will the vocal minority go away if we ignore them?

I'm torn between support for punishing the brazen attempt to politicize the nominations and seeking some other way which won't be detrimental to those who are involved in the whole mess without their consent.

We have a tough choice to make. I have read many of the articles discussing this issue. I have been particularly impressed by the posts made by GRRM above and some others such as Charlie Stross, John Scalzi and especially a wonderful post by Elizabeth Bear regarding the issue of block slate voting.

To Lou Antonelli (and to Brad Torgerson and the rest of the Puppy advocates),

Perhaps instead of trying to game the Hugo nominating and voting in favor of your own political and social views you should consider simply creating your own "Conservative" SFF awards? You already have the SASS. What is stopping you from doing that? Are you perhaps concerned that the response would be less than enthusiastic? Plenty of awards already exist, so why not another designed specifically with your viewpoint in mind?





Edited at 2015-04-09 03:19 am (UTC)
flash_sheridan
Apr. 9th, 2015 05:37 am (UTC)
Backlash is inevitable only if Puppy opponents play the same game
The problem arises from the inevitable "No Award" backlash against the entirety of both Puppy slates. While I am inclined to support the idea for any nominee who willingly supported being included on the block slates, I am disturbed…
You’re right to be disturbed, but do note that a backlash is only inevitable if the Puppy opponents put politics above honest judgement. As John Scalzi (with whom I by no means always agree) pointed out at the beginning of this kerfuffle, hacking the Hugo nominations is actually not that big a deal: It just gives some works the chance to be judged on their merits by the voters. By all means vote “No Award” if, in your honest opinion, the works below that point do not merit an award. Another benefit to voting honestly is that you don’t have to guess the political involvement or non-involvement of the author. Let the work stand on its own.
ken_schneyer
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:08 am (UTC)
WorldCon Controls
My feelings are similar to yours, George, right down to the sentimentality about the Hugos' history and a wish that I might someday win one.

My main concern, as I've said elsewhere, is that this is event will delegitimize the Hugo award in the eyes of many serious fans and writers. In his recent Salon article, Arthur Chu points out that the organization funding the construction of the Washington Monument was hijacked by Know-Nothings in response to a donation by the Pope, and that this caused other would-be supporters to keep their distance for a generation. As you say, there are many awards, and it would be easy to transfer the flag, as it were, to the Nebula or some new fan-based award. That would make me sad.

But all of the solutions I can come up with for 2016 and beyond seem to ratchet up the politicalization of the award rather than ameliorating it.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
One of the things I've always appreciated in listening to you talk, is the love of conventions, and the world within them. It's nice to see it here, no matter what others will say.

For myself, it strikes me that it is very much a culture war, defined along generation lines. The openness of the SF fan culture has allowed for so many different kinds of people to feel welcomed and safe and it is my hope that all this SP stuff doesn't make someone who isn't white, straight, or traditionally gendered feel as if the scene and the work isn't for them. Just the same as I hope that someone white, straight and male/female and conservative feels as if the scene is for them (I don't buy the whole 'leftist conspiracy agenda' any more than I do 'Jews Rule Hollywood' and 'the Moon Landing was Fake'). Any attempt to define SF as one specific thing is always going to be answered by someone else as something different, and new generations, with new concerns (and old concerns) are always appearing. It's just the natural, healthy way to be in the genre.

At any rate, man, best of luck with the conversation here.
allumbokhari
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:13 am (UTC)
I would be amazed if Correia, Torgersen, Hoyt and the other authors who publicized SP3 were not already members of Worldcon. As for them getting their fans involved - doesn't Worldcon invite them to do that?

The Hugos may belong to Worldcon, but Worldcon has always opened its doors to sci-fi fandom as a whole, whether they are casual readers or dedicated conference-goers.

If this is the case, why is the influx of new fans a problem? And why is their difference of opinion with certain Worldcon attendees relevant? It's perfectly possible to agree with Worldcon's overarching mission (to select the best in sci-fi) and yet disagree with the direction taken by some of its members.

Your argument implies that new fans are only welcome if they have no disagreements with the most active clique at Worldcon. But if Worldcon wanted to be an insiders' award, why do they remain open to all of sci-fi fandom?

To modify your earlier analogy, it's the equivalent of Australia granting voting rights to Kiwis and then complaining when they make use of it.

PS:
Please don't kill Jamie ;_;

Edited at 2015-04-09 03:14 am (UTC)
jere7my
Apr. 9th, 2015 04:15 am (UTC)
Prepare ye to be amazed!

Larry Correia on Worldcon: "I went to 13 cons in 2014, from 500 to 150,000 people. I love cons. However, the only place I’d be likely to find more people who actively despise me and want me to die in a fire than WorldCon would be WisCon. Which is on my list of places to visit, right after Mordor and Hell."

Vox Day on Worldcon: "I will confess that if Worldcon blows its own brains out in a fit of petulance, I will definitely laugh."

The ringleaders of the Sad and Rabid (respectively) Puppies do not seem to hold warm feelings in their heart for this community that you profess to believe they are attempting to enrich.
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admnaismith
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:14 am (UTC)
Maybe next time, everyone who wants a membership will have to register as either Liberal, Conservative, Philistine, Nothing But Spaceships, or I Just Vote Based On The Cover Illustration.

Then they'll have a primary, with the top vote getter from each party getting on the ballot for the "general election".

People won't even have to read the works, and it'll be cumbersome as all get out, but at least everyone will know that the author or editor they vote for agrees with them on abortion.
emp_sheeptopia
Apr. 9th, 2015 08:04 am (UTC)

I can't decide between the spaceship or the cover categories...

clairemckenna
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:22 am (UTC)
As with all fan-based awards (And I've noticed this as an Australian who was nominated for a Ditmar, once upon a time, when the Universe was still warm after the Big Bang etc) that the people who win fan-based awards are also those who are very fan-active. they volunteer, they participate, they're there holding fort in the room-party arguing over Heinlein. They're supportive of new writers, they get around.

And come awards time, they get awarded for it. It's completely organic. The community activism, volunteer ethic is in it's nature largely liberal because it has to be. Fandom as we know it would die if it was completely predicated on Capitalistic Success.

I found a lot of folks on the Sad Puppy slate not to be fan-active. Even Requires Hate was a *known* figure, at least). Conservative publishing is at the moment niche publishing, and perhaps it conspired its own obsolescence: in Brad T's post there were a number of people who said they "No Longer Read Science Fiction". One wonders if they stopped *before* or *after* the decline of the right-leaning SF novel and the subsequent rise of the "lefty liberal" kind. In which case the finger of blame is pointed in utterly the other way.

I did find the inclusion of GamerGate troubling, as they are purely a group motivated by the *consumption* of a thing rather than it's *creation, marketing and associated employment* of a thing. Someone pointed out rightly that the idea of the Consumer dictating the artist was the equivalent of people harassing GRRM to pump out a sub-par rushed Winds Of Winter, with all the associated threats and rude comments. This is not a philosophy that the SF community needs to encourage.
allumbokhari
Apr. 9th, 2015 03:41 am (UTC)
But isn't that precisely what Torgersen, Correia & co are doing? They may be doing it via blogs and social media, but why should that matter? It's still organisation, and we do live in the age of the internet.

I think this a problem of perceptions. Those who don't move in conservative circles are likely to see the people from Castalia House as unknown outsiders who aren't active in the sci-fi community. But they (and the sci-fi fans who have built a pretty sizeable community around them) would take issue with that.

I must also disagree with your characterisation of GamerGate. I've covered that movement extensively, and if there's one thing they *really* hate, it's artists being dictated to.



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