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What Now?

For all of you who are sick of Puppygate... I am too, but there's still a few more things that I need to say. Another day, maybe, and I will move on to happier topics.

Yes, I know about Larry Correia's response to my earlier posts and I will reply to him here... but not just now. There's another topic I need to cover first, one that I have been leading up to all along -- what the hell do we do now?

Whether you think what the Sad Puppies did is right or wrong, it's done. The ballot is out. It is what it is. So the ball is in our court now. What to do?

(Here is where I will probably piss off everybody on the anti-slate of this mess. Sorry).

Over at Making Light, and on several other sites, various rules changes are being proposed to prevent this from happening ever again. There are so many different proposals they make my head spin. More nominating slots, less nominating slots, weighted voting, eliminating the supporting memberships, outlawing slates, limiting nominees to a single nomination, juried nominations... on and on and on. The worldcon business meeting is never exactly a funfest, but if the proponents of half these proposals show up at Sasquan, this year's will be a nightmare. And will probably still be going on when MidAmericon II convenes.

I am against all these proposals. If indeed I am at Spokane, and if I can get myself up in time for the business meeting, I will vote against every one of them.

Most of them, frankly, suck. And the mere fact that so many people are discussing them makes me think that the Puppies won. They started this whole thing by saying the Hugo Awards were rigged to exclude them. That is completely untrue, as I believe I demonstrated conclusively in my last post. So what is happening now? The people on MY SIDE, the trufans and SMOFs and good guys, are having an endless circle jerk trying to come up with a foolproof way to RIG THE HUGOS AND EXCLUDE THEM. God DAMN, people. You are proving them right.

I hate what the Puppies did. It was based on false premises, and though it was not illegal, it was mean-spirited and unsportsmanlike. So how about we do NOT prove them right by rigging the rules against Sad Puppies 4? How about we try to be better than that? There is nothing wrong with the Hugo rules. If we want to defeat the Puppies, all we need to do is outvote them. Get in our own nominations. This year, the Puppies emptied the kennels and got out their vote, and we didn't. Fandom danced the usual, "oh, too busy to nominate, I will just vote on the final ballot," and for that complacency, we got blindsided. We lost. They kicked our fannish asses, and now we have the ballot they gave us. If we don't want that to happen again, we need to get out our OWN vote.

But let's not give in to our worst impulses. I do not want to disenfranchise anyone. (Well, okay, maybe a few, rabies is dangerous). The fandom I joined in 1971, the fandom I love, is open and friendly and welcoming, and has room for every shade of political opinion and literary taste. Those are values worth defending, a culture worth fighting for.

Oh, and there's another (lesser, admittedly) reason not to change the Hugo rules. The Nebulas. I have been a SFWA member since 1972, and I swear, the organization spends half its time arguing about the Nebula rules, year after year, decade after decade. I have seen a dozen "reforms" in my tenure, all in the interests of making the voting "more fair," but no matter what rules we adopt, a couple years later the bitching starts and members start demanding we change them again. It's endless. We do NOT want to open that Pandora's Box at worldcon. Change the rules to deal with the Sad Puppies, and a year or two from now we'll be changing again. Aside from adding the occasional category, or splitting one, the Hugo Awards have operated more or less the same way for decades, and that stability is part of their prestige. Let's not mess with that.

Which brings me to another proposed countermeasure: the No Award strategy.

This comes in two flavors. The hardliners propose we vote NO AWARD for everything. Every category, even the ones where the Puppies have no nominees. No Hugo Awards at Sasquan, whatsoever. We'll show them. Rather than letting them move into our house, we will burn it to the ground. "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." It worked so well in Vietnam.
All I've got to say about this idea is, are you fucking crazy?

The other approach is less radical. Vote NO AWARD in all the categories that are All Puppy. In the others, chose between the nominees (there are a few) that did not appear on either the Sad Puppy or Rabid Puppy slate, and place all the rest, the SP/RP candidates, under No Award.

That's less insane than the "No Award For Everything" idea, but only a little bit. Sorry, I will not sign on for this one either. For a whole bunch of reasons. For starts, the Puppies are already proclaiming that "No Award" equals victory for them (though sometimes it seems as though they believe anything that happens constitutes victory for them). Also, near as I can tell from reading the blogs, it appears that some of the Sad Puppy candidates never consented to joining their slate, and that none of the Rabid Puppies were ever asked if they wanted to be included (I am ninety per cent certain that none of the films or TV shows in the two Dramatic Presentations category were ever contacted). There are also a whole bunch of people -- all the editors except Vox Day, for starts -- who may or may not have been contacted. No one has said, no one talking about it, we just don't know.

Also... really, when you come down to it, this whole "were they contacted?" thing is a false issue. Torgensen says he contacted almost everyone, but missed a few. Some of his slate say no, they never heard from him... but does it really matter? I have been trying my damndest to get Alan Lee and John Howe nominated for Best Artist for years, and I never asked if I could. This year I wrote a long post about the brilliance of STATION ELEVEN and why it should be nominated in Best Novel, and I never contacted Emily St. John Mandel to ask if I could. I will not condemn Brad Torgensen for failing to do what I never do myself.

I do not believe in Guilt by Association, and that's what we'd be doing if we vote against every name on the Puppy slates simply because they are on the slate. That was a classic weapon of the McCarthy Era: first you blacklist the communists, then you blacklist the people who defend the communists and the companies that hire them, then you blacklist the people who defend the people on the blacklist, and on and on, in ever widening circles. No. I won't be part of that.

I have looked over the ballot, but I have not read all of it. Will I read all of it? Well, not every word.... but I will at least glance at every nomination. I know, from past experience, that there are some very talented writers on the list. There are also some very bad writers, and at least one whose picture probably appears next to MEDIOCRE in Websters. There are a lot of writers I have never read before, whose work I need to sample. Torgensen has claimed that the Sad Puppies slate is diverse, and a cursory glance at the names suggests he is not wrong.

I intend to consider every story and every finalist in every category, and vote for those that I think worthy of Hugos. I will vote NO AWARD, I promise you, but only where No Award is warranted. (Truth be told, I vote No Award every year in almost every category. Usually not in first, admittedly... but I don't just look at a category and rank them one to five in order of preference, I rank the ones I think rocket-worthy above No Award, and the ones I don't below).

This ballot is the worst I have ever seen, admittedly, and there are stories and writers on it who are not fit to polish a Hugo, much less win one. But there's good stuff as well, and talented writers whose work I have enjoyed, and I am not going to vote against them just because the Sad Puppies like them too.

As I get further into my reading, I will let you know my thoughts on what I've read. But that may be a long process, so be patient.

Honestly, I don't think any of the choices we have now are good ones. All roads seem to lead to perdition, but each of us will need to walk the one we think best. Meanwhile, I urge everyone who is reading this to go to the Sasquan website and join the convention. Attend if you can; if not, join as a Supporting member, just as the Puppies did. It is too late to nominate, but not too late to vote. The Puppies will be getting out their vote, you can be sure. We need to do the same, unless we care to see some poor guy hand Vox Day a rocket.

I wish I was more optimistic about how all this is going to turn out.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

(That's Yeats, not me. Just to be clear).


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Apr. 10th, 2015 05:26 am (UTC)
You ought to work a band of rowdy knights or outlaws named The Sad Puppies into Son of Kong. Perhaps smallfolk can start calling Gregor Clegane's former armsmen the Sad Puppies.
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:26 am (UTC)
Well said.
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:36 am (UTC)
The Second Coming
I first learned that Yeats quote back in High School back in '89. It seems as appropriate now as ever. :(
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:38 am (UTC)
The proposals I've seen have been about blocking the ability to capture all nominees in a category via slates, not about the Puppies in particular.

To be very clear: yes, I'm against the Puppies; between white supremacists like Vox Day and rabid homophobes who think I shouldn't exist like John C. Wright, I'd be lying to pretend otherwise.

But with regard to rules changes, I am only willing to consider changes that work against slates in general, and not one that targets these jerks specifically. And so far, that's what I've seen. But I have not been researching them comprehensively; it's far too early for that.

Otherwise without rules changes, it's slates vs. slates as far as the eye can see. Parties form because they work. A slate of 10% got all nominations in most literary categories. That will not go unanswered - either by rules changes to reduce the power of slates, or by opposition parties. And that's just all there is to that.

I know which poison I'd prefer.

Edited at 2015-04-10 05:44 am (UTC)
Apr. 10th, 2015 10:18 am (UTC)
Word. The nomination process needs to be made more democratic, not to keep the Puppies out, but to get better proportional representation on the ballots. It's the same basic principal as the reason we rank works on the ballot instead of just ticking our first choice. A more proportional nomination process should improve the quality of the final ballot even in the absence of this sort of obvious bloc voting. Yay democracy!
(no subject) - mneme - Apr. 10th, 2015 07:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
don't quite agree - jamesonquinn - Apr. 10th, 2015 11:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't quite agree - grrm - Apr. 10th, 2015 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't quite agree - ethereal235 - Apr. 10th, 2015 05:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't quite agree - mneme - Apr. 10th, 2015 07:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't quite agree - jamesonquinn - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't quite agree - hereville - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't quite agree - hereville - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: don't quite agree - bdfinst - Apr. 11th, 2015 12:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Hi. - asombreroman - Apr. 10th, 2015 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Hi. - solarbird - Apr. 10th, 2015 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hi. - makomk - Apr. 10th, 2015 06:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hi. - akiko - Apr. 11th, 2015 08:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
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I'm vaguely surprised that got unscreened - solarbird - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
This Distinction Doesn't Fly - jimhenley - Apr. 10th, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - thewrittenpath - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - jimhenley - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - grrm - Apr. 10th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - ihatenamessono - Apr. 11th, 2015 10:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2015 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - renepavan - Apr. 11th, 2015 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This Distinction Doesn't Fly - ihatenamessono - Apr. 11th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Why is this a thing - Katryna Wade - Apr. 17th, 2015 12:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Alexander Pendergrass - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Belief - asombreroman - Apr. 11th, 2015 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Belief - grrm - Apr. 11th, 2015 04:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Belief - solarbird - Apr. 11th, 2015 06:04 am (UTC) - Expand
Seen from the outside... - questron - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:43 am (UTC)
(That's Yeats, not me. Just to be clear).

Huh, I thought it was Pat "Hobbit" Hobbins. I'll have to go dig around in the attic for my old LPs to double-check the liner notes.
Apr. 10th, 2015 01:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeats?
Oh, please. Hobbins is only revered so much because of his early death. Every trufan knows Peter Faxon wrote those lines.
(no subject) - emp_sheeptopia - Apr. 11th, 2015 04:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Jesse Wilson
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:00 am (UTC)
keep on keepin on
Let me start off by saying I knew literally nothing about this argument until you began posting about it. I do however follow politics rather closely and I can say from my experience that there are groups of people that will go out of their way to see some form of persecution in everything. Arguing with them in my opinion results in nothing being accomplished. That being said the only way i see to go forward is to stop arguing with them altogether. Just concentrate on doing what you can do to make sure that the books and shows and movies that you love are represented. If that means beating them at there own game then so be it but if you start trying to exclude them because they accuse you of being exclusionary then you only prove their point. We cant control what the other side does in this argument or any other, and we cant pretend to live in a world where they don't exist. Fortunately we can visit that world from time to time.
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:04 am (UTC)
The sliver of optimism I see is that maybe there will be a lot of people like me who, having seen all this brouhaha will think, "hey, yeah, that thing. That thing is cool. I should join it and become involved." (So far, I have twice lived in cities that have hosted worldcon and have somehow totally missed that it was happening until it was way too late. It's probably time to fix that, huh?)
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:37 am (UTC)
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Apr. 10th, 2015 06:38 am (UTC)
I have worried over the whole "No Award" issue for several days now. I agree completely with GRRM. The only sensible thing we can do is to simply review the nominees and vote as if Puppy slates never happened.

This won't be easy to do. I wish there was some way to redact the names involved and wipe my memory of the block slates. I am not sure that I can even come close to objectivity when it comes to some of the nominations, especially some of the more egregious on the Rabid Puppy slate. I suspect that no matter how hard I try to be objective I will still be susceptible to bias when it comes to Castalia House.

Another item which causes me concern is one of the more recent responses from Vox Day in a thread at File770 in which he states, "If No Award takes a fiction category, you will likely never see another award given in that category again. The sword cuts both ways, Lois. We are prepared for all eventualities." ( http://file770.com/?p=21780&cpage=1&hc_location=ufi#comment-250236 )

This is disturbing and makes it even more difficult to be objective when considering the nominees. I will try.

On the issue of future changes to the nomination process, I also agree. If bullies are trying to change our system, then changing the system is the last thing we should do. Unfortunately, the matter seems to be picking up a full head of steam, especially with Bruce Schneier's thread on voting systems over at Teresa Nielsen Hayden's Making Light ( http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016199.html ). I hope that GRRM's post above will be a moderating influence on everyone.

I began this week in a state of extreme anger at what happened. Thanks to GRRM's very level-headed, considered posts here, I have managed to calm down. We should not become as reactionary as those we oppose. Hopefully, by the time of Sasquan, cooler heads will prevail - on both sides.
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:56 pm (UTC)
Vox Day is basically saying "Nice Awards you've got there. You do realize that nobody who fails to kiss up to *me* will ever have a chance at one again, right?"

Is this really what we want? If not, perhaps we'd better make sure that people don't profit from getting a place on a slate.
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:45 am (UTC)
How to assess Best Editor categories?
The strategy outlined here for ranking/use of 'No Award' seems most fair. In some ways I wish I could 'unknow' who was on the slate, and what various stances certain authors had, because it's really going to influence my reading, there's no way it can't. Last year (my first vote - I discovered WorldCon through LonCon3) I voted without having any idea who most of these people were, and definitely no idea that there was a Puppy movement.

One exception I'll make in the 'trying to divorce the politics' is for Vox Day, because, after only a little reading about what he stands for, the idea of him getting a Hugo makes me feel sick to the stomach. However, I really have no idea how to assess the Best Editor categories. (I didn't vote in that category last year, because I just didn't know where to start).

George/anyone else reading this - how do I go about making a fair appraisal in the Best Editor categories? What criteria should I be using to assess the nominees? Is there any guidance anywhere about this?
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:50 pm (UTC)
Re: How to assess Best Editor categories?
The whole concept of "Best Editor" is flawed, because you never know what they started with -- what stories they saw, what they bought, what they rejected, how much editing they did.

Absent that information, we can only judge by the end result, the final product. To compare Toni Weisskopf to Sheila Gilbert, for instance, look at the books published by Baen last year (edited by Toni) compared to the books published by DAW (edited by Sheila).

It's not perfect, but unless you know the "inside stuff," that's all we have.
(no subject) - kevin_standlee - Apr. 10th, 2015 07:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: How to assess Best Editor categories? - mb_s - Apr. 10th, 2015 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:53 am (UTC)
+1 for Hobbins.

I do intend to vote No Award above everything that was on either slate. This has unfortunate consequences, and I feel bad about those, but that's where my personal moral balance lies.

I'm not doing this to punish the nominees who were unaware. I do not believe in blanket guilt by association, and it's very clear at this point that there were some people who weren't guilty. I'm doing it to make it clear that including some percentage of unassociated works on a slate doesn't change anything.

I am 100% sure that neither Sad or Rabid Puppies will distinguish between a nominee who wholeheartedly agrees with them and a nominee who didn't know what was happening, should any of their candidates win. I don't want to see the victory celebration; it'll be touted as a success story, used as propaganda, and the slate will be more likely to succeed the next time.

I also believe that even the non-Puppy candidates are, to some degree, affected. In Best Novel, without the Puppies, we'd have had three other nominations. In 2012, the eventual winner for Best Related Work was 4th on the nomination list -- so it's entirely possible that the Puppies have already squeezed out a work that would have won a Hugo under normal circumstances.

This won't keep me from voting for non-Puppy candidates, but it's another piece of truth that makes me think that the Hugos are already broken for this year. The non-consenting Puppy candidates were already punished by the slate compilers. I'm just acknowledging something that already happened, with no animosity.

Is my choice a good choice? Nope. I agree that I don't have any good choices.
Apr. 11th, 2015 02:20 am (UTC)
This seems as good a place as any. I intend to No Award against any slate candidate - unless the slate candidate has made it clear they wanted, and want, nothing to do with vote-stuffing. I think that's a reasonable compromise.

This is particularly pertinent because, well, saw Jim Butcher at Eastercon, he seems an interesting chap, etc. I might like to buy and read more of his books. But from Saturday evening, I was in the position where, well, there are more decent books than I can possibly read from people who are clearly _not_ in bed with Theodore Beale.

I would be delighted if Butcher came out tomorrow and said he wanted nothing to do with that lot; but until he does, that's that.

I don't know that it can be done, but I do think the intention of the good nomination procedure reform proposals is to discriminate against slates. Of course, the Sad Puppies will complain they're being excluded, but they already do that, so no loss there.

Joke bit of post: the other guest was Seanan McGuire, who writes with truly phenomenal rapidity. grrm, is there any chance you could just tell her the plot and let her write the words for the rest of the Ice and Fire books? I figure we'd be done by August or so, and then we'd get off your back for a bit while we read them all.
Anthony DeMarco
Apr. 10th, 2015 06:54 am (UTC)
Thanks George
I've learned more about the genre reading these posts than in all my combined years of being a fan. So thanks for that. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Sci Fi and Fantasy are way more popular now than they have ever been so I'm sure that 90% of the people who read/comment here feel the same way about the history lessons you've been giving.

I am not a Worldcon member but now I am kind of inspired to be one. Now that you've called the banners expect 100,000 screaming Northmen by your side.

As for these Puppies, I know you said some are reasonable and we have to hope that those people find a voice over the lunatics. I understand why you had to be so thorough and say all the things you did, but you know you can't reason with madmen. It doesn't mean the good fight isn't worth fighting. Anyone who actually read those posts and understood them should come around but you know there will be plenty who despite being confronted with undeniable facts continue to manufacture reasons that justify their prejudice.

It's sad that you had to do this but unfortunately it was necessary, and thanks again.

PS If you're ever back home (yep, I'm from the same weird little peninsula) and some bearded guy in a Stark tee shirt comes up to you don't call the cops, it's just me.

PPS Hail to the Redskins.
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, George, I have to agree with Solarbird. Because there's a lot of sf/fantasy out there, and because of people having different tastes, if lockstep bloc voting for slates that take up most of the ballot aren't stopped, we may as well entertain the proposal to make 2016 the last Hugos.

The Sad Puppies actions this year prove this; remember, before issuing the slate, they solicited recommendations (and if they'd just stopped there....). For Best Novel, they got more than 30 recs...none of which were recommended by more than 5 people. Similarly, it takes just 10% or so of the number of people nominating to get something on the ballot; 15% is (currently) pretty much a sure thing. But if the SPs hadn't issued a slate, their supporters' nominations would've been as scattered as those of the non-Puppy nominators.

Also, I'll give the SPs a small benefit of the doubt. But it's clear, based on his statements, that VD and the Rabids (*not* the name of my next rock band) basically want to destroy the Hugos. He's declared he's running a "Thanatos Gambit" where he feels he wins if the Hugos are destroyed or if No Award wins, or if his slate wins. And if none of that happens, he claims he's just going to try harder next time. At this point, ignoring the SPs, we're still up against someone who is fanatical about either remaking the Hugos in his image or destroying them, and unfortunately has the resources to keep trying. Putting up defenses against this is not a bad thing.
Apr. 11th, 2015 04:36 am (UTC)

I am SO putting a band named VD and the Rabid Puppies in a book. They'll be a screaming death metal band, all neon spiked hair, and questionable morals.

Maybe I should leave the Puppies part off...

(no subject) - davidgoldfarb - Apr. 12th, 2015 08:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:07 am (UTC)
Oh, and in your paragraph #5, I think you meant "eliminate the supporting memberships", not "eliminate the attending memberships"...'cause it's kinda hard to have a Worldcon if no one can attend. : -)

And the "poor guy" who might have to hand VD a Hugo is either co-host of the ceremony (and Writer GOH) David Gerrold or Tananarive Due. Leading David to comment that all the Hugo winners this year will have their Hugo handed to them by either a gay man or a black woman. He's also pointed out that "Noah Ward" is one of his officially registered pseudonyms in Hollywood, and (jokingly I hope) plans to take home any Hugos that his namesake wins.
Apr. 10th, 2015 04:52 pm (UTC)
Ooops. Yes, need to correct that.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:28 am (UTC)
I will say, however, as someone who has never been privy to the Hugo voting community [or these Machiavellian power plays inside of it], I am now, and that's only because of you and this blog, George. So, for what it's worth, hopefully your Livejournal posts have turned a slew of new people on to this neoconservative madhouse.
Apr. 11th, 2015 04:39 am (UTC)

I, for one, am now thinking of getting a membership.  Probably too late to vote this year (?? haven't looked that up), but next year...

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Apr. 10th, 2015 07:32 am (UTC)
This whole thing is awkward and upsetting to me. The only reason I even heard of WorldCon and started attending is because of my tangential relation to your work. I'm still basically an outsider. I haven't heard of anything on this year's Hugo ballot, Sad Puppy or otherwise. I've made a lot of good friends since I started going to WorldCon and other conventions, though—friends who've been a part of either a specific or broad fandom for years. Many are writers—some of them may end up in the 6-15 slots on this year's Hugo ballot. Since I'm going to be at WorldCon, I feel a responsibility to vote, but I'm not even sure what to do about it. I don't have time to read a lot of stuff. I feel like I'll be upsetting someone by either voting for something, voting for no award, or not voting at all, which leaves me wondering what to do. My first WorldCon was 2011 in Reno. My first book came out last year; my next one is coming out this year. It just feels like the whole thing is snakebit—like this was a bad time to find sff. I wish I could ignore all the hubbub, but even that is making a choice.

As an outsider, though, I've seen that there's a lot of heartache going around—from well-known authors to little-known authors to fans, from all over every spectrum—and I just want to say that my heart goes out to you. I don't see how any of this gets better before it gets worse. :(
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:38 am (UTC)
Hugo rules
The only thing Worldcon/Hugos need to do as far as rule/category changes go is to announce a slate of awards called the OGUHs (named for sounding like 'Oh God' and after the great and honorable Bizarro) whose purpose is to recognize the worst or most mediocre in Science Fiction/Fantasy every year. Kinda like the Razzies to the Oscars. Instead of a shiny HUGO rocket, their award can be a crashed ACME one (the inside can be filled with Booze for the "winners" to celebrate). Categories can include almost anything and don't have to be entirely disparaging or mean, like 'Worst Use Of Grammar', 'Worst Fandom Moment' (which the bitching about the release date of The Winds Of Winter would face little competition for), 'Worst Excuse for Science Fiction', or 'The Story SO Implausible (Impossible?) It Should've Been Fantasy' award.
Apr. 10th, 2015 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Hugo rules
I hope you are joking.

That would be gasoline on the fire.
Re: Hugo rules - scottedelman - Apr. 10th, 2015 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hugo rules - Brad Handley - Apr. 16th, 2015 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hugo rules - cogitationitis - Apr. 10th, 2015 06:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:40 am (UTC)
I tend to agree with you that the rules are actually fine. It is the turn out that needs to be changed.

I know what a Hugo is since I am twelve, when I first saw it on a Roger Zelazny book. It has been a quality guide for me ever since and I was delighted by the recent years nominations, particularly "Among Others", which I might have overlooked otherwise.

Thing is, I also took the Hugo and the quality and originality it guaranteed for granted. I never really thought about attenting WorldCon as it was usually too far away from me to come and I did not really consider a supporting membership up to now. But I realized now that if I want SciFi fandom to remain a creative, open, original and multi opinioned society I have to add my voice and not just leave the field to those with political motivations. I want to see a Hugo on a books cover and buy it, without having to look if it was before or after 2015.

So I got a supporting membership, maybe others will too and if so, maybe Worldcon at least will turn to be the winner of this, which in my opinion would be the best case scenario.
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:52 am (UTC)
No Award
If anything, this debacle has hurt the writers the most, in my opinion. I have heard many arguments for the "No Award" reaction straight across the slate(s), but something felt wrong about it.

For the most part, I don't know which nominees on the slate are active Puppy folks, or if they knew they were being slated, or if they knew what that meant. I do know that as a voter, I have a choice:

1. I can apply the same scorched earth tactics that I felt the SPs did in creating and pushing that slate.


2. I can thoughtfully consider the nominees, vote my conscience, and reward writing that I think is deserving. I like the notion of awarding "rocket-worthy" writing. I admit, my standards are pretty high. That won't change. I don't need Torgersen's permission to do this, nor do I need Day's or anyone else's.

Finally, I'd just like to say that even though I'm vehemently against what the SPs have done, I read about some members receiving threats. Please, folks, don't do that. Nobody deserves that--regardless what "side" you are on. It's shameful.
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:08 am (UTC)
Yet if the nominations system is not changed to somehow break the power of slates, then the Hugos will lose all meaning. Simply 'getting out the vote' isn't enough - in order to counter the Sad Puppies, a counter-slate will have to be formed. Result: instead of voting for the best work, we'll be voting for political positions.

As for No Award, it is in my opinion a much better option than voting for this year's work. How many great novels were excluded from the Hugos this year, not because they weren't worthy, but because they didn't get past the Hugo's new guard dogs, who get to pick and choose what gets nominated?

Until some method is found to get rid of the dogs, the Hugos are a farce. Voting just provides legitimacy to what they have done.
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:09 am (UTC)
Two points, George:

The fact that the Puppies will declare "No Award" a victory should not influence anyone's vote. You can't let the awards, and the way the awards work, and even specific ballot options (whether it's a particular author's book or No Award) be controlled by any particular group of people.

And in "Blogging for Rockets", you wrote the following:

"Just as happened with the "let me tell you about my eligible works," the rest of the field is going to need to field slates of their own in self-defense.

I don't look forward to that. It cheapens the Hugos."

There. Full stop. If it cheapens the Hugo, you actually should support proposals to minimize the power of slates without unduly impacting the intended spirit of the awards. Individual campaigns are one thing, have been around from the start more or less as you've noted, but competing slates are going to be a race to the bottom, the devolution of the Hugos into a collection of political parties rather than a collection of fans.

A move against slates is not a move against the works the Puppies believe need to be better represented. It merely means they need to become part of the Worldcon process: attending and sitting on panels, hawking books in the dealer's room, attending business meetings, throwing parties, and in the process let fellow fans start to understand why the works they love are works that they too can love.

Apr. 10th, 2015 01:16 pm (UTC)
Mr or Ms,

They have.

Please read attended; sitting on panels is a different thing entirely. Here, straight from the horse's mouth, which, I'm sure, is a process that was repeated by many people within the slate:


And an amazing lady who supports the Sad Puppy efforts on her experiences in conferences and other meetings within the hobby:


What happened with the Sad Puppies is the inclusion of more people supporting the conference itself, if not outright attending. How is this bad?

(no subject) - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 04:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hippoiathanatoi - Apr. 10th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
lose lose - unsunghero007 - Apr. 10th, 2015 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: lose lose - ihatenamessono - Apr. 10th, 2015 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:24 am (UTC)
be strong
My heart goes out to all whose souls are torn by this fray.
Justina LA Robson
Apr. 10th, 2015 08:54 am (UTC)
How to be Optimistic about it
Thank you for writing about this. I feel better having read your response to the situation with its calm, thoughtful reaction, having spent a few days wading through other more volatile places.

My initial reaction was that the voting system should be changed to avoid hijack efforts, although on further examination as you say - there are two reasons not to bother changing the format. First of all it signals that fans can't be trusted to be decent human beings any more, which is completely the opposite message to the one required and second it risks the sanity of hundreds as they try to invent an incorruptible system. I don't know if anyone proposed a system specifically to exclude certain groups or not; if they did, shame on them. Fandom was one of those places where it seemed like the Bill of Rights really did operate as intended, at least in my idealistic take on it when I met up with it in the early 1990s.

I'm writing here to add my few pence on a note that I hope may give some cause for positive reflection. This has done a lot to highlight the history and legacy of both the Hugos and fandom, even if that has come about in a depressing and negative way. That legacy is a noble one, full of good intentions and humane kindnesses, as well as the odd slip up: we're only human, but fans have always been pretty good humans collectively. We don't always make it but we work hard at it. This Hugo slate is bringing out the worst even in good people, sadly, but it's also lighting a fire under those of us, like me, who've sat about in comfortable complacency thinking that things were mostly OK.

All the qualities you mention as precious within the community of fans are very precious and they are STILL THERE. I anticipate that in among the flame wars and the panicky, ill-considered defenses there will be sleepers who awake and spend their money to join the Worldcon, this year and all the years after, to let their considered votes expand and strengthen the diversity and validity of the Hugos. Worldcon's membership will grow and its coffers expand somewhat. I did think it was broken, like you, but it ain't over until the fat lady sings. That lady ain't even on the stage yet.

Just bought my membership. Preparing to read it all (yeah, not every page, I'm not a martyr).

best wishes to you all, and to everyone involved.

"O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you." (Eliot)
Get off your ass and live for something, you're a long time dead, dude.
Alvaro Garces
Apr. 10th, 2015 09:19 am (UTC)
Please, give the proposed rules changes a fair hearing
About No Award: I couldn't agree more with you. These are the nominees that have been voted according to the rules. Some of them are very fine candidates for the Hugo, and many have nothing to do with the current political polarization. Those of us who do not want the Hugos to be a political war should give them a fair chance, regardless of what we think of the SP campaign.

Regarding changes to the voting rules: I really wish you would reconsider. I think you have misunderstood the purpose of the rule changes that are being proposed. They are not rules designed to shut out voters we dislike. They are designed to reduce the power of voting blocs, while still giving them a fair representation.

The Sad Puppies are basically a political party in an election where there are no other political parties. They have about 10% of voters but they all vote for the same list, while the rest of voters are dispersed. Under the current system, a 10% voting-block basically gets to determine almost all of the nominees, if the rest of voters are dispersed.

Now, this is a relatively large voting bloc. They are a strong voice in fandom, and they deserve to be heard and be given a fair representation of their tastes. But they are not the only ones who deserve to be heard. The other 90% of voters also deserve a chance to see their tastes represented. The current nomination system is completely vulnerable to bloc voting, not only by the Sad Puppies, but also by other special interest groups with common concerns. Actually, the Sad Puppies campaign could be a good thing, because it's so blatant that it has made it plain for everyone how vulnerable the system is. It allows us to set a fairer voting system for the nominations. A system that won't shut out a voting bloc like the Puppies, but that will give them fair representation without sweeping 100% of the nominees. Those systems exist and are being proposed. We should all think about it seriously.

Consider the alternatives if we do not change the rules for the nomination vote:
a) The rules are not changed but the Sad Puppies and everyone else decide not to employ bloc-voting. Hopefully everyone will keep taking part in the process but in an individual manner. My favorite alternative, but let's be honest, do you see it happening, once it has been shown what a well-organized minority can achieve with a voting bloc?
b) The rules are not changed, the Sad Puppies keep up their campaign and no other political parties are organized. In this case the Sad Puppies will sweep the nominations year after year. 90% of voters will feel disenfranchised and eventually give up on the Hugos. The Hugos become irrelevant.
c) The rules are not changed, the Sad Puppies keep up their campaign and one or more other political parties are organized. The Hugos become an election between rival political parties. The Hugos become irrelevant.

In your first post you wrote that you feared the Hugos had been broken. What has been shown to be broken are not the Hugos, but the voting rules for the nomination. There are extremely good alternatives that will give fair representation to voting blocs while not shutting out everyone else. Please, take the time to learn about them. The Hugos will be richer, more diverse and more open to all the different voices within the fandom.
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